London is brimming with unforgettable sights to see, a rich, historical culture to explore and a flowing river to sail upon. Whether your UK and Europe holiday
package involves visiting the home of royalty, exploring the historical sites, or relaxing on a Thames boat cruise (or all three!), travelling to London is a city lover’s dream.
This is probably one of London's most iconic sites! Built in 1705 for the Duke of Buckingham, the Buckingham Palace became the principal residence for the Royal Family when Queen Victoria took the throne in 1837. Today, the residence contains priceless works of art from artists including Rembrandt, Rubens and Poussin, as well as lavish English and French furniture, some of which dates back to the Victorian era. Allow around two hours to see the palace as a public visitor (there are also private tours available between July and October).
Watch the Changing of the Guards, enjoy a picnic in St James' Park, or take a stroll down The Mall to Trafalgar Square where you will find the National Gallery and Nelson's Column. From here, it's only a short walk to Whitehall, Downing Street and Westminster.
A wonderful fusion of old and new, Oxford Street and Regent Street are a must! Historical buildings and structures combined with contemporary, designer shopping outlets means these streets are a shoppers dream destination.
If you want to indulge in retail therapy when visiting London, this is the perfect opportunity to spoil yourself with some designer fashions including Burberry, DKNY, and Ralph Lauren. There are also many flagship stores of well-known high-street favourites to explore, such as Topshop, H&M and Primark and you're only a stone’s throw away from quirky Carnaby Street.
When you’re all shopped out, take a pit-stop in one of the department store cafes, or hit one of the many diverse bars, pubs, or restaurants for some comforting ale and food.
The River Thames
Why not take a cruise down the Thames? You can take some weight off and it's a relaxing way to see the city. With a wide range of cruise options available, whether you want to set sail in the morning or afternoon, enjoy a meal or drinks onboard, or see the sights with informative commentary, a Thames cruise should definitely be part of your London trip. With hop on/hop off options available, cruises allow you to glimpse and visit various icons including Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the Tower of London and Greenwich Pier.
Alternatively, if you have time, take a walk down London's Southbank. Starting at Westminster Bridge you can walk to Southwark Bridge and pass the London Aquarium, the London Eye, Royal Festival Hall, the National Theatre, Tate Modern and Shakespeare's Globe.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is London culture at its best. With a wide range of theatre productions throughout the year honouring Shakespeare’s plays, such as Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing, The Globe will ultimately take you back in time, bringing to life a slice of London’s momentous theatre history. It is often possible to get last minute tickets at a discounted rate, by visiting the box office on the day, but remember that you may have to stand to watch the show - The Globe is authentic in the that way!
You may be surprised by how many green spaces there are in the middle of such a large, bustling city, but after spending even a short time in one of London's many parks, you'll feel a million miles away from the traffic and noise. Hyde Park is popular any time of year, but especially in summer when you'll find it busy with city workers enjoying their lunch-break. On weekends, it is popular with families as it is the perfect place for a picnic.
Regents Park is another favourite with Londoners, and is also home to London Zoo - a perfect destination if travelling with children. If you are south of the river, you can visit Battersea Park, where there is a boating lake, an art gallery and sculptures and fountains to enjoy.
London has too many markets to name, but no trip to the city is complete without visiting at least one! If food is your thing, then you need to head to Borough Market, where you'll find British and international produce from more than 100 stalls. Stallholders will often have tasters on offer, and you'll find it difficult to not buy everything you try!
Portobello Road Market is the go-to for antiques and vintage wares and with over 1,000 dealers you'll quickly see why! Take the tube to Notting Hill Gate or Ladbroke Grove and follow the signs - there's no way you'll miss this huge market. Younger shoppers will appreciate Camden Market the most. This eclectic market sells fashion, music, accessories and quirky gifts and homewares.
If you want to explore exciting London for yourself, contact a Travellers Choice agent to start planning your next UK holiday.