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Itinerary for London

5 Common Concerns About Following a Pre-Made London Itinerary

By London Planning Tips, London Travel Tips No Comments

If the word “itinerary” scares you, I get it! As someone who considers myself a very “relaxed” traveler, in some cases it scares me too. But having an itinerary can help you experience London efficiently, making the most of your time without wearing you out and making you spend a lot of money unnecessarily. These are the common concerns people usually have when it comes to following an itinerary, and here’s how to address them so you can make sure you fully maximise your visit to London.

There’s no flexibility

Personally, when I travel, I couldn’t think of anything worse than a linear plan for each of my days, that can’t be deviated from without making the rest of the day harder to achieve. I do like some things tentatively planned, but I’m very much a go with the flow, see how the day takes us kinda traveler.

If you’re the same way, an itinerary can feel restrictive. I wanted the opposite of that, and to accommodate for people like me, when I made the 3-Day London Itinerary. It’s flexible in many senses, some of which I’ll talk about in a bit, but it’s designed to be broken up into multiple days if needed, and to be able to skip sections or areas if you want to, without being super confused as to how to proceed with the rest of the day.

The flexibility aspect is also important so that if there’s an unplanned closure, a tube strike, or something else that us unexpected, you can easily adjust your day as needed, with the Digital Map being a big help with that.

You still have to spend time researching where to eat along the route

Many times, itineraries only plot out the attractions you’ll visit in a day, but they don’t recommend where to get breakfast, lunch or dinner along the route. So you’re stuck having to take time to research good food spots that will be near to where you’ll be, otherwise you could get stuck at a lame, overpriced restaurant just because you were too hangry to put some effort into finding a good spot while on the go.

I personally don’t want you to have to do that if you get my 3-Day London Itinerary, so I’ve included loads of recommendations for where to eat along the route, for all three meals.

It won’t account for your tastes, budget or desired travel pace

If you’ve got a pre-planned itinerary filled with museums and you hate museums, then said itinerary will TOTALLY not work for you… maybe that’s what you’re afraid of. I would be! Typically when I travel, I don’t hit up the most famous attractions, or visit things like art museums. There’s nothing wrong with them, it’s just not my taste, I don’t really enjoy strolling around most art museums, or encountering crowds, and would rather spend my time doing something else (mainly, eating.)

So when I made the 3-Day London Itinerary, I kept this in mind so that people with varying tastes, wallet sizes, and travel styles could still use it. The suggestions in the itinerary have something for just about everyone, no matter what kind of traveler you are.

The only caveat is if you have VERY specific tastes or ideas for what you want to do, for example, if you want to see multiple Harry Potter attractions.

You still have to figure out transportation throughout the day

Sometimes, itineraries you find online don’t take into account travel time between each sight or food spot.  This means that getting everything on the itinerary done in one day is either unrealistic, or it just involves a lot of time on public transportation… something that I personally hate doing as a Londoner, and if you’re on vacation here, you probably don’t want to be doing that either!

The best way to experience London each day is to explore a condensed area, so that you can walk to just about everything if you want, or can hop on a bus for a minimal amount of time when needed.

You won’t get “off the beaten path”

This is a super valid concern because most stuff you find online doesn’t help you experience London like a local. If that’s the kind of trip you’re after, you’ll want to find an itinerary to follow that is written by someone who knows London really well and has purposefully created the plan to include those “hidden gems”, or if you’re making your own itinerary, you want to find recommendations that come from locals.

For example, here are some hidden gems that I think you should definitely hit up when you have at least three days in London…

The 3-Day Itinerary is a mix of both the most popular attractions and local things to do, see and eat. If you want to stay away from ALL of the city’s most famous attractions, then this isn’t for you, but if you want a really good mix of them with “off the beaten path” spots, it will work.

I hope this helped you with some of your reservations with using an itinerary. Make your own, find a GOOD one online, or follow my 3-Day London Itinerary, for a better London experience (trust me!)

This article is part of my 3 Days in London series, here are some more tips to help you with your first few days in London.

Read next:
10 Reasons to Follow an Itinerary During Your First Three Days in London
How to Prepare for Your First Three Days in London
5 Reasons Not to Use “Free” London Itineraries

Follow an itinerary for three days in london

10 Reasons to Follow an Itinerary For Your First 3 Days in London

By 3 Days in London, London Planning Tips, London Travel Tips 4 Comments

If it’s your first time visiting London, you’ll likely be thinking about following a pre-planned itinerary for your first few days here. I highly recommend doing so, for the following reasons.

1. It saves you days of research time

When I was going to Vietnam a couple of years ago, I can’t even tell you how much time I spent planning my itinerary… DAYS is not an exaggeration, and I only ended up planning one thing to do for each day of my two week trip!

If you don’t have that kind of time (or that just sounds like your worst nightmare) getting a pre-made itinerary like my 3-Day London Itinerary is an option for you, and will eliminate all of that time you would have had to spend researching attractions and food spots, finding ones you think you’d like, and then figuring out how to piece them together based on how close together they are.

2. Allows you some flexibility

Having a pre-planned itinerary might sounds quite restricting, but if you’re following a detailed one like my 3-Day London Itinerary, you’ll actually have quite a bit of flexibility built in. Because you’ll have multiple options for sights to see and where to eat, you can choose which suits your fancy at the moment, and can accommodate for unplanned closures and the like.

