London, England 4 Day Travel Tips
Updated: Jan 8
Cheers and welcome to my London blog! I can't believe I've waited this long to travel to London. I had London on the back burner due to it being one of the of most expensive cities in the world but in all honesty, I found prices to be pretty reasonable. I was originally planning my trip to London to see Ed Sheeran play at Wimbley but you can't just go to London and not do all the "Londoney" things, so I made sure to add some days to my itinerary.
Transportation: London Heathrow to City Center
There are three ways to get to the city center:
Heathrow Express: £27
The Tube: £10
In my personal opinion, the Express isn't much quicker than the Tube, so my recommendation would be for the Tube. Not to mention, it's the more affordable option too.
To Oyster Card or not to Oyster Card, that is the question...
To use the Tube, you can purchase an Oyster card at any of the Tube stations. It's a £5 deposit and you can add funds accordingly. You can also use your credit card if it has wireless capabilities. There's a max cap on how much you can be charged per day and it's dependent on zones. Be sure to tap in and out even if the gates are open. Otherwise, you will be charged the max allowable fare.
Helpful tip: Download the TFL app for all the latest Tube updates.
Where I stayed: Clayton Hotel City of London
Cost: $1,105.43 (USD) for 4 nights (included taxes, fees and breakfast)
To keep the cost down, I chose to stay in east London, just steps away from Shoreditch and only a 5 min walk from Aldgate Station.
Afternoon Tea, Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abby & Tower Bridge
I had arrived early in the morning and was planning to hit the ground running but the wonderful hotel receptionist was able to get me checked in to the room early, so I took full advantage of that and took a 2 hour nap.
Afternoon tea is a staple in London. It was originally created by Duchess Anna Maria Russel of Bedford. Meals kept becoming later and later and rather than waiting, she would ask for bread and tea as a late afternoon snack, 4 o'clock to precise. This trend eventually caught on and is now what we know today as afternoon tea.
When deciding where to have afternoon tea, there are several establishments to chose from and they vary in price. You can go elegant to quaint and cozy or even themed tea.
Afternoon Tea Recommendations (reservations are required and prices vary depending on whether you want classic afternoon tea or bubbly)
Brigit's Bakery (Bus Tour with Afternoon Tea)
Cost: £45 PP
Fortnum and Mason (Most Popular)
Cost: £70 PP
The Lanesborough (Bridgerton Themed)
Cost: £65-82 PP
Cost: £67-92 PP
Rockwell (Tipple Tea)
Cost: £48 PP
Cost: £15.75-48.75 PP
Where I had afternoon tea: Zetter Townhouse - Marylebone
You don't have to walk far to see Big Ben. It's located smack dab outside of Westminster Station. To the left of Big Ben is Parliament and to the right, Westminster Abbey. To get some great pictures of Parliament without the tourists, I recommend walking across the bridge and down the steps towards the river.
Unfortunately, I did not go inside of Westminster Abbey due to the cost being rather high and due to scheduling conflicts. However, there is away around the cost. Just attend Sunday service.
From Westminster, you can take the Jubilee line to Tower Bridge. It's about a 15 min walk and there are several pubs lined along the river, so grab a pint, find a spot to sit and take in the views.
Day 2: Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace & Ed Sheeran
If you're a fan of the Royals, like I am, don't pass up the opportunity to see Buckingham Palace. During summer, changing of the guards takes place daily around 11am. To get a good standing spot, I recommend arriving 30-40 min prior to this fan fair event.
From Buckingham Palace, it's a 30-45 min walk to Kensington Palace. There are several things to look at along the way, so it didn't feel long at all. If walking is not your cup of tea, you can certainly take the Tube. Speaking of tea, you can even have afternoon tea at the palace, which to my surprise was reasonably priced (£30-40).
General Admission arrival time: Arrive 2hrs before doors open to get a good spot in line
If you're going to attend an event anywhere in the world, Wembley is the place. Let me tell you, they have got to be the most organized establishment I have ever visited. From start to finish they had it down to a "T". Let me paint the picture... There was easily 100k attending the concert and with the massive crowd leaving all at once, I thought it was going to be a mad dash to get back on the tube but it was the most organized chaos I have ever seen. Walking back towards the tube station, there were people traffic lights allowing the crowd to move forward and certain times. To appease the crowd, the police played classic tunes over their loud speaker, which to my surprise, everyone and I mean everyone broke out in song.
Day 3: Notting Hill, Piccadilly Circus & Sunday Roast
Notting Hill has got to be one of the most charming neighborhoods in London. From it's pastel buildings to its famous Portobello Road, it's truly spectacular. Not to mention, it was made famous from it's box office hit Notting Hill, starring Julia Roberts. Be sure to visit on market day when the town really comes alive.
Piccadilly Circus is like the Times Square of New York. You can literally watch any Broadway show here and just a few blocks down, you can stroll through China Town. Honestly, I probably could have skipped this location.
If visiting London on a Sunday, then Sunday Roast is a must. Sunday Roast consists of: roast beef, thick gravy, grilled potatoes, veggies and Yorkshire pudding. After much research I decided to have Sunday Roast from Blacklock City They have 4 locations throughout London and you will not be disappointed if you dine here. Be sure to make reservations as they are known to be booked out a month in advance. One would argue that their Mum's roast is the best but we'll just have to take their word for it, so here are the next best thing to Mum's Sunday roast.
Sunday Roast Recommendations
Cost: £24 PP (Try the "All In")
Cost: £25 PP
Cost: £32 PP
Day 4: Abbey Road, 9 3/4 King's Cross Station, Borough Market, Fish & Chips & Brick Lane
In high school I was a huge Beatles fan. My friend and I would have competitions as to who could name the most Beatles songs on their notebook. Pretty sure I lost. It was only fitting that I made the trip out to Abbey Road. I thought I would arrive in the morning (9am)to avoid the crowds but the road was very busy with people trying to get to work, so my recommendation is to arrive after rush hour.
9 3/4 King's Cross Station:
Opening Hours: 9am
If you're a Harry Potter fan then you must stop by King's Cross Station to get the famous photo of 9 3/4. It's completely free but recommend arriving early as the line does get long. I waited about 20-30 min. There are props available to use and if traveling alone, just ask someone in line to take your photo. You'll most likely need to ask someone to take your photo anyway since the staff is not allowed to take it for you.
Hours of Operation:
There are several markets spread throughout London. I wanted to visit Borough Market in particular to sample all the tasty food from the street vendors. If there's one item to try at the market, you have to go for the famous pork roll from Ginger Pig. It's meaty, delicious and only£5. A second runner up would be a meat pie from one of the mobile vendors.
Brick Lane Market
Columbia Road Flower Market
Old Spitalfields Market
Portobello Road Market
Fish and Chips:
Fish and chips are a staple in London and it's best to eat them from a proper Chippery, not a Pub. I chose to dine at Poppies, a well known establishment in London. The fish was very meaty and not heavily coated in batter, which is how a proper fish should be. Also, be sure to pair it with a nice cold beer.
Fish and Chips Recommendations:
Believe it or not but Indian Food, curry to be exact, is the most popular food in London. Brick Lane is the mecca for all things curry. Unfortunately, I didn't have any during my stay in London. Instead, I tried Brick Lane's second famous foodie treat, the Beigel Bake. This meaty, bagel sando is the perfect late night snack and it's only £5. They don't skimp on the corned beef and it will fill you up.