Have you planned a trip to London and now you’re trying to nail down the details? It can be overwhelming trying to decide where you should stay, where you should eat, and plan activities. London is a fast-paced city with lots of things to do and see. We’ve scoped out some of the best spots and put together a guide to help you plan the vacation of a lifetime. Read on for details.
Home Away From Home
There are plenty of places to stay while you’re in London. Whether you’re looking for a luxury experience, family accommodations, or just a simple place to store your things, there’s sure to be something for every budget.
Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane
If an unbeatable luxury stay in London is what you’re looking for, the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane is one of the top choices. This hotel has it all. Whether you choose a standard room or a suite, you’ll be relaxing in style. The standard rooms come with a daily newspaper and complimentary wi-fi. In-room espresso machines take your stay to another level.
If you’d like to take your daily tea outside, choose a suite with a private terrace. These beautifully decorated rooms open out into a beautiful garden area where you can enjoy the views while sipping a comforting drink.
If you’re traveling with a large group or planning on an extended stay, specialty suites are available. These rooms have separate living and sleeping areas that truly make you feel right at home. There’s plenty of space to entertain or simply enjoy a quiet evening.
If you long to be pampered, the spa at Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane offers plenty of opportunities. Enjoy a massage or choose from an array of body and facial treatments. One thing is for sure, you’ll definitely leave the spa feeling rejuvenated and ready for anything. You’ll also find a fitness center on site.
There are several options for dining on the premises. Choose from to dine in the Pavyllon Paris, the premier on-site restaurant. With dishes highlighting both French and British tastes, this dining experience is certainly above average.
If you’re looking for something a bit more casual, there is also a bar on site. Along with cocktails, guests and locals can enjoy an expansive menu, live jazz entertainment, and a large outdoor terrace at Bar Antoine.
Not in the mood to leave your room? That’s ok! Take advantage of 24-hour room service. No matter what time of day, you can enjoy a delicious meal in the comfort of your room.
The Guardsman Hotel London
The Guardsman Hotel London is another top choice if you’re looking to live in the lap of luxury. This hotel is located just a six-minute walk from Buckingham Palace and a two-minute walk from St. James’s Underground Station. You’ll be right near the heart of the city.
Each guest room is truly unique with designs and details specific to that room. A fully stocked bar adds a little something extra to your stay.
If you’re planning to stay in London long term, you may find that one of the six self-contained residences is the place for you. Each residence includes 24-hour concierge service and a wine fridge. Some optional amenities include a fully equipped kitchen, an optional private chef, and optional pre-stocked food and beverage. Be sure to read carefully to determine which of these services come at an additional charge.
Dining at The Guardsmen is a little different than most hotels. The dining room is always open and there are no set dining hours. Foods are fresh and the menu changes to include seasonal selections. You’ll find a full bar on site as well.
Afternoon tea is served with homemade sandwiches, freshly baked scones, and a wide selection of pastries. Choose to take tea on the premises or have a picnic basket packed to enjoy at one of the nearby parks.
If you’re taking a family vacation, consider staying somewhere that is centrally located with nearby activities for the kids. Kensington, Chelsea, and Notting Hill are all great neighborhoods for families.
The Kensington Hotel
The Kensington Hotel is family friendly and located in the heart of South Kensington. Only minutes from The Royal Albert Hall, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Kensington Gardens, and world-famous Harrods, there’s plenty to do without having to travel too far.
Family rooms can accommodate up to four and can be configured however you’d like. You can choose a king bed with two singles, two king beds, a king bed and a sofa bed, or three singles. There’s a special treat for the kids: their own teepee. As part of the turndown service, they can relax in their own space and enjoy a collection of family and children’s movies over a glass of milk and a plate of cookies.
If you prefer a standard room, those are available as well in the form of classic queen, classic twin, and king rooms. If you’re feeling like treating your family to a truly luxurious experience, consider one of the spacious suites. While these rooms are great for a few days, they’re also perfect for families taking an extended vacation.
