Do London (and beyond)
London has plentiful attractions of its own; however, with so many unique destinations outside the city within easy reach, it would be foolish not to take a day trip at least once. Be adventurous and plan your trip ahead!
Home to the two most prestigious universities in the world, Oxford and Cambridge are well worth a visit. See the Bodleian Library and Christ Church at Oxford or visit King’s College chapel at Cambridge. There are many walking tours and college tours available at both universities, it’s barely worth booking in advance. Visit in the summer to see students celebrating the end of exams and graduating. Trains to Oxford go from Paddington and Marylebone and journeys to Cambridge leave from Kings Cross or Liverpool Street, with both taking just an hour!
This is a great day out for those who enjoy beautiful architecture and history. Henry VIII and his six wives lived at Hampton Court Palace, and many other monarchs since. There are gardens, cafes, a maze and even a treasure hunt; something for the whole family! The palace is located near Richmond-upon-Thames, a beautiful area of London with some of the city’s best restaurants. We recommend taking a boat trip on the river or visiting the nearby Kew Gardens to complete a fun-filled day.
Very close to Oxford is the designer outlet shopping centre, Bicester Village. Under an hour away from London, this is a great day out if you’re looking for designer clothes at bargain prices. There are plenty of brands on offer, including Versace, Prada, Jimmy Choo, Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry. Trains depart from London Marylebone and take under an hour.
Only an hour by train from London Victoria, Brighton is a fantastic seaside escape. Visit the famous Pier, enjoy Fish and Chips whilst strolling along the promenade and soak in the sights of the iconic Pavilion. We also recommend taking a wander down the winding lanes and getting lost amongst the many boutique shops.
Harry Potter fans: you are in England, the home of the world’s favourite spectacled young wizard! The Warner Bros Studio Tour is a magical experience for those of all ages. You’ll see the Hogwarts Express, walk down Diagon Alley and come face to face with hundreds of original props and costumes. Tickets must be booked in advance, but the cost does include transport from either Kings Cross or Victoria, Book tickets here: www.wbstudiotour.co.uk.
The prehistoric monument is one of the wonders of the ancient world. The stone circle is thousands of years old and full of magic and mystery. Include a visit to Salisbury in your trip, a beautiful cathedral town just a 20-minute drive from the monument. If you don’t have a car, it is possible to book tours from London or Salisbury. Trains from London Waterloo to Salisbury are frequent and take about an hour and a half.
Can you really say you have fully experienced London without shopping in the city? No London experience is complete without a little bit of shopping. Here is the list of the biggest, best and most beautiful shopping destinations in London.
Major Department stores & Shopping centre
Elaborate shopping emporium with glittering Egyptian Room and acclaimed Food Hall. Head to Knightsbridge and get lost in Harrods, where you can find anything to buy but not buy everything you find.
Steeped in British heritage, from the famous mock-Tudor exterior to the iconic Liberty fabric found inside, it doesn’t get more British than this. Across the department store’s six floors you’ll find fashion, homewares, beauty treatments, a food hall and a restaurant.
Selfridges is the largest department store on Oxford Street. The design and the interior layout of the building are beautiful and sophisticated with high-end fashion brands. Grab a glass of champagne in the Champagne bar while shopping!
Fortnum’s is renowned as purveyors of fine foods, hampers, teas and wine. Visit its first store on Piccadilly, where it was founded in 1707, for a smidge of luxury shopping or fine dining.
5. Westfield (Shopping centre)
Westfield (Shepherd’s Bush) is home to more than 300 shops, with brands ranging from high street to designer, making it the biggest shopping centre in Europe. Westfield’s little brother is in Stratford, slightly smaller but still worth a go.
Oyster is one of the most cost-effective and easy ways to travel around London. It is valid on buses, the tube and nearly every rail service in the city. It’s a prepaid card that you can load either by purchasing an Oyster card with credit online, or by buying one from a post office or station and then topping it up (either at participating newsagents or at stations). You can also use your contactless debit card or Apple Pay in the same way as an Oyster card. Please note that you cannot use cash on London buses or the tube.
Download the Tube Map app. It works in a tube station and offline!
Citymapper is a must-have London travel app that helps you get around some of the world’s biggest cities, whether you’re after a cab, want to cycle or need to use public transport. It’s even possible to use the map offline which is very convenient if you are abroad and do not want to use data. You can plan and save your journey on the Citymapper app in advance.
4. Santander Cycles
Santander Cycles are a cheap and easy way to see the city. To rent a bike,
- Go to the docking station with a debit/credit card.
- Touch the screen and choose ‘Hire a Cycle.’
- Follow the onscreen instructions and take the printed release code.
- Choose a bike (check the tyres, brakes and bell), and type in your 5-digit release code.
- Take the bike out when the green light appears.
When your time is up, take the bike to a docking station, push it firmly into an empty slot, and wait for the green light. In case of any problems, call Santander Cycles: 0343 222 6666
Or simply download the Santander Cycles App. It sends you bike release codes straight to your phone, so you can head to your bike right away, skipping the docking station terminal. The app also updates you on which stations have bikes and spaces available.