Why you should plan a London vacation

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A friend of mine came to me for advice on his next family trip. Without hesitation, I recommended he travel to London.

He had a few questions, so I thought it would be good to share some of my answers, as it helped him make a decision and I hope to intrigue you to make the same.

If you’ve been, there is no reason not to come back, because each time you travel to London there is always more to see and learn.

Why a London vacation?

London is made up of 31 boroughs, all with their own distinct charm. These boroughs are all easily accessed via underground train service (the tube). 

Central London is a place that you can walk for hundreds of hours and still find new things to do in London with or without the kids.

There are endless shops, museums, historical sites; you name it London’s got it. Being a leading metropolitan city in the world, it is also diverse in culture and in food. Why you should should Travel to London

The energy in London is infectious, it just makes you want to embrace everything English.

This is best captured in some of the oldest and most traditional pubs in the world. In London, a pub lives up to its name, a “Public House”. This is where friends and family meet, and children are welcomed to join in the daily festivities of enjoying each other’s company and conversation.

Is London good for families?Visit a local pub - things to do in London

London is perfect for families because it is safe, clean, and a perfect destination to soak in a great deal of knowledge from its proud traditions and the role it plays in history.

Anything special we should pack for travel to London?

There are preconceived notions that the sun never comes out in London. In fact, it comes out much more than we imagined. When it does, it’s glorious.

However, the stereotype does have some validity. It can be damp in these parts, so bring a waterproof jacket and lots of socks.

Keep yourselves dry so your spirits won’t be dampened, because there is always something to do, and you don’t want a little rain to stop you.Why Travel to London with @DishOurTown via Ytravelblog.

London Accommodations

For a unique and local stay check out Airbnb. Click here for all the properties available in London.

Depending on the exchange rate, travel to London can be expensive for travel, especially for families. There are, however, many options for cheaper places to stay in London.

With Central London being so easily accessed by public transportation, staying outside of Central is always a good idea.

We are currently staying in Hampstead, a village in the borough of Camden. It’s about 20 minutes to central by underground.

You can check our researched recommendations on places to stay in London from budget to luxury here. 

The village of Hampstead

In a town like Hampstead, the family can enjoy an alternative side of London. One that is lush with nature, and sites not as frequented.

Hampstead is posh, but still has a deeply rooted village essence, which is very storybook. In fact, it has been considered an artist colony for centuries, with the likes of Robert Lewis Stevenson having lived here. This vibe continues until this day.Why Travel to London with @DishOurTown via Ytravelblog.

Accommodation options in Hampstead are also quite a lot more palatable in price, for what you get in Central London. Try, onefinestay.com and airbnb.com. For a true travel experience, stay in a room upstairs from a traditional pub, just like the old days.

There is the Kings Boutique Hotel, which sits atop the King William IV pub. A traditional pub, it has the quaintness and charm you would want in a village such as this, combined with modern amenities, of course, such as wifi and satellite television. The balconies are a treat, with views of the village.

Fun things to do in London

Go to Covent Garden. There’s always something going on there that the family can enjoy. There are countless street performers, shops, and eateries.

Covent Garden - things to do in London
Don’t miss Covent Garden when you travel to London

Get a space on the balcony of the Punch and Judy Pub and watch the energy that swirls around this historical marketplace. It’s London’s answer to the great piazzas of Italy, just about everybody convenes there at some point of the day, so join in.

 The London Pass gives you free entry to 60+ top London attractions, Hop on and Off sightseeing tour, and fast track passes at popular London attractions. There is an endless number of fun things to do in London and a hop on and off tour will ensure you see as much as possible! Get yours and save money on travel to London. 

If there are a couple of tourist sites in London, outside of the obvious, what would they be?

 

Day trips are a great way to see the outskirts of London as well as taking in some great sites.

Our favorites are Hampton Court Palace which is about 45 minutes from Waterloo Station in Central London and Oxford University which is about an hour from Paddington Station, also in Central London.Why Travel to London with @DishOurTown via Ytravelblog.

Age of the Tudors

Hampton Court Palace was the greatest palace in the Age of the Tudors. Beautiful and opulent, there is a lot of history to gather in this one place. Imagine yourselves walking alongside the likes of King Henry VIII or King William III and Queen Mary II. Enjoy the grounds that rival France’s Versailles, and walk through the topiary maze that dates back centuries.

For an amazing tour, book with Context travel. They specialize in private and small group tours and their docents are all blue badge guides (highest ranking in the UK) and are always friendly and knowledgeable. Our docent was like a history book you did not want to close.

