London: things to do and where to stay
London has an indisputable charisma. In addition to being an ancient city, full of history, there are neighborhoods that conquer us for their beauty or simply for the vibrant energy they emanate. We give you some tips about London: what to do and where to stay.
This is one of the busiest cities in the world, there is always something to do or a fun place to visit! I was in London for the first time in 2009 and returned in 2018 because it is one of those cities that deserve more than a visit. I hope to be able to come back soon, to experience everything I haven’t done on previous trips.
What do you need to travel to London?
These days, you must pay attention to 2 very important facts before traveling to any part of the UK: the Brexit and the pandemic situation, so:
– Find out about the Brexit situation and what are the requirements for entry into the country.
– Don’t forget to fill in the Passenger Locator Form online before arriving in the UK. Submission of the form is free.
Follow the governmental instructions to the letter so that you don’t take the risk of being refused to board or, even worse, getting there and having to return without stepping on English soil.
– Find out about the status of Covid-19.
– And prepare for the possibility of being quarantined upon arrival.
The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy in which the Executive governs the country on behalf of the Queen, who exercises the functions of Head of State.
The Parliament, whose legislature lasts for 5 years, is composed of an elected House of Commons and an appointed and hereditary House of Lords, namely responsible for legislating and appraising the policies defined by the Government. The elected Chamber consists of 650 parliamentary seats, whose (relative) majority is currently held by the Conservative Party.
The party system has placed the most voted party in the government in the elections, and the second most voted party in the opposition benches, known as “official”. The country is divided into districts, each of which elects a representative to the elected Chamber of Parliament.
As the electoral system is based on simple majority voting, it is the most voted candidate who is elected, which explains the bipartisan structure in which the former has traditionally been based. A combination of county and district councils is responsible for much of the local administration, although unitary authorities have already emerged in large cities such as London (Greater London Authority), with the election of Mayors.
Since the establishment in 1999 of the Scottish Parliament and the National Assemblies of Wales and Northern Ireland, these regions have come to have responsibilities, albeit variable, of autonomous government, namely in terms of legislation.
The country’s official religion is Anglican (Protestant), with the Queen as head of the Anglican church.
The official language is English and the currency is the Pound Sterling.
The climate is erratic, depending on when you travel, it can be hot, rainy, or snowy, but the climate is considered temperate, with temperatures reaching 0°C between November and February.
Source: Portal das Comunidades Portuguesas
London: what to do and where to stay
In London it’s not easy to find a good quality stay at an affordable price (correct me if I’m wrong!).
For those on a budget, as I had the first time I went, the Astor Hyde Park Hostel is a great option. Located a few meters from Hyde Park, in a very… hmmm… refined and elegant area!, with reasonable access to public transport (go, you have to walk a little bit, but it’s worth it!), it’s a place with good vibes and full of British joy!
If you prefer a hotel or if you want an option that is closer to a metro station, just take a look at Booking, there is no shortage of choices!
So, we arrived in London: what to do and where to stay? I suggest you buy a Visitor Oyster Card London, which will make your life easier in terms of access to transport. It is a smart card, easy and quick to pay for subway, bus and train journeys.
With our bags at the hotel (or at the hostel!) and with our card in hand, let’s go and visit some cool places: some more touristy than others, but all of them unavoidable!
In a very alternative punk rock environment, Camden Town will be a unique neighborhood in the world, here you can breathe music and a lot of personality! Camden Market, located in Camden Town, started out as a small arts and crafts fair in Dingwalls. Initially, it was temporary and only opened on Sundays, however, its generation has increased and this is currently the biggest market in London, open 7 days a week.
The store is located in Camden Town, has 3 floors, and here you will find an irreverent mix of rave clothes and festival fashion, there is no lack of bright UV neon, streetwear, and the most daring styles. Oh, and there are DJs and live dancers!
I confess that it is very different from my musical genre, but it is still a very immersive experience in a completely hallucinating universe.
After the madness of Camden Town, take a break in these royal gardens and relax on a stroll along the Serpentine Lake. Here you will find, in addition to a gigantic green space, statues, monuments, and fountains.
One of the most touristic and clichéd places for those visiting London: the residence of Queen Elizabeth II. It’s giant! It has 775 rooms, including 19 staterooms, 52 royal and guest rooms, 188 staff rooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms.
That being said, the coolest thing is to see the guard surrender and that’s it, to see the guards’ introspection and concentration in the midst of all that apparatus.
On Instagram, the royal family shares, from time to time, some recipes:
For fashion lovers, Harrods is like a paradise on earth, the most famous names in the fashion industry are represented here, often with pieces that don’t even have cash prices.
The first time I visited, I took a really cute coat and I was already thinking “Oh, it’s going to look really good!” when I saw the price (I know it was over 20 or 25 thousand pounds) I almost lost the strength in my legs! 🙂
In 2018 it was under construction and covered with scaffolding! It is the best-known watch in the world and everyone recognizes this symbol of the United Kingdom.
Big Ben and Westminster Palace (UK parliament) are right on the edge of the Thames and the Westminster Bridge.
Entrance is free and not only is it a beautiful building, but it also has everything on display: rocks, historical specimens (including 23 million specimens stored in alcohol), fossils, dinosaurs, representations of habitats, human evolution, and so on, and so on…
The child inside each of us will rave inside Hamleys, a toy store that was born in 1760. The store in London is located on Regent Street, London, and is one of the most iconic in the world.
It’s a very fun interactive theater experience for anyone who goes with an open mind to new experiences and a very original storytelling format!
The visit to the London Dungeon is a journey through immersive scenery with very exciting narratives, covering 1,000 years of history, with special effects and 360º scenery. I would say it’s inappropriate for the faint of heart, but it depends on your sensitivity to fright! 😉
Tower Bridge has a long history, was built in the late 19th century and is another London city landmark.
We were nearby but didn’t visit the bridge, instead, we found a very nice Japanese restaurant and enjoyed the view of the bridge while we were delighted with a wonderful lunch.
There are thousands of other things to do and visit: monuments, palaces, markets, neighborhoods, theaters, and nightlife! So much that half a dozen days are not enough for everything.
Here is a taste of some things that I visited and experienced and that I believe can enrich your trip to this city!
Prefer other destinations? Then take a look here!