Discover the best of London with me
In the past few years, I had the privilege of traveling quite a lot. From all the places that I have seen, London has and will always have a special place in my heart. To some people I have talked about this with it seems crazy that I would choose to live in London…but as I told them, here are a few reasons why London is one of the greatest cities the world has to offer. As a teenager and later as a young adult the only books I would read would be classic novels like Jayne Eyre, Wuthering Heights or 1984. Once I stepped foot in London, it was like I was finally part of a Jane Austen novel, and I would imagine my favorite characters roaming around the streets in front of me. London is today a very modern city but no matter where you look you will see the vast history, the stunning old architecture and the charming and electric culture that is England.
This city has managed to combine people from all backgrounds and cultures in a place where you can never get bored, where the food is always tasty, where theatre nights are unforgettable and where everyone smiles at you without judging the way you look or the way you dress.
I know, I know…it rains a lot. I’m not suggesting you move there although I would, but only keep an open heart and give London a real chance.
How to get there
London has five major airports, and the last thing you have to do before enjoying the city sights is working out how you’re getting from the airport to your accommodation. Similar to Paris, you might land in Heathrow, which is the largest airport in Europe so keep that in mind when you get back home. There are lots of airport transfer options to suit all budgets like: coach transfers, train (London Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports each have dedicated express train services running regularly to Central London stations), car/taxi (You can book a private airport transfer. Your driver will pick you up from any London airport and meet and greet you at the terminal) and tube. We took an Uber this time too as it seems the handiest option.
When to go
The high season and best time is May to Mid-September because of the weather but also in December, you will get the chance to enjoy the Christmas markets. During these times expect long lines and big crowds.
Where to stay
As I mentioned in my Paris travel diary, AirBnb has a lot of amazing accommodations to offer in central areas for good prices but this time we stayed in W London at the Leicester Square just because we always heard amazing things about it. It sure kept its promises and we had a great time here, very welcoming and helpful staff, very close to the inner city and main sightseeing spots so we definitely recommend it.
The first day in London begins bright and early at 9 am. First of all, you have to snap a photo in a Red Telephone Box. London, as you know, is popular for its telephone boxes that you can find all over the city and it’s the symbol of England as much as fish and chips are. I recommend taking a picture in one of the most iconic locations near House of Parliament. Definitely insta-worthy.
Next, we strolled down to Westminster Abbey, one of the most famous places in the city, because it is the resting place of lots of previous kings and queens of England and other notable characters who have influenced Britain’s history. Make sure you also see the Coronation Chair, which is where kings and queens have been crowned for centuries.
After Westminster Abbey, we went on a sightseeing bus tour (the pass is valid for the whole day – or more days if you purchase it for longer) that heads down to Southbank. This area is home to Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. A walk along Southbank is pleasant and you’ll have lots of photo opportunities for the fabled architecture in this area.
I recommend ascending the London Eye, the same concept as Eiffel Tower, on a clear day you can see the entire city and beyond. Here I suggest you buy the ticket in advance to save time.
Southbank area has plenty of restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy English tea or famous fish and chips. We ate at The Library at County Hall on County Hall Westminster Bridge Road. The view is fantastic and I recommend you try the unlimited bubbly-tea at the Library. Service, tea and champagne were wonderful. After afternoon tea we strolled around in the heart of London where we had the chance to enjoy the capital’s vibrant evening scene.
We started our day with the Tower of London. Since the visit will take you most of the morning, I recommend getting there as early as possible and prepare yourself to be amazed. The Tower of London was the most important of all royal residences. It’s nearly nine hundred years old and has seen plenty of prisoners, feuds, and it now houses the Crown Jewels.
Our second day was dedicated to History and Culture of London so we visited the City of London Museum where we enjoyed seeing the Roman exhibition. The museum is free to visit and well worth a trip!
After that, we headed to St Dunstan’s in the East, located in the heart of London, set amongst skyscrapers which creates a lovely space to chill out and take a quick breather. The church was largely destroyed in the Second World War and the ruins are now a public garden. Such a charming scene created with planting of wall shrubs and climbers and an effective fountain.
Make sure to visit Sky Garden– the highest public green space in London, an amazing and truly magical place but make sure to book your tickets in advance.
Next, we went to visit St Paul’s Cathedral, the most notable religious building in the city. The cathedral’s a popular photography spot, mostly the opposite side of Millennium Bridge. We took a break at Vita Moja, a café nearby that offers great fresh healthy food.
Next, we headed to Trafalgar Square a truly iconic open space. After wandering around and taking a lot of pictures we headed to National Gallery. Here you’ll find artwork from the Middle Age but if art isn’t your thing, you can relax at Café on the Square.
On the third day of our mini-vacation, we chose to relax a bit and sleep in. We started our day at Biscuiteers – the cutest café in town – and yes they have amazing biscuits.
Next, we strolled around on Portobello Road where you can find the biggest vintage shops, selling everything from antique clocks to vintage golf balls. If you are searching for unique souvenirs, this is the place to go.
Make sure to visit Kynance Mews street, one of the most famous London Mews streets for good reason. Very pretty quiet area of London with nice little cozy coffee shops close to the museums. If you are visiting London to see the sites that are not on the main tourist path, then this is for you. A short narrow cobbled street and some houses incredibly narrow that had been built in the space between 2 roads.
We wrapped up our sightseeing tour at Madame Tussauds wax museum. In order to have a positive experience make sure to buy your tickets in advance directly from the Madame Tussauds website and you’ll get a 30% discount, and you also enjoy potentially less queueing.
We finished our last night in London enjoying the sunset from The Shard, one of the most famous skyscrapers that feature an open roof and an amazing view over the city. You can find restaurants and bars here but make sure to reserve a table in advance.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my experience in London and that it will inspire you to travel more and discover new cultures and hidden gems. This city has something to offer for everyone and it’s only a 3 and a half hour flight away from Bucharest so for sure worth a visit.
Also, check out the previous travel diary about Paris for tips on best restaurants and sights.
Let me know in the comments section below where would you like to live and why.
‘Till next time