6 brilliant places to visit in London
London is so vast with an infinite number of possibilities for diversion and entertainment. So where do you begin? Here are six areas to start with that will give a taste of what the capital has to offer - from the luxury of West London to the hipsters of Hackney.
The South Bank
Get the train to Waterloo for a wander around the South Bank and the opportunity to soak up loads of culture. There’s the Hayward Gallery, the Royal Festival Hall, the National Theatre, the British Film Institute, street performers, street food carts and all with amazing views of the Thames, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Plus it’s home to major tourist attractions such as the London Eye, SEALIFE London Aquarium and the London Dungeon.
Definitely one to put on your list although you’re unlikely to see any Royals of course. The changing of the guard ceremony takes place outside the palace daily. Check the website for dates and times. The site will even tell you where to stand to get the best pictures. For afterwards, we’ve got 2FOR1 entry to Wellington Arch which affords fantastic views over the Royal Parks. Then you can take a stroll through beautiful St James’s Park to the Churchill War Rooms.
Thronging with tourists, Trafalgar Square is a buzzy public square where you can see Nelson’s Column, the famous lions that guard it and the Fourth Plinth - which houses contemporary art that changes regularly. From here you can climb the steps to the National Gallery which is well worth a visit as is the National Portrait Gallery behind it. Both galleries are free to enter but check out 2FOR1 offers on gallery exhibitions before you go.
It has changed a lot over the last couple of decades but Camden is still well worth a visit. Situated on the Regents Canal, there are several markets selling clothes, jewellery, bags, crafts and furniture. And although a few chain stores have moved into the area, there are still lots of independent shops and restaurants to check out.
Awash with bearded guys, tattooed gals, coffee, craft beer and the usual signs of gentrification, East London is the best place for people-watching. There’s the hipster haven of London Fields and Broadway Market, the buzzing bars and nightlife of Dalston or the shinier Shoreditch and Hoxton. There are studios, boutiques, galleries and random shops such as Barn The Spoon - a sparse shop unit where you can learn to carve your own spoons.
For an altogether more polished vibe then head West. There’s 2FOR1 entry to Kensington Palace - the official home of Kate and Wills - and the accompanying Kensington Gardens which is home to pretty parkland, the Diana Memorial Fountain and Playground and the Serpentine Gallery. To the south of Kensington Gardens are the Royal Albert Hall and major museums such as the Science Museum, Natural History Museum and the V&A.