Govoyager Ltd. was established in 2014. We offer some of the best available sightseeing tours in London and the U.K. The tours we offer range from top quality day trips to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath, popular London attractions such as Tower of London, London Eye, Madame Tussauds and the most popular Warner Brothers Studios London. We also offer train tours to other popular cities such..
London Travelling by Underground on New Year’s Night
In this post, we discuss Night-Travelling in London in general and particular interest on Festival season and New Year’s Night.
London is a 24-hour city with an increasingly important night-time economy. Around 14 per cent of London businesses are based on the night-time economy, rising to 20 per cent of businesses in the West End. Londoners make approximately one million trips between 22:00 and 05:00 on Friday and Saturday nights. TfL has announced that London Underground will run trains on selected lines on Friday and Saturday nights from September 2015. This section describes trends in late night travel demand and the nature and objectives of the proposed new service.
London Underground has operated later hours in the past in special circumstances. The Tube has run a 24-hour service on New Year’s Eve.
The growth of the night-time economy has been one facet affecting several pronounced shifts in the ways that the transport networks are used throughout the day. While there are still distinct weekday peaks of demand, the general pattern since the 1970s has been a broadening of demand across the day – and into the weekends as well. Patronage on the Tube after 22.00 hours until close of service has increased by an estimated 70 per cent since 2000, compared to 30 per cent over the whole day, and the Night bus network now carries 42 million passengers per year compared with around 16 million in 2000. The advent next year of the Night Tube, aimed squarely at supporting London’s growing night-time economy, is clear step along the way.
Your guide to service disruptions and reduced transport timetables in London across the 2017 festive season.
Already planning how to travel around London this Christmas? We’d suggest you do something more seasonal instead. How about reading up on London’s best urban beaches, amazing rooftop bars and ace day-trips from London? If you’re determined to get your transport fix, read on.
We’ll be updating this page with information for Christmas 2017 as soon as it’s available.
Getting around town at Christmas time can be challenging thanks to reduced timetables on the tube, buses and railways. Fortunately, Time Out is here to help smooth the way. Each service and each tube line has a Twitter account, which is a good way to keep up with closures and disruptions. Find the ones you’re interested in on TfL’s social media page.
We can’t predict the weather, obviously, so note that the info below may be subject to change due to adverse conditions (snow!), so check your route directly before travelling.
Note that there’s no service at all on London’s public transport on Christmas Day and there’s free travel from 11.45pm on New Year’s Eve until 4.30am on New Year’s Day.
New Year’s Eve 2017 travel: How to get around London FOR FREE
CELEBRATING New Year’s Eve in London? Here is how you can get around by tube and bus for free, with the latest news on road traffic, taxi prices and the congestion charge.
Between 11.45pm and 4.30am on New Year’s Day, travel is free across the Transport for London (TfL) network.
This means that tube, overground, bus, DLR, TfL rail and tram services will all be free.
London Underground services will run throughout the night, with certain day bus routes continuing into the early hours to help travelers get home.
The Liverpool Street-Enfield Town/Cheshunt lines will run hourly throughout the night.DLR trains will run as usual until 12.30am, with a service ever 15 minutes into the morning.TfL rail services will run 15 minutes all night, with the exception of the Chadwell Heath-Shenfield route which will be serviced by a replacement bus. The last bus leaves Shenfield at 11.37pm, and from Chadwell Heath at 3.08am.Trams will run every 30 minutes throughout the night. Not drinking? Drivers can head into central London with no congestion charge all day and night. There will be road closures around Victoria, Westminster and Parliament Square due to the New Year’s Eve fireworks event.Westminster, Jubilee, Waterloo and Lambeth bridges will be closed to pedestrians from 2pm onwards.Black cabs will charge an extra £4 for each journey, while Uber prices will be at their highest between midnight and 3am.Uber recommends that users double check their driver’s information to avoid getting in the wrong car, and using its split fare or UberPool options to save money.Not sure what you’re doing for New Year’s Eve? Check out our guides on the cheapest places to spend the night in London, and the best spots to watch the fireworks.
How to get around London over Christmas and New Year
Make sure to plan your journey ahead of time because Transport for London drivers don’t want to spend all Christmas chauffeuring us about.
When it comes to Christmas Day, travelling is almost out of the question unless you can drive.
But if you’re nipping out on Christmas Eve, looking to check out the sales on Boxing Day or wondering what to do New Year’s Day – plan, plan, plan.
And fortunately we’ve got all the details here to help you on your merry way.
Christmas Eve: The Tube will be running until 11.30pm – giving last minute shoppers a chance to dash out before the big event.
Although Christmas Eve falls on a Saturday, there won’t be a Night Tube service.
Christmas Day: There will be no service across the entire Underground network.
Boxing Day: The Tube will start up again from 7.45am, but will run as a Sunday service. There will be closures on the the District, Circle, Waterloo & City and Bakerloo lines – so check your route online.
New Year’s Eve: This will be a lot easier with the Night Tube back in business and the bonus of free travel between 11.45pm and 4.30am (whoop!)
New Year’s Day: After 12pm it will become a reduced Sunday service.
Christmas Eve: The Overground will be finishing at an earlier time around 9.30pm.
If you’re heading to Essex, there will be no service between Romford and Upminster. Gospel Oak to Barking will also be closed.
Christmas Day: No service whatsoever.
Boxing Day: Still no service (sorry)
New Year’s Eve: Trains will run as a regular Saturday service, with some lines continuing throughout the night – but make sure to plan your journey ahead in case you’re stuck getting an Uber home.
Again, no service between Romford and Upminster, and the Gospel Oak to Barking closure continues.
New Year’s Day: Regular Sunday service.
Christmas Eve: The DLR will be finishing its service by 10.50pm, slightly earlier than usual.
Christmas Day: No service, as expected.
Boxing Day: There will be a train every ten minutes.
New Year’s Eve: Services will be running throughout the night, so plenty of time to party.
New Year’s Day: The overnight service will continue until 10am – and then a Sunday service will continue.
Christmas Eve: There will be no night services, so buses will be finishing around midnight.
Christmas Day: Bus drivers will be at home with their families – so no buses.
Boxing Day: Regular Sunday service.
New Year’s Eve: There will be a regular Saturday service, but there’s a few diversions in place across central London from the early afternoon, so check the website before heading out.
Some routes will be running into the night.
New Year’s Day: The usual Sunday service will run.
On this page, we make an attempt so the first time visitor to London can make an informed choice on suitable districts to look for accommodation. There are literally hundreds of hotel accommodation options each one of them meeting the needs of a particular market.
There is no universal “best” hotel or “best” district to stay in, there are better districts than others for your own individual preferences and budget.
Before we go any further, some key points:
The sights of London are spread out, so are the hotels, even the theatres and shops. Whichever hotel district you stay in you will be travelling around using public transport to visit them. There is no “downtown” area which is an obvious universal best located district. Some of the cheapest hotel districts have better access to some sights than the most expensive ones.
London has 5 major commercial airports plus 3 cruise and ferry ports ringed around it, and at least 10 mainline railway terminus stations each serving a different region of the UK. The most central hotel district geographically has no direct transport links to any of the airports or cruise ports. Hotel van shuttles are rare, the only one that exists (for Heathrow Airport) is unattractive, combining a slow and unpredictable service with a high price. The hotel districts around the centre do have good links but only for a subset of the airports and may be inconvenient for others. Your entry and departure points should be a major factor in short listing hotel districts.
