The Best Tips and Tricks for your visit to London

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London is one of the world’s most visited cities – home to the likes of Big Ben, The Queen, and the famous red phone box. But with so much to see and the internet virtually throwing ideas and advice from every angle, it can certainly be overwhelming. Here’s a few tips and tricks for visiting London to make your stay easier and more enjoyable…

Tips and Tricks for your visit to London

Go Big at Breakfast

The Brits get a bad wrap for their fairly mediocre cuisine, but it’s no longer the case. If there’s one thing they know how to do (ridiculously well) it’s the ol’ English Breakfast! If you walk into a restaurant and order the full English breakfast, you can rest assured you’ll be full until the afternoon hits – when, of course, it’s time for a spot of afternoon tea. There are many variations (including the newly popular brunch which is all the rage), but the traditional English breakfast will consist of two eggs, bacon, toast, baked beans and a baked tomato. All of this should of course be consumed with English breakfast tea – what else!?

Start with a Free Walking Tour

If it’s your first visit to London and you want to kick things off on the right foot, a great way to start is by joining a free city walking tour. Sandemans New Europe Tour are a popular choice with witty and characteristically British guides (what we all come to London for, right!?). These tours will take you to the major hot spots like Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

london bus

The Red Double Decker Bus Tours are a great way to get around

Despite what you might read on other blogs (each to their own opinion!), I think the ‘hop on hop off’ tourist buses are actually a great way to be introduced to a city. They’re a bunch of fun, have free guided information as you go along, and make visiting the top tourist attractions ridiculously easy. This is also a great way to see the city without putting in the miles of exercise (but that’s good too!), as London is absolutely HUGE.

Or you can choose to buy an Oyster Card to take the Underground

The Oyster Card is valid not only on the underground, but also for the red double decker buses (an icon in themselves) and even regional trains. The best part is the money you will save – Oyster cards have a daily maximum of £8.50 meaning you can visit all the sites in one day for a relatively good price.

Most of the Museums are Free and are some of the best in the world

Most of London’s museum are 100% free to enter and provide ample entertainment for an entire day. Be sure not to miss the British Museum and the Natural History Museum – two of the best. Just beware that these are also two of London’s most popular (and for good reason) so expect crowds and lines.

Save money and grab a quick lunch to go at Marks & Spencer or Tesco

There’s no denying that London is one of the world’s most expensive cities to visit – this is nothing new. Every cost adds up and soon enough you’ve blown your budget within the first 24 hours – you wouldn’t be the first to let that happen! A great way to save money (and time) is to grab a quick lunch on the go at M&S, Tesco or Sainsbury’s. Surprisingly they have some fantastic food for a ridiculously good price – just a couple of pounds for a gourmet sandwich to eat on the go.


Changing of the guards can be skipped

Of course it depends on the individual, but unless you REALLY want to see the changing of the guards, this activity can (and in my opinion) should be missed. There’s thousands of tourists every day all nudging one another for a peek and it has become almost impossible to see any of the action.

Explore at least one of London’s neighbourhoods outside of the tourist zone

It took me a couple of visits to London before I really started to see, experience and explore the city as a whole. I was with my friend Dave from @London on Instagram when we ventured out into unknown territory for me to visit the Globemaker’s artist studio. It was truly fascinating to see how much London changed when you start to explore the neighbourhoods – a highlight for the day was hipster-lovers paradise Shoreditch.

Visit the South Bank of the Thames

So you want to take the iconic London snap – Big Ben, the Thames and a magical sunset after a long day exploring London? You’ll find it just across the bridge, over on the Southbank of the Thames. Besides, any photo you attempt to take over near Westminster will inevitably be photo-bombed by one of the many passing tourists.

The best views are The Shard and the old and faithful London Eye 

While they’re both not such a small investment (£29.95 for the Shard and £19.10 for the Eye), there’s still no denying these are two of London’s best birds eye views. While it might be a tad more expensive, the Shard appears to win as the best view simply based on the fact that it HAS the London Eye in the frame.


Pick and Choose your Activities – It’s too much to try and do everything!

There’s so much to see and do in London – The London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, The Tate Museum, Buckingham Palace…. This is just the beginning. Be sure to do your research, find out what is on offer, what you think you simply cannot miss, and go from there in order of preference. London IS HUGE so it might take a little longer than expected to get from one attraction to the next – prioritise. 

Get out! There are some great day tours from London 

There are many great nearby cities to visit just a short 1-2 hour journey from London. You can choose to take the train or bus to the likes of Cambridge, Oxford, and Bath among others. The latter is a great choice for history buffs in search of a Victorian experience and the other two are college towns through and through – but all are filled with character and charm.

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  • sittideat2006@hotmail.com'
    May 8, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    I love London eye.

  • amber@travelandpictures.com'
    Amber Primdahl
    March 28, 2015 at 12:43 am

    I love knowing I can come to your blog whenever I’m planning a trip. Going to London in a month and can always count on your recommendations 🙂

  • tiggerbird@gmail.com'
    October 25, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Great post! Totally agree that a free walking tour should be taken. I personally like to try different this than sandermans as the groups can be a little smaller and you are not under pressure to tip. Free London walking tours have some great story tellers and I believe they have some new tours coming soon http://freelondonwalkingtours.com.

