Especially if this is your first time in London. Have you heard of this expression: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step’? Even if it’s just a weekend in London, you have got to have a plan. And it’s going to be your first step for an amazing experience here.
Getting familiar with an area you going to stay releases half of the stress when traveling
While it’s popular just to jump on a plane and go to Asia without any idea of where you going to be staying, this is not the case with London. Last year about 18 million tourists visited London. EIGHTEEN MILLION. Just think about where all these people are going to stay. Of course they are not coming all together and there are a lot of hotels in London, it’s still wise to think about accommodation in advance.
Here are some websites I highly recommend to check:
Airbnb – you can rent a room, an entire apartment or even a house. It’s getting very popular among Londoners to rent out their spaces. This is the best opportunity to become a Londoner for a period of your stay. Let me know in comments if you want a £25 voucher for your first reservation. I might have it for you 😉 Sounds like a good start of your trip, isn’t it?
Booking.com – I use it most of the time to find what I need. You can sort hotels by price, location or overall rating. I find it very useful. After several bookings you can start getting better offers. Once you found an accommodation I would recommend searching for this hotel separately. Rates can be a bit lower at their official website.
lastminute.com – this is the best place to find last minute offers even for a bank holiday days. You can also book a secret hotel with a good discount – you just won’t know the hotel