3. Provides you with local knowledge

I definitely can’t say this for the majority of “London Itineraries” that you find online because they’re often written by people who visited London for, like, a week, and then put together an “itinerary” on their blog.

If you can follow an itinerary that’s based off of knowledge from someone who actually lives in London and knows it well, you’ll be better off, as you’ll have access to “on the ground” information that will be really helpful as you’re exploring. My 3-Day London Itinerary even has public toilets marked off on the digital map… I consider myself a public toilet expert, gross but true 😉

Also, only locals will know things like that just around the corner from Leicester Square, London’s most touristy (and yeck) square, is a hidden rooftop restaurant and bar with amazing views of the London Eye and the London skyline, and it’s not even that pricy of a spot.

If you’re keen to find little hidden gems like that for your London trip, have a watch of the below guide…

4. Reduces time wasted on transportation

London is a huuuuuuuuuge city and especially if you’re looking to go off the beaten path, you could end up spending a couple of hours a day on public transportation if you aren’t familiar with the distance between each of London’s neighbourhoods.

By following an itinerary that has been designed to limit the need for public transportation, or even not need it at all, you’ll spend less time being squashed on the tube and more time exploring above-ground.

Also if you need help with public transportation, here are the top things you need to know before you hop on the underground or a bus…

5. Prevents you from getting lost

If you’re following an itinerary with a digital map on your phone, it will be hard to get super lost. Even if you veer off the general track of the itinerary, you can whip out your phone and get walking directions back to the spot you want to be in.

My 3-Day London Itinerary includes a digital map for your phone.

6. Reduces clashing when traveling as a group

If there’s a few of you traveling together, you’re bound to have different tastes, possibly be different ages, and have a bucket-full of recommendations that you’ve all brought to the table and want to check out. It’s quite time consuming, and possibly stressful, to sift through everyone’s ideas of what they’d like to do, and put together a cohesive itinerary that everyone will agree on.

Instead, with a little flexibility from everyone in the group, it’s easier to just say “let’s follow this itinerary” and stick to it. You’ll find that less choice is more, and that choosing what to do from a very curated list that’s already taken into account travel time will be a lifesaver.

7. Ensures you’ll make the most of your time

Even the type of travelers who like to go with the flow and not overplan usually worry about not making the most out of their trip. It makes sense– you’ve likely spent a lot of money to get to London, so you want to make sure you experience as many of the best bits as possible.

Following a pre-planned itinerary can help you do that, but also in the most efficient way (if it was made with efficiency in mind.)

Read this next: How to prepare for your first three days in London

8. Reduces overwhelm

London has hundreds of tourist attractions, thousands of restaurants, and covers 1,572 sq.km, or 606 sq. miles…WOAH. If you’ve not planned out what you want to do and see before you arrive, you might hop off the plane and immediately be incredibly overwhelmed.

Less choice is always easier to handle, and will reduce that overwhelm, and a detailed itinerary like my 3-day one will do that just that.

9. Helps you get acquainted with the city

The first few days of being in London has a bit of a learning curve to it. You’ll be figuring out how to use the transportation system, and picking up cultural differences to your home country, in the least. Following a pre-planned itinerary will take out the guesswork out of “where do I go? What do I see?” as you’re getting to know how everything in London works. It’s kind of like learning on the job!

10. It’s like getting the answers to the test ahead of time

Any good, locally-made, detailed London itinerary will essentially be like getting handed the answers to a big test you’re about to take. There’s no extra work to be done, you just read through it, add a guidance map to your phone, and get going. Simple.

My 3-Day London Itinerary does everything I talked about in this article, and includes a 60+ page PDF guide detailing your options for the itinerary, as well as local knowledge like where to find free public toilets and what dish to order at a certain restaurant. It also includes an interactive digital map that you add to your phone that you can follow each day, step by step, making it super simple to follow.

More tips for your London trip:

5 Common Mistakes Tourists Make in Their First Three Days in London

5 Reasons Not to Use a Free London Itinerary

How to Prepare for your First 3 Days in London

Common mistakes London tourists make their first three days in London

5 Common Mistakes Tourists Make in Their First Three Days in London

By 3 Days in London 8 Comments

If it’s your first time to London and you’re feeling a little nervous, don’t worry! I’m sharing five common mistakes people make during their first three days in London.

To help gather these common mistakes, I asked some Love and London community members what problems they ran into when they were here, so they helped me out with some of these.

Prefer to watch instead of read?

Mistakes not to make in your first three days in London

Mistake #1: Assuming everything you want to see is close together

This is a common London visitor mistake. When you’re planning your day, use the app CityMapper or Google Maps to find out how long it will take to get to each thing you want to do. Make sure you adjust for the time of day you’ll be doing it because the journey you’ll take will likely be different depending on if it’s rush hour or not, or if it’s quite late or early in the day, when trains and buses run less frequently.

The absolute best way to make sure you’re not spending hours on public transportation each day is to choose just one or two very close-by areas to explore so that you can walk to each thing you want to visit. Believe me, it will be much more enjoyable then trekking across the city to each thing you booked.

Mistake #2: Over-Planning Your Three Days in London

I’m ALWAYS going to suggest not to over plan your visit. I totally get why it happens though. It’s so exciting to finally be in London that you want to see EVERYTHING! But, you will exhaust yourself, I promise. It can be really tiring using public transportation, walking a few miles a day, and well, EXPERIENCING things.

