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What’s There to Do in London?

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London, a city dating back about 2000 years to the Roman period, offers its visitors a wide assortment of trips and tours, markets and museums, parks and gardens, as well as restaurants, pubs and cafes that reflect the city’s vibrancy throughout its history and up to the present day.

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Local tourist companies offer a variety of city itineraries, but taking the Hop On Hop Off buses is also a great way to get to know the city. The buses stop at all of the city’s main tourist sites where you’ll find guided walking tours called “London Walks.” The walks are generally about two hours long, and you can find detailed information about them online.

To get around London, you can count on the city’s public transportation system. The London Underground – the renowned “Tube” – enables easy access to the popular sites, though it is advisable to avoid using it during peak hours when the stations and trains are very crowded. While the bus routes can be more challenging to navigate, they are also a great way to travel around the city. Be sure to buy an Oyster card, sold in most Underground stations, in order to pay for the transportation. The card can be loaded with cash or credit. Taxis are readily available in the city during most of the day and night, as are Ubers.

Modern red double decker bus, London, England, United Kingdom

The theater is one of the outstanding highlights of a visit to London. There are many plays to choose from, and you can purchase tickets online or at the theater box office. You don’t even have to break the bank to enjoy a show or two in London! There are discounted tickets available last minute at Leicester Square.

Shopping is another London highlight for many visitors. Options range from second hand shops to luxury brands. Oxford Street is one of the best-known shopping areas, but you’ll find many shops and department stores in all parts of the city. Don’t miss seeing the famous Harrods Department Store and its elegant tea room! Just outside the center of the city is the popular Brent Cross, a large shopping complex that you can reach easily by public transport.

Museums and exhibitions abound in London! Beyond the large and well-known museums, such as the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, and The National Gallery, there are many smaller yet outstanding museums. Be sure to visit the Wallace Collection, Tate Modern, and Kenwood House.

Of course, Westminster Abbey, the Tower Of London, and Covent Garden are other not-to-be-missed London icons. London’s Portobello Market, Camden Lock Market, and Borough Market are also popular sites for tourists.

As a large international city, London is home to a huge selection of restaurants and cafes. Be sure to indulge in the traditional British breakfast, which includes eggs, pork chops, pancakes, and beans.

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The British Museum in London, England, UK

While you can’t go wrong with a classic London itinerary, here are two somewhat off-the-beaten-track itineraries to consider:

The City Route: This route starts at the Chancery Lane Underground station in the Holborn neighborhood. From there, head to Chancery Street to the London Silver Vaults to see these subterranean stores which house the world’s largest retail collection of both antique and contemporary silver and jewelry. Be sure to check their opening hours. From there, head to the nearby Lincoln’s Inn, a large complex of historic and contemporary buildings and grounds which is home to a prestigious society of barristers.

From there, through New Square, walk on the path to the neo-Gothic Royal Court of Justice dating back to the Victorian era. From the court, hop on a bus traveling on Fleet Street to St. Paul’s Cathedral for a visit of this outstanding church. Continue by foot for about 15 minutes – or hop on another bus- to the Monument station on Cannon Street to see the Monument of the Great Fire of London, which commemorates the fire that consumed London in 1666.

Royal courts of Justice, Strand, London

The Bank Route: This route starts at the London Bridge Underground station. Cross the bridge to reach the observation deck overlooking the Tower Bridge and then return to the bridge’s south bank. Walk west on the boardwalk to reach the new Tate Gallery museum, an outstanding museum that is housed in a former power station. From the museum, head east on the promenade to Southwark Cathedral. Behind the church lies the bustling Borough Market and The Shard, a new 72-story Shard tower with panoramic views of the city and beyond. From there, return to the promenade and to Hay’s Galleria and continue to the Tower Bridge. You can view and even visit the battleship HMS Belfast that was built in 1938.

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London is also a great tourist destination for families traveling with children! Here are some highlights for kids: the Transport Museum, the Regent Park Zoo, a cruise to Greenwich, the London Eye (the giant Ferris wheel) – and special shows for children.

London at night doesn’t disappoint! Visit the Lambeth Promenade between Lambeth Bridge and Westminster Bridge in front of the illuminated Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

With its charm, vibrancy, and wide assortment of attractions, entertainment, and cuisine, it’s no surprise that London continues to be one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations!

Big Ben clock tower on River Thames in Westminster, London at night. Long exposure.
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