Fantastic shopping. Some of the world’s best pubs. Did we mention the possibility of seeing the Queen’s cute corgis? It’s all here in London, also known as the Big Smoke. This city’s far more than an industrial hub, though. It’s also full of beautiful parks, people from other cultures (a full third of the population) and historical sites you’ve seen in film since you were a tyke.
We’ve got the deals for accommodation in London near all the hot spots, world-class restaurants and museums you could want. The nightlife and culture here is second to none, and around every corner is something new to explore. Whether you’re the type to bang together a meticulous itinerary or crowdsource your next urban adventure on Twitter, the hotels in this capital city are going to treat you right.
Things to Do in London
If you want to know what there is to do here, the answer is: all of the things, all of the time. Tool around the city for famous sights such as Big Ben, the Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. Don’t worry, not everything here is older than the Queen. The Shard was completed in 2012, and its futuristic façade is the third-tallest building in Europe.
As you explore, notice the Blue Plaques that commemorate famous events or things to see. You could spend weeks just discovering all 900-and-something of them. Start your search near Green Park, Kensington Gardens or right outside many of our places to stay in London. These things are everywhere.
If it’s rugby season, you can even cheer on your team from an ocean away at a local pub, where you’re sure to find good company over a pint. If it’s not, you can still win the game of shopping. World-famous Harrods boasts of being able to source anything—for a price, of course. Make some extra-special requests like a British flag toilet seat, a hot tub shaped like the Queen or a life-size Buckingham Palace guard yard ornament (so you can see how many of your neighbours watch to see if he blinks).
Get in some art appreciation at the National Gallery or Tate Britain. Say “Hmm, zat’s very interesting,” at the Freud Museum or “Ahh” at the British Dental Association Museum. There’s even a Sherlock Holmes museum you can suss out. You’ll be saying “It’s elementary, my dear” in no time.
Want something more interactive and, we dunno, magical? Check out the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter (pro tip: it’s leviOsa, not leviosA).
Getting To & Around London
Jet yourself into Heathrow or Gatwick, the city’s two largest airports. Once you’ve got your bags, jump in one of the city’s iconic black cabs or brave the widespread (but easy to use) Tube system. If you don’t want to spring for cabs everywhere you go or wander this enormous city on foot, spring for an Oyster Travelcard that’ll give you access to all the public transport you’ll need on your London holidays.
Even better, the cards haven’t got any start or expiration dates, so you can use one as soon as you arrive until whenever you hear your hometown calling you back.
London is one of the best cities in the world for live music and concerts, and summer is one of the best times to rock out under the open sky. The Summer Series at Somerset House was created just for that purpose, and this year it runs from 7 to 17 July.
Feeling a little sporty yourself? Enter the River Rat Race on 13 August, where you can run, jump, swim, kayak and climb 10k—all for a good cause. You globe-trotting humanitarian, you.
And you’re not the only one who knows how to throw a birthday bash. This year, the Queen will be celebrating her 90th birthday for nearly two months by hosting the Buckingham Palace Summer Opening. You’ll even get to check out her wardrobe. Fashion tips from Her Majesty herself? There’s no better present.
Dining out here will leave you craving more, as London is home to every kind of cuisine. Fuel yourself with grub from humble chip shops, glitzy 5-star restaurants with the best food in London and everything in between. If you’re looking for Cockney food, nosh on some pie and mash, or (for the brave) jellied eels. There are also tons of international options such as curries, kebabs, pasta and even a good ol’ steak.
How about some live music? From world-famous bands to unknown artists awaiting your discovery at local pubs, follow your ears to the sounds you love.
And what about the sounds the rest of your body loves? Dance, drink and make every bit of merry at one of London’s best nightclubs. After you’ve shaken your booty completely off, recuperate at your London accommodation the next morning with a sleep-in and some good, strong tea.
Fancy a wave at the Queen? Whether you’ve got a whole week or just one day in London, see if you can stop by Buckingham Palace when the old girl’s in residence. If you want to jump right into the flow of sound and life in the city, head to Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square for epic people-watching and great backdrops for your Sherlock-chic Instagram selfies. From any number of hotels in London, you can quickly make your way to famous historical landmarks.
Book a turn on The London Eye Experience and check out those fabulous skyline views that’ll make you consider permanently trading Vegemite for Marmite (not that you would, of course…you have principles).
Get a stellar deal on London hotels with lastminute.com.au’s Best Price Pledge. If you find a better deal within 24 hours of booking with us, we’ll match it by refunding the difference. Search and book with us for the cheapest deals on your holiday to the Big Smoke. Want to see more of the fabled countryside? We’ve got England accommodation that you’ll just love. Book today!
London eludes definition. A place of extremes and contradictions, it has transformed from robustly English capital to truly multicultural city. Having experienced Renaissance, revolution, and revival, and survived fire, plague, and war, the city has a pretty interesting history, the best of which it holds on to. Visit its monuments and museums and you'll come across ancient and modern London, and learn about its wealth, poverty, ambitions, reality, and make-believe. From the Tower of London to Buckingham Palace, the major monuments pull in the crowds, but make sure you take some time to explore its back alleys, quiet squares, and colorful markets.
Art in the city
As red buses, black cabs, and pigeons encircle Trafalgar Square, there is no mistaking where you are. Stop by the National Gallery to look at some of the world's finest artworks, ranging from Leonardo's meticulous sketches to Turner's chromatic landscapes, or for a fix of modern art, visit the converted Bankside power station, the Tate Modern. The gallery covers art from 1900 to the present day, and its enormous Turbine Hall displays specially commissioned works.
Razzmatazz and all that jazz
Finding entertainment in London is as easy as finding books in a library. In the West End theater district, you can choose from musicals, theater, and comedy shows. Based on the songs of the band Queen, We Will Rock You is currently showing at the Dominion theater. From April to October, you can see some of Shakespeare's greatest plays in the faithfully reconstructed Globe theater. It's no surprise that London attracts influential artists from all musical genres; and you can listen in pubs, theaters, basements, arenas, churches, and parks.
Serious shopping and hearty meals
There's great shopping throughout the city. From high-end Harrods to cheap and cheerful Camden market, the city caters to every budget and taste. When it comes to food, the same rule applies, so whether you're after a comforting English breakfast, a reviving curry, or tea at the Ritz, you'll never run out of options.
The London Eye will give you a bird's-eye view of the river Thames looping through the capital, as well as the city's many parks. In a city of skyscrapers, buildings on top of buildings, and crowded public transport, London is thankfully protective of its beautiful green spaces. Find everything from rose garden to meadow and woodland in its eight Royal Parks, which offer free guided walks to explore the flora and fauna, and trace the city's royal, political, and literary associations. Hide