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8 Great Areas to Stay in While Visiting London

By London Area Guides, London Planning Tips, London Travel Tips 10 Comments

What are the best areas to stay in while visiting London?

Well, the first thing to know is that there are LOTS of great areas to stay in while visiting London, so while this is a list of my top recommendations, just because an area isn’t on it doesn’t mean it’s not a safe or interesting area of London to stay in.

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

The best areas to stay in while in London. Safe and interesting neighborhoods in London that you'll love staying in. Book your hotel, Airbnb or hostel in these London areas.

Best areas to stay in while visiting London: what to look for

Proximity to Central London

The most central part of London is called, well, Central London. In tube terms, it’s called Zone 1 (if you don’t know what zones are, watch the video below.) The most popular areas and attractions in London are in Central London.

Pros of staying close to or in Central London

You’ll be closer to the major sites, and it’s pretty easy to get to a lot of parts of the city because you’re literally in the centre of it all.

Cons of staying in Central London

Generally speaking, the closer you stay to Zone 1, the more money you’ll pay. Ideally, you’ll want to find a balance of being as close to Central London that your budget will allow, otherwise you could be spending a lot of time and money on the train getting to and from Central London (although, there’s a lovely neighbourhood feel outside of central!)

You’ll see the areas to stay in while visiting London, mentioned below, are a mix of in Central London, and just outside of it.

Tube and train stations

Most areas in London have at least a tube or a train station, but not all do. You’ll definitely want to have at least one within walking distance of the hotel you choose. Sometimes, hotels will say there’s “a bus stop right outside our door” but in London terms, that doesn’t mean much, as buses can be veryyyyy slow.

It’s even better if you can find yourself a place to stay in London that has multiple stations within just a few minutes walking distance.

1. Covent Garden

I love Covent Garden. There’s plenty to do around the area, it’s a great jumping-off point for most parts of London, and you’ll be in the middle of it all, so it’s not for people who want a very quiet area. Great food, great shopping, and close to the sights, there’s lots to do around Covent Garden, making it one of the best areas to stay in while visiting London.

Read my Things to Do in Covent Garden post before you decide to stay in the area.

Good hotels in Covent Garden:

££Z Hotel Covent Garden – because you’re staying so central, it’s nearly impossible to find a non-luxury hotel in Covent Garden. Z Hotel is basically your only option, and they offer dirt-cheap rooms (with no window!) See Z Hotel Covent Garden

£££Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street – located right off Seven Dials, and beautifully designed. See Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street

££££Covent Garden Hotel – absolutely stunning, and part of the Firmdale Hotels boutique group. See the Covent Garden Hotel

Where to stay in London best neighborhoods - Shoreditch

2. Shoreditch

This area is quirky and interesting, and is great for those in your 20’s-30’s who want a “less touristy” experience. It’s famous for its street art, and there’s an interesting food and drink scene. While in Shoreditch, one second you may see a hipster walking past you with no shoes on, and the next you’ll have come across a brand new piece of art by a world-famous street artist.

If you want to party, Shoreditch is one of the best areas to stay in while visiting London.

Read my Shoreditch Guide to find some cool things to do in the area.

Good hotels in Shoreditch:

£St. Christopher’s Hostel Liverpool Street — a 10 minute walk from Shoreditch, and very well connected, being so close to Liverpool Street Station. I like this hostel chain. See more about St. Christopher’s Hostel Liverpool Street

££CitizenM Shoreditch – this chain claims to be “no-frills” in order to lower its prices, but it’s still a pretty swanky hotel, and this branch is brand new. Rooms can go as low as £100/night, sign up to be a “citizen” to get the lowest rates. See CitizenM Shoreditch

£££The Hoxton, Shoreditch – Wasn’t sure which budget category to put this one in, because sometimes you can find rates as low at £120/night. This place is super cool and if you want a lively atmosphere and a cool bar, restaurant, and workspace in your hotel, this is the spot. See The Hoxton, Shoreditch

££££Ace Hotel Shoreditch – THE place to stay in Shoreditch. A friend told me that “every detail was thought of” when she stayed there. Another place with a cool vibe for 20 and 30-somethings. Splurge for the Ace Suite that has a wrap-around terrace. See Ace Hotel Shoreditch

Posh Kensington, shared by @beingviolet. The area isn’t just good looking, but has quite a few (free) museums nearby too.

A post shared by Jess | Love and London (@jess_inlondon) on

3. Kensington & Chelsea

If you want to be among the posh, the Kensington and Chelsea area is a good choice . The houses are breathtaking, and you’re more likely to spot a celebrity here, although a lot of them will be English and you may not know even exist! There’s lots of high-end shopping here and some great restaurants that vary in price from mid-range to super luxe. You’ll be close to beautiful museums like the V&A, the Saatchi Gallery and the Natural History Museum, so don’t forget to visit.

Points of interest in Kensington & Chelsea:

Victoria and Albert Museum – an art and design museum, free to visit.

Natural History Museum – The name speaks for itself! It’s free to visit, and before Christmas, there’s a gorgeous ice rink out front.

Duke of York Square – lovely area for shopping and eating. Try Polpo for some delish Italian tapas.

King’s Road – All along this road that runs through Chelsea are gorgeous boutique shops and some restaurants too. Go to the Big Easy if you want some good ole American BBQ.

The Chelsea Gardener – a “garden center” that also has pop up shops and a bar/restaurant, perfect for when the sun’s out.

Afternoon tea at The Ampersand Hotel – their Science Tea is lovely for both kids and adults, and is inspired by the nearby Science Museum.

Good hotels in Kensington & Chelsea:

£ – if you’re on a budget, I don’t recommend staying in this area.

££Park Grand London Kensington – I’ve seen other hotels with a bit more character, however a room here is really good value, with prices starting around £130 per night. Book the Park Grand London Kensington

£££The Ampersand Hotel – The decor here is what I consider to be “modern London”, it’s really gorgeous but nods to London hotel decor from years ago. Find about more about The Ampersand Hotel

££££11 Cadogan Gardens – Great for a luxe getaway that’s very “British”. Find out more about 11 Cadogan Gardens

4. King’s Cross

King’s Cross a great place to stay if you’ll be using the Eurostar or flying into Luton airport. It’s also incredibly well connected to the rest of London and other parts of England. In King’s Cross you’ll find good-value accommodation options, as well as the St. Pancras Renaissance hotel, which is where they filmed the first Spice Girls video— you know the stairs I’m talking about!

Points of interest in King’s Cross:

Granary Square – this little area always has things going on like riverside cinema and sports game viewings (can you tell I’m not really into sports?) It’s also a great spot to cool off in the summer, in its crazy-cool jumping fountains that you can control yourself if you download the app.

Camdentown – a decent walk or just one stop on the tube takes you to this eclectic area with loads of musical influence, alongside world-famous markets with loads of shopping and budget-friendly food options.

Vinoteca – Cool wine bar/restaurant with a modern take on Italian food, located right next to King’s Cross station.

