London a City of Style
New York is the city that never sleeps and London a city of style where no one can tire of exploring and experiencing. To paraphrase, the famous Londoner Samuel Pep’s “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”. Whether it is your first or twentieth visit, there is always something to do, see or experience in London. The history or artwork in a museum, toe tapping West End musicals, visiting the famous Tower of London or a relaxing walk along the Thames past famous landmarks such as the Globe where Shakespeare plays are still performed today.
As we live in Brighton, when we go to London for the day we just get an off peak London travel card, with our train ticket, which allows use on the buses, metro and trains within the six zones of London. The Off peak travel card that is valid after 9.30am and every day costs £8.90. If you are coming from out of London, combine a train ticket with a travel card it will always cost less. There are many different combinations you can do and you can explore at the Visit Britain website which also has lots of other discounted tickets and tips for exploring London.
My Favourite three places to visit
1. The Tower of London is a unique attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage site and is where Kings and Queens lived and died.
First off, the tower is not really a tower it is a castle. The Tower was a jail for the stars for hundreds of years and the home of the Crown Jewels. Murders, tortures and robbery took place within the walls of the castle.
It is open on Tuesday till Saturday and from 9.am till 17.30 during the summer and closes one hour earlier during winter. On Sunday and Monday it opens an hour later at 10am.
Ticket prices are exorbitant at £24.50 per adult and you can save a pound by booking online at the Tower of London official website at
The website also has information on other palaces and ticket prices. If you are staying for a period of time in London, think about getting the unlimited entry annual pass. The single pass costs £47 and a couple pass costs £71. The pass gives you unlimited access to the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Banqueting House and Kew Palace.
A further option to save money is to use Attractiontix website. There are lists of other attractions in London at discounted prices and you can pay £18.41 for an adult ticket. They are discounted by 24 percent off the normal price of £24.50.
Try to get to the Tower of London as early as possible. It is always crowded. The nearest tube station is Tower Hill on the circle or district metro lines. The 45 minute Yeoman tours are good value and fun to do albeit they can be very crowded.
To see something different and if it’s your first time to London then try to reserve a ticket for the 700 year old Ceremony of the Keys held every night at 21:30 for just over half an hour. To attend you must reserve tickets on line. It costs £1 cost and the tickets can be reserved.
2. National Gallery is brilliant and it is free. Pick up an audio guide to see the highlights. I, particularly, like Constable and Hogarth with his satirical pictures of London society. There are master pieces from Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Turner and a multitude of other dead artists.
3. The British Museum is a wonderful collection of national treasures to what the British managed to collect by looting and pillaging their Empire. The Elgin Marbles, Rosetta stone to the Egyptian mummies. It is free to view the general collection which includes all of the above and more.
Do not bother getting a London Pass. In the end, to get value for money for the pass you would have to do a whirlwind trip around London and it takes time to get to places. You can easily spend hours at the Tower of London, British Museum and National Gallery, of which the latter two are free.
Where to stay?
If you have looked at hotel websites and booking sites you will see how expensive it is to stay a few nights in London. I am simply going to say that the best deal you will get is staying with Airbnb. It is important to look in advance and read the reviews of the accommodation and where the house or apartment is located. Be careful as some may turn out to be just glorified Bed and Breakfasts.
Where are your top places to go in London?
(Date of writing August 2015 – check websites to make sure of current costs!)