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Is London Worth Visiting

In a word – yes. London is worth visiting. I’ll admit I have a bit of bias as I’ve lived here for most of my life, but it’s still true.

London is one of the world’s most iconic cities. As the UK’s capital and its biggest city, London is home to a huge variety of landmarks, museums, music venues, theatres and more. If cities are your thing, then London is a must.

There are very few cities where medieval buildings like the Tower of London form part of a skyline alongside modern skyscrapers. Whether you want to explore the music scene in Camden or view famous works of art in the National Gallery, there truly is something for everyone in London.

8 Reasons to Visit London

London's National Gallery is worth visiting for a selection of famous artwork

Explore History

London is worth visiting for its history alone. One of the most impressive buildings in London is the Tower of London. Several important historical figures were imprisoned at the tower, including Anne Boleyn, Guy Fawkes, and the famous Princes in the Tower whose fate has never been proven.

See the Crown Jewels and meet the ravens of the tower. The building is an icon of London and sits right next to another London landmark – the famous Tower Bridge.

One of London's many famous landmarks is worth visiting - the Tower of London

If you are a fan of horror or true crime, why not take a Jack the Ripper tour, exploring London’s dark side and the history of one of the world’s most infamous serial killers.

A Collection of Villages

London was first established in the Roman era, but the London we know now is in many ways an amalgamation of villages and towns which over time became one big city as the population expanded. This gives rise to a very diverse and multicultural city, with different areas having very different atmospheres.

Neighbourhoods like Hampstead and Primrose Hill feel more like villages, while Canary Wharf is a financial hub full of skyscrapers. London is a great city to explore on foot but it is also very big, so use the tube to get to your next destination before walking around a new neighbourhood.

Museums and Galleries

London has many world-class museums and art galleries, and best of all – lots of them are free to visit. From family-friendly options like the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and Museum of London Docklands, to the National Portrait Gallery and British Museum there is no shortage of arts and culture options in London. London is worth visiting for these cultural gems alone.

Shopping

London is a great location for shopping. Covent Garden has both independent shops and also famous chains housed in cool buildings. Camden Market has tons of smaller shops including a selection of retro and goth shops.

Oxford Street is famous for its department stores such as Selfridges and John Lewis, but I would only recommend visiting during the week – on Saturdays, it is transformed from a relatively relaxed experience into a crowded nightmare.

Oxford Street is another iconic London location and a great place for shopping

Music Scene

London is home to a wide range of music venues. Go see a gig in Camden, listen to a symphony at the Barbican or head to a club in Soho. Whatever music genre you can think of, you’ll find it somewhere in London.

Musicals and Plays

The West End of London is full of theatres with everything from Shakespeare’s plays to Hamilton.

If there is something specific you want to see then you can buy tickets directly from the theatre website, but if you aren’t sure then check out the Official London Theatre website which lists both all the standard shows but also has the option to buy same-day discounted tickets if you are open to seeing anything.

Food and Drink

The UK sometimes gets a bit of an unfair judgement when it comes to food. While it’s true that some ‘traditional’ British foods sound less than appealing, London does have an excellent food scene. Check out a walking food tour which includes one of London’s most famous foodie experiences – Borough Market.

Borough Market is one of many food havens around the city, making London worth visiting for foodies.

Other excellent food options include getting a curry at one of the many curry houses on Brick Lane, getting dinner with a view at one of the restaurants in the Shard, or trying one of London’s many Michelin-starred restaurants. If you aren’t sure of the tipping etiquette in London, I have a full post to help you out.

Parks

London has several large parks that are great to enjoy. The Regent’s Park has beautiful floral displays, Hyde Park has the Serpentine Lake and sports facilities and St James’s Park is a beautiful walk from Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament up to Buckingham Palace.

Other great green spaces include Victoria Park, Hampstead Heath and Greenwich Park. There are options all over the city to enjoy a bit of nature.

St James's Park is one of many parks that help make London worth visiting

5 Best Things to Do in London

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea is a classic London experience and there are several places you can do it. Splash out on a booking for tea at a London landmark hotel such as the Ritz or Claridges, or for a slightly less formal option check out Brigit’s Bakery for afternoon tea bus tours.