German Gymnasium – a cool spot for an al fresco drink at anytime of the year. I haven’t eaten here yet but they serve up modern German dishes.

Dishoom – one of the locations of this London favourite that serves up great Indian breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Drink Shop Do – a cafe and bar that also does interesting craft events and such.

Good hotels in Kings Cross:

£ – Generator Hostel – a high-end hostel about a ten minute walk from King’s Cross station. I’ve stayed in a private double room which was VERY spacious, and the bar/restaurant is REALLY reasonably priced and great for meeting other travelers. Find out more about Generator

£ – Clink78 Hostel – one of our community members highly recommends Clink, it’s a bit closer to public transportation than Generator and he insists that it’s great for travelers who are past “backpacker age”. Book Clink78 Hostel

££ – Point A King’s Cross – Point A are a chain that keep prices for rooms low by charging for extras like towels, wifi, etc. You’ll find rooms here from about £80 a night, a really good deal for London. I’ve stayed at one of their other locations and think the concept is great. Find out more about Point A King’s Cross

££££ – St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel – this luxe hotel is famous for its staircase that appeared in the first Spice Girls music video– you know what I’m talking about unless you’re too young! The hotel is essentially a part of St. Pancras Station, so you could literally roll out of bed and hop on the Eurostar if you’d like. Find out more about St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel

Best areas to stay in while visiting London - Notting Hill

5. Notting Hill

I know fans of the movie will want to stay in this lovely area… but just so you know, the book shop isn’t the real bookshop 😉

Although Portobello Road gets crazy busy on the weekends due to the market, the rest of the area is fairly quiet, and almost seems like another part of city. This is where you’ll find plenty of the famous rainbow coloured houses, some street art, and the loveliest cafes, shops, bars and restaurants.

Points of interest:

Acklam Village – this is a funky street market with lots of food and drink options. It’s only on the weekends but there’s usually live music and the atmosphere is lively and fun.

Alice’s Antiques – everyone loves this antiques shop on Portobello Road. Pop in if you appreciate all things old and vintage!

Granger & Co – Yummy brunch spot, a particular favourite of Aussies because Granger is one himself, and because they do great avocado dishes here.

Hummingbird Bakery – mmmmmmmm cupcakes.

I have a lot more Notting Hill recommendations in The Local Guide to London.

Good hotels in Notting Hill:

£ – No noteable budget accommodation options I know of here.

££ – La Suite West – reasonably priced rooms considering that this hotel is super modern and feels pretty luxurious. It’s halfway between Paddington station and Notting Hill Gate station. Find out more about La Suite West

£££ – The Portobello Hotel – this hotel nods to the antique shops of the area but still is luxurious and a bit modern, with rooms starting around £150/night. Check out The Portobello Hotel

££££ – The Laslett – with rooms from £250/night, this luxurious hotel in a great location is actually decent value. Find out more about The Laslett

Top areas to stay in in London - Paddington

6. Paddington

Similar to King’s Cross, Paddington is one of the best areas to stay in while visiting London, for the convenience factor. When you take the Heathrow Express from Heathrow Airport into London, it drops you at Paddington station. But besides having a busy train station, staying in Paddington also means you’ll be right by Hyde Park and Little Venice, so it’s a great area to grab a Boris Bike and go for a ride.

If you’re flying into and out of Heathrow Airport, these are 10 important things to know before you do (like, immigration stuff.)

Points of interest in Paddington:

Little Venice – a little area that’s gotten its name because of the canal that run through it, making it feel a bit like Italy’s Venice. There are walking and biking paths on both sides of the canal, great for some Boris Bike action.

Paddington Bear – this is his hometown! You can find a statue of him in Paddington Station.

Cafe41 – Vegans should visit La Suite West’s vegan restaurant, where you can have a yummy meal or afternoon tea that will appeal to both vegans and non-vegans alike. I especially recommend their winter afternoon tea.

Hyde Park – There’s so much to do here! This park is great for riding bikes through, and or you can opt to go horseback riding, visit the rose garden, or just have a nice picnic. This is also where the world-famous Winter Wonderland is during the Christmas season.

Cafe Laville – Lovely little cafe with gorgeous views over the canal in Little Venice.

Good hotels in Paddington:

£ – Nothing particularly notable that I know of. Check Hostelworld or Booking.com.

££ – Point A Paddington – another location that’s part of the Point A family, with cheap room rates and only-pay-what-you-use amenities. Find out more about Point A Paddington

££ – La Suite West – as mentioned in the Notting Hill section, this hotel is bang on in between Notting Hill Gate station and Paddington station. Rooms start from around £110 in this modern, luxe hotel– great value. There’s even a patio you can take advantage of in the warmer temps. Find out more about La Suite West

££££ – The Royal Lancaster London – the decor is a bit outdated at the moment, but it’s undergoing renovations and the plans look great. A large hotel in a great location, and reviews say the service is notable. Find out more about The Royal Lancaster London

Top places to stay in London - Southbank

7. Southbank or Bankside

Southbank is a fun area at any time of the year, as there’s always lots to do. You’ll be near to THE Southbank (DUH), Borough Market, Millennium Bridge, the Tate Modern, and lots more. Pop up events are happening around here all the time, or you can stick to sightseeing as Big Ben, Westminster and the London Eye will all be within walking distance of your hotel.

Visiting Borough Market? It’s big, and little overwhelming. Here are my top recommendations for what to eat at Borough Market.

Points of interest:

Southbank – walk along the River Thames for incredible scenery and also photo opps of the London Eye and Big Ben. Sunsets are gorgeous here on clear days!

Dandelyan – one of London’s best cocktail bars, located in Sea Containers Hotel. Book ahead if you can, and dress the part.

The Rumpus Room – this has been voted as London’s BEST bar, located at the top of Sea Containers, it has unbeatable views of the city. Book in advance and make sure you’re dressed well!

SC FoodMarket – lots of yummy food stalls located behind the Royal Festival Hall. It’s open only Friday-Sunday and bank holiday Mondays.

There is loads more to do beyond Southbank as well, you’ll be very central for it all. This entire area is covered extensively in my 3-Day London Itinerary.

Good hotels in Southbank and Bankside:

£ – Nothing notable in the low-budget range right in this area.

££ – £££ – CitizenM Bankside – another location of the expanding CitizenM brand, it’s super stylish and in an awesome location, but won’t totally break the bank. Find out more about CitizenM Bankside 

££££ – Sea Containers – this hotel is insanely modern and swanky. Located right next to the River Thames, you can choose a room with river views (think of the sunsets!) or a private garden. This is where the two bars mentioned above are located. Find out more about Sea Containers (formerly Mondrian London)

A gorgeous day in London today. Park Lane is beaming in the light ☀

A post shared by Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott (@grosvenorhouselondon) on

8. Park Lane

You won’t find any budget-friendly accommodations on Park Lane but you will find some of the most luxurious hotels in the UK as Park Lane is lined with them. Guests at these hotels get to stay right next to Hyde Park, and might even get a view of it from your bed. If you want to opt for a luxe hotel either for a special occasion or “just because”, this is a great area to start your search.

