Visiting London means having to try to balance a wide range of activities. Given the size and variety of activities available within the city, those taking a short vacation need to carefully work out which will be best for them. Making these decisions is particularly important if you want to save money, or want to find family friendly activities. A choice of activities should also be defined by ease of transport, although most activities can be found in London’s West End and around the Thames and the South Bank. Some top activities for London visitors consequently include:
1 – Museum and Art Gallery Visiting
London is one of the best cities in the world for museums and art galleries. Particularly recommended is the huge British Museum, as well as the more eclectic Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington. The Natural History Museum is ideal for children, while museums on WWII and the Bank of England offer more alternative appeals. In terms of art galleries, most combine free and some paid exhibits, and include distinctive modern art at the Tate Modern on the South Bank, and the National Portrait Gallery on Trafalgar Square.
2 – Shopping
Aside from the cost factor, You can’t really go wrong shopping in the West End. Oxford Street and Regent Street are the two main strips of boutique and high street shops in the city, although nearby Mayfair also includes Bond Street and Saville Row. The West End is also notable for boutique shops around Soho and Covent Garden.
3 – Visiting Markets
For cheaper deals and bargains, it is worth visiting some of London’s local markets. Particularly strong is Camden Market in North London, which features a wide range of alternative clothing and items. Similarly strong is Brick Lane in East London, which features a similar blend of vintage items and great food. If you’re in the mood for great food when journeying through central and East London, it is worth visiting the Whitecross Street Food Market just off Old Street, as well as Old Spitalfields Market.
4 – Children’s Activities
Children are well catered for in London, with some activities including a visit to Hyde Park, the Raceway Docklands, and the Children’s Museum in Bethnal Green in East London. Most of London’s museums and galleries are family friendly, while children will also enjoy London Zoo and the deer in Kew Gardens.
5 – Walking Parks
For cheaper activities, it is worth strolling around some of London’s huge parks. In West London this includes Regent’s Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Park, while a visit to Kew Gardens in the South Western borough of Richmond include the opportunities to see natural wildlife. To the North, it is also worth visiting Hampstead Heath.
6 – Watching Free Music
You won’t have to walk too far along the Southbank by the Thames River to see performing musicians. Live music recitals are also regularly held at the Royal Opera House.
7 – Changing of the Guard, Buckingham Palace
For those interested in visiting Buckingham Palace and learning more about the monarch, the changing of the guard at the palace is a must see. The traditional guards posted outside the palace typically hold a ceremony every day between 11.30am and 12pm.
8 – Travelling on the London Eye
An alternative way to see all of London, the London Eye is a Ferris wheel located a short walk from Waterloo train station by the Thames.
9 – Visiting Parliament
A trip to Westminster can take in a tour and a viewing of Parliamentary debates in the House of Commons. Paid tours can also include the nearby Westminster Abbey and other important Government buildings around Whitehall.
10 – Cruising on the Thames
River cruises are regularly held along the Thames, and represent a cost effective way to see different parts of the city from an alternative viewpoint.
Christina Appleworth reviews the top 10 activities for London tourists. Whilst in London why not visit one of the city centres popular theatres and catch one of the amazing musicals. With cheap theatre tickets available from Theatre Tickets Direct this would make a perfect end to your perfect day in London!
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