LONDON: Live like royalty in London without spending your life savings
London, England is a bustling world city with a whole lot of charm. This modern, thriving, business-center is known for its award-winning restaurants and unbeatable shopping. But it's the tradition and history seen all over the city that draws you in and gets you lost amongst the cobblestones. From the museums and buildings to the streets and tube stations, every aspect of London has a past.
To explore the whole city, you need to indulge in the London lifestyle. That means living like Royalty, experiencing the West End and enjoying a fantastic dining experience. But it doesn't have to cost a fortune.
Places to stay
Hotel rooms fit for the Queen can be found at prices affordable to the public. The five-star 51 Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites and Residences cater to corporate travelers, families and tourists alike. These premier suites offer luxury living in the heart of London.
For a romantic getaway, the Stafford London by Kempinski is the ideal resort. The hotel's classic d�cor features fine English bedding and custom toiletries. The location is also hard to match being near Green Park and Buckingham Palace.
Things to do
The sheer volume of attractions in London can be overwhelming. There is simple so much to see it can be hard to prioritize your �to do' list. A sight-seeing tour should be at the top of your list. This is a fantastic way to save time as many of the city's historic attractions are easily accessible by foot, bus, or bike, but better understood with a guide. The must-see attractions are Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Parliament, the Tower of London, and the London Eye.
For a taste of art and culture on offer in the capital city, take time to visit some of the world-renowned museums on offer, free of charge. Amazing art is on display at the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery; world history can be seen at the British Museum or take a look into military history at the Imperial War Museum.
Film and theatre lovers will appreciate the broad array of entertainment always on offer. The London film scene features world-class film festivals and premiers are frequently taking place in Trafalgar Square. If you're a theatre fan you can't miss the opportunity to see a musical at the West End where shows like The Phantom of the Opera, Billy Elliot and the Lion King are shown.
Places to eat
London offers a varied food scene with cuisine ranging from Michelin-rated restaurants to traditional pubs. No matter your taste, London offers a variety of dining options sure to satisfy even the most astute palate. For the best of the best, visit Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. Known for its use of high-end ingredients, the menu offers an exotic range of meat like zebra, crocodile, and kangaroo fillets. If you're more of a traditionalist, a pint and a roast at the Trafalgar Pub on the Thames will suit. That's after you've indulged in afternoon tea complete with sandwiches and scones.
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Top 3 London neighborhoods
If you can afford to stay in the heart of London you'll have all the choice in the world of top attractions. But exploring the lesser known neighborhoods can be an exciting, rewarding and envy-inducing process too!
For example West London is home to the Notting Hill of movie fame and it's as quaint a location as the movie presents. The colorful little shops and the general cheeriness of the place are on display daily with its mix of upscale boutiques, celeb-rich restaurants, and the clamor of Portobello Road market. Up the road away's is equally pretty Maida Vale with its relatively unexplored streets lining pretty canals, boutique coffee shops and wide streets full of glamorous homes. The shopping here is where you'll find lovely items to take home not found elsewhere.
Bloomsbury is central but not widely explored. It's close to Oxford St, so do your shopping early and then stroll into Bloomsbury and find a quaint restaurant for lunch then wander a couple of blocks to discover Soho which is where the city's pretty young things have set up their designer boutiques and hip little shops. It's an eclectic mix of style and 'now' and has a great vibe.
The newest - and hippest - location is east London, or the East End as it's known. Once a high crime, scruffy mess of a place, the slow gentrification of older Georgian homes and little shops has delivered a cornucopia of art galleries, exquisitely diverse restaurants, young boutiques and excellent markets full of much better tat than you'll find at 'normal' street markets.
The South Bank area is a little off the beaten track but this is where you'll find world class cultural icons such as the Apollo Theater and a swathe of museums and galleries literally along the river bank.
We have plenty of discount hotels in London for the discerning and the budget conscious.
Shop 'til you drop in London
Ooh, the lure of London pulls hard - especially over winter when the thought of cruising all those marvellous shopping streets is so tempting, followed, of course, by a little culture! We have great hotels all over the city on the site, so start planning your trip now.
There are the famous shopping streets of Oxford St and the Regent's Street area that everyone knows and loves - and for the big brands and the grand shopping experiences these are certainly the streets to head for. But for our money, the real action happens in some of the lesser known markets - especially around the Brick Lane area on a weekend.
Brick Lane is in the east end of London (nearest station is Aldwych) and it's a journey into a parallel universe for most Americans. A polyglot suburb of races from across the world, the shops and the market stalls offer absolutely everything and many things you've never heard of. If you want something truly different this is your place!
Camden Markets are on the other side of the city - towards the north (nearest station Camden). These are more touristy in nature and an awful lot of Euro tourists seem to pop in here most weekends. It's more a market for the young 'uns perhaps with its preponderance of t-shirt and leather, skirts and music oriented fashions, but it's still a fabulous place to spend some quality people-watching time. Thoroughly recommended.
The quirkiest places are around the Kings Road. Brand name stores vie with up and coming fashion names, quirky homewares mix well with galleries and decorator stores. This is upmarket London and the vibe is one of casual elegance.
Many cities have great markets - they're a world-wide staple but London has the biggest, some of the oldest and some of the craziest you'll find.