Points of interest:

Hyde Park – you can’t get any closer– you could walk across the street from your hotel and have a picnic there for breakfast.

Claridge’s afternoon tea – if you want to leave your own hotel for an afternoon tea experience, Claridge’s is nearby, so make a reservation here for one of the most famous afternoon tea experiences in the world.

Mr. Fogg’s Residence – a fun little spot for a cocktail, preferably gin. You won’t know you’ve arrived to it until you see someone outside an unmarked door dressed as though he’s still living in the 1920’s. Try to book ahead.

Benares – Indian-British cuisine from twice Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar.

Good hotels on Park Lane in London:

£ – £££ – you won’t find this around here!

££££ – The Dorchester – here you’ll get classic yet luxurious English decor, a gorgeous spa, and Michelin-starred dining options, plus you’ll be staying in a landmark building built in 1931. The Dorchester is known for its incredible service. Find out more about The Dorchester

££££ – Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park – not actually on Park Lane but very close, and still right next to Hyde Park. Part of the hotel group with top-notch hotels around the world, guests love the gorgeous garden terrace and world-famous spa that includes an indoor pool. It’s “royally blessed” — in the 1930s, the Queen and her sister learned to dance in the ballroom here. Find out more about Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

££££ – 45 Park Lane – the sister hotel of the Dorchester with art-deco interiors designed by Thierry Despont. Each and every room has views of Hyde Park in this boutique hotel. Find out more about 45 Park Lane

Looking for some more hotel recommendations? Here you go…

8 Stylish London Hotels That Cost Less Than £150 Per Night

12 Best London Hotels with Rooftop Bars

8 Stylish London Hotels That Cost Less Than £150 Per Night

By London Planning Tips 4 Comments

London’s accommodation options range from low-end hostels to some of the grandest hotels in world. But if you want to stay at a stylish hostel without splurging out, there are some hotels around the city that are the perfect fit for you. Check out these 8 stylish hotels that you can stay in for under £150 a night.

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

Pin this, then keep reading…

Good hotels in london under 150 a night

What to know before booking a hotel in London

Before you book any of the below, here are some tips for choosing the perfect London hotel.

Stay near a tube station, not a bus stop

Some hotels will advertise that they are very close to a bus stop, but that’s typically not super helpful. It’s best to stay within a 10 minute walk of a tube station if you don’t want to spend your whole London visit on public transportation.

Budget hotels may make you pay for extras

Some of the hotels on this list are more affordable because they charge for extras like TV, extra towels, and more. Honestly, it’s worth it for the savings, but just make a note so you’re not surprised when you arrive to your hotel in London and are asked to pay for the extras.

Branch off of the usual American brands

World-wide hotel brands like Hilton and Marriott are typically much more expensive than the boutique hotels listed here (with the exception of the last hotel.) Use this trip to London as an excuse to try out a cool new boutique hotel that you haven’t heard of before, especially if it’s going to save you some cash.

Prices in London will be higher in the summer and around Christmas

If you’re pricing out these hotels for a summer visit, you might find they are a little more than you expected. If you have wiggle room for your visit, know that you’ll always find cheaper pricing outside of June-August and close to Christmastime.

Stylish Budget London Hotels - La Suite - These 8 hotels are budget-friendly but still stylish and classically London. Here's where you should stay when you visit London!

1. La Suite West – Bayswater

This boutique hotel is just down the road from world-famous Notting Hill. While the exterior looks like a row of traditional Victorian houses (SO Insta-worthy) the rooms are modern and minimalistic, and when the weather’s nice you can enjoy the private garden.

La Suite West’s in-house restaurant is fully plant-based, including the afternoon tea. I’ve had it twice, and it’s REALLY good.



Booking.com

Book on Booking.com

 

Stylish budget hotels in London - These 8 hotels are budget-friendly but still stylish and classically London. Here's where you should stay when you visit London!

2. CitizenM – multiple London locations

This boutique hotel chain prides itself on being super hip without shocking you with a crazy price tag. There are now three locations in London: Shoreditch, Tower of London, and Bankside. I personally recommend Shoreditch (check out my Shoreditch guide to see why– there’s lots of funky things to check out) but the Bankside location has a cool curated bookshop, and the Tower of London location’s rooftop bar has INSANE views of the Tower.

The per-night prices aren’t always under £150 per night, but if you book early enough, and during the non-peak season, you should be golden. Plus, cool features like self-check in and an in-house art collection should make up for the extra cash you might have to pay.

 Book Bankside on Booking.com | Book Shoreditch | Book Tower of London



Booking.com

 

Stylish hotels in London under 150 pounds a night - These 8 hotels are budget-friendly but still stylish and classically London. Here's where you should stay when you visit London!

3. Stylotel, Paddington

Stay at at the stylish Stylotel (ahem) and you’ll be just a two minutes’ walk from Paddington station, which means you’ll be well connected, especially if traveling from Heathrow via the Heathrow Express. You’ll be off the plane and into your hotel room in under an hour (if the immigration line isn’t too bad!)

Guests can opt for a designer budget “StyloRoom” for two, or “Stylosuite” apartments with kitchenettes can hold more (plus you can make yourself breakfast in bed.)

If you’re up for some greenery not far from your London boutique hotel, just five minutes down the road by foot is Hyde Park.

TripAdvisor Rating | Book on Booking.com


Booking.com

 

best boutique hotels london under £150 a night

4. Point A Hotels – Multiple locations

Point A Hotels in London are modern and stylish, but priced so that you only pay for what you want/need, including towels, wifi, TV usage, and even a window in the room. Even though I’d never opt for windowless, with base prices starting around £65 per night (window included) I’d definitely consider a Point A Hotel when choosing an affordable hotel in London. The Canary Wharf one isn’t a good location, but you could try Westminster, Liverpool Street, Shoreditch, Kings Cross or Paddington. All of those areas are either super cool, or very well connected.

Book Kings Cross on Booking.com | Book Shoreditch | Book Westminster | Book Liverpool Street | Book Paddington



Booking.com

 

5. Z Hotels – Multiple locations

Z hotels are some of the best budget-friendly hotels in London. Rooms start from £60 per night, and your rate includes a free wine and cheese happy hour every night in the hotel lobby. There are eight Z Hotel locations around London, in all different types of areas that will suit just about everyone.

Book Shoreditch on Booking.com | Book Victoria | Book Soho | Book Piccadilly | Book Tottenham Court Road



Booking.com

 

Cool budget hotels in London under 150 a night - These 8 hotels are budget-friendly but still stylish and classically London. Here's where you should stay when you visit London!

