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England’s Capital, London is everyone’s dream city to visit. From history, fashion to amazing culture, this magical place never fails to impress anyone. Stretching back its chronicles to Roman times and located on the banks of the River Thames, London boasts of royal sites, captivating structures, beautiful gardens, iconic landmarks and is home to some unique innovations. So, whether you are a history lover, a music enthusiast, a fashionista, a shopaholic or a nature lover, you will have the time of your life visiting London.
Best time to visit London: London can be visited any time of the year, depending upon your perspective to visit the place. However, May to mid-September and December is the time when the city receives the maximum number of tourists.
Let us take a look at the various seasons round the year to help you plan your trip better.
Visa and Immigration requirement: If you are an Indian passport holder travelling to London, then you need to apply for UK tourist visa, followed by getting an appointment from the consulate. It takes about 14 working days for the consulate to process the visa.
How to reach London:
Getting around in London: London underground tube is one of the most popular and convenient modes of transportation to get around the city. Its iconic red double-decker buses and famous black cabs are other affordable and easy modes of travelling in the town.
Dating back to 11th century, Borough Market is London’s most prominent food market. A paradise for foodies, this market comprises more than 100 stalls selling delectable street food. Traders gather here to sell fish, meat, fruits and vegetables to the locals.
You will get some of the best falafel in this place. If you are in Camden, the Magic Falafel is a must visit. Do try their pita, tagine and salads.
Satiate your craving for Indian cuisine at Amrutha Lounge, offering an array of delicacies. The place is known for creating innovative vegan dishes and classics which are freshly prepared every day. The chefs at Amrutha Lounge use simple ingredients and take them to an extraordinary level to make their version of delectable dishes.
It is one of the most famous fish and chips takeaways in London. You need not worry about the freshness as the fish are fresh and fried to perfection having a thin crispy layer of batter. And the chips are crispy golden from the outside but soft from inside.
With two Michelin stars in its kitty, the Ledbury is a fine-dine restaurant in London, owned by chef Brett Graham. Their specialty dish is Chinese water deer with smoked bone marrow, however all the other dishes on the menu are also worth trying.
Shopping in London is an experience in itself. It is known for countless number of shopping streets featuring innumerable luxury to high-end brands. So, make sure you visit these shopping streets when you are in the city.
Regent Street and Jermyn Street: For all shopaholics, Regent Street is your ideal hub. It offers a good mix of mid-range fashion stores and international flagship stores while housing some of the oldest shops in the city. Close to Regent Street is Jermyn Street, a hub for men’s clothing. It is precisely known for its bespoke shirt makers and shoe shops such as John Lobb.
Oxford Street: From designer shops to famous departmental stores such as Selfridges, Debenhams, John Lewis, etc. Oxford Street, houses more than 300 shops. Walk down this bustling shopping street and get yourself spoilt for choice. It also has a host of dining and entertainment options. One can also enjoy late night shopping here as several shops remain open till late.
Bond Street and Mayfair: If you want to know where you can shop for uber-luxury brands, then head to Bond Street and Mayfair. Starting from Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co. and Burberry amongst others, this area is known for extravagant shopping. And you never know, you might find yourself shopping with some celebrities here.
Westfield Stratford City: It is the largest shopping mall in Europe, housing about 250 shops and 70 places to dine. It also has 17 digital screens, a luxury bowling alley along with 65000 ft casino that includes a 80-seat restaurant and two bars. It is vast, so don’t forget to put on your walking shoes while visiting this place.
Covent Garden: Whether you are looking for unique gifts, handmade jewellery, hip fashion or rare sweets, you must explore Covent Garden. Pick up some creative art and craft, funky cosmetics or trendy urban streetwear; as this place is not going to let you down.
Knightsbridge: Famous for renowned shops and departmental stores, Knightsbridge and Brompton Road welcome numerous visitors from across the world every day. This place is a must visit if you want to check out the latest trends from the world of fashion and collection of premium brands such as Harvey Nichols and Harrods.
Club Hopping: London is home to some of the best clubs that you can imagine! Whether you are a party animal, or love listening to live music, you need to visit any of the famous clubs in London such as Heaven, Fabric, Cargo, XOYO, Corsica Studios, Egg London, Studio 338, Electric Brixton, Printworks London and Ministry of Sound.
