tips-and-inspiration London trip: What to do and where to go

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London trip: What to do and where to go

London, England. Whether you're a first-timer or it’s your 7th visit, a weekend is never enough. Here are the attractions and sightseeing that you shouldn’t miss in London - לונדון

London – לונדון, the capital of the UK has so much to offer. Unlike the song of Chava Alberstein, London is waiting for you, and you won’t be alone! You can always find hidden spots and discover new things, even if it’s not your first time. Take a look at the must do’s, free activities, and stunning parks we’ve gathered here. Grab a cup of tea, or beer, book flights to London, and have a lovely weekend in the city!

1. Camden Market

Find bargains at Camden Market London - לונדון
Find bargains at Camden Market London – לונדון

Camden Market is a shopping paradise, one of London’s most famous spots, located in the northwest of the city. What started off as a small arts and crafts fair in the backyard of Dingwalls, became the largest market in London – לונדון. Originally it was open on Sundays only, but its popularity grew fast, and today Camden Market is open seven days a week. You’ll find here not only the center of the alternative scene of London but also artists who exhibit and offer their talent and their works. Try some fantastic street food and shop for bargains of all kinds, from clothes and jewelry to the coolest souvenirs the British capital has to offer. Also, close by is Primrose Hill, a beautiful park that, thanks to its location, overlooks London. 

2. Shakespeare’s Globe and the South Bank

The restored Shakespeare's Globe Theater
The restored Shakespeare’s Globe Theater

If you want to get a taste of the art and culture scene during your vacation in London – לונדון, plan a trip to the city’s South Bank. The trendy district of the River Thames around London Bridge has everything you would expect from a real cultural district. Theaters, galleries, boutiques, chic restaurants, cozy cafes, and of course the exceptional highlight of the area: the original 17th century inspired Globe Theater. William Shakespeare once worked in this theater and performed his plays. The original Globe theater was built in 1599, destroyed by fire in 1613, rebuilt in 1614, and demolished in 1644. In 1997 it was rebuilt as Shakespeare’s Globe, and the intriguing wood construction looks precisely as it did hundreds of years ago. 

3. Harry Potter Wizarding World London – לונדון

Platform  9 ¾  in London, לונדון
Platform 9 ¾ in London, לונדון

Harry Potter fans, pay attention! London offers you the largest Harry Potter exhibitions worldwide. The Making of Harry Potter allows you to visit the sets of the famous film series. It includes iconic venues such as the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office, or Professor Snape’s Potions classroom. Take a broom ride or try some delicious butterbeer ice cream. Even if you’ve been there before, you should come back since the exhibitions are expanding and there’s always something new. For example, during the winter season of 2019-2020, you can explore Hogwarts in the snow. Check the website for other special events. 

Tip: Are you on a limited budget? Visit Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross station, built especially for Harry Potter fans. You can recognize the platform by its sign and the trolley halfway in the wall. 

4. The Greenwich Observatory and the Zero Meridian

Although Greenwich belongs to London, it’s a bit outside of the popular tourist areas in the city center. The best way to reach the southeastern district, or Borough, as the Londoners say, is by ferry. You can combine the trip with one of the exciting city cruises along the Thames. From the dock, at Greenwich Pier, you can expect a pleasant walk of 15-20  minutes through a beautiful park before you reach the actual observatory, including a great view over southern London. Here you can learn more about the stars as well as cartography, and also admire the zero meridian itself – the point from which latitudes of our planet are measured. There’s one more thing to look at here: the clock of the Royal Observatory Greenwich. 

5. Windsor Castle

The stunning views of Windsor Castle, London
The stunning views of Windsor Castle, London

A visit to the British Capital is never complete without the Royals! Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey are among the “must visit” for first-timers in London – לונדון. But we can highly recommend that you take the 30 km journey west and visit the impressive Windsor Castle. The castle still serves as the residence of Queen Elizabeth II and her family. The mighty castle comprises a fortress, a palace, and even a small town and covers a total of 5.3 hectares (53 Dunams), making it the largest inhabited castle in the world. Founded in the 11th century by William the Conqueror, it has since served as a lodging for a total of 39 kings and queens. With a few exceptions, the castle can be visited year-round, giving a unique insight into the royal life of the British royals and the history of the monarchy.