6. Qbic London – Shoreditch/Aldgate East

Quirky, fun and cheap— how can you beat that? This Shoreditch budget hotel is super fun, its decor alone will make you never want to leave, and you might not if the equally-eclectic areas of Shoreditch, Brick Lane, and Spitalfields weren’t just outside the lobby doors. With rooms starting around £70 a night, you can’t go wrong with this affordable London hotel.

TripAdvisor Rating | Book on Booking.com 



Booking.com

 

Great budget hotels in London under 150 pounds a night - These 8 hotels are budget-friendly but still stylish and classically London. Here's where you should stay when you visit London!

7. Arosfa – Bloomsbury

Great location for a sweet little London hotel. The rooms are quite small but according to reviews, it’s super clean, has lots of popular London attractions within walking distance, and there’s even a private garden where you’re welcome to kick back with a drink from the bar. Rates can vary and rooms book up quick so try to sort this one out in advance.

Fun fact— Arosfa means “resting place” in Welsh. Nice touch.

TripAdvisor Rating | Book on Booking.com



Booking.com

 

stylish budget hotels in london - Kensington - These 8 hotels are budget-friendly but still stylish and classically London. Here's where you should stay when you visit London!

8. Park Grand – Kensington

This is one of those hotels that looks expensive (there are plenty of those in Kensington) but actually is reasonably priced if you don’t stay during the peak season— the price gets even better if you can book in advance or stay more than two nights. Breakfast and wifi are included in the price too.

The location is great, just steps away from Kensington Gardens, and about five minutes from High Street Kensington tube station. You can even walk to the Museum Mile, where you’ll find the V&A, the Science Museum, and more in this area.

TripAdvisor Rating | Book on Booking.com



Booking.com

More help with choosing a London hotel:

12 Best London Hotels with Rooftop Bars

8 Great Areas to Stay in While Visiting London


Booking.com

20 Things to Instagram While in London

By London Travel Tips One Comment

London is super Instagram-friendly. With pops of bright red all over the city, and unique little finds almost everywhere you go, there’s so many things to Instagram in London. When you’re in town and have your iPhone or camera in hand, challenge yourself to capture everything on this list of 20 things to Instagram in London.

If you share any of these spots on Instagram, use the hashtag #LoveandLondon so I can see, and your photo might be featured on the Love and London Instagram account.

Some Instagram tips for London

How to deal with cloudy London days

We get a lot of those. Avoid ugly grey skies by not photographing taller icons on those days, like Tower Bridge and Big Ben. They’re so high up that you can’t avoid shooting the sky around them. Instead, go for photographing subjects that will take up the whole frame, like straight-on shots of buildings in Soho, parks with trees overhanging, and eye-level street art.

How to avoid people in your photos

Sorry for the bad news, but especially if you’re visiting in the summer, then you’ll need to wake up early to get the shot. Shooting just after sunrise will be the quietest, plus you’ll have the best light. So that little sacrifice will be worth it for the beautiful shots you’ll get, without the crowds.

Is it safe to ask a stranger to take a photo of me in London?

Generally speaking, not much will happen beyond getting a crappy photo because the person you asked didn’t know how to take a good one. Personally, I am usually running around London with my Canon M50 and I wouldn’t trust anyone with it, because even if they don’t run off with it, they could easily drop it.

20 things to Instagram in London… let’s go!

Scattered around London are these cute little mews. They can catch you by surprise …

A photo posted by Jess Dante (@jess_inlondon) on

1. The Mews

Mews are cute, quaint little alleyways and streets that are hidden around London. The one shown above might be the most famous. They’re very Instagrammable. Just be aware– some are private, so don’t go down them.

Talk about curb appeal 🌈 found in Notting Hill, London. A photo posted by Jess Dante (@jess_inlondon) on

2. Colourful houses in Notting Hill

The colourful houses of Notting Hill almost don’t seem real. Wander around near Portobello Road and you’ll be sure to spot some.

3. Street art in Shoreditch

Street art can be found in all different parts of London but in Shoreditch, it’s around every corner. Because it’s ever-changing, beautiful, and colourful, it’s one of the best things to Instagram in London.

4. Afternoon tea

Because it’s just TOO DAMN PRETTY. If you want to know the best places to get afternoon tea in London, grab The Local Guide to London.

5. The skyline from Waterloo Bridge

The Eye, Big Ben, and Westminster Bridge can be seen on one side of Waterloo Bridge, and then on the other is the Oxo Tower, the Shard, St. Pauls, and a few more. It’s a major photo spot.

6. Red telephone boxes

Because #iconic, and one’s just not enough! I point out where to find some red telephone boxes in my post about 5 Great Photo-Taking Spots in London.

7. Big Ben and Parliament from Westminster Bridge

At the time I’m publishing this (2018), Elizabeth Tower, which is the tower that holds Big Ben (the bell), is majorly under construction, and not as picture perfect as usual. But I’ve seen some lovely photos taken here despite the construction.

8. The symmetrical trees in Green Park

The symmetrical tree line in Green Park creates leading lines, which in the photography world, is incredibly appealing to the eye. Definitely worth visiting Green Park for an Instagram shot.

9. An underground station

This is best at night or early in the morning, when it’s not so crowded.

10. Columbia Road Flower Market

All the pretty flowers. Enough said.

11. Rooftop bar

If you’re visiting London in the warmer months, a must-do is visiting a rooftop bar. Grab yourself a drink, then snap an Instagram shot of the city.

12. A cute English pub

They’re all over the place, and many have flowers on the exterior. The tradition of putting flowers outside a pub started a couple hundred years ago, when pubs didn’t have names. So everyone would say “let’s meet at the pub with the pink and purple flowers”. Cool.

13. Pimms, al fresco

The drink of choice for the English when the sun’s out for five minutes, if you don’t hold it up and take a photo, did you even really drink it? Served at most bars and pubs in London.

Piccadilly piccadilly. #piccadillycircus #london #streetlife #2015 #thisislondon A photo posted by Türkan (@tersninja_) on

14. Piccadilly Circus

Hide the tourists, point your camera up to capture all of the pretty and less of the madness.

Hats on caps on hats… and the men who purchase them. #thisislondon A photo posted by Jess Dante (@jess_inlondon) on

15. Quirky London shops

London’s shops are definitely playing up to the Instagram generation, making their shopfronts as pretty as a picture. You’ll find plenty of cute shopfronts all around the city, making this one of the easiest things to Instagram in London.

16. London’s vintage shops

If you’re a vintage lover, London is a goldmine for you. Head to Shoreditch for the most vintage shops in the smallest area, and snap some Instagram shots while you’re shopping.

Watch my video on the best places to go vintage shopping in London.

17. Standing on Tower Bridge

You can walk across Tower Bridge and when you do, look up. It’s an impressive piece of work, and definitely worth a #lookup Instagram shot.

One of the most instagrammable spots in Londontown.

A photo posted by Jess Dante | Love and London (@jess_inlondon) on

18. St. Paul’s Cathedral from Millennium Bridge

They line up so perfectly. Head to the Tate Modern, and you’ll find the bridge. Make sure you’re centered perfectly or the photo will look a little wonky.