Another reason I suggest not to over plan is that you will want to have time to experience things that you discover along the way. The magic of visiting London is that you might be walking around and discover a cool little cafe, a hidden museum, or a fun pop-up festival that you’ll want to spend a couple of hours exploring. Give yourself the chance to experience these great moments, they’re my favourite thing about this city.

However, if you’d like to make things REALLY easy for yourself, consider my 3-Day London Itinerary. It organizes your days based on major attractions that are close together and includes a variety of places to eat, drink, and shop.

Mistake #3: Planning too much for the day you arrive

I have traveled across many time zones many, many times, and I don’t think I’ve gotten any better with jet lag. The struggle is real, especially on your first day in London. If you’ve just arrived, give yourself some credit and be flexible with what you do.

Doing SOMETHING is a must so that you stay awake to get yourself on the London time zone, but don’t book anything you’d be upset to miss or be too tired to fully experience. Then try to get yourself to bed as late as possible, otherwise your body clock will be completely screwed up for your first three days in London.

Mistake #4: Sticking to the familiar

The city is super overwhelming for some people when they first arrive, so I think out of comfort, people stick to what they know, especially for food. For example, familiar chain restaurants or attractions they’ve heard of before, which you can find easily in the most popular areas for tourists. But you’ll often end up having some gross overpriced food or paying an arm and a leg for a lukewarm “attraction” like Madame Tussaud’s (ugh, please don’t go there!)

So if you’re going to be in areas like Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, and Trafalgar Square, do your research ahead of time and find some local-approved hidden gem spots for food and drinks. TRUST ME, it will be much better for your experience, and your wallet.

Mistake #5: Using only TripAdvisor to find things to do, see and eat

If you’re trying to find a good place to eat in the most touristy areas, another common London visitor mistake is relying on the TripAdvisor app. Sometimes it can be helpful but I’ve had a good look on there and many of the best spots for food in these areas don’t even crack the top 20 on good ‘ole TA.

TripAdvisor reviews can be skewed and manipulated, as Vice’s video has shown us, in which one of their own journalists created a fake restaurant in their “shed” in London, and was able to manipulate the system into getting it to the #1 restaurant in London spot. It was quite literally a shed, and the photos of the food were completely faked.

My point is you’ll miss out on some great hidden gems if you stick with TripAdvisor, or even maybe get duped. Do you research and look for recommendations from actual Londoners that live here and actually know good food in London. If you don’t have a friend in London, hey… you’ve got me.

My 3-Day London Itinerary

If you’re like, “Jess, I still feel so overwhelmed with planning my first few days, PLEASE HELP ME!” My 3-Day London Itinerary will put your mind at ease. It’s a flexible, non-overwhelming plan for your first three days in London. It combines some of the top things to do and see in London along with local-approved recommendations for food, drinks and other hidden gems.

More tips for your three days in London: 

How To Prepare For Your First Three Days London
10 Reasons To Follow An Itinerary For Your First 3 Days In London
Want My 3 Day London Itinerary But Don’t Have The Money? Here’s How To Get It

Pin this to your London board:

Mistakes london tourists always make in their first three days in London.

What to do with three days in London

Top Things to Do With Three Days in London

By 3 Days in London, London Travel Tips No Comments

If you’re spending only three days in London, or if you’re just feeling overwhelmed when trying to plan your first few days here, I’ll tell you some of the top things to do.

Visit the London classics

I think even visitors that want to get off the beaten path in London will likely want to pass by a few of the city’s most iconic buildings and sights. This includes the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, and many more. It’s pretty cool to be able to see these famous sights in real life. Of course, if you’re keen, you can get tickets to go inside and experience them up close.

If you have a list of these classic London attractions that you definitely want to get tickets for, make sure you check to see if the London Pass or the London Explorer Pass will save you money. My two articles about the passes will help you figure out if that’s the case:

Is the London Pass worth it?

Is the London Explorer Pass worth it?

Top things to do with three days in London - go for afternoon tea

Go for afternoon tea

I love afternoon tea! England is the birthplace of it, so I definitely think you should work it into your itinerary for your first three days in London. You’d usually have afternoon tea between 12 and 3pm-ish, and DON’T have lunch because it will definitely fill you up.

Afternoon tea consists of, well, your choice of tea of course, but a traditional one also includes three tiers of treats, like finger sandwiches, pretty little sweet treats, and warm, delicious scones with jam and cream. Watch the video below to find out more about afternoon tea and how it works.

I’ve included some options for getting afternoon tea, including the spot in the photo above, during your first three days in London in my 3-Day London Itinerary.

3 days in London itinerary - National Gallery art museumCheck out a museum

If you’re into museums, London’s has plenty of them, and most are completely FREE to visit. If you like modern art, head to the Tate Modern. Or if you prefer pieces that are a bit older, visit the National Gallery.

In terms of museums that aren’t just art, there’s the Churchill War Rooms, which is always popular with history buffs. Of course, it doesn’t stop there, there are many museum options depending on what you like. There’s even a cartoon museum!

While many of London’s museums are free, if you’re keen on visiting a few of the ones that do cost money (like the Churchill War Rooms), see if they are included in either the London Pass or the London Explorer Pass. Again, as mentioned before, you could save a nice little chunk of cash if they are.