Probably the most famous of London's eclectic set of markets is Portobello. Open on Friday and Saturdays with a smaller presence during the rest of the week, this famous market is well known for its antique flavor. You'll find it at Portobello Road, 72 Tavistock Road, and it's easily accessible from Notting Hill Gate, Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park tube station. Portobello Road has been a market since the 1800s but became particularly famous for its antiques in the 1950s.
Camden Lock Markets is on the other side of the city and this is where the hipsters hang out. Shocking, youth orientated, Camden put the cool into markets some 40 years ago. It's open 7 days a week and the focus is on fashion with a lot of food stalls there too. The architecture is quite something and make sure you get a pic of the rearing horses. Accessible from Camden Town tube station.
Brick Lane markets are actually a blending of two markets - one dedicated to fashion and trinkets and the other, on the street, more a bric a brac, food style of open air market. The drawcard though is just how big the combined markets are - especially on a Sunday morning.
London (maybe it's the English themselves) has an offbeat character, apart from the major tourist sights like Buckingham Palace and St Paul's Cathedral and so on. The quirky side of London comes out more in the different cultures that now call this city home. Find Cheaprooms.com accommodation in London and explore the offbeat side of London.
Where to stay in London? Central London can be expensive but the areas around Knightsbridge, the West End and the Museum quarter are all very central and you're but a tube station or two away from most of the sights you'll want to see. Check out the good deals on Cheap Rooms and make the most of your time in historic London.
One of the more offbeat areas is in East London. Brick Lane is near Aldwych station and comes to life on the weekends. There are two major street stall markets here selling everything from jewelry to t-shirts and interior nic nacs. The restaurants that line the streets tend to be what the locals call Balti curry houses and the food is wonderful. Towards the end of Brick lane is a famous sandwich shop.
Camden Markets and the surrounding area can be reached on the Northern Line (tube train) and is well worth a look if you've a lot of gifts and souvenirs to buy. This is where young, hipster London hangs out and the gritty urban street scene belies the beautiful canal pathway that leads back the city of London.
Tucked away in the backstreets of Knightsbridge, behind Harrods, are streets with those old-fashioned English pubs we know and love from various tv shows. With names like the Good Grape and Dog and Bolter to look out for you can simply wander the streets and find one that suits and enter into a different world.
Walk London, see it all
London is a relatively flat city so you can easily walk for miles without wearing yourself out. The even more enjoyable fact is that you'll see a truly remarkable set of sights - far more than from the window of a tour bus. Select your Cheaprooms.com accommodation in London's best places to stay and get to know this bustling, modern-day metropolis with olde worlde charm.
Where to stay in London? The heart of the West End is always good and the shopping in the Knightsbridge area is famed (Harrods, for example), while the northern suburbs like Camden offer a more edgier alternative. Check out the good deals on Cheap Rooms and, where ever you are, if you're no more than a five minute walk from a tube station, you'll have no problems getting anywhere.
One of the more interesting walks that will take in a little shopping as well as some interesting architecture is along Oxford St and then down Regent St to Trafalgar Square. Start at Marble Arch tube station and walk along Oxford St towards the baroque Bond St station. Turn right at Oxford Circus tube station and head down Regent Street, taking in the extraordinary architecture on the way. At Piccadilly Circus head across the road to the Criterion Theater and turn right down Haymarket. Towards the end of the street you'll be rewarded with a grand entrance onto Trafalgar Square. Put your feet up in a cafe or head into the Tate gallery.
Wandering the back streets of Mayfair, cutting across to Sloane Square and the King's Road is always an exercise in envy. Bugatti Veyron showrooms vie with upmarket boutiques for space. The streets remind you of Dickens and the small exteriors belie the grand interiors of the homes that line the streets.
Speaking of Dickens, start your walk from 48 Doughty St, where he completed The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby and make your to Gray's Inn which features in Great Expectations. From here you can walk up the slight hill to St Paul's Cathedral and marvel at Sir Christopher Wren's greatest achievement.
Live it up London-style!
What's not to love about London? So much to see and do; steeped in tradition and a refreshed, revitalized appearance after the London Olympics. London is an easy city to get around in - the Underground is fast and comprehensive and London cabbies know everywhere and everything. Cheaprooms.com has a bucket-load of discount rooms in London right now to suit every budget.
Now is a good time to visit London - the crowds have died down and yet the weather hasn't completely turned in. Check out the good deals on Cheap Rooms and pack an umbrella, good walking shoes and layers for cooler nights.
Surely one of the most gorgeous public buildings in the world, the Natural History Museum in London is also free. The collections span the gamut of human life and the animal kingdom and if you're truly enthused, then leave several days up your sleeve.
The British Museum is in Great Russell Street and since its opening in 1753 has never charged a penny for entry. It houses an incredible 7 million objects, including an extraordinary Greek and Egyptian collection.
The National Gallery on Trafalgar Square is an imposing building with an imposing collection of Botticelli, Titian, Raphael, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Cezanne, Hogarth, and Gainsboroughs. Its central London address and the free admission means it's very popular so get there early is the advice.
The Tate Modern hosts Great Britain's collection of modern and contemporary art from 1900 to the present day and, if you strike a lucky day, you'll see one of the many special exhibitions and events. It's on the Thames in the Bankside area. It's housed in a building designed by the man who also designed the famous British red telephone box.