Beginner's Guide to London, England

Updated: Apr 3, 2020

In the words of Joey Tribbiani: "LONDON BABY!" A place that might on the top of your bucket list due to the fact that there is no language barrier. Not to mention the incredible architecture, great shopping, and (for all you fellow Harry Potter nerds out there) several filming locations for this iconic movie series. Follow these recommendations when planning your trip to this beautiful city:

Where to stay

As close to Westminster/Big Ben as possible. This will allow you to see most of the sights just by walking! The tube is a little pricey compared to other European cities, so walking is the best way to save your cash. I stayed at PubLove which I highly recommend due to its location, cleanliness, and the fact that it's right above a pub with great beer and discounted food!

Things to do

1. Big Ben

Arguably the most iconic building in London. Especially with the common Instagram photo in the telephone booth across the street and Big Ben in the background. It's definitely an intricate gothic building that is a MUST when visiting this city.

Time to spend there: 30 min, enough time to get your IG pics

Location: Westminster, London SW1A 0AA, UK

By tube: Grey Jubilee or Green District line, exit Westminster

2. Westminster Abbey

A royal, gothic-style church in the center of London that is also a World Heritage Site, with over a thousand years of history.

Time to spend: 1-2 hours

Location: 20 Deans Yd, Westminster, London SW1P 3PA, UK

By tube: Grey Jubilee or Green District line, exit Westminster

3. Buckingham Palace

The official headquarters of the monarch of the UK- aka the queen's house! Don't forget to get there before 11:00am to watch the changing of the guards ceremony (10:00 am on Sundays)

Time to spend: 1-2 hours

Location: Westminster, London SW1A 1AA, UK

By tube: Light blue Victoria, Grey Jubilee, or Navy Piccadilly line, exit Green Park

4. Tower bridge

One of the most iconic sites in London! A suspension bridge that crosses the Thames River and provides a beautiful backdrop for all your pics! (Alexa, play London Bridge by Fergie)

Time to spend: 1-2 hours

Location: Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP, UK

By tube: Black Northern line, exit Tower Bridge

5. London Eye

The tallest observation wheel in Europe! It's the most popular paid tourist attraction in the UK, and is quite expensive. Around 30£ the day of, or book online here for 27£

Time to spend: 30min-1 hour

Location: Lambeth, London SE1 7PB, UK

By tube: Black North or Gray Jubilee line, exit Waterloo

6. Primrose Hill

A grassy hill with breathtaking views of the city! Grab a picnic lunch and head over here to enjoy your meal with a view.

Time to spend: 1-2 hours

Location: Primrose Hill Road, London NW3, England

By tube: Black Northern line, exit Chalk Farm

7. Notting Hill

A vibrant, trendy area with casual cafes that line the bohemian-style Portobello Road, infamous for its busy market selling antiques and vintage fashion. The side streets are filled with ornate, Victorian-style apartments all painted different colors. It's a beautiful place to walk around with plenty of photo-ops!

Time to spend: 1-2 hours

Location: Notting Hill, London W11 2PA, UK

By tube: Red Central line, exit Holland Park

8. Camden Town market

Over 1000 shops and stalls selling fashion, music, art and food.

Time to spend: 2-3 hours

Location: Camden Lock Pl, Camden Town, London NW1 8AF, UK

By tube: Black Northern line, exit Camden Town

9. Piccadilly Circus

It's a busy square in the heart of London, famous for the fountain that was installed at the end of the 19th century and the neon signs that make it feel like a mini version of Times Square.

Time to spend: 1 hour

By tube: Navy Piccadilly or Brown Bakerloo line, exit Piccadilly Circus

10. King's Cross Station

The biggest railway station in London, and the filming location for part of the Harry Potter series. You can even take your own "off to Hogwarts" pic on Platform 9 & 3/4.

Time to spend: 1 hour

Location: Euston Rd, Kings Cross, London N1 9AL, UK

By tube: Yellow Circle, Navy Piccadilly, or Light Blue Victoria line, exit King's Cross

11. Leadenhall Market

This is the filming location for Hogsmeade in the Harry Potter films. It really does give you the feeling that you're on a quick day trip away from Hogwarts! Grab some lunch & enjoy the views.

Time to spend: 1-2 hours

Location: Gracechurch St, London EC3V 1LT, UK

By tube: Green District line, exit Monument Hall

12. Abbey Road

The infamous crossing for The Beatles' 1969 album cover. Recreate the album cover by taking lots of your own photos!

Time to spend: 30 min-1 hour

Location: 3 Abbey Rd, London NW8 9AY, UK

By tube: Gray Jubilee line, exit St. John's Wood Station

Food to try

1. Sunday Roast: traditional British main meal, consisting of roasted meat, roast potato, and accompaniments such as Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, vegetables and gravy.

2. Shepherd's pie: there are many variations, but the defining ingredients are minced red meat, typically lamb, cooked in gravy with onions and vegetables, and topped with a layer of mashed potato before it is baked.

3. Bangers & mash: perfectly crispy sausages and mashed potatoes

4. Fish & chips: flaky, fried fish and french fries

5. Cadbury chocolate: I know we can get this anywhere, but it originated here so why not!

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