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It’s officially been a month since my trip to London, and I’m still pinching myself that I finally made it to Europe for the first time. And the last month, I’ve definitely been asked how my trip was and what were the musts to do, so I figured I’d reopen this idea to blogging again and share some tips. If you’re thinking about planning a trip to London, here’s what you need to know:
To see the most out of London, it is recommended to stay in Central London. However, hotel prices in Central London can get out of hand in price. So what my family and I did was opt for a few rooms off of AirBnB in between Heathrow Airport and Central London. Since we were only there for a little over a week, we knew we were gonna spend most of our time exploring and very little time in our room, so paying for an expensive hotel didn’t make sense. Our AirBnBs were 5 minutes walk from the bus stop and 15 minutes walk from the train station, which leads me to my next tip!
Take full advantage of their public transportation! Taxis can get very pricey and Ubers were pretty much the same as LA prices. This was probably one of my best experiences with public transportation. I’ve always hated taking buses growing up (Los Angeles has one of the worst public transportation systems), so experiencing this convenience in London made me wish we had this luxury back home. And I’m not gonna lie, it was pretty cool getting on those double decker buses!
We got Oyster Cards where you can pay as you go to travel on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, most TfL Rail, Emirates Air Line and Thames Clippers River Bus services. The buses and trains would come very often (3 to 15 minute wait). We used the Citymapper app to get live updates and plan our trip to know which lines to take.
The only time we used an Uber and a Taxi were our trips from the airport and back, going to East Ham and on Christmas day when all public transportations did not work.
If you want to see a lot of the major attractions in London with a priority entrance, consider investing in the London Pass. It includes free entrances to places like The Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Thames River Boat Cruise, Hop on Hop off bus tours, and more! It’s honestly worth the money if you’re planning to check out 2-3 places per day from their list of attractions that come with the pass! My mom and I got the 3-day pass for £109 (my sister and brother in law got the 6-day for £139) and it was honestly how we visited so many places in a week!
Day 1: Hampton Court Palace
Day 2: Kensington Palace, The Queen’s Gallery, Hop on Hop off Bus Tours
Day 3: Thames River Boat Cruise
Day 4: Tower of London, Tower Bridge, The View from the Shard
And if The London Pass doesn’t make sense for you, you can always visit London’s free museums like the British Museum, Science Museum, Museum of London, Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and more!
My absolute favorite food experiences during my London trip were definitely at a London market. These markets not only have food, but you’ll find little shops for antiques, vintage clothing, flowers and souvenirs.
Borough Market was just amazing! Just walking 5 minutes in, I wanted to eat EVERYTHING, even the foods I don’t normally opt for! Some vendors will let you try samples, so don’t be afraid to ask for some to get a taste of everything! I ended up getting paella and rock oysters from the island, and I was in heaven!
Camden Market was an entirely different vibe. Not only did it have really good street food and fusion food, but it also had a great music and artsy vibe. They sell records and vintage items there. They also have the Dr. Martens flagship store in Camden that you won’t want to miss! For food, I had a masala pocket and tried the matcha ice cream at Hans & Gretel.
A pro tip for markets: although credit cards pretty much work everywhere in London, bring cash specifically for the markets.
You can’t leave London without having afternoon tea! The Duchess of Bedford in the 1800s shared this guilty pleasure she had about having tea and small snacks before dinner that it became a celebratory tradition! And there are so many places you can check out for this cute little event to have tea, mini sandwiches and dainty desserts.
My sister, mom and I went to Saint Aymes in London and not only was the afternoon tea experience so cool, but the cafe itself was so cute and totally Instagrammable! The entire shop had flower walls everywhere and is every girly girl’s dream!
Here are some other places that were recommended to me:
– The Ritz
– The Savoy
– Diptyque Afternoon Tea in Hotel Cafe Royal
– Fortnum & Mason
– Mad Hatters at the Sanderson
If you’ve never been a fan of fish and chips, or you love it but don’t like the portion or how they prepare it in the States like me, the fish and chips in London do not disappoint! I only had it once in London, but I was impressed by the portion. The fish was huge and definitely not overseasoned. And most places serve chips using fresh potatoes and also seasoned properly.
Beans are probably my least favorite food. I don’t have it often because it was one of the foods force fed to me as a child. So as an adult, I’m not big on beans, but OH MY GOD! Having Heinz beans with my eggs, bacon, sausage and toast was delicious! Now def gonna look for some at the grocery store and make myself an English breakfast one weekend.
If you’ve never tried Indian cuisine before, London is a good city to start! London’s Indian restaurant scene is continuously evolving because of the large Indian population in the city (Fun fact: it is the largest minority in London – over half a million in population in London alone!). My family and I love Indian food (we got our mom and dad obsessed that they have it at least 1x a month now), so we just had to try some (actually had it 3 times) and see how different it was from America. Brick Lane by Liverpool Street has loads of places for good Indian food!
The plugs in the UK are not the same as they are in the States, so make sure to bring a universal travel adapter that you can use for the UK (and Europe if you’re going to another European country). Got one from Amazon that has a standard plug and 4 USB slots, which was perfect for my laptop, phone, watch and portable battery.
Prepare to be walking A LOT in London, so one thing I recommend to pack are some comfy shoes with a lot of support for your feet. It was difficult for me to walk around with a sprained ankle, so thankfully the boots I brought had enough support that I didn’t injure myself any further.
It rains often in London, so make sure you pack a small umbrella to carry with you at all times.
I hope these tips were helpful for you! And if you like these type of blog posts, let me know and I can create them for my other trips from the past 2 years!
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