London Full-Day Sightseeing Tour
From Viator Tours
St. Pancras Station in Bloomsbury is the new terminus for Eurostar service,
replacing Waterloo Station.
Due to new high-speed rail lines in the southeast of England, the Eurostar now
reaches Paris in 2 hours and 15 minutes and Brussels in 1 hour and 50 minutes.
London is a complex city to navigate and even more difficult when you use the
London Underground, which gives you the "gophers" view of London's geography. Be
warned, the Tube Map is a stylized map showing the relative locations to the
stations, but it distorts the geography of London.
Things Travelers Need to Know About London
Although the days of the "British Empire" are a historic era, the
United Kingdom continues as a unique force in the world of politics
and culture. The common thoughts about London include the use of the
words, trendy, royal, old school, cultured, vibrant and others that
give you the idea that London is something special.
During a long-lasting, extremely deep, impenetrable fog covering the
Channel between Europe and the United Kingdom, newspapers in London
ran with the headline "Europe Isolated". Tourists should keep in
mind that the UK significantly differs from Europe and London is
unlike any other major city in Europe or the rest of the world.
More recently London has experienced an influx of people who
were once part of the British Empire. While London is changing its stripes,
the name "Londonstan", sometimes seen in the press, is a
gross exagggeration, but
not an entirely inappropriate characterization for some sections of the
Our detailed London map shows you the
locations of the attractions we describe, which can be viewed overlain on a
satellite image, street map or terrain map. In addition, our maps showing
the locations of
London's Train Stations and the location of our recommended
Day Trips may be of interest if you are
considering visiting an attraction located outside of London.
London is a great city for walking, as there is something interesting to see
in every neighborhood. For most visitors, walking in London is fraught with
danger, as we are used to looking to the left before stepping into a street
or a cross walk.
Remember, vehicles drive on the left rather than the right in the
UK and London and the cars and buses will be on the "wrong side" of
the road. Before you start to cross the street, look to the right
In the major tourist areas of London you will often find the
warning "Look Right" painted on the street. Of course, you should
always look both ways before crossing, but look right before you
enter the crosswalk
The United Kingdom has not adopted the Euro
and continues to use the Pound Sterling (also known as the British pound) shown by the
The Pound is divided into 100 pence shown by "p", as
in 40p. The relationship between the US dollar and the British pound varies and you will need to check on the exchange rates (available
online or in the financial section of many newspapers) to determine the
value of the dollar during your visit. (See our Information Guide on
Money if you need to find out about currency conversion.)
- The UK imposes a hefty VAT (Value Added
Tax). Read our
Information Guide on shopping
to make sure you know how to evaluate the true cost of goods before you
In order to help you get around London, we
provide a link to Transport for London's Online Journey Planner on every
page of our London City Guide. Just click on the "Journey
Planner" log to reach the site (an example of the link is
provided below). Once
there, enter the time you want to travel, where you will start your journey,
then where you want to go and you will be provided with the bus or
tube route that best meets your requirements.
Click the button above to link to Transport for
London's Journey Planner. Fill in the form for
the best transportation schedule to your destinations in London.
When finished, close the window to return to ThereArePlaces
From the tourist's perspective, moving around London is a challenge since
the city is large and its numerous attractions are spread throughout the
area. Although the London Underground is not as efficient as in the
past and traffic has worsened on the surface, London's public transport does
an admirable job of connecting travelers and destinations. If you will
be using public transportation, check out the
Oyster Card for visitors.
All public transportation is "crushed" during the morning and evening
commutes and we urge the traveler to avoid the "rush hours" by rising late
and eating a peaceful breakfast during London's journeys to work and have a
snack or a snooze when Londoners head for home.
London Underground, London's subway system (commonly called the
Tube and signed with this symbol
, is generally the quickest mode of transport for journeys to another
neighborhood or across town. Tickets can be purchased through vending
machines (have change) or attendants.
- The Underground's routes are known as "lines" and
the trains travel in both directions along a line, so be sure to
board the one that is heading towards your destination.
platforms are well marked and signs indicate the way to the
platforms and the destinations served by the various
- Not all trains on a "line" travel to
all stops. Be sure that the train you take travels to your
destination by reading the overhead signs or the illuminated sign on
the front of the train.
- Once on the train, pay attention to the stops,
which will be announced (in every car). All destinations are shown on
maps positioned on the top of the side panels in each car.
Be sure to match the locations on the map with the
announcement to gauge the nearness of your stop.
