With this ultimate travel guide for London, England unveil the enchanting tapestry of this British capital and its iconic landmarks, hidden gems, and vibrant neighborhoods.
This London travel guide will help you discover the city’s unique neighborhoods from the regal charm of Mayfair to the boho vibes of Campden exploring the must-visit attractions and cultural delights that make London a perennially captivating destination.
Whether it’s your first-time visiting or you are a London frequenter, there is always something new to see.
And even though I have been to London six times over the years, I always leave with anticipation of a return visit. Every visit I have seen new sights and still have so much I would love to see in this British capital city ;).
If you are looking for more detailed help for where to stay in London – read this post here and the top things to see and do in London can be found here ;).
In a rush?
Travel Guide for London England
- The Little Details
- Best Places to Stay in London
- Best Places to Eat in London
- Top Things to See and Do in London
- What to Wear in London
The Little Details
How to Get to London
London is one of the easiest European cities to get to. Many US cities even have direct flights into the large Heathrow (LHR) airport.
While Heathrow is a well marked and efficient international hub, it can feel overwhelming at times with it’s massive size.
They also do not assign departure gates for any flights any earlier than 60 minutes before departure. So just be prepared that while you do need to get to Heathrow 3 hours before the departure time of your return flight back to the US, you will have to find a place to sit and wait until they announce your gate number on the large information screens.
I always fly the British Airways nonstop San Diego to London roundtrip flight and find a quiet corner off to the side of terminal 5 while I wait for my return flight’s gate announcement ;).
The city also has two other city airports at Gatwick (LGW) and Stansted (STN) located on opposite sides of London with Gatwick being closer to the city center.
All airports are seamlessly connected to the city center via the efficient London Underground or express train services.
How to Get Around London
It is quite easy to navigate the streets of London by utilizing the extensive public transportation network, including iconic double-decker buses and the efficient Tube.
However, for the majority of my visits, I predominantly use walking as my preferred mode of transportation ;0. Yes – the city is quite large but if you aren’t in a rush to get anywhere, I cannot recommend enough just walking the streets.
You are sure to find unique side streets and sights that make London such a fun city to visit!
The iconic taxis in London are also a very easy way to get around the city and Uber is also available in most of England.
In 2023, I started using the company Blacklane for my airport transfers and cannot recommend this company enough. With sleek comfortable vehicles, this global private car service is the perfect way to start and end any of your adventures ;).
Best Time of Year to Visit London
Having visited London in the months of March, June, July, September, and December, I can honestly say that there is never a bad time to visit this vibrant city!
Even in the middle of July, you can experience gloomy rainy days so if weather is your deciding factor – I wouldn’t think you are in the clear at any time of year.
The Christmas season in London is like no other in the United States and honestly should be on everyone’s bucket list ;). I have visited London in December twice now and each time my plane landed in the UK, my festive holiday spirit kicked up a notch ;)!
How Many Days You Need in London
If you are a first timer to London, I wouldn’t try to do any less than 3 full days in the city. If you would like to put any day trips on your itinerary (like to Harry Potter Studios or Bath), I would highly recommend a minimum of 5-6 days.
I am honestly not joking when I say with all the visits I have taken to London, I still see new and different things every time! It’s one of those cities that surprises you at every turn no matter how many times you visit ;).
Money and Plugs in the UK
Unlike the majority of mainland Europe, the official currency in the United Kingdom is the British Pound (£) – slang term is quid.
Apple Pay and credit card is accepted literally everywhere in London so traveling with any cash is truly not necessary. However many people like to have a few pounds in their pockets as a precautionary measure.
My recommendation if you want to have some quid in your pocket is to use a local BANK ATM to withdraw money from your US bank account. This is always the cheapest way to have cash on hand whenever traveling abroad.
You will get taken advantage of with massive fees if you use an ATM that is not affiliated with a bank or a money exchange stand ;0.
Don’t forget your Type G power adapters for your trip to England.
Because I have stayed in London a fair amount and have loved every hotel I have stayed at in an assortment of different parts of the city, I thought it easiest to put them in a separate blog post with descriptions of each with a map.
You can find the Best Hotels in London in this post here.
Best Places to Eat in London
As I put in every travel guide I write, I AM NOT A FOODIE! I do not travel for food nor am I super adventurous when eating on my trips (and at home ;0).
However, I do appreciate good food (mainly steak/potatoes or Italian food ;0) – so my best places to eat in any city sections can either be super helpful as a very picky eater helping you decide where to eat or useless to you if you love trying something new and crazy every place you go ;).
But here have been my favorites for my visits:
Centrally located in the Covent Garden area, Pasta Brown’s authentic pasta dishes are a delicious homage to the rich flavors of Italian cuisine.
We did not have a reservation for the December night we were wandering around this area of London. We had just arrived from San Diego and our jetlag was kicking in – what a lucky find this was!
In the heart of Mayfair, Sketch restaurant is a whimsical dining haven where avant-garde art, tasty cuisine, and playful interiors converge (ahem Instafamous egg pods in the bathroom!).
