London offers several ways to get around the city. The underground has huge reach across the city, while overland rail links are fairly comprehensive, too. Taxis are easy to find and buses are also plentiful.
Iconic black cabs make a great way to see the city. However, they can be very expensive, so are best taken for short journeys only. Unlicensed taxi drivers will approach you regularly – especially when clubs shut in the mornings. They rely on people looking to save a little cash and get home quickly in order to fund their illegal trade. Be warned; if you take an unlicensed cab, you're essentially getting into a stranger's car.
The underground is, on the whole, a fast way to get around the city. The system is relatively easy to use and coverage is excellent; you never need to walk very far in London before you find a tube stop. But, prices are expensive, and the trains can be overcrowded. Some may also find them intimidating late at night.
London's night buses are the best way to travel on a budget after the underground closes around midnight. Full of every kind of person you can imagine, they can often be entertaining rides home. However, coverage isn't always that great and you may find yourself having to change buses several times, and wait periodically. It's not uncommon for these trips to take hours. To find out the best journey home, Transport for London (TFL) has a phone line you can call and apps you can download.
The UK is notoriously cold and wet. If you're visiting during summer months, be warned that the weather may not be as clement as you'd hope. Pack for every eventuality; the weather changes fast in London, so layers and an umbrella are a good idea.
There are no real health concerns when visiting London, and safety concerns are often vastly overdramatised. Like anywhere, take the usual precautions against pickpockets, avoid walking around after dark alone and getting into unlicensed cabs and you'll eliminate most safety issues.
Tipping in London is fairly straightforward. Most formal restaurants will add 10–12.5 percent to the bill. If they don't, you can consider leaving that amount. More informal eateries won't expect a tip, but will be pleased if you leave one. Taxis generally expect you to round up the fare by around 10 percent, too although it's not required.
The currency in the UK is still pound sterling. You can change your money at the airport after you land, or once you get to London, as most travel agents and post offices across the country offer the service commission free.
Virgin Atlantic offer direct flights from Sydney to London, taking around 22 hours. Or, you can opt for a flight with a stopover, such as those with United Airlines, which stop in Los Angeles. These take around 32 hours.
From Melbourne Qantas offer direct flights from Melbourne to London Heathrow, which takes around 23 hours. Alternatives include flying via Qatar with a stop in Doha or via Emirates with a stopover in Dubai.
From Perth Qantas flies to London Heathrow with stopovers in Singapore with flights taking upwards of 19 hours.
From Brisbane Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qantas all fly from Brisbane to Heathrow, with at least one stopover along the way. Flights take upwards of 25 hours.
From Darwin Qantas offers flights between Darwin and London Heathrow with stopovers in Perth and Singapore. Flights take upwards of 30 hours.
The capital is very well-serviced when it comes to airport transfers. Numerous buses, trains, underground trains and taxis are available to make the trip, while private transfer companies – which can be booked in advance or at the airport – will happily deliver you to your hotel, too.
The Gatwick Express runs from London Victoria to Gatwick throughout the day. Heathrow is easily reachable via the Heathrow Express from Paddington or on the Piccadilly Line on the underground, which stops at all the airport's terminals.
There are regular shuttle buses running between all London's major airports, as well as to the city and nearby towns and cities. National Express is one of the major service providers, offering cheap, comfortable travel.
A trip to London really isn't complete without a trip to a West End show. The Lion King, Les Miserables, Chicago and Wicked are just some of the most popular on-going shows.
If you love your horrible history, the Jack the Ripper tour shouldn't be missed. The identity of the murderer has remained a mystery since the 1800s, but the streets in which he preyed on and murdered young women are well documented. Follow this tour through the streets of Whitechapel; a gruesome but fascinating slice of London's history.
The beefeaters, the ravens, the horrible history and the crown jewels make the Tower of London one of the most famous tourist spots in town. Tours detail the spots were executions were held, where prisoners were kept and a glimpse of the world's most famous gems.
