Best Things to Do in London in Winter

Best things to do in Winter in London

WHAT TO DO IN WINTER IN LONDON

If you are wondering about a great time to visit London, my suggestion is to visit London in winter. Yes, it might be gray and rainy, but in London, that can happen at any time. So, visiting in winter means you at least get all the fun winter activities to do. I think London is one of the best cities to visit in December in Europe.

So, find out about the best things to do in London in winter – where to go and what to see, plus many travel tips for your trip.

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. THIS MEANS I MIGHT EARN A SMALL COMMISSION WHEN YOU BUY A PRODUCT/SERVICE (AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU. MORE ABOUT IT HERE

Christmas by the River / South Bank

Strolling the South Bank is a must-do. It is located beside the River Thames and is a dynamic area at any time of the year.

However, it is even nicer to stroll the riverside in the pre-Christmas period.

christmas by the River is one of the best places to see in London in winter

There are bars and cafes to warm up in – and of course, all the beautiful lighting that makes places on a gray day even nicer!

Let’s not forget the views along the way either, but most of all, there are many different activities to do before Christmas.

You can join “Walking with The Snowman” – 12 giant snowmen sculptures are located along the way. This trail is based on the nation’s favourite festive story “The Snowman”.

So, you can sign up for workshops like creating your own cards (and there are even some children’s activities) – it is more than the usual stalls that offer snacks, drinks, and gifts.

Yes, this place is a must-visit in late November/December.

Geffrye Museum now The Museum of the Home

The Geffrye Museum is now The Museum of the Home and if you are looking for some indoor winter activities check out this museum that informs the visitors about Christmas celebrations over the last few centuries. You’ll find authentically-decorated living rooms and more information on Christmas.

It is completely free to visit, but you need to book a ticket online.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

If you happen to visit London in winter, make sure to plan in some time to visit Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Christmas fair in Hyde park, one of the best places to visit in London in winter
@shutterstock

Visiting London in winter means: enjoying the Christmas markets and eating your weight in snacks, drinking mulled wine, and then burning all the extra calories by ice skating at Hyde Park.

BUT it also means rollercoaster rides – so, if you want a bit of a thrill, then hop on one of the illuminated rides.

While it is one of the most popular places to go in winter, I must say that it felt more like a fair than a Christmas market. However, kids, as well as adults, loved it.

  • It is free to visit but you have to pay for rides and, of course, food and drinks.

Christmas Markets

There are many Christmas Markets throughout London – some are so good they deserve an extra paragraph here. And good news:

As pretty as outdoor London is in winter, sometimes we need to warm up (especially if you don’t drink mulled wine like me). So check out indoor Christmas Markets – or at least the covered markets (rain in London is nothing unusual).

Carnaby Street Lights

One of the most beautiful streets to visit in winter in London is Carnaby Streets. The popular street is located in Soho and is easily reachable from Regent´s Street. Here, you will find Christmas decorations that is different from the rest of London- there is no typical Christmas lights though it is fully decorated. 

Carnaby Project Zero in winter London

the decorations come with a political and important message. In 2019, the message was to use less plastic to keep the oceans clean! So, this is why all decorations have been made out of recycled plastic.

And though it seems hardly anyone actually cares in London during Christmas time (and single-use plastic is widely used), it hopefully is a good reminder to use for the future to be more conscious of what we consume.

Pubs

Winter is the perfect time to spend in pubs. The pubs in England are charming – often with flowers outside and Christmas trees and decorations for a festive atmosphere.

I am not a drinker, and I am not a pub lover – but I can’t help but admire the beautiful pubs all over London. And I have to admit that, especially in the cold winter months, pubs are a good place to spend a few hours. Also, it is not only about drinks but food, too.

There are even pub walking tours that you can take. 

Ice Skating

As mentioned above, there is one ice rink at Hyde Park, but there are many more that you can visit. So, bring your own skates and hit the ice rink.  But of course, you could also rent some if you don’t travel with your own skates.

While there is only one ice rink at Hyde Park, many others are open in December or January.

Somerset House

Another must-see place in winter in London is the Somerset House – and not only because it has an open-air ice rink.

Somerset House in Central London is one of the best places to visit in winter in London
@shutterstock

The ice rink at Somerset House has particularly nice surroundings, and with the big Christmas tree, there is surely a lot to see. And thanks to all the little stalls, there is a lot to eat, too.

Trafalgar Square

If you are into beautifully decorated Christmas trees, then check out Trafalgar Square´s Christmas tree that is about 20 meters high. It goes up at the beginning of December and stays until the beginning of January.

It is an annual gift from Oslo (Norway) for the help they received during the Second World War.

If you arrive at the end of November, Trafalgar Square is still worth a visit – the Christmas Market in front of the Victoria Museum is absolutely charming, and the view of the Trafalgar Square makes it one of my favorite places after the sun sets, and the lights get switched on.

Millennium Bridge

Cross the Millennium Bridge towards St. Paul´s Cathedral – not only because it is one of the best photo locations, but also because you can read some “secret“ messages.

Millennium Bridge in London

You will find many different messages in different languages, like those that wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2020 (in German).

Afternoon Tea Bus 

One of the prettiest buses I saw in London in November/December was the Afternoon Tea Bus. If you are into things that are typically British, you should do an Afternoon Tea.

The Afternoon Tea is offered in a red double-decker bus, which comes with little tables and is beautifully illuminated. Enjoy the afternoon tea while cruising the main attractions of London in around 90 minutes.

I was quite envious when I saw the bus passing me several times.

Winterville

A bit further from the other winter activities mentioned here is the free pop-up park town, Winterville.

An entire Christmas Town is here to entertain you and make you feel happy – including Christmas townhouses, an ice rink, roller disco, fairground, and a cinema.

Harrod´s

Oh, Harrod‘s! Harrod´s is one of the most iconic shopping malls in the world. Before Christmas, it looks even more stunning and is probably one of the prettiest buildings in the city center.

Harrods shopping mall in winter time

It also has great Christmas decorations inside – so hop in to see what the Harrod´s fuss is all about and add this to your London winter itinerary.

Rooftop Bars

Rooftops are not only great to visit in summer – they can be a perfect place to spend some time in winter, too. At least in London.

So, for the winter months, some rooftop bars have unique decorations so that you can experience London from above while having a drink.

One rooftop bar to check out is the Queen of Hoxton’s Rooftop, which was inspired by Morocco and the famous Jardin Majorelle (aka the Yves Saint Laurent garden) this year. 

Coppa Club Tower Bridge

For a unique view of Tower Bridge – and a unique dining experience – book an igloo at Coppa Club Tower Bridge.

Coppa Club Igloo is one of the best winter activities
@shutterstock

Bookings need to be made weeks in advance (especially if you visit during the weekend), and then you and your friends can warm up in the cozy igloos.

Oh, you can even spend New Year‘s Eve here – plan in advance as it is a popular place.

Yes, I was too late, and though I checked the website more than 1 week in advance. There were hardly any free tables left for dinner, but I still think it is one of the best things to do in London in winter even though I haven’t experienced it myself.

Shop

If you are into shopping, then London is the perfect place. With its numerous shopping streets and markets, you will for sure find something for your loved ones (or even for you).

Be careful not to go overboard with the many shopping options and don’t buy things you don’t need – which can easily happen with all the temptations.

But if you still need something, London is the perfect place for some shopping – even after Christmas, as you then have the sales starting in January. 

Covent Garden

Covent Garden is always worth a trip, and so it is, of course, also during the Christmas month.

Covent Garden in wintertime Christmas

Covent Garden is also one of the busiest but also best places to visit in December in London – the cafes and restaurants are full of people. And not only people – if you can’t get enough of Christmas trees, come to Covent Garden. There are so many trees decorated that you couldn’t even count them (well, kind of).

The main Christmas tree has more than 30,000 lights! But there are also some entertainers (musicians and actors), so it is also a fun thing to do in London with children.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral’s entrance fee is high – more than $25 if you buy the ticket on the spot. But before Christmas, it is one of the best places to see. And if you come for the services, it is actually free to visit.

St. Pauls Cathedral in winter

If you visit on December 23 and Christmas Eve, you can catch the service relayed on a big screen at Paternoster Square next to the cathedral.

I visited once (years ago), and it was mesmerizing. Shortly before Christmas with its festive atmosphere, it is even more lovely. However, if you have some money to spend, why not here rather than on unnecessary things?

Christmas on the Canals

Take a Christmas canal ride and see London from the water. Hidden Canal Cruises offers relaxing cruises down the Regent’s Canal in full festive finery for the season.

While I didn’t experience it myself, I suggest doing the cruise with your friends – a fun evening activity during the winter.

Regent‘s Street

The most beautiful street in London in winter must be Regent´s Street. This popular shopping street is probably the very best places to visit.

Regent Streets in London is one best things to do in Decmeber
@shutterstock

While it is extremely illuminated and there is a lot of bling-bling, it still feels classy and not overdone. If you had only a few minutes in London (I know, it sounds ridiculous), then you should visit Regent´s Street once it gets dark.

Natural History Museum

Whether you want to learn more about natural history or you want to go ice skating: here you can do both and even more.

From the end of October until mid-January, you can skate on the ice rink that is surrounded by fairy lights nestled in frost-covered trees.

Theatre

With the cold comes the wish to stay in cozy, warm, indoor places – so, why not visit a theatre and combine warming up with a Christmas theatre play?

Please don’t ask me about my personal opinion as I did not get to visit any (to do all these London winter activities you need more than 48 hours), but The Snowman and Slava’s Snow Show at the Royal Festival Hall are known to be great winter plays.

New Bond Street

After Regent Street, the New Bond Street is another must-see in December. The shopping streets are also beautifully illuminated and make this street one of the most prettiest in London.

Christmas decorations in New Bond Street is one of the most beautiful places in winter
@shutterstock

You can easily get there from Regent Street, and it is almost as stunning as Regent Street.

Museum of Childhood

Another indoor place that is great to see in the wintertime is The V&A Museum of Childhood, which is free to visit.

Whether you want to reminisce and think about Christmas gifts we used to get (assuming most of us on this blog are at least 30 years old) or want to do workshops – activities here are free and for most ages.

Little ones can join the interactive storytelling – this is probably one of the best free things to do in London in winter.

Kew in the Dark

This is probably the best thing to do in the winter in London – I can guess, as it was already fully booked, so I had to pass.

The botanical gardens host a magical nighttime experience, showcasing the sculptures, buildings, and trees in a totally different way. The fairytale walk also has roasted chestnuts and other tempting treats along the route to tempt you off course.

New Years Eve Fireworks

If you visit at the end of the year, make sure to stay in London for New Year‘s Eve. It must be magical to welcome the new year in London with all the fireworks.

Best places to celeberate New Years Eve in Europe shutterstock_540151606
@shutterstock

 However, to watch the Thames River’s fireworks, you have to pay an entrance fee of about $12.

Spa Time

While spa visits are always a good idea, the best time to get pampered is in the cold months. Whether you want to relax before the Christmas stress or just after, book yourself a spa appointment. We all deserve to spend some time where it is all about us only.

Christmas Lights Bus Tour

Yes, this is another must-do in December – hop on a Christmas Lights Bus Tour and see most (though not all) of the fun and impressive places that are uniquely decorated.