For travelers who like to see smaller, more unique museums, here are a bunch that you should definitely visit but most likely have never heard of…

Best things to do in three days in LondonBrowse London’s markets

London’s food markets are sooooooo good. The most famous is Borough Market, which has been in London for over 400 years and still is a great place to visit. Another option is Old Spitalfields Market, which has not only delicious and affordable food, but also antiques, clothing, accessories, and other trinkets that make for nice souvenirs.

A favourite of Londoners is Maltby Street Market, because of its really good food options, and because it’s nearby the Bermondsey Beer Mile, making it a fun day full of eating a drinking around the Bermondsey area (one that not many tourists venture to!)

Borough Market, Spitalfields Market, and Maltby Street Market are all included in the 3-Day London Itinerary.

Things to do in London in three days - visit the Sky GardenGo to London’s best viewpoints

The London skyline is gorgeous and iconic, so seeing it from above is a pretty special thing to do. Some of the highest and most famous points in the city include The London Eye and The Shard, which is the tallest building in the EU. For a free option, although not as high, try the viewing platform at the Tate Modern, a free contemporary art gallery, or visit the Sky Garden, shown above.

Visiting at least one sky-high viewpoint is worth it if you’re in London for three days minimum.

Read next: How to Prepare for your First Three Days in London

What to do in London in three days

Roam London’s parks

When you arrive to London, I think you’ll be quite surprised at how green the city. Londoners enjoy the parks here even when the weather isn’t very nice, so you should do the same, don’t wait for a sunny, perfect day.

London visitors usually love St. James’s Park and Hyde Park, but there’s also Victoria Tower Gardens, which most people completely miss but it’s a good spot for a rest or for some photos next to the River Thames.

If you do pop over to Hyde Park, grab a Boris Bike (the city’s bike rental scheme) and cycle around the park. You’ll see way more of it than if you were exploring on foot.

BTW, a favourite of Londoners that visitors rarely make it to (such a shame!) is Victoria Park, which for many years has been voted the best park in London by locals.

Here’s my video guide to what to do while you’re there.

3 days in london itinerary - we built this city shopGo shopping in London

If you want to pick up some things to help you remember your visit to London,  you’ll definitely be able to find something great in this city. Visit We Built This City on Carnaby Street for funky souvenirs made by local artists, or visit one of the city’s famous department stores, my favourites being Fortnum and Mason and Selfridge’s, which is on London’s busy shopping street, Oxford Street. Those places are really great starts for your London souvenir hunt.

If you’re into vintage, Shoreditch is the area you want to visit. Go during the week and you’ll find tons of shops with vintage and secondhand items for sale, or if you go on a weekend, you’ll see the area teeming with pop up vintage fairs and markets.

For some of the city’s coolest shops that you should totally visit but probably never heard of, watch this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qpj-MIQieQ&t

Now, if you’re feeling overwhelmed when planning your London trip, and just don’t really have the time to spend hours planning the perfect itinerary, then check out my 3-Day London Itinerary. It’s a flexible, non-overwhelming plan for your first three days in London, it combines some of the top things to do and see in the city, along with local-approved recommendations for food, drinks and hidden gems to check out.  Everything mentioned in this article is incorporated into the itinerary. You’ll cover tons in just 72 hours.

More tips for your first 3 days in London:

How to Prepare for your First 3 Days in London
5 Common Mistakes Tourists Make in Their First Three Days in London
Want my 3-Day London Itinerary but don’t have the money? Here’s how to get it

Pin this to your London board…

Top things to do with three days in London - what to do with your first 72 hours in London.

London gift ideas for visiting London 2019

Clever Gift Ideas for People Visiting London in 2020

By London Planning Tips, London Travel Tips 2 Comments

If you know someone who’s visiting London in 2020, getting them a gift that they’ll be able to use while on their trip is a GREAT idea. Or, if YOU’RE the one who will be visiting, pass this London gift guide onto your friends and family so they get some great ideas for what to get you for the holidays.

In addition to being great London gift ideas, just about everything mentioned in this London gift guide is produced or provided by small businesses in the UK that can always use your support at this time of year.

*Some of the links in this article will earn a very small commission if you click them and then purchase something. This helps to support all of the free content that I produce for our community– emails, videos, blog posts, Instagrams, etc. If you are happy with the free advice I provide, you can give a little “thanks” for absolutely no extra cost to you by buying something from one of the links in this article, or one of our Love and London products or services. Happy gifting, and thanks for being a part of this lovely community, purchase or not!

 

Gift Guide for Visitors to London - great gift ideas for anyone who's traveling to London soon. They'll love getting one of these gifts to use on their trip in London!

Stocking-stuffer London gift ideas

These are some small items you can buy someone visiting London in 2020 that will come in handy if they pop up in their stocking.

Travel size umbrella

Anyone visiting London will need a travel-sized umbrella, it’s good to have on hand because you never know when a little shower might pop up when you’re out and about. The caveat with the travel-sized umbrellas, however, are that they don’t hold up in the wind.

So it might be that your giftee will prefer the harder-to-carry-but much nicer large clear umbrella. I hate having to carry it around but it’s much better for keeping dry, and the clear option makes it easier to see.

