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London’s top attractions go beyond Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the London Eye. One trip to the capital and you’ll soon see it holds much more than you imagined.
You can check out some of the best ways to spend your time in London below...
With holidays by National Express, you can combine our great value coach travel with hotels and attractions in London. There is so much to see and do during a city break or short break in London, here is a suggested holiday itinerary:
Munch on pie and mash
A must for any foodie visiting London is trying one of its most-famous delicacies: pie and mash. From Rules in Covent Garden to Pieminister in Farringdon, you’ve got plenty of choice – just remember to save room for the big serving of traditional liquor that’ll be poured over the top.
Sip on afternoon tea at the British Museum
If you’re going to travel to London, you can’t leave without enjoying a spot of afternoon tea. Book yourself a table in the British Museum’s Great Court Restaurant. Situated under the iconic glass roof, it’s definitely one of the most memorable ways to eat scones, jam and clotted cream.
Take the family to the Rainforest Café
With its dazzling waterfalls, epic special effects and mass of animatronic animals, one minute you’ll be walking around London, the next you’ll feel like you’re in the jungle. Perfect for a family meal, the menu comprises a mix of American and international cuisine. Sample dishes such as steak, ribs, burgers, pastas and salads before trying one of the mouth-watering desserts.
The trendy bars of East London
A favourite amongst East London locals, Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes is a bar, event space, nightclub and gallery all rolled into a neon ball of fun. Plus, with plenty of quirky cocktails and specialist food nights, you'll be well fuelled for the party. If you’re partial to a spot of board-gaming, take your friends to Draughts, the board game café in Haggerston that turns into a lively bar at night. Perhaps you’re in the mood for a big night, in which case bars such as The Book Club and Queen of Hoxton are always buzzing with hip locals.
The edgy underground bars of Soho
The streets of Soho may be full of revellers, but you’ll find just as much going on underground. A top choice is Cahoots, the retro Tube-themed bar with an extensive drinks list that makes for a memorable night. Other favourites include the Experimental Cocktail Club, a speakeasy-style club hidden in Chinatown, and the range of gay pubs and bars that guarantee to deliver a fun, friendly atmosphere.
The big names in clubbing
Want to experience the giants of London’s club scene? Following the revival of Fabric, the capital’s premier venue for electronic music, there are tons of great nights to choose from at this superclub. For options south of the river, Ministry of Sound in Vauxhall and Corsica Studios in Elephant and Castle are much smaller, but home to an equally exciting mix of up-and-coming DJ and live music nights.
Camden Passage, Islington
Camden Passage is overflowing with cute cafés, independent boutiques and vintage shops. Pick up everything from exquisite one-offs to fun party outfits before browsing the antiques market for affordable furniture, curios, war memorabilia and various bric-a-brac.
Lovers of fashion and food will feel right at home here. Situated in an area that’s long been associated with traders’ markets, Spitalfields’ heritage as a place to unearth the best bargains sets it apart from most markets in London. Brilliant for a day’s browsing, haggling or just enjoying the amazing variety of food options.
Shopaholics are also well catered to, with the options at Westfield’s two London shopping centres in Stratford and White City just as good as Oxford or Regent Street. All the big brand high street stores are available alongside luxury retailers, while the mall also has an events calendar that’s sure to keep you entertained regardless of what you’re into.
London Designer Outlet
Offering some of the world's biggest brands, London Designer Outlet is the ideal place to find a hidden gem for less. Plus, with it being sat right next to Wembley Stadium, if you book event travel to Wembley with us you'll get an extra 10% discount at LDO. The savings have started already!
Just a short walk from Victoria Coach Station, Buckingham Palace is one of London’s most iconic landmarks and the official London residence of the Royals. It’s also one of the best spots to take a winning photo. Try to get there in time for the daily Changing of the Guard, one of the capital’s must-see spectacles – it starts around 11.30am and lasts 45 minutes.
