Arrivals and Departures
After flying into London Heathrow airport the quickest way into the city centre for us was via Uber for approx £60. You’ll be at the heart of the city centre in 50 minutes depending on traffic and ready to enjoy your amazing vacation. On a budget? Hop on the underground for only £6 to save a lot of money but it will of course take a little longer.
Getting to Central London
The Underground. (The Piccadilly Line)
The Underground is the cheapest and one of the most straightforward ways to reach central London.
A cash single ticket to London costs only £6. An off-peak (after 9:30am weekdays, any time weekend) travel-card is £12 and will cover you for the whole day. If you buy an Oyster Card (requires a refundable deposit of £5) then the single fare is £5 peak, £3 off peak. Journey times to central London are around one hour.
The main advantage of the Heathrow Express is that the journey time is only 15 minutes to Paddington from terminals 2 and 3, 23 minutes from terminal 4 and 21 minutes from terminal 5. Trains run every 15 minutes, which is slightly less frequent than the Piccadilly line but the Heathrow express is very clean and relaxing.The Express is air conditioned with lots of room for baggage, on-board TV, and free WiFi for junkies like me.
On-the-day fares are £18 online, or £19 at the station. Promotional codes can save around 10% and can be found sometimes if you Google search for ‘ Heathrow express discount’. If you buy the tickets in advance they will be even cheaper.
Taxis booked from outside Heathrow can work be very expensive. Fares to central London are run by a meter, but they run up at a high rate. Don’t be surprised by a £80-£100 fare which is not the way you want to start off your vacation. Journey time to central London is about forty five minutes.
CitizenM Hotel London Bankside
Let’s start off with the bed which is GIGANTIC and super comfortable. The modern chic room’s have so many special touches and quality features such as luxurious big bath towels, a big screen TV that offers a ton of free movies as well as live channels. This is a nice plus since you do not get that at many hotels. For the tech savvy there is a iPad that controls the blinds, TV and the lighting that offer you a bunch of options with different shades of lighting to set the mood; but they are easy to use and operate. A small fridge is inside the room and everything inside is free! The hotel has a great bar and restaurant area with a selection of books to buy.
The hotel offers free WiFi throughout as well as free computers and a printer to use in the ground floor. There is no need to pack your international adopters as the hotel rooms have different sockets to use for each device which everyone traveling knows how annoying that can be. They have nice extra touches in the hotel room like am and pm shampoo & conditioners.
The hotel is centrally located and close to two tube stations as well as a few local pubs and places to eat. If you are looking to save money while you are on your stay, there is a M&S food store right across the street if you are looking for sandwiches, snacks and drinks. There are rental bikes right outside the hotel which is a great cheap way to see London and will only cost you £2 per day and the first thirty minutes are free.
You really aren’t going to get such great amenities at such a great price anywhere else in London and I highly recommend this Hotel.
Address: 20 Lavington St, London, United Kingdom SE1 0NZ, United Kingdom
Make sure to visit for the changing of The Queen’s Guards which takes place in front of Buckingham Palace at 11:30am and lasts for about 45 minutes. The ceremony is held daily from April to July and on alternate days from August to March. If you are going to visit, look up times before heading over.
One could spend the entire day at this store and walking through place is an experience itself. Harrods is a beautiful store filled with luxury and high end goods. They have a spectacular food hall with a gorgeous bakery department and other high end food to go. There are also a couple of stations to have sit down meals if you want to relax and take a breather. You should not miss visiting this store and is a must see.
Tip: If you get any food in the supermarket area you can’t eat it inside.
Address: 87-135 Brompton Rd, London SW1X 7XL, United Kingdom
The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames with some of the best views London has to offer. Expect to be on the wheel for approximately thirty minutes and make sure to save time and money, purchase your tickets online in advance. We got the fast pass which was well worth the money as I’ve waited an hour to ride the Ferris wheel in the past.
Address: London SE1 7PB, United Kingdom
This is one of the most famous events in England. The atmosphere is amazing. Everybody is dressed in their most expensive clothes following the extremely strict dress code. The Queen of England can also be seen attending the venue! Betting on the horses is very entertaining and gets people very excited even if you are not a fan. You can feel the passion and nerves within the atmosphere and if you have never experienced a race then you need to make sure to squeeze this on your vacation.
