Planning for a trip to London can be really fun and exciting, but also nerve-wracking if it is your first time ever in the city. So many questions may be filling your mind like what are some places you should visit, how will you get to your hotel from the airport or if there are any luggage storage in London. All these questions are valid, but do not stress yourself or overthink the planning process. It can be just as simple as planning for a trip to your home country. If you have never been to London and you are not sure where to start, here are some tips that will guarantee you will make the most out of your trip.
Stay In Central London
Often the biggest question is where is the best place to stay in the city. You could stay in a hotel, but that can get pretty pricey. To combat this impulse, some people may be tempted to stay outside the city for cheaper prices but that is not necessarily the best way to go either. You will have to commute in and out of the city during your stay and that can chomp down on time and money spent. The best area to stay in London is in central London. You can see so much more in way less time. That is the perfect combination. You will save money on transportation and since you will be able to see more in a shorter amount of time, you could also save on your overall trip by cutting down on the days spent in the city.
When it comes to the best neighborhood to stay in, there are a few options to choose from. You can go to either Westminster, Covent Garden, Soho, Bankside, and South Bank. You can either do hotels or Airbnbs. Keep in mind that the further you go from the central area, the cheaper accommodations will be.
Avoid Bank Holidays and School Breaks
Remember that London is a central point for Europe. There are millions of visitors every day from all over the world. You want to avoid going to the busiest times of the year like July or August. You also want to avoid staying during European bank holidays and school holidays. That is a recipe for more people than you want to deal with. If you want to get the best bang for your buck, avoiding these times of the year is also going to worth it for your wallet as things will likely be cheaper.
If going during busier times is your goal because that is the time you want to go, no worries. There are a few spots you should avoid though if you are not trying to deal with the crowd. Main shopping streets will be a nightmare on the weekends and the time leading up to Christmas. Some make the argument that going to London during the American spring break is ideal because spring school holidays are typically later than the U.S. spring school holidays. Another great time to go is in June because school is still in session in most European countries.
Do Not Think You Have to See Everything
You are setting yourself up for stress if you believe that you have to see everything when you are visiting London. That is not the case. Accept that you may not have time to see everything and know that it is ok. London is a really big city and unless you are planning on staying for a month, you may not have enough time to see everything. If you are wondering what is a decent amount of time to spend in London, shoot for three to four days. As long as you visit at least two or three big attractions, you will be productive that day.
Book in Advance
We cannot stress this enough. Booking things well in advance can save you so much money. Flights will be better, accommodations will be better and tickets to some attractions may be cheaper. Waiting until the last minute, or when you show up in London will not be a good idea. You may run out of the best options and some things may even be sold out. If things are not sold out, you may have to wait in long lines. That is no fun. You did not spend all this money to wait in long lines. You want to explore as much of the city as possible, so do some planning ahead of time to circumvent any of those snags.
Try Some of London’s Free Attractions
There are some free attractions that you can try out when visiting London. You could pay a free visit to the British Museum, Natural History Museum, National Gallery, Tate Modern, Victoria and Albert Musuem, Science Musuem, Museum of London just to name a few. If museums are not your thing, you could go to a nice park or garden. The city has tons of those and it is friendly for the whole family.
Paying those spots a visit is also a great way to get away from all the hustle and bustle of the city, which may be needed after a few days in London. Finding the perfect spot to catch the London skyline is a breeze. Most of those spots do not require you to pay either, which is great. Ask a local to get an insider tip.
If you are someone who loves to shop till you drop, visiting some of London’s shopping centers could be an attraction within itself. Imagine all the window shopping you could do, or people watching. You could visit Harrods and Oxford street. If you are traveling with your kids, you could try take them to Hamely’s, which is the world’s largest and oldest toy story. You could also take them to the Lego store and the M&M store. There are so many things you can do in London!
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