If you are thinking of going on holiday to Britain next year, then you’re in for a treat. There is so much to see and do here in this capital, but careful planning and research will stand you in good favour if you want to make the most of your trip. Here’s a few tips, tricks and hints to get your UK holiday off to a flying start:
1.) London is big – plan ahead
The city of London is huge and there is so much to do here! You’ll therefore want to stay in the area so you can take advantage of the tube and travel time. Stay in a hotel with good reviews, so you know you’re getting a good deal at a nice place. Try a Paddington Hotel London based if you want to be close to landmarks like Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace.
For instance, the Grand London Paddington hotel offers guests exclusive accommodation right on the Paddington doorstep. Their facilities include:
- 157 smoke-free guestrooms, all well equipped and clean
- Restaurant and bar/lounge
- Breakfast available
- Health club
- Limo/town car service
- 24-hour front desk
- Air conditioning
- Daily housekeeping
- Front desk safe
- Laundry service
- Multilingual staff
- Parking is available nearby and costs £25 for 24 hours
- Free WiFi
What’s around the area:
- Royal Albert Hall (23-minute walk)
- Buckingham Palace (42-minute walk)
- Kensington Gardens (13-minute walk)
- Hyde Park (16-minute walk)
- Kensington Palace (17-minute walk)
- Marble Arch (22-minute walk)
- Imperial College London (24-minute walk)
- Selfridges (28-minute walk)
- Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum (28-minute walk)
- Natural History Museum (31-minute walk)
2) Oyster Cards
Oyster is a plastic smartcard which can hold pay as you go credit, Travelcards and Bus & Tram Passes. You can use an Oyster card to travel on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail, Emirates Air Line, River Bus services and most National Rail services in London. Buy a Visitor Oyster card before you visit London and get it delivered to your home. A card costs £5 plus postage. You can choose how much credit to add to your card.
If you run out of credit on your Visitor Oyster card you can add more credit:
- Touchscreen ticket machines in Tube, DLR, London Overground
- Around 4,000 Oyster Ticket Stops found in newsagents and small shops across London
- TfL Visitor Centres
- London Overground station ticket offices
- Emirates Air Line terminals
3) Nearby airports
London is well connected for airports. If you’re looking to keep costs low, then get a low-cost flight with Ryan Air or Easy Jet. London has five major airports: London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton and London Stansted.
4) Museums and art galleries are FREE
The Natural History Museum, The Science Museum and The British Museum are free for anyone to visit. Donations are welcome.
5) Get discounted fares
If you’re under 26, a student, over the age of 60 or travelling as a group, you’ll be eligible to pick up a Railcard from any train station in London. This costs £30 for one year and will give you 33% off rail travel and tube travel at off-peak times.
For example, the family and friends travel card offers the following:
- Children aged 5-15 get 60% discount on kids fares
- Up to four adults and four children can travel on one card
- 3-year Railcard available to buy online for £70
- Average annual saving of £130
For those aged 16-25, you’ll get
- Mature students aged 26 or over and in full-time education
- 3-year Railcard available to buy online for £70
- Average annual saving of £187
- Special partner discounts on days out, holidays, theatre
6) Tipping isn’t essential
Tipping isn’t as big a deal as it is in the United States. Usually, a small 10% tip is more than adequate in pubs and restaurants. No need to tip for drinks! There’s also no need to tip when hailing a taxi.
7) Avoid peak times for shopping
A weekend shopping on Oxford Street can be stressful because there are so many people around. If you don’t like crowds, this can be difficult. Crowds are much lower in the week.
8) Use Boris Bikes
Also called Santander Cycles, you can hire a bike from as little as £2. Simply go to any docking station with your bank card and touch the screen to get started.
9) Travel for the weather
The weather in London is very changeable – one minute it will be boiling, the next it will be raining, so the key is to wear layers. You also need to bring a rain mac and an umbrella in case you do get caught in a rain shower.
10) Visit a London Park
There are many London parks you can visit at any time of year. This includes:
- Wimbledon Common, where you’ll find ponds, a nature trail and a windmill.
- Richmond Park.
- Park Vista.
- Bushy Park, home to 320 free-roaming deer.
- Hyde Park, which covers 350 acres (142 hectares) and in Winter is the scene for Winter Wonderland where you can visit German markets, ice bars and much more.
- Kensington Gardens.
- St James’s Park. Look out for pelicans, water birds, owls, woodpeckers and bats.
You’ll also find many places to walk. Walking is free of charge and offers you the chance to soak in some of the city!
Places to walk include:
- South Bank.
- Walk across Millennium Bridge from St Paul’s Cathedral to Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe.
- Richmond – start at the White Cross pub and go past the rural idyll of Petersham Meadows, until you reach Ham House.
- Brompton Cemetery
- Highgate Wood.
- Epping Forest.
Whatever you decide to do in London, enjoy your holiday. You’ll definitely be wanting to come back for more!