I had breakfast in the Glade with my youngest daughter in December 2022 and then tea with my oldest daughter in the Gallery in September 2022 ;).
Every dining space in this eclectic venue is unique – you can’t go wrong with an ADVANCE booking in any of their rooms… but don’t forget to take a selfie in the pods bathroom space ;0.
Definitely an Instagram famous bakery, but for good reason – both locations are two of the prettiest bakeries in the world ;).
Peggy Porschen is a confectionery haven, where the pastel facade invites you into a world of beautiful cakes, floral elegance, and Instagram-worthy moments.
With two locations to choose from, my youngest daughter and I had tea at the Belgravia location and then on my husband’s birthday in March 2023, I took him to breakfast at the Chelsea location.
This is one of those spots that you need to make a reservation as early as possible for ;).
The Chelsea location has a larger seating area upstairs than the Belgravia one does. Besides three little tables in the front room at Belgravia, the rest of the dining is either downstairs or in a back room…
With it’s stylish, cheery interior and tasty Italian dishes, a meal at Ave Mario will surely be one of your favorites in London as well!
Also a very lively place to stay in London, the Ned London has seven restaurants and three bars to choose from in its massive former banking hall lobby.
My oldest daughter and I spent three nights here in September 2023, and loved the festive atmosphere here but also – it is quite a stunning architectural building (and live music in the middle of the hall every night ;)).
As a walk in only cafe on the third floor of this iconic retail haven, if you find yourself spending an afternoon shopping at Harrod’s (or window shopping as I always seem to do here), this cafe is the perfect spot for a break and a delicious light meal.
Harrod’s Department Store has multiple dining options besides the cafe above including a large dining hall with multiple options and a Prada Caffe!
Nestled in the heart of Bloomsbury, seasonal delights and enchanting floral decor create an idyllic setting for a delightful dining experience at Dalloway Terrace.
Perched atop The Shard, Gong Bar is a sky-high sanctuary of sophistication where panoramic views of the city skyline meet expertly crafted cocktails, creating an elevated and unforgettable drinking and light dining experience.
With a decent light fare menu, you are sure to not leave hungry while enjoying one of the best views dining views in all of London (even on a rainy winter night!).
Located in the middle of the vibrant atmosphere of St Christopher’s Place in Marylebone, this elegantly decorated Italian restaurant was frequented in it’s past by famous writers and musicians. Ernest Hemingway was even a regular in the late 1940’s ;).
My husband is an avid guitar player and during his birthday visit to London in March 2023, the one sight he really wanted to see in London was the New Kings Road Vintage Guitar Emporium ;).
And after we spent a little over an hour hearing the owner’s stories of all the biggest names in music that he has worked with, we worked up an appetite.
So Nick (the owner), walked us next door to his favorite restaurant, Brook House, where we had one of the best meals we have ever had in London!! Come to learn – this gastro-pub is award winning too ;).
While its a bit on the edge of Kings Road in Fulham, if you have a music lover as your travel companion, I promise your time spent here will be some of the most memorable in the city ;).
Another option located in the Covent Garden area, this stylish Italian restaurant with a patio is a great option if you are seeing a theatre performance in the area (we ate here in between the two Harry Potter plays ;)).
This dinner experience in the O2 was seriously one of my oldest daughter and mine’s favorite evenings in London! Just allow plenty of time to get to the O2 – it is a shopping mall a ways out of the city…
Most tables seat 8 so if you are a smaller group – you will be sitting with “strangers”. But if you are anything like my daughter and I – you will be friends with everyone at your table singing and dancing along to all your Mamma Mia favorites before the night ends ;)!
Don’t forget to plan ahead and purchase your tickets ahead of time!
I personally have not been to the four restaurants listed below however they are listed on the Timeout Magazine list of best restaurants in London and hopefully I will experience them on my future visits to London ;).
- Sessions Art Club
- Brunswick House
- Quo Vadis
- Noble Rot Soho
- Cinquecento Chelsea
Top Things to See and Do in London
Where do we even begin with best things to see and do in London??
There is so much to see and do in this fabulous city – I cover it all in more detail in this best things to do in London post.
But here is a super quick top five list (be sure to read my much more helpful London blog posts for more information on what to do!).
I mean – I had to put this here – right? It’s one of my favorite things to do when I travel because the photos from a trip last forever!!!
Don’t forget to use code PASHAISHOME for $25 off your first photo shoot (or double that if you book in March 2023!).
What to Wear in London
Obviously this all depends on when you visit London as yes – they have been known to have some serious heat waves in summer…
And in December 2022 when my daughter and I were visiting, the had a freak snow storm ;0.
But here are some of my favorite travel outfits and of course – COMFORTABLE SHOES!!
I hope you found this ultimate travel guide for London England helpful in planning your own adventures in one of my favorite European cities!
London offers travelers an immersive blend of rich history, cultural diversity, and contemporary vibrancy, inviting you to explore iconic landmarks, indulge in world-class cuisine, and immerse yourself in the dynamic energy of one of the world’s most captivating cities.
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Have a wonderful day my friend! I hope something makes you smile today ;).