A brief guide to London on the experience of a 5 day trip. Before starting, some basics for my peruvian readers: if you are travelling with a peruvian passport, Schengen visa is no good. You have to apply for a UK Visa, either from Peru or your nearest UK embassy. Also, keep in mind the euro/pound exchange. 1 pound = 1,15 euros (exchange rate on March 2018)
Yep, London is quite nice. And expensive.
Having tried metros in different cities (New York, Paris, Madrid, Santiago de Chile, Montreal), I can say the London tube is by far the quickest and easiest to use. I didn’t even had to buy metro tickets to use it, just passed my carte bleu (french debit card) and was ready to go. Not sure if this works with my peruvian credit card, so if you are travelling to London from Lima, check this in advance. Anyway, it’s really the fastest way to get your way around the city.
Abbey road tourist pic
London is divided in 6 zones. Unlike snail-shaped Paris, London is distributed in concentric circles. Everything you probably want to see as a first-timer will be probably in Zone 1, but there’s plenty more to discover if you’ve get some extra time or if you’ve just moved to the city.
Keep in mind: London is quite big and traffic can be hell on earth. Getting from one end to the other of Zone 1 may take up to 1 hour. From Zone 6 east to Zone 6 west… well, do the math.
Museums (a must)
Tate Modern, National Gallery and Saatchi Gallery are my top 3 favourites. Depending on your personal taste, and on the exhibitions, you can go from classic Italian renaissance to modern and conceptual art. Museums in London are free, except for some specific exhibitions, but in general you can get a pretty good art experience in the city.
And yes. You can have a drink at the museum. Also at the cinema. Love London.
National Gallery / Tate Modern entrance hall
Restaurants and cafés
For lunch, Aqua Shard. Totally amazing view of London (specially if it’s sunny, not like in my picture) and pretty good lunch menu. Once again, service is amazing in this city. For afternoon tea, Sofitel London st James. Actually, afternoon tea is just an excuse to go crazy with delicious pastry and fat happily.
Average price of a meal in London (restaurant in centric area of Zone 1): starting from 30 pounds.
Where to shop
Forever in my heart, Dover Street Market. It’s the most famous concept store in London (although there are many), and it’s got quite a conceptual and artistic display going on. The owner is actually the designer of japanese-french brand Comme des Garçons, Rei Kawakubo (that explains the massive assortment of CDG). Fore some luxury shop experience head to Harrod’s or Selfridges. For some budget-shopping, Topshop is in every corner.