The Ultimate Guide For First-Time Visitors To London

Sunday, September 24, 2017



The best thing about having a wandering soul is the wandering part.
The worst thing about having a wandering soul is that you’re never 100% happy where you are.
Take me, for example. 
I’ll always be at least 10% happier when in London.


London stole my heart back in 2002. Well, actually, it first stole my passport—I believe I got a piece of paper with “DETAINED” stamped on it in exchange. Apparently, peeps working at the Heathrow airport had never seen an unaccompanied minor at the ripe age of 14 flying solo into the country. My young looks didn’t help either, but that’s another story. I remember them being nice and asking if I wanted juice or something to eat (I just wanted to go to the loo, thank you very much, being too frightened because this was not how my London vacation was supposed to start!) Well, it toughened me up. There’s nothing airport related I am afraid of after that experience.

I don’t remember much from my first visit to London, though I wasn’t that young. But I do remember the feeling very accurately: being crazy in love with what I believed was the most amazing place in the world. 15 years later, I still believe that. In fact, London is the most amazing place in the world, and I don’t think that will ever change for me. 

Later on, after having got a decent number of stamps in my passport, I was wondering if London still had its magic. Maybe it was just the first big city I ever visited so that was why it felt magical to me, I thought. Being both curious and afraid, I embarked on my final London adventure in 2015 (final for now, that is!), after an encounter in 2011, when it was still the most amazing place in the world. Was? Still is. I was relieved to see that it wasn’t because of it being my first city to visit. I fell madly in love with London because it is spectacular and because it’s just the best city in the world.



Sure thing, I haven’t seen them all, and I am hesitant to write that because of reasons, namely: a) I haven’t been to NYC yet and something tells me my soul will also love that one; b) I feel like I’m cheating on Shanghai whom I only met once and had a brief, but intense affair with; and most importantly, c) I feel like I’m cheating on Berlin, which is a gruesome sin in my book, as you might have figured out already. But at the end of the day, I feel confident saying that yes, I find London to be the best city in the world. 

Because it’s so enormous and ever-changing (don’t remember ever having seen as many cranes elsewhere!), there’s always something more to explore. I don’t think I could say I “know” London after a year of living in it. And there’s always something going on. My friend Aleksandra, who did her PhD at King’s College, told me how she always pushed herself to just get out on the weekends even when she didn’t feel like it, because hey, she lived IN LONDON.

Aleksandra was also my host on my third visit, and I know you all know it already, but it makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE. Yes, even when it’s a city as touristy as London, that has like 342 items on your to-see list, it’s of an immense added value to have a local guide. Aleksandra took us—that is me and another friend of ours who was visiting from Bristol—to some of her favorite pubs, where I learned that British cuisine isn’t necessarily bad (and anyway, I could eat fish and chips all-the-time, so it’s good I ended up in New Zealand); she also took us to a secluded little park where we sat on the grass and played Monopoly Cards, and to an African food market. She lent me her spare Oyster card and taught me how to use it; and she took me, together with her Italian flatmate and the said flatmate’s boyfriend, also Italian, to a pizzeria on the night I missed my flight. (It’s bound to happen sometime in life, right, so it’s better for it to happen when leaving London than, say, arriving to it.)



I’m not sure I can pinpoint exactly what it is that makes London so great for me. It’s the history, for sure, and a little bit of monarchy, even though I know people now think it’s an outdated institution, but hey, I was a great fan of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole as a teenager; and I also got up early on the day of the Royal Wedding and rode buses (plural!) to the other side of the city where my best friend lived, because she had a TV at the time and I didn’t. Then there are free museums and the feeling of not being sorry there’s no way I could see everything in the British Museum in one day because I’d definitely be back. And there are flea markets and food markets and the lovely architecture and second-hand Burberry coats for 80 pounds and vinyl records I regret not buying even though I don’t own a record player, but hey, I’ll be back. And the rain—I don’t like rain, but I once wrote London is the only place in the world where I don’t mind it. And Big Ben, because long time ago it was my first time seeing something from my English language textbooks right there, in front of me. And the energy, the energy, the feeling in the air, or is it a little bit of pixie dust that Tinkerbell left out there by accident?

