Distant Guide Mornin’! Welcome to London, England!
G’day, travelers! You’ve got a lot of exploring waiting ahead of you. London is a cosmopolitan metropolis that has an endless number of sights and things to do to keep you perfectly satisfied for 7 days! Visit London’s vast green spaces if you need to wind down, get high above the city in the London Eye observation deck, feast on a scrumptious array of world renowned foods at Borough Market, and visit as many of the city’s historical and architectural wonders as possible during your days in The Big Smoke!
You’ll be overwhelmed with the amount of attractions to see: from the river Thames, to Big Ben, to all the free museums, Westminster Abbey and of course - all the endless winding streets filled with attractions.
Walk around Hyde Park, experience the Changing of the Guards, get on the London Eye, experience Camden, and immerse yourself in Soho’s atmosphere.
London is a cultural melting pot and that’s reflected in its cuisine. You’re going to find every cuisine imaginable with every price range imaginable in London.
London is huge - which means you have a huge range of accommodation options to choose from.
London City Guide
Flights & Transport
We suggest booking flights 3-6 months in advance to secure the lowest prices for tickets. For local travel, London is great for walking and has lots of convenient public transportation. You can choose from buses, trams, riverboats, trolleys, and the London ‘tube’, which is the famously busy underground metro system. Taxis are everywhere, so if you’re in a rush it might be worth your while to hail one down. You’ll get to your destination quickly but it will dig a little deeper in your pocket.
More than 30 million people visit London annually. That’s a lot, which means some attractions fill up quickly. You probably won’t have to call ahead to reserve those fish and chips, but if you’re considering catching a performance, taking a tour of any kind, visiting one of London’s many famous sights, then it’s probably best to call and book in advance. Many sights, and buildings and other places of interest have entrance fees which can add up. But don’t worry! The London Pass covers 60 attractions.
Insurance & Passport
It’s extremely important that you have travel insurance when traveling. Whether it’s lost luggage or injuries (knock on wood), you want to make sure you’re covered. It’s easy to avoid the blocks of text in your insurance’s Terms and Conditions, we totally get it. However, you can make it easier on yourself by calling your provider to review your coverage and benefits before you start exploring London.
A passport and visa (depending on your nationality) are absolute musts! You must carry a passport that’s valid for at least 6 months beyond the dates of your travel in England. The documentation needed for your visa application may take some time to gather so make sure to plan ahead! Documentation is different depending on your nationality. Check with the British embassy in your country to confirm if you need anything else.
A few months before your trip is the best time to secure your flights, tours and accommodations. Take a look at our hotel and activity recommendations for each location and book now to ensure your trip is exactly what you want it to be! This way, you’ll save a lot of time and stress. Plus, you’ll avoid the disappointment of your favorite places and activities being sold out.
In England, the power sockets are of type G. The standard voltage is 230v, and the standard frequency is 50Hz. You need to know the difference between a power adapter and power converter. An adapter retrofits your plug to ‘adapt’ to the outlet in the wall. A power converter actually transforms the current to match the voltage coming from the wall. Which one you need will depend on the appliance itself, so make sure to check the voltage on your laptop, hair dryer, cellphone etc.
Stay in Central London where all the attractions are.
Walk or rent a bike instead of taking public transport and/or taxis.
Most of London’s museums are free, so make use of that!
The Changing of the Guard is free to watch and takes place at 10:45 am on Monday. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
• You’ll find every type of fashion imaginable in England. Dress is the same as in most other Western countries. Londoners often dress casually and comfortably, wearing jeans, t-shirts, and the like. Some people say the dress is similar to the USA, but with a little more oomph!
• Watch the weather: you’ve probably heard by now that it rains a lot in London. This is true. It may pay off to check the weather forecast before starting your daily adventures. Don’t forget your umbrella! London has a temperate climate, and temperatures are generally modest - not too cold winters, not too hot summers.
• Luggage: suitcase, backpack, roller, a mix of everything - what are you bringing? Sometimes packing for a trip can be overwhelming., but we’re here to help. Packing your belongings in packing cubes will make everything a lot easier and will keep things organized. Tip: Don’t over pack. Sure, bring all your nice clothes, but if you forget something you can always pick it up in London.
•Snap, snap, snap: Don’t forget your camera, charger, and memory card! And make sure to you use it! There’s so many photo ops
• Google Maps | an absolute must for navigation—GoogleMaps can estimate travel times on foot or by taxi, and keep you updated about the opening/closing hours of local attractions
• Tripadvisor | a favorite resource for finding off-the-beaten-path restaurants and things to do. However, all reviews are subjective, so don’t obsess over scores
• Whatsapp | free text messaging (over wi-fi) to other Whatsapp users
• XE Currency Converter | your go-to guide for up-to-the-minute
Transit Booking Sites
• Sky Scanner | easy to use website for finding low air fares
• Google Flights | helpful fare prediction technology
• London Tube | schedules and routes for the London Metro
• Kayak | if your dates and/or departure cities are flexible, search here to find the lowest fares
• London Transit Commission | community bus information for London
It’s customary to leave 10-15% of the bill when you’re eating out. You are not generally expected to tip in bars, clubs or pubs.