  • thepinthemapproject@gmail.com'
    Nikki Vargas
    October 23, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Going there next month! Curious to know what neighborhoods you would recommend staying in? Also, if on a budget–what do you think is a realistic and feasible daily budget?


  • themianguyen@gmail.com'
    October 9, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    I’ve visited London numerous times to see friends and family, but it always amazes me how much there is to do there, especially the free stuff!!!
    Found this great guide on free museums here http://www.cheapflights.com.au/news/free-museums-and-galleries-in-london/
    Ive been to a few of them but I didn’t know there were that many free attractions!

  • eliseangelopulos@gmail.com'
    September 30, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    I have been to London over and over and I can’t agree more with your first point of taking a free walking tour! London has loads of them and I learned something new each visit ( would love to know your favorites)..I’ve been meaning to post free walking tour experiences on my site. Love your insight!

  • litonkrl@gmail.com'
    Clipping Path Outsource
    September 29, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Excellent post! It will help to easy to get a tour in London.
    Thanks Brooke

  • Flt587@suddenlink.net'
    Frances Tolley
    September 22, 2014 at 8:34 am

    I think you’re right when you say, “It depends on the person.”

    I loved the changing of the guard with all it’s pomp and circumstance. I loved afternoon tea.

  • lc.lilly@gmail.com'
    September 22, 2014 at 5:24 am

    Happy that someone agrees with me on this one:
    Changing of the guards can be skipped
    I spend more than 2h toasting in the sun (I know, it was one of those odd days in London where it was quite warm in May) waiting because my sister wanted to watch it again. I manage to get some nice pictures, but I had a problem with my camera so lost them all. Seriously skip it. Instead just go and wander in some of the many city gardens, like the Regent’s park or Holland Park.
    There’s also the free alternative London tour which is quite nice and explores East-London. There’s also a £10 Harry Potter Tour for any fans out there.
    Also I would recommend a visit to any pub just for the experience of the buzz and the good variety of craft beers.
    If there’s any whole in your agenda, try also a visit into “Little Venice”, it’s quite a pleasant walk too.

  • vanessa.key@me.com'
    Vanessa Key
    September 21, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Just got back from London. All places you mantioned are great! Especially Natural History Museum. It’s magical place!

  • alissaloxton@hotmail.com'
    September 21, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Oh I love London! Lived there for 4 months myself, and I just posted about my experience! Have a read 🙂

    20 year old travel blogger with a thirst for adventure

  • sara.c.barnes@gmail.com'
    September 20, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Thanks for this great article! I’m planning my first trip abroad to the U.K. and this will be a great help with the London portion of our trip!! It’s been printed off and added to my travel file. 🙂


  • awanderlustblog@OUTLOOK.COM'
    September 20, 2014 at 4:55 am

    when are you heading to london?? i’d love to show you round! 🙂 http://thewanderlusthasgotme.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/7-films-from-my-youth.html

    • worldofwanderlust
      September 20, 2014 at 5:20 am

      I’m having a meetup with readers on Sunday 28th! Details on FB and twitter 🙂

  • stephanierlincoln@gmail.com'
    September 19, 2014 at 7:40 am

    My mom and I went to Paris for a week and took the “chunnel” to London one day, and were there for about 8 hours. We managed to go on the London eye, which we had to que for of course but so worth it for the views, ride a double decker through Abbey Rd, and see part of the Trouping of the Colors at Buckingham Palace. We even had lunch at Ye Olde Chesire Cheese. A touristy day for sure but so lovely!

    x Stephanie

  • adrianna.ral@wp.pl'
    September 19, 2014 at 7:21 am

    I really miss London. I was there five years ago and I’d love to visit that city again. I wish I could live there. Greetings from Cracow.

  • liv_waltho@hotmail.com'
    September 19, 2014 at 3:43 am

    The markets in London are really cool too and you should try and squeeze some into your next visit here 🙂


  • marieking32@gmail.com'
    Marie King
    September 19, 2014 at 2:05 am

    Free walking tours are such a great way to get introduced to any city! I love hearing about what a local considers to be the highlights of their city, and just feeling like I know where I am. I had a great experience with this one in Sydney: http://www.imfree.com.au/


  • lifeplus1blog@gmail.com'
    September 19, 2014 at 1:46 am

    I’m drooling just remembering the sandwiches at M&S, they are amazing value for money over there!

    Here in the states you would NEVER buy a sandwich from a gas station unless you were desperate. Over there, they are out of this world.

    Definitely a worthy tip for the list!

  • catherine.lux@hotmail.co.uk'
    Catherine Lux
    September 19, 2014 at 1:15 am

    Just a quick tip; you can go up the shard for free, just tell them you’re meeting friends for drinks in the bar! I did it and it worked a treat 😉

    Also the English Breakfast wouldn’t be complete without sausages and fried bread!

