As you might have seen on Instagram (or not) I was in London for one week from 24 April until 1 May. This travel diary from London should give you some tips and an ideas what you could do for one week in London. I know, a lot of you have already been in London, but this city is so big that there is still something to discover. I will publish a second post about all the food hotspots we tested, so stay tuned for that as well! This is my first city trip post, however, there are two posts about our skiing trip to Pinzolo, Italy which can be found here and here.
Flight and Airport
We flew from Linz to London with Ryanair. The airport in Linz is only 20 minutes from our home by car, therefore we did not need to worry on how to get there. When using a low fare airline, you should always bear in mind that you will get a lot of spam email. It seems that Ryanair tries to make money with literally everything.
Additionally, they have a new regulation when it comes to hand luggage. You are still allowed to bring two items, however, your hand luggage suitcase will be put in the freight space as well but it is still considered as hand luggage. Therefore, the liquid regulations still apply. (Never try to bring peanut butter, we tried that and failed). You will also have to wait for your luggage on the roll band. The only way to avoid this is to buy priority. Even sitting costs something, but we didn’t book that either, because the flight wasn’t that long. Hopefully, you get an idea what I mean that Ryanair tries to make money with a lot of different things.
When flying with a low fare airline, I would also advise you to check where the destination airport is located. I mean how far it is away from the city centre and how much it will cost to get there. Sometimes it might be better or more convenient to book a more expensive airplane and be much faster in the city centre. From London Stansted I would recommend taking the National express, it is a bus which is more reasonable than the train, yet comfortable. You need to book it in advance, that’s also possible at the airport. You should get a seat reserved too and go to the bus you have actually booked. Because there were some people who were refused the bus ride even though they had a ticket, but no seat reserved.
Transport in London
Transport is relatively expensive in London and at the same time quite slow as well as inefficient. Therefore, it takes a while to get from A to B (but this is only my personal opinion!). I would recommend you getting an Oyster card. It’s cheaper than buying separate tickets all the time and handier. Another tip for you is to take the bus instead of the subway! I get it, if you think the subway is comfier and faster. But buses are definitely cheaper per ride and you see the city as well. Buses are not necessarily slower, it really depends on where to go. Therefore, I would recommend to download the app Citymappers as well. It shows you the best way to get there in terms of price and time.
We booked an Airbnb private room in Hoxton. This is close to Shoreditch or Whitechapel and the Brick Lane or the Spitalfields Market were also not far away. Our Airbnb costed around € 40 per night, which is not that much if you consider, that we were really close to the City of London. Of course, it is always up to you, if you prefer a hotel or living with a private person. Both have their pros and cons. At least our Airbnb host had a really awesome poodle, so much fun with her! I mean look at her, how cute can a dog be?
Sights we visited
When I think of what we did, I feel like we did not do that much. Or at least not the typical tourist hotspots. We had some places we really wanted to visit, but we still decided it spontaneously what we wanted to do. It depended on the weather a lot, because it was way colder than we expected. We visited three museums, the Natural History Museum, the Tate Gallery of Modern Art and Victoria & Albert Museum. When you are into museums I can recommend all three, but I think I liked the Natural History Museum the most. The Tate Gallery is next to the Millennium bridge, and on the top of this building is an observation deck, where you can shoot nice pics of London too! The cool thing is, museums are for free in London. Maybe you should still give it a try, especially when the weather is not bright outside.
We went to Notting Hill one afternoon and I can tell you I love it there! It is so relaxed, and calm compared to the City of London. Portobello Market road is home to lots of nice vintage shops, I can really advise go strolling through this area. And by the way, you can also shoot absolute nice photos with the all the beautiful houses in the background in this part of London.
What is more, we went to Camden Market once. It is worth a visit, but you also do not miss it if you do not go there. I know a lot of people are really thrilled about this area, however, in my opinion, there are too many shops which sell more or less trash. The food court seemed nice, but we did not eat anything there, so I cannot tell you anything about it. It is still a cool area to take photos!
Last but not least, we also visited the Tower Bridge and the Monument.
I can totally recommend going to Piccadilly Circus, because from this point the Oxford Street, Regents Street and Carnaby Street are not far away. We did not buy that much, but we still enjoyed strolling through the shops. Quite close to Piccadilly Circus is a bookstore named Waterstones, which I really enjoyed. They offer hundreds of books in many different categories. The department store Fortnum & Mason is nearby too, which was exiting to discover. In Regents Street there is an Apple Store and the building itself is worth a visit, therefore I can suggest that. Carnaby Street has also some nice shops to offer and at the end of the street (or at the beginning, depends from where you are coming) there is a souvenir shop , where they sell cool posters and other stuff. In my point of view, Harrods is worth a visit as well. I mean yeah, everything is really expensive, but only walking and admiring the things they sell there is an experience. As already mentioned, on Portobello Road are many vintage and other kind of cute shops located too. Last but not least, Brick Lane offers a lot of lovely shops (also vintage ones) as well. I absolutely enjoyed walking through this street.
Other tips and things to consider
The weather changes a lot and is usually colder than in middle Europe i.e. Austria. Therefore, make sure to bring enough warm clothes and something waterproof. I underestimated the weather way too much, consequently, it was very cold for me. When the temperatures are nice, London is home to lots of nice parks. This time we did not visit them, because it was simply to cold.
When it comes to money, I would either advise to already get pounds from your bank at home or when you withdraw money, make sure to do it not that often. Because your bank (or at least mine) always charges fees for the different currency. If that’s the case for you too, I would also recommend skipping the direct currency calculation and let your bank at home charge you. The banks in London charge much more than your home bank! That’s what I experienced.
So this was it with my London travel diary. I hope, I could give you some tips in general and inspiration for your next trip there. I will write an extra post on food hotspots and were we ate in case you were wondering where the food part is. If you have any more tips and things to recommend, feel free to leave a comment! Enjoy the rest of the photos!