Things to Do
Abbey Road: It’s a little out of the way, but copying the iconic Beatles picture is worth a metro ride. There will often be a photographer there who sells professional pictures. If you opt to do this, make sure you talk him down to 8ish pounds by saying you’re a student. Otherwise, they will rip you off.
Big Ben: A London staple, go check out the giant clock-tower.
Brick Lane: Tons of different vintage market stalls & food vendors.
Borough Market: Literally every type of food you can ever imagine, in one hectic area. Juices, oils, trinkets, fruits, burgers, you name it. A must see for anyone who loves to eat.
Camden Lock: Amazing food and tons of booths with handmade items. You can wander and eat here for hours.
Chelsea: Adorable neighborhood where the Parent Trap house is located with beautiful shops, restaurants, and cafes.
Columbia Road Flower Market: It's a bit chaotic, but stocked with flower vendors offset by cute boutiques. Really great for getting a feel for the 'banter' between vendors.
Comedy show: Uproarious and often inexpensive. Sometimes, this is a great alternative to seeing a West End show but there's loads of good shows too.
Day Trips from London: Whether you're trying to beat the heat or just want a change of pace, there's tons of day trips through companies you can take. We highly recommend seeing Windsor Castle, Bath, and Stonehenge.
Hyde Park or London Fields: If the weather is good, a picnic in the park is a quintessential part of British summer time. Everyone grabs a bottle of prosecco, a few snacks, and heads anywhere with a clear green patch.
Jack The Ripper tour: Peep the neighborhood of the infamous killer.
London Eye: Super touristy, we know, but the views on a rare sunny day are worth fighting the crowds. The line may look daunting, but it moves quick.
Millenium Bridge: Featured in Harry Potter, take a walk over this bridge to get a great view from St. Paul's Cathedral and the London Bridge.
Oxford Street: If you love shopping or just want to be in the hustle of bustle of London, take a walk down this street at any time of day.
Parliament Building: Take a tour and learn! Well worth it.
Shoreditch: Cozy up in one of the many pubs in the area.
Spitalfields Market: The covered market has atmosphere, trinkets and perfect for wandering around. Great art, beautiful scarves & low-cost souvenirs.
St Paul's Cathedral: A beautiful church in the heart of London.
Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington: They have interesting exhibits and there's a beautiful courtyard too. There's other museums nearby as well and are generally free admission.
Places to Eat
Beigel Bake: The one with the white sign, famous for salt beef bagels. There's always a queue.
Bluebird Cafe: An adorable Chelsea cafe. Ideal place to have a delicious, yet affordable, English tea. They do a pot of tea and scones for 10ish pounds, which you can’t really beat in London.
Cereal Killer Cafe: All things cereal. Breakfast food heaven with some of your childhood favorites.
Dark Sugars: Chocolate shop, pick what you want and pay by weight.
Dinerama: In the arty Shoreditch area. Local hot spot with interesting cuisine.
Duck and Waffle: Paired with it's posh atmosphere, it's open 24 hours a day and is located 40 floors up.
Giant Robot: Hip, rooftop hangout. Amazing food and atmosphere.
Golden Union: If you want to get classical British fish n' chips, this is your place. They offer for sit down or take away, and fry your food right when you order so you know it's fresh.
Hawker House: Street-food market open every Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to Late. Great drinks, often has live music.
Milk Train: Rich ice cream and other treats.
Soft Serve Society: Another ice cream stop. Whether you want it on cotton candy or in a cone, this place has your dream treat.
Places to Drink
Country Hall: This area occupies space near London's city council. Pop into any pub on the street for a pint.
Kensington: An upscale pocket of London, any of their venues are sure to offer strong drinks for a strong price.
Madisons: Rooftop bar and provides a great view of St Paul's.
Oxo Tower: Nestled right on the river, pop in any time for a casual drink and soak in the fresh river air.
SoHo Area: This area has tons of pubs and bars where you can grab a beer and chat on the sidewalk with friends.
The Shard: Has a couple of nice bars and offer a great view of the city, but is often littered with tourists.
Victoria: Go here for your traditional English pub atmosphere!
Places to Stay
We recommend either the Palmers Lodge-Swiss Cottage, Clink78, or the SoHostel. All three are bustling with backpackers, are found near train stations and are never far from the action and sites. Fair prices, clean facilities, can't go wrong.
Underground/Tube: Super easy to use, despite being somewhat overwhelming for a tourist. Usually the most cost effective way to travel. Get a weekly travel card (Oyster card) for a flat rate
if you're going to be here for more than a four days which you can use on buses too.
Citymapper App: Very helpful for navigating around town and gives you options to walk, bus, tube, bike or cab
We'd advise against black cabs, despite how iconic they are. They're notorious for ripping off tourists and don't always have a meter.
Common sense...but watch your purse. It's a possibility everywhere you go, even in the posh parts of London, so keep your bag tucked under your arm and never out of site.
London has a really fancy going out scene so plan accordingly.
Southend Airport often has cheaper flights than Heathrow, so be sure to check both. Also keep in mind that London has multiple airports - if you're booking different flights with layovers, make sure they're from the same one or have enough time for you to get between the two!
Research/ask about the Oyster card for public transportation. It may be worth it to buy