Christmas Bus Light Tour Regent Street

Even though the double-decker buses are not heated – and it is cold – it is a great way to see the Christmas decorations from “above“ and within a short amount of time.

Yes, I am not ashamed to admit that I wanted to see all the main Christmas lights, and thus, I additionally booked a light bus tour.

So, do as I did and enjoy a 2-hour bus ride (starting at Victoria Station) and get to see the beautiful, decorative lights all over London while sitting on a bus and relaxing.

Christmas Lights Walking Tours

Yes, while the bus tour is amazing, you can also do a walking tour and see other places the bus tour doesn’t cover. Dress warm and wear comfy shoes and get ready to see some of the most beautiful places in London in winter.

I love walking tours, and there are many offered in December, January, and February, too. 

If you visit London in December, then make sure to join one tour or plan your walking itinerary yourself carefully, so you don’t miss out on the top spots for festive lighting.

Cycle

London is quite bicycle-friendly – and in the wintertime, not that many people cycle, which means you have the cycle lanes almost all to yourself.

Cycling in London in winter

I would not ride a bike when it‘s icy, but other than that, pay a one-time fee of around $3 for 24 hours and discover London by bike (the city is quite big).

You can use the bike for 30 minutes without any extra fees and can bring it back to any of the numerous docking stations and immediately rent the bike for the next short bike tour.

This way, you don’t miss out on all the pretty little side streets while still getting around quite fast.

Christmas at Leicester Square

If you are into Bavarian winter Christmas Markets, you can head to Leicester Market. Located in between Covent Garden and Picadilly Circus, this small market is supposed to be a traditional Bavarian market.

While it is cute, I am not sure whether Bavarian Christmas markets are really like that – well, the food and drinks surely have a real heavy and hearty German touch.

Ever After Garden

Whether it is a hidden gem in all the Christmas markets or not – head to Grosvenor Square and get some lovely pictures from the “light tunnel.“ 

Ever after Garden in London is one of the best things to do

Especially if you can’t make it to Kew Garden, this might be a kind of alternative for your Instagram picture.

You can also donate some money, get a white rose, write a message to one of your loved ones, and stick it to the rose. The roses are then displayed and illuminated – it looks beautiful and helps collect some donations to go to the Cancer Center.

LONDON IN WINTER TRAVEL TIPS

Weather: London in winter will be cold for sure. But it is not always freezing cold – temperatures are low with some rain, with a little snow, can be expected.

WHAT TO PACK FOR LONDON IN WINTER

If you visit London in December – or winter in general – it is important to dress warmly. Or better to dress in layers.

  • A warm, waterproof jacket should be one of the first items you think to pack. Avoid choosing a bulky jacket that takes up a lot of space. This can make you feel uncomfortable when you have layers underneath. Instead, opt for a lightweight trench raincoat that will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. 
  • A knitted beanie is a perfect solution for keeping the warmth in while you venture out. A hat will keep you toasty warm wherever you are.
  • A pair of gloves can do wonders for your mobility and comfort. When selecting your options, it’s worth investing in a pair that can dry quickly and are touch-screen compatible.
  • A warm scarf and/or turtleneck sweater are key items for keeping your neck covered. A turtleneck sweater is perfect as a garment to wear underneath your jacket, while the scarf can be removed easily. 
  • Leggings are an essential item to pack as you can dress them up or down. You can even wear them underneath your denim as an extra layer of warmth. 
  • When it comes to packing socks for your Iceland trip – the thicker, the better. The chances are that you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors in the snow, and you’ll want your feet to be warm and cozy. 
  • My favorite winter clothes are thermals. A quality set of thermals is your key to enjoying the winter weather in Iceland. You have to wear them on a cold day to believe what a wonderful invention it is!
  • Make sure you have a trusty pair of waterproof snowshoes. You’ll want your shoes to be as versatile as possible. Snowshoes allow you to enjoy a variety of activities while keeping your feet warm and dry. 

Public Transportation in Winter 

Don‘t worry about renting a car – there is so much traffic, parking is difficult, and public transportation is too good to worry about driving yourself.

The best way to get around in winter is via public transportation. Though I recommend some cycling as well, you will probably walk or use buses or the underground to get around most of the time.

Oyster Card: 

Buying an Oyster Card makes sense if you use public transportation often. You can load it up with credit and swipe it in/out at every bus or underground station. In the end, it finds the best rates and calculates the cheapest tickets (so, no need to worry beforehand if a day ticket will be cheaper than single tickets).

And that is just because it is the best way to get around.

Red bus in London during winter time travel guide
@shutterstock

Accommodations in London For Your Winter Trip

Accommodations in winter: London in winter, especially in December, can be quite busy, and finding good accommodations spontaneously is not that easy. I suggest planning and booking in advance for December, but it is less busy in January and February.

  • Luxury Hotels in London: Ritz-Carlton is one of the top hotels. It is also conveniently located in the city center and quite close to Buckingham Palace. Click here for the best rates and more info.
  • Mid-Range Hotels in London: 3-star hotel Hampton by Hilton Waterloo. Find out more about this hotel and get the best rates here.
  • Budget Hotels in London: This hostel is well-rated, conveniently located, and if you book a bed in a dorm, you can actually get a bargain. Click here to get the best rates for YHA London Central.

Accommodation in London is quite expensive – so even the more budget-friendly places cost a bit or are quite far from the city center.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON A LONDON WINTER TRIP

London in winter is magical!

I have visited London many times, my trip in December was one of the most unique London trips. I truly enjoyed the special atmosphere, and I do believe it is a great idea to spend a few days next winter in London. As you can see, there are tons to do and see in winter.

Safe Travels, Arzo

Create a Perfect 7 Days in Paris and London Itinerary

Itinerary for London and Paris in 7 days, France and England in one week

Epic 7-Days Paris and London Itinerary

Two of the most fascinating cities in Europe are London and Paris. And thus, I have created a one-week long Paris and London itinerary for you.

I totally get why Europe is so intriguing for many Americans- actually for people from all over the world. Europeans love to travel within Europe, and if you have never been to Europe before, you will quickly understand why it is so popular.

I mean, we all know about the world-famous cities like ViennaBarcelona; about the stunning islands like Santorini and Mallorca; and let’s not forget about the breathtaking scenery of Central Europe.  Paris and London, however, are some of the most special destinations on the continent.

And the good news is that it is also quite easy to travel within Europe. Train and flight connections are generally good, sometimes even very good. 

So, if you plan to visit the two main cities in Europe, London, and Paris, this one-week itinerary will help you figure out how to organize your trip. Whether you want to stay seven days or even longer, there are lots of things to do and see.Paris & London, 1 week itinerary for Paris and France - Pin me for Pinterest

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. THIS MEANS I MIGHT EARN A SMALL COMMISSION WHEN YOU BUY A PRODUCT/SERVICE (AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU). MORE ABOUT IT HERE.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR LONDON AND PARIS ITINERARY

Here are some tips that will help you plan your trip before discussing your actual Paris and London itinerary.

Booking Accommodation in Paris and London

For hotels, I mostly use booking.com because I am a very spontaneous person and want to be flexible. Most of the time, you can – often- cancel accommodations without any cost up to 24 hours before your stay. The rates are also most often the best.

Keep in mind, that London and Paris are both extremely expensive when it comes to accommodation. If you stay outside the city center. you can find better deals. Also, public transportation in both cities is pretty good. If you rely on public transportation, make sure a metro/underground station is close by.

Booking Tours in France and London

When I book my tours, I mostly use GetYourGuide because of their generous cancellation policy. And in case something comes up, I know they have my back (like the day I was not picked up for a tour even though the tour operator confirmed the trip. I got my money back from GetYourGuide after the tour operator did not return my messages). I will mention tours whenever I feel it is suitable for you guys!

Airports in London and Paris

Both cities are well connected to airports from all over the world. If you come from abroad, you will most likely fly into London or Paris

  • Airports in London: These airports include London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, and London Stansted. Some are quite far from the city center, but all airports are well-connected to the city center of London and have regular shuttle buses.
  • Airports in Paris: There are three main airports in Paris for visitors: Charles de Gaulle Airport, Orly Airport, and Beauvais-Tillé Airport. The first two airports are well-served by public transport. The latter one is a lot farther from the city and getting to the city requires a longer and more expensive transfer.

However, if you are from European countries like Germany, Belgium, or the Netherlands (or any other country close by), then getting to London or Paris by train would probably be a good or even better choice.

Best Time to Visit London and Paris

I have visited both cities many times, and while I almost always had great weather in Paris, the weather in London was… grayish.

Both cities are great to visit in December (for all the Christmas lights and shopping). If you can freely book your trip, I suggest visiting in May, June, or September. 

I normally never recommend visiting a place during the high season, which for Europe is most often in July and August. Both cities also host many events, like the Tour de France and Fashion Weeks, which make prices for accommodation go up significantly at that time. 

So, if you aren’t visiting for one of those events, try avoiding those times.

How to Get From London to Paris or From Paris to London

You can, of course, fly from one city to the other. There are quite a number of flights between these two capitals each day.

However, the easiest way to get from Paris to London is by train. It takes less than three hours and there are regular train connections.

Normally, the earlier you book, the cheaper it gets.

HOW TO SPEND 7 DAYS IN LONDON AND PARIS

For your itinerary, you can start your trip with London or Paris – it’s up to you. I do not see any particular benefit with starting in one city.

Paris in 3,5 Days

Paris… there are not many cities in the world that are as popular, famous, and appealing as this quite small European city. While I did not fall in love with Paris immediately, after about 8 trips or so, I can say that the city has grown on me. Now, I do feel that Paris is rightfully on people´s bucket lists! 

Paris is not only a great destination for love birds: it is a heaven for shopping addicts, for architect lovers, for people who enjoy outdoor time and nice strolls, for history nerds… to make it short: Paris is great!

It is pretty. Pretty, pretty, pretty!

Best Places to Stay in Paris

You can find all kinds of accommodations in Paris. However, the standard of accommodation is not very high (a 3-star hotel can be quite shabby), so I would probably pay a few $ more to avoid ending up in a very shady place.

To check out accommodation rates for different hotels just click on each link:

Paris itinerary
@shutterstock

You should know what to expect – while it is often called the most romantic city in the world, truth is that it can be a bit disappointing first. It is dirty, there is a lot of tourist scam but it is also extremely beautiful and special. While I am often in my hotel after sunset, I try to experience Paris at night.

Because Paris is the City of Lightsand the illuminated Eiffel Tower is just one fantastic sight to see after sunset – and it wears its best dress at night.

However, there is also a lot to do and see during the day. Where to go in Paris

Before jumping to your days in Paris, here are a few more travel tips. Depending on the time of your arrival, I suggest planning in about 3-5 days for Paris. While the city is small, there is a lot to do. Montmartre and Sacre Couer - where to visit in Paris, FranePARIS TRAVEL TIPS

  • Paris is best explored on foot. The city is geographically small, and many tourist attractions are quite close to one another. However, once in a while you will need public transportation.
  • Public transportation is also pretty great. So, hop on the metro or bus to get around, if needed. It is easy, fast, and affordable. There is no Oyster Card in Paris (unlike in London) so you could either buy single tickets or plan in advance and buy multi-tickets to save a bit of money.
  • Hop-on and hop-off buses are also a great option, and you get a discount on several popular tourist attractions in Paris.
  • I hate to say it, but Parisians are not the nicest people – and they do not even bother to speak English. So, you really should pick up some French words and not take it personally. However, I also realized that the people were becoming nicer day by day, but still… Download a translation app, if needed.

