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Visiting London England

Updated on September 17, 2012
Carnaby Street, London W!
Carnaby Street, London W! | Source
Underground and Docklands Light Railyway connect East and Southest London
Underground and Docklands Light Railyway connect East and Southest London | Source

"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all that life can afford." Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

Whilst Samuel Johnson would hardly recognize the London of today his famous quote is still true.

If you are planning to visit London be prepared for an unforgettable experience.

Crossing the River Thams via The Bubble
Crossing the River Thams via The Bubble | Source
Greenwich Market
Greenwich Market | Source
Cutty Sark
Cutty Sark | Source

London through new eyes

I moved from the UK to Canada in 1996. Over the past sixteen years I have re-visited London five times. During the most recent visit, in August 2012, London was awash with patriotism as Londoners and the British celebrated and supported Team GB at the Olympic games and the Paralympic games. The atmosphere was vibrant, electric and very positive.

Visiting London as a "tourist" along with my two teen daughters who first fell in love with London five years ago I see familiar streets and places with new eyes. This visit, thanks to the Olympic Development in East London, we were also rewared with some new additions to the familiar landscape.

The newest addition to the skyline and great way to view the evolving horizon is by taking The Bubble - sponsored by United Arab Emirates Airways. The Bubble crosses the River Thames from Royal Victoria (Docklands Light Railway) to North Greenwich.

Once in North Greenwich take a bus or train to Greenwich and spend a day at Greenwich Market (closed on Mondays) and visiting the Cutty Sark. This dry docked ship was built in Scotland in 1869. Cutty Sark was one of the last tea clippers to transport tea between Great Britain and China. Recently refurbished Cutty Sark is a fun and interesting way to learn about the history of shipping.

In addition to Cutty Sark, local shops and restaurants and the market The National Maritime Museum, The Queen's House and Royal Observatory are interesting places to visit whilst in Greenwich.

Other locations worth a visit in the newly developed East London:

  • Stratford and the New Westfield shopping centre. Stratford is also the home of the famous Theatre Royal Stratford East, home of the theatre workshop company and artistic director Joan Littlewood.
  • Green Street - centre for Asian design and cuisine with unique shopping and fantastic food
  • Broadway Market (Saturdays) One of the oldest farmers/artisan markets in London
  • Wonderful views can be had at The Thames Barrier and West India Quay

show route and directions
A markerregent street -
Regent St, City of Westminster, London, UK
get directions

B markerknightsbridge -
Knightsbridge, London SW1X, UK
get directions

C markergreenwich -
Royal Borough of Greenwich, Greater London, UK
get directions

Liberty of London (Regent Street)
Liberty of London (Regent Street) | Source
The Egyptian Escalator in Harrods
The Egyptian Escalator in Harrods | Source
The London Eye
The London Eye | Source

Traditional London Sights

Depending on your length of stay the traditional sights of London can be glimpsed by the various open topped tour buses or by taking regular city buses whcih go from the city to the West End.

Travel Cards offer good value for money and it may be worth purchasing an Oyster card if you are staying for a prolonged period of time.

Taxis are reasonable and if you take a longer journey sometimes a cabbie will negotiate an off the meter deal. We travelled from Liverpool Street Station out to Heathrow for 60 British Pounds becuase the cabbie took pity on the amount of luggage and he wanted to avoid the prossession taking place that day. It is always worth asking.

My "Must Do" list for first time visitors to London are:

St. Paul's Cathedral (at least from the outside)

Hyde Park


The South Bank/London Eye

Piccadilly Circus

Trafalgar Square/Nelsons Column

The Mall

Tower of London

Covent Garden

Theatre evening or matinee performance


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    • Lizam1 profile image

      Lizam1 5 years ago from Victoria BC

      Love London - love life some say:-)

    • Arren123 profile image

      Arren123 5 years ago from UK

      Wonderful hub, yeah when I visited London for the Olympics I fell in love with the place. I visit London over the years for the Marathon, but never really looked around, having time to view and take in London. I would hope to visit London again very soon. I love Portobello road in Notting Hill, looking for the blue door lol. Voted up and interesting :)

    • Lizam1 profile image

      Lizam1 5 years ago from Victoria BC

      :-) aa lite - hopefully you can now play tourist in your own town now the crowds are gone. Thanks for the vote - appreciate that.

    • aa lite profile image

      aa lite 5 years ago from London

      I live in London and yet you wrote about places I haven't seen! I hardly went outside during the olympics to avoid the crowds. Great hub! Voted up.

    • Lizam1 profile image

      Lizam1 5 years ago from Victoria BC

      Carol7777 thanks. If you get to go back you will be amazed by the changes.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      It has been many years since I have been in London. I enjoy reminiscing. You did a great up and sharing.

    • Lizam1 profile image

      Lizam1 5 years ago from Victoria BC

      Thanks for reading JanTutor. You live in a great location.

      I hope internpete you get to London very soon. Thanks for the comment and voting.

    • internpete profile image

      Peter V 5 years ago from At the Beach in Florida

      Great hub and good info! This makes we really want to visit London, and I already wanted to! I like the quote at the beginning of the hub, it sounds very true. Voted up!

    • JanTutor profile image

      Jan Thompson 5 years ago from London, England

      Liz thanks for this insight into present day London - I live in the Royal Docks just a 5 minute stroll from the Emirates cable car so this was especially fitting. Thank you.