Oh, London, I love you so. 

I compiled a guide for first-time London visitors, that took years of writing. Okay, not really, but it did take more than a week. Even if you’ve been to London already, you may have missed something from my list. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to go back to some of these for sure.

These places all look not very far one from another, but that’s not really so—if you opt to see the most of sights in one day, you can, but your feet will hurt like hell. You’ve been warned.

Also important: your pace is essential. I saw a guide recommending doing all the sights in the morning and museums in the afternoon. No can do! That’s overly ambitious even for someone who’s out and about all day long. London is a huge city.  Its neighborhoods are pretty and will make you want to explore. The museums are super packed. Don’t overestimate yourself (or underestimate London), or else you basically won’t see anything.

Walk Around the Historical Center and Beyond



Houses of Parliament and Big Ben

Start here, and then move towards the other sights. Houses of Parliament is that beautiful building on the bank of the river Thames that, you guessed it right, houses the UK parliament. Right next to it is the famous Big Ben, which, and this is the mistake everyone makes so I do too, is not the name of the actual tower, but the bell inside of the tower. If you’re active on Twitter, you might have seen this account that I found super funny when it appeared.

The tower is actually officially known as Elizabeth Tower as of 2012, when it was renamed (previously called the Clock Tower) to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. However, Big Ben has been silent for the past month and will remain for the next four years, as the tower began a four-year period of renovation, and the bell won’t ring until the renovation is complete, with the exception of the New Year’s celebration.

The Elizabeth Tower is the most photographed building in the UK, and while you’re admiring it, take a famous photo capturing both the tower and a red telephone booth. Yes, I know, it’s so touristy and everybody has it, but still, it’s pretty.

If you want more than just admiring the Houses of Parliament, you can book some of many HoP tours, one even including a tea.



10 Downing Street

Not far away from here is the famous Number 10 Downing Street, where the British Prime Minister lives during his (or her) time as PM.

Having seen photos of the house in the newspapers and textbooks, I really wanted to take a similar one back in 2002, and was shocked there were gates at the beginning of Downing Street. I read recently that you can see the Number 10 through the gates so went to Google Maps Street View to check, because in 2002 I saw nothing. Nope, still nothing. (And if you think you saw it anyway in Love Actually—nope, it was a film set!) But just in case you want to peek inside the street—you can.

Trafalgar Square

When in London, all roads lead to Trafalgar Square! That was at least my impression because it’s easy to reach from other big sights. The name of the square comes from the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, which was a British victory against Napoleon.

The square hosts a large monument, Nelson’s Column, built to commemorate Admiral Nelson who died in the battle. You can sit in the square in front of the National Gallery, or on a fountain. It’s a great place when it’s sunny and super gloomy when it’s not. And you can always try and get on top of one of the lion statues—there’s always someone riding them. :D



Leicester Square

Once upon a time, Leister Square was the first place I found myself in in London, but back then it was under construction so I remember seeing nothing. Except ice cream! But more on that later. There are some nationally important cinemas in the Leicester Square, such as the Odeon Leicester Square, Empire, Leicester Square and the now closed Odeon West End, which are frequently used for film premieres. You can also buy tickets for theaters plays and musicals here, often for great prices. Leicester Square also holds the world's largest Lego store, opened in 2016, and they marked the opening with a 6-metre (20 ft) high model of Big Ben made out of 200,000 Lego bricks.