19. The ceiling at the British Museum

Looks cool, and it’s proof that you’re cultured. JK 🙂 The museum holds over a million artifacts… make sure you give yourself a few hours to explore once you get that Instagram shot.

20. A red bus

You can’t go to London and not Instagram a red bus. It’s just too iconic.

What to read next:

5 Great Photo-Taking Spots in London

10 Cool Things to Do in Camden, London

9 Cool Things to Do in Shoreditch, London

Pin this to your London trip board…

20 Instagram spots to visit in London. Get great photos at these top Instagram locations in London.

When do you tip in London? A London tipping guide

By London Travel Tips No Comments

When do you tip in London?

Knowing how and when to tip in London can be a little confusing, as tipping culture varies across the world, but this guide will help you figure out what you need to do when tipping in London. We’ll talk about tipping in restaurants, at bars and pubs, when taking taxis, and at London hotels.

Tipping in London Restaurants

You do need to tip at London restaurants.

Tipping at restaurants in London

Some restaurants will automatically add a service charge onto your bill, usually around 12.5% (shown above.) A service change is always optional, no matter what. So if you had satisfactory service, you just pay the full bill, which will already include the service charge in the final amount owed, and you’re sorted. If you had bad service, just pay the total without service charge, or what’s usually labeled as the “subtotal.”

Tipping when a service charge is added

If you have bad service and choose not to pay the added service charge, here’s how you approach it. If you’re paying by card, you’ll have to verbally tell the server that you won’t be paying for the added service charge when they arrive to your table with the credit card machine. Otherwise, they will assume you will be paying the total with the service charge, and type that into the card machine.

When paying your bill with cash and choosing not to pay the service charge, just give over the subtotal to the server. If you need change, you’ll have to explain that you’re not paying the service charge. And yes, it’s a little awkward!

Tipping when no service charge is added

If no service charge is added, paying 10%-15% tip is customary, although you can give more for exceptional service. I typically choose to pay around 10% unless I had extra fabulous service. If you’re American, remember that service in London isn’t as good as back home, so make sure you lower your expectations 🙂

Also, it’s important to know that in many restaurants and bars in London, tips are pooled together and therefore shared with other staff members.

Tipping in London Pubs

There’s no need to tip when getting drinks at a pub or bar in London. The only time you’ll pay a tip is when you get table service, which means your order is taken while you’re seated at a table, and then the drinks and/or food are brought to you. You might see an optional service charge on your bill in that type of situation.

In my video Important Things to Know Before Visiting London Pubs, I had quite a few people comment that they sometimes give a bit of cash to the bartender at the end of the night and say something along the lines of “and buy one for yourself”, and this acts as a tip. I personally have never seen or heard of anyone doing that, but you’re welcome to give it a go if you want to show some appreciation to your bartender.

Tipping guide for LondonTipping London Taxi Drivers

It’s not necessary to tip London taxi drivers, but feel free to round up to the nearest pound, as many people will do here. You can choose to give a little more if you had a lot of bags that they helped with, or it was a particularly long journey, say, from one of London’s airports.

Tipping in London Hotels

At high-end London hotels, it’s suggested to tip around £1-£2 per bag to the baggage porter. Lower-end hotels won’t expect a tip, although you can give one if you’d like. Leaving a tip for housekeeping would be accepted, but it’s definitely not necessary, especially as some hotels in London are now starting to add a service charge onto your bill at check out, which would cover the housekeeping staff as well as others.

Tipping London Tour Guides

If you’ve paid for your tour, you don’t have to give a tip, however if you feel like you want to show your appreciation to your tour guide, a tip will always be welcomed, even if just a couple of pounds.

If you’ve done one of London’s free tours, I would highly suggest tipping, as those tour guides only make money when tipped by tour guests, and you should definitely show your appreciation for getting a tour for zero cost. Honestly, you’ll look like a major cheapskate if you don’t tip the tour guide at least a few pounds per person in your party!

More helpful tips to make your visit to London the best it can be:

How to experience London like a local
Five common mistakes tourists make in their first 3 days in London
Which Oyster Card? The best Oyster Card for visitors

Want more London visitor tips? Get my free London 101 Guide. It has everything a first-time visitor needs before visiting London. You’ll learn about what kind of power adapter to pack, how to get from the airport to your hotel, what you need to use public transportation, and more.

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When to tip in London. A tipping guide to London-- how to tip at London restaurants, when to tip at London hotels, and should you tip the London taxi drivers?

Pub Etiquette in London - What to know about pubs in London

Important Things to Know Before Visiting London Pubs

By London Food and Drink 3 Comments

I bet you’ve been looking forward to visiting some pubs in London ever since you booked your trip. But I know what you’re wondering…

“Do I tip the bartender?”
“How do I order a drink?”

Not to worry. Here are some important things to know before you visit any pubs in London.

Place your order at the bar

For most pubs in London, you’re going to order your drinks at the bar, pay there, and take your drinks to your seat or wherever you’re standing. The same thing goes for when you order pub food too, unless there is a separate restaurant section, then you’ll have table service. When in doubt, just ask.

Don’t tip the bartenders

Americans, you’ll love this. Tipping in London is different than in the States. There’s no need to tip bartenders in pubs, or really any bars, in the UK. In fact, it would be a tad odd if you did.

Order beer and cider by the pint

It’s customary to order your beer or cider by the pint. Just say “can I get a pint of [drink]”? To give you an idea of how big that is, a pint of beer is 20 oz, or the size of a bottle of Coke for one person. You can also ask for a half-pint if you want something smaller. Most bars will also have bottled beer available too.

You can stand outside with your pint

When pubs in London start to get crowded, people just stand around with their drinks. When it’s a decent day outside, the crowds spill out to the streets and pavement surrounding the pub. You know it’s quittin’ time when you see lots of people outside with a pint in their hand.

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What to know before visiting pubs in London.

Pubs in London are family affairs

Almost all pubs in London are family-friendly during the day. In fact it’s very common for parents to take their kids (and dogs!) to the pub for a Saturday or Sunday lunch. It feels more like a casual restaurant than a pub. If you really want to feel like a local, head to a pub with the whole family on the weekend!

Order drinks in rounds

When Londoners go to the pub together, they typically buy drinks in rounds, instead of everyone having to go up to the bar individually. If you’ve got a big group, you can see how it’d be easy to get drunk fairly quickly! You don’t have to do it this way, but it definitely makes it easier to get your drinks.

You can dress casually

Most pubs in London, especially during the day, are pretty casual in terms of what you wear. The only exception is when it starts to get later in the evening. You might see people dressed up for a night out, as they’ve planned to head to a club after the pub.

Seat yourself (in the bar area)

Pubs in London are generally a seat yourself thing, if you can find one. Some do let you call ahead and reserve a table, so you might see signs that say “reserved”. If you have a big group, call up to reserve a table if you can think that far ahead! Otherwise, just find yourself a spot when you get there.