Room rates in London are volatile, business rather than leisure visitors are more important to many hotel districts even in the budget sector. Districts that have a business bias are much cheaper at the weekend than working week. In the leisure dominated hotel districts it’s the other way around. Highest rates in London are May, June, early July, late September and October when both leisure and business custom are running full throttle.
Broad summary of main Hotel Districts of London
West End – Very central, expensive, 4 stars dominate, close to theatre and nightlife, tedious airport transfers.
A loosely defined area in the centre of London geographically (Trafalgar Square is technically the centre) in London. The area is dominated by 4 /5 star hotels with some of the highest prices. The theatre district (but not all the West End theatres) and much of London’s nightlife is in this area.
Leicester Square and Covent Garden is the heart of this area and where the greatest concentration of theatres and nightlife are. Poor transport links to airports. Walking is the best way of getting around.
Mayfair and Piccadilly is in the western sector of the West End and is perhaps London’s most exclusive hotel district with many of London’s most expensive hotels. No major attractions are here, but some of the highest class shopping.
Oxford Street and Marble Arch is stretching the West End label to the edge of its envelope. On the norther border of Mayfair this is London’s busiest shopping street. Most UK retail chains have their flagship stores here. Exclusive and niche shopping is not here. Harrods is not here, nor Fortnum & Mason, but Selfridges is. No big attractions and a couple of theatres.
At the western end of Oxford Street is Marble Arch, around which most of the hotels are situated. Mostly large 4 star chain hotels. Paddington Station is nearby with convenient trains to Heathrow and there are direct airport buses to Stansted and Luton airports.
Bloomsbury – Very central, walkable to West End, not a budget district but cheaper than West End and wider range of hotel types
Attractive district in itself to stay only 15 minutes walk north of Covent Garden and Leicester Square. Very interesting district with lots of bookshops, collectors places and quirky attractions as well as the British Museum. A great area to just wander the streets and make your own discoveries.
All types of accommodation, but a step change in price downwards from the West End. King’s Cross/ St Pancras just a mile north is much cheaper. The only direct airport link within the district is the London Underground to Heathrow, but is not a bad choice for any airport or cruise port.
County Hall – Very central, good base for sightseeing not so great for nightlife, shopping. Mostly luxury large 4 star hotels but with some notable budget exceptions. Cheaper rates at weekends, holiday periods.
A small cluster of hotels, mostly large luxury 4 star chains (but with notable exceptions) by the London Eye. County Hall itself on the riverfront by Westminster Bridge directly facing Big Ben, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.
Because of the UK government offices in the area (County hall used to house London’s governing body) a lot of trade comes from people on government business. At weekends room rates can be attractive given the quality of hotels here.
A fantastic location for the sightseeing orientated visitor, not that close to nightlife or the shops though. Quite convenient for those using Gatwick Airport and those on cruise ships out of Dover and Southampton (direct trains from Waterloo Station that is next door to County Hall).
Victoria – Central location, all grades of accommodation. Major transport hub and a great base for sightseeing. Not the cheapest, but not the most expensive. Cheaper during working week. Flying into Gatwick?, the district is a benchmark to beat.
A very central location on the fringes of the West End, ( it has two West End theatres). Residents include J.K.Rowling and Google, and of course the Queen has a pad here at Buckingham Palace.
The full breadth of accommodation from cheap and nasty to top of the range. You pay a premium to districts like Kensington and Paddington but much less than West End. Room rates are volatile, but the working week is normally cheaper than at the weekend. Peak weekend months the whole area can be sold out.
Victoria is a major transport hub both for within London and far afield. Many tours start from Victoria, especially day tours out of London. If you are flying into Gatwick this should be one of the districts you check out. Airport buses run to all 4 major London airports and there are direct trains to Gatwick and Dover cruise and ferry port. London’s only long distance bus station is at Victoria.
City of London, Tower Bridge, London Bridge – Business dominated area with high prices during working week, attractive ones at weekends and holidays. Good quality mostly chain hotels. Great location around Tower of London and river. Inconvenient for Heathrow Airport.
The original London which had the city walls around is to the east of where most tourists think of as the centre of London. Because of the history, some of the A list sights are here, notably the Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral. This is one of the world’s big financial centres and most of the district including hotels are attuned to the potential rich pickings. As such the price of hotel rooms keep most tourists away. However at the weekend the financiers go home leaving empty hotel beds to be filled – and the leisure visitor is welcome with attractive room rates.
There is a cluster of hotels around the Tower of London which are attractive the leisure traveller. As well as large 4 star chains there are some budget chains in this area too. The whole area has been rejuvenated in the last decade or so with old riverside warehouses being replaced with swanky bars, restaurants and an environment that is quite attractive.
Hotels can be exorbitant during the working week but at the weekend bargains at nice 4 star hotels can be found.
There are direct trains to Gatwick, Stansted and Luton Airports from London Bridge and Liverpool Street stations. If you are on a cruise from Harwich the only transport link are the trains that terminate at Liverpool Street. Dover cruise port is serviced by train from London Bridge. This is the wrong side of town for those using Heathrow Airport – a tedious journey whatever method you end up with.
Kensington – Value for money district in all grades of accommodation. Using Heathrow and one eye on the wallet? – Kensington should be a benchmark district for others to beat.
One of the largest districts on the west side of London. The residents have the highest average per capita wealth than any in the UK, higher than any US county as well. Despite this it is very much a value for money district. It’s a large area, at the western end is Earl’s Court, the largely budget district. 10 minutes walk along the Cromwell Road to Gloucester Road Underground and you’re into value 4 star area, Holiday inn being typical in having many hotels in London of which their hotel here is one of the cheapest. Another 10-15 minutes walk along the road and you are into Knightsbridge, home of Harrods and some of the most exclusive hotels in London.
For the leisure visitor the hotels around Gloucester Road and Earl’s Court are popular. Whatever class of hotel you are after there will be a good choice here with value for money pricing compared to many other districts. The hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses come out to Gloucester Road and the Piccadilly Line of the Underground will have you most places in Central London within 20 minutes and going the other way Heathrow Airport. If you are flying into Heathrow, you should at least take a look at Kensington. It’s the closest district to London’s busiest airport. Kensington is the wrong side of London if you are using Stansted Airport.
King’s Cross, St Pancras & Euston – If low cost is your number one purchasing criteria, King’s Cross Bed & Breakfast hotels should be checked out. Great area to use as a base to explore London from, nothing much in district itself. Good airport links, good value in luxury sector too at weekends.
Three mainline railway stations all within half a mile of each other. St Pancras is the terminus for the Eurostar trains to Europe, all three have services that cover most of Northern England, North Wales and Scotland. King’s Cross and St Pancras are next to each other and share the same Underground station. Although King’s Cross St Pancras is not somewhere you will dwell, it’s a great district for cheap hotels. Of the cheap B&B hotel districts, this area has some of the best propositions, although prices have risen in recent years and King’s Cross is no longer first call for cheap prices. There are also some chain mid-range hotels and a few 4 stars and the excellent 5 Star Renaissance Hotel St Pancras.