Oxford University is the oldest academic institution in England. It has graduated more Prime Ministers than any other University and has housed some of the most renowned names in literary history, which include the likes of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Oscar Wilde just to name a few.

38 Colleges make up the University of Oxford

Visit Oxford University when you travel to London

38 different colleges make up the University of Oxford, the most prominent being Christ Church, where its dining hall is the inspiration behind the one in the Harry Potter Films.The town is also bustling and quite beautiful. A touring company, named

The town is also bustling and quite beautiful. A touring company, named City Wonders offers a great tour of the University, highlighting some of the most prestigious colleges. We had a guide that was a great storyteller, and she kept Bailey interested throughout.

Go to a Football match when you travel to London

As an extra, if you can catch a football match, few experiences are more fun. We were fortunate enough to attend a Chelsea game and Bailey loved the energy and the very funny, spirited, and sensor free chants.

London Restaurants

A great experience, without having to spend a fortune, but part of the luxuries of the place, is sitting at one of the many eateries in the Food Court at Harrods.

Our favorite is “the Rotisserie”, where the servings of chicken are not only wonderful in taste, but large enough for two to share.Eat at the Rotisserie at Harrods when you travel to London

If you are in the midst of sightseeing, our favorite stop is The Clarence, a traditional pub with an updated aesthetic inside. They serve up some of the best roasts in town. It’s also well located, between Westminster Abbey and Trafalgar Square. 

(note: Caz’s brother was once the manager of this pub. Many Aussies have served on the bar here!)

Best place for dinner in London?

For an adult night out, we recommend trying to book a table at St. John at Smithfield. It’s been rated as one of the top London restaurants in the world for years, and it will make you a believer in more adventurous offal based offerings.

For a family night out, go to the Spitalfield Market area where there is lots of energy and no shortage of eateries in many different price points.

In Hampstead Village, there is the historic Holly Bush. It is a very kid friendly and dog-friendly environment. Eat in the pub area (there is a more formal dining room available) and try to grab a table near the fireplace.

Enjoy wonderful sharing platters of British favorites such as sausage rolls, scotch eggs, cured duck, ham, country bread, and, of course, chips (fries). The beer selection is wonderful, but not nearly as wonderful as the charm of the place and the neighborhood crowd that fills it.

What’s the best way to have a budget friendly day in London?

One of the best budget things about travel to London is that the National Museums are free. They are also some of the most beautiful.

This list includes – The British Museum, The British Library, The National Gallery, The Tate Modern, The Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum, just to name a few.

Why Travel to London with @DishOurTown via Ytravelblog.
The British Museum

Insider Tips for London

Buy something called an oyster card while there. You can put any nominal value that you’d like in it. It is easy to refill if you need to.

This card facilitates your daily transport and is an accepted form of payment for all systems, underground and otherwise. There is a charge for the card, which is refundable when you are done using it, along with any cash that may have remained in it. It saves a lot of time rather than purchasing single tickets.

Withdraw from your bank card, as exchange kiosks often offer the worst rates and charge additional fees.

London is a safe city, but extra precaution while traveling is never a bad idea. Money belts are always a good idea. They have come a long way from where they started, there are high tech one’s that are unintrusive. A company named, Amphipod, makes a good one.

Taxis are quite expensive. However, if there are three or more passengers, it may be the best way to get to your door from Heathrow Airport. It may cost you less and without hassle as opposed to taking the Heathrow Express.

Is there one thing we should bring home from London? Memories that will last a lifetime!

 Read More:

Plan your trip to London

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Accommodation in London

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Flights to London

  • Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best deal, book directly through the airline (no extra fees).

Car Rental in London

  • RentalCars.com is the world’s biggest car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, and Europcar.

More Tours in London

 

Would you like to travel to London? Or have you already been? Leave your best insider tip for London in the comments, or any questions you may have.

29 thoughts on “Why you should plan a London vacation”

    1. That’s a loaded question Emma 🙂 What time of year? How many people will you be traveling with? What are your food requirements? What activities do you enjoy? Do you drink alcohol? All these factors add up.

    2. Emma, as per Craig, there are a lot that factor into nailing down a budget, especially because your “must haves” may be different from mine. If I were to go by what I like and recommend, it can be fairly expensive if you wanted to cram all of it in a week. I’d be happy to answer any specifics that may help you. Best, Andrew

  1. As a Brit it is always interesting to read other people’s views of our capital. We live in the north of England and tend to to visit London maybe once or twice a year for a break.

