When holidaying in any major city ones first instinct is to jump straight in, grab the new environment by the horns and sample everything. Although gorging yourself on the city sights and attractions can be tempting, getting greedy can lead to tourist-related complications. Taking a step back and taking stock can be of great importance in regards to holiday satisfaction, especially if planning to hit the tourist hotspots during your stay. With hotels such as the Shaftesbury Hyde Park International and the Kensington London Hotel being so centrally located, it’s easy to reach some of the city’s most popular attractions by foot, making it even more important to plan in advance.
One of London’s attributes is how well connected it is in regards to its transport. Once you’re in the city centre, it usually takes no more than half an hour to reach the most popular attractions in the city. When it comes to city transport, one vital point is to organise yourself around rush hour. Between 8am and 10am and between 5pm and 7pm, the tube stations, bus routes and cycle paths are swarmed with city commuters, slowing the city to an almost snail like pace. Travelling by bus and tube outside of these times will make your journeys quicker and much more comfortable.
If there’s one thing that the international community pair with the British, it’s queueing. This goes especially for London, with people forming an orderly queue for everything from the London Underground to a water fountain. You have to give it to us Brits, we like a bit of organisation. The problem is that these queues also spread into the main tourist attractions of London and waiting outside getting increasingly bored can take up large chunks of your day if you’re not prepared. Always plan ahead, check the museum, attraction or sites web pages or social media accounts to find out how busy they’ll be and then plan accordingly. Most museums are ironically less crowded at the peak hours, as it seems that everybody is travelling on the transport links at that time so it may be a good idea to visit museums at these times. It is also common sense to keep in mind that weekends and school holidays are going to be considerably more busy than other times of the year, so travelling off season may remedy the more impatient or claustrophobic among us.
Stuck for a starting point? Try a sightseeing tour of the city to get your bearings. For a broad view, try a bus tour whilst walking tours tend to be more specific to certain areas, giving you a relatively more in depth exploration of areas such as Shoreditch or Camden.
Eating and Shopping
When the travelling gets tough, it’s always a good idea to make a pit stop at a retail and restaurant hotspot. Soho and Oxford Street are great for luxury shopping and a quick bite, whilst Covent Garden is home to some great cafes, restaurants and trendy clothes shops. Shoreditch and Camden are the places to go for tasty market food and vintage clothes stores. Whatever your taste, London will have a perfect retail haven away from the crowds of the tourist attractions.