With London’s busiest Underground Station this is a great base to explore London. There are direct train links to Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton airports as well as Dover cruise port. Stansted is easy to get to too. Past the British Library (worthwhile to visit) from St Pancras is Euston Station. There is a marked change, the district being slightly less frantic with medical schools, a major hospital and London university in the vicinity. There are some very nice independent and chain 3 star grade hotels here and at the weekend some 4 stars can offer good rates too.
Paddington – Value for money district. For convenience if you are arriving at Heathrow, this comes out number 1. Good area to use as a base to explore London from, nothing much in district itself. Vast hotel district with bias towards budget and independent hotels. Some cheap, some expensive hotels – a mixed bag.
At the north west corner of the hotel districts of London the whole Paddington district revolves around Paddington train station, terminus of the Heathrow Express train and trains to the west of England and Wales. The area around the train station is a busy, bustling place, with thousands passing through daily.
To the south of the station is a carpet of hotels. Budget independent hotels dominate but there are some nice upmarket hotels too. A district for those wanting value for money. Lancaster Gate close by is not quite so hectic, more elegant and overlooking Hyde Park. The global brands in the district are restricted to the 4 star sector. budget offerings are almost exclusively independent. There are some good independent hotels and some real cheap and nasty ones too.
Apart from value for money, the biggest draw for overseas visitors are the Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect trains to Heathrow Airport from Paddington making it a convenient place to base yourself if using Heathrow. If you are not using Heathrow, the attractions of Paddington are not so great.
Bayswater – Budget hotel district. A pleasant district bordering Hyde Park. Hotels and services, restaurants etc. geared to the budget traveller. Dominated by cheap independent hotels. Find the right hotel and its a very nice district to stay in.
As the area is geared almost exclusively to leisure visitors rates are very attractive during the week but can be expensive at the weekend in the same hotel. The district is dominated by cheap independent hotels, some are of the cheap n nasty kind. Despite its budget market its a very pleasant district to stay. Kensington Palace, Hyde Park and Portobello Market are in the district, most sights are linked by Underground within 20 minutes.
The district is adjacent to Paddington, so is convenient for those using Heathrow Airport.
Budget districts and hotels
The cheapest hotel accommodation is the so-called Bed and Breakfast hotels.
Be not in doubt, these are not homely houses with a couple of rooms rented out by attentive family owners. These are small simple hotels, with none of the frills. The Bed and Breakfast hotels are typically 4, 5 or 6 storey Victorian terraced houses. Many will not have lifts. The main attraction is price, somewhere to safely store your luggage and a simple place to sleep overnight while you spend the day exploring London. If price is an overiding purchasing criteria, the Earls Court district of Kensington is a good place to start your search and Bayswater mid-week and Kings Cross too..
Mid market hotels and budget no frills hotels
If you are looking for a comfortable hotel but don’t want to pay out for concierges, fitness centres, 24 hour room service that come with 4 and 5 star hotels then the benchmark will normally be the ‘no frills’ budget chains. In the UK, the leading such chains are Travelodge and Premier Inn which you might like to use as a benchmark.
Travelodge is the cheap one, Premier Inn the quality one. There are of course many others, independent budget hotels tend to be cheaper and other chains like Best Western, Ibis and Comfort Inn are all well represented.
2, 3, 4, 5 star hotels – misleading indicator
A lot of people make the mistake that they think the number of stars that a hotel has reflects on how good it is. Every country seems to have different rules for the classification of hotels. In the UK, stars are awarded purely on the basis of services provided, not how clean a hotel is or how good the service.
Some hotels, notably the no frills chain hotels don’t even bother getting stars assigned as it would be totally misleading for them.
Safety in London
First of all, London is a safe city for the visitor. All the main hotel districts are safe, even at night – but of course this assumes you take the normal common sense precautions like anywhere else in the world.
The London Underground is the main way most visitors will get around London. It’s perfectly safe (again with the normal common sense precautions) to ride the Underground until it closes around midnight. If you hire a taxi, make sure it’s a proper licensed taxi – only London’s distinctive black cabs are allowed to solicit for business.
Imagine admiring the actual costumes which were worn by the actors of the famous Harry Potter films? And what of walking in the studios where the Famous Harry novels were converted to the great film? This is what you will enjoy when you visit the Harry Porter studios London. The Studios are worth your money and you will enjoy beyond what you expect.
Touring the Warner Bros. Studios located northern London is a great way to experience the Harry Potter’s magical world. You will marvel at the wonderful environment and the magic of a place where the eight Harry Potter movies were made. You can secure your trip around the studios through your favorite travel agent to discover the wonderful studios.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter - YouTube
At the studios, you will have the feeling of practicing your favorite spells, walk in the Great Hall, as well as learn the special secrets used in the cast thus plugging into the world of wizardry and witchcraft. Once you set your feet at the Harry Potter Studios London, you will uncover the techniques and secret effects which the talented cast team used to enact the whole scenes of the film including the Chamber of Secrets and the invisible clock used by Harry.
As you walk through the gates of the Great Hall, you will discover the fabulous props that were designed specifically to ensure that you enjoy the films. You will also learn about the technology and art behind the wonderful and wired creatures including the Dobby – the house elf.
While in London, the highlight of your trips around the famous studios will be;
Seeing the special effects and secrets of items including the invisible cloak
Getting to understand the behind-the-scenes of the wizard’s world
Seeing the genuine costumes and sets used during the shooting of the Harry Porter
Interacting with people who took part in the shooting of the Harry Potter films
Viewing, touching and even buying souvenirs of items and exhibits used during the shooting of the Harry Potter Films.
Harry Potter Studios London provide all visitors with an amazing opportunity to discover and explore the Harry Potter film’s magic one of the best and successful films of all time. The studios reveal some of the closely guarded secrets such as the special effects as well as the animatronic which made the films popular.
Upcoming events New years fireworks Christmas 2017 DecemberChristmas lights , markets and fairs.Christmas markets in London Winter Wonderland
The Grinch would have a real job stealing all the Christmas from Hyde Park’s massive tribute to festive fun. The Christmas markets is a real treat for anyone feeling the spirit of the season, as long as you’re ready to hear all those songs as you potter. You’ll find handmade gifts and pretty confectionery sold from cute wooden huts.
Christmas is coming to Leicester Square for the second year running, so expect sacks of festive fun and a twinkly, goodtime atmosphere in Central London for 2017. The ‘square’ in Leicester Square will be home to Santa’s grotto, traditional Christmas market, featuring more than 25 food, drink and christmas gift stalls, and a vintage Speigeltent – a velvety, wooden, mirrored home to a stocked programme of Christmas cabaret brought to you from the Underbelly team.
Southbank Centre is a glorious place to be at Christmas, so make sure you pay a visit to this London institution over the festive period. There’ll be pop-ups, activities and all manner of Christmas fun to jolly up your holiday.