Notre Dame in Paris - things to do in fours days ParisTHINGS TO DO AND PLACES TO VISIT IN PARIS IN 3,5 DAYS

  • Visit the Eiffel Tower (during day and night – it is really magical in the dark)
  • Stroll the Seine
  • Admire the Bridges
  • Picnic by the Seine
  • See Notre Dame
  • Explore the Louvre
  • Rest at Jardin des Tuileries
  • Explore Montmartre and Sacré-Cœur
  • Rest at Jardin du Luxembourg
  • Visit Versailles

I have a very detailed Paris post where you can find out more about the best activities and an ideal 4-day Paris itinerary and also a post about the best day trips from Paris. Millennium Birdge and where to see in London - LouvreThen, it is time to head to England´s capital, lovely and moody London.

London in 3,5 Days

London is another fun capital in Europe. It is a bit hipper and I think younger people (especially if you travel with teenagers) will enjoy London more than Paris. However, this does not mean I suggest skipping Paris. Like Paris, I have visited London numerous times, and I always find new cute places and great spots.

Since the UK has left the European Union, things have changed a bit and this might also be true for crossing borders. I haven’t been to England since then. So, I cannot say how much you will be controlled when crossing borders. 

Where to Stay in London

Here are some of the best-rated hotels for each budget:

  • Luxury Hotels in London – London is home to numerous luxury hotels – if you find something easily it is luxury accommodation in London.
  • Ritz-Carlton is one of the top hotels – it is also conveniently located in the city center and quite close to Buckingham Palace. Click here for the best rates and more info.
  • Draycott  Hotel is a small luxury boutique hotel I actually stayed at one night. It is definitely, a good choice if you prefer smaller and more unique places. Click here for more info and the best rates.
  • Mid-Range Hotels in London – If you are looking for nice but more budget-friendly hotels that are located in the center of London, then check out the following hotels:
  • 3-star hotel Hampton by Hilton Waterloo – find out more about this hotel and get the best rates here.
  • Budget Hotels in London – London is expensive but you might find a good deal
  • This hostel is well-rated, conveniently located and if you book a bed in a dorm you can actually get a bargain. Click here to get the best rates for YHA London Central.

London Eye at night - what a beauty.

London is a must on any England itinerary but since it is quite easy to get from London to Paris, this Paris/London itinerary is also fun.

London is as rainy as rumors say and so, don’t forget your umbrella – with this in the back of your head, be ready to explore one of the most exciting and diverse cities in Europe.

There is so much history – so many historic and important buildings, so many new and modern buildings, so many great Instagrammable spots, so many artists…Do not forget all the pubs and friendly people…

Before discussing the main things to do in London, here is some information for your days in London.

LONDON TRAVEL TIPS 

Though many sights are within walking distance, you might need to take the bus or underground once in a while. 

Oxford Street in London @shutterstock
@shutterstock
  • The underground in London works fine (I still prefer taking buses though). It gets extremely busy, especially at rush hour. So, I really recommend not taking the underground or bus at those times. It works fine and is quite cheap and fast.
  • Some of the red double-decker buses are actually regular buses and not sightseeing buses, which is pretty cool and I recommend using them at least once.
  • Oyster Card: Buying an Oyster Card makes sense if you use public transportation often. You can load it up with credit and just swipe it in/out at every bus and underground station. In the end, it finds the best rates and calculates the cheapest tickets (handy, right?). You can now also use your credit card and pay contactless.
  • Hop-on and hop-off buses are also popular and great for seeing London from a different perspective.
  • You can rent bikes for free at many bike stations. The first 30 minutes are free, then you would have to pay. I normally just ride around for 30 minutes and then bring it back to a rental station. There are quite a few rental stations in the city center.
  • While the black cabs are very popular and iconic, I have never used them and don’t think you really need a cap if you book your hotel in a central location.

London what to see - Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower)THINGS TO DO AND PLACES TO VISIT IN LONDON

  • Hyde Park and Speaker´s Corner
  • Buckingham Palace
  • London Eye
  • St. James´ Park
  • Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower)
  • Tower of London
  • St. Paul‘s Cathedral
  • Nottinghill
  • Oxford Street or Regent´s Street
  • If you visit in winter check out my London winter travel guide.
  • For more tips and more detailed info on all of the places to see, head to my detailed London 4-day itinerary.
  • Check out my England itinerary if you want to stay a bit longer in England – click here to find out more.
  • If you are on a budget, then take out my London budget guide.

As you can see, my more detailed posts have much more info for your trip. 

Millennium Birdge and where to see in London

London Eye at night - what a beauty.

FINAL THOUGHTS IN VISITING PARIS AND LONDON FOR A WEEK

If you only have one week in Europe and want to experience some of the main cities of the continent, then you will find them in these two capitals. Paris and London are unique destinations and special on their own.

So I hope that this 7 days Paris and London itinerary will help you plan your trip!Safe Travels, Arzo

 

PACKING LIST FOR EUROPE IN SUMMER

Summer packing list for Europe

WHAT TO PACK FOR A EUROPE SUMMER TRIP

Are you wondering about a perfect packing list for Europe in summer? Then read on, as I share my tips which hopefully will be helpful for you, too.

If you have decided to spend your summer (or at least some time of it) in Europe, you will have plenty to look forward to. Europe in summer is definitely a good choice – whether you head to the beautiful beach in Greece, busy cities like London, or hike in places like Switzerland.

You definitely cannot go wrong with Europe – find out what to pack for your summer trip to Europe.

Click on this link to find a checklist with all the important things to do before your trip.Hastings Beach Points of Interest

WHAT TO PACK FOR EUROPE TRAVEL

Here is what to pack – of course, it depends whether you are a light-packer or tend to pack a bit more and on many other things, but hopefully, this Europe packing list will help you remember the important things for YOUR Europe packing list.

Luggage in Europe

  • Suitcase: Though it depends, where exactly and for how long you travel, I recommend taking a good, light, and quality suitcase with you where all your clothes and most of your toiletries fit in. If you are a backpacker, you´ll find plenty of your equals in Europe.
  • Carry-On: I normally always have extra carry-on luggage with me. I normally research if a destination in Europe is considered as safe (meaning, I do a quick research about the crime rate, and while it is probably totally safe to take out your fancy luggage in some parts of Europe, other areas are less safe, and robbing is more common. So, if you plan to bring your brand luggage double-check.
  • Laundry bags are great if you travel for longer and don’t want your dirty and clean clothes to mix up. I prefer them over plastic bags.
  • Packing Cubes: Packing Cubes are the new must-items when it comes to traveling, they are convenient, and they also come in cool colors. I recommend using packing cubes that make packing and organizing easier. And let´s do not forget a laundry bag.
  • I choose a cross-body handbag with a zipper (to be safe) and several extra pockets for my handbag.
  • Passport Holder, I need a passport when I travel (when an ID is not enough), so I need a bigger wallet (aka a passport holder), and I love the fun colors here.
  • If you go on a beach vacation, you should also take a light and (ideally foldable) beach bag or a cotton bag instead.

London Eye at night - what a beauty.

Clothing in Europe in Summer

Summer in Europe can be a dream destination. Beautiful beaches, lovely cities and towns, charming villages, and amazing landscapes.

Summer means sun – most of the time. It can also be cold and rainy, and to be well prepared for your Europe trip, scroll down and learn more about the perfect Europe Packing List.

As you probably know, I never list any single item or say how many items to take (7 panties, etc.) because it clearly depends on the length of your stay and on you. It depends, whether you like to pack light and wash your clothes, or wear everything just once and do the washing part back home.

It also depends, where exactly you are heading to because there is no “European” style.

People in Italy are the best and fanciest dressed (in my eyes) people, while clothes are not important in other parts of Europe.

However, I recommend packing clothes that are comfortable and versatile so you can easily mix and match not to have to overpack.Dubrovnik should be on every Croatia road trip

Clothes to Pack for Europe

  • Hats: A hat is more than just an accessory in summer, so my must-have item is a stylish hat.
  • Sunglasses: Another must-have item on a sunny day: Sunglasses. Ray-Ban seems to be always a great choice, but the most important thing is the quality (sunglasses are an investment in healthy eyes)
  • Maxi Dresses: Summer means wearing cute dresses, and Europe is made to wear maxi dresses.
  • Skirts: You can wear short skirts in most places. Some shopping malls actually have dress codes and do not allow too short skirts or shorts (though many do not follow the rules)
  • Tops: The more, the merrier – my rule for hot destinations. I love skirts/trousers which I can wear with tops that are easy to change and are made from cotton are other light materials.
  • Blouses: Some cute blouses should be on your list (for the evening, some places that do not allow naked arms, or for the winter).
  • Cardigans and jackets: It can actually get chilly in the afternoon – not only but also after the sunsets. So definitely take at least 1 or 2 cardigans or jackets.
  • Linen Trousers: Though I love maxi dresses, the best thing to wear when it is hot is probably linen trousers – combined with a cool tank top and nice flat sandals, it can be super chic.
  • Denim is big in Europe and depending on where you visit in Europe. You might need some warmer clothes.
  • Sweatpants – for hiking, walking and feeling comfy and cozy (and yes, you can look great in sweatpants).
  • Shorts: Shorts are okay for most places – I love them, especially for the beaches.
  • Footwear:  flat sandals, flip flops, and ballerinas. But a pair of sneakers are almost always a good choice, too.

what to pack for Europe

Toiletries to Pack for Europe

If I travel for 10 days or shorter, I take travel-sized toiletries that I refill with my natural and organic beauty products from home (shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, cleaning water, and cleansing milk). Of course, you could buy toiletries here as well, but if you do not want to waste your time in drug stores or supermarkets, use this checklist for Europe.

Forget all the different small bags for shampoo etc. – get them all packed in a Toiletry Kit and have them super organized with you.

  • TSA Approved Clear Travel Toiletry Bag
  • Sunscreen
  • Travel bottles to refill – I refill them with my own organic products that I normally use. I do not use shampoo & conditioner provided by hotels for several reasons.
  • Electric Hair Removal Epilator (only if you stay longer than a week or if you remove your body hair with it) – otherwise, a razor or whatever you prefer.
  • Face cream. I also use it as a hand cream, so I do not have to take another cream.
  • Refillable Travel Size Perfume Bottle
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste and mouthwash plus Dental floss
  • Only use it when traveling: dry shampoo- (check size, and choose the small travel si ze)
  • Tissues
  • Deodorant
  • Refreshing towelettes
  • Magnifying make-up mirror
  • Nail polish and nail polish remover
  • My favorite hairbrush (especially for longer hair) – or if you have less space take a comb
  • Hair ties
  • A small cosmetic bag with the following items:
  • Mascara
  • Rouge
  • Eyebrow powder (Taming & Shaping Kit For Brows)
  • Tweezer
  • Eyelash curler
  • Eyeliner – I sometimes use black eye shadow as an eyeliner
  • Make-up brushes
  • Glass nail file
  • Cotton swabs

Here are a few more items that I personally do hardly use but which might be important to you, so I added them here:

  • Hair spray
  • Hand cream
  • Foundation
  • Powder
  • Lipstick
  • Sanitizer

What to pack for Europe

What to Pack for a Day at the Beach in Europe

  • Swimming Suits: bikinis (though you might find some nudist beaches as well in some places).
  • I love kaftans and think, it is best to wear from the beach back to the hotel room etc. Luckily, they look super cool these days.
  • Beach Bag:  I recommend one of the cool beach bags, which are light, affordable, and stylish.
  • Flip Flops are my must-have for beach days.
  • If you have a great hotel with a private beach section, you probably do not need a towel. If this is not the case not it should also be on your list. If you do not have any beach towel yet, click here to get your beach essentials.
  • Do you prefer lying at the beach all day, or do you like to be more active? Bring your beach ball (click here to get yours), or a floating unicorn.
  • A reading book / Kindle is also a great idea for a day at the beach.

