London is always one of the most visited cities in Europe. With literally hundreds of things to do to keep you busy, it can also be a bit of a nightmare to plan. Where you should go, what you should do, and in what order can keep you up late at night. Here are our top 5 reasons to visit London - in no particular order mind you! For a full detailed itinerary, don’t forget to check out our 4 Days in London itinerary.
A SHORT HISTORY OF LONDON
London first started as a Roman outpost some 2,000 years ago and continued to grow and develop thanks to its location as a port on the river Thames. It would spend its first 500 years or so as a Roman city, then a city harassed by Vikings, and finally a Norman city. From then on it would grow to become a world power thanks to a growing European trade market, and later a growing world market. It is these developments that led to our top 5 reasons to visit London.
REASON 1: LONDON’S HISTORY
This one was going to be obvious, but London has some of the richest history in Europe. There is the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, and the list goes on and on. There are also some of the best museums in Europe - like the National Gallery and the British Museum - which are free. So no matter what tickles your fancy, there is something historical in London that should interest you.
REASON 2: LONDON’S ARCHITECTURE
London combines such a unique variation of architecture and buildings. It has Westminster Abbey and Tower London which are almost a thousand years old and boast some amazing examples of medieval architecture. Then, you have the Baroque style (1600 - 1750) which, thanks to the fire of 1661, comprise much of the city, with its highlight being Christopher Wren’s St Paul’s Cathedral. Then, there are Victorian masterpieces like the Tower Bridge and St. Pancras Station, and modern greats like 30 St Mary Axe - or the Gherkin as most people know it. Traveling to different quarters of the city can lead to completely different experiences and gives you reasons to get out and explore.
REASON 3: FOODIES IN LONDON
London, and England in general, gets a bad rap for its food - but this can be wrong. There are so many different cultures and peoples that live in this city that you can find whatever food you want, and most likely it will be made by locals. Indian and Thai food are particularly good here. There is fish and chips and English Breakfast if you want to try something traditionally English. There are also great food markets, like Borough Market - where food stalls from all over the world come together. Also, don’t miss out on Covent Garden - my personal favorite.
REASON 4: THE THEATRE DISTRICT
Catching a show in the theatre district can be one of the best afternoons/evenings you have in the city. With classics like Phantom of the Opera and the Lion King, you can experience arguably the best theatre in the world - but don’t tell New York ;). Let’s say that you don’t want spend the money for a show - that’s ok, the area in and around Piccadilly Circus provides a fun evening out with lots of restaurants and shops, plus all of the lights and billboards - New York style.
REASON 5: RIVER WALKS
Because London grew over centuries, there were actually two bases of power along the river Thames - the Tower of London and then Westminster. Westminster was where the Church and Parliament grew, while the Tower of London belonged more to the Kings and Queens. While these started out as separate cities - technically - they both belong to present day London. What links them is the river Thames, and this is our 5th reason to visit London. A walk along the river is so refreshing and provides so many opportunities for picnics, sunsets, and historical stops along the way. You can go back to the river each day and discover something new, and for this reason we love walks along the river.
Any trip to London that focuses around these 5 things will be a smashing success - at least that is our humble opinion. Between the history, architecture, food, entertainment, and river, there are so many things to do in London. While we believe 3 full days is enough to see everything there, you could easily spend a week in the city and still not get bored! With so much to do, what is stopping you from planning and booking your trip?