Not all pubs in London are equal

There are all different types of pubs in London, from nicer Gastro pubs, to cheaper ones like Weatherspoons. The quality of pub food will vary greatly, but you can’t really go wrong when it comes to ordering beer, wine and cider. Don’t stress too much about finding the perfect London pub to visit – just pop into one, have a drink, and you can always move on if you’re not into it. For some suggestions of pubs to visit in London, grab The Local Guide to London.

If you plan to eat and drink a lot when you’re in London, here are more tips about Food and Drink in London.

More smart London tips:
How to experience Afternoon Tea
How to experience Sunday Roast
What to eat at Borough Market

Experience London like a local

How to Experience London Like a Local (How Londoners Do It)

By London Planning Tips No Comments

Tourists, I love ya. I really do. However, if you only experience London by going to the big attractions, you’re not getting the full experience. Your trip might feel like you are at an amusement park wading through crowds or standing in lines to see the major attractions. I’m here to help you add more of that London charm to your visit. To do so, I suggest you do London like a local, here’s how Londoners experience the city differently than tourists.

Londoners listen to other Londoners

Londoners love hearing about new restaurants, things to do, drinking spots, and more from other Londoners. Some of the best recommendations I’ve received are from people I’ve met all around the city. (Also– if you’d like to “meet” some of these people, check out my podcast “Londoners I’ve Met” on Apple podcast, Google Play, or Spotify).

Honestly, if you have a friend who lives in London, you will probably get some good recommendations from them. And if you don’t, no problem, I’ll be that friend!

Londoners don’t overplan

Particularly on the weekends, Londoners typically choose one thing to do at the beginning of the day, and then leave the rest of the day to be figured out. Days when there isn’t a plan can be some of the best time you spend in London, because you can literally do whatever is making you happy at the moment without having to worry about other plans you’ve already made. You can spend the entire day at the one pub, check out a one-day-only pop up market that you stumbled upon, or do literally anything you discover throughout the day.

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How to Experience London Like a Local - tips from a proper local Londoner on how to experience the city like you live there.

Londoners check out one-off events

London always has some kind of special event or pop-ups going on, pretty much any day of the year. Londoners are really good at getting involved in things like that because they’re always looking for something new to do.

If you want to see what you might be able to do when you’re in London, I have a whole playlist of videos about special events happening each month. You can also check sites like TimeOut London and The Nudge to see what’s popping up in the next few days or weeks while you’re in London. It’s a great way to experience London like a local (and maybe you’ll make some London friends too!)

Londoners hang out in the less-touristy areas

Because the majority of Londoners live outside of central London, where the most touristy areas are, they can be really good at exploring the quieter, more local neighborhoods around the city. Some examples include Hampstead, Chelsea, Maida Vale, and Hoxton, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

When you take a break from the touristy areas and explore London like a local, you will see some of the more eclectic neighborhoods. My video about the 5 Less-Touristy Areas in London describes the character of five of these lesser-known neighborhoods so you can decide which ones you’d like to visit.

I hope these suggestions help you experience London like a local. If you follow these tips, you could find yourself with once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and maybe some new London friends!

My 3-Day London Itinerary

If planning your first trip to London is stressing you out, definitely consider getting my 3-Day London itinerary. It’s a flexible guide that uses my expertise to make it super easy for you to explore London like a local and still hit all the big attractions without feeling exhausted afterwards.

London faux pas for first time visitors to london

Nine Major Faux Pas London Tourists Usually Make

By London Travel Tips No Comments

These are some of the major London faux pas that tourists make when they first visit the city. If you make any of these, don’t worry, it’s totally fine! However, it’s always good to be informed, so have a read to see what some are common cultural mistakes that visitors to London make.

Prefer to watch instead of read?

London Faux Pas #1: Standing on the left side of the escalator

When you’re on an escalator in an Underground station, you’ll see that people who want to stand, and not walk, will stand on the right.

Londoners are not keen about people standing on the left. It’s a sure-fire way to tell you’re a tourist, plus it blocks the path for people trying to get down quickly. So just be sure that if you’re on the escalator and you want to stand, and not walk down, to stand to the right side so people can walk down the left side.

London Faux Pas #2: Cutting a line (aka a “queue”)

This is quite the London faux pas since the Brits are known for being very good at keeping an orderly queue. I once accidentally jumped the line at a grocery store and my friends said I got the dirtiest looks from people… oops!

Stay in line, respect the line, and it will respect you… for the most part!

London Faux Pas #3: Not putting your fork and knife together when you finish eating

This is not a custom I grew up with as an American. In London, when you’re done with your food and you want the server to take your dish, put the fork and knife together in the center of the plate.

Don’t worry if you forget, I do it too. Sometimes I’m sat at a restaurant wondering “Why hasn’t anyone taken this plate away yet?” Then I remember that I’ve left my fork and knife splayed across the plate 😉

Read more about experiencing meals like Sunday Roast, afternoon tea, and all that delicious market food in my tips about London food and drink.

London Faux Pas #4: Not letting passengers off before getting on the Tube

I think this faux pas is common in most cities with public transportation, but since many American tourists are not used to using public transportation, this is worth mentioning. It’s common to let everyone off the train or Underground carriage before you get on. To do that, be sure to stand to the side of the door so people can exit quickly and easily.

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Cultural faux pas london tourists always make

London Faux Pas #5: Not moving down the Tube car

When the train or Tube car gets crowded, you’ll hear the train conductor making announcements saying “Please move all the way down the car”. This means to move towards the middle of the car, away from the doors, so more people can get on.

If you’re a pushy New Yorker like me you could say “Excuse me would you mind moving down the car?” But then other people in the car will think “Why are you trying to talk to me? We’re on the tube, this is awkward. ” (See Faux Pas #9)

London Faux Pas #6: Leaning against the pole on the Tube

Definitely add this one to your list of London travel tips. It is considered rude to lean against the poles that are in the middle of the Tube cars. It doesn’t allow other people to use them. just keep standing straight and you’ll blend right in.

While we’re talking about transportation, do you know which Oyster Card is best for your trip… the regular Oyster Card or the visitor Oyster Card? This article breaks down the pros and cons of both.

London Faux Pas #7: Talking really loud

This is definitely an American thing, but some other cultures do it too. Londoners, and the British, by nature speak at a lower volume than other cultures. If you’re loud, you might be interrupting someone’s nice dinner or conversation. Try to remember to lower your voice to avoid this common London faux pas.

London Faux Pas #8: Tipping the bartender

Bartenders don’t need to be tipped when you order at the bar in London, even if you end up ordering food too. When you get table service at a bar or club, you should tip, but they’ll typically add a service charge onto the bill automatically.

London Faux Pas #9: Not knowing when to end a conversation

By nature, Londoners are not as friendly with strangers than in most other parts of the world. They don’t mean to be rude, they just prefer to keep to themselves, more than people who live in the UK suburbs, and especially more than Americans.

