Tips for visiting London

Recommended stay: 1 week

Based on my travel experiences in London, these are my tips for:

There are often flight specials to London so check your travel agency regularly before booking.

My family and I stayed in Reading, about a 30-40 minute drive from London. We stayed here because before my family arrived, I was working in Reading. It's a nice area and much cheaper than anywhere in London.

Recommended type of transport: 
Combination of both public & hired car

Using public transport: 
In London, the best way to travel is by using the London Underground (Tube). All of London's main attractions have a tube stop located nearby. It is also a great city to walk around with many attractions being within walking distance of each other. Buses are also useful and the advantage over the train is that you can see more of London when you're travelling around.

Hiring a car: 
We hired a car and found this to be very useful, mainly because we were staying outside of London but also because it enabled us to visit other places in England (e.g. Stonehenge, Oxford & even to Cardiff, Wales) without paying vast amounts of money for a long train trip. Be sure to look online for parking areas in London - some are so much cheaper than others, and you'll want to save that money since it's generally expensive!

Restaurants & local food: 
British cuisine is hearty and delicious. Fish & chips with mushy peas is a classic, bangers & mash too, and we can't forget the pie (perfect to try at a football stadium). Restaurants are generally pricey, especially on the main roads of London - so go off the beaten track and you'll find that the prices are much less. I had a lovely Pork Belly & Mash (pictured below) at a pub called The Griffin in Reading.

Water & alcohol: 
A glass of wine is fairly expensive for the amount you receive. Also, locals prefer wine from other parts of Europe, meaning that it has to be imported. If it's alcohol you're looking for, rather buy a pint of beer!
The weather: 
As most people know, England weather is fairly grey. London does not receive as much rain as other parts of the country but in winter you may encounter quite a bit of it. Always have an umbrella handy and dress warm in winter.

Entrance fees & discounts: 
Entrance fees to attractions are expensive so plan beforehand which places you really want to visit. It is possible to buy a combo ticket for 2 attractions (where overall you would've received a discount) - these are called 'Attraction Passes'. Buying tickets online is almost always cheaper. Note that plenty of museums have no entrance fee, which is great for a day where you need to save money.

Useful websites: 

If you are visiting during the Christmas & New Year period, be prepared for large crowds of people at all of the main attractions (London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Harrods, etc.) - head out early to try and skip any queues. Going out early is also advantageous in winter as the sun sets early, just after 16h00.