Festive playground Winterville is back this year, swapping Victoria Park for Clapham Common for more dancing, eating, laughing, drinking and skating. Expect comedy, club nights, cabaret and live music as well as Christmas markets and ace food from Street Feast
The Grinch would have a real job stealing all the Christmas from Hyde Park’s massive tribute to festive fun, which is back for an eleventh year in 2017. Entry to Winter Wonderland is free, and a wander past the fairground rides, around child-friendly Santa Land (including Santa’s grotto) or through the Christmas markets is a real treat for anyone feeling the spirit of the season, as long as you’re ready to hear all those songs as you potter. Other attractions at Hyde Park’s annual sparkly Christmassy addition include two circuses – ‘ Zippos Christmas Circus’ and ‘Cirque Berserk’. Winter Wonderland’s ice rink, the biggest outdoor rink in the UK, surrounds the Victorian bandstand and is illuminated with more than 100,000 lights. Plus the return of the family-friendly ‘Sooty Christmas Show’ with Sweep, Soo and TV’s Richard Cadell all making appearances. This year the Magical Ice Kingdom presents an ‘Deep Sea Adventure’ – an immersive walk through experience filled with ice, snow sculptures and a bubble wall. Along with the 60-metre observation wheel, rollercoasters and fairground rides will keep thrill seekers happy. A good alternative for those who prefer to stay on solid ground are the selection of themed bars with real fires, except for the Ice Bar (for obvious structural reasons) where even the glasses you drink from are made of ice.
The banks of the River Thames are home to the annual Christmas by the River market once again in 2017. It’s a festive winner, with views of Tower of London and Tower Bridge and an ace combination of homemade gifts and delicious food, sold from German-style chalets. Get your mitts on handmade crafts from 68 independent traders and peruse pop-up food stalls and bars serving Christmas cocktails, mulled wine, hot cider and craft beers.
Move over Winter Wonderland, there’s a new Christmas experience in town: Greewnich Wintertime Festival, a snowy festive takeover of the world heritage-listed Old Royal Naval College, located right beside the Cutty Sark. The space in front of the riverside building will have a covered ice rink, and a Christmas market filled with contemporary craft and design stalls.
Have a very Scandi Christmas with the help of this traditional fair selling all sorts of festive Swedish treats, crafts and gifts. A pop-up café in the church hall will serve open sandwiches with meatballs and cheese and the Swedes’ take on mulled wine: glögg.
One of the most luxurious New Year’s Eve parties in London for the fireworks, join this dashing night as you night only start with a delicious meal at Cafe Rouge St Katherine’s Dock, you make your way down the Thames for a cruise on the Star Clipper as the clock strikes midnight.
Watch all the firework action from the water as this cruise takes you on a five-hour trip along the Thames. Jump aboard the boat and enjoy a buffet, unlimited drinks and a stellar view of all the action
With five incredible retro rooms, this New Year’s Eve party at Southbank has something for everyone. Jive and shake to 1920s swing music, rock out with a live band and catch the fireworks on the terrace
Make your way over to one of the best New Year’s Eve parties of the year as you not only indulge in a top meal at Cafe Rouge, you’ll be boarding the Star Clipper for a night on the Thames as the clock strikes 12, and the fireworks come out to play
ElectronicSessions’ amazing boat party will not only park itself up by the London Eye to deliver the best view for Europe’s biggest fireworks display, but throw one of the biggest bashes down the Thames all night and until the early hours.
If you’re heading to London, one of the best bits of travel kit you can get is an Oyster card. Similar to Hong Kong’s Octopus card, the Oyster is a prepaid tap-and-go smartcard used on public transport throughout London.
The cheapest way to travel around London on the bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground and most National Rail services is to use a smartcard ticket.
It covers the extensive London Underground or Tube network, the London Overground and most suburban stops on the National Rail lines (to be specific, stations in Zones 1 through 9 – download the London Rail & Tube Map to get your head around the travel zones.
You’re also covered for buses and the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), which goes out to the financial centre in Canary Wharf and to London City Airport.
The Oyster is also accepted in some cafés and newsagents where you can make small-value purchases with a quick swipe of the card instead of digging around for change.
If you need some more reasons to pocket an Oyster, consider that it can be more than half the price of paying for your Tube or bus fares in cash.
There’s also a daily price cap, which for instance lets you zip around Zone 1 in the heart of London and pay no more than £8.40 ( Click here For latest price) no matter how often you travel.
But in true British fashion, the rules and regulations are a bit complicated – so here’s our guide to getting and using an Oyster card in London.
How to buy an Oyster card in London
Oyster cards are for sale at all Tube stations, including Heathrow Airport’s Tube stations – although there’s quite often a queue to buy them at Heathrow.
Although you can’t use Oyster cards on the Heathrow Express, if like most London-bound travellers you take that high-speed train from Heathrow to Paddington you can pick up your Oyster card when you arrive at Paddington Station.
The card itself carries a refundable £5 deposit and can be loaded with up to £90 over the counter or using automated machines which take credit cards and cash.
An Oyster card may be the most cost-effective option if you are only visiting for a few days.
A 7 Day Travelcard is a good option if you are visiting for a week and only plan to visit central London.
You can also use contactless payment, which has both a daily and weekly fare cap. This may work out cheaper than a Travelcard.
A Visitor Oyster card can be delivered to your home before your visit, or Oyster cards can be purchased in all London airports along with stations.
Visitor Oyster card holders also enjoy a range of special offers and discounts across the city.
Read our guide to make sure you buy the right ticket for your exploring London.
What are the pros and cons of a Visitor Oyster card vs. a paper Travelcard?
A Visitor Oyster card is one of the cheapest ways to pay for single journeys on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground and most National Rail services in London.
If you plan to stay in London for a couple of days and make two to four journeys a day, or want to travel to the outskirts of the city, then a Visitor Oyster card may be the cheapest option. It is delivered to your home by post before you arrive in London saving you time when you arrive.
There are a range of great value special offers and discounts available to Visitor Oyster card holders at leading London restaurants, shops and entertainment venues, plus discounts on Thames Clippers river buses and the Emirates Air Line cable car.
Alternatively, you could get an Oyster card, which looks a lot like a Visitor Oyster card and is used in the same way. You pay a £5 refundable deposit to get an Oyster card. The advantages of an Oyster card are that you can top up your credit online and add an electronic 7 Day Travelcard onto the card.
You can also get an Oyster card before you arrive in London if you live in the UK.
If you do not live in the UK, you can still get an Oyster card but only when you arrive in London.
When and where can I purchase a Visitor Oyster card?
You can buy a Visitor Oyster card online before you travel to London. It will be posted to your home address. This means you arrive in London with your travel ticket ready to start exploring the city. You cannot buy a Visitor Oyster card when you arrive in London.
Heathrow London Airport – exit the airport and follow the signs for the Underground. You can buy an Oyster card at the airport Tube station cashier window.
Gatwick London Airport – exit through Customs and buy an Oyster card at the Concierge outlets in Gatwick North Terminal or Gatwick South Terminal, at the Skybreak Service Centre in both terminals or at the Gatwick Airport train station.
Luton London Airport – buy an Oyster card from National Express at the airport or in the Onward Travel Centre.
Stansted London Airport – you can buy Oyster cards at Stansted Airport train station, before continuing your journey into Central London with the Stansted Express.
London City Airport – exit the airport and follow the signs for the Underground. You can buy an Oyster card at the airport DLR station cashier window.
