I’d always wanted to go to England because of what I’d seen on tv. It looked pretty similar to the United States, but I knew the culture was really different. Of course I knew about high tea, fish and chips, and the Royal Family, but I didn’t know how much history that I would encounter every day just by walking down the street. Even though I only went to London for a couple of days, I had a great time exploring the city. Here’s the rundown on London.
What to do in London
- Visit Buckingham Palace- The home of the Royals is a must see when you go to London. The palace is a fast and magnificent building with the guards that everyone talks about stationed out front. If you go on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Sunday you can see the changing of the guards at 11am.
- See Big Ben
- Take a ride on the London Eye
- Walk across the London Bridge
Planning your London Vacation
Where do you fly in?
- London City (LCY)– This is a smaller airport that is mostly used for business travels throughout Europe and specialized flights to New York. I would not recommend this airport for a regular commercial flight.
- London Gatwick (LGW)– This is one of the two airports I recommend. It has the London Express train that is the fastest way to get to London Victoria Station, a major train station in the heart of London.
- London Heathrow (LHR)– I would also recommend this airport. Heathrow airport is located west of central London, but central London is easily accessed by multiple train lines that lead out of Heathrow.
London is a large city with airports other than the ones that are listed above. For ease, I would recommend LGW and LHR.
Where should you stay?
London is an easy city to find a place to stay. You have many accommodation options just a Google click away. When I was in London, I stayed at St. Christopher’s Inn Hammersmith hostel, and did not have the best experience. Usually I love St. Christopher’s Inns. They are located across Europe and are my first choice when choosing a hostel, because they have a standard for being clean, convenient, modern, and well managed. This particular one in Hammersmith was convenient, modern, and was positioned on top of a restaurant/bar, which was nice, but it lacked in cleanliness. Regardless, St. Christopher’s Inn hostel are still my favorite. There are a few scattered across London, so I would urge you to choose one of the others if you would like to stay in a hostel.
Things to know
- Language- You’re in luck if you only speak English and are traveling here, because, of course, English is the national language of England.
- Currency- England differs from other countries in Europe in that they use the Pound instead of the Euro. You may exchanged your money before you leave the airport when you arrive. Currently, the exchange rate is 1 Pound = 1.29 USD, making things in England even more expensive than other European countries! Be prepared to be slightly surprised at the prices.
- Weather- Temperature in England is similar to the temperatures here in the U.S., meaning our summer months are their summer months (average highs in the high 60’s), and our winter months are their winter months (average lows in the low 40’s). London is very rainy towards the end of the year with October being the wettest month of the year.
- Transportation- Public transportation is abundant here. You have the options of taking a bus, trolley, taxi, or renting a bike. The streets are very bike-friendly, and it’s not too expensive to rent a bike for a day, so this may be a good option for leisurely sight seeing.
- Food- In my opinion, the food was not spectacular. If you are a picky eater, you definitely won’t have a problem finding food that you will like, but if you are an adventurous eater, London may be disappointing. There are a lot of ethnic restaurants around, which is what I chose to eat instead of typical English restaurants. If you go, you be sure to try the obligatory fish and chips just to say you did.