Refillable water bottle or coffee cup

London is really not keen on throw away plastic bottles and coffee cups anymore, so if your giftee likes liquids on the go, then a refillable water bottle or reusable coffee cup would make a lovely gift. It’s getting pretty easy to find places to refill water bottles around London, plus they can do so when hanging at a restaurant or a cafe, and having a refillable coffee cup is great because a lot of place sin London actually give a discount to people who bring their own cup for tea or coffee. So it’s a gift that saves the planet AND their money.

BTW, I’d probably go for the smaller water bottle size because it will be easier to carry around then the usual big guys.

Visitor Oyster Card

Give the gift of free public transportation! You can order a visitor oyster card ahead of time, and load it up with as much money as you want, I’d say go with about £7 per day that they’ll be in London.

Power adapter

Another thing most people need when visiting London is a power adapter. If you’re coming from pretty much anywhere but the UK, your plugs won’t fit into the sockets here. So go on Amazon and grab some adapters for them to use for their phone chargers and such. Make sure it’s the correct one for your recipient’s country’s plugs.

Keep reading for larger gift ideas…

London gift ideas for visitors in 2019 - tours

A London Tour gift voucher

There are a couple of tour companies that I recommend for London tours that are actually good and worth the money, and that contribute to the local economy. Both offer gift cards for tours that can be used in London and also other cities.

Eating Europe does food tours in London and many other major cities around Europe. You should tell your recipient to have a look at the East End tour, it combines food, East London history and street art, it’s fantastic. See Eating Europe’s gift card options.

Urban Adventures is a worldwide company but they focus on responsible tourism, so you can be sure that your guides are local and paid well, and that what you’re doing is contributing to the local culture and economy, not taking from it. See Urban Adventures’s gift card options.

London gift ideas - afternoon tea vouchersAn afternoon tea experience

London visitors absolutely must go for afternoon tea, it’s tradition, and such a lovely experience. The easiest way to purchase this for someone is to do so on a gift voucher site like Virgin Experience Days.

Here are some examples:

G & Tea at Mr. Fogg’s – this is afternoon tea with a gin twist. I’ve done this, it’s a bit theatrical, but entertaining, and great for gin lovers (in fact I would say not to get this unless the recipients enjoy gin.)

Afternoon tea at the Conrad St. James Hotel – I’ve been twice to this afternoon tea, and with a glass of champagne, it’s good value. They sometimes have a harpist playing during the tea sitting, and the hotel isn’t far from Buckingham Palace.

Luxurious tea at Fortnum & Mason – Fortnum and Mason’s afternoon tea is one of the most famous and iconic in London.

Afternoon tea at The Ritz – another iconic afternoon tea, and the experience would make as an incredible gift.

Tips for booking an afternoon tea experience on a voucher site:

  • Double check the terms and conditions of the voucher before you buy it, as you’ll want to make sure that it’s redeemable for the dates that your recipient will actually be in London.
  • If you’re on Virgin Experience Days, some of the offers on there are for terrible afternoon teas. Honestly, I would avoid Cafe Rouge, Caffe Concerto, Patisserie Valerie, and well, generally speaking, you get what you pay for when it comes to that site.

Food or drink experiences

Along the same lines as the afternoon tea experiences, these gift experience sites usually have lunch or dinner experiences you can get too. Often, they’ve got good deals for lunches at high-end, Michelin starred restaurants, so that would make a great gift.

Here are some examples:

Three Course Lunch with Cocktail for Two at Michelin Starred Benares  – Benares is located in Mayfair and does beautiful, high-end Indian cuisine. Highly recommended. Also look at the 6-course dinner tasting menu.

Three Course Meal and Cocktail for Two at the top of the Gherkin – this is an experience I personally have not gotten to have yet but it will be an unforgettable one when I do. I have been to the top of the Gherkin for an event and the views are stunning.

Three Course Lunch for Two at Michelin starred Seven Park Place – a great deal for a Michelin starred meal.

Just as with afternoon tea, you get what you pay for with these things. Don’t buy them anything for Bella Italia, Cafe Rouge, Jamie’s Italian, the Ice Bar, or Brasserie Blanc. They’ll be crap.

What to get someone who's visiting London next year. London gift ideas

Airport Lounge Pass

I’ve had an airport lounge pass for a couple of years now and I think it would make a great gift for someone who’s a frequent traveler. Lounge passes give its holder free access to hundreds of airport lounges around the world, so they can sit comfy with free food, a glass of wine, and free wifi before their flight. It’s super luxurious for not that much cost.

I have the Priority Pass and I recommend it– the one I have gets two people into a lounge for free, plus two more for minimal cost, and can be used at every terminal at London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports. But there are different price options depending on your budget.

Tickets for London attractions

Some London visitors will want to experience at least one or two attractions while they’re here. Those tickets can really add up cost-wise, so getting them as a gift would certainly be appreciated.

There are a few ways you could go about doing this…

If there’s something that you know the gift receiver really wants to do, you could just go ahead and buy the ticket for them. How this works varies by attraction, however, some of them require you to buy a ticket for a specific day and time, and that’s when it could get a little tricky because you’ll need to make sure that you’re choosing a day and time that doesn’t conflict with anything else they want to do.

Alternatively, you could get them an attraction pass like The London Pass or the London Explorer Pass. Both work a little bit differently, but in the end they give the ticket holder free entrance to select attractions across London. By getting one of these passes, it gives your recipient more freedom for what attraction they choose to go to, and also when they go. For some help with these two passes, read my honest reviews…

Is the London Pass worth it?