Click here to find my complete list: What to pack for a day at the beachEurope packing list

Tech Stuff to Pack for Europe

  • I have my laptop with me whenever I fly. Find the best laptop for travelers
  • A while ago, I thought my tablet  is the most useless item I bought in a while – since I can download from Netflix (and thus watch my shows offline), I have found one good argument bringing my tablet with me whenever I travel
  • My phone- without doubt one of my most useful and important (travel) item
  • Camera – Europe has so many great spots that need to be photographed.
  • I have to admit that I still don’t have a kindle, so a “real” book is often an essential
  • A day at the beach or pool would not be perfect without my iPod
  • Power Charger- how long does your phone battery last? Not long? neither does mine, so this  is an essential
  • Check if you need an International Travel Power Adapter

Random Things to Pack for Europe

  • Umbrella (in many countries, like Germany, Switzerland, or England is can still rain quite a lot in the summer)
  • Guides
  • Medicine (headache pills etc.)

Read my: Packing guide for carry-on essentials.

Depending on where you travel in Europe, you could buy all or most of the items here in Europe – maybe even for a better price than in your country. Still, to avoid spending time shopping, I suggest coming to Europe and having your Europe packing list complete, so you can fully focus on discovering the beautiful places here in Europe.

best things to do in Switzerland

Safe Travels, Arzo

CREATE AN EPIC ONE WEEK IN ENGLAND – ITINERARY

Best England itinerary, how to spend 7 days in England

HOW TO SPEND 7 DAYS IN ENGLAND – ITINERARY + TRAVEL TIPS

England is an exciting place to visit – it has so much to offer. Whether you are an outdoor person or enjoy city/town life with a lot of culture and history – you will find all that in England. And if you are wondering how to spend one week in England, this post helps you discover different areas and see different faces of England in 7 days.

Whether visiting the north or the south, whether visiting cities like London and Manchester or exploring cute towns and villages like Chester and Hastings – I have never been disappointed. Today, I would like to share some of the most beautiful places to see in 7 days in England. Also, you will find many travel tips for your England itinerary. 

Buckingham Palace in London @shutterstock
@shutterstock

This 7-day England itinerary is perfect regardless if you road trip or use public transportation. It is quite easy to get to these places. Unlike some of my other itineraries, this itinerary does not include a lot of crazy driving. It is going to be a busy trip, but it will not leave you breathless.

This one-week England trip starts in London, and then you´ll head to the south – exploring the beautiful coasts of England with their pretty towns.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR 7 DAYS IN ENGLAND

So, before discussing your 7-day England itinerary, here are a few travel tips – including tips on how to get around, where to stay, and more!

Best Time to Visit England for 7 Days

Have you heard about England (and Britain) being gray and rainy? Well, unfortunately, this is true.

I have visited England many times – in spring, summer, fall, and winter – what I can say is that the weather is moody, and rain is quite common. But the sun does visit England, too – sometimes. 

However, this should not stop you from visiting – you just have to pack accordingly.

For this 7-day itinerary, I suggest visiting in the summer months. Normally, I advise visiting in the off-season. Europe gets very popular in the summer months and it tends to get busy – which also results in high accommodation costs. Also, in some parts of Europe, it can get very hot. However, in England heat is not the main problem.

But due to the weather in the shoulder season, the summer months – let´s say from May to late September – are the best months to visit England.

Hastings Beach Points of Interest

How to Get to England

  • I recommend starting and ending your trip in London. This exciting city has several airports, and you can fly into London from many airports in Europe, Asia, or the U.S.
  • But if you drive in your own car and come from Europe, you might want to start in Dover. If you come from France, you get to Dover by train/ferry.

One Week in England – How to Get Around

CAR

  • I would never road trip England because I cannot drive on the left side of the road. Having a self-diagnosed “difficulty telling left from the right” (that does really exist), I don’t dare drive on the left.
  • I did the same route several times via a private coach as a passenger (I did the trip a few times with my students), and this is what I think about driving: The views are nice – sometimes boring, but sometimes the views are nicer than nice. The roads are not very busy and seem to be in good condition overall. Some streets are narrow, and there are some mountain roads included – but no high mountains and nothing crazy like in Central Europe, for example.
  • Renting a car in England is – apparently – relatively easy but not cheap, and pre-booking a car might help you save money. 
  • Gas is quite expensive in England, and so are parking fees.

TIPIf you want to road trip, rent your car after your time in London because, in London itself, you will not need a car. Public transportation is superb in London, and you will save yourself money and, more importantly, stress.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN ENGLAND: 

  • I did not use public transportation in the south of England, but I often used it on other occasions in the country. And it is pretty good.
  • After doing some research, I have good news: you can visit the places on this England itinerary via public transportation.
  • Of course, you are less flexible, but you do not have to worry about parking spaces and such.
  • From London to Canterbury, take the train (about 90 minutes) and then take buses/trains to the other towns/villages. It’s important to note that you probably will need to check timings in advance as not every bus runs hourly.
  • In London, you are surely better off without your own car. Public transportation is great and the best way to get around.
Oxford Street in London @shutterstock
@shutterstock

Costs

  • England is not cheap as a travel destination. London, especially, is expensive, but so are many other places in the country.
  • However, I still think it is cheaper than some other European destinations in Central and Northern Europe.
  • Accommodations will probably eat up most of your budget. For train rides, booking early might be the best financial option.
  • Food can be costly but also very affordable. You will find many take-away restaurants that offer great (international) food for reasonable prices.

7-DAY ENGLAND ITINERARY

Okay, let us talk about your actual itinerary and what to do in 7 days in England.

London – 3-3.5 Days

London is surely an exciting city – and it has so much to offer. You could easily spend a week here (and of course longer) without getting bored. However, for this England itinerary, I suggest staying about 3 or 3.5 days in the city, so you have enough time for England’s southern coast.

London on a budget- 21 free things to do in London

Millennium Birdge and where to see in London

London is so rich in history, stretching back to Roman times – the capital of England has something for everyone.

  • Do you like shopping? Head to Oxford Street or Regent Street.
  • Do you prefer lively squares? Visit Picadilly Circus or Trafalgar Square. 
  • Do you like to admire beautiful architecture? Check out places like the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower).
  • Do you prefer to relax in the park? Stroll St. James Park or Hyde Park.
  • Do you enjoy more hip and colorful neighborhoods? Explore Nottinghill.

I could go on like this forever, but I guess you get my point. 

Admiring London´s pretty pubs - picture taken of me by @bearcef (Instagram)
The picture of me was taken by @bearcef (Instagram) in front of Churchill Arms Pub.
  • It is also a great place for those who enjoy some nightlife and partying with all the pubs (pretty pubs to be more precise) and clubs in London. 
  • Stroll the Thames River and enjoy views from the London Eye – one of the biggest Ferris wheels in the world. And experience the city from a different perspective.
  • If you want to enjoy a bird’s eye view that is free, head to Skygarden.
  • I actually have a 4-day itinerary for London, but again, see how much time you want to spend in the city. 

Personally, I would leave early on the fourth day and head to Canterbury, so you have more than half a day there to explore this pretty city. Also, check out my London winter guide.

WHERE TO STAY IN LONDON

Here are some of the best-rated hotels for each budget:

  • Luxury Hotels in London – Ritz-Carlton is one of the top hotels – it is also conveniently located in the city center and quite close to Buckingham Palace. Click here for the best rates and more info.
  • Mid-Range Hotels in London: This 3-star hotel Hampton by Hilton Waterloo has decent reviews– find out more about this hotel and get the best rates here.
  • Budget Hotels in London: This hostel is well-rated, conveniently located, and if you book a bed in a dorm, you can actually get a bargain. Click here to get the best rates for YHA London Central.

Canterbury – 0,5 Day

So, to continue your 7-day England itinerary. You can either drive to Canterbury or get there by train (which should take less than two hours either way).

Canterbury is a beautiful medieval city – a cathedral city once a famous pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages. Now, tourism plays a major role in the city, and it is one of the most visited in England.

Canterbury Cathedral and other things to do_

Canterbury Town Center in England

With a population of about 55,000, it is a cute, small city perfect for spending half a day or a full day. Located in Kent, Canterbury has been the seat of the Church of England’s spiritual head for several centuries.

  • It is home to a couple of UNESCO World Heritage sites, which include Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey, and St Martin’s Church.
  • The city is known for its ancient walls, originally built by the Romans, with narrow cobblestone streets, timber-framed houses, and cute shops and restaurants.
  • There are riverboat tours and planned walks if you want to spend some time in nature.
  • The highlight is probably Canterbury Cathedral, which was built in the 6th century and is one of the most stunning religious sites in England. The cathedral is a mixture of Romanesque and Perpendicular Gothic and is one of the city’s main landmarks. You have to pay an entrance fee. Tip: Rent audioguides to get a better understanding of the cathedral´s history.

The city center is small, so you can get around on foot and see the main sights easily.

WHERE TO STAY IN CANTERBURY

  • I never stayed in Canterbury overnight. In case you plan to spend a night here, check out this hotel. It was rated one of the best and is centrally located.

Dover – 1 Day

Dover is one of a kind in England – and I suggest spending at least a full day here.

With one week in England, we cannot waste much time. From Canterbury, head to Dover and start exploring early in the morning.

Dover Castle - Best view over Dover from Dover Castle

Chalk Cliffs in Dover - The White Cliffs of Dover

Dover is a small coastal town located in Kent – and an important port in England. It is a great place to learn about England´s history, but it is also perfect for hiking. It has some of the country’s most stunning scenery.

  • Dover is probably most famous for the White Cliffs of Dover and its harbor/port. If you arrive at or leave England by ferry, you´ll most likely do it via Dover – Calais (France).
  • Do not skip Dover Castle, which is probably the most iconic castle in England nowadays and actually the county’s biggest castle. It was built by King Henry II in the 1180s and served as a fortress. You can visit the castle and explore it while learning about the country´s history – and best of all, it comes with amazing views!
  • You can also hike in this beautiful part of the world, choosing one of several hiking routes.

WHERE TO STAY IN DOVER 

  • I suggest not staying in Dover. Instead, head towards Hastings. Then you can stay there for two nights (so you do not have to change hotels too often). However, if you stay in Dover overnight, check out rates for hotels here.

