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Best London Travel Guide | Top Tips For 2023 |

Best London Travel Guide | Top Tips For 2023 |

 

One of the most populated cities in the entire world is London. It’s packed with wonderful things to do and see, from quaint pubs, top-notch (and usually free) museums, a wealth of history to discover, some of the world’s best theatres, a diverse population, amazing food, and lively nightlife. Each London neighborhood has something great to offer, and you could easily spend a week or more taking it all in and still have stuff left over to see and do for your next trip!

Continue reading this blog to discover our complete London Travel Guide for 2022!

Entry Requirements to Visit London for Canadians 

Great news, Canadians! For stays up to six months, no visa is necessary to visit London. Although a visa is not necessary, you must enter the country with a passport that is still valid for at least six months.

Canadian citizens who qualify can now enter the UK easily and securely using ePassport gates.

COVID-19 Requirements in London

The majority of tourists from Canada can enter the United Kingdom, regardless of their vaccination status, and COVID-19 testing is not required. Masks are recommended but not required when traveling in the UK.

Currency

The United Kingdom’s national currency is the pound sterling (symbol: £), which is subdivided into 100 pence (symbol: p). You get notes in denominations of £50, £20, £10 and £5, and coins in £2, £1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p and 1p.

How Long to Visit London

6-7 days is a good amount of time to visit London. This will give travelers enough time to experience the city, enjoy some day trips outside of the city, and include some “downtime” to relax in bars and parks, etc. However, visitors can make an excellent itinerary to see all the main sights in just a few days. London is a destination you can visit over and over again and find something new to do every time!

The Best Time to Visit London

Spring 

From March through May, London’s average temperature ranges from 12 degrees to 16 degrees Celcius. 

During spring, the weather is excellent, and the crowds haven’t yet arrived. The majority of the attractions won’t be busy, and you will receive great savings on accommodation and tickets. All around London you will find beautiful flowers from beautiful cherry blossoms to bright daffodils and more!

London Tip: London’s weather may be unexpected. Expect it to rain and pack an umbrella and raincoat.

Summer

From June to August average temperature ranges from 21 degrees to 23 degrees Celcius.

In the summer, the weather in London is ideal for a picnic; people often sit outside enjoying the weather and drinking beer. This is the busiest time of the year, since families flock to London in large numbers to have an exciting summer vacation. Until you visit London in the summer, you haven’t experienced crowds. 

London Tips: It may not rain much in the summer, and dangerous heat waves are becoming a common occurrence. Make sure to stay hydrated and listen to warnings during heat waves.

The London Eye, hotels, and other attractions will all be sold out or you’ll have a huge line to get in. To save time, get as many tickets in advance as you can.

Fall

From September through October, the average temperature ranges from 12 degrees to 16 degrees Celcius.

During fall, the crowds are starting to thin down as well as the summer humidity. London’s autumn weather is a little cooler and there may be an increase in the rain. The city is colored beautifully as the first autumn leaves start to appear. You’ll find lower prices during this time of year but the days start to get short so plan your itinerary properly to make sure you don’t miss out on anything.

Winter

From December to February, the average temperature of 12 degrees high and 9 degrees low Celcius.

If you can withstand the chilly and rainy weather, winter in London is wonderful but make sure to dress warmly. Remember that there may not be as much time to explore all the sites, because the days are short and the sun sets as early as 4 pm. Fortunately, London is less crowded in the winter, so you may explore the city at your own pace. This is also a great time to experience various Christmas markets in popular spots of the city like Hyde Park and Trafalgar Square.

How To Get to London 

Flying to London is super easy from all the main hubs in Canada. Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, and Halifax all offer direct flights often with airlines such as Air Canada, WestJet, British Airways, and more. 

Gatwick Airport 

Gatwick Airport (LGW) is located in the South of London. Gatwick is the second busiest airport in the UK, handling millions of passengers annually and serving hundreds of destinations.

The easiest way between Gatwick and London is a train from Victoria station located in the heart of London; there is a nonstop rail service known as the Gatwick Express.

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport (LHR)  is located west of London’s city center and is the most popular London airport.

Easily use a rail, the Tube, a cab, a coach, or a local bus to go from Heathrow Airport to central London. The quickest method to go from Heathrow Airport to central London is to take the Heathrow Express to London Paddington, which takes 15 to 20 minutes.

Getting Around London 

Underground

The best way to get around London is through its famous public transportation the London Underground, also called the Tube. On the Tube, you can easily get anywhere in the city. Whether you use it to travel around London during your vacation or to get you to and from the airport there is almost always a tube station close by, especially while in Central London. 

London Tip: Underground and rail strikes are common and sometimes this results in the underground completely shutting down for a couple of days and limited train service.

London Travel Tips

Oyster Card

Using an Oyster travel smartcard is the simplest way to use London’s public transportation system, regardless matter whether you’re a frequent traveler or just passing through. Order your Oyster Card to your home address, which will be ready to use as soon as you get to London!