Is the London Explorer Pass worth it?

One more option is to get them a ticket for a Hop On Hop Off bus tour. They can use the ticket on any day that they’d like, and they get 24 hours of using those classic “hop on hop off” buses as they like, giving them flexibility to see what they want. For more info on the pros and cons of these types of buses, watch this video.

West End theatre tickets

The West End is London’s world-famous theatre district, so tickets to a show are a great idea for anyone who likes theatre.

Here are some shows I suggest:

The Lion King – absolutely breathtaking performance. Great for both kids and adults.

The Book of Mormon (my favourite show in London. Not for anyone offended by religious humor!)

42nd Street

Browse other shows on Lastminute.com

You might need to check with your gift recipient to see when they have a free night or afternoon to see a show, to make sure it doesn’t interfere with anything else they’ve already booked.

A great travel camera

If your gift recipient loves taking beautiful photos of their travels themselves, I’m sure they’d love a gear upgrade.

I am an avid travel photographer and I have two items I recommend…

Google Pixel 4

This is the phone I use (it was gifted from Google btw) and it takes insane photos. It’s actually what I use to take just about all of my photos on the Love and London Instagram account. The photos usually don’t need tons of editing and the Night Sight mode is my favourite setting as it takes really good photos even when there is very little light available.

Get the Google Pixel 4 on Amazon

Canon M50

If they might want something a little more substantial than a phone, then I personally use a Canon M50. It’s a mirrorless camera so it’s small and light, and therefore great for travel, but it’s just as powerful as a larger DSLR camera. It has automatic settings for beginner photographers, and also goes completely manual for more advanced ones.

Get the Canon M50 on B&H Photo
Get the Canon M50 on Amazon

Their trip itinerary completely planned

If your gift recipient is short on time and can’t spend hours and hours researching and planning each of their days in London, they’ll appreciate a London travel guide made by a local. The 3-Day London Itinerary is a super flexible way for London visitors to easily see a ton of the city in three days, with options to see both the famous sights and also discover hidden gems that only a Londoner who’s been in the city for years could know about.

Get the 3-Day London Itinerary.

Luggage for their London trip

Luggage is something that travelers don’t like buying for themselves, but LOVE getting as gifts. So consider getting a new carry-on suitcase or big checked-baggage suitcase, or one in the middle, for your giftee.

I personally always recommend people to get hardcase suitcases, because I once had a terrible incident on a Vietnamese flight that involved fish juice getting all over my suitcase and clothes… because it went through the fabric on the case. Hard cases protect from liquids and damage too.

Have a look at Away’s suitcase options, they are simply designed and also include a removable battery in the carry-on sizes, so electronics can be charged by just plugging into the suitcase.

I personally would love someone to get me an “in between” checked bag… I, and I think a lot of people have the carry-on bag, and they have a really big suitcase for those longer big trips, but for those week-long trips where you don’t need ALL of that space in your checked bag, but you can’t do just carry-on only, the Medium from Away works perfectly. I actually need to go order that excuse me…

Alternatively Horizn Studios has a similar option, but theirs includes a built-in charger even in their checked-bag options. Their cases are shown in the image above.

Which of these gifts do you think is the best for someone visiting London in 2020? Let me know in the comments.

 

Best Gift ideas for people visiting London

12 Unique Experiences You Should Totally Try in London

By Things to Do in London

If you’re looking for experiences to try in London that involve the Tower of London, Harry Potter, or something else that’s quite obvious, this is not the article for you. A huge part of experiencing London like you live here (the Love and London motto) is experiencing things that Londoners love to do… things that give the city the buzz you will understand when you get here. These types of experiences are the ones you will remember the most, above a typical tour of Westminster Abbey or Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace.

Here are some of the city’s most unique experiences to try in London.

*Some of the links in this article will earn a very small commission if you click them and then purchase something.

**The experiences in this list are not all tried-and-true by the Love and London team. To see what we personally recommend, visit the London Tours I Recommend page, or get the 3-Day London Itinerary.

1. Unique classes and experiences at Neal’s Yard Dairy

Do you like…. Cheese? My favourite’s Gouda!

Now that we got that movie reference out of the way, let’s talk cheese. Neal’s Yard Dairy is one of the city’s most famous cheesemongers (what cheese sellers are called in the UK.) If you are a cheese buff, this is the place to go. They offer classes that talk through things like the history of British cheese, in addition to hosting cheese-filled lunch and dinner experiences.

See Neal’s Yard Dairy’s upcoming events and classes.

Image Courtesy of Virgin Experiences

Image Courtesy of Virgin Experiences

2. London Helicopter Tour

Helicopter tours are very exclusive in London, and I believe there is only one company that has a license to do sky-high tours. See the most iconic London sights from the sky, all the way from Battersea to Canary Wharf.

Because it’s a fairly exclusive experience, you usually want to try to book this about eight weeks in advance. This makes for a fab gift, which you can buy a voucher for on Virgin Experience Days.

Buy it on Virgin Experience Days

Image Courtesy of Brush and Bubbles

3. Paint and drink with Brush and Bubbles

Two Londoner artists had an idea to combine learning to paint with prosecco, and came up with their now-booming-business called Brush and Bubbles. Book onto a class and you’ll be guided step-by-step through painting a certain masterpiece, although you’re free to go totally rogue. My whale tail painting is sitting on my mantlepiece right now, looking more diva-cup-like than tail… but I’m still flipping proud of that thing!

