The ultimate guide to visiting London

Thursday, 22 September 2022

London is a haven for any traveller. Whether it’s your first time in the city or you’ve been visiting since you were a child, there is always something new to see.

Once you have seen all the classics like Big Ben, the London Eye, and Buckingham Palace, you will find that you have barely scratched the surface of what London has to offer. An eclectic restaurant scene, gorgeous parks, and a rich history to explore.

Of course, we have you covered when it comes to trains to London , but organising a trip to the capital will look completely different depending on who you’re going with. Whether it’s whisking your new beau away for the weekend, taking your family on a staycation, or planning a solo trip, your needs and priorities will differ. No matter who you’re planning on taking with you, we’ve compiled the best of the capital in one place, to make the whole process a bit easier. Take a look at our handy guides below, for ideas of where to stay and the best places to visit, explore and of course, eat.

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Days out for solo travellers

Solo trips to London are a fun way to see the capital. A real benefit is being able to explore the city at your own pace without having to worry about what anyone else thinks. As London is such a vibrant city with something for every solo traveller, so whether you want to get lost in a crowd, lose track of time in a museum or fancy a quiet stroll in a park, you can do it all in a single day in London.

Things to see and do

Daunt Books

Looking for somewhere to go on a rainy day? Exploring London’s selection of beautiful bookshops is a must for any bookworm. One of our absolute favourites has to be Daunt Books. With its breath-taking architecture and expansive collection of travel books, you could spend hours there. Located in the heart of Marylebone, it’s an opportunity to explore this part of town, where there is no shortage of excellent shopping options. Don’t forget to pick up one of Daunt’s iconic tote bags before you leave. Find out more about Daunt Books.

Word on the Water

Image © Word on the Water

Other great bookshops to discover in London include:

A trip to one of London’s unique cinemas

Who says that you can’t head over to the cinema on your own? The beauty of going to the cinema solo is you don’t have to share your popcorn with anyone and there will be no arguments about what film you can see.

Luckily, there’s a selection of one-of-a-kind cinemas in London which will make your experience a memorable one. Everyman Cinema (locations include Kings Cross, Canary Wharf and Baker Street) are boutique cinemas where you can get food delivered to your seat and most have a cocktail bar for you to choose your favourite tipple to enjoy while you watch your film. Also, historic cinemas such as The Electric Cinema (Edwardian) have plush armchairs and sofas.

Sofar Sounds

Image © Sofar Sounds

Sofar Sounds (Secret concerts across the city)

If you are a music fan and looking for something different to do during your trip to London, look no further than Sofar Sounds. Always a friendly atmosphere, and a good way to meet new people. You won’t know the exact location of the concert until 36 hours before the event. Ahead of your visit to the city, take a look at which events will be taking place during your stay. There are often multiple concerts a night to choose from, happening in different parts of the city. The concerts are often intimate and take place in quirky places such as shops and museums after hours or even in someone’s living room. Often these events are BYOB (‘bring your own booze’) so you can save some pennies on buying drinks out. It is usually upcoming artists who perform, and you will get to see 2 or three at each concert. Big artists such as Billie Eilish, Lianne La Havas and Hozier have graced the Sofar Sounds stage in recent years. Find out more about Sofar Sounds.

Where to eat

London is a perfect place for people watching too – sit back and watch the world go by at any of these great cafes and restaurants.


One of the best ways to dine out alone is a counter-top bar setting, and Bao Fitzrovia is one of our favourite places in the city to get bao. You can enjoy a selection of small plates and delectable steamed Asian buns. A fabulous place to eat delicious food, sip a cocktail and gaze at passers-by. Find out more about Bao.

Maltby Street Market

Image © Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market

This is one of the most exciting street food markets in all of London, and a must-visit for any foodie. Make your way over to Bermondsey, just South of the river to experience the best-grilled cheese sandwich, as well as the crème de la crème of everything from gyozas to scotch eggs. Our one tip is to try and get there nice and early as the locals flock to this market every week. Only open on weekends. Find out more about Maltby Street Market.

Temper City

If you are a fan of steak, cocktails and tacos, we have just the place for you. Temper City is another place for exquisite counter-top dining in East London. With the drama of an ‘open kitchen’, you can watch the chefs prepare their gorgeous food right on the open fire. Find out more about Temper City.

Where to stay

Leman Locke

Fondly described as an ‘aparthotel’, this East London gem is a great option for any solo traveller. Essentially a modern boutique hotel, with a well-equipped kitchen and a super cosy sofa and TV in each room, you will feel right at home. In many ways, you will be getting a mini studio flat for the cost of a hotel room, which comes in handy if you want to cook some of your meals during your stay. The floor-to-ceiling windows will also give you impressive views of the city and there is also a trendy café and restaurant on-site meaning you won’t have to go far for a good cup of coffee.

