Many first time travellers will often choose countries where the first language is English (or take tours where English is not the first language). This can make newbie tourists feel more comfortable and not feel overwhelmed when moving around, ordering food, catching transport and asking for help. United Kingdom is the perfect fit for that. There are other native languages spoken, such as Gaelic in Ireland and Welsh in Wales, but English is the most widely spoken language by the four nations. There is so much information for each Capital City here, let alone the whole country. Below I have summarised each Capital City as best as I could. I have visited each place, so if you want further information, be sure to connect with me.
Ring, Ring, London Calling!
It won't surprise you that the busiest and most popular choice of destination in the United Kingdom is London. It holds many features that we can pick out in a movie straight away such as, red telephone booths, black cabs and double decker red buses. This city buzzes every day and night of the week, and tourists are in for a royal treat when visiting.
Things to do in London
Too much to see? Yes. I would recommend taking a bus tour if you have not been to London before. A bus tour will take you around to all the highlights of the city without you having to worry about the logistics of it and if you stay on after a day or two you have your bearings. These sightseeing buses also have open top decks to soak in all the history and to get fabulous photos, videos and those perfect selfies. Get up there quickly though, as when busy the seats fill up and you will be down on the bottom level, which is great but less of a view. Below are some highlights of the city that a bus will stop at or take you past:
- Big Ben
- Buckingham Palace
- London Bridge
- Tower Bridge
- Tower of London
- St. Paul's Cathedral (make sure you try the whispering magic)
- Westiminster Abbey
- London Zoo
- London Eye
- The Ritz (go have high tea here)
- Houses of Parliament
- Madame Tussauds (the celebrity Wax Museum)
- The London Dungeon
This list is by no means is exhaustive but if you only had a few days in London, do you think you can see all this on your own? You can find tickets for these tours everywhere, check with your accommodation, head to Leicester Square, Oxford Street, the airports, the attractions themselves. Other shopping, entertainment and sporting mentions are Oxford Street (shopping), Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, West End (Broadway), Lord's Cricket Ground, London Stadium (Olympic Stadium 2012) or head out to Wimbledon to see the tennis courts.
London has many airports including the famous Healthrow, Gatwick, Stanstead, City and Luton. Each has public transport to and from these airports to get you into the city. Depending on how long you will be in London, you may want to opt to get an Oyster Card, this is the travel card for all public transport in the City of London and Greater London. Click here for for more on the Oyster Card and Tube Maps.
How Much Time Should I Spend in London?
How long is a piece of string? It all comes down to how long you actually want to explore London for. If you do not have a choice and are only there for a day or two, I would strongly recommend taking the bus tour to see everything the city has to offer, as mentioned above. If you opt to DIY London, I suggest you stay around Westminster/City of London area and you can walk around to the many of the famous sights.
If you have the time to explore London, I would suggest a week at least, this way you can add a day trip to Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, the Cottswold, Oxford and Cambridge. With these trips alone you can see you need a decent amount of time here just to see things outside (but near) London.
When You've Done Enough Exploring
Let Me Entertain You!
There is plenty to do in the way of entertainment in one of the greatest cities of the world. This can choose from DJs, festivals, concerts or live bands any week. However, broadway is the biggest to-do in London and something you should not miss. The two locations in the world to watch musicals are in New York City and London. Wicked, Thriller, The Book of Mormon, Aladdin, Les Miserables, Mamma Mia, The Lion King are all renowned productions and are ready to show you musicals at their best.
For the latest shows being performed you can wait to get there and look at the millions of posters all over the city or go to the London Theatre website to see what's currently on at https://www.londontheatre.co.uk/whats-on/musicals. When you are ready to buy your ticket, don't go for the websites straight away. There are many places around the city where discounted tickets are offered where you can get up to 50% off, so it can pay to shop around. The main area to get these discounts that everyone goes to is Leicester Square.
Shop Till You Drop
Shopping precincts and stores will depend on your budget. The main place to go is definitely Oxford Street where there are hundreds of shops along this long stretch of road.
Whether you choose to buy anything or not you must go to Harrods. This is a luxury department store located in the suburb of Knightsbridge. The store can be easily spotted with it's green awnings. It's easy to get to with the Tube station Knightsbridge positioned close by and many buses routes will stop here going down Brompton Road. The options in here are endless from food, fashion, perfumes, homeware and gifts. There is also a memorial on the bottom level of the store for Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed. You must go to the chocolate section and buy to your hearts desire or you spend to many Great Britain Pounds. For more details on this luxury department store go to their website https://www.harrods.com/en-gb.
A couple other similar department stores that you should visit if you can are Selfridges and Liberty (especially at Christmas time).
The popular stores for people who want to shop, shop, shop without breaking the budget too much should visitPrimark, H&M, Forever 21, TK Maxx and Topshop. Be warned, there can be very long lines for fitting rooms and for the registers.
Out and About
The list can go on forever if I started for the above, but below are some of the hot spots I would recommend from the 'touristy' spots to the London living spots.
Cocktails & Clubs
Brick Lane Markets
Portobello Road Market
Covent Garden Markets
St James Park
- Aran Island (Ire)
- Birmingham (Eng)
- Brighton (Eng)
- Belfast (Northern Ire)
- Caernarfon (Wal)
- Derry (Ire)
- Dingle Town (Ire)
- Ennis (Ire)
- Fishguard (Wal)
- Galway (Ire)
- Glasgow (Sco)
- Killarney (Ire)
- Newport (Wal)
- Pembrokeshire (Wal)
- Snowdenia (Wal)