If your children are 11 years old or older, you will need to buy a Visitor Oyster card, Oyster card or Travelcard ticket for each child. You can get a Young Adult discount (half adult rate) added to a Visitor Oyster card or Oyster card at Heathrow Airport Terminals stations, zone 1 Tube stations and TfL Visitor and Travel Information Centres.
Can more than one person share a Visitor Oyster card when travelling together?
No, adults cannot travel together on a single Visitor Oyster card.
Do I need to buy a Visitor Oyster card if I buy a 6-day London Pass?
If you buy a 6-day London Pass with travel included, you don’t need to buy a Visitor Oyster or Oyster card. If you buy a London Pass without travel included, you will need to buy a Visitor Oyster card, Oyster card or 7 Day Travelcard ticket separately.
Are there any special offers and discounts available with a Visitor Oyster card?
Yes, Visitor Oyster card holders can enjoy a range of special offers and discounts at more than 25 leading London restaurants, shops and entertainment venues. In most cases, all you need to do is show your card to take advantage of the offer.
Will the Visitor Oyster card have my name on it? And do I need to provide a passport photo to buy a Visitor Oyster card?
No, this means you can lend your card to family and friends to use when they come to London too.
I am coming to London for a long weekend. How much credit should I get for my Visitor Oyster card?
Visiting London for two days? Start with £20 credit on your card for unlimited off-peak travel in Central London.
Visiting London for four days? Start with £40 for unlimited travel in Central London.
Can a Visitor Oyster card or Oyster card be used in other cities like Bath, Edinburgh, Stratford-upon-Avon, Oxford and Cambridge?
No, it is only eligible for travel on public transport in London.
I am going to live in the UK soon. When should I get an Oyster card?
If you are moving to live in the UK and are planning on opening a UK bank account, we recommend you buy an Oyster card when you arrive in London.
3.Visit the historic Essex fishing village of Leigh-on-Sea, which was recently voted the happiest place to live in the UK by Rightmove. For those who want adventure, nearby Hadleigh Park hosted mountain biking competitions in the 2012 London Olympics, and is open for cycling fans to explore throughout the week.
Where to leave from: Liverpool Street or Fenchurch Street station
Duration of journey: 35 minutes to Leigh-on-Sea (For Hadleigh park, stop at Benfleet station)
7. Mayfields Lavender Farm is a short walk from Banstead station and smells incredible. The farm is running a photo competition this summer, and the cafe stocks everything from lavender ice cream to lavender lemonade.
Where to leave from: Victoria station (via Southern rail to Banstead. From there, Mayfields Lavender farm is a 10 minute bus journey).
19. Huntingdon is the county town of Huntingdonshire, chartered by King John in 1205. It only takes an hour to go from bustling King’s Cross station to this sleepy market town and it’s Tudor buildings.
21. Travel to Salisbury for the day and not only can you visit the cathedral; you can also see one of the great wonders of the world, Stonehenge. Tour buses depart from the town centre every 20 minutes.
40 Tips every tourist visiting London needs to know.
Here are few point take from the blog explaining 40 Tips every tourist visiting London needs to know.
12/12/16 – This post has been updated with the latest London travel tips and accommodation recommendations for 2017.
As one of the most visited cities in the world, London is busy, vibrant and jam-packed full of tourists.
So how can you skip the crowds, save money and make the most of your London travel?
Find out with these 40 quick London travel tips (updated for 2017), guaranteed to make your life easier when you get there!
Use These London Travel Tips To Plan Your 2017 TripWhy 40 Tips every tourist visiting London needs to know?1. Check the Weather in London and Pack Accordingly
The weather in London can be very temperamental so always check the weather forecast before you pack.
When I was there this summer the temperature reached 38°C! A few days later it was cold and raining.
Typically, January is the coldest month, with an average low of 7°C and July is the hottest, with an average high of 19 °C…
But you never really know!
2. Pre-load a Visitor Oyster Card
You can pre-purchase a Visitor Oyster Card for £3 plus postage, add some credit and then have it delivered to you before you travel to London.
You can use this card for any mode of public transport in London, simply by tapping it as you enter and exit (except for on buses – only tap on entry otherwise you’ll be charged twice).
If you run out of credit you can easily top it up at any station.
The benefits of having a Visitor Oyster Card are that you get discounted fares; you can request daily capping; you can use it at restaurants, shops and entertainment venues and it’s much quicker than purchasing a ticket every time.
3. Travel at Off Peak Times
Low season is between January and February and shoulder season is between mid-September and November and then again in March and April.
Not only will you be able to skip some of the crowds during low season, accommodation and entertainment rates will be cheaper.
Not only are there peak times of the year to travel to London, there are also peak times of the day to travel within London.
Peak times are Monday to Friday between 06:30 and 09:30 and between 16:00 and 19:00.
If you use public transport to travel outside of these times, you’ll be charged an off-peak rate which is much cheaper.
4. Book your London Hotel Prior to Arriving
I made the mistake of ‘winging it’ in London once and I won’t do it again.
Dan and I ended up sleeping on the outskirts of London in a car we hired.
London is always busy. London will always have herds of tourists visiting – no matter what time of the year it is.
Many would disagree on this but to save money on public transport/taxis and also save your legs from falling off, I recommend staying within the London Boroughs of Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Camden, Hammersmith, Hackney or Southwark.
That way, you can pretty much get around to all the major London attractions by walking or via a short Tube ride.
There are so many things to do in London you don’t want to have to spend the majority of your time in transit.
Accommodation can be pricey but you always have the cheaper option of staying in an Airbnb, whether that’s a private room or a whole apartment.
It is important to note that you will find cheaper accommodation on the outskirts of London, but it just depends how much time you’re willing to spend traveling in and out of the city each day.
Kensington, London6. Book Flights into Smaller Airports
If you’re flying into London from other cities within the UK or nearby in Europe, take advantage of low-cost airlines like Easy Jet, as they often fly into airports like Stansted with lower taxes/landing fees.
You’ll save money on flights and then you can simply take the train from the airport into London centre, which normally works out cheaper still.
7. Organise Airport Transfers before Arriving
Depending on your budget, you can get from the airport to central London in a number of different ways.
First off, you could go for a traditional airport transfer which is usually organised through your hotel, but that can work out expensive, depending on where you’re staying.
Your next option is to take a cab which is more comfortable, but again, not the most cost effective option.
An inexpensive way to get from the airport to central London is to go via the Tube. You may find this a little difficult with your bags, especially if you arrive during a peak time of the day, but it’s a cheaper and often faster alternative to catching a bus or cab.
Lastly, if you are flying into Heathrow, you have the option of getting to central London via the Heathrow Express. At about £22 for the trip, it’s not the least expensive option but it is fast, comfortable and convenient.
8. Purchase a London Pass
Pre-purchase a London Pass and you’ll be able to get into 60+ London attractions, with transport included, for a heavily discounted price.
9. Go Camping!
Who knew? You can go camping in… London?!
Camping in the capital makes for a super affordable and unique London travel experience.
Not many people actually consider camping there, but apparently London has 5 camp sites along the M25…
For example, at Lee Valley Campsite you can get to central London in less than 40 minutes, at Lee Valley Caravan Park you can get there in less than 30 minutes and at Abbey Wood Caravan Club Site you can get there in 35 minutes.