Hub Spitalfields

This hotel is located right in the heart of Brick Lane and only a short walk from Liverpool Street station. With reasonable prices and minimalistic rooms, this is perfect for any short trip to London. You will be greeted by touchscreen controls in your room which let you adjust the lighting and temperature in the cleverly designed room.


This centrally located hotel is right next to Trafalgar Square, which means you won’t be far from any of the action while staying in London. The concept of this hotel is to connect travellers from all over the world, so if you are up socialising on your trip, this is a great spot to consider. Page8 offers a communal living room space to encourage conversation, perfect for solo travellers looking to meet some friends. The rooms themselves are all charismatic and comfortable, with details such as wall-mounted TVs and Marshall speakers. There is even a slick rooftop bar and restaurant for you to enjoy during your stay.

The Hoxton Shoreditch

At The Hoxton Shoreditch, you’re seconds away from Shoreditch’s street art and cool bars. The rooms are inspired by industrial design and are the perfect place to relax after a long day sightseeing.

Don’t forget to check out our other recommendations below, which are also suited for any solo travellers.

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Days out for couples

Whether it’s a crisp winter morning or a hazy summer evening, you might be surprised at how romantic London can be. Take a look at our recommendations to inject your staycation with some lurrrve.

Things to see and do

Theatre Tickets

There’s nothing quite like a trip to the theatre in London. With a wide range of fantastic shows to choose from, it’s easy to forget there’s other things to do in the capital! With a wide range of fantastic shows to watch, you can be sure you and your partner will find something perfect for both of you. It's also worth noting, if you book a theatre or attraction ticket direct with EMR, you’ll get 10% of your journey with us. Find out more about theatre and attraction tickets.

Little Venice

Little Venice

A series of tree-lined canals run from Hyde Park to Warwick Avenue, perfect for a romantic afternoon stroll. The whole walk takes an hour, and you might even see some animals from afar at London Zoo. There are plenty of places to stop and have a drink or a bite to eat too. If you fancy it, you can even take a ride on a narrow boat. Find out more about Little Venice.

Sky Garden

If you haven’t been to Sky Garden at sunset, you’re in for a treat. With gorgeous views, cocktails, and an open-air terrace, you will feel like you’re floating on a cloud. You will need to book this in advance (tickets are free) but once you are up there you’ll find an exquisite view of London’s skyline, a great café and unique bars. It’s one of the most relaxing in central London, there with trees and plants everywhere, so it truly does feel like an oasis 155m above the city. Book your tickets to Sky Garden.

Where to eat

Clos Maggiore

For a romantic setting, Clos Maggiore is a top spot for a candlelit dinner with outstanding French-influenced cuisine and set in a French-styled oasis in the center of Covent Garden. Find out more about Clos Maggiore.

Delamina East

This gorgeous restaurant near Spitalfields Market serves healthy, hearty Eastern Mediterranean dishes, alongside a selection of tasty cocktails. Think lots of fresh ingredients and sharing plates. Our recommendation is to get the whole ‘charred cauliflower, you won’t regret it. Find out more about Delamina East.

Le Pont De La Tour Terrace

Image © Le Pont De La Tour

Le Pont De La Tour

This grand French brasserie just screams ‘date night’. If you manage to nab a table on the terrace, you’ll be treated to a breath-taking view of Tower Bridge and the river. If you’re looking to impress your date, this is definitely the place. The menus include a strong selection of seafood and an extensive wine list. It’s a great place to celebrate a special occasion. Find out more about Le Pont De La Tour.

Gloria Trattoria

If you’re craving some irresistible Italian food, in a sultry setting, look no further than this Hackney restaurant. You can get a carbonara mixed inside a whole wheel of pecorino, pizza, burrata, lasagne, the list goes on but don’t forget to leave room for dessert! You will need to make a booking as this place is really popular. Find out more about Gloria Trattoria.

Where to stay

Mondrian Shoreditch

Rooftop pool? Check. Stylish rooms? Check. Paella and Sangria? Check. This new East-London haunt is a dream for any couple wanting a proper city break. You can have your breakfast by the pool in the morning, go for a quick dip, explore Shoreditch during the day, and then head back to the hotel in the evening for a fabulous Andalusian dinner. You can’t go wrong.

