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Travel with Maddy and Max

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London Travel Guide

We kicked off our world tour in April with a week in London, exploring everything the city has to offer. After living in Chicago for four years, we thought we'd prefer smaller towns on this trip, but we completely fell in love with London. A city that combines historic charm and modern skyscrapers, London is packed with endless sites to explore. For travelers that love food, history, art, shopping, and more, London has something for everyone. After compiling recommendations from locals and our experiences, we hope you will fall in love with London as much as we did using our comprehensive London travel guide.


The city is stunning, rich with history, and the people are super friendly. We had a great time wandering through the boroughs, searching for our favorite cafés. If you're planning a trip to London, check out our ultimate travel guide for recommendations and tips!


Maddy and Max exploring London

How to Get to London


If you're flying into London from outside Europe, you'll likely arrive at Heathrow International Airport (LHR). There are several options to get to central London, depending on your preferences for time, cost, and convenience.


Uber/Taxi

We chose Uber because we had large suitcases and needed to pick up keys for our rental. Uber and taxis are quick but can be pricey, so they're best if you're in a hurry or have lots of luggage.


London Underground (The Tube, Piccadilly Line)

The Tube is a more affordable option, costing less than £7 one way, but it takes about an hour to reach central London. You can use contactless payment with a card or your phone, making it easy to use.


Heathrow Express

The Heathrow Express is a high-speed train that runs every 15 minutes between Heathrow and Paddington Station. It’s the fastest option, taking only 15 minutes, but it's more expensive, costing £22-£25 each way. However, you can get discounts if you book in advance online.


Getting Around London


London is very walkable, but it also has an excellent public transportation system. Here's how we got around:


Walking

We highly recommend walking as much as possible. It's a great way to explore the city and get your bearings. London is a very walkable city and there’s so many things to see if you can take your time and explore by foot. However, for longer distances, you may want to use public transport.


 If you're not used to cars driving on the left side of the road, always remember to look right, then left, before crossing the street. In some tourist areas, you'll find helpful reminders painted on the pavement to guide you.


Signs in London reminding visitors which way to look when crossing the street

London Underground (The Tube)

The Tube is easy to use with contactless payment. Fares depend on how far you're traveling, so remember to tap in and out. Central London is in Zone 1, with other zones expanding outward. Also, children under 11 travel free with an adult.


Traveling via the London Underground aka The Tube

Bus

Buses are also easy to use, with a flat fare regardless of distance, so you only need to tap when you board.


Traveling in London via the double decker buses

Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus

For first-time visitors, we definitely recommend booking the hop-on-hop-off bus. These tours take you to major attractions and often include audio guides. We booked through Big Bus Tours and highly recommend this company.


Exploring iconic London sights on a Big Bus Tour

Biking

London has bike-sharing options, such as HumanForest, which offers the first 10 minutes for free. It's a fun way to explore the city and easy to use with their app.


How Much Time to Spend in London


We spent a full week exploring London and still didn't get to see everything we wanted to. However, a 4-5 day visit would be a great introduction to this city that will leave you wanting to come back!


Where to Stay in London


Kensington & Chelsea

A beautiful and historic area, Kensington & Chelsea offers a blend of residential charm and picturesque streets filled with shops, restaurants, and cafés. This posh area can be a bit pricey but we think it’s well worth it for the ambiance and convenience. After staying in this neighborhood for a week, we wholeheartedly recommend it for an amazing London experience.


Located just steps away from the charming Pavilion street, 11 Cadogan Gardens is a luxurious 5-star hotel in Chelsea. Its proximity to Sloane Square makes it an ideal spot for exploring London.



Located in the heart of South Kensington, The Kensington is a luxury hotel near  iconic landmarks such as The Royal Albert Hall, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Kensington Gardens and Harrods. With elegant Victorian decor and traditional afternoon tea, it offers an idyllic London experience.


Photo Credit: The Kensington via Doylecollection.com


Soho/Piccadilly

Located in the West End, this vibrant and bustling area is at the heart of London's entertainment scene, offering plenty of nightlife options.