Visiting London is a great way to improve your English, especially if you live in Europe. The city itself is full of fascinating monuments, things to see, tourist attractions, and unmissable areas to visit where you’ll never get bored.
However, planning a trip to London can be tricky as you need to think about your budget, where exactly you’ll go in London, where you’ll stay, what you’ll do whilst you’re there, whether you'll go for a week, a few days, or a weekend.
In this article, Superprof is going to show you how to plan a trip to London as going there is a great way to learn more about British culture and improve your English!
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Choosing Where to Stay in London
Each area of London has its own characteristics so it’s especially important to choose exactly where you’ll sleep as the cost of hotels varies drastically by area. Here’s a quick guide to some of the areas in London where you can stay.
For this guide, we're considering central London to be between Hyde Park and the City of London to the north of the River Thames. This is the best area to discover most of what London has to offer as you can go shopping, see monuments, and eat in great restaurants.
This includes areas like Soho, Piccadilly Circus, and Covent Garden. There are also areas like St. Pancras and Fitzrovia. These are generally cosmopolitan areas that draw in a lot of tourists.
Of course, hotels in these places tend to come at a cost. You’ll be paying over £100 per night in a hotel in Soho or Covent Garden but you can save money by staying in Saint Pancras to the north.
However, these are among some of the best places to stay if you’re visiting London. The Fitzrovia area is interesting as it’s close to Soho but the rates tend to be lower. Furthermore, there’s public transport in all of these neighbourhoods.
Upmarket Neighbourhoods in London
Far from the touristy attractions like Trafalgar Square and friendly pubs, you can find London’s wealthier areas. You’ll find the world-famous Harrods luxury department store in one of these neighbourhoods.
These areas include Mayfair, Chelsea, Kensington, and Westminster. These are among some of the safest neighbourhoods in the city. Furthermore, you can relax without being bothered by too many tourists.
Affordable Areas in London
Fortunately, you don’t need to remortgage your house to find somewhere nice to stay in these areas. There are parts of London where you can stay without breaking the bank including St. Pancras, Bloomsbury, Notting Hill, Camden Town, and South Bank.
If you’re visiting London on a budget, these areas include affordable hotels and youth hostels. Furthermore, they’re good areas to go out for a drink.
The Best Sights and Monuments in the Capital
London is a city rich in history and culture and offers tourists an unforgettable experience. There’s so much to do in London that you don’t even need to ask what you can do. However, we recommend that you put together an itinerary or follow a guide or you may lose a lot of time just walking around the city and missing the most popular things.
Monuments in Westminster
The Westminster areas of London is one of the most popular parts of the city and with good reasons. Firstly, Queen Elizabeth II lives here in Buckingham Palace. You can see the outside of the palace, witness the Changing of the Guard, or visit the inside of the palace with a booking.
You can also find the Palace of Westminster, home to Big Ben. Here you can also see Westminster Abbey, a UNESCO-listed building.
You can also cross Westminster Bridge and head to the south bank of the Thames to visit the London Eye, the big wheel overlooking the city. You’ll find the Sea Life aquarium and London Dungeon here, too.
Museums in the Capital
Going to London is an opportunity to dive into English-speaking culture thanks to the plethora of museums you can visit. During your time in London, we highly recommend that you visit at least one of these museums. The most popular include:
- The British Museum
- The National Gallery
- The Victoria and Albert Museum
- The Natural History Museum
- The Tate Britain
- The Tate Modern
The British Museum is the most-visited museum and home to collections from throughout the ages including parts of the Parthenon. You can also visit Madame Tussauds to see wax replicas of celebrities and historical figures.
After visiting the Tate Modern (a contemporary art museum), we recommend that you visit the monuments on the south banks of the Thames including Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, home to the Crown Jewels.
The Best Areas to Visit
Whether you’re visiting London with your family or have decided to go with your partner, there are a few areas of the city you should definitely visit and others that you can leave off your list. Get a map of London as these are the places you’ll want to see.
Firstly, there are neighbourhoods like Soho and Covent Garden in the centre of the city. You can go shopping (in Regent Street and Oxford Street, in particular), see shows in the West End, and visit Chinatown.
The Notting Hill area is famous for being trendy and is very popular on Fridays and Saturdays with its famous market on Portobello Road. South Bank is an interesting part of town and home to a food market and Christmas market.
Finally, one of the best places you can visit is Camden Town, home to London’s alternative scene. There are food markets and tattoo parlours if you want to go home with a permanent souvenir. No stay in London is complete without a visit to Camden Town.
The Perfect Length of Time to Visit London
You must consider how long you want to spend in London. It’s up to you.
Do you want to see absolutely everything London has to offer or just the essentials?
Think carefully about how long your trip will be.
You need to consider the season and your budget. You can comfortably spend a long weekend or a week in London.
Generally, the weather in London is at its best between May and September. However, this is when you’ll find the most tourists. Winter is a good option for a walk around the capital.
You need to organise your stay in terms of your budget and in terms of the activities you want to do. A week could be perfect if you want to see a lot of London without having to rush around. Furthermore, this will also give you the time to visit things around London such as the Harry Potter Studio Tour. In any case, you won’t get bored.
The Cost of Visiting London
How much does it cost to visit London?
This is probably one of the most important questions to consider before you go. Firstly, you need to know that the cost of living in London is very high.
You need to choose the best mode of transport to get you to the city. There are trains from mainland Europe but generally, flights are the most cost-effective way to get to London from abroad.
Then there’s the cost of everything in London:
- The cost of accommodation in London is higher than the UK average.
- Restaurants cost more, too.
- Public transport in London is among the most expensive in Europe.
- However, you can visit certain attractions for free.
Generally, a 3-day stay in London costs around £500 per person with a moderate number of activities. Even though this is one of the most expensive cities in the world, the budget isn’t ridiculous. You can reduce the cost by taking an Airbnb and self-catering.
If there are certain attractions on your itinerary, you may want to add up the cost of visiting them all and see if there's a pass to several or all of them that would work out cheaper. Similarly, if you're going to go on a tour, see if they offer discounts to the places they take you to or whether they're included in the price of the tickets.
Now that you know a bit about planning a trip to London, you can start packing your suitcases. To learn more about it, check out our other articles.
You can also learn more English with a private English tutor on Superprof!