The hotel has an array of amenities including, but not limited to:
● Complimentary wi-fi throughout the hotel
● Town House Restaurant—offering afternoon tea
● The K Bar
● Currency exchange
There is a 24-hour fitness facility on site as well as a full service spa. End your day with a massage or choose one of the many skincare treatments. If you don’t feel like venturing back out with the kids after a long day of exploring, in-room dining is available from 7am to 10:30pm.
The London House Hotel
The London House Hotel near Notting Hill is a wonderful choice for families. With several room types available, there is something for a family of any size. The Lower Ground Family Rooms are hidden away in a corner of the lowest floor. There are two types, each sleeping up to four people.
Each room is handsomely decorated and features bedside tables, reading lamps, and a dressing table. Wireless internet, tea/coffee makers, televisions, and air conditioning are also standard. For a nominal fee, families can enjoy a continental breakfast before heading out for the day. A wonderful selection of cereals, fresh fruit, pastries, and more await you.
A Magical Adventure
If you’re a “Harry Potter” fan, you definitely can’t visit London without visiting some of the famous sites. The Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Leavesden is a can’t miss. About a twenty-minute train ride from London, you won’t regret the trip.
The film production crew saved thousands of props, sets, and costumes made especially for the films. Normally, these things would have been destroyed, but it was decided they would be saved to create a truly immersive experience for fans of the series.
The Studio Tour is located next to the actual film studios where the movies were made. Visitors get a unique glimpse into the magical world and have the opportunity to explore the two soundstages and backlot where the cinematic masterpiece was created.
There’s a lot to see, and at certain times of the year, special events are happening. Be sure to check the website for the latest happenings prior to your visit. With several ticket package options available, there’s something for every budget and interest level.
Top London Attractions
If you’re not into witches and wizards, there are plenty of other things to do. London is rich with history and truly has something for everyone. From Big Ben to the Tower Bridge, there are a lot of famous sites scattered around the city. Let’s take a look at some of the top attractions in London.
If you’re interested in seeing some lifelike models of historical icons, look no further. Visitors will find over 150 models, including the likes of Albert Einstein and Marilyn Monroe. Of course, The king stands proudly on the Royal Balcony and you might even glimpse a few other members of the royal family.
The London Eye
Perhaps one of the most recognizable highlights of the London skyline, the London Eye is definitely worth a visit. The attraction, reminiscent of a ferris wheel, was built to celebrate the year 2000. This is a great way to see London from the sky. Day or night, this attraction rarely comes to a stop. Choose to sit or stand—either way, prepare yourself for some mind blowing views.
A trip to London isn’t complete without a trip to Westminster Abbey. Study the many graves, tablets, busts, and stone dedications. Westminster Abbey is home to the graves of seventeen monarchs along with historical figures Darwin and Dickens. Fun fact: every British coronation has taken place in the Abbey since the year 1066.
Of course you definitely don’t want to miss a chance to visit Buckingham Palace either. View the State rooms and don’t miss the Changing of the Guard ceremony. Be sure to check the official Palace website for operation dates.
It’s no secret London has a wide variety of dining options. You can find different styles of food from all over the world throughout the city. Whether you’re looking for traditional British eats or something a little more adventurous, there’s a lot to choose from. Let’s take a look at some of the top restaurants in London.
If you’re looking for delicious Chinese food with a healthy twist, this is the place for you. Tofu Vegan features an entirely plant-based menu that’s also surprisingly satisfying for the meat-eater. Many of the dishes are made with tofu and mushrooms, or with Asian imitation meats made from bean proteins and other meat-free ingredients.There are several locations around London.
Aside from delicious Chinese cuisine, you’ll also find the city full of options for African, Turkish and Indian food.
Traditional English Food
If it’s a British food experience you’re after, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best places to get some of Britain’s most famous dishes.
