I took a trip to Europe a couple of years ago with a friend of mine and went to London, Amsterdam, and Brussels. London was definitely my faaaavorite stop on the trip! Something about the city pulls you in and I immediately felt like I could live there. London is a huge city with a lot of different neighborhoods to explore, I was only there for four days and wished it had been longer.
We stayed at a hostel and I have erased the name of it from my memory because it was not the greatest experience. We were on a budget so we stayed in a room with 12 people, 12 PEOPLE. Let’s just say I didn’t sleep much at all. I suggest finding a hotel or hostel where you at least have your own room. Though the sleeping situation wasn’t ideal, we were in the middle of the city and close to the tube which we took to get everywhere. The tube is the train/subway system in London and you’ll need an oyster card in order to use it. Google maps was the real MVP, we just typed in our destination and it gave us directions for the tube, it was so easy and affordable, I highly recommend trying it.
I split up our visit with the different areas of London in mind. For example, one day we would do everything in the north east part of London, then the next day the south part, etc. This made it really easy to navigate and we didn’t waste much time trying to get to our destinations.
The first day we arrived we explored the west side of London. We were able to hit a ton of spots all in one jam packed day. We first walked by the London Eye which is the iconic ferris wheel that gives you a breathtaking view of the city. Unfortunately we didn’t go on the London Eye but I’ve heard it’s amazing.
Then we talked to Big Ben which was under construction but still beautiful, St. James Park, West Minister Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens. There is so much!!! All of these places are fairly close together, the parks are incredible in London! If you have some time and the weather permits, I highly recommend having a picnic in the park while enjoying some wine or champagne.
From there we went to Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, and Oxford Street for shopping. Piccadilly Circus is this really bustling area that is super close to the theaters. We were able to score last minute tickets to the show Dreamgirls for $30 in the FIFTH ROW! Seriously an amazing steal and great show.
We had lunch at Golden Union Fish Bar which has incredible fish and chips. This area of London has so many great restaurants and bars, I would probably give myself two days to complete all of these things because there’s so much to see! It’s also really close to Chinatown which is great to explore or just even walk through, the decor is really exciting.
Another day we went and explored the north east side. We went into the Tate Modern which is an incredible art museum. There are a lot of floors displaying art, depending how into art you are it could take a few hours to explore the whole museum. We also passed by the Tower Bridge which is extremely beautiful, definitely a great place for a photo op. We also explored the Tower of London for a little which we were surprised to learn has a ton of history. Lastly, we went to an area called Shoreditch. This town has a ton of bars and restaurants, it’s a really cool place for young people to go out and hang out, the bar scene is really cool.
I need to do a better job noting the restaurants and bars I go to while vacationing but there are two places that I went to that I HIGHLY recommend. First is Gordon’s Wine Bar. Gordon’s is London’s oldest wine bar and is tucked away in a cave basically. The ambiance is so cool, it’s mostly lit by candlelight and tables and chairs are tucked away, if you’re lucky enough to even get a seat. They also have a huge wine selection, if you like wine this is a must do. Also, how can you go to London and not have high tea? We stumbled upon Candella Tea Room which is a quaint tea shop. There’s very few tables and was only one person working but we were the only ones in there for a while. The tea is unlike anything I’ve ever had and the cakes and sandwiches were served on these beautiful platters. It’s a great experience and very close to Notting Hill and cute shops.
There is so much to do in London, I really wished we would have spent more time there. I barely touched on the most touristy things and feel there is so much more to do! If I am fortunate enough to back back to Europe I will definitely add a stop in London.
Happy traveling! (In 2025 when it’s safe again that is)