We arrived in London late in the afternoon. London is one of my favourite places in the world, every time I go back I feel at home and comfortable. The first thing we did was hire a car for the duration of our stay in the UK. Now if you are on a budget this might not be the option for you, however Joel and I love to go our own way and a car gives us more flexibility to do so. Once we got through the London traffic and made it to our hotel it was later in the evening and we were starving. The down side to hiring a car in London is the traffic: if you are only staying in London itself I would recommend using public transport over hiring a car. Joel and I had planned to hit the road north the next morning.
It’s easy enough to get a train to your hotel and once in the city, I always recommend to my clients that are visiting for the first time, to get a pass for the ‘Hop on Hop off’ bus. A 24 hour pass will give you a quick introduction to the city and a lay of the land, perfect for first timers. The buses can take you on 3 separate routes through the city, and on each bus you receive ear phones, which you can plug in to the back of the seat for history and information about locations you might not have known about. The buses run regularly, go to all the major attractions and there are plenty of stops for you to get off at so you will always have enough to do! But hey, it’s London and I don’t think you could ever get bored.
It was a whirlwind night for us, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and went straight to bed. The next morning we were up early for the Harry Potter Studios, where all 8 of the Harry Potter films were brought to life. As a huge Harry Potter nerd I was thrilled to finally see the sets and how they were made into movies. It’s about 40 minutes to an hour drive, depending on traffic. Again there are other options to get there, and there are many tours companies that take you there. The actual tour takes around 3 hours… It just depends how in love you are! I might have been there for a good 5 hours. A few highlights include getting your chance to fly on a broom stick (and be filmed!), learning some of the wand techniques and my personal favourite… trying Butter Beer! Yum!!! For more information and ticketing click here!
Some hot tips… or should I say cold:
- London is freezing in winter so remember to pack warm clothes, even thermals if you get as cold as easily as I do.
- London is a large place so budget for travel costs, whether that’s train, bus or taxi, depend on your style of travel.
Attractions you cannot afford to miss:
- The London Eye
- The Tower of London
- Buckingham Palace (Check open times before you go, normally not open in winter)
- See a theatre performance (book early)
- The London Dungeons
- Shakespeare Globe
- Trafalgar Square
- Piccadilly Circus
- Visit any number of the Gardens
- The British Museum
- Try pub food
- Yorkshire pudding
- Bangers and mash
- Scones with cream and jam
- Tea the english way
- A big english breakfast
- Local beers
- Pie with mash peas
- Shepherds pie