All materials are provided and canvases are small enough to stick in your checked bag to bring home.

Book a class with Brush and Bubbles

Image Courtesy of Virgin Experiences

4. Get a custom suit on Saville Row

Savile Row, located in Mayfair, is world-famous for being lined with some of the best suit tailors in the world. If you’re after something extra special from your trip, a semi-custom suit might be the right fit (lolz, get it). Jasper Littman, a Savile Row tailor with over 20 years experience, will be there through the process to help you choose the perfect fabrics, get the right fit, and more.

You’ll need to be available to go back for two fittings so this experience is best for men who plan to return to London a couple more times in the following few months.

Book a Savile Row Tailoring Experience on Virgin Experiences

Image Courtesy of Carrousel

5. Experience a guest chef at Carrousel

Carousel, located in Marylebone, is a creative space and restaurant that has a rotation of guest chefs from all around the world serving up dinner to the lucky few foodies who book in for the once-nightly seating. Tables are family-style, so it’s more like a dinner party than a restaurant. They’re able to accommodate for many food allergies if you let them know in advance, so don’t let that hold you back from this experience.

See which chefs are cooking at Carousel next.

Image courtesy of Virgin Experiences 

6. Make your own wedding bands in the jewellery quarter

Hatton Garden is an area that’s most famous for its jewellery shops and producers, so if you’re getting married sometime after your trip to London, it would be really special to get bespoke wedding bands made on your trip.

On top of creating your very own bands in whatever style you’d like, this experience also includes champagne and a two-course meal at French restaurant Bleeding Heart Bistro.

Find out more about making your own wedding bands experience

Image Courtesy of Rooftop Film Club

7. Watch a film on one of London’s rooftops

If you’re visiting London in the warmer months then you can book tickets to watch a film al fresco and on a rooftop while the sun sets in the background. You’ll be given headsets (to hear the film), popcorn, rain poncho (just in case) and a lounge chair to enjoy the classic film of choice that night.

The Rooftop Film Club has locations at Roof East (Stratford), the Bussey Building (Peckham) and the Queen of Hoxton (Shoreditch).

See which films are on when you’re in London

Image Courtesy of virgin Experiences

8. Cycle in an Olympic stadium… with an Olympian

As far as unique experiences to try in London go, this is probably the most special and unique.

You can cycle in the Velodrome, where many Olympians cycled during the 2012 London Olympics. But that’s not it… afterward, you’ll have a Q&A and photo session with one of the Team GM Olympian (medal-winning) cyclists, while having a buffet lunch. Pretty awesome.

Find out more about the Velodrome Cycling Experience

Image Courtesy of Design My Night

9. Join a dinner party at The Little Blue Door

The Little Blue Door is a bar in Fulham that sits quietly behind a discreet blue door (duh.) Make it inside and there’s a bar that feels like you’re in someone’s home. Every Thursday and Friday night, they host a supper club, which feels a bit like a dinner party at your friend’s house, complete with games and communal tables.

The food wasn’t anything ground-breaking when I went, but it was great for meeting other Londoners and was good fun.

See available dates for The Little Blue Door’s dinner parties

10. Get professional photos taken to commemorate your trip

Most of us can relate to going on a fantastic trip somewhere, and then realizing once you get home that you have pretty much NO good photos of you and whoever you were traveling with.

To make sure you get some incredible photos of your trip that you’re actually in, and that looks beautiful (even if you’re not a natural in front of the camera), book in for a London Photo Session, where a professional photographer will take you around London’s sights, capturing beautiful candid and posed moments that you can appreciate for years to come when you get your edited photos back just a few days later.

Find out more about London Photo Sessions

Image Courtesy of Virgin Experiences

11. Indulge at a luxury spa, lunch and wine included

One of the most lovely experiences you can do in London, no matter the weather, is a luxurious spa treatment. The 5-star Langham Hotel has one of the most special spas in the city, and they offer a special experience bundle that covers the works for an incredibly indulgent day. This includes two hours of spa access, a 25-minute back massage, a three-course lunch at Roux at The Landau, and a glass of wine. What a treatttttt….

Book the luxury spa treatment at The Langham on Virgin Experience Days

Image courtesy of Secret Cinema

12. Go to a Secret Cinema experience

This is absolutely one of the hottest tickets in town, and one of the most unique experiences to try in London for tourists. Secret Cinema is an interactive movie experience, and ticket holders not only get to watch the film of choice in a secret location, but they also dress up as their assigned characters (it’s mandatory and people go all out) and there’s a theatrical performance related to the film before it begins. Every single person I know who’s been says it was absolutely so much fun.

Tickets always sell out so make sure you check early on for your travel dates to see if you can snag any.

Check Secret Cinema dates

These aren’t the only unique experiences to try in London, but this list will get you off to a great start to experiencing once-in-a-lifetime moments on your trip that will make it a million times better.

Read Next:

Pin this to your London board…

Unique Experiences to Try in London

11 Unique Tours to Take While Visiting London

By Things to Do in London One Comment

Right, so let me guess– you’re not looking for the same old boring London walking tour. You want something different and unique. GOOD! This article covers some of the most unique tours in London that you could book onto while you’re visiting.

*Some of the links in this article will earn a very small commission if you click them and then purchase something.