As for the ice cream: Leicester Square is the home to a Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop, and there was  a huge fancy expensive Haagen Dazs restaurant there, but apparently it’s closed down. As a kid growing in Serbia during the nineties (economic sanctions!), I had no idea what Ben & Jerry’s or Haagen Dazs were, so I enjoyed some seriously good ice cream. They also offer all kinds of sprinkles at Ben & Jerry’s, so why not treat yourself to some :)

Soho

Soho is a super charming central neighborhood in London full of restaurants and cafes. It wasn’t always like this though, it was a center of sex industry for like 200 years, and even now there are some public houses there. However, there are clubs and fashion shops as well, and Soho has lost its previous notoriety, so you might just wander around until you find the perfect café (and you will). You can also visit Soho Square Gardens, the secluded park I mentioned above, a charming little place perfect for chilling.

While you’re here, you can have some tea in the Z Café, at the ground floor of Z Hotel in Old Compton Street. You’ll get M&M buttons with your tea. :)


Oxford Street

Fancy stores are here in Oxford Street, the main shopping street of London and the busiest shopping street in Europe—and so are some more affordable ones. So if you’re up for treating yo’self, this is the place! I have a fond memory of buying a purse and a hair flower at New Look and upon discovering that the student discount was only valid if you're a UK student, being told “well this is your lucky day!” and having scored that discount after all.

Piccadilly Circus

It might be the romantic in me, but I love this little Cupid on top of Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain. Edit: it’s not Cupid, nor his Greek counterpart Eros, but Eros’ brother Anteros, the god of returned love, who came to this world to be his brother’s playmate, because Eros was lonely. What is Anteros doing in London at this very busy junction? He symbolizes the selfless love of the philanthropist Earl of Shaftesbury for the poor. Blogging=education of the blogger, as well.

Anyway, apart from the fountain, which is my go-to place to take some rest and enjoy people-watching, the Piccadilly Circus is known for video display and neon signs mounted on one of the corner buildings. Something like European Times Square.


Buckingham Palace

You cannot come to London and not see Buckingham Palace. You just… cannot. When I saw it for the second time, in 2011, I clearly remember someone inside moving a curtain and peeking at us, then quickly moving it back. I’m not saying it WAS the Queen—but then, you never know! Also, this is 100% true: the Palace is not a place where wishes come true. I know that, because my first time I desperately thought “please wait for me William”, and by the time I came back the whole nation was expecting his wedding, so there.

Anyway, if you’re curious enough, you can book a tour and see some of the Palace from inside. It’s only open for public for a designated time of the year, so check the times and prices here.

Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace is the ceremony where the Old Guard hands over responsibility for protecting Buckingham Palace and St. James's Palace to the New Guard. It happens daily in the summer and every other day in the winter, and so it happened that I never visited London in the summer and never was lucky enough in the winter (or smart enough to check in advance). Don’t be me, check the dates here.

Westminster Abbey

Not far from the Houses of Parliament is the Westminster Abbey. If you google it, since it’s a site, it will offer map, address, and a small caption, reading: “Protestant abbey hosting daily services and every English and British coronation since 1066.” No biggie, just every English and British coronation for the last thousand years. The last royal wedding also took place there.  (I’m still bitter over that one, but hey, life goes on.)

If interested, you can also book a tour of the Abbey.

Westminster Bridge

Cross it and, you know, turn around a thousand times to take that perfect photo of the Houses of Parliament.

By the way, Westminster station of the tube is my favorite station in the city. It’s no Stockholm, but it’s cool. Also, can someone please give me a 3D map of the London tube? Travel by tube takes so much walking up and down and up and down that I really wonder how many levels there are.

Walk along the South Bank






It’s the bank of the river where the London Eye is, and it’s a lovely walk towards the Tower Bridge—but a long one, and you’ll probably interrupt it somewhere (crossing the Millennium Bridge as I advise, hehe) and come back the day after. Some of the cool things to see along the walk: The Anchor Bankside, Shakespearean-era pub, the Golden Hind, the replica of the first ship that circumnavigated the globe, Globe Theatre, Tate Modern, Millennium Bridge, Tower Bridge.