Hastings – 1 Day

Your one week in England is almost up, so it is time to get from Dover to Hastings.

Hastings is a picturesque and beautiful coastal town with a long history. It is located about 80 km from Dover and is one of the UK’s lesser-known destinations.

Pier inHasting, England is a must in 7 days

Hastings - a beautiful little town in England

Hastings is known for the 1066 Battle of Hastings, which was fought where Battle Abbey now stands. 

  • If you do a short hike up (you could also use a funicular), you can enjoy Hastings Castle’s views of the English Channel. The castle itself was once home to William the Conqueror, and up there, you can also visit the Smugglers Adventure Museum (fun for kids, too).
  • Then you have the charming pebble-stone beach. Though I came here many times, even in the summer months, I have never taken a dip as it can be chilly and windy all year round. However, it is a popular beach destination in England, and there is nothing better than strolling the promenade and visiting the really, really cute and colorful pier of Hastings.

WHERE TO STAY IN HASTINGS

  • I am not going to lie – the places I have stayed in Hastings were not great. The hotel standard here is not high. But the location is perfect. My tip is to stay at the hotel near the beach and near the old town – this is the best-rated hotel I have found in Hastings.

Eastbourne – 1 Day

For the last day of your itinerary, it is time to get from Hastings to Eastbourne.

Eastbourne is a lovely coastal town with a beautiful promenade. However, it is most famous for the Seven Sisters Hike.

Stunning Cliffs in Eastbourne

  • The Seven Sisters is a series of chalk cliffs located midway between Seaford and Eastbourne (similar to the ones you have seen in Dover).
  • There are different options (that also come with different lengths and difficulties). We did an easy hike (or walk) from the Seven Sisters to Eastbourne. If you want, you can also do the longer hike from Seaford to Eastbourne.
  • The views are incredible, and the hike is probably one of the best hikes you can take in England. 
  • The only thing to keep in mind is to be careful – it can be slippery, especially when it is wet, and you can fall (there have been casualties in the past). 

WHERE TO STAY IN EASTBOURNE

If you follow this itinerary strictly (3.5 days in London, half a day in Canterbury, 1 day in Dover, 1 day in Hastings, and 1 day in Eastbourne), your 1 week in England is already up.

Extra: Brighton – 1 Day

If you have more than 7 days in England or want to skip one of the places mentioned above, then think about visiting Brighton before heading back to London (if you fly out from there).

Brighton is a famous resort town about 35km from Eastbourne and about 76 km south of London.

Things to do in Brighton Pier @Dan Breckwoldt
@Dan Breckwoldt
Things to see in Brighton
@shutterstock

Bigger than towns like Hastings and Eastbourne, Brighton offers more attractions and a busier atmosphere.

  • Visit Brighton Pier, which opened almost 120 years ago and is where you will find carousels and food stalls.
  • Check out the Royal Pavilion, the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, and Old Steine – or spend time at the beach.
  • Brighton is also known for its nightlife, so if you want to end your England trip with a party, then Brighton is a good stop!

From there, you can take a train and be back in London within the hour!

WHERE TO STAY IN BRIGHTON

CONCLUSION OF MY 7-DAY ENGLAND ITINERARY

I know England has many more beautiful spots, but I think this would be my ideal trip with only one week in England. It is perfect for spring, summer, and fall (and even winter) and it combines some crazy city life with some more cultural sightseeing in Hastings and you will also get to see some stunning outdoor places in Dover and the Seven Sisters.

Hopefully, this post has inspired you, and you can plan your own 7-day England itinerary now. Travel safely!

Safe Travels, Arzo

 

 

Best Places to Visit in England

Where to holiday in England

MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN ENGLAND TO VISIT

If you visit Europe but skip England, you are definitely missing out. England has so much to offer with its gorgeous landscapes, dazzling megacities, cute towns, and lots of history! And here are the best places to visit in England.

While everyone knows London, there are many more places to see and visit in England and here are some of the best things to do in England.

London

By Arzo from Arzo Travels

London is one city destination that must be on every Europe itinerary!

Tower Bridge in London, the UK. @shutterstock

@shutterstock   

London is a must-see city and one of England’s number one tourist spots: it’s fun and crazy with loads going on. In fact, there is so much to see and do that you have to visit for at least two days to get an idea of what all the fuss is about.

Best Things to Do in London: London is home to some of the top tourist attractions in England. So, if you want to knock some of the most famous places in England off your bucket list, you must do some typical sightseeing stuff.

This should include a visit to Buckingham Palace (one of the Queen’s many homes) and Oxford Street, a bustling shopping street that is one of the busiest and most popular places to shop in England. It houses luxury stores as well as more affordable ones and a wide variety of restaurants too.

London also offers other top sights in England, such as Trafalgar Square and the London Eye, one of the world’s highest observation wheels! You have to walk along the Thames too, and across Tower Bridge. Don’t forget about the iconic red double-decker buses either, as they’re great to hop on to for great views of Big Ben (aka the Elizabeth Tower).

What better way could there be to see one of the best cities in England?! If you have some more time on your hands, you can also pay a visit to colorful Notting Hill. Whatever you like doing, you’ll never be short of things to do in crazy, exciting London!

By the way, combining a London and Paris trip also works great!

Stonehenge

By Sam from As the Sparrow Flies

One of the most beautiful places to visit in England is Stonehenge. 

@shutterstock

Stonehenge is a hugely important Neolithic site near Salisbury and is one of England’s most popular tourist attractions. But don’t let that fact put you off – it’s one of the most era-defining prehistoric sites in Europe and one of the new seven wonders of the world, so it is one of the must-see places to visit in England. Despite the fact there are far more restrictions on visiting now to protect the stone circle, it’s still a magical and spiritual area.

One of the best things to see in England, the main attraction, is the ring of standing stones set within and around several burial mounds from the Neolithic era.

It is believed to have been constructed between 3000 BC and 2000 BC, and you can learn how this unusual stone structure came to be in the purpose-built visitor center, which gives you a real sense of the development of the area.

But it isn’t just a historic site – it’s still an important place of worship for pagans. If you ever get the opportunity to be at Stonehenge during the Summer Solstice, you’ll be in for a treat as it really is one of the best places to visit in England in Summer.

The cost is £16.50 per adult in advance via the English Heritage website and £17.50 on the day. You can also hire an audio guide for £3, but if you can, I’d recommend downloading it on either iPhone or Android in advance for free. There is a refundable charge of £5 per car if you have not bought a ticket in advance, but you get that back when you purchase tickets.

Chester

By Alex from The Wayward Walrus

Of all the holiday places in England, if you’re looking for the quintessential, small, English town, Chester is it.

Tanasut Chindasuthi /Shutterstock.com

Founded in 79 AD as a Roman fortress, the ancient past’s relics are highly visible throughout the town. From the Roman amphitheater to the old city walls, you’ll feel like you’re walking in the footsteps of history.

In all their Georgian architectural glory, Chester Rows show a glimpse of England’s medieval bygone era and help make Chester not only one of the prettiest places in England but also one of the most visually interesting in England too. Seen nowhere else in the world, the Rows are covered storefront walkways and the first of their kind.

A unique place to put on your England tourist attractions list is Chester Cathedral.  Founded in 1092 as a Benedictine abbey, Chester Cathedral is a sight you won’t want to miss. Juxtaposing the Gothic structure, the cathedral houses some of the strangest art – including a taxidermied calf in blue liquid, a golden zebra, a stuffed chihuahua in a box, and multitudes of other modern art featured inside and out.

Fun Fact: The horse racecourse on the city center’s outskirts is Britain’s oldest sporting venue dating back to 1539 and is still in use today. If you can plan a trip around one of these races, you will not be disappointed.

In addition to its intriguing history, Chester has the added benefit of great shopping and foodie spots like The Faulkner and the Pierogi Shop right outside of the city center. If you want to take a relaxing walk along the River Dee, cross the bridge and head to Chester Meadows. Spending some time quality time strolling through the meadows is the perfect ending to a day in Chester.

Cambridge

By Anisa from Two Traveling Texans

One of the best places to go on holiday in England when the weather is nice is Cambridge, and I definitely recommend getting out on the River Cam in a boat. In Cambridge, the most popular type of boat is a punt.

Premier Photo Shutterstock.com

Punts are square-ended boats with flat bottoms similar to a gondola and are usually propelled with a long pole.

You can rent a punt by the hour and do the punting yourself or, if you are looking to relax and enjoy the scenery, you may prefer to hire someone to do the punting for you.  Punting is not as easy as it looks – if you are not careful, you can fall into the water – but it is a lot of fun. You may also bump into other punts, especially on a busy day.

Punting on the Cam is a great way to see a bit of Cambridge. You will pass by some famous Colleges, admire the beautiful weeping willows, and duck under beautiful bridges. I’ve heard several stories about how the Bridge of Sighs got its name, but I believe it was because Queen Victoria thought it looked like the one in Venice. This is a testament to the fact that Cambridge is one of the most pretty places in England! Punting in Cambridge is definitely a unique experience you will remember forever.

Cambridge is located about 50 miles north of London. You can easily do a day trip as it takes about an hour to travel from London to Cambridge by train.

Beachy Head

By Arzo from Arzo Travels

If you’re looking for good places to go in England on the South Coast, try Beachy Head!

Stunning Cliffs in Eastbourne

Hiking Beachy Head is another must-do activity in England and is one of the best hikes you will find here. Close by. You can visit Eastbourne which has a beautiful promenade where on clear days you will have amazing views.

You can either hike up to Beachy Head or, as many people do (including me), get there by open-top bus, get off at the top and walk your way towards Birling Gap. Here you will encounter stunning views, see the white cliffs and the famous lighthouse, and if you walk towards the end, there is also a restaurant where you can relax after your hike (which doesn’t take much more than an hour).

It’s easy at the end of your day to get a bus back into Eastbourne, and it’s definitely one of the must-see places in England!

Whitby

By Nikki from Yorkshire Wonders

Whitby is a picturesque harbor town on the Yorkshire Coast in England.

@shutterstock

The route over the North York Moors to get to Whitby is breath-taking and one of my favorite drives. It’s bleak, windswept, and just one of the most beautiful places in England. You can also stop off at the village of Goathland, where you will arrive at a heritage railway station – part of the North York Moors Railway – featured in the early Harry Potter films.

Another literary connection to the area is that Whitby was, in part, the inspiration for the Victorian Gothic novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. Wandering up to the ruined Abbey at dusk, it is easy to see why Stoker was so enamored with the area.

The novel Dracula at Whitby similarly influenced Whitby’s most popular weekend events, The Whitby Goth Weekend. This takes place twice a year and attracts thousands of costumed Goths to the area.

Whitby was also the home of Captain James Cook, whose ship, the Endeavour, sailed to New Zealand and Australia in the Eighteenth Century. In Whitby, there is both a monument and a museum devoted to this famous Yorkshire explorer. You can even take the Captain Cook Experience Cruise, where you will learn more about his life and adventures.

A final must-do on the list for Whitby is to sample as many fish, and chips dinners are you can – even better if they are eaten straight from the paper, smothered in salt and vinegar!

Cornwall 

By Paul from A Luxury Travel Blog

If you’re looking for one of the best places to visit in South England, look no further than Cornwall for the perfect UK getaway.