You’ve made it! This cosmopolitan city is where your trip starts and where it finishes. You’ll know it well after seven days of exploring! You’ll be busy every step of the way - stare in awe at the inspiring Victorian and Gothic architecture that beautifully layers the city; jump into the English culinary scene, maybe starting off with some fish n’ chips; visit historical and cultural museums to learn more about the place you’re discovering; open your ears to catch onto that distinct London dialect! You’ll forget all about that jet leg once you join the hoards of Londoners on the street! But first, get to your hotel, check in.
Heathrow airport is about an hour’s drive to London’s city center. The fastest way to get downtown is to take the Heathrow Express, though it’s more costly than some other methods. There are cheaper bus and metro options, as well as taxis. For more convenience, check with your hotel to see if they offer airport pick up, as many hotels have this service. Now, all that’s left is to check into your hotel.
GET YOUR BEARINGS
Just like exploring any city, London being no exception, it’s always important to walk around to get your bearings. Trust us, it will come in handy. The West End, where you’ll be staying, consists of many lovely neighborhoods, worthy of being explored. Famous tourist attractions, government buildings, and recognizable sites are around every corner. Head to Piccadilly Circus - the heart of the West End. This road junction, dating back to 1819, is a great meeting place, close to lots of dining, shopping and entertainment options. The bustling Circus (circle) is a tourist attraction in its own right.
NIGHTLIFE IN SOHO
Keep on exploring. Ask your hotel about some of the best spots to drink and dine in the West End, for which there are no shortage. Head to Soho, one of London’s main entertainment districts to see what’s happening. Fashionable, modern, and energetic, take a walk around Soho and check out the area’s eclectic mix of dining and nightlife options. Can’t decide where to eat? Grab a seat a Cahoots and sample some traditional British pub fare.
Morning and Afternoon
HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT
Start off your morning by joining one of many walking tours. This is a great way to squeeze many sights into as little time as possible. Many popular tours fill up quickly, so consider registering the day before. If your feet are a little tired, consider a bicycle tour, or even jump on a double-decker bus!
One of the most popular sights in London are the Houses of Parliament. It’s easy to marvel over the archaic beauty of these massive, gothic architectural feats. Don’t miss (well, you can’t!) the Palace of Westminster. This is where you’ll find Big Ben - the iconic great bell within the stunning clock tower. There are many tours of the Houses of Parliament, and it’s easy to spend all day here. Don’t forget your camera!
Considering the size of the Houses of Parliament, you might still be touring around. Regardless, it’s time to put some food in your stomach. London is a special sight at night, especially by the river, as many buildings are beautifully illuminated. Hop on a riverboat cruise on the Thames River. See the city from the water, cruise past many iconic sights, and eat your dinner in style.
You may have cruised beneath its magnificence last night, but now it’s time to walk across it. London’s Tower Bridge is both a drawbridge and suspension bridge, and was built between 1986 and 1994. Don’t confuse it with the also famous London Bridge.
The towers on the bridge are tied together by two horizontal walkways. The bridge is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, and taking a stroll across, weather during the day or in the evening, is a must. You can walk across for free, or pay a small fee to tour.
Even though London is a busy composition city, there are still some vast, green parks where you can find some quiet time, if you find yourself needing to unwind. Two of the best and biggest are Hyde Park and Saint James Park, both locked smack in the middle of downtown London. They are two of the city’s eight Royal Parks. Hyde Park is a whopping 350 hectares of serenity in the middle of a bustling metropolis. Pack a lunch, bring some
newly-acquainted friends, and make the best of an afternoon. It’s a tranquil break from a city that never sleeps.
You’ve been getting a pretty good idea of London’s layout from street level, but ever wonder what it looks like from above? You’ve seen it towering over the skyline, but now it’s time to go on up! The London Eye is a 135- meter high observation deck, doubling as a giant Ferris wheel.
Beautiful anytime of the day, but spectacular as the sun sets, the London Eye is the tallest observation deck in Europe, and offers unobstructed views of London for 25 miles in every direction. A truly unforgettable glimpse of an unforgettable city, and a great way to finish a wonderful day in a new place.
You could spend your full 7 days in London, no problem. But we suggest to get out of the city for at least one of those days and embark on a memorable road trip to Windsor Castle, Bath, and one of England’s most iconic landmarks: Stonehenge. Tours range in duration, but this one will take you on a full day adventure!