If you’re looking to experience a traditional full English breakfast, look no further. Terry’s Cafe is a thoroughly British affair. All of the dishes come from family recipes and are prepared fresh on the premises. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place.
The Ginger Pig
The Scotch egg is an interesting concoction and an English snack staple. It consists of a boiled egg, surrounded by pork meat, coated in breadcrumbs and fried. You’ll find them everywhere from gas stations to street food stalls, but some of the best are at The Ginger Pig. There are eight shops around London where you can pick up one of these delicacies.
Of course you can’t visit London without trying fish and chips. Located in southeast London, Brockley’s Rock is an award winning spot. Famous for beautiful battered haddock, vinegar-soaked chips with a pickled egg on the side, this British treat is sure to delight. There are gluten-free options available as well.
Getting Around The City
You might be trying to figure out the best way to navigate such a bustling city. The answer is simple: the Tube. Similar to American subway systems, the Tube will take you around London quickly. If you’d prefer to travel above ground, there are also buses and taxis available. In fact, one of the best ways to see the city is to hop aboard one of the famous red double-decker buses.
Shop Til You Drop
If you’ve come to London to shop, you’re in luck. There are plenty of places to spend your money. Pick up the latest fashions or grab some souvenirs for friends and family back home. You likely won’t have any trouble finding something you like here.
Harrods Department Store
Harrods is one of the largest and most famous department stores in the world. Covering an incredible five-acre site with 1.1 million sq. ft. of retail space, you could spend days inside this store. Harrods boasts 330 departments including furniture, clothing, shoes, food and drink, appliances, jewelry, electronics, sporting gear, and so much more. Shopping at Harrods is truly an experience for which you’ll want to set aside at least a couple of hours.
Be ready for a crowd. On peak shopping days, the store can see up to 300,000 visitors. Keep in mind that Harrods does enforce a dress code. No cycling shorts, beach shorts, swimwear, flip flops, short shorts, and dirty or ratty clothing is absolutely not allowed. Avoid being removed from the store and make sure you’re dressed appropriately.
From wines and spirits to delicious desserts, and from fresh fruits and vegetables to a full service bakery, the Food Halls at Harrods are legendary. Grab a loaf of freshly baked bread and a perfectly aged steak in the same place. It’s coffees and teas galore in the roastery. Choose ready-to-eat foods from the deli prepared fresh on site. Feed your sweet tooth with an entire area dedicated to chocolate. Harrods has everything you need and more.
Oxford Street is the busiest street in London. Housing 300 shops, you can easily spend an entire day here. You’ll find shops ranging from clothing, technology, art and so much more. If you’re not a fan of crowds, try to hit this spot early in the morning or during the off season.
Westfield is one of the most well-known shopping centers in London with locations in the USA, Australia, and New Zealand. This mall is home to 255 different shops such as West Elm, Urban Outfitters, Lush, Mango, River Island, and Apple. If you need to rest your feet, you’ll also find food outlets located around the mall. You’ll find luxury brands like Versace, Burberry, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Dior in the mall. Westfield has two locations: Shepherd’s Bush and Stratford City. Fun fact: Stratford City is actually the largest shopping center in all of Europe. Fully covered, Westfield is the perfect place to shop on a rainy day.
If you’re looking for art or antiques, Camden Market is the place for you. This is one of the best shopping destinations in London for vintage clothing and accessories and beautiful antiques. You’ll also find stalls selling handmade crafts, bags, furniture, and books. Try some delicious street food if you need to refuel while you shop. Camden Market is a favorite for tourists and locals alike.
The Final Word
London is a wonderful place to visit solo or with a group of friends or family. There’s enough to do and see to keep you busy for weeks, but some of the highlights can be packed into a few days. London is home to great food, great shopping, and incredible historical landmarks. Walk the city to experience it all like a local, or hop on the Tube if you want to get around quickly. Venture into one of the many bookshops to pick up a good read and enjoy afternoon tea in one of the beautiful parks. London is truly a city that offers something for everyone and is definitely worth a trip.