London Pass

Access more than 80 sites in the city with the London Pass; this is a great option for tourists who want to see it all! Many of the city’s main attractions, such as Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Hampton Court Palace, are all included in this pass’s admission price. Simply select the length of your stay in London, download the official London Pass app, and scan it to gain entry at the attraction gate.

Things To Do in London

Most Popular London Attractions

Buckingham Palace

For a brief amount of time each summer, visitors can get a look into the Queen’s world by visiting her royal residence in London. Discover many gems and artifacts while exploring the opulent State Rooms, and be amazed at the fascinating exhibitions. Explore the charming gardens, where you can wrap up your self-guided tour.

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey, one of London’s most significant UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is the location of numerous historic events, including coronations and royal weddings. Admire the stunning architecture, see the kings’ and queens’ burial places, and stop by poets’ corners to see the graves of some of the UK’s most well-known authors, including William Shakespeare and Jane Austen.

London Eye

For unforgettable views of some of London’s most iconic landmarks, board one of the 32 glass capsules of the London Eye. Amazing 360-degree views will be provided as the capsule gently revolves over the Thames.

Tower of London

Visit the Tower of London, one of the most well-known structures on earth. Learn about the 900-year history of this site, which includes its usage as a zoo, prison, and place of execution. Observe the Crown Jewels, peek inside a medieval king’s bedroom, and look up at the White Tower.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Harry Potter movies at Warner Bros Studio Tour London for a magical experience. Step into some of the sets straight from the Harry Potter movies, such as the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office, and Hagrid’s hut. Walk through the sets, and see costumes and props utilized on-location. This should be on every Harry Potter fan’s bucket list. 

Sky Garden

For sweeping views of London, head to the 43rd-floor viewing gallery at the Sky Garden. Ideal for a romantic evening, take in breathtaking views of the city as the sun sets while paying nothing (but make sure to book in advance). This lush indoor garden has floor-to-ceiling glass windows that offer stunning views of the famous London skyline.

Madame Tussauds

You can get up and personal with some of the most recognizable people in the world at Madame Tussauds London. From Shakespeare to Taylor Swift, you can pose for pictures with Usain Bolt, get up close and personal with Beyoncé, or enjoy a meeting with the Queen.

Best Things To Do in London

Walk the South Bank

Walking along the South Bank of the Thames is a great way to see a lot of the sights of London. See Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Millennium Bridge, London Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the MS Belfast, and Tower Bridge. See all of this and more during this 50-minute walk. 

Enjoy Afternoon Tea

The Duchess of Bedford revealed her guilty pleasure of having tea and nibbles before supper in 1840, starting a fad that would eventually spread across the country. 

London has many great options to enjoy traditional afternoon tea. Enjoy scones with copious amounts of jam and cream, cucumber finger sandwiches, platters of pastries and cakes, and of course, plenty of tea. 

Here are some of the most popular afternoon tea spots in London:

  • The Ritz
  • Fortnum and Mason
  • The Savoy 
  • The Bloomsbury
  • Harrods Tea Rooms

People Watch in Trafalgar Square

In the heart of London’s Westminster district is Trafalgar Square. Visit Nelson’s Column, the renowned fountains, and the iconic lion statues all located in the square. Historic and cultural buildings, cafes, museums, and art galleries surround Trafalgar Square.

Shop on Oxford Street

The ultimate shopping destination is Oxford Street. Oxford Street is conveniently accessible from the city’s primary tube lines since it is situated in the centre of London’s West End. With 1.5 miles of unrivaled shopping and more than 90 stores, Oxford Street is the largest high street in the world, offering everything from fashion and beauty to technology and home goods.

Discover Covent Garden

One of London’s most popular neighborhoods, Covent Garden is situated in the center of the West End. One of London’s most well-known shopping districts, Covent Garden is home to a wide variety of high-end fashion, beauty, lifestyle retailers, and world-class dining.

Grab Food at Borough Market

In the center of London, Borough Market is open every day of the week, and it is a delight to explore its atmospheric halls and alleyways. Three Crown Square, which houses major manufacturers and merchants, Green Market, which houses smaller, specialized produce sellers, and Borough Market Kitchen make up Borough Market (street food traders). There is a generous mix of eateries, pubs, and stores close to the Market.

Visit the Royal Observatory in Greenwich

The Royal Observatory in Greenwich is the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the Prime Meridian of the world, and London’s Planetarium. At Royal Observatory Greenwich, there is a wealth of information to discover, from cutting-edge astronomy to historical artifacts. Find out everything there is to know about GMT and how Greenwich came to be the center of time at the Royal Observatory.

See a Show On The West End

A journey to London’s West End would be incomplete without attending a show. Some of the world’s top plays and musicals can be found in London.

Some of the most popular shows on the West End include: 

  • The Lion King 
  • Wicked
  • The Book of Mormon
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • Matilda
  • Mamma Mia 

Just to name a few… 

London Tips: Purchase physical tickets at the TKTS window in Leicester Square Gardens on the day you want to go to a show if you want to be spontaneous or just to get a better price.