The Standard

Image © The Standard

The Standard

This is a really special place. Located right opposite Kings Cross station, you’ll be right in the heart of the city for your romantic getaway. There is a real sociable vibe across the hotel, with a few bars on site and incredibly chic rooms with sprawling views of the city. Don’t forget to check out the amazing Mexican Restaurant, Decimo, on the top floor. Even if you don’t stay here, just wander by on your trip to the capital to marvel at the coolest lift you have ever seen, shaped like a red capsule.

Artist Residence Pimlico

If you are looking for somewhere peaceful to lay your head after a busy day in the hustle and bustle of London, we love the Artist Residence in Pimlico. Located on a quiet street, just around the corner from Sloane Square, this charming boutique hotel does not disappoint. There are just ten bedrooms in the whole hotel, so this is no party hotel– but there is a moody underground bar where all cocktails are named after movies. You will find contemporary art on every corner and a great chilled vibe throughout.

The Shangri-La hotel

For a bit of luxury, the Shangri-La hotel makes for an impressive stay, located in the iconic Shard building with rooms having incredible views of the city.

The Exhibitionist Hotel

If you’re looking for something trendy, The Exhibitionist Hotel is part art gallery, part boutique hotel located in a beautifully restored 18th century townhouse in Kensington.

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Days out for groups of friends

London is a great place to explore if you’re travelling with a group of friends. With plenty of activities suitable for small and large groups, as well as plenty of fantastic places to eat, you can rest assured there will be something for every member of your group when visiting the capital.

Things to see and do

God's Own Junkyard

God’s Own Junkyard

God’s Own Junkyard is a private collection of all things neon curated by the late Christopher Bracey. It’s an irresistible ‘Instagram opportunity’ and there are even bars and cafes on site where you can enjoy a drink or two. We recommend not looking at too many photos before you visit, it’s so much better to see it in real life! Find out more about God's Own Junkyard.

Kayaking on the Thames

Kayaking on the Thames

Not many people know you can kayak down London’s iconic Thames, but it’s a rather interesting way to take a tour of London’s most beloved landmark. The route even takes you under Tower Bridge. With single or double kayaks available, this is suitable for groups of any size, and beginners are welcome. Find out more about kayaking on the Thames.

Where to eat

Flesh and Buns

This is modern Japanese food at its finest, and the perfect place to bring a group of mates. Lots of the food is built to share, so you can get a large plate of ribs or a crispy duck leg and you can order steamed buns and sauces to create the perfect bao bun. There is also a selection of tasty small plates to try. If bao isn’t your thing, why not give their sushi a go? If you have room for dessert, give their s’mores a go, it’s worth a try– you’ll get to roast your marshmallows yourself on an open flame at your table. Find out more about Flesh and Buns.

Seven Dials Street Food Market

Image © Seven Dials Street Food Market

Seven Dials Street Food Market

The newest food market to the ever-growing street food scene in London, Seven Dials has an undeniable buzz. You’ll be able to choose from fried chicken, NY-style pizzas, curries, and even a cheese bar. You’ll find a couple of bars serving up beer and cocktails throughout the night too, so this is a great place to both start or end your night. Find out more about Seven Dials Street Food Market.

Rosa’s Thai

Rosa’s Thai has multiple locations across the city and serves consistently great Thai food. You’ll find crowd pleasers like chicken pad thai and also some interesting numbers like pumpkin crackers, rather than the usual prawn. Everything served here is reasonably priced, and there’s something to suit everyone’s palate. Find out more about Rosa's Thai.

Where to Stay

When you’re travelling in a group, renting an Airbnb comes second to none. You will have a living/communal space to hang out in the mornings and before you sleep, and it usually works out cheaper than everyone having to rent a hotel room. Luckily, London has no shortage of excellent Airbnbs. We have compiled our favourites for groups of all sizes below:

Central London Apartment

Sleeps 7
Book Central London Apartment.

Harrow Apartment

Sleeps 9
Book Harrow Apartment.

Houseboat in Tower Bridge

Sleeps 10
Book Houseboat in Tower Bridge.

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Days out for families

Getting out and about with the whole family can be challenging, especially when you have children of different ages. Thankfully London offers a wide range of activities that are suitable for younger children, all the way through to teenagers. So, if you're looking for an action-packed couple of days away with your little ones, London caters exceptionally well for children of all ages.

For family friendly adventures, head over to the South Bank of the River Thames and discover amazing marine life at SEA LIFE London Aquarium or meet all your favourite Shrek characters at the immersive Shrek’s Adventure! London inspired by the hit DreamWorks film. Another family favourite is Madame Tussauds, where you can get up close and personal with lifelike figures of iconic celebrities.