From this spot on London's South Bank, you can see a staggering amount, from the nearby spires of Westminster to the distant heights of Canary Wharf. A treat day or night, London Eye is a giant, slow moving ferris wheel made up of transparent 'pods' from which passengers can view the city for 30 minutes before 'landing'.
One of Gordon Ramsey's gastro-pub projects, The Narrow has a fabulous riverside location, making it a lovely spot for afternoon dining with a view. The Gordon Ramsey association means you can be sure of getting a decent meal, too; think traditional British fare cooked with seasonal ingredients. The menu boasts mouthwatering treats including sausage and mash, hake, chips and mushy peas and steamed mussels with cider, herbs and toasted bread.
Both convenient and toeing the line of good value and luxe is Browns. This combination of appealing qualities means it's always busting at the seams with partrons eager to rest their weary legs and tuck into some delicious warm food.
British food has long had a bad rep among international foodies, but St John is one of the venues helping to change all that. Fergus Henderson Smithfield is the chef behind the restaurant, and his determination to cook with British delicacies has helped put simple tasty local cuisine on the map. Some of the more unusual dishes include pigeon and trotter pie and roast bone marrow and parsley salad.
Afternoon tea at the Ritz is one of the most refined ways to spend an afternoon in London. The impeccable service and the chintz and grandeur on a regal scale make it worth blowing out for one of the five sittings per day of afternoon tea. English tea, finger sandwiches, scones and pastries are just some of the treats you can indulge in.
Consistently named as one of London's best bars, this tiny venue offers exquisite cocktails in a venue that screams of top end British service – with a touch of eccentricity. Tourists will love the small details, such as the bow-tied attire of the bar staff and handwritten bills.
Out in leafy Greenwich, there are a multitude of great bars to choose from. But Greenwich Union stands out for its pub garden and its experimental beers brewed in Greenwich-based brewery, Meantime Brewery. Its chocolate and raspberry beers are well-worth making the trip for, while its British menu – including fish fingers and dips – will have you lingering on into the evening.
As the name suggests, it's all about the cocktails in this venue. Mixed to perfection, cocktails include the classics and some tasty new ones, too – Death in the Afternoon, Brixton Riot and Filthy Mare are just a few of the menu's offerings. A favourite with London's cool crowd, you'll often find some of the city's celebs chilling out with a Long Island Iced Tea or two.
London has no shortage of cool clubs, but none have as much pulling power as Fabric. It's been drawing in big name DJs for 12 years and, if you love electronic music, it can't be beaten for the sheer scale of the place. If you're heading to Fabric, expect to arrive late, and leave indecently early in the morning.
Make your first stop to Covent Garden for a spot of retail therapy within the market area and the nearby boutiques of Seven Dials. You can also enjoy some excellent street performances and a huge selection of restaurants and bars. In the evening, head to a nearby theatre to take in one of London's West End shows.
Treat yourself to some retail therapy. Shopping in Harrods is a rite of passage for any London tourist. Once you've got one of its sought-after paper bags, head to Oxford Street, one of the most bustling high streets in the world. Or, if you're feeling a little more alternative, head to nearby Carnaby Street, where mid-range boutiques and quirky bars and restaurants give the area a little more street cred. Finish your night with more cool capers, in London's trendy Shoreditch, where low-key bars and asymmetrical hair are de rigueur.
Enjoy a spot of sightseeing; take a black cab, for novelty value, to the Tower of London. Here you'll find the crown jewels, the tower's famous ravens and get a taste for some of the unpleasant history of the city during medieval times. Take a boat cruise westbound and continue the historical theme with a visit to Westminster, where some of London's most famous sights – including Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace can be found.
Enjoy a morning of art at the Tate Modern, where some of the world's finest modern artists and installations can be found. Afterwards, take a stroll along the South Bank and spend a lazy afternoon by the river in one of London's pubs where you can munch on traditional British fare and sip on fine ales.
Expedia Holidays > London Holidays