**Not all tours listed here are tried-and-true by Love and London. For the best of the best, grab the 3-Day London Itinerary or check our London Tours I Recommend page.

Image Courtesy of Eating Europe

1. East End London Food Tour

This is the number one tour I recommend to Love and London-ers, for a few reasons. It’s a unique combo of walking tour in a very interesting, eclectic area — Shoreditch and Spitalfields in east London — plus yummy food tour. It doesn’t just cover British dishes, but other foods that are important to the history of the area. Plus, you’ll see some street art too.

Eating Europe runs this tour, as well as some others in London and other cities around the continent. They’re a small biz with fantastically-knowledgeable local tour guides. Also have a look at their Soho Twilight Tour for another unique option.

Book the East End London Food Tour

 2. Bermondsey Beer Tasting Tour

Deep in Bermondsey, an area that many locals aren’t aware of (unless you’ve watched my Areas to Visit That You’ve Never Heard Of video), there’s the Bermondsey Beer Mile. It’s a bunch of distilleries housed in the Network Rail arches, close enough to make it possible to do a distillery hop on certain days of the week.

If you’ve got a beer-lover with you in London, experience this unique tour in London with a local who knows all you need to know about London brews.

Book the Bermondsey Beer Tasting Tour

Image Courtesy of Chocolate Ecstasy Tours

3. Chocolate Ecstasy Tour

If you like sweets, specifically chocolate and/or ice cream, hop on one of Chocolate Ecstasy’s tours. The founder, Jennifer Earle, is a top expert in the fine chocolate industry, so she knows the best independent shops and vendors to take you to. Tours are limited to eight people and you get to eat lots of treats, duh.

Book a tour with Chocolate Ecstasy Tours

4. London Underground Treasure Hunt

Get a little competitive on one of the most unique “tours” in London. You and your team will be given riddles, puzzles and tasks to complete, all inspired and taking place in London Underground stations. You’ll compete to win Underground-y prizes, but bragging rights in probably enough for you too…

Book the London Underground Treasure Hunt on Virgin Experience Days

Image Courtesy of Virgin

 5. Wimbledon Tour

Even if your London trip doesn’t fall over the two weeks that Wimbledon happens, you can still tour the grounds and pretend like you’re there, watching the major matches on Centre Court. Plus, during this tour, you get to see tons of behind-the-scenes areas that you wouldn’t during the tournament, like the media room and the Player’s Entrance.

If you book your tour through Virgin Experience Days you also get entrance to the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, which is a very cool and interactive museum, even for non-tennis-lovers (me.)

Book the Wimbledon Tour via Virgin Experience Days

Image Courtesy of Virgin

6. Sipsmith Gin Distillery Tour

Londoners feel pretty prideful about Sipsmith Gin, and you can tour the Chiswick distillery to see how it’s all made. Book through Virgin Experience Days and you’ll also get a gin tasting (this is v important.)

Afterwards, I recommend exploring Chiswick, it’s a beautiful village-like town that has lots of great secondhand shops, pubs and restaurants.

Book the Sipsmith Gin Distillery Tour

Image Courtesy of Growing Underground

 7. Growing Underground Urban Farm Tour

Sat in an old WWII bunker 33 meters under the streets of Clapham is the world’s first underground farm. Here, farmers are growing micro-greens that supply restaurants and shops around London, providing produce that takes much less water, waste and resources to produce. Sustainability for the win…

The urban farm occasionally does tours you can get tickets for, so if you’re an eco-nerd like me, this is a super unique tour to do while in London.

Find out more about the Growing Underground Farm Tour

Image Courtesy of Virgin

8. Behind the Seams Tour at Angel’s Costumes

Angel’s Costumes is a BAFTA-award-winning costume producer, and on their Behind the Seams tour you’ll get to see thousands of costumes from TV and films they kitted out for 175 years. Think– Harry Potter, The Crown, Downton Abbey, Wicked and Game of Thrones, and more. You’ll also get to see each department in the costume-making process.

Book the Behind the Seams Tour

9. London Football Stadium Tour

Quite a few of the stadiums around London offer guided tours of their grounds, both on match days and non-match days. Some of the stadiums you can tour include Chelsea, Arsenal, and Wembley.

Image Courtesy of Bowie Tour London

10. David Bowie Music Tour

David Bowie is one of the city’s most famous and beloved Londoners, and if you’re a fan, you can take one of two David Bowie Music Tours, either in Soho or Brixton, two areas that were integral to his life. During the tour, you’ll be serenaded by acoustic versions of his songs.

Book a David Bowie Music Tour

Image Courtesy of SmallCarBigCity

11. London Tour By Mini Cooper

Go on one of the most unique tours in London– by mini cooper. You’ll have your own private guide driving you by the most famous sights in London, telling you bits and bobs about each place you see. You’ll also have a 60’s soundtrack playing, plenty of photo stops, and even hotel pick-up from zone 1.

Book a London Tour by Mini Cooper

Which of these unique tours in London have you now booked for your trip? Let me know in comments, and if you share a photo of your tour on Instagram, tag #LoveandLondon so I and our community can see.

More London tips: 

12 Unique Experiences You Should Totally Try in London
12 Unique Afternoon Teas to Try in London
Where Can You Store Luggage in London? A Comprehensive List of Luggage Storage Locations

Pin this to your London board…Unique Tours to Take in London