Here you can spot a variety of famous landmarks, including Nelson’s Column, King George IV statue, St. Martins-in-the-Fields church and the fountains, while the more curious among you should pop in to the nearby National Gallery to find a world of exhibits ready to explore. If you’re walking from the station, there are plenty of places to enjoy a bite to eat along the way.
Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and more
It takes less than half an hour to walk from Victoria Coach Station to the iconic Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. You’ll be right next to the London Eye too, where you can take in views of the capital as far as the eye can see. There’s also Westminster Abbey, Winston Churchill’s statue, Downing Street and St James’s Park, all within walking distance.
Take them deer spotting in Richmond Park
Anyone who thinks of London as an urban jungle hasn’t explored the range of beautiful parks dotted around the city which are full of stunning wildlife. If the weather’s on your side, take your little ones for a day out in Richmond Park – it’s just a 16-minute train from Waterloo, and you may even spot a deer or three.
Let them loose in an interactive indoor city
The perfect rainy day activity, KidZania is like stepping into a whole new world – a world that’s run by children. Blending learning and fun, this indoor city in Westfield London lets kids try their hand at more than 60 real-life activities – one minute they could be mastering the art of chocolate-making in the factory, and the next assembling a car at the engineering centre.
Culture them with a range of family-friendly exhibitions
If museums are what you’re after, then we’ve got three that offer the ideal mix of education and family fun. In under half an hour’s walk from Victoria Station, you could be introducing your kids to the world’s greatest art and design collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, enjoying high-tech interactive displays and games at the Natural History Museum, or getting lost in a wealth of exhibits that are sure to excite and inspire all ages at the Science Museum.
With so much choice of things to do on a day out in London, it can be tricky knowing what to pack in. This is our whistle-stop tour of the capital for first-timers, but you may want to mix things up depending on what your interests are.
Make for the central sightseeing hub
If you’ve been dropped off at Victoria Coach Station, you’ll find some of the top attractions just around the corner. It takes less than 20 minutes to walk to Buckingham Palace, which is also right next to Green Park, St James’ Park and The Mall. Continue along the bottom of St James’ Park and you’ll reach Westminster and Big Ben, must-sees for anyone new to the city.
Dine on dumplings in Chinatown
After getting your tourist fix, wander up Whitehall (giving the prime minister a wave as you pass Downing Street) to Trafalgar Square. If your stomach can wait, pop into the National Portrait Gallery to ogle at some famous faces – but if you’re in need of sustenance, continue up Charing Cross Road until you reach the iconic Chinatown district. There, you’ll discover all manner of authentic Chinese eateries – the most popular spots include Four Seasons, Wong Kei and BaoziInn.
Wander the markets of East London
Spend your afternoon in one of the capital’s trendiest areas. Take the Tube (Central line from Tottenham Court Road or Bakerloo then District line from Piccadilly Circus) to get to Brick Lane market, where you can browse antiques, bric-a-brac and the best vintage clothing. You’re also right around the corner from the Old Spitalfields Market and the ever-hip Shoreditch High Street.
Make it back in time for some evening entertainment
London’s West End is arguably the liveliest part of the city at night. Head back into town and grab a quick bite in Covent Garden (home to top restaurants such as Balthazar, The Ivy and Dishoom) before catching a show. If theatre’s not your thing, there are great cinemas in the area, such as Picturehouse Central or Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square. Got time for a quick tipple before your coach home? End the night with a tasty cocktail in Soho.
St Dunstan in the East
This church in the City of London was bombed in The Blitz, but rather than being restored, the ruins were turned into a free public garden. Today, the stunning space is open to the public daily and is ideal for a picnic and, of course, some fantastic photographs.
Holland Park is beautiful in itself, but venture a little deeper and you’ll stumble across Kyoto Garden, gorgeous Japanese-style gardens full of exotic flowers, waterfalls and lanterns. Perfect for those looking for more tranquil weekend attractions.
Wilton’s is said to be the oldest music hall in London and still holds performances to this day. It may look slightly worn and weathered, but this only adds to the charm and beauty of the hall; a must-see for music fans and history buffs alike.
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