Explore Hyde Park

Hyde Park, located in the center of London, offers a wide variety of peaceful spots to unwind along with world-class performances and activities. Dip your toes in the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, swim in the Serpentine’s lake, or simply sit at a café by the water and take in the vista. Try your hand at tennis or horseback riding, or join the countless joggers, walkers, and cyclists who like being outside.

 

Visit One of the Many Museums

British Museum

Walk through 2 million years of history and culture across more than 50 galleries in the British Museum. Entry to the museum is free and you could easily spend an entire day here wandering the extensive exhibits. 

Tate Modern

The collection at Tate Modern spans more than a century and includes paintings, sculptures, and more. The museum includes works by artists from all over the world such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Andy Warhol. Entry to the gallery is free.

National Gallery

The National Gallery is an art gallery located in the City of Westminster, in the heart of London, in Trafalgar Square. Established in 1824 and now holds a collection of about 2,300 pieces of art dating from the mid-13th century to 1900.

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum in London has artifacts from billions of years ago, including dinosaur skeletons. Explore Earth’s past in the galleries which house one-of-a-kind specimens from the museum’s collection of more than 80 million items dating back 4.5 billion years!

The Natural History Museum is free to visit.

National Portrait Gallery

The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. The goal of the National Portrait Gallery is to encourage the appreciation and understanding of the people who have made and are making British history and culture through portraits.

Please note: The National Portrait Gallery is closed until 2023 for a major redevelopment project.

Science Museum

The Science Museum in London is the most visited science and technology museum in Europe. There are over 15,000 objects on display, including a real piece of the moon! Explore interactive galleries that bring science to life.

Victoria and Albert Museum

With a permanent collection of more than 2.27 million items, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London is the biggest museum of applied arts, decorative arts, and design in the world. Everyone is invited to the V&A Museum to enjoy the power of creativity.

Honorable Mentions (If You Want EVEN More to Explore!)

  • Explore the vibrant, trendy area of Notting Hill. Famed for its busy markets selling antiques and vintage fashion.
  • Experience the public dramas and private lives of Henry VIII and his wives at Hampton Court Palace.
  • Be inspired by Hampstead Heath, the park that influenced C.S. Lewis to write The Chronicles of Narnia.
  • Explore the birthplace of Queen Victoria, Kensington Palace.
  • Walk the cobbled streets of Brick Lane, shop for vintage clothing and eat street food.

Best Day Trips from London

Bath, Windsor Castle & Stonehenge

One of the most popular day trips from London is to Bath, Windsor Castle, and Stonehenge. It is a long day but fitting so much into one day is totally worthwhile to see these iconic destinations. Many tour companies offer this as a day tour.

Oxford 

A great day trip from London is to the adjacent city of Oxford. Take a tour or travel there easily on your own by bus or train. Go and visit beautiful universities, especially Christ Church for Harry Potter fans. Other places to visit during this day trip include Blenheim Palace and the small town of Woodstock.

Cotswolds

The Cotswolds are not usually well-known to tourists, but British people know how stunning they are! The ideal way to explore this region is to take an early train from London and reserve a full-day tour of the Cotswolds in advance, which includes morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea. If you want a more authentically British experience, this is without a doubt one of the best day trips from London.

 

London Travel Guide Recommendations

Not For Tourists Guide to London 2020

The Not for Tourists Guide to London contains facts that you need to know whether you have lived in London for years or just arrived last night. This neighborhood-by-neighborhood, map-based guide will assist you in mastering this magnificent city. You won’t find a finer guide to London than this one, which is jam-packed with more than 150 maps and thousands of listings for eateries, stores, theatres, and off-the-beaten-path locations.

Get the ebook here.

Insight Guides England (Travel Guide eBook) (5th ed.)

With insider knowledge on must-see, top attractions like the Tower of London, York Minister, Oxford, The Lake District, and Stone Henge, as well as cultural gems like the National Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, and Stratford-upon-Avon, this guide to England has everything you need to plan the perfect trip.

Get the ebook here.

Look Up London

London is a city brimming with interesting stories that are inscribed into its very architecture, from eerie pubs to secret Roman ruins. In this captivating tour of the secrets of London hidden in plain sight, Blue Badge Tourist guide Katie Wignall unveils a number of fascinating insights, including just these few. Discover a world of magnificent history that is waiting to be spotted as you go through London’s rich history with these 10 fully guided walking routes.

Get the ebook here.

Diverse London

This interesting walking guide to the history, culture, religion and cuisine of London will help you learn about the communities that have helped to make London the incredible destination it is today. This convenient, pocket-sized guide is the ideal companion for anybody wishing to discover London’s many dynamic and distinct neighbourhoods because it is packed with gorgeous maps and graphics. Each page is packed full of history, information and stories.

Get the ebook here.


ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO TRAVELING THE WORLD AGAIN?

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