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From the Queen’s home at Buckingham Palace, to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre; from the giant flagship stores on Oxford Street, to the boutiques of Covent Garden; from the natural beauty of Hyde Park, to the manmade majesty of Tower Bridge: London is a mass of contrasts and surprises, with something for shoppers, foodies and art lovers alike.
There’s a hotel room out there for you as well. In fact, with more than 100,000 hotels in London, there are hundreds of rooms to match both your budget and your style. So, whether it’s a romantic boutique suite for two or a functional family room for four, with the super search and price-comparison powers of TravelSupermarket, you can create your London stay, your way.
You’ve checked in, admired the view, given the mattress a little test bounce. Now what? Let’s Travel Super and see the best bits of London from your great-value hotel.
Popular sights in this tantalising city include Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, and the waxworks of Madame Tussauds.
There is also a wonderful array of galleries and museums, including the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Tate Modern and the National Portrait Gallery. And don’t forget the dozens of theatres, where world-famous actors take to the stage.
Flashing the plastic is popular in London too. Fashionistas from across the globe pour into the city’s boutiques to pick up designer threads (and shoes, and accessories, and handbags...), while High Street lovers head to Oxford Street and Westfield London.
And there’s plenty more to dazzle and delight (see below for more ideas of what to see in London).
If you arrive by air, you are likely to land at one of five airports that serve the capital: Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW), Stansted (STN), Luton (LTN) and London City (LCY). Train services between the airports and London are good and, with a great transport network of buses and underground trains, the sights of the capital are within easy reach from anywhere in the central London area.
Just one search on TravelSupermarket unlocks the doors to the best hotels. So relax travel-planning superhero! You’ve arrived at the only destination you need to compare and book cheap accommodation in London.
Thousands of London hotels, you say. We say, never fear! TravelSupermarket is here to take the hassle out of finding a place to stay...
As Europe’s biggest city, it's no surprise that the choice of accommodation in London is huge and potentially baffling.
There are luxury hotels in London city centre that cost thousands of pounds a night. There are budget B&Bs run by lovely old ladies. There are faceless chains where bland rooms and reasonable prices balance out well. There are serviced apartments in which you can create your very own London home, even if just for a few nights. There are business hotels with sky-high rates mid-week, and bargain breaks at the weekend. There are waterside pads at decent prices at Docklands. There are boutique hotels with abundant style.
Yep, there is something for everyone in the UK capital, that's for sure. It's just a matter of knowing where to stay.
The most central area for tourists is the West End, otherwise known as Theatreland, which covers Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street and Leicester Square.
The area of Bloomsbury, a little further north, offers good budget hotel options, while Mayfair, Marble Arch and Regent Street are home to many of London's luxury hotels and five-star hotels.
Knightsbridge and Kensington boast shopping and green spaces and offer a number of surprisingly affordable mid-range hotels. Conference visitors at the nearby centres of Earls Court and Olympia will appreciate these hotels, while delegates at ExCel should stay in Docklands hotels, or those a little further away in East London.
The Barbican, Europe's biggest multi-arts venue and part of the City of London, can be a cheaper choice for weekend breaks in business hotels.
But sports fans will want to stay near the football action at Wembley, in northwest London, or close to Twickenham Stadium in the southwest for rugby thrills. Those going to watch a concert at the O2, meanwhile, should head southeast, to areas such as Greenwich.
London hotels can be expensive, but it's worth staying at the heart of the action. Compare hotels on TravelSupermarket to find your ideal room and book well ahead to secure the lowest prices. With our handy sliders and filters you can narrow your search by star rating, guest rating, location, price, and facilities that matter to you (such as free WiFi or a swimming pool).
When you’ve found the right place at the right price, go straight to the provider to book or save the deal into My Suitcase. TravelSupermarket’s clever planning tool lets you create trips, share plans and track price changes, so you need never miss a deal again.
For short breaks in London, it pays to search wider, plan smarter and Travel Super with TravelSupermarket.
One of the world’s most important cities, London captivates with its vast offering of historic and modern attractions…
Top five attractions
Natural History Museum
A wonderful day out for all the family; you’ll enjoy some of the best animal collections in the world. Don’t miss the dinosaur exhibition, which makes this museum one of the most fascinating you’ll ever visit.
The London Eye
Hop aboard one of the 32 pods on the world’s highest observation wheel for 30 minutes of amazing views of this sprawling city.
Proudly standing by the Thames and free to enter, this formidable former power station dominates the skyline and dictates the trends of modern art throughout the world. There’s always a temporary exhibition by a great modern artist, as well as many thought-provoking works by up-and-coming names.
This is one of the largest parks in London and a fabulous green space that was once home to the Crystal Palace, the centrepiece of the 1851 Great Exhibition. Take a stroll, row a boat, have a picnic – the park is there for all to enjoy.
Tower of London
It’s been the scene of history-making misery for centuries, but this famous landmark is now a brilliant tourist attraction. See the Crown Jewels, the executioner’s room, the mini zoo and even the King’s bedchamber.