London Eye

While I’m not saying that you need to ride the wheel (as all similar attractions, it’s expensive and waiting in line takes a lot of time if you don’t book beforehand), since it was erected in 2000, it has become one of the London landmarks, so you’ll want to include it in your photos.

Back in 2000 (it was also known as the Millennium Wheel!) it was the world’s tallest Ferris wheel—now it’s only the tallest in Europe. It’s the second highest public viewing point in London (go to the Shard if you aim for the number one!), and the most popular paid tourist destination in the UK.

Check the prices here, and you can also book online and skip the line.

Globe Theatre

You’ll see Globe Theatre on the bank of Thames. It’s the theater where Shakespeare used to hold his plays in. The building is actually a modern reconstruction, and the original was first built in the 16th century (anyone knows about the big fire that burnt London down? That’s the one).

You can watch a show for as little as £5—however, this is the standing ticket price, and if you just spent the whole day walking, this might be too much for your poor legs. And even if you invest in a sitting ticket, reviews suggest you rent a cushion because those benches are not that comfortable. (Or at all.) You can do that in advance, and it is advised to buy a ticket well in advance too, which can be done online.

Millennium Bridge

Millennium Bridge is a pedestrian bridge that was opened in, you guessed it right, 2000, and then closed down two days later because there appeared to be some swaying the constructors hadn’t counted on. Apparently, as my physicist friend Aleksandra explained it to me, every time someone takes a step, the bridge moves a liiiiiittle bit. When many people are crossing the bridge, as can happen in, you know, one of the biggest tourist area in the world, all their steps add up, causing the bridge to sway more, which in turn makes people organize and uniform their steps, which makes more swaying, yadda yadda yadda. To cut the story short, the bridge was closed down and was being repaired for two years. It's safe now.

If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter franchise, you might remember the bridge as the one that suffered the attack of the Death Eaters. As I witnessed two years ago—the bridge is there, all is well, Voldemort is dead. ;)



St Paul’s Cathedral

If you cross the Millennium Bridge, you’ll go straight to St Paul’s Cathedral.

This is one of the greatest London landmarks, and since the 17th century, when it was constructed as a part of a major rebuilding program in the City after the Great Fire of London, it has dominated the city skyline for three centuries. It was built on the highest point of London, so it offers some lovely views. You can visit the Cathedral for a fee—even though worshipers do not pay and can visit and attend masses free of charge, if you’re there to sightsee, you have to pay. See the prices on their website. And as it says there, if you want to visit, make sure to do that before 4 PM.



Tower of London

How many buildings you know that date all the way back to the 11th century? The Tower of London is a castle that served as a prison from 1100 to 1952. That’s a long time, though it wasn’t initially the purpose of the castle—it first served as a royal residence.

Today it is known for holding the Crown Jewels and different exhibitions. I am yet to discover them on my own because I’ve always found the ticket prices a bit steep (you can buy them here), but don’t miss at least taking a look at the castle from the outside.





Tower Bridge

One of my favorite sights and one I’ll never get tired of! It’s also one of the most iconic London’s landmarks, and due to that fact often confused with the London Bridge (which is the next one upstream). The bridge was built in the 19th century and it can let tall ships through.

If you walk towards it from the Tower of London and are a Starbucks fan, you can sit down at a nearby Starbucks and enjoy the view of the bridge, especially if it’s a nice day. Such view once filled me with positive energy for weeks to come!


Shard

Remember how I said that London is ever changing? With its 95 floors, the Shard is the tallest building in London—and it only opened in 2013. It hosts many restaurants, the Shangri La Hotel, and a viewing platform you can head up to and admire the view all around, up to 40 miles! It’s not really cheap (see the prices here), but you get to choose the time of day you want to enter and then spend unlimited time up there, plus, if the weather is bad, you’ll get an additional entry when it gets better—for free. I’d say it’s fair.