Cabaret clubs: Bars and pubs are familiar places to visit at night in any place. But while you are in London, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the cabaret clubs. Starting from drag queens, retro style skits, satirical wordsmiths to fantastic circus acts, all shows are different. In addition, there are plenty of places where you can enjoy each kind of cabaret night such as the Box, Bethnal Green Working Men's Club, Cellar Door, Proud Cabaret City, RVT, Soho Theatre and Volupté.
Jazz nights: If you love Jazz, then you have ample options to spend a beautiful jazzy night in London. From casual hangouts to renowned venues, you will not get bored of the jazz vibe that the city has. Whether you enjoy a night at the famous Ronnie Scott's jazz club or listen to some live musicians mixing jazz with modern music at the Jazz Café in Camden, London is indeed a heaven for jazz lovers. You can head to other places as well, including the Jazz Café, 606 Club, Tommy Emmanuel at Southbank Centre, Night Jar amongst many others.
The Milestone Hotel and Residences Get immersed in the world of luxury and old-world charm at the Milestone Hotel and Residences. The interiors of this five-star property, are adorned with gorgeous original art, stylish & luxurious furnishings and extraordinary cuisine. Located in the heart of Kensington, the hotel is ideal to stay close to several iconic attractions and shopping stores such as Harrods and Harvey Nichols.
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London Set opposite to the Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament on the South bank, it is close to various tourist spots. An ideal place to experience premium luxury, the hotel boasts a 15m swimming pool with steam and sauna room, 24-hour gym and Mandara spa offering an array of luxury treatments.
Travelodge London Vauxhall Hotel Travelodge London Vauxhall Hotel is a great value for money option, offering a comfortable stay. Its rooms are equipped with king size bed, mood lighting and blackout curtains for a comfortable sleep along with other essential amenities.
Qbic Hotel London City The property is a tranquil place to relax and make yourself comfortable after a long tiring day. Featuring some quirky designs, it’s a great place if you are looking for an affordable stay. The hotel offers superb service as the staff is warm and friendly.
Here are some of the other places to explore on your trip to London
Tower of London: Tower of London, the official Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London is the epitome of royalty. Situated on the northern bank of River Thames, this ancient castle details out the story of a compelling and horrific history. It comprises of 22 towers and remembered as a prison where a king, three queens and several noble met their deaths. The central White Tower is the most attractive building featuring Norman architecture and four turrets. Another sightseeing spot is the Waterloo Barracks which contains amazing crown jewels including the platinum crown set with the 106-carat Kohinoor and the Imperial state crown.
Royal parks in London: These are the lands that originally belong to the monarchy of the United Kingdom for recreation mostly hunting. They are part of the Crown’s hereditary possession. Feel royal, walk around any of these which have become public parks and open space under the Crown Lands Act 1851. Today, there are eight parks, covering about 4,900 acres of land in Greater London. The names include Green Park, Bushy Park, Greenwich Park, Kensington Garden, Hyde Park, St James’s Park, Richmond Park and Regent's Park.
Cycle tours: The best way to explore London is pedalling your way around. There are different kinds of cycle tours or bike tours organise to experience various cultures of the city. You can opt for River Thames bike tour, central London bike tour, night bike tour of London, old town London bike tour or three-hour Royal parks and palace bike tour of London, the choice is yours!
Hop-on hop-off Bus tour: Another exciting way to explore London’s iconic landmarks is through Hop-on hop-off bus tour. The buses cover five different routes having over 60 stops. You can book either 24 hours or 48-hour ticket and enjoy unlimited travel in the city within that period by hopping on and off for as many times as you want. The bus tour also includes a free Thames boat ride and a free walking tour so that you can choose from the Beatles' London tour or the Royal London tour.
The Thames river cruise is one of the most unique ways to explore the essence of London. Whether you choose a speedboat tour, hop-on hop-off tour or the luxurious dining cruise, all the experiences are worth a try. The hop-on hop-off tour lets you explore the city at your own pace. It comes with a 24-hour pass that offers unlimited access, and you can hop-on and hop-off the boat as many times as you like. You can also opt for a fancy dinner on the dining cruise while enjoying live music. The speedboat experience will give you an adrenaline rush, with the Thamesjet whizzing over the river. So, on your next trip to London, make sure to try out one of these cruises.