- The tube is very crowded and you need to be
prepared to exit the train in a timely manner or miss your stop.
- One final note, the station escalators down to the trains often
seem to be "under repair" and taking the stairs to the surface is a
hike. Some stations are equipped with elevators.
- When you see this symbol
in our London City Guide, it is used to indicate the Tube Stations
closest to the attraction. Please note the Tube is not always
the most direct way to travel to a destination.
- For current information on the availability of the Tube,
including a map of the tube and a journey planner, see this
of our Guide to the Best Places in London.
- Taxis are very convenient for short hops
but relatively expensive.
- Buses are good, low cost alternative
to taxis. If you are going to ride them, be sure to read the notes
Bus stops are marked with two types of signs:
Compulsory - Buses will
automatically stop at locations marked with this sign, except for "night"
buses that must be hailed before they will stop. If a bus is full, it
may not stop.
Request - At stops designated by these signs, you must
hail the bus using a hand signal to request it to stop. If the bus is
full, it may not stop.
- When you near your destination, ring the bell
once to let your driver know you want to disembark.
- Finally, be careful when you depart the bus
and make sure that you have an open crossing lane to the sidewalk. Some
buses travel in special lanes in directions against the flow of traffic.
The easiest access to London from Heathrow is the Heathrow Express. This
speedy train connects Heathrow with Paddington Station
15 minutes. From there, you can take a taxi to your final destination.
From all Heathrow terminals follow the signs for the Heathrow Express. There
is a station Terminal 4 and another that serves Terminals 1,2 and 3.
Trains depart 4 times and hour from 5AM to 11:30 PM (times vary by a few
minutes on weekends). Click here for the Heathrow Express
If you choose, you can take the Tube, which has stations serving
Terminals 1,2 and 3 and a second station that serves Terminal 4. The
line that serves Heathrow is the Piccadilly line, one of the central lines
Taxis are expensive and prone to traffic jams. However, you may
prefer the convenience of door-to-door service that they provide.
The easiest access is the Gatwick Express which makes the trip in 30
minutes, connecting the airport to London Victoria station
. Trains run
every fifteen minutes from 4:30AM to around midnight. Click here
for the Gatwick Express
Gatwick is not served by the Tube. You can take a bus, or a Taxi to
London, but the Taxi takes over an hour and can be quite expensive.
The United Kingdom does not operate on the
same power system as the United States. You will need to carry a
power adaptor and special plugs to use your electrical devices in the
UK. See our article on
voltage converters for more information.
In addition, if you buy an electronic appliance in the UK, it will not be
compatible with the power system in the United States. In addition,
during your travels you will find that most electronic devices can be
purchased for a lower price in the US than elsewhere.
Finally, videos and movies sold in the UK rely on different video standard
(PAL) than used in the United States (NTSC) and will not play on devices from the United States that are not equipped to display this standard.
London is a great town for shopping and you will find many
opportunities to part with your fortune while exploring this city.
It is unlikely that you will find any real bargains but you will
find numerous treasures that would be fun to take home.
As a tourist, you have some flexibility in deciding when to
shop and we have one major caution: Londoners shop on Saturday!
If you are on Oxford Street on Saturday, you will likely find
herds of shoppers busily navigating the street from one bargain
to the next.
Use your time wisely and avoid shopping on the weekend,
except at Camden Markets or Portobello Road, where part of the
fun is the mix of people.
Yes, they speak English in London but the problem is that we don't,
at least not what is often called British-English. Some London accents will have your translating English to English and you will probably find that there is a little lag until you get the hang of the accent. So far so good - but try to stop yourself from responding with the same accent or using slang that you really don't understand (it drives most Londoners nuts).
Political Geography Note
You might get confused by names like the "British pound", the
British Museum, and the British Library and wonder about the terms
Britain, England, the United Kingdom, etc
When traveling in London, you are visiting a country called
the United Kingdom that is comprised of England, Scotland, Wales
and Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland is located on the northeast of the
island of Ireland. The country named Ireland occupies
the rest of the island. The country named Ireland is not
part of the United Kingdom
Great Britain is a shortened, historic name that was used to
refer to the union of England, Scotland and Wales under the
title "United Kingdom of Great Britain".
Since 1922, the country has been called the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland and many Londoners will let
you know the correct name.
To make matters somewhat confusing, the International
Standards Organization's (ISO) official two-digit code for the
UK is ... GB.
Next: Other sections of our London Guide
Or, Return to our list of
Best Places to Visit in the