Visit Museums

Another reason why London is the best city in the world is that almost all of its museums are free to enter. Even if museums are not your cup of tea, there’s something for everyone. Or you just haven’t been to a good one yet, and here’s your chance.

British Museum

Thanks to the British colonial past, British Museum has everything. I once spent a whole day in it and had the feeling I barely scratched the surface. Whether antics or eastern civilizations are your jam, whether you’re into prehistory or the Americas, whether you want to see the Rosetta stone because you’re a linguist (um, that would be me) or just take in as much as possible… please don’t miss British Museum. Bonus points: highly instagrammable roof. Find info and plan your visit here.

Tate Modern

The building on the south bank of the Thames that holds the Tate Modern doesn’t really strike as a museum, and that’s because it is a former power station. Tate Modern is Britain's national gallery of international modern art, and one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the world.

I am not really a modern art connoisseur and I would actually say I don’t understand modern art, but I enjoyed my day at this museum so much! Sometimes, as my pianist friend explained it to me, it doesn’t matter what the creator’s intention was; what matters is the feelings the art evokes in you. So one of my favorites was actually a mirror on canvas. Some thought it was nonsense, I love the explanation.

Anyway, the entry to Tate Modern is free, but some exhibitions actually require entry fee. Know your stuff on their website.



Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

You might know that there are a lot of Madame Tussauds around the world, but the London one is the original. Marie Tussaud was a French wax artist who traveled Europe and exhibited her collection of wax figures. Eventually she settled down in London, being unable to go back to France due to Napoleonic wars, and founded a museum. The rest is history, and you can now pose alongside all your favorite celebrities, royals and historic people. You can buy tickets here, and also check their 2-for-1 and 3-for-1 prices and discounts.

National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery

These two are located side by side in Trafalgar Square, and free as well. The former houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900 and probably works of every famous artist you have ever heard of. Titian, Michelangelo, Cezanne, Van Gogh... it has it all! You can check the current exhibitions here. The latter, The National Portrait Gallery (NPG), houses a collection of portraits of historically important and famous British people, from Shakespeare to... Kate Moss

Eat

Of course you want to eat something while navigating London streets! One of the traits of London I love is it’s full of opportunities to try something new, and there is an abundance of national cuisine restaurants and stands on different street food markets. However, don’t miss its pubs and their authentic British dishes!

Pubs

Apart from the obvious beer, you can eat well at pubs! Fish and chips is a must, and there is a variety of other British meals, such as steaks, kidney puddings, beef pies… Aleksandra took us to Penderel’s Oak in High Holborn, near British Museum (check it here), and to The Knight’s Templar, a beautiful high-ceiling pub situated in the former Union Bank, not far from Fleet Street.


not one of mentioned pubs; just one with pretty facade

Soho

There are countless restaurants there, however, I'll just leave one recommendation: Aleksandra took me to a Peruvian restaurant called Ceviche. Their food is great, so if you’re up to something new, mark your map!

Covent Garden

Not really a garden, but a central theater and entertainment area. Covent Garden is a covered market that also offers restaurants, pubs and bars, as well as fashion stores. Why do I mention this here? Being close to major theaters, some of the restaurant in Covent Garden offer pre-show deals. 

Borough Market

Located quite close to London Bridge, Borough Market is London’s oldest food market that has been around in this form or another for 1,000 years. It has been transforming in the meantime—what wouldn’t—but its core has remained, and that’s people in search for good food. You can buy fresh produce here, such as meat, fish, dairy, eggs, veggies; or you can opt for street food: Indian, Israeli, Thai, Egyptian, Italian, German, Caribbean… If you want to come prepared and aren’t a fan of spontaneity, check the website here. Important: the market is closed on Sundays.



Camden Market

Camden Market is not a place for street food only—and you shouldn't only go there to eat. Go for everything! Go for the atmosphere! Camden Market is maybe the most famous part of Camden Town, or just Camden, a borough of London that is known for being a haven of counter culture, now very popular with tourists, teens and punks. Also known for giant sculptures of faces and footwear on buildings!