Windsor Castle was built in the 11th century, and has been the home of the British Royal Family for the last 900 years. The grounds of the castle are sprawling and would take days to explore. Since the time of Henry I, the castle has been used by the Royal Family, and is the longest occupied palace in the world. The Castle’s architecture From London To Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Bath Day 4 Via All day tour from London (BOOK IN ADVANCE) Duration 12 hours.
History lesson #2. After stepping back 900 years at the Windsor Castle, get ready to step back a lot further in time with your Neolithic ancestors - the ancient stone formations at Stonehenge await.
Stonehenge is a monument dating back to prehistoric times, and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. The monument consists of a ring of 13-foot high, 7-foot wide stones, each weighing 25 tons. Archeologists believe the site was built between 3000BC and 2000BC.
What is Stonehenge? Well, the consensus isn’t out yet, and there are many myths surrounding its purpose. You’ll likely hear all about its potential meaning from your guide. One belief is that it was used as a place to bring the ill, another is that it was a sacred hunting ground. It’s still a mystery. However, there are several hundred burial grounds in the area.
The monument is awe-inspiring, so don’t forget to bring your camera to try and capture and take home some of its mystery.
Next stop: Bath. Not that kind of bath. Well, actually, yes that kind of bath. Bath is an Georgian ancient city in England, and is famous for its many Roman-built baths.
Bath was founded in the 7th century. In the 17th century, claims were made about the properties of the area’s water, and so it became a popular Georgian-era spa town. The city became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
You might see other visitors in town, as Bath sees around 4 million day tourists each year. Bath is an eloquent city, and is lovely to explore. If you have the time, consider dippin’ in one of the cities active baths. If not, you’ll just have to imagine what it must have been like hundreds of years ago, as you and your guide wander among the Roman ruins
From here you can pretty much go in any direction and be inspired and amused. Trafalgar is a public square in Westminster. This classic London sight is a great place to witness the city’s hustle and bustle. It’s a great place to check out monuments, architecture, and street artists.
There are many good eateries in the area, and many British meals waiting to be eaten. Pop into Garfunkel’s and order the classic full English breakfast. Hope you’re hungry!
After you’ve taken some much needed to time to let your breakfast digest, head to one of London’s busiest markets. Borough Market is a wholesale and retail food market in South walk. It’s one of London’s oldest, dating back to the 13th century.
Choose from a smorgasbord of gourmet food option from over 100 vendors. Fresh breads, rare meats, preserves, teas, oils, fruit and veg, and a dizzying number of world-renowned cuisines will have you walking in circles following your nose around. The market is heaven for foodies. Dig into some Cornish pasties or choose something from the other side of the world. Time for a nap?
WEST END SHOW
London is a city of entertainment. Clubs, pubs, operas, live music, comedy, theatre, and basically anything else you can think of. Watching as the West End becomes alive and illuminated is a show of its own. But we recommend seeing at least one real live performance before you leave, so consider heading to Shakespeare’s Globe. If that’s not your thing, hit up one of the popular clubs for some live English music. The area is busy every day of the week, but really gets energetic on the weekends.
If you’ve got room for another meal, there’s no shortage of places to eat in the West End.
London is one of the best cities in the world for museums. Like art, history, culture? Take your pick. The British Museum was established in 1753 by one man, and has since grown into one of the most comprehensive museums in the world. It holds a vast number of artifacts from around the world (around 8 million!) in its permanent collection.
If you’re only planning on visiting one museum in London, make it this one.
After lunch, make your way to the London Tower, another of London’s architectural icons. A must-see before you leave, but you might want to reserve entrance tickets in advance so you don’t miss out.
The Tower, also called Her Majesty’s Royal Palace, was founded in 1066. The castle was used as a prison for hundreds of years, from 1100 to 1952. A tour of the fortress will teach you about it’s long history - tales of lost Princes and WWI spies - and you’ll get to see the Crown Jewels!
Evening number six already? If you’re not toured out, consider also visiting London’s critically acclaimed National Gallery.
On your last evening, maybe you’ll want to go back up in the London Eye, cross Tower Bridge, walk along the Thames, or people watch in Soho. However, why not head back to Piccadilly Circus and see what all the stir is? Breathe in the atmosphere, see where people are heading, and join the party. If you can’t choose, go to The Queen’s Head restaurant, grab an outdoor seat, and check out their late-night menu. Put your feet up and dig it, y, you deserve it!
Depending on the time of your flight you might choose to stick around the hotel and get everything in order. If your flight isn’t until later in the day, get back out there in bustling London and make the best of it! Was there something you read about that didn’t have time to do or see? Get out there and do it! There’s still so much to see in this city!
Bring your camera - there’s always time to snap a few more shots and make a few more lasting memories. Head back to the Houses of Parliament and get some more photos of Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. Or maybe go for one more stroll and though St James Park to relax a bit before your departure. Or maybe visit Buckingham Palace. The choices! Stay close, though.