Travel To London
School’s out and working professionals are showing severe signs of post pandemic vacation fever. Throw in a case of the travel itches, and we can safely say that summer is officially in full swing. Need some destination inspiration? Look no further than a trek across the pond! As most of you know, Erin and her family were temporarily living in Madrid last year. On weekends, the Busbees explored many of their neighboring European cities. You can read about all their excursions here. One jam-packed getaway was to the city “Where Royalty Lives.” So, call your travel agent, update your passports and start packing. Here’s everything you need to know to plan your trip and travel to London.
You can read the complete, behind-the-scenes story of why Erin moved to Spain, here.
Where to Stay with Kids
Regardless of who you’re traveling with, London offers something for everyone. From famous historic landmarks to modern art galleries and shopping, there’s plenty to see and do. Since London is literally huge, where do you stay? If you’re traveling with kids, you’ll love staying in the St. James neighborhood. Booking a room in this area means you’re practically neighbors with the Queen herself. The family-friendly area is near Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. It’s also where London’s Museum Quarter is.
A beautiful luxury hotel to consider is the Dukes London. It’s a 100-year-old hotel with comfortable, large suites with a private courtyard near Green Park and Buckingham Palace. A stone’s throw away from London’s West End is The Stafford Hotel. You can pick from rooms in 3 buildings with distinct atmospheres, from the grandeur of the Main House to the countryside vibe of the Carriage House, and more. The Ampersand is a luxury boutique hotel next to the South Kensington station. Each beautiful room has a different theme, like music or astronomy, and if you’re staying on the top floor, you get a great view over London.
Where to Stay for First-Timers
If you’ve never visited London before, having a central location is essential to exploring every last nook and cranny of the city. There’s no better place to do this than the Holborn and Covent Garden neighborhoods. These adjacent areas encompass a large section of England’s capital, and they contain a plethora of attractions, covering everything from entertainment to history. The Rosewood London is a modern luxury hotel that features an original carriageway entrance from 1914 and some delicious onsite dining. Another amazing option is ME London, putting you in the middle of theaters, nightclubs, and popular tourist spots.
Where to Stay Like a Local
If you love to mingle with locals when you travel, the Chelsea neighborhood is known among Londoners as its most fashionable neighborhood with plenty of high-end boutiques and restaurants. It’s located on the Thames, and Albert Bridge which is considered one of the most romantic bridges in the world. Just off of the bustling King’s Road, you’ll find the Sydney House hotel. This Georgian townhouse offers 21 comfortable, modern rooms with historic touches and your very own rooftop garden! In the heart of Chelsea is the historic Belmond Cadogan Hotel, just steps from some of London’s best shopping.
Where to Stay for Foodies
And finally, if you’re an avid foodie, you’ll want to stay in Southwark. This historic district on the south bank of the Thames is home to several food markets, with Borough Market as the hottest one. You can’t miss London’s tallest, most modern building, The Shard while in Southwark. You can also cross back and forth the Thames via the Tower or Millennium Bridges. Book a room at H10 London Waterloo for bright and airy rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and tons of natural light. Watching the sun go down from the rooftop of Waterloo Sky Bar is a must-do.
A Must See
As you can see from the “Where to Stay” section above, London has a million things to do to keep you busy for a lifetime over. With its amazing architecture, world-class art museums, tons of historical sites, and unique shopping experiences, you’ll need more than a weekend to explore. But I’ll try to narrow down the list to a few must-see attractions, starting with visiting Buckingham Palace during the Changing of the Guard. This colorful and free display of precision marching and music draws crowds at 11:30am regardless of the season. It takes place at St. James’s Palace, after which you can follow the band along The Mall as they march between sites.
What to Do for Anglophiles
See the Royal Jewels at The Tower of London at the famous Crown Jewels exhibition. You can also see the Beefeaters, the Royal Mint, and gruesome exhibits about the executions that took place on the grounds. The adjacent Tower Bridge, its two huge towers rising 200 feet above the River Thames, is one of London’s best-known landmarks (fascinating behind-the-scenes tours are available). Walk across for the best Tower views, as well as a glimpse of London Bridge.
What to Do for Museum Lovers
Get cultured at the British Museum containing more than 13 million artifacts from the ancient world. The most popular exhibitions are the controversial Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, the Rosetta Stone, the colossal bust of Ramesses II, the Egyptian mummies, and the spectacular hoard of 4th-century Roman silver known as the Mildenhall Treasure.
What to Do for Architecture Lovers
Nothing screams “London” more emphatically than the 318-foot tower housing the giant clock and its resounding bell known as Big Ben. Below it, stretching along the Thames, are the Houses of Parliament, seat of Britain’s government for many centuries and once the site of the royal Westminster Palace occupied by William the Conqueror. Tours of the parliament buildings offer a unique chance to see real-time debates and lively political discussions.
What to Do for Literature Lovers
Another location with a long association with British royalty, Westminster Abbey stands on a site that’s been associated with Christianity since the early 7th century. This masterpiece of Gothic architecture not only has the highest Gothic nave in England, but it’s also one of London’s most popular tourist attractions. Highlights include the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and Poet’s Corner in the Transepts, with its memorials to Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Dickens.
Last, but certainly not least, take a ride on the London Eye. Built to mark London’s millennium celebrations in 2000, the London Eye is Europe’s largest observation wheel. Its individual glass capsules offer the most spectacular views of the city rising 443 feet above the Thames.
Is London on your travel bucket list? Please share if you’ve already visited and any recommendations you may have in the comments below.
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