14 Apr 2012

touristy things to do in London

I received a request from a lovely reader asking for my recommendations for things tourists should do in London. In the coming weeks, I will also be doing posts on what current Londoners should also do and what students should do too. So, to kick things off; here are my five things tourists should be in London! My focus on these posts will be West London as that is the area I know the best.

Knightsbridge, South Kensington, White City and Notting Hill should be the main focus areas. My university is based in South Kensington so I know these areas quite well. Here are the highlights of West London:

Royal Albert Hall.

Even if you don't go inside; to admire the exterior architecture is free and not to mention awe-striking. In my first year, my halls were across Hyde Park but each day, I had to walk past the Royal Albert Hall to get to lectures and each time I did, I always noticed something new and different about it.

Westfield White City

A shopper's paradise with a good mix of high end, high street and cheaper retailers; as well as plenty of restaurants to choose from when your stomach starts to grumble. Not only this, there are random stalls throughout the shopping centre but it's so big, it may be worth leaving aside a whole day for it. Stores range from the normal Topshop, to higher end high street in NW3, Whistles, Reiss and also to technology shops, such as an Apple store and other department stores too such as House of Fraser and Debenhams.
If you're in the mood for sitting in the dark for a few hours, there's also a cinema and with the good transport links going into and out of it (in the form of two nearby tube stations - Wood Lane and White City - as well as numerous bus routes), there is no reason to not give this glasshouse a visit.

Notting Hill
Plenty of boutiques for window shopping and also many streets of pretty terraced town houses to stare at if you get bored of looking at things you can't afford or don't wish to part with cash for!

Harrods and Harvey Nichols
Knightsbridge gets to boast two department stores within walking distance of each other (literally about 100m apart!) in Harrods and Harvey Nicks. Harrods is definitely worth a look in as it really is shopaholic's paradise. Not only this, their food court is one to be rivalled - there is a champagne bar where you can guzzle oysters and sip bubbly on bar stools and feeling like a million dollars.

South Kensington boasts several museums within walking distance from its tube station. Most are free entry but you may have to pay for exhibitions that they have going on at the time. Museums include the Victoria and Albert museum, Natural History and the Science Museum.

The famous nightclub where Prince Harry has been spotted stumbling out of is actually in South Kensington! However, entry can be hard to come by with queues spotted on a regular basis, particularly on weekend nights.

Hyde Park

No entrance fee is required for this park and in the winter, it is home to Winter Wonderland - something that must be visited at night for a cup of mulled wine and a evening of fun at the German themed 'fair'.

A visit to the business area!

Canary Wharf is full of buildings that house businessmen and women on a daily basis. It's worth having a look at the architecture as although they seem to be glass buildings, it actually is a sight to behold!

Kensington Palace

Situated within Hyde Park, this is another place that can be seen during a day of lounging in the park or a day of casually strolling through it.

To the side of this park is a road, commonly referred to as London's 'Billionaires' Row'. I've walked through it at night and even then, there are policemen down that road! The road name is Kensington Palace Gardens for those interested and the houses along that road are very, very big and grand; plus the architecture is just stunning. I can only dream of living in a house like that and I can only imagine how amazing the high ceilings and period features would be in houses like those.

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So, these are my recommendations for places to go to in West London. I'm afraid I'm not very informed about the other (massive) parts of London, apart from the shopping hubs but West London does make for a very safe and great day out!

Any other questions, please do ask in the form of a comment or email :)

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