– You’re not allowed to take food and drink in so make sure to eat before or expect to spend a lot of money while you are there.
– I wore 7” heels, that was the biggest mistake ever! A lot of the walking was on grass so make sure to wear comfortable heels or wedges to avoid sinking in the grass. If you do wear heels you can purchase heel caps to avoid toppling over in the grass.
– It is England, be prepared that it might rain and bring an umbrella just in case.
– Gates open at 10:30am, Arrive early if you are looking to get a table or to find a spot on the floor to sit. Pack a blanket in case you don’t find a table.
– P.S. Thank you to the kind strangers pictured below who didn’t realize I photographed you but you all looked so BLOODY LOVELY!
Address: Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7JX, United Kingdom
Best Places to Eat & Drink
Quirky is an 18th-century townhouse tea room that transforms into a cocktail lounge every evening. This place is so chic and has a really wonderful interior design, Quirky has several bars and restaurants that are all very unique.
Address: 9 Conduit St, London W1S 2XG, United Kingdom
If you are looking for a traditional British meal head over to Hixter on Sunday for Sunday roast. I look forward mostly to my Sunday meal anytime I am in England. Sunday roast is a traditional British meal that is traditionally served on Sunday, consisting of roasted meat, roast potato, Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, vegetables and gravy. roast parsnips, Brussels sprouts, peas, carrots, and broccoli. Make sure to make reservations in advance as it is not like America where they take many walk-ins.
Address: 16 Great Guildford St, London SE1 0HS, United Kingdom
Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at The Sanderson Hotel
This was my first visit to Sanderson hotel and when our uber pulled up in front I was a bit disappointed as the hotel looked like a old office building. I asked the door man when I walked in “ are you sure this is the right place?” but OH MY GOD when I walked in I was taken back with how modern and beautiful it was.This afternoon tea may seem expensive compared to others but it is a truly magical experience. The food was great and the presentation was just flawless however the service was very slow and impersonal. If you are a big Alice in Wonderland fan it is worth the visit and I am very glad we went.
Address: 50 Berners St, London at Sanderson London W1T 3NG, United Kingdom
Marco’s New York Italian London Bridge
Located right up the block from the citizenM hotel, It was within walking distance for dinner. We tried to order food over the phone for pick up and take it back to our room. Unfortunately they made us come in to order the food to go. We tried the pepperoni pizza and pasta which where delicious. All the food was very reasonably priced and the service was also good.
Address: 17 Lavington St, London SE1 0NZ, United Kingdom
If you are looking for a good place to eat or a night out on the town, Head over to London’s Soho area for some of the best restaurants and people looking to have a long night out at the local clubs, bars and pubs.
In restaurants or pubs where you place your food order at the bar and later it is brought to your table, it is not customary to tip. However, at restaurants with wait staff where orders, drinks, and food are taken at your table, a tip from around 10% – 15% is common.
If you are looking to spend the night in be sure to check out the UberEats APP. In some parts of the world, Uber is just known for helping people get from A to B. UberEats in London is a food delivery service. They can deliver anything from there selection of local restaurants and will do it fast. They say if your food doesn’t arrive within 30 minutes they willl give you up to £20 toward your next order.
– If you are a student make sure to bring your student ID as most places offer student discounts!
– Make sure to make lunch or dinner reservations as most pubs and restaurants don’t take many walk-in’s
All these amazing pics! Glad I stopped by your blog since they did not make it to IG!
So unbelievably cool!! Great tips, especially to not wear 7" heels…I applaud you for going at it in full fashion though!! And those TF sunnies look amazing on you :-). Fabulous pics of the fashionable strangers!!
Love London and miss it so much!! (I lived there for a summer.) Such a great, helpful post!
I love London and I can’t wait to go back and use this guide! I went during Christmas time and it was absolutely magical!!
Your trip looked like so much fun! London is definitely at the top of my travel list!
You have the BEST guides. This one might be my fave so far. You have captured some amazing highlights here. I love all of your photos!! xo
Such a great guide! Love London! I am going to be posting my guide in the next couple weeks!