The 5 Best Things to do in London
1. Picnic at Hampstead Heath
I am a little hesitant to say that the best thing to do in London is five miles outside of London, but it is. Hampstead Heath, a protected park in North London, is the most beautiful area in London. It sits on a hill on the outskirts of the city, the perfect place for a picnic. Grab your cheese, bread, and wine and enjoy the panoramic skyline of London that only Hampstead Heath can offer. London has all the hustle, bustle and energy that a big city should have and Hampstead Heath acts as the perfect retreat.
To add to the beauty of Hampstead Heath there is a variety of animal life to keep your eyes out for: Green parakeets, Squirrels, and of course, lots and lots of dogs. Just make sure they don’t eat your lunch, many dog owners let their canine friends roam free! Heres a photo of a ring-tailed parakeet eyeing me from one of Hampstead Heath’s brilliant old trees.
2. Eat the Food
London is a hugely multicultural city. It often seems more people speak languages other than English, than they do English. All of this diversity leads to a plethora of good food. Indian, French, Italian, English, and so much more food is found on every street throughout the city. Yet, as great as London restuarants are, they are not always cheap. I recommend picking a couple of really good restaurants, say three, and splurging on them. The rest of the time it is probably worth sticking to the grocery store to save a few bucks. You will be surprised how tasty food from the grocery store can be. Bread is always freshly baked, cheeses are delicious, and fresh fruits and veggies are everywhere. In fact, it can be a fun activity to wander around a grocery store picking what looks new or good along the way.
3. Go to Museums
London is a great museum city. There is so much history mixed with a vibrant youth culture that it is easy to find a museum to pique your interest. Better yet, many of London’s museums are free. Just be aware that at free museums you will be asked for a donation, you do not have to donate but they encourage it pretty strongly. Here are some of my favorites:
The Tate Modern– Free:
Great modern art including one of the most interesting exhibits I have ever seen called The Clock at Tate Modern. Essentially, The Clock is a collection of thousands of movie clips, each of which pertain to time or have a clock in them. Each clock in the movie clips pertains to the actual time. This means that The Clock at Tate Modern is just that, a working clock made up of spliced movie clips.
The Natural History, Victoria and Albert, and Science Museums are all located next to each other in London’s South West, Kensington, District. The Natural History Museum will offer you a deep dive into geologic history and is topped off by an enormous whale skeleton that hangs in the entrance hall. The Victoria and Albert holds some of the worlds most acclaimed art works including works by Monet, Constable, and Van Gogh. The Science Museum will offer all sorts of interactive pieces and is especially fun for young travelers.
The British Museum– Free
From clocks to sarcophaguses the British Museum has it all. The British Museum houses works from a wide range of cultures, countries, and eras. If you are looking for a dive into cultural history than the British Museum is pretty unprecedented.
The Tower of London– Adults £22.70, Students and Seniors £17.70
If you are going to go to a paid museum, The Tower of London is worth going to. Inside you will see a history of London and England from the perspective of the royals that lived their years ago. The Museum is typified by The Crown Jewels which are magnificent in size, shine, and history. I recommend getting your tickets beforehand to avoid any line. Go to the Tower of London’s website for tickets.
4. Walk The River Thames
Underneath the bridges of London lies a cobblestone walkway following The River Thames. Here you will find a great view of London’s picturesque skyline. You can see Big Ben and the Parliament buildings, the Eye, and so much more. There are also some fun places to stop along the walk including small book markets, skate parks, and London’s famous Borough Market where you can get all sorts of delicious food.
5. Explore Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park
If you are going to London, you will surely want to see Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park. Fortunately they are right across from each other. Buckingham Palace is a stunning feat of architecture and seeing the royal guard in their red outfits is about as iconic London as you can get. If you want to go for a tour of the Palace check out their website here.
There are a couple different options for your tour. You could choose to go to the state rooms, gardens, an evening tour, or see the royal collection. Each of these options has a different price, check their website for exact details.The standard admission price is £22 for an adult. Remember to get your tickets online before you go to skip the line. After you have enjoyed Buckingham Palace, explore the nearby Hyde Park. Enjoy the serenity of hundred year old trees and beautiful landscaping. Finish the day off with a picnic in the park and you are sure to feel like a royal in your own right!
I hope these five things gave you some ideas for how to spend your time in London!
For more about London, click here.