@shutterstock

Not only will you enjoy one of the best climates in the British Isles, but you’ll also be spoilt for choice with beaches, surfing and other watersports, coastal walks, and beautiful views.

For culture vultures, you can take in a production at the stunning Minack Theatre, perched on the amazing cliffs overlooking the Atlantic. Visit St. Michael’s Mount, a small tidal island, and Cornwall’s answer to Mont St. Michel.

For botany enthusiasts, Cornwall is one of the top places to visit in England, and it is a must to spend a day at the Eden Project, with its two incredible biomes housing a diverse range of plants. Explore the Lost Gardens of Heligan, world-renowned gardens typical of the 19th Century.

Marvel at the National Trust’s Tintagel Castle, a dramatic medieval fortification on Cornwall’s rugged north coast, and learn about the site’s connections with the legend of King Arthur.

Surf on the world-famous Fistral Beach or one of many of Cornwall’s other stunning beaches.  Learn to windsurf in one of the more sheltered bays or estuaries. Or spend a day at the seaside with the family.

Walk the South West Coast Path – one of the world’s best long-distance walks.  Take in the dramatic views at Bedruthan Steps – a personal favorite of mine. There is something for everyone in England’s southernmost county.

 Manchester

By Lisanne from Chapter Travel

Manchester is definitely an incredibly cool place to visit in England.

@shutterstock

There is such a passion for sports, culture, music, and food here, and when talking with locals, you can tell that they have a true love for their own hometown.

There are plenty of fun activities to try out during your visit! For instance, if you’re a football fan, one of the best places to visit in England is Old Trafford. Go to one of the football matches or take an Old Trafford stadium tour. Old Trafford is home to Manchester United, one of the biggest sports teams in the world. Even if you’re not the biggest football fan, it’s still imposing to be there.

Secondly, I definitely recommend a stroll around the Northern Quarter. You can find many great bars, restaurants, street art, and quirky shops in the Northern Quarter. It’s a great place to find vintage clothes, rare vinyl, and other unique items.

Lastly, if you’re an art lover, visit the Manchester Art Gallery, where they regularly showcase exciting exhibitions. A bonus is that their entrance is completely free, so it’s good for your budget!

For a very comfortable stay, I recommend the Lowry Hotel. The location was perfect, the room spacious with a huge bed, and I had a delicious breakfast in the morning.

Dover Castle

By Arzo from Arzo Travels

England is so rich in history that you cannot visit England without learning about its past. 

Dover Castle - Best view over Dover from Dover Castle

Dover Castle – Best view over Dover from Dover Castle

While book learning and museums will give you some of this information, a better way to learn is to visit a place of historical significance. This is actually more fun, and you can often make a gorgeous day out of it with amazing views.

One of these places to see in England is Dover Castle. It is known as the door and key to England and is located in the south of the UK, close to the French border. Set on a hill, it offers you fantastic views, and a castle is a must-see place in England. You can even see the interior where there are the living rooms of former kings and queens. It all looks pretty unrealistic and fake, but it’s still an amazing way to learn about England’s history.

While the most scenic way to arrive at Dover is via ferry from Calais, you can also do a day trip from London or spend a weekend there.

While you are in Dover, you should hike the White Cliffs of Dover too!

Lake District 

By Christina from Travel for Wildlife

Craggy peaks, rolling hills, ancient trails, deep glacial lakes, and picturesque villages are the Lake District’s soul.

@shutterstock

The Lake District was established as a national park in 1951 and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017. It is the second-largest and most visited national park in the UK and, therefore, one of the most popular holiday destinations in England.

Being one of the most beautiful places to visit in England, the Lake District is the perfect destination for a romantic break, an active weekend, or a family trip. It’s also perfect for a day trip less than two hours from the cosmopolitan city of Manchester. A packed day in the Lake District could include a stroll in the picturesque village of Windermere, a boat trip around Lake Windermere, and a visit to Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top house.

The Lake District is a dream destination for active folks as it is packed with hiking trails. One of the most popular, the Seathwaite Trail, takes hikers on an ancient packhorse route where goods were transported for centuries. This hike has the perks of stunning views and the opportunity to cross Stockley Bridge, a famous protected bridge, due to its special historic interest.

Of course, it’s well known that the Lake District is also one of the best holiday destinations in England for outdoor activities. You can go sailing on Lake Windermere, kayaking, rock climbing, and mountain biking.

For an indulgent Lake District break, stay lakeside at the Storrs Hall, where you can enjoy a night of stargazing from the grounds. With two designated Dark Sky Discovery Sites, the Lake District is perfect for stargazing holidays. Bring your star map and marvel at the Milky Way. Get your wish ready for when you spot a shooting star!”

Hastings

By Arzo from Arzo Travels

Even though the sun never shines in England and it rains 365 days a year, which of course is totally exaggerated (well, not totally but a little bit), checking out at least one of the beaches in England should be on your England bucket list.Beautiful Hastings - Coast of Hastings

The pebble beaches are not to everyone’s taste, and the water is not as warm as in the Indian Ocean, but the beaches in England are still pretty. I like the beaches in Hastings, in particular, it has a new pier which is very beautiful, and it is a typical UK beach in my opinion. Pack some towels and warmer stuff as it can get cold quickly, but if you are well prepared, a day at the beach in England but become a fantastic day!

The beaches here are often very close to the town center – and Hastings is a cute little town where you can explore its narrow cobbled streets and little independent stores.

Ritz-Carlton for High Tea

By Sherrie from Travel By A Sherrie Affair

The delicate and delicious ceremony of High Tea in London was started back in the 1800s.

@shutterstock

 The story behind the High Tea tradition began when one of Queen Victoria’s good friends discovered she had a “sluggish-sinking” feeling in the late afternoons. Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, was a prominent figure in London society. When she began to have her late afternoon tea with some sweets, it became a tradition followed by Londoners.

Today, High Tea is a little more elaborate than back in the 1800s. Many prominent hotels and restaurants offer amazing High Tea. High Tea’s practice at the more popular hotels such as The Ritz, The Sanderson, and the Mondrian are experiences you will not soon forget. The Ritz is very traditional; delicate china, held in a very elegant, decorated Palm Court, and has a dress code to attend.

The Sanderson is unique in every way as they have a Mad Hatter theme! Yes, everything for your High Tea experience is designed around the Alice in Wonderland theme.

The Wyld Tea in the famous Dandelyan bar at the Mondrian has a more botanical theme and serves cocktails to accompany your experience.

Although the atmosphere will be different depending on where you go for High Tea, the outcome will be the same: you will have more food than you know what to do with!  A three-tier display will be presented with many different kinds of finger sandwiches to choose from. However, you also need to have your scones with your cream and preserves. Finally, you have sweets; all kinds, delicately decorated and detailed. Most important is the tea itself. Locations usually provide a wide selection of flavors. This will definitely hold you over until a later dinner!

Participating in a High Tea experience in London can really make you feel part of London traditions. So, become a Londoner for a day and enjoy a High Tea, it really is one of the top things to do in England!

York

By Henriette from Travel Around With Me

York is one of England’s most beautiful and popular small cities with many English people wanting to live there.

@shutterstock

The entrance to the center is great. You can walk on a section of the three and a half kilometer long medieval city walls of York. This way you can say that you have walked the longest city walls of England! This historic city is also only accessible to pedestrians, which is ideal!

An area of York called The Shambles is one of the best-preserved medieval shopping streets in Europe. Not everything comes from the Middle Ages, but some properties date back to the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. One of the reasons why The Shambles’ streets are so incredibly narrow is that it avoided subjecting the meat in the many butcher’s shops there to direct sunlight.

Walking on the city walls will lead you over the bridge into the center of York, after which you can see in the distance the eye-catching York Minster, one of the top attractions in England. It is famous worldwide and can count itself among the largest medieval gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe.

Discover York’s Chocolate Story: did you know that York is the birthplace of many chocolate brands such as Kit Kat, Smarties, Aero, and Terry’s Chocolate of York? York’s Chocolate Story is an interactive attraction that tells the story of famous York chocolate.

You might need to be a train fan to want to visit York’s National Railway Museum, but if you are, it has a lot to offer! The National Railway Museum is home to the only Shinkansen Bullet train outside Japan, the Flying Scotsman and even some of the Royal family’s old carriages are here.

Portsmouth

By Sian from Growing A Pair

England is a country chock full of fascinating history. If you are looking for a hefty slice of British naval history, wrapped up in a seaside town, then you have to head to Portsmouth on the south coast of England.

@shutterstock

The Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth is home to loads of fascinating historic ships.  A visit to the dockyard takes you on a journey through centuries of British history.  Step aboard Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory, built in 1765. It’s the most famous warship in the Royal Navy.

Here you can hear lots of gruesome stories from the Battle of Trafalgar, like how to preserve a body in rum. Or you could explore HMS Warrior 1860, Britain’s first iron-hulled, armored battleship, built in Victorian times.

You’ll also find another of the top tourist sites in England here: King Henry VIII’s favorite warship, the Mary Rose, raised from Portsmouth’s seabed in 1982 and the only 16th-century warship on display anywhere in the world!

These are just three of the attractions in the Historic Dockyard. There are loads more, including boat tours of the harbor, world-class museums, and hands-on activities for kids.

When you are fully history-ed up, Portsmouth has a fantastic seafront with a beach, a Victorian pier to stroll along, King Henry VIII’s Southsea Castle, and the massive 170m tall landmark, the Spinnaker Tower, with panoramic views over the city and the Isle of Wight.

The Isle of Wight itself is only a hovercraft ride away too. All this and top-class restaurants, cinemas, and theatres make Portsmouth a pretty good bet for any UK trip.

Portsmouth is only an hour and a half away from London by train so that you can visit as a day trip.  Not bad for a 14 square mile island city!

Scarborough

By Lavina from Continent Hop

If the sea calls to you and you’d prefer to explore the lush moors in the North with a sea a few steps away, then one of the best places to visit in England for you will be the resort town of Scarborough.

@shutterstock

It is a tiny town with family-friendly activities and lots of cafes serving traditional fish and chips. It’s a lovely spot to spend a weekend at the beach or head to the moors for long walks for the day.

Peasholm Park is a great spot if you’d like to meet friendly squirrels, go paddle boating or watch boats battle each other in summer. There’s also Scarborough Castle to explore, and on a sunny day, you can see right up to Flamborough Head.

You can also go hunting for fossils around town or the beach!

If you’d still prefer doing more, the harbor town of Whitby, which was where Bram Stoker’s Dracula was created, is about 20 miles away. The heritage coastline provides dramatic views, and once you’re in Whitby, you can easily view the Abbey that looks down upon the town.

On a dull rainy day here,  you’ll get why Whitby inspired Dracula!

Greenwich

by Teresa from Brogan Abroad

Everyone agrees that London has a lot to offer, but few visitors venture outside of Central London and explore other neighborhoods.

@shutterstock

There are a lot of areas outside of Zone 1 that is often overlooked. In South East London, Greenwich is one of those areas, despite being the perfect destination for a day out.

Its maritime history is evident worldwide. The 500-year-old Old Royal Naval College incorporates the magnificent Chapel of St Peter and St Paul and the spectacular masterpiece that is the Painted Hall and the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark, an iconic 19th-century tea clipper.

