Westminster

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Westminster is lovely and holds most of London’s iconic landmarks and is centrally located so you can visit other bits of London. There is so much to see here that you could probably spend three days in the City of London (Westminster’s official title) and still have barely seen anything. I’d recommend a Thames Cruise from Westminster Pier once you’ve seen everything in the area, as its a lovely view of London and you get to see Tower Bridge up close.

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

Gorgeous Gothic architecture, I never tire of looking at this building. You can go in and do guided tours of the Houses which cost £16.50 for tourists. Brits can do this same tour free if they contact their local MP. Mine still hasn’t gotten back to me…

The London Eye

Costs £18.50 and gives panoramic views of London. A nice ride (25 mins), especially on a clear day.

Westminster Abbey

Beautiful, but at £18 I just can’t bring myself to enter. Entrance is free if you turn up to Evensong on weekdays at at 4.30PM for the 5PM mass. Beware though, they cage you in so you can’t visit the rest of the Abbey and they have guards patrolling. If you do pay for a ticket, make sure to see Poet’s Corner and the Balcony where Wills and Kate took “that shot”.

Buckingham Palace

The Queen’s house; Buckingham Palace is beautiful and open for viewing in the summer. The changing of the guard occurs at 11:30AM everyday. The road leading to Buckingham Palace is beautiful, its made of red tarmac and has the British Union Jack flag lining the streets all the way down to the arch that leads to Trafalgar Square.

10 Downing Street

Before easily accessible, but now gated. Cheers Thatcher.

The Royal parks

Hyde Park, Green Park, St. James’, Regent’s Park and Kensington Gardens. Regent’s Park is beautiful and has lots of fountains and a rose garden. I love to ride the Boris city bikes from Hyde Park all the way to Green Park and through to St. James as the path is straightforward. It only costs £2 to hire and is free for the first half hour (so ride for 28 minutes, dock the bike and repeat this process) and there are bike docks all over the city. The keypad is VERY fiddly though (bring a pen or set of keys to punch the numbers in). You can row boats in Hyde Park on the Serpentine and in Regent’s Park too.

Oxford Circus

Great for shopping; it has none of the pretensions and exclusivity of Knightsbridge and has lots of great chain stores like Topshop, Forever 21, Miss Selfridge and more. Only thing is its usually packed all day everyday, which means you might be better off heading to Westfields shopping centre in either Shepherd’s Bush or Stratford for a calmer shopping experience.  There’s also department store Selfridge’s and the huge toy shop Hamleys and Oxford Circus leads onto Regent’s Street and Bond Street, more shopping streets!

Covent Garden

One of my favourite places in London, its hard to describe Covent Garden and what makes it cool. Its got a central piazza with lots of street performers who juggle knives, eat swords, play with fire and generally entertain crowds. It also has lots of independent as well as high street shops and restaurants. Also has a market and the London Transport Museum’s here, if you’re into that sort of thing…

Other places of interest:

  • Trafalgar Square
  • Tate Britain art gallery
  • National Gallery
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • Neighbouring borough: Kensington & Chelsea

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