Sometimes I hear tourists having conversations with their server who is trying to be friendly, but is also trying to do their job and can’t continue a conversation. If you have a conversation with someone, be wary of signs that they need to end it. If they keep looking away or answer questions briefly, it’s a sign to wrap it up.

Interested to learn more of my London travel tips so you can make the most of your visit? Check out these resources next.

If you’re a first time visitor, my free London 101 Guide answers lots of typical tourist questions.

Learn how to avoid these five common mistakes that tourists make during their first 3 days in London.

Read about how to use your phone in London if you’re not sure about what to do when travelling internationally.

Visitor Oyster Card vs Oyster Card in London

Which Oyster Card? The Best Oyster Card for Visitors

By London Planning Tips, London Travel Tips, Money-Saving Tips 2 Comments

Which Oyster Card is best for London visitors? There are two types of Oyster Cards that you can get when visiting London, and if you don’t have a contactless debit or credit card to use on public transportation, then you’ll definitely need one of them. Here’s a breakdown of the Visitor Oyster Card vs. Oyster Card.

*This article has an affiliate link. It’s an honest breakdown of both cards, and if you decide with this information to buy a Visitor Oyster Card through one of the links in this article, it will earn a very small commission.

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Which Oyster Card is best for London visitors? Here's a breakdown of the Visitor Oyster Card versus the normal Oyster Card, and advice for choosing the right Oyster Card for your visit to London.

What both Oyster Cards have in common

What they can be used for

Both the Visitor Oyster Card and “regular” Oyster Card can be used to pay for the underground, red double decker TFL buses, overground trains within London, the DLR, trams, the Emirates Air Line cable car, and the Thames Clipper River Bus services. Pretty much, any type of public transportation in London.

Daily caps

They both have a daily cap, depending on how many zones you travel through in a day. For example, if you only travel within zones 1 and 2 on a single day, you won’t pay more than £6.60. This video explains how the zone system works.

Peak fares

Both types of Oyster Cards get charged more for peak travel, so you pay more to travel on the Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and National Rail services in London 6:30-9:30 AM and 4 – 7 PM, Monday through Friday. Peak doesn’t apply for bus fares.

Using an Oyster Card to get to the airport

You can use either Oyster card to get to or from Gatwick airport or Heathrow airport, but can only use both for the Gatwick Express, not the Heathrow Express. It also doesn’t work for the Stansted Express, and can’t be used to get to Luton airport from King’s Cross station.

Costs and payment

Both Oyster Cards work in the same way— you have “pay as you go” credit on your card, and as you travel, the credit will be deducted. You’ll need to “top up” your card when it’s low, which you can do at just about all underground and train stations in London, including airports.

Oyster Card Expiration

Both cards and the credit on them never expire, and while only one person can use it at a time, you can lend your card to family and friends for their own visits.

Now, here are the advantages and disadvantages of getting yourself a Visitor Oyster card over a regular Oyster card. It should help you figure out which Oyster Card is best for you.

Pros of the Visitor Oyster Card:

– You can get it sent to you before you arrive to London. If you would feel better having your Oyster Card before you touch down in London so then the Visitor Oyster Card is your only option if you’re outside of the UK.

– You get some discounts and extra perks with the Visitor Oyster Card. Honestly, they aren’t amazing, but some of the notable discounts include 10% off your bill at Skylon, 10% off your bill at Where the Pancakes Are, up to 19% off rides on the River Bus, 2-for-1 entry to the Jewish Museum and the Museum of Brands and Packaging, and free glass of bubbles when you have afternoon tea at the Royal Academy of Arts. Check out all of the Visitor Oyster discounts.

Cons of the Visitor Oyster Card:

– It costs £5 activation fee, plus shipping, unless you buy it at a visitor centre once you arrive to London.

– If you don’t think about getting the card in advance, then you won’t have enough time to get it to you, and you can’t get them in London with the exception of at the visitor centre at Gatwick Airport, and on the Eurostar train to London.

The pros of using a regular Oyster Card:

– You can buy an Oyster card at tons of location around London, including airports, at London visitor information centres, and even shops that have the “Oyster Card” sign outside.

– To get one, you just need to pay a £5 refundable deposit, which you can get back if you return your Oyster card, plus your remaining balance. Ask a member of the TFL staff where the nearest location to get a refund is, or you can apply for one online. Remember that the card and credit never expire and can be given to other people.

– If you’re staying in London for seven days or more, you can add a Travel Card to your Oyster Card. This is essentially a flat rate for unlimited travel within certain zones for seven days— the more zones you choose, the more you pay. Alternatively, you can buy a paper travel card online and get it ahead of your trip.

The cons of using a regular Oyster Card:

– If you don’t live in the UK, then you can’t get a normal Oyster card sent to you before you arrive. You’ll have to purchase it when you get here, which is fairly easy unless you arrive late at night/early in the morning.

– It doesn’t give you visitor discounts like the Visitor Oyster Card

If you’re still not sure which Oyster Card to get when visiting London, don’t worry. You won’t miss out terribly on anything with either of them, so put it this way— if you want to have your card before you arrive to London and don’t mind paying the extra bit of money, then order yourself the Visitor Oyster Card. Otherwise, just pick one up at the train station or airport once you arrive, and you’ll be good.

Order a Visitor Oyster Card

If it’s your first visit to London, grab my free London 101 Guide, which tells you everything you need to know before you touch down in London, like how to get to your hotel from the airport, how to exchange currency, and more.

More London Tips:

How To Use Your US Phone In London (or any phone really)
What To Pack For London: A London Packing List
London Heathrow Airport Guide: 10 Things To Know Before Visiting

Heathrow Aiport Guide - 10 Things to Know Before Visiting London Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow Airport Guide: 10 Things to Know Before Visiting

By London Planning Tips, London Travel Tips 5 Comments

If you’re flying in or out of Heathrow airport when visiting London, this Heathrow Airport Guide will tell you some smart things to know before you get there so you have a nice smooth visit.

There are four terminals at London Heathrow Airport

They’re labeled as terminals 2-5, there’s no longer a terminal 1.

When you’re leaving London, you’ll need to know which one you’re departing from, as you’ll go there to do everything from checking in, to going through security, etc.

You can also check which terminal you’re arriving into, usually your airline will tell you at various points in your journey and on your email confirmation when you buy your ticket. If you struggle to find which Heathrow terminal your airline will fly into or out of, use Heathrow’s Which Terminal tool.

Get to Heathrow Airport 2-3 hours early

As a rule of thumb, plan to get to the airport about three hours early for an intercontinental flight, and at least two hours early for a flight to somewhere in Europe.

Now, I must admit that I don’t always follow this. If I don’t have a bag to check, and I’ve already checked in online, I often give myself less time. Security at Heathrow Airport is SO efficient, I don’t think I’ve waited longer than 10 minutes to get through, even at the height of Christmas season.