The Camden Lock Market, inside of and around the Market Hall, consists of endless stalls selling records, vintage fashion, handmade jewelry, accessories, souvenirs, tea, furniture and all the knick knacks in the world you can imagine!



English Breakfast

This can be actually eaten pretty much everywhere. If this is your first time in London, a full English Breakfast is a must! It includes bacon, eggs, beans, toast with butter, fried mushrooms, fried or grilled tomatoes, and sausages. It’s a calorie bomb and you might not find every ingredient tasty, but one simply does not leave London without eating it. 

Other Things to See and Do in London

Notting Hill

Notting Hill is a beautiful district of London, calm, lovely and picture pretty. Start your exploration at the Notting Hill metro station, where, by the way, is one of the Book Warehouse shops—a great discount bookshop chain where I always find something for myself. From literature to coffee table books, it has everything for great prices. Anyway, now being a fashionable district, with its large Victorian townhouses, Notting Hill is a great area to just get lost in. While here, though, you should do one thing: go to Portobello Road and walk along it.



Portobello Road

The whole street stretches north to south, and it’s the world’s largest antiques market. More than 1,000 dealers here sell antiques and collectibles. However, this being one of London landmarks, it has become rather touristy, and shop owners have expressed their regret that the antiques hunters had become a minority. The tourists, they say, only flock here to buy a souvenir and a cup of coffee, and walk away, which is changing the nature of the market, and is not benefitting shops that have stood here for decades. So me telling you not to miss Portobello Road is a bit debatable, but if you decide to do this, check the times here.



Kensington Gardens

Once you think you’ve seen enough fancy houses in Notting Hill, go to Kensington Gardens that host Kensington Palace, another royal residence of London, currently a home for William, Kate and their children. Part of the palace is open to public, and hosts various exhibitions, such as the one on the three German princess who married into the British royal family, or the one on Lady Di and her dresses. Check opening time and tickets here.

Hyde Park

Adjacent to Kensington Gardens is Hyde Park, the largest park in London. You can rent a bike there and ride throughout the park, or row boats on the large pond called the Serpentine. If there’s anything you would want to speak publicly about, visit the Speaker’s Corner, where people can speak about almost everything and anything—as long as they stay above the ground, for example, on a box or a ladder. 

Ride on a Double Decker

You probably will at some point, maybe to Camden? Anyway, I suggest you take a red double decker bus—either to a desired destination, or just hop on wherever and let it take you somewhere. Just make sure to sit in the front of the first floor, and enjoy the ride!



Platform 9 ¾

Calling all Potterheads! Back when I wanted to see this in 2002, Harry Potter apparently wasn’t as popular, so I just saw plain platforms 9 and 10. Nowadays however there is an actual Platform 9 ¾ where you can have your photo taken and pretend you’re on your way to Hogwarts.

Ride up the Thames

If you like exploring a city from the water, you can take the Thames Clipper, a sort of a river bus that rides up and down the river. You can even use your Oyster card on it, so why not give it a go? Check the timetables, prices and piers you can hop on here.

Things Worth Noting:


1. When crossing the road, look RIGHT first. Unless you’re from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, India or few other countries that ride on the left, you need to remember this every time! We kids from the right side of the road have developed a reflex of looking to the left first, but in London it can probably kill you, or at least scare you. Remember to look right!




2. Get yourself an Oyster card. You cannot enter the metro, or get on a bus, if you don’t have one. No amount of cash will help you! You can pay by contactless card though, or get a paper daily ticket, but if you’re staying in London for more than a day (which you totally should :)), either get an Oyster card in the city, or buy it in advance and have it mailed to you before you travel.

3. UK’s currency is the British pound. If you plan on using your card from home, know there will probably be additional fees for every purchase you make. If that doesn’t bother you, notice your bank that you’re traveling abroad so as to escape any unpleasant surprises.

