London Travel Guide
London Attractions (with no admission fees)
Activities and festivals go with the season. The following landmarks, though, are fixtures of London and lend the city its distinct beauty. Whether you are staying for a month or a few days, check out the following icons and learn what London is truly all about.
1) The Big Ben
Known as one of London’s iconic symbols, the Big Ben is the famed clock tower of the House of Parliament. While a tour to the clock tower is prohibited for foreign visitors, it is definitely a must-visit photo stop for travelers from all corners of the globe.
2) British Museum
The British Museum has one of the most comprehensive collections in the entire world. The museum is home to the Rosetta stone, Parthenon sculptures, and some mummies from ancient Egypt. Admission is free, although you need to pay a sum in order to be admitted in special exhibits.
Address: Great Russell Street
3) Tate Modern
Another museum you should not miss while in London is Tate Modern, home to UK’s modern and contemporary masterpieces. Formerly a power station, its architecture sense in considered nouveau and edgy. Tate Modern plays host to the artworks of artists such as Gauguin and Damien Hirst
4) National Gallery
Truly a cultural capital, London features a bevy of museums. One museum that should be included in your itinerary is the National Gallery. It cradles artworks from the 13th century to the 19th century. Here you will be treated to the visual spectacle of art masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, Renoir and Constable, among many others.
Address: Trafalgar Square
5) Natural History Museum
Remains of a prehistoric dinosaur and a blue whale are just some of the artifacts you will be able to see at the Natural History Museum. Once inside the museum, you will be able to marvel at the beauty of the world’s rare and extinct creatures, even if they are just bones and taxidermy recreations.
Address: Cromwell Road
Iconic London Tourist Spots (with admission fees)
Take your pick from any of London’s quintessential tourist attractions. Note that they come with admission fees, but if you can afford to visit all of them, why not?
1) Buckingham Palace
As the home of British monarchs, the Buckingham Palace is the country’s foremost symbol of power and leadership. A trip to this luxurious palace gives you a peek of the State Room, as well as the changing of the guards. Admission is about USD30 for adults.
Address: Buckingham Palace Road
2) Tower of London
As one of the world’s most famous structures, this 900-year old structure used to be a palace, a prison, and a place of execution! With the many deaths here, the tower is quite famous for the apparitions of Arbella Stuart and that of a phantom bear. Ghosts aside, the best sight here is the Majesty’s Crown Jewels. Ticket prices start at USD33.
Address: London EC3N 4AB
3) London Eye
View London from way up high by catching a ride on the London Eye, the world’s highest observation wheel. This ride gives you a bird’s eye view of St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Parliament, and even the Big Ben! It carries 32 capsules that can entertain as much as 25 people each. This ride might render you cold and clammy, but the 30-minute ride is surely worth your while. A standard ticket costs USD27.
Address: Westminster Bridge Road
4) Madame Tussauds
Here, you’ll get a face-to-face encounter with some of the world’s most famous celebrities, only that they’re in wax figures. From Shakespeare, to Will Smith, to Her Majesty, you’re free to strike a post with the most influential figures in sports, politics, and even the British Royalty. Tickets cost around USD 44 for adults and USD 35 for kids.
Address: Marylebone Road
5) Kensington Palace
With a long, fascinating story to tell, this royal residence definitely deserves a visit! It has been the abode of the British Family since the 17th century, and is currently the abode of some of the most famous royal personalities. If you get lucky, you might just get a glimpse of Prince Harry in there, though your chance may be slim, but who knows! General admission is at USD 24.
Address: The Broadwalk, Kensington Gardens
London’s Top Restaurants
There are around 6,000 restaurants in London, offering superb range of international cuisines. Some of the best picks are listed below.
As the sister restaurant of Balthazar New York, this branch by Keith McNally proves to be just as outstanding as its American counterpart. The transatlantic menu is a work of art by Chef Robert Reid, who whips up a mean onion soup and Gruyere lid. Prices range from USD 20 to USD 58.
Address: Russell St.
2) The Delaunay
For excellent French, German or Austrian dishes, head straight to the Delaunay, a restaurant owned by the dynamic duo of Jeremy King and Chris Corbin. When here, make sure to try the wiener schnitzel, boneless veal, and salt beef pretzels. Expect to pay anywhere from USD 10 to USD 43.
3) Harwood Arms
This old corner pub offers gastronomical delights and fine alcoholic drinks. Make sure to try the warm salad of wood pigeons, cheek and jowl of Middlewhite pork, roast plaice on the bone, among its countless number of specialties. Main courses start at USD27.
4) Brasserie Max
A part of Covent Garden Hotel, Brasserie is open even to non-guests. It has an extensive array of food for business lunches, afternoon tea, and dinner. A 3-course meal will cost from USD38 – USD42. Lobster and a bottle of Laurent-Perrier costs USD 93.
Address: 10 Monmouth Street
5) Rasa Samudra
A visit to London shouldn’t miss the spice. There is a quaint South Indian restaurant in Charlotte Street which serves home-made vegetarian and succulent seafood fare. Try their peppery crab and aubergines in cashew nut sauce; they add a delightful twist to a continental European visit. It is a pleasant place to have lunch after exploring the British Museum which is just 10 minutes away. A vegetarian feast menu costs USD35 and a seafood feast menu will be around USD46 per person. It serves lunch and dinner seven days a week.
Address: 5 Charlotte Street