Natural History Museum

Perhaps I’m biased but I genuinely believe that London’s Natural History Museum is one of the best museums in the world. And it’s free. Kids will love the dinosaur exhibition. See skeletons of now-extinct animals and marvel at gems and precious stones. Its an enormous collection in a beautiful building. There are also special paid events such as Yoga at the Museum and Silent Discos.

London's Natural History Museum is one of the best in the world. Definitely worth visiting.

Covent Garden

Another popular tourist spot, Covent Garden is full of street performers, restaurants and shops. It’s a very photogenic place, but also just a great part of London to wander around in. The tube station has either a lift (elevator) or steps up to the surface. Trust me, wait for a lift rather than attempting the stairs unless you are feeling very energetic.

High Speed Boat On The River Thames

Many of London’s famous landmarks are directly by the river, and so an excellent way to see some of them is on a river tour. For a little hit of adrenaline try a high-speed boat trip that will take you past Shakespeare’s Globe, Tower Bridge, The Shard and more.

The British Museum

I won’t deny that there are a number of controversial items in the British Museum, with calls for them to be returned to their country of origin after being brought to the UK over the years.

Having said that, the general collection is excellent and includes artefacts that are thousands of years old from all over the globe. It’s also another museum that has free entry and is very centrally located.

How Many Days Do You Need To Visit London

I would recommend at least 3 days, but you could easily find lots to do if you had more time. London is a very big city so plan your itinerary to make the most of your time – pick attractions close together to reduce how much time you are spending travelling around the city rather than enjoying the sights.

The River Thames runs through central London and many of the capital's famous buildings are right on its banks.

Where To Stay In London

Let’s be honest – London is not the cheapest city to stay in. Having said that, in such a big city there is a huge range of options. The further away from the centre you are, the cheaper it will be. Some recommendations for different budgets are:

YHA St Pancras – if you are on a budget, one of the many hostels is a great choice. This YHA has dorm rooms, including female-only options, and private rooms. It’s a central location and has a laundry room and cafe on site.

Premier Inn, Stratford – this isn’t in central London but Stratford station is very well connected, on the Central and Jubilee tube lines, the DLR and the new Elizabeth line. It is a great choice without the higher price point of a central hotel. You also have access to all the restaurants and shops at Westfield shopping centre.

The Ritz – if you want to go all out, then The Ritz is probably the most famous hotel in London. I can’t say I’ve done more than had Afternoon Tea there, but if you want luxury I can only imagine these rooms are beautiful.

Getting Around London

London has an excellent public transport system, as well as standard options such as taxis and Ubers. Most Londoners do not drive in the city centre but get around using the London Underground (tube) or buses. For a full guide to getting around London, I have a dedicated blog post.

Traffic is terrible and parking is extortionate, so renting a car in the city isn’t a practical choice. Black cab taxis can use bus lanes to escape some of the worst of the traffic, but public transport really is the best choice.

The tube is a great way to get around the city and is also very safe.

In central London, you are never more than a few minutes away from a tube station, and during the day tube trains are only a few minutes apart. The tube is a safe and affordable way to explore the city. Use the Citymapper app to help navigate.

London is also a great city to walk around due, but it is a very large city so you will need to use other forms of transport to get to your chosen area before setting out on foot. London is a very safe city and public transport is safe for all types of visitors including solo travellers.

Best Time To Visit London

There isn’t really a bad time to visit London. Different seasons give London very different feelings. The parks are especially beautiful in Spring, and Winter is a great time to experience seasonal activities like ice skating by the Tower.

Unfortunately, there’s no escaping the fact that it rains a lot in the UK, however many of London’s best attractions are indoors so you’ll never be stuck outside with nothing to do during a downpour.

Final Thoughts – Is London Worth Visiting

Definitely! London is a unique city in terms of architecture, history and things to do. It’s a stunning city and one that you absolutely should visit if you have the chance. You’ll never be bored.

In the words of Samuel Johnson – ‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life’.

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