4. London is quite expensive. Don’t say you haven’t been warned. I mean, if you count in everything I’ve mentioned here, you’ll see it’s not a small amount.
(But in spite of this I’m still dreaming of spending a two-week period in the city!)

5. When it comes to accommodation, everything depends on how much you're willing to pay. You can check out hotels, Airbnb, or maybe CouchSurf? I once stayed with a friend of a friend's friend (#mathladymeme), and that was super far away from the city, but it was free. As I said, London is expensive (meaning you'll spend a lot even if you don't pay for accommodation), so check your wallet and your priorities.

6. If you want to see everything I mentioned in this post, it would take you... I don't know, I did it in several instances times three days. :) A week, maybe? That's why I'm emphasizing one more time: your pace and your interests are crucial, and I'm here to offer advice.

7. You're not really allowed to have an opinion of London other than "yes, you were right, it really is the best city in the world". Joking. Or am I? ;) Have fun, like I did with these two. :)




Tihana

P.S. Anything you'd like to add? Museums I didn't mention, great restaurants, theater plays? Les Miserables blew my mind but this post is too long anyway! 😂

15 comments:

  1. Great guide! I absolutely love London and can't wait to see it again this year when I head to Europe.

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  2. This makes me homesick for the UK. I'm planning to move back to London in Spring and this has made me excited!

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  3. Wow, I'm excited for you too! I would love to live in London at some point :)

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  4. Thank you Krystal! Soon London will be all wrapped in Christmas decorations, so it will be lovely :) Where else in Europe will you be traveling to?

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  5. What a useful guide! I have been in London twice and absolutely loved it - and did not see all the spots from your list, I guess it is time to go there again :) So far I enjoyed most walk on riverside, tea with scones :), walk in Notting Hills and sunset view from Sky Garden. And visit of Warner Bros Sutdio (guilty of being potterhead).

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  6. I loved reading this guide, and wish I had read something like this before visiting London! I visited a few years ago, and was there for 2 weeks... I felt overwhelmed, and there was just SO MUCH to see and explore! It's definitely a loveable city - and what a story about being detained at the airport at the age of 14!

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  7. I spent a number of years commuting to London and saw it, I think, at both best and worst. Your palpable excitement and pleasure in the city is inspiring; it lets me remember her beauty, even through that liquid sunshine you've shown.

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  8. I am so crazy in love with the city that I don't think I would mind seeing the worst; it might actually enhance the love, haha! As I told you on FB already, I'm so glad my excitement is so easy to read :) what was your favorite thing about London?

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  9. Thank you! <3 When I visited for the first time, I had a cut-out from a daily newspaper with things to see in London. Plus the stuff from my English textbooks haha! Yes, there is so much to see, and two weeks really sound like a decent chunk of time. Did you find it enough?

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  10. Thank you so much! Ah, I'd say it's always time for going to London ;) Would you recommend going to the Sky Garden? I will soon be publishing a post on spots in London that offer view from above. Oh and I definitely want to go to Warner Bros studio, but I never had the time as all my visits were brief! It must have been amazing to a fellow potterhead :D

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  11. Great detailed guide! I was 9 on my first visit to London and love it even more as an adult

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  12. This blog is amazing.. Love the detailed description.. Will definitely visit London!
    www.holidiaries.com

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  13. The river, I think, always so beautiful, and I was fortunate enough to have it as my office view. And also the buzz; there's a palpable sense of excitement about London.

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  14. I know it is a shame to say, especially from someone who did travel quite a lot but I have never been in London! I do hope to change that soon and your post definitely inspires to visit. :) very comprehensive read and detailed description, thank you!

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  15. It's no shame! I've never been to, say, Spain or Portugal or a number of other countries in Europe, and just scratched the surface of the rest of the world. But this is one of the cities I recommend to everyone, and if you can, plan a visit sometime soon! Glad you like the post and find it useful :)

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