London is alive with events throughout the year. Here are just three of the top annual events on London's packed cultural calendar…
Trooping the Colour; June: Celebrate the Queen's official birthday in summer (her actual birthday is in April) with this ceremonial feast for the eyes in The Mall. The country's troops have shown their regimental colours for the reigning monarch since the 17th century and they always do it in summer - regardless of the monarch's actual birthday - in the hope of a warm, sunny day.
Notting Hill Carnival; August Bank Holiday: A spectacular explosion of colourful costumes shimmies its way through the streets of cosmopolitan Notting Hill, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The carnival has roots tracing back to 1959 and these days it is the second biggest street carnival in the world (behind Rio).
Lord Mayor's Show; November: In a country of history and tradition, this annual London event dates back an impressive near-500 years, to 1535. Pomp and pageantry reign, as the new Lord Mayor of London is welcomed into the ancient role.
London can be an expensive place to visit, but with a bit of know-how you can still have a great time on a budget. We asked London expert, Peter Carty, for his top tips for keeping costs down.
For discounted tickets to West End shows visit the TKTS booth in Leicester Square. You can get half-price tickets on the day for some performances, as well as discounts on advance tickets.
If live music is your thing, you can normally find a free concert. There’s free classical music at lunchtimes in churches, including St Martin-in-the-Fields. The Southbank Centre has a variety of free performances, while pubs in Camden and Shoreditch often host free gigs by up-and-coming bands.
Some of London’s cheapest beer and meals (including breakfasts) come courtesy of the JD Wetherspoon pub chain, and mostly they are family-friendly venues. If you want to go slightly upmarket, select a Samuel Smith’s pub. There are more than 30 of them, often housed in historic buildings, and their prices are as refreshing as their beverages.
All of London’s main museums and art galleries are free (except for special exhibitions) so if you are a culture vulture then you’re horribly spoilt. Many visitors head for Tate Modern, the vast art gallery formerly known as Bankside Power Station. It’s markedly family friendly with free daily children’s activities and acres of space for romping around in.
Or if you’d prefer to eyeball one of the finest collections of old masters anywhere, cross the river for the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square. Nearby is the British Museum, indisputably one of the best museums on Earth, and which on its own could easily take a couple of days to investigate.
Make sure you bring comfortable shoes because some of the city’s finest attractions are its walks. The Queen’s Walk takes in Westminster Bridge, the south Bank of the Thames – including Tate Modern – and St Paul’s Cathedral, with great vistas en route. Or try the Regent’s Canal from Little Venice to Camden. You’ll stroll through the middle of London Zoo and end up at the Camden Lock and its busy tourist markets.
Given that many of London’s best attraction are free, city passes are often overrated. Having said that, if you have train tickets (they must be paper tickets and can include travel cards for public transport, but not Oyster Cards) then the “2For1” offers can work well, particularly for pairs of adults.
While London is costly in many respects, eating out needn’t be. If the weather permits, why not picnic in one of the parks? And all the central areas are full of greasy spoon cafes where square meals can be had for not much of your wedge.
When it comes to restaurants, it’s the endless diversity of ethnic cuisine you should target. Drummond Street is near Euston Station and is home to several long-established south Indian vegetarian restaurants. The best of them is Diwana (121-123 Drummond Street, NW1 2HL) which has a lunchtime buffet heaving with subtly-spiced curries, salads and desserts, all for an astonishing £6.95. You can bring your own alcohol, too.
Down in Soho, China Town delivers top nosh for limited dosh. Check out The Four Seasons (23 Wardour Street, W1D 6PW). It’s famous for its Cantonese-style roasted duck, as well as other roast meats – the window display is full of them. The menu extends to more than 100 dishes and many mains are less than a tenner.
Bear in mind that many major attractions are near each other, so you can walk between them. When you do need public transport, your first choice is likely to be an Oyster card – that’s a smart card that you pre-load with cash. There are daily caps on expenditure: if you use buses and trams only, the £4.50 cap is a bargain, and so is the cap of £6.80 if you take public transport solely in Zones 1 or 2. You can also use a contactless debit or credit card - ticket prices are the same as using an Oyster card.
The main alternative is paper travel cards which cover all public transport. If you buy them from a National Rail station (not a London Underground station outlet) then you are eligible for “2For1” offers (see above).
The famous “Boris Bikes” (now Santander Cycles) get you around by pedal power. There are more than 11,500 bikes and over 750 docking stations across London. It costs £2 to access the bikes for 24 hours and the first 30 minutes of each journey is free, so they are best for short trips. Longer journeys cost £2 for each extra 30 minutes.
If you’re coming into London from Heathrow use the Piccadilly tube line, because it’s cheaper than the Heathrow Express. From other airports, coaches cost less than trains. And if you’re arriving here by rail, don’t panic – the mainline stations are all in the middle of town.