    C x
    Lux Life Blog

  • hello@thatjessebloke.co.uk'
    Jesse Owen
    September 18, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    I love London so much, yet despite living only a few hours away I don’t visit nearly as often as I should.

    Great tips for the best experience of London 🙂

  • shernaekerber@gmail.com'
    Shernae Kerber
    September 18, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    Visiting food markets is also really awesome in London! You’ve got Camden Lock up north, Borough Market by London Bridge, Brick Lane Market on Sundays and the Real Food Market at the Southbank Centre. A little-known but really awesome one by the centre is Leather Lane Market. No tourists, just workers out on their lunch break!

  • d_theodosiou@hotmail.com'
    September 18, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    Love london! these are some great tips!! I would also add “see a concert in London” usually they take place in a great space (O2, Wembley etc.) and it is a unique experience for sb coming from a small country (like me)


  • devilreturnsprada@gmail.com'
    September 18, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Such a nice post! Always looking for some insider infos 😉
    Much love from

  • nancydavolio6@gmail.com'
    Best holiday destinations
    September 18, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    nice views. thanks for posting nice views.

  • othersomewhere@gmail.com'
    September 18, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    I work in London so it’s interesting to see your views on it! Some of your tips are really great – the one thing I would really want to reinforce to people who may be visiting though is that the food here is anything but mediocre (and I don’t think it’s had that reputation for a very long time!) and all-day breakfasts and afternoon teas still have their place but there is so much more to London dining. For foodies, Soho is a must-visit as there are so many different options to suit every taste and budget and I would recommend this over most else! Also, I would swap out M&S and Tesco (especial Tesco – it’s really not that good) and swap in Pret, Eat and Itsu if we’re talking chain sandwich etc places xx

  • depasquale.sara@gmail.com'
    Sara @ SimplySaraTravel
    September 18, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Great advice! I love the free museums, exploring Shoreditch, and getting around the city with an Oystercard. I also love going to the markets and parks. Borough Market, Camden Locks, and other markets make a great, inexpensive lunch as well!

  • elke.schwan@federfuehrend-pr.de'
    September 18, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Great article! I’m a huge fan of London and been there many times. For visitors new to the city, I would totally agree with what you wrote.
    Another tip for a cheap meal is (at least during the weekends, not sure how it is on weekdays) Camden market: If you go there in the evenings (maybe around six o’clock) the stalls are selling of their food. We used to grab something to eat there for two or three pound. But even if you pay the full price it’s not that expensive – and there is a huge selection of different stalls and foods from Chinese to Pizza to Mexican to Hot Dogs, so everyone should find something.
    I would definitely recommend The Shard. It’s terribly expensive, but I thought it was worth every penny. I’ve been on the London Eye some years ago and liked it very much, but The Shard really hits the spot. We’ve been there last december, the weather was bad and at first, I didn’t want to spend so much money. But even though it was cloudy, you had a great view over the city, it gave me a new perspective of London.

  • chloe.schibeci@outlook.com'
    September 18, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Hey Brooke, great insight into the fabulous London!
    You can actually go the bar at the top of the Shard called Aqua Shard for free (or the cost of a drink) or alternatively to the top of the Heron Tower (Liverpool street) for an opposing from the opposite side of the Thames once again for the cost of a drink. The bars in the Heron Tower are decadent and worth a look for sure!
    Save some precious pounds in a very expensive city! 🙂

  • mukuba2002@gmail.com'
    zaby @ Zaby's Perspective
    September 18, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Visiting London must have been a lot of fun

  • Madelinefedmont@yahoo.con'
    September 18, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Great tips. I plan to go to London early next year


  • juli_beras@hotmail.com'
    September 18, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    ooohhh Im getting excited!
    Im flying to London in a week, I have been there before but I have feeling this time will be different and much better.
    I totally agree with you on the whole changing of guard thing, if you are in the area I think a better option is to walk a few step away to “speakers corner” you get the meet the most amusing characters from england.
    Jules.- http://www.thekiwidiaries.com

  • tayrosefields@gmail.com'
    September 18, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    I’m traveling solo too and just did a large post on London as well! I used to study at Oxford so I know the country well, but I still had a friend who lives there help out. I love your tips–mine are mostly about nightlife and food–but yours are so on point, especially about the oyster card!


    xx Taylor

  • thetouristoflife@gmail.com'
    September 18, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    I love London, and want to visit again soon but it is just so expensive:-(


  • jazmine@cebuspadwellness.com'
    September 18, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    London is part of my bucket list. I wanna go there someday! Thanks for sharing these tips.

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  • jendelaluna@gmail.com'
    September 18, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    I’m in the midst of recapping my England trip on my site right now and I’m happy to say that I pretty much followed all of these tips! As always, awesome read, Brooke. Thanks!

  • Lifeoflalablog@hotmail.com'
    September 18, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Great tips! Will definitely be keeping this in mind when I jet off to England 🙂