However, giving yourself all of that extra time will account for any craziness that might happen, like delayed trains, long lines for bag drop (this is common), or whatever else might happen in the crazy world of travel. The good thing is that there’s loads to do with all of that extra time at Heathrow, which I will talk about a little later.

There are many transportation options for getting to/from Heathrow from Central London

If you’re on a budget, the National Express bus is a good option, or if you want to get to central London fast, there’s the Heathrow Express, plus a few other options in between. For the sake of the length of this article, I won’t go through them all, but they’re all clearly listed, including prices and other helpful info, in my free London 101 Guide.

Have a pen with you for your landing card

If you’re not an EU/EEA national, then you’ll need to fill out a landing card when you arrive to the UK. You’ll give this, along with your passport, to the immigration officer at Border Control. The line for immigration can get very long, so in order to hop on the line as quickly as possible, make sure you bring a pen with you on your flight so that you can fill out the landing card while still on the plane, and you won’t get delayed waiting for a pen to free up at the counter.

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London Heathrow Airport Guide - Important Things to Know Before Visiting London Heathrow Airport

Border Control at Heathrow Airport can take a while

Assume it will take at least an hour to get through Border Control and to get your checked bags. It could be a lot less, and it could be more, there’s really no way to say. Keep this in mind when booking transfers or asking someone to pick you up.

There’s free wifi at Heathrow Airport

You get 45 minutes of free wifi, and you get faster speeds if you sign up to the free Heathrow Rewards program. Use the free wifi to connect with family and friends while you’re waiting for your bags, or if you’re leaving London, pass the time before your flight.

Read next: How to Use Your Phone While Traveling in Europe

There are lots of food options at Heathrow

In every terminal, there are really good food options once you’re past security, so wait to eat until you’re through, just in case there are any hold ups at security. You’ll find budget options, like Pret a Manger and Starbucks, plus more high-end restaurants and places in between. A personal favourite of mine is Giraffe, it’s affordable and yummy.

Honestly, there’s tons of choice at Heathrow Airport, so you’ll find something that works for you. Expect prices to of course be a bit higher than normal because, well, you’re in an airport.

The shopping’s great at Heathrow

There are so many shops across Heathrow Airport, most of which are mid-range to high-end when it comes to price, but there are also a few affordable options, as well as duty free shops and places to get souvenirs. Terminal 5 is the biggest of the terminals, and it has the most shopping and food selection, and if you have time, you can transfer to other terminals to check out their shopping and food options.

If you want to see what food and shopping options your terminal will have, have a look at Heathrow’s terminal guides.

Read next: 5 Areas in London to Visit for Some Serious Shopping

It takes a long time to get to the gate

A lot of the gates at Heathrow Airport take quite a while to get to from the main food and shopping area. You’ll see signs around the terminal telling you how long to give yourself to get to your gate once it’s been announced, for some, this could be up to twenty minutes. Keep that in mind so you don’t miss your flight.

Heathrow is family-friendly

If you’ve got little ones you need to keep entertained, each terminal has at least one or two play areas for them to have some fun at. Also, most restaurants will have children’s menus, and you can even order baby milk for your flight.

I hope this Heathrow Airport Guide helps you have a great visit to the airport and to London. For help with getting to and from Heathrow and Central London, download my free London 101 guide.

More London tips:

How to Prepare for your First 3 Days in London

10 Important Things to Know Before Visiting London

5 Great Photo-Taking Spots in London

Things to Do in London in March. Experience the best of London beers at London Beer Week, one of the top five Things to Do in London in March.

Five Things to Do in London in March

By London Planning Tips, London Travel Tips No Comments

Both London visitors and locals usually need help with things to do in London in March. The weather is still fairly chilly and often rainy, but there are a few special events happening in London in March that are worth checking out and celebrating for a fun, local experience.

What to do in london in March -- St. Patricks DaySt. Patrick’s Day in London

Americans, don’t get your hopes up– St. Patrick’s Day isn’t celebrated QUITE as much in London as in the US, but it’s still a pretty big deal, especially with our proximity to Ireland and large Irish population here. Expect parties, a parade through Central London, and tons of Guinness. There are also family-friendly things to do if you’ve got kids in town.

St. Patrick’s Day is always on 17th March, but there is usually a weekend’s worth of fun for it in London.

Things to Do in London in March -- The Boat RaceThe Boat Races

“The Boat Races” takes places in southwest London, along the River Thames (obviously). A few hundred thousand people hit the banks of the river (and the pubs) to watch Cambridge University and Oxford University row it out in the 180+ year rivalry. Both the men’s and women’s team compete within an hour of each other.

For a day out among proper Londoners having a great time, check out The Boat Races. Warning– it can get a TAD rowdy, as it’s definitely a drink-filled event, but it’s all in good fun, especially if the weather is nice. I’d recommend taking the kids home after the race has passed you by.

For this year’s race date, plus more information about how to have a great day out for The Boat Races, check out the official website. This is definitely one of my favourite things to do in London in March, so if you’re here for it, I really think you should check it out.

What to do in March in London - Easter WeekendEaster Weekend in London

Of course, Easter often falls in March, and Easter Sunday always arrives to London with two bank holidays– the Friday and Monday surrounding– so you can bet there’s LOADS to do on Easter weekend, both religious, and not. We’re talking egg hunts, Sunday raves, Easter lunch at the pub, and much more. Plus, on Good Friday, you can watch a full-scale re-enactment of The Passion of Jesus in Trafalgar Square, which is completely free.

For a collection of things to do and see on Easter weekend in London, check out TimeOut London’s comprehensive list that populates more events closer to the date.

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What to do in London in March. Five special events to experience in London, like the London Boat Races, Easter Weekend, and more.

Mother’s Day in London

In the UK, Mother’s Day, or what they sometimes call Mothering Day, falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which is on March 11th in 2018. If you’re from the US, Mother’s Day here is pretty similar to back at home, with lots of shops having deals on gifts, and some restaurants having special menus or offerings for the celebration. Common gifts for mums include flowers, cards…the usual.

If you plan to eat out that day, book at least a few days ahead, even if you’re not actually celebrating mother’s day, as of course, the good restaurants will book up. For my top restaurant recommendations that are local-approved, get The Local Guide to London.

Things to Do in London in March. Experience the best of London beers at London Beer Week, one of the top five Things to Do in London in March.London Beer Week

For the last few years, London has hosted Beer Week in March, so if you’re a beer enthusiast, I’d grab a ticket. It will get you £5 beer flights in over 100 bars across the city, plus access to some pop ups and special events. It’s a great way to experience pubs and bars around London, and one of the more unique things to do in London in March. In 2018, Beer week is 12th-18th March.

More London tips:

How to Prepare for your First 3 Days in London

5 Great Photo-Taking Spots in London

5 Day Trips to Take While Visiting London

Image credits: Ben, Pixabay, The Boat Races, DrinkUp London