A guide to London by a former city-dweller
London is a magnificent and diverse city filled with history, culture, theaters and much more. But it can be quite daunting trying to figure out what to see on your short trip. So today I’m letting you in on ten of my favorite places in one of my favorite cities – London.
1. Buckingham Palace
No visit to London is complete without watching the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. It’s a military tradition filled with pomp and circumstance. And you are sure to love it! The change happens at 11.30 AM every day in the summer and every other day in the winter. Make sure to get there early to get a prime viewing spot.
For those of you who are more interested in seeing how the other half lives (or those who just want to pretend to be princess for a day), tours of the palace are offered during the summer for a small fee. So head on over to Buckingham Palace. Try to make those cute men in uniform smile. And daydream about roaming the halls with Prince Harry or chumming it up with Princess Kate.
2. Tower of London
With it’s tales of historical drama and notorious prisoners, the Tower of London is one of the most popular destinations for tourists. And best of all the Crown Jewels are on display here for all to drool over. But if you want to get a true sense of its history, I recommend taking a tour with one of the infamous Beefeaters.
3. South Bank
South Bank is the home to many national landmarks in London – The London Eye, Parliament, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, etc. It’s the perfect spot for a little history and romance combined. Stroll along the bank with your honey or take in a beautiful bird’s eye view of London on The London Eye.
4. The British Museum
The sheer number of free museums in London can be totally overwhelming, but The British Museum is a definite must see. The building itself is a wonder to marvel at, while the treasures inside are even greater – the Rosetta stone, the Parthenon friezes, mummies, and much more! A person can truly geek out in a place like this!
5. Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is another touristy must! I mean who doesn’t want to take a picture with one of those giant lions! But don’t stop there. Make sure to check out The National Gallery to see portraits of all the movers and shakers in British history from royalty to pop culture. The sheer size of some of the paintings will astound you!
6. Westminster Abbey
While St. Paul’s Cathedral is equally magnificent, if you only have time to see one cathedral, I recommend Westminster Abbey. It has been the site of most coronations and many royal weddings, while also serving as the final resting spot for artists, scientists, poets, and more. Best of all, you can sit in the regal pews and enjoy the Evensong for free. It is truly an amazing experience.
7. West End
The West End is the vibrant and diverse theater district in London filled with showstopping performances. There are shows for all budgets and tastes giving you so many options. And if you’re lucky your favorite actor just might be starring in a show!
8. Street Markets
London is well known for its street markets, which is one of my favorite things about the city. I enjoy roaming the streets, people watching and finding all sorts of intriguing items at the markets. You are guaranteed to find some great souvenirs and delicious food. For more information check out London Street Markets.
9. Eat Curry in Brick Lane
For all you foodies out there Brick Lane is the place to visit. It is the heart of London’s Bangladeshi-Sylheti community making it the prime spot for curry. The food is authentic and will definitely give you something to rave about. I’m drooling just thinking about it!
10. Platform 9 3/4
This is for all the Harry Potter lovers out there. While you may not be able to hop the train to Hogwarts, you can have your picture taken at Platform 9 3/4 in King’s Cross! So go ahead and let your fan girl/boy flag fly and snap that photo.