Even if you don’t think camping in a tent is for you, most of the camping grounds have caravan sites available as well.
10. Hire a Santander Bicycle
Here’s one of our best London travel tips!
Dotted all around London are Santander bicycle docks where you can use their app to enter your credit card details and then take a bike to explore the city.
Here’s a tip though – for the first 30 minutes you will be charged £2…
After that 30 minutes is up, return it to any bicycle dock, wait a few minutes and then request another bicycle. This time it will be free, as long as you return it after 30 minutes.
You can continue to do this for a whole 24 hours so basically you pay £2 a day as long as you only use the bicycle for up to 30 minutes at a time.
30 more of 40 Tips every tourist visiting London needs to know.11. Eat the Indian Food
The Indian food in London (and England in general) is the best I’ve ever had (bear in mind, I haven’t actually been to India yet).
The rich flavour and creamy texture they manage to pack into their curries will leave you craving Indian food every second day.
Luckily, London has no shortage of Indian restaurants.
One nice little Indian restaurant I went to was called ‘Little India‘ and it was located in South Kensington.
12. Use the Website Openingtime.co.uk
This is one of our newest London travel tips!
When you’re out and about it’s always handy to know what’s open so you don’t get all the way there and find out it’s closed.
Openingtime.co.uk allows you to find the opening hours for almost every shop in London.
Due to the location recognition used by the site, the nearest shops are also automatically displayed.
13. Visit the Top London Markets
When we share our tips about things to do in London with people we always mention the London markets.
London is especially known for it’s amazing markets, including Camden Lock, Portobello Road and Brick Lane. Don’t miss them!
You’ll be able to get your hands on a variety of different antique valuables, trinkets, jewellery pieces, fashion items, household goods, foods and fresh produce at a low cost.
For cheap food, Brick Lane is supposed to be one of the absolute best!
On Sundays you can head down to Brick Lane and tempt yourself with a wide variety of international food, including delicious curry.
Global Kitchen at Camden Lock Market14. Go Shopping
Oxford Street is the main High street in London where shops such as TopShop, Primark, American Apparel, H&M and Urban Outfitters join forces to tantalise all your shopping taste buds.
If you want something a little more unique (vintage perhaps?) head to Camden Town where you’ll be able to pick up some one off pieces for less than the High street prices.
15. Do NOT Hire a Car in London
Unless you want to face the London Congestion Charge and incredibly high parking fees literally everywhere you go, we wouldn’t advise driving inside of London.
Not only does it work out to be really expensive, it’s also super stressful.
Take it from us. We learned from our mistake when we attempted to navigate London in a ginormous Transit van.
Stay central and walk everywhere, rent a Santander bicycle or simply catch a cab or public transport – much easier!
16. Explore Further than London
There’s more to London than, well… London!
Some of the neighbourhoods and towns on the outskirts of London are well worth visiting and can show you a totally different side to England.
For example, Windsor and it’s famous Windsor Castle are full of character and history and should definitely not be missed!
You can go on your own using public transport or take a day trip with a tour company – it’s up to you.
17. Eat in a Traditional British Pub
British food is essentially comfort food – think sausages with mashed potato and gravy, steak pies and roast dinners.
On a cold winters’ day there’s really nothing more comforting than a good British pub meal.
Not only are the pubs worth visiting for the food, they are often full of history, character and quirk which make them truly interesting places to sit down, relax and fill the hunger spot.
18. Go to these Places for Unique London Views…
The Roof Gardens is a bar located in Kensington where you get to view London from a unique angle whilst sipping on a cold Martini.
It’s not the cheapest place ever but worth it if you want to relax somewhere sophisticated whilst watching the sunset.
Primrose Hill is located over near Regent’s Park and is one of the most popular spots in London during the summer to chill out with friends in the late afternoon with views across the London skyline.
Primrose Hill19. Buy a London Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus Pass
Here’s another one of our favourite London travel tips!
If you’re only in London for a day or two, the Hop-on, Hop-off bus tours are fantastic for getting around to all the London attractions you want to see without being limited to a set schedule.
For £26 you can purchase a day pass, hopping on and off the bus as much as you want.
The buses do 3 different routes and they stop and each of their 60 attractions every 20 minutes.
Also, a number of London walking tours and a Thames River Cruise is included.
20. Remember, it’s not as Cheap as it Looks…
It’s easy for those of us who use the dollar to forget that even though something looks cheap, it’s probably not.
In basic terms, double the amount and that’s what it’s worth (around about) in dollars.
If you have a strict budget, research the exact currency exchange rate at that time and use the calculator on your smartphone to work out the true cost.
20 more of 40 Tips every tourist visiting London needs to know.21. Purchase a Power Adaptor Before Arriving at the Airport
These types of things always cost more when you buy them at the airport.
Either purchase one before you arrive in London or purchase one from a local shop once you’ve got to where you’re staying.
The British power plug is “Type G” and has 3 pins. Voltage is 220-240V.
22. Purchase a Pre-paid British Sim Card when you Arrive
Instead of being sucked in to purchasing one of those global sim cards before you travel, just buy a local pre-paid sim when you arrive in London. They work out to be cheaper and it’s always easy to find somewhere to add credit.
23. Explore Londons’ Parks
Half of the time you’re in London you won’t even realise that you’re in one of the worlds most visited cities because there is so much green around.
Take advantage of the pristine, well kept parks around London to go for a walk, breath in some fresh air, take a nap, lay in the sun, have a picnic, hang out with friends and all the other things you can do in huge open spaces.
Some of London’s most famous parks include Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and Regent’s Park.
24. Take your Time – London is BIG
If you really want to see London, give yourself at least 5 days in the city.
That way, you won’t be rushing around trying to see everything so fast that you don’t actually take anything in or remember it properly.
Go slow, take a few days out just to hang out and see where the day takes you – often those days turn out to be the most interesting.
25. Tipping In London Is Not Mandatory
Of course, if you want you can tip but they won’t make you feel bad if you don’t.
Sometimes a 10% service charge is included in the bill at hotels and restaurants but they’ll usually tell you if that’s the case.
26. Take Advantage of Happy Hour
If you’re in London with friends and looking to have a few fun nights out without breaking the bank, you’re in luck!
Numerous pubs and clubs across London have student nights and happy hours where you’ll find two-for-one deals and other great promotions.
To find out where it’s all going on, ask at your hostel, hotel or check online.
27. Cars Drive on the Left in the UK
Remember, when crossing the road in London (and the rest of the UK) you need to look right.
This also goes for walking – always walk on the left side of the road.
28. Do Some Background Research…
Just like in any other country, the British have their own culture and their own funny ways of doing things.
Just doing a little research before arriving will help you to understand some of the different customs in London and what you should and shouldn’t do.
It may also help you to understand someone when they come and up and talk to you in a Cockney accent.
29. Emergency Dial is…
Not 000, not 911 – 999.
30. Order a Fry Up – A Traditional English Breakfast
The British love their full English Breakfast’s and you can find some of the very best in London.
Usually consisting of fried eggs, bacon, sausages, black pudding, hash-browns, baked beans, mushrooms, grilled tomato and toast, breakfast is likely to become your favourite meal of the day.