Things to see and do

The Cartoon Museum

Who knew there was an entire museum dedicated to cartoons? The museum offers plenty of workshops for older kids during the school holidays, meaning they can draw their cartoons after they have been inspired and seen many amazing British cartoonists across the different exhibitions. Find out more about The Cartoon Museum.

ArcelorMittal Orbit

Image © ArcelorMittal Orbit

Slide down the ArcelorMittal Orbit

Fancy taking a ride on the tallest tunnel slide in the world? You will find it at the Olympic Park in Stratford. Kids and adults will love zooming down this 178m slide which is tucked in between the ArcelorMittal Orbit’s iconic loops. If you manage to remember to peek outside while sliding down, you might catch some incredible views of London’s iconic skyline too. Find out more about the ArcelorMittal Orbit.

Kew Gardens

There’s plenty for kids to explore at the stunning botanic garden, Kew Gardens. From climbing and sliding in the ‘Children’s Garden’ to learning something new at the various interactive installations across the site, your children will have no shortage of things to see and do while at Kew. At Christmas, Kew also hosts unforgettable light installations. Find out more about Kew Gardens.

Leadenhall Market

Leadenhall Market

Hidden away on Gracechurch Street, you’ll find this stunning indoor market, filled to the brim with shops and restaurants. It’s a great refuge from the rain and a great destination for any hungry family who needs a break from the big city. The market also hosts free events frequently, so who knows, you might stumble upon a performance or show when you next go. Harry Potter fans will recognise this as the filming location of the entrance to Diagon Alley. Find out more about Leadenhall Market.

The Postal Museum and Mail Rail

Ever fancied learning about Britain’s postal service over the past 500 years? We have the place for you. You can journey back in time and take a ride on a miniature train (which used to transport mail!) in some of the original tunnels of the underground railway of Royal Mail. There’s something for family members of all ages to enjoy, and plenty to learn too. Find out more about The Postal Museum and Mail Rail.

Where to eat

Where the Pancakes Are

If everyone needs a sugar boost after a day of sightseeing, you can’t go wrong with a stack of pancakes. Where the Pancakes Are in Fitzrovia will hit the spot. After all, what child doesn’t love pancakes? Here, you’ll find an irresistible selection of sweet and savoury options for the whole family. Find out more about Where the Pancakes Are.

Heddon Street Kitchen ice cream bar

Image © Heddon Street Kitchen

Heddon Street Kitchen

This laid-back brasserie just off Regent Street has something for everyone. An impressive cocktail list for the grown-ups and plenty of classic British food options which will tempt even the fussiest of eaters. It’s also lovely and spacious, meaning there’s plenty of room for prams and buggies. But the main event is the epic ice cream bar. Your kids will love building their perfect ice cream with all the different toppings. Find out more about Heddon Street Kitchen.

All-Star Lanes

Right in the middle of Brick Lane, you’ll find All Star Lanes, a fun-packed American-style diner which also doubled up as a retro bowling alley. The menu includes classic diner options like burgers and mac ‘n’ cheese but also includes more adventurous options like grilled swordfish. All in all, this place is great for adults and kids alike, and of course, you can book yourselves a lane to bowl before or after your meal the tire the kids out before bed. Find out more about All-Star Lanes.

Where to stay

100 Queen’s Gate

Located in South Kensington, their family-friendly Little Explorers Package gives you adjoining rooms, food and drink credits, kids sweet treat vouchers and will be greeted with a teddy bear and an explorer’s backpack full of goodies. The hotel is a short walk to Science Museum, Natural History Museum and the V&A Museum – perfect for a family staycation.

The Tower Hotel

Looking directly onto London’s Tower Bridge, The Tower Hotel is in a prime location to explore everything London has to offer with all the family. Despite it’s fantastic location, it’s relatively cheap to stay here if you book early.

The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences

This hotel has understood the assignment when it comes to ‘family-friendly'. Rooms have kitchens which are invaluable when you have young kids and toddlers. This fab family-friendly hotel has a kids’ concierge service that can arrange for your kids’ favourite snacks and films to be ready in your room. It is in within walking distance from Hyde Park and the hotel even offers bikes and kites for you to rent for the day in the surrounding Royal parks. Finally, the hotel has a fantastic team of Nannies and Babysitters on hand to look after your children if you decide to have a spontaneous night out.

Wake up Next to the Lions at London Zoo

London Zoo has nine cosy cabins located in the Land of the Lions. You will get a private tour of the view and get to see all the animals after hours. Lodges are all themed which animal-obsessed kids will appreciate. The unique overnight experience also includes dinner and breakfast, plus entrance to the zoo for 2 days on either side of your stay. Book ZSL London Zoo Lodges.

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