You can also find Queen’s House within the college grounds, which houses a spiral staircase that is so geometrically perfect that it’ll make you dizzy. And let’s not forget Greenwich Park, with the Royal Observatory at the top of the hill and possibly the best views over London.

Greenwich more than deserves visitors’ attention, and if you are visiting London for more than a couple of days, make sure you include it in your itinerary of places to visit in England.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON BEST PLACES IN ENGLAND TO VISIT

England has a lot to offer – and though it is not part of the EU anymore – making travel more difficult for many people – it is definitely worth a visit. From coastal towns to vibrant cities, England has something for everyone. Hopefully, the list has helped you find out about the best places to visit in England.

STAY SAFE!

Safe Travels, Arzo

21 Top Things to Do in London for Free

London - what is free to do in London

HOW TO EXPLORE LONDON ON A BUDGET

London is a fun and exciting city – there is so much to see and do. However, London is also pricey. So, here is my “Free things to do in London” post – the best things to do and see for free plus some London budget tips (yes, London on a budget is possible and still fun).

When I thought about places to recommend, I did not intend to write about “free activities in London” – I actually just wanted to give you my tips for visiting London. When I started my list, I realized that many things I love in London are actually free.

Though I have visited London many times, I have hardly done any activities that were not free. Thus, I changed my plan and have created a “Top Things to Do in London for Free” post.

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS – THIS MEANS I MIGHT EARN A SMALL COMMISSION WHEN YOU BUY A PRODUCT/SERVICE (AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU. MORE ABOUT IT HERE.

Free Things to do in London

At the end of the post, I added a few things that are not free (since this was my initial thought), but here you go – great ideas for London activities for free.

If you have never been to London, these places should be on your list.

Elizabeth Tower A.K.A. Big Ben

Big Ben is my favorite building in London. Though it is actually named Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben is only one of the five bells of the clock), I still often refer to it as Big Ben (as do many others).

London on a budget- 21 free things to do in London

Visible from far and wide, the Tower holds court over London and is located at the end of Westminster’s Palace, next to the Thames and close to other main tourist attractions like the London Eye.

At the moment, there is construction work going on, so you cannot really see it in its full glory, but it is still worth checking out.

 Parliament Square

Just in front of Big Ben (I cannot get used to calling it Elizabeth Tower) is Parliament Square – a square with some greenery and statues of some important people like Mahatma Gandhi.

This view is awesome. The options to relax and chill are great, and the statues might make you – or those you’re with – curious to learn more about the UK’s history.

Parliament Square in London @shutterstock
Parliament Square in London @shutterstock

Piccadilly Circus

An absolute must-see place is Piccadilly Circus, London’s own version of Times Square (though a bit less action than Times Square). It is totally overcrowded and busy, but it is still a great place to visit at least once in a lifetime. It is close to Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and some other sights.

Empty Piccadilly Circus @shutterstock
Empty Piccadilly Circus @shutterstock

Buckingham Palace & Changing Guards

Buckingham Palace should be on your list and is one of the things you can easily do on your own in London whether you like the Royal Family or not. Though I have seen the Palace many times, I still visit whenever I am in London, though I cannot remember having ever watched the Changing of the Guards.

The Palace itself is not the most impressive building, but as a London first-time visitor, you need to see it, and I love the parks close by, and I haven’t given up hope on spotting the Queen or another royal family member.

Does the Queen really live there? That is a question my students actually ask me a lot, and the answer is yes, it is her official residence. If you see the Union Flag flying above the Palace you know, she is not home (if the royal flag is flying, the Queen is at home).

Buckingham Palace in London @shutterstock
Buckingham Palace in London @shutterstock

Trafalgar Square

When I visited Trafalgar Square for the first time, I mostly saw pigeons. I am terrified of birds once they start flying above my head, so Trafalgar Square did not make a perfect first impression.

Trafalgar Square @shutterstock
Trafalgar Square @shutterstock

BUT this has changed by now. Nowadays, there are far fewer pigeons, and I feel much “safer.” The Square (I have a thing for squares in general) is not far from other main attractions like the London Eye, and in the middle of the square are some statues and Nelson’s Column – a great location for pictures.

Oxford Street

Oxford Street is not a normal shopping street. Oxford Street is THE main shopping street in London. It seriously is huge – and you’ll find all kinds of shops there.

Oxford Street in London @shutterstock
Oxford Street in London @shutterstock

Covent Garden

Covent Garden is a district in London known for several attractions, but I love its market the most – it seems that the theme and interior changes every time I visit, and thus it is always lovely and different each time.

Camden Market

Okay, I have to admit that I am not the biggest market fan – but visiting Camden Market is a lovely experience – so visiting it once was good, and I can recommend strolling around.

Millennium Bridge

I actually only passed Millennium Bridge on my last trip – but walking towards St. Paul’s Cathedral is just beautiful, though also totally crowded at times.

London - 21 Top Things to do for free in London, UK. What is to do in London for free. Cool and free activities in England. Save money in London.

Visit a Cathedral

Talking about St. Pauls´Catherdral: Though I am not into museums, I love religious sites and recommend visiting one in London (if you attend the mass, if not you have to pay an entrance fee).

Free Museums in London

Again, I have to admit that I am not a big museum fan, but several free museums in London, such as the Bank of England Museum or the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Kensington Garden

The Kensington Garden is home to Kensington Palace (residence of royals such as Princess Diana and William and Kate). It has several playgrounds and a beautiful garden that includes a Peter Pan statue.

Kensington Palace @shutterstock
Kensington Palace @shutterstock

Sky Garden

Okay, I actually haven’t been there yet myself – but only because it was booked out when I wanted to book. There are two great things about the Sky Garden: it is free (yeah!), and it offers great views of London.

Sky Garden @shutterstock
Sky Garden @shutterstock

The bad news: tickets sell out quickly, so make sure to book 2-3 weeks in advance since there are not many slots. In case it is fully booked, you can make a reservation for a restaurant, have a drink, and still enjoy the views.

If you are looking for more gardens to visit, you could check out “The Gardens of Europe” – though it is not a free activity, it is a beautiful place to visit as well.

Hyde Park & Speaker’s Corner

The world-famous Hyde Park is one of the biggest city parks globally – you can swim, jog, cycle, relax, dine, and much more.

Okay, I only visited once and, though it is lovely and fun, it did not overwhelm me, so I did not go again – however, as a first-time visitor, it should be on your list and also check out Speaker´s Corner – an area where public speaking and debates are allowed.

St. James’s Park

St. James’s Park is probably my favorite park in London. I love those animals (squirrels, pelicans, etc.) and the fact that it is super close to Buckingham Palace.

Tower Bridge

London Bridge or Tower Bridge? Which is the one to cross? I would definitely say Tower Bridge. It is a pretty and unusual bridge. If you want to enjoy a panorama view, you can get a ticket to visit the walkways situated 45 meters above the Thames.

Tower Bridge in London, the UK. @shutterstock
Tower Bridge in London, the UK. @shutterstock

Notting Hill

Was it the movie that made Notting Hill more famous… or Instagram?

The colorful houses of Notting Hill @shutterstock
The colorful houses of Notting Hill @shutterstock

Notting Hill is the trendy district in London, and all London visitors flood their feed with Notting Hill pictures. Those colorful and cute houses are just too pretty, and strolling through Notting Hill should be on your list of things to do in London for free.

Pub Watching

I am not a fan of pubs – not at all! BUT I love the pretty pubs in London. They are so extremely photogenic! If you plan to open a pub, do get some inspiration from London’s pubs.

Admiring London´s pretty pubs - picture taken of me by @bearcef (Instagram)
Admiring London´s pretty pubs – the picture was taken of me by @bearcef (Instagram)

The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9¾

Maybe I have never read or watched any Harry Potter book/movie, but I did not know the famous platform was in London. The great news for Harry Potter fans is that it is free to take a photo at the magical Harry Potter shop.

Strolling Along the Thames River

I do not consider the Thames necessarily pretty or clean, but walking along the Thames (starting from Southwark Bridge and going toward the London Eye) will be a beautiful walk if the sun shines. It gets busy, and I actually managed to fall asleep on the greenery at the Thames (yes, the sun does shine in the UK every once in a while).

christmas by the River is one of the best places to see in London in winter

Getting Lost in London

No other city has more beautiful doors than London. I love the houses with the colorful and pretty doors, and I think that walking aimlessly in London (more than just around Notting Hill) is a great option, too, if you’re looking for Instagrammable places in London.

CEFArzoTravelsLondon36

Btw: Here is my 4-day itinerary for London (in this post, it is not all about budget travel, but you might find more great places to visit).

Christmas Lights

We now have 22 free London activities!

After my first visit to London in winter, I realized that the stunning Christmas Lights are another fun and free thing to see. Yes, the lights are to see for a few weeks at the end of the year but: Wow. However, Christmas is also a great time to visit  London. It might be bustling, but those Christmas Lights…Just wow. So check out my post about winter in London guide.

More Tips on How to Save Money in London 

Here is how to save money (when spending money).

Oyster Card

A great way to save money is by getting an Oyster Card travel smartcard for London’s public transportation system. The public transport is pretty good, and using the Oyster Card can help you save money as the system recognizes how much you travel and gets you the cheapest ticket.

London Pass & Online Booking in Advance

If you want to do activities that require tickets, I recommend booking in advance. You can get the best deals on London activities here, or the best deals on a London Pass here, which also helps you save money.

Activities That Are Not Free (Unfortunately) but Worth Checking Out

Here are a few activities that are not free (nor cheap but worth checking out).

Thames River Boat Tour

Start in Greenwich, and you’ll see plenty of great sights along the way. Though the Thames water is definitely not very clear or pretty, I still have a thing for boat cruises, so I cannot resist recommending it to you as well.

Tower of London

I visited the Tower of London for the first time last August, and we have a kind of love-hate relationship. It is super interesting (especially if you are into history), but it was crowded, so I could not enjoy it to the fullest. If you don’t mind some crowds and are curious to see the Crown Jewels and learn about history, you’ll love it.

To save more money in London, check out the best prices for flights, hotels, activities, and tours.

….

London on a budget is possible – even though London is a costly city, many free activities will allow you to enjoy this unique city.

Read this post if you are looking for unique and off-the-beaten-path things to do in London.

Read more: Best places to visit in England.

Read more: Best places to visit in Northern Ireland

Read more: Find out about the best places to see in Wales

Read more: Find out about the best places to see in Scotland

Read more: Best England itinerary for 7 days

Click here for more tips for luxury on a budget in London.

Safe Travels, Arzo

BEST DAY TRIPS FROM LONDON TO SOUTH ENGLAND

South Coast England

 EPIC DAY TRIPS FROM LONDON TO THE SOUTH COAST OF ENGLAND

If you are planning a trip to London or are in London already but like to leave the hustle and bustle for a day, you´ll find 5 great day trips from London, all located on the South coast of England.

Visiting England was one of my first international trips- it took me from Bremen (Germany) to London, and I can say it: it was love at first sight.

Over time I have been to England, or in the UK in general, regularly. It is not only London I love – I love this beautiful and friendly, though admittedly somehow weird, country.

For the last few years in a row, I visited the south coast of England. So I would love to introduce you to some beautiful places on the south coast of England, which make great destinations for outdoor lovers and fans of small charming, and cute towns.