10 more of 40 Tips every tourist visiting London needs to know.31. Stay Somewhere with an Unusual Story Behind it
One of the most interesting places I’ve ever spent the night was in an old London courthouse.
In fact, it was the courthouse where Charles Dickens was working when he was writing Oliver Twist and where the punk band, The Clash were trialled back in 1978.
I literally stayed in a jail cell. Not even kidding!
But that’s what I love about London.
There is so much history behind it that nearly everywhere you go and everything you do has an interesting story behind it.
Read more about my stay in a London jail cell here and think about having a go at it yourself if you want a good story to tell your family when you get home.
32. Take Advantage of the Free London Walking Tours
Yes, there are FREE walking tours in London. Used in conjunction with the Hop-on, Hop-off bus tours, you can set up some pretty epic days of sightseeing. Tours include:
Royal London & Changing of the Guard
Debauched London! Bankside, Brothels & Beer
Harry Potter Tour
London’s Ghostly Haunts Walk
Fire, Pestilence and & Plague
Jack The Ripper!
33. Save Money at Lunch Time
If you’re not too fussed about what you have for lunch, nip into a Sainsbury’s supermarket and pick up a £3 meal deal.
These consist of a sandwich, a snack (either a packet of crisps, a chocolate or a bag of fruit) and a drink.
I can’t even count how many of my lunches in London (and the UK in general) were meal deals but I know that it saved me some money.
34. You can Drink the Tap Water
The tap water in London is perfectly clean and won’t harm you if..
Winter has arrived at Hogwarts. Glittering Christmas trees line the Great Hall and a replica festive feast including flaming Christmas puddings is laid out on the long tables; while for the first time this year, the top section of the hall is transformed for the Yule Ball with snow, icicles and an orchestra of magical instruments. Around the rest of the studio, special-effect fires roar in the fireplaces, the Gryffindor common room is filled with Christmas treats and the detailed Hogwarts castle model is covered in a special blanket of snow.
Experience a dazzling extravaganza of concerts, events and performances marking the 25th anniversary of the EFG London Jazz Festival.
Bringing together new talent and world-renowned figures from the electrifying world of jazz, the festival plays host to 10 days of diverse performances across a series of impressive venues including the Barbican, Royal Festival Hall, Kings Place and more
EFG London Jazz Festival Highlights 2017
Join Jazz Voice as they open the festival at the Royal Festival Hall for the 10th year in a row. Big name acts provide vocals to Guy Barker’s thrilling 42-piece orchestra. 10 Nov
Be blown away by the energy of Pat Metheny’s signature guitar style in his new quartet with pianist Gwilym Simcock, bassist Linda Oh and drummer Antonio Sanchez at the Barbican. 10 Nov
Groove to the jazz-funk beats of Average White Band at the Royal Festival Hall after a powerful opening set from LaSharVu, a project from Basement Jaxx’s lead vocalists. 11 Nov
Travel the world with Paolo Conte from the comfort of the Royal Festival Hall as he takes you on a musical journey across the world, from Buenos Aires to Louisiana. 13 Nov
Discover why jazz from South Africa made such a big global impact as Abdullah Ibrahim and Hugh Masekela collaborate at the Royal Festival Hall nearly 60 years on from their days in The Jazz Epistles. 14 Nov
Rediscover Frank Sinatra at Cadogan Hall as Ben L’Oncle Soul sings songs from this great with panache. 15 Nov
Sample the genre-bending sounds of Snark Puppy’s Bill Laurance at Kings Place. 16 Nov
Celebrate Antônio Carlos Jobim’s 90th birthday with Carminho at the Barbican as the Portuguese singer covers songs from the legend’s songbook, alongside a band featuring Jobim’s son and grandson. 17 Nov
Take a trip to Napoli with pianist Stefano Bollani as he explores his long love affair with the city. Joining him at Cadogan Hall are saxophonist Daniele Sepe, clarinettist Nico Gori and drummer Bernardo Guerra. 18 Nov
When it comes to London’s traditional events, this is one of the biggies, referenced in Pepys’s diaries and in works by Canaletto and Hogarth. The ceremony will begin with a river pageant starting at the early hour of 8.30am at QRB Gloriana at Westminster Pier, Victoria Embankment, floating downriver to pass through Tower Bridge for a Mayoral salute at 9.30am.
Details of the 11am procession are still being finalised, but there will be a spectacular fireworks display from 5.15pm. For the best views, try the riverside between Waterloo and Blackfriars Bridges.
Cheer on the new mayor and the spectacular procession, as they wind their way between Bank and Aldwych for The Lord Mayor’s Show.
The Lord Mayor’s Show dates back to 1215, when King John granted a charter allowing the citizens of London to elect their own mayor. Every year since, the newly elected Lord Mayor has travelled from the City of London to Westminster to pledge allegiance to the Crown.
These days, the parade is more of a celebration than a show of loyalty. See the mayor arrive in a procession of 25 boats travelling from Westminster to Tower Bridge between 8.30am and 9.30am. Then join in the fun between 11am and 2.30pm, as around half a million people line up along the route to watch the colourful parade travel across the City of London. After the procession, a fantastic fireworks display lights up the sky over the river Thames at 5.15pm.
Don’t miss these top picks when you tour Buckingham Palace this summer.
Buckingham Palace is one of the world’s few remaining working royal palaces. It has been open to visitors during the summer months for more than 20 years. Whether you’re a first-timer or a palace aficionado, here’s our pick of what to see when you drop into Her Majesty’s residence in Central London.
1. The State Rooms
There are 775 rooms in Buckingham Palace including the 19 State Rooms and 78 bathrooms. The State Rooms are a suite of lavishly decorated public rooms in Buckingham Palace where the monarch receives, rewards and entertains her subjects and visiting dignitaries. Several of these rooms were used for the Royal Wedding reception for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate). When you take a Summer Opening tour, it’s the State Rooms that you’ll see. These rooms are awash with sparkling candelabra, marble columns, sumptuous carpets, damask wallpaper, fine furniture, sculpture and works of art.
2. The Grand Staircase
Buckingham Palace’s grand staircase is a highlight of the tour. The magnificent bronze staircase was designed by the architect John Nash as part of his commission to remodel the palace for King George IV from 1825 to 1830. The impressive double balustrade features an intricate pattern of acanthus, oak and laurel leaves and represents some of the world’s finest bronze casting work. The stairs are lit by an etched glass dome in the ceiling.
3. Fine Art
Some big names are on show at the palace. On your tour, you’ll come across paintings by Van Dyck, Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Poussin, Canaletto and Claude as well as sculpture by Canova and Chantrey. The paintings in the State Rooms also include some wonderful portraits of past and present royals including Queen Victoria, George III and Queen Charlotte, William IV and his wife Queen Adelaide and, of course, the current Royal Family.
4. Audio Tour with Prince Charles
As part of your Buckingham Palace tour, you’ll get a free audio guide to the palace. The tour is introduced by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) and takes you through all 19 State Rooms as well as the annual special exhibition. Audio guides are available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian and Mandarin. There’s also interactive family tours and tours for deaf and blind visitors.
