London Travel Tips


  1. Introduction
  2. Getting There
  3. Accommodation
  4. Getting Around
  5. What to Do

    See Also

  6. Other Trips
  7. Home


These are a few tips on getting to, where to stay and what to see around London.

Getting There

The easiest way to get to London is from Europe on the Eurostar train from Paris or Brussels. If arriving by air through Heathrow airport, the easiest way to the center of London is by the double deck "Airbus". These give you a good mini tour on their way to stops in central London. The Heathrow Express train is faster, but costs more and only goes to London's Paddington Station, so you then have to get from there to your destination. The Airbus has several routes and stops. Slower and much less comfortable is the London Underground Piccadilly Line.


The best place to stay is in the home of someone you know. Also useful are the student Accommodation. If you don't want to stay in a fancy hotel, you might see if you can book into in the International Students House, 229 Great Portland Street, London W1, UK. The ordinary student rooms are a very cramped, but the Flats are okay. Failing that I select from the upper range of the hostels in the Lonely Planet Guide.

Getting Around

Bicycle in bag on London tube

The easiest way to get around is on foot for short distances and the Underground (Tube) for longer distances. The busses also work well but at times you feel you could get out and walk faster. London Transport also have a useful cycle guide for those with bicycles. There is a Bicycle Map showing where and when bicycles are permitted on the underground. I have carried a folding bicycle in a bag on the underground without anyone complaining. But keep in mind if you have heavy luggage, many tube stations have stairs.

What to Do

The foyer of the British Museum is worth a visit (I am not sure about the actual exhibits in the museum). The Canal Museum is a less usual spot. You can walk or take a boat trip along the canals of central London, to see it away from the busy roads.

The British Library has moved from the British Museum into an awful brick building next to St Pancras station. The library exhibits are worth seeing (the building looks much better from the inside). If you want to use the library facilities, you need to be a researcher and register as a reader. It took me about an hour to register for a reader's pass on the spot.

The BBC has free tickets for recordings of TV and radio programs in studios across London. I found this out when walking past one studio and being invited in for what must have been an underbooked show. One usher handed me a ticket and another then took it from me and showed me to a seat.

Barrel Vault of the Palm Kew Gardens

Barrel Vault of the Palm House Kew Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, for me the great attraction were not the plants (they have better plants in the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens), but the Palm House. This nineteenth century greenhouse was one of the precursors of modern glass and iron architecture. Part of the design of its glass barrel vaults are reflected in the design of the European Parliament Building in Brussels.

The Palm House was built by architect Decimus Burton and iron-maker Richard Turner between 1844 and 1848, and was the first large-scale structural use of wrought iron. The Temperate house, which is twice as large as the Palm House, followed later in the 19th century. It is now the largest Victorian glasshouse in existence.

From "Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew", Wikipedia, 2006

London Eye and Big Ben

London Eye and Big Ben

Eurostar at Waterloo International

Eurostar at Waterloo International

One tourist attraction visible from much of the city is the London Eye. A Ferris wheel in a city should look out of place, but the London Eye looks like it belongs. I photographed the eye reflected in a window near Waterloo International Station, where the Eurostar trains leaves for Paris. I made a quick trip to visit from here to UNESCO in Paris for lunch.

Tate Modern Gallery

Tate Modern

A walk along the banks of the River Thames, is a way to see many attractions: the Millennium Bridge, and the Tate Modern Art Gallery.

Tate Modern is Britain's national museum of modern art in London and, with Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool and Tate St. Ives, a part of the Tate Gallery.

The galleries are housed in the former Bankside Power Station, which was originally designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the architect of Battersea Power Station, and built in two stages between 1947 and 1963. The power station closed in 1981. The building was converted by architects Herzog & de Meuron and stands at 99 m tall. Since its opening on May 12, 2000, it has become a very popular destination for Londoners and tourists. Entry is free.

From Tate Modern, Wikipedia, 2006

In a way it is a shame this excellent building has been spoilt by filling it with modern art.

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