    It is a great city with so much to see and do, no need to venture as far as another city as Oxford unless it is on your must see list. There is so much history and sights in London as it is.

    As a Brit we do find London pricey so follow the tips above to try to save money. Accommodation can be a big cost but you can find good deals for small rooms if you use good travel sites online.

    Food can be pricey but it all depends where you eat. There are some very reasonably priced restaurants around the Euston area or if you go down some side streets off Leicester Square but not in the square itself.

    As for the Tube, I love whizzing around the city on it, generally the quickest way to travel. Also with an Oyster card you tend to get the cheapest ticket price charges for the travel you do, just avoid the rush hours!

  2. As always wonderful advice I am sure that any will find this such a helpful post. I hope that you are now in the UK you are glad you made the move.

  3. Thanks for your attention @Craig, @Andrew
    We plan to visit London my husband and i in June, we are from France, the trip will be by TVG so wen can find a better price when we look for good deal in advance
    [email protected] Guy Who Flies for your post it’s alomost what we looking for as a response

    1. Thank you for the comment. London can be expensive, but there are certainly ways to do it on a more palatable budget, as is mentioned in one part of the post with the free museums. And as you mentioned, there are so many places to visit and the free ones are some of the highlights. All the Best, Andrew

  4. Don’t forget about the parks! Green Park in the spring for the gorgeous display of daffodils (just off Piccadilly so close to shops and restaurants), Regents Park in the summer for the rose garden, Hampstead Heath for amazing views over London and a great place to go kite flying! If you’re travelling with kids and the weather is good, these places are perfect – they’re free and capture so much of the soul of the city.

    1. Emily: Thanks for the additional information. Yes, the parks are wonderful in London. Currently, we are living in Hampstead and take walks in the Heath quite a bit. Shame on me for not mentioning it in the details. Best, Andrew

  5. hey guys me and the Family are heading to London. and taking the train to Dundee Scottland, so just windering if you had any ideas on money saving tips for our trip. we’re renting an apartment for the week while there. Any things we should see or not see! Tony

    1. Tony: Sorry for the delayed response. Good to hear you’re coming out here. As for money saving tips, many of the best National Museums are free of charge, which include the British Museum, National Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum (which was our favorite as a family). If you have kids, the Science and Natural History are also complimentary. If you like the outdoors, lots of parks out here, my personal favorite is the Hampstead Heath. For food, go to any M&S and grab some on the go prepared foods to tide you over to the larger meals, such as dinner. Regarding your train travel, I haven’t used it going to Scotland but will be happy to ask someone I know for their advice and get back to you. Thanks for reading talk soon. – Andrew

    1. Margrey: You must, I feel that it’s better than ever and a great time to come as the sterling is struggling a tad, at least against the USD. Thanks for the read. Best, Andrew

  6. London is the dream place for everyones as I Believe.. also known as legend city there are lots of historical and natural places to visit, and talking about budget.. i love the point mentioned here to visit that kind of places where is no fees like: museum, outdoors… and i also suggest to visit Pennsylvania that has its unique identity and warm peaceful place…

    1. Yes, David, there is something to be said about historical destinations, it keeps the mind going and London is certainly one of those places. Thank you for the kind comments and thank you for the read. Regarding Pennsylvania, are you referring to the US or UK? If UK, I’d love to hear more. Best, Andrew

      1. Thanks Andrew… i am talking about US Pennsylvania but didn’t have more info for UK.. I did some google for you.. 🙂 and found “Pennsylvania Castle” which is situated in Portland desert..if whenever you goes there take a look once..

  7. There’s only one reason not to go to London and that is cost. It’s an expensive city. There are a million reasons to go and you’ve covered many of them!

  8. A must when packing for London is to take layers as the weather can be unpredictable and comfortable shoes! There are so many great places to visit it’s sometimes difficult to cram everything in. The British Museum is amazing, can easily spend a whole day in there. It’s useful if you book a tour beforehand so you can understand exactly what you are seeing. Thanks for a great article!

  9. Hi Andrew
    You Share Brilliant post! I was wondering if you have any recommendations for where to stay in the city as well? I am thinking of going down in the Spring and I’ve seen a few hostels in london – Can you suggest me how to find budget hotel in most attractive place .

  10. I would love to go to England and watch one of those premier league games. All photos are beautiful. London looks perfect except for the cloudy sky.

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