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6. The British Museum & more museums

How about a day of culture in London’s many free museums? The British Museum offers around eight million pieces as part of its permanent and freely accessible collection. Also, there are always short-term special exhibitions. Not only the displays are impressive, but the building itself also fascinates with its unique architecture. The first time you enter the vast, round reading room with a dome roof, the biggest reading rate is guaranteed. In addition to the British Museum, London also offers many other free museums and exhibitions, such as the National Gallery, the Bank of England Museum, the British Postal Museum, or the Imperial War Museum.

7. Hyde Park and Royal Parks London

London might be an industrial city, yet it still has plenty of gardens, parks, and trees. There’s nothing like taking a long walk through one of the Royal Parks, especially the famous Hyde Park. Located in the heart of the city and easily accessible by public transport, Hyde Park offers quiet areas, between beautifully landscaped flower beds and fountains. If the sun is out, you can enjoy a picnic while watching the squirrels frolicking in droves. 

8. Alternative London Walking Tour

Are you tired of the regular “must-visit” lists? Do you like free stuff? Then how about exploring the little-known areas of the city? The Alternative London Walking Tour could be for you! The free walking tour lasts 2-3 hours and it includes: street art and graffiti, Banksy and many other street artists, Insight into underground and alternative London culture, East End, the city’s best kept secrets, art and music culture, stories of London’s underground and criminal past, stories and locations of Jack the Ripper’s murders, Oddities and fun facts, cool bars, cafes and markets, cheap eats, and insider’s knowledge. 

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9. Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square London - לונדון
Trafalgar Square London – לונדון

The famous and popular לונדון London Square has several attractions, and there are always smaller and larger events. From demonstrations to celebrations, pretty much everything can happen here. As an important transportation hub, it can also be easily reached by public transport. There are several statues and fountains on the main square, the Nelson Column in honor of Admiral Nelson is by far the most striking. Visitors can also head straight from Trafalgar Square to the National Gallery, or to Piccadilly Circus and Soho.

10. Elizabeth Tower, Big Ben & Palace of Westminster

Big Ben
Big Ben

Be sure to check out one of London’s most iconic landmarks. Although Big Ben actually meant to be the bell in Elizabeth Tower, the name is often used for the entire tower in the Palace of Westminster. Standing more than 96 meters high, it sits majestically beside the River Thames and is only accessible to visitors resident in the United Kingdom. But since you can see the Elizabeth Tower up close, you do not necessarily have to go in there. And since the London Eye is right on the opposite bank of the river, you can even see it from a bird’s eye view. Just keep in mind that Big Ben is under restoration work until 2021, so the view is limited.

11. Westminster Abbey

The breathtaking Westminster Abbey, London - לונדון
The breathtaking Westminster Abbey, London – לונדון

Westminster Abbey in London לונדון is just next to the Palace of Westminster. This is the place where the British monarchs are crowned and partially buried. Founded back in 960, it was more than 1,000 years in the middle of British history. Westminster Abbey is open to visitors daily during the week and on Saturdays unless a public holiday is celebrated. The abbey offers everything that other attractions have: a café with a terrace where you can enjoy the classic British afternoon tea, a souvenir shop and special visitor tours.

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12. Tower of London & Tower Bridge

Tower of London and London Bridge
Tower of London and London Bridge

The Tower Bridge is the most imposing of all London – לונדון bridges and was built from 1886 to 1894. If you want to learn more about the bridge, check out the Tower Bridge Exhibition housed in the towers. You can also take a look at the Thames from the high corridor that connects the two towers. Once inside, there is so much to discover: the royal crown jewels – still worn by the Queen regularly, the White Tower – the oldest part of the Tower of London, the ravens of the Tower, the medieval palace and more. In addition, events and various activities are continually taking place here.

13. Hampstead Heath Ponds

If you’re lucky enough to witness a warm sunny day, go for a swim and Hampstead Heath Ponds. It’s a vast area with playgrounds, swimming ponds, and meadows for picnics, families, or romantic couples. Take a view of London’s skyline from Parliament Hill, then enjoy one of the three open-air swimming ponds: one for men, one for women, and a mixed one. Take the tube to Kentish Town and walk about 10 minutes to the park. Grab a cup of coffee at one of the little cafes here, and enjoy some nature in the city of London – לונדון.

Important Info about London – לונדון

Country 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿, 🇬🇧England, the United Kingdom – אנגליה, בריטניה
Currency 💷British Pound – £
Currency exchange 💱1 GBP ~ 4.30 ILS
Flight time from TLV Airport4:35 hours
Average temperatures in July-August 🌞21-22
Average temperatures in December-February ⛄3-7