When you’re planning a big trip away, you can often spend a lot of time stuck in the planning phase of everything. By this we mean that you are thinking about all the things that you want to do and see, as well as perhaps saving so you can have a special meal or to put towards tickets to a great show. The great thing about this is that you’ll have less to worry about when you actually get to your destination, but the bad thing is that you’re probably relying on a guide book too much to factor in some spontaneity.
If you plan too much before you go on holiday, so you run the risk of missing out on discovering places on a whim, you shouldn’t be too rigid about what you’re doing or seeing while you’re away, as there’s lots to be discovered, particularly in a city like London.
People live in this city for decades and are still constantly being surprised by all the things that the city has to offer. You’ll hear people say that they rarely leave their borough because London is so vast, but this is what is great about it as a visitor – you can explore it all!
We’ve gathered together some tips that are absolutely foolproof when it comes to going on a trip and having a great time, so all you have to do is relax and go exploring the fascinating sights of London.
Open your mind
We really can’t stress this point enough; London is home to some of the world’s most famous attractions, restaurants, galleries and museums, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t bizarre and extraordinary things for you to discover.
One of the best things about the city is that there are literally hundreds of cultures living together in the one place, which has a brilliant effect on all the arts, food and activities in the city. Open your mind to new cultures and different ways of thinking, by heading to a street-art tour, or trying a Russian cabaret show. You could even take a gamble and try a pestaurant – a new craze that serves bugs and insects in food or as a meal. It’s incredibly healthy!
Although the last one on the list might be a little bit out there, try not to dismiss things, as you never know – you might even enjoy it!
Interact with the city
It’s a huge misconception that Londoners don’t like talking to people; in fact they are just as interested in talking to people as anyone else in the world might be. It’s said that people who live in London particularly like to be left alone on the Tube, but you’ll be surprised just how often people strike up a conversation with you.
If you’re lost, don’t just turn to your smartphone to see where you are on Google Maps – ask someone. Perhaps stopping someone on the street might be a little daunting and if it is, simply duck into a shop or a hotel and they’ll be glad to help you. Most people in this city were new at some point, so they know how you feel.
You’re more likely to get lost in large, busy areas like Oxford Circus or in Piccadilly, so it’s lucky that The Shaftesbury Collection has a hotel in Piccadilly Circus. If you’re staying with us in the Piccadilly London West End, our front of house staff will be pleased to help you. If you’re just popping in for directions, we’ll still be glad to give you directions.
Another thing that London is famous for is its incredibly fast pace; people are busy running for meetings and grabbing buses. You might even find yourself picking up a new and faster walk when you get to the city and adapt to the fabric of life.
However, you have to remember that you’re on holiday and you’ll miss things if you’re hurrying around the whole time. Slow down and appreciate not only the places that you’ve come to see, but also the architecture of the buildings, the little restaurants down side streets and the way the London sky looks at night.
There are so many places to go and really have a look at the city and some of them you can even enjoy for free like Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park or Primrose Hill. The latter, in particular, provides the best free views of the city and its skyline.
Don’t forget, even Londoners slow down for dinner and there are masses of restaurants for you to enjoy during your evenings. If you feel like going fancy, try the Oxo Tower, which has a magnificent menu and is also located right by the Thames, so you can see all of London by night. Even better, take in the whole city by going on the London Eye at night; there’s something really special about seeing the city lit up as you’re slowly coasting around the wheel.