5. The Throne Room
Buckingham Palace’s majestic Throne Room is a favourite with visitors. It contains the thrones that are used for investitures and ceremonial receptions such as at The Queen’s Jubilees and has also doubled as a ballroom on occasion (on your tour, you’ll also see the official Ballroom – the palace’s largest multi-purpose room). You may recognise the Throne Room as the backdrop for some famous royal wedding photos including Princess Elizabeth (now the Queen) and The Duke of Edinburgh in 1947 and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011.
6. Sevres Porcelain
Buckingham Palace houses a spectacular collection of Sevres Porcelain – one of the world’s finest in fact. The pieces were mostly acquired from the famous French manufacturer by King George IV between 1783 and 1830. As well as finely painted and gilded “useful” wares such as dining services, broth basins, cups and saucers and dejeuners, you’ll see fabulous ornamental vases, bibelots and porcelain busts.
7. The Garden
Separate TourThe gardens at Buckingham Palace cover an impressive 39 acres (15.8 hectares) and contain more than 350 types of wildflowers, around 200 trees and a three-acre lake. The gardens are the location for The Queen’s annual Garden Parties. With your Garden Tour Ticket you’ll be shown through this beautiful oasis in the centre of London. Highlights of the tour include the tennis courts where King George VI and Fred Perry played in the 1930s, the stunning herbaceous boarder, a wisteria-clad Summer House, the Rose Garden and the huge Waterloo Vase. (The Garden Tour ticket includes a tour of the State Rooms).
8. Flags and Clocks
As you enter or leave Buckingham Palace, be sure to keep an eye out for the flag on the roof – there is always one flying above the palace. When the Queen is at home, the flag is the Royal Standard, when she’s away, the Union Flag is raised instead. Once inside, you can go clock-spotting. With more than 350 clocks and watches throughout the palace, it holds one of the largest collections of working clocks in the world! Two full-time horological conservators are employed to wind and maintain them all.
9. The Special Exhibition
Each year, the Summer Opening offers a special exhibition. In 2017, the special exhibition, Royal Gifts, showcases a wide range of official gifts received by the Queen during her reign, including gifts from former and current presidents such as Nelson Mandela, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Xi Jinping.
10. Gardencafe and Gardenshop.
Your State Rooms or Garen Tour ends at the tranquil Garden Cafe on the West Terrace of Buckingham Palace. The cafe offers a range of light refreshments including tea, coffee, sandwiches and pastries. During the Summer Opening, the Garden Shop contains a delightful range of gifts and souvenirs exclusively created for the Royal Collection. You’ll find homewares, china, clothing, jewellery and children’s toys, books and postcards. Most of the products on sale are inspired by works of art in the Roya lCollection.
Founded in 1753, the British Museum’s remarkable collection spans over two million years of human history. Enjoy a unique comparison of the treasures of world cultures under one roof, centred around the magnificent Great Court.
World-famous objects such as the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon sculptures, and Egyptian mummies are visited by up to six million visitors per year. In addition to the vast permanent collection, the museum’s special exhibitions, displays and events are all designed to advance understanding of the collection and cultures they represent.
The Victoria and Albert Museum is the world’s greatest museum of art and design, representing more than 3,000 years of human creativity, with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity.
In recent years, the V&A has undergone a dramatic programme of renewal and restoration. Highlights include the Medieval Renaissance galleries containing some of the greatest surviving treasures from the period, the breathtaking jewellery gallery and the stunning British galleries, illustrating the history of Britain through the nation’s art and design. In addition to its outstanding free permanent collection, the V&A offers a programme of temporary exhibitions and an extensive events programme.
This content has been supplied by Victoria and Albert Museum
IWM London’s world-class collections tell the everyday and exceptional stories of people whose lives have been forever impacted by war, with unique documents and objects, art, sound and film.
Ground-breaking galleries reflect on war from the First World War onwards, to conflicts that continue to shape our world today.
Discover our First World War Galleries as well as our permanent exhibitions including The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes and Secret War. Explore stories and key moments from the Second World War in A Family in Wartime and The Holocaust Exhibition.
To get most out of Museums and Stadium tours in London, make a list and follow it.
This summer sees a major part of the Museum’s transformation into a Natural History Museum for the future. Diving through the heart of Hintze Hall, a gigantic blue whale skeleton leads a cast of natural world stars, telling the dramatic story of evolution, diversity in the world today and our urgent role in the planet’s future.
This real, 25.2-metre female whale skeleton is surrounded by hundreds of new specimens across three floors, including ten other star specimens in the ground floor wonder bays.
The Museum offers a wide-ranging programme of temporary exhibitions and events all year round which inspire a love of the natural world and educate on the power of nature.
Other highlights include dinosaur fossils, Wildlife Photographer of the Year, the state of the art Darwin centre and this summer’s blockbuster exhibition, Whales: Beneath the surface.
The Science Museum is the most visited science and technology museum in Europe. There are over 15,000 objects on display, including world-famous objects such as the Apollo 10 command capsule and Stephenson’s Rocket.
Our interactive galleries bring to life first scientific principles and contemporary science debates. Plus, you can experience what it’s like to fly with the Red Arrows or blast off into space on an Apollo space mission in our stunning 3D and 4D simulators or watch a film on a screen taller than four double-decker buses in the IMAX 3D Cinema.
The easiest way to get a glimpse inside Wimbledon and immerse yourself in the game’s epic history
For a sporting venue known for its strict adherence to tradition, the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum is impressively futuristic. Not only is there a 3D cinema explaining the science of the game, but a holographic ‘ghost’ of former tennis world champion John McEnroe roaming the dressing room (yes, seriously), even though he’s still very much alive and volleying. Interviews with players are broadcast on TV screens and an interactive area allows visitors to handle racquets, feel the weight of a trophy and test their reaction skills in simulation games.
Tracing the history of lawn tennis, there is memorabilia dating as far back as 1555, while new additions to the collection include Andy Murray’s outfit from the London 2012 Olympics, when he took home the gold medal, and a series of tennis posters from 1893 to 2015. You can also go on behind-the-scenes tours of the grounds and facilities – including Centre Court – and get a 360-degree view of the arena from a special viewing platform.
Guided tours of Fulham FC’s Craven Cottage ground begin at the Johnny Haynes statue and follow a route that includes the tunnel and pitch-side dugouts, TV studio, home team changing room and Chairman’s Club. The 11.15am tour runs on selected dates; at busy times a 1.15pm tour may also take place. Children must be accompanied. Booking essential.
The big draw here is actually something very, very small. The legendary Ashes Urn draws tens of thousands of visitors each year, as the centrepiece at the world’s oldest sporting museum. Aside from the Ashes, you can see a wide range of cricket-related exhibits, including the stuffed sparrow that was ‘bowled out’ by Jehangir Khan in 1936 and displays dedicated to the life of WG Grace.
Four hundred years of cricketing history is laid out, with many items dating from the nineteenth century alongside rather more recent objects, such as Shane Warne’s cricket kit (pre-Liz Hurley makeover), plus cricket-related paintings by Fanny Rush and Karen Neale. It could be a short browse for those with a casual interest in cricket, but there’s a lot more to delve into for the hardcore fan. There’s also The Brian Johnston Memorial Theatre which enables visitors to see footage of some of cricket’s greatest performances.
A visit to the museum is included in the Lord’s Tour and it can also be visited by match day ticket holders. These are few good visits among Museums and Stadium tours in London