London is the quintessential holiday destination. One of Europe’s most popular cities immersed in history, while offering loads of modern entertainment and exciting adventures to savour.
How do you experience the best of London; where do you go, where do you stay and what’s the best time of year to tour the city? This article puts together a list of tips for planning the perfect London tour.
Plan your Trip During the Right Season
When deciding to visit London ask your travel agent in Sri Lanka, about the best time to enjoy outdoor activities in the city. While London is great to explore at any time of the year, the British summer is perfect for those strolls in Hyde Park and visiting the many outdoor attractions. Summer is from June to August, although the weather remains warm and sunny from May to September. That being said, English weather is unpredictable and rain does make unannounced visits throughout the year. Hence, if you are travelling with kids and they need loads of fun out in the parks and exploring, plan your trip somewhere between late May and early September.
On the flip side, if you love the excitement and romance of Christmas make it around late November and early January; you will love the buzz of Oxford Street, bustling with happy Christmas shoppers and the feeling of lovely nip in the air. Do keep in mind though, that as December 21st approaches, it starts to get darker earlier, and for a few months thereafter London is fully dark by 5pm. To plan the perfect schedule check with your travel partner or online about the best things to do in London depending on the time of your visit.
Visa Requirements for London
For now members of the EU, USA, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, some Caribbean countries and some from South America, do not require a visa to visit London. If you are from any other nation, you must apply for visa from your home country; visa is generally issued for duration of 6 months. You can apply for a working holiday visa too, provided you belong to one of the countries the UK lends this option to. For a comprehensive guide on obtaining the right visa check out the official UK Immigration website.
Book your Accommodation Early
If you travel during summer or Christmas holidays, chances are accommodation rates will be pretty high. You can however check with an online travel website to plan your trip and get an idea of budgets. Planning your trip via a trip planning website, means you can search for the best hotels in London. If you are looking at a budget trip consider travelling in the shoulder months, which is between summer and Christmas. January to March for example, are the quietest months and cheapest in terms of hotel bookings.
Selecting an Area to Stay in London
Consider the following when deciding on a neighbourhood to stay at in London. If you are a young traveller or visiting the city with friends, look for neighbourhoods with pubs and bars, ideal for getting together for evening chats and enjoying a hot meal; Brixton and Chelsea are pretty good choices. Also consider the attractions you will be visiting; if travelling with kids, you will want minimal fuss, hence choosing a neighbourhood close to attractions you want to visit will be convenient. Also, note that while accommodation in the suburbs will be much cheaper you may spend a large chunk of your holiday travelling, although securing a good hotel in the suburbs will benefit your budget immensely.
Choose the Right Airport
The city is serviced by six airports, none of which are located in central London. Hence you need to do your research and choose which airport to arrive at, depending on which part of London you will be heading to on arrival. Heathrow Airport is located in west London, Gatwick in the south, London City Airport (the closest to the city centre) is in the east, Luton and Stansted in the north. Taking a taxi from the airport to your accommodation will be expensive, however public transport is efficient and comfy just make sure your flight arrives before the service shuts down; failing which you can pre-book a coach which operates 24hours.
Travelling in London
London can be navigated by foot and it’s really the best way to experience the city like you live there. You will however have to take public transport from time to time with an efficient underground metro system that is well connected. Get hold of an underground map to make sense of where to go, where to get-off and how long the journey is from your point of location; extremely helpful when planning your sightseeing trips. You must also plan a ride in a London Black cab; the cabbies receive extensive training before driving the cabs and are very polite and helpful; besides, a ride in a big black London cab is a must for that authentic London experience.
What to Pack for your London Trip
When travelling to London, pack clothes which you can layer; light t-shirts and cotton shirts for summer, which you can add on or take off depending on the weather. However, do take along a good jacket, and maybe an umbrella, as rain can happen during anytime of the year. If you are travelling during the winter months do take along gloves, coat and scarves. A sweater too may feel comfy for those nippy nights. Even during summer, London temperatures can be around 10 and 15 degrees. You must also pack sturdy shoes, since you will most likely be enjoying lots of walking tours around London. A hat and a good camera must not be forgotten, together with a good guidebook of London attractions. There are plenty of free attractions to enjoy in London; get online and do your research.