London is a huge sprawling mess of a city. The incredible age that makes the city so fascinating and desirable as a tourist destination unfortunately also makes for a city that is a huge meandering sprawl. The city is in a word, disorganised. Throw the millions of people that walk its streets every day into the mix and you’ve got a place that can confound even the most experienced travellers. It may be a real challenge; so here are a few helpful tips to set you on the right path when visiting London.
Stay Somewhere Central
This first step is pretty important; central London is usually pricier but most of the major destinations for tourists are clustered around either Bank or Trafalgar Square. If you don’t want to spend hours and hours of your precious holiday time every day travelling between central London and your hotel, you should make sure you are staying somewhere central. A great option would be one of the hotels in Soho like the Shaftesbury Premier London Piccadilly; this will give you access to you the nightlife and restaurants of Soho and easy walking distance to the shopping areas of Mayfair and tourist destinations like Buckingham Palace.
Use the Buses
Fortunately, for a city of London’s size, there are a lot of different ways to get around. The quickest is generally catching the tube, but if you’re travelling then my recommendation is to catch the bus. The bus network is far more extensive than the tube, it’s cheaper, and although it does generally take longer you get to watch the city around you as you travel. It is also a lot more pleasant on the busses than on the tube, especially during rush hour when the residents of London are rushing and frustrated with anyone who dawdles. As an addendum to this recommendation, I strongly advise you to walk basically everywhere you don’t bus. There’s no better way to experience a city than on foot.
Get a Tour
London is a historic city and virtually every street has born witness to some incredible piece of history. The trouble with there being so much history is that it’s hard to see it all, or even know where to look to see the good stuff. This where tours come in handy; there are a wide range of interesting walking tours around London covering everything from the Jack the Ripper murders to places that appear in the Harry potter films. This applies inside the tourist locations too. If there’s a tour available there you’ll learn a lot more; whether it’s the ultimate guide to St Paul’s Cathedral or a tour by the Beefeaters at the Tower of London.
A fun new addition to the London scene is the cycling. All around zones 1 and 2 (as per the tube map) are racks of bicycles for hire. It’s a pretty wide network and there are an increasingly large number of bike paths around the city to make the cycling even more pleasant. It’s an extremely pleasant way to see the city; provided you do stick to the bike paths and parks. Most of the main streets area bit intimidating to all but the most experienced city cyclists. If you’re looking for a fun way to spend a summers day I strongly recommend getting a picnic together and bicycling along the Thames out towards the parkland of Chiswick or perhaps Greenwich.