Okay, some nice places are perfect for day trips west of London like Stonehenge and Bath, but this post focuses on the south of London.

If you are looking for perfect getaways from London (or any other place), these might be the perfect choices for you.

To find out more about my love for England, check out a previous post of mine in which I have mention England´s charming towns and cities and friendly people – but now, I like to go into more detail about some beautiful places in the south coast that make for a great weekend away from the Big Smoke!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

Female Travel Tips: I often travel solo and so also in England. I visited some of the places here, not solo, though. However, I think these places are great to travel solo. I also think that the UK is a great place to visit if you have not traveled a lot. The country makes it easy for “beginner travelers” due to its friendly people and easy public transportation system. It is also quite safe, so if you are new to traveling, why not visit England?

A Day Trip From London to Hastings

Beautiful Hastings - Coast of Hastings
Beautiful Hastings – Coast of Hastings

Whenever we visit the south coast, we stay in Hastings, so this is the place I know best.

This beautiful town of Hastings is one of the most historical places in the country! It was the place William the Conqueror built his first castle, and the Battle of Hastings was fought here in 1066. This small town prides itself on its historical heritage, and I recommend indulging in every aspect of it.

Heading to the market town of Battle a short distance north of Hastings, you’ll find the castle (that is now owned by the English Heritage, a charity dedicated to preserving England’s past). Here they have lots of interactive exhibits about the battle that shaped the history of England.

The abbey here commemorates the battle, and it’s well worth a visit. From there, you also have some beautiful views over Hastings and the coast, so even if you do not visit the exhibit, I recommend going up there.

For those less interested in history, Battle and Hastings still have a lot to offer in art galleries and installations, cafes, and shops. There is something for everyone to enjoy. The narrow medieval streets hold a treasure trove of antique shops just begging to be explored!

Coming out of Battle and back into Hastings gives you a chance to explore the beautiful unspoiled coastline. It’s a perfect place to bring the children as there are plenty of activities offered for kids, with small cafes offering ice cream and traditional cream teas.

Though I prefer sand beaches over pebble beaches, it is a great place to escape the heat in summer (which also exists in modesty in England) and surely a great place for kids and adults – the new pier is just awesome, so make sure to check that out as well.

Hastings Beach Points of Interest
Hastings Beach

A Day Trip from London to Dover

Chalk Cliffs in Dover - The White Cliffs of Dover
Chalk Cliffs in Dover – The White Cliffs of Dover

When people think of Dover, I find their mind wonders straight to thinking of ferry ports and trips to France, forgetting the beautiful town itself! Like many places in England, Dover also boasts a long and illustrious history. Being the closest point in the country to France, it has always been at the forefront of many invasions.

My favorite place to visit in Dover is the castle. You can immerse yourself in 2000 years of history there, from the construction of the castle up to it being repurposed as a wartime hospital and a base to organize the soldiers’ rescue in Dunkirk. One of the things I loved the most about this beautiful castle is the gorgeous view (I have a thing with views, click here to read more about my trip to Dover Castle).

Of course, if you’re more the outdoors type, Dover will not disappoint. It has miles of beautiful coastline with activities for every type of adventurer. There are frequent fishing trips as well as places to hire watersports equipment. Ride horses in the surf or even take in a few rounds of golf. There’ll be something here for everyone!

However, a trip to Dover would not be complete without seeing the stunning white cliffs. There are many coastal paths for the walkers amongst you to trek along and see some of England’s most iconic sights. Stop by the National Trust visitor center to learn about the local history and the rare flora and fauna that grow on the beautiful chalk cliffs.

Combine your Dover day trip with a trip to Canterbury

Dover Castle @shutterstock

Dover Castle - Best view over Dover from Dover Castle
Dover Castle – Best view over Dover from Dover Castle

Check out Prices for a Day Trip From London to Dover

A Day Trip From London to Eastbourne

Stunning Cliffs in Eastbourne

I seriously love Eastbourne. This town is much more a ‘traditional English seaside town and perfect for bringing the family to. It boasts a stunning pier built in the 1800s, which, despite a fire in 2014, is still going strong with plenty of attractions along its length. Perfect for those Instagram shots!

Beachy Head is a cliff face used in many famous TV shows and movies, including Harry Potter, so it is great to bring the children to and re-live a piece of movie history. This is definitely an amazing area I cannot get enough of visiting.

There are several adventure parks to also bring the children to. I thought the miniature railway was a perfect addition to any visit here for children and adults alike. There is nearly a mile of a train track with a scale model steam train running.

Take the kids on a walk around the stunning lake to see the wildlife in its natural habitat, then stop off at an award-winning café for an afternoon cream tea.

Again there are many castles and forts to explore, as with much of the British coastlines, but Eastbourne also is home to a science museum with many hands-on exhibits to get a little mind curious about the world around them and how everything works.

However, if you need time away from the little ones, why not take a trip to the winery to enjoy a tasting session of their wines and some fine dining.

Click here to read more about the Seven Sisters Cliffs Hike.

Book a Private Tour in Hastings

A Day Trip from London to Canterbury

Canterbury Town Center in England
Canterbury Town Center in England

Another medieval city on the south coast, but any trip here would not be complete without a visit to the stunning Canterbury Cathedral – tip: it’s worth paying for the audio guides as well, to learn about the history.

It has been a pilgrimage place for centuries, and the stunning architecture is well worth the visit here. I find this city is one of the best to relax in.

There are riverboat tours and planned walks, gardens to explore, and chapels, and old historic buildings to lose yourself in with their sense of peace and tranquility. If you want to come away from the peace, you can always go on one of the cities ghost tours!

See the beautiful old city lit up at night and hear some of the humorous, dark tales Canterbury has to offer. Don’t worry. The guide ensures no harm will come to you while you tour with him!

Click here to find out more about tours in Canterbury

Check out Prices for a Day Trip from London to Canterbury

A Day Trip From London to Brighton

Things to do in Brighton Pier @Dan Breckwoldt
Things to do in Brighton Pier @Dan Breckwoldt

Okay, Brighton is actually still on my bucket list! I try to pursue my colleagues to do a day trip to Brighton each year we visit, but I have not been successful, so I hope to visit by myself anytime soon.

This place is better for the young or the young at heart. It is a vibrant city, and the nightlife is something the city prides itself on.

The clubs are open into the small hours and accommodate every possible kind of taste in music. With Fat Boy Slim as a resident here, nothing is lacking about the scene.

If clubbing the night away isn’t your taste, then the comedy scene might well be. With loads of clubs to chose from, I can’t wait to come here and explore all the fun and exciting things Brighton has to offer!

Things to see in Brighton
Things to see in Brighton @shutterstock

Book Your Tour with a Local in Brighton

Since I have traveled to London and these areas with kids the last few times (aka with my students), I loved the post on what to do in London with kids.

I hope this post has inspired you to visit other places in England and discover England’s beautiful south coast.

Safe travels, Arzo

P.S. If you are looking for nice accommodation, click here to read about 5 great hotels in South England.

PIN ME FOR LATER – DAY TRIPS TO SOUTH ENGLAND FROM LONDON

London Getaways - 5 ideas to escape London and explore the beautiful southern coast of England

10 Reasons to Love England – and 2 Reasons Why not to

Reasons to love England

I LOVE ENGLAND – WHAT TO LOVE ABOUT ENGLAND

Yes, I love England. Actually, it is one of my favorite places in Europe. I wish I could drive on the left side, so I could finally go on the road trip and travel with my dog and discover the country on my own (this is seriously a bucket list thing for me). 

Until I feel comfortable enough driving on the left I will travel by train or plane in this lovely country (p.s. I also visited Wales and Scotland and absolutely loved them and yet have to visit Ireland and Northern Ireland).

London Eye at night - what a beauty.

Find out why I love England, as always there are several reasons to fall in love with the island, but there are also a few things I dislike. But let´s start with the positive things. I love England because:

  1. England has beautiful scenery. Though it might not keep up with countries, it is pretty nice to view the ocean in places like Eastbourne (read about some beautiful places to visit near London).

Stunning Cliffs in Eastbourne

2) Small and cute towns like Canterbury, Chester, and Hastings have their own charm.

Pier inHasting, England is a must in 7 days

3) England is full of history. Old castles and churches can fascinate even those who are not interested in history.

London where to visit in four days

4) England is the country with one of the friendliest inhabitants I can imagine. I remember so many situations. I was standing in England’s streets feeling lost and being approached by English people asking if I needed help. Also, I love saying and hearing “thank you” and “please” 🙂

5) England is a real melting pot (though probably not in the very rural areas) where all cultures and religions can be found. Nobody cares if you wear your Indian dress, wear your traditional African clothes, or don’t wear much at all. I haven’t experienced that kind of multiculturalism in Germany or other European countries.

6) Compared to other (Western) European countries, England offers good value for money. Though it isn’t as cheap as in Eastern European countries, it still doesn’t eat into your budget (I say that as a German). Okay, London is surely an exception, but overall, it is not as expensive as countries in Northern Europe or Central Europe. Plus, many activities can be done for free (check out my London on a budget guide).

Admiring London´s pretty pubs - picture taken of me by @bearcef (Instagram)
The picture was taken of me by @bearcef (Instagram)

6) I love England´s big cities, like Manchester, Birmingham, and Liverpool (as a “water” person I am especially attracted to Liverpool with its big harbor). Check out my post with the most beautiful places in England.

@shutterstock

7) English is spoken 🙂 British English is spoken. The accent is appealing, and after all, this is real English.

9) England borders many beautiful places like Wales, Scotland, France (kind of), etc. I always appreciate countries that border other countries and allow a quick get-a-away. Even though England (or the UK) isn’t an EU member anymore, I hope – and I am sure – border crossing will still be quite smooth. Actually, I think you can easily combine a trip to Paris and London.

And if it isn’t, it is definitely still very easy to travel within the UK (that has tons to offer).

10) Last but not least: England “has” London <3 London does not require many words. It is just beautiful, fun, and interesting, so make sure to add it to your England itinerary (read my tips for things to do in London on a budget).

christmas by the River is one of the best places to see in London in winter

Still not convinced? Then read about the beautiful places in London – or check out my 7-day England itinerary.

WHY I DO NOT LOVE ENGLAND

What didn’t I really like in England? Well, not much! But there are actually a few things I disliked and also one thing that leaves me, at least, a little speechless.

  1. They speak British English. Though this accent sounds really nice, it sometimes is hard to understand.
  2. They drive on the left side. I would love to do a road trip, but since I get confused with left and right, this has actually stopped me from driving a car by myself.
  3. Drinking, as cliche as it might sound now, is really big in England. The older I got, the more I dislike the amount of alcohol consumed in England.

I don´t want to say I disliked it, but I wonder when I see English women dressed. No matter how cold it is, English people will make you feel you are in the Caribbean.

As a German, wearing a warm winter jacket in winter, I always stood out in the crowd. This is something I might never understand, and explanations are very welcome 🙂 

Who is also such an England fan as I am? Leave your comment and tell us about your England experiences.

If this post has convinced you to move to England 🙂 read an expat guide on moving to the UK.

If you want to find out about another country in the north, read the post about Ireland, or read about the UK’s top three travel destinations.

Safe Travels, Arzo

Pin It on Pinterest