weekend in london
Weekend in London
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- Great value tickets for every budget
Weekend in London
Sitting at the gateway to Europe, London's the perfect place for a weekend away.
Hear the clock strike at Big Ben, see the soldiers at Buckingham Palace, watch your neck at the Tower of London or head to the top of St Paul's for jaw-dropping views.
Boasting some of the world's most iconic museums and art galleries, you'll be spoilt for choice in London.
Will you walk among the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum or get experimental at the Science Museum, take in a Titian at the National Gallery or marvel at the modernists at the Tate Modern?
Want to know more about London before you book? Need some inspiration for your next weekend away? Or just looking for unusual places you've not explored before?
Just follow our guide, created for us by the local experts at Visit London.
What to see
Many of London's iconic landmarks such as the Coca-Cola London Eye and the Tate Modern stand on the banks of the Thames. Look a little closer though and between the big names you'll find a few hidden gems.
Tucked away on the South Bank, Gabriel's Wharf is a haven for independent shops, cafés and bars, while further downstream you'll find the elegant, yacht-lined St Katharine Docks.
Here, you can take in a views of Tower Bridge from one of the stylish marina-side restaurants or step aboard a party boat.
If it's nature you're after, venture west and further upstream to find pretty patches of green, such as the Chelsea Physic Garden, the second oldest botanic garden of its kind in England, and Holland Park with its resident peacocks.
Of course there's more to London than the Thames, so head south of the river to discover some of the lesser-known stops on the city's culture trail: from the impressive natural history and anthropological exhibits at the Horniman Museum, to works by Rembrandt, Gainsborough and Canaletto at Dulwich Picture Gallery.
To blow away the cobwebs, stretch your legs with a gentle climb up Primrose Hill, and be rewarded with an unbeatable panoramic view of London's skyline.
When to visit
London has a busy events calendar, with something for everyone, whatever the season.
See the city in bloom when the lawns at Kew Gardens are covered in a carpet of spring flowers, and make the most of the milder weather with a turn around one of the city's boating lakes.
The streets of west London come alive with calypso every August for the Notting Hill Carnival, while the warm, light evenings are perfect for catching a classic film at the outdoor Summer Screen at Somerset House or enjoying a sundowner at a rooftop bar.
As the trees begin to turn from green to gold, Blackheath makes a beautiful backdrop for wrapping up warm and watching fireworks illuminate the sky for Bonfire Night.
After a day of Christmas shopping, nothing beats watching the darkness draw in and the city light up over a glass of mulled wine at a festive pop-up bar.
How much to spend
Whatever your budget, there are lots of ways to enjoy a weekend in London. See the city on a shoestring, indulge in a luxury weekend or anything in between.
- Make the most of the free museums
- Buy sightseeing passes in advance
- Stay a little further from the centre of the city
- Use an Oyster card or contactless payment on tubes and buses
- Walk shorter distances between attractions
- Explore the city's Michelin-starred restaurants
- Book a boutique hotel for a more bespoke stay
- Head to Knightsbridge to browse in flagship stores such as Harrods and Harvey Nichols
What to eat
You really can get the world on a plate in London and there are always new and exciting food experiences to try from around the globe.
Eat like a Londoner and try delicious street food from one of the city's thriving markets or tuck into a British classic: traditional fish and chips.
If you prefer a daintier lunch, it doesn't get more British than afternoon tea at one of the capital's most elegant establishments like Fortnum & Mason or the Ritz.
For something a bit quirkier, tuck in to your tea atop a vintage double-decker bus.
Follow it with something stronger with a tipple from one of London's unusual bars such as the East London Liquor Company, where the spirits are distilled on site.
Where to go
Picture-perfect Neal's Yard in Covent Garden is a miniature shopping destination in itself, while the bustling Brick Lane market in East London is a great place to pick up something unique to take home.
Islington's a popular spot for spending a lazy morning in the fashionable cafés that line Camden Passage.
For those in search of a quiet day out, leafy Richmond to the west or the maritime Greenwich to the east are both just a short hop from the city.
If you fancy venturing further afield, discover somewhere different by exploring London's outer districts, such as Hampstead, Tooting or Wimbledon.
How to get around
Central London's quite compact, so you're never more than a few underground stops or a short walk from where you want to be.
Oyster cards and contactless payment are the most cost-effective and convenient way to hop on and off the tube and buses.
If you'd rather travel at a more leisurely pace, try a river cruise down the Thames or meet a local guide to share their knowledge on a cycling or walking tour.
Go to visitlondon.com for more ideas and start planning your weekend in London.
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*Each way, based on a return journey. Tickets at this fare are only available for travel (according to your local departure time):
- between midday and midnight on a Monday
- anytime on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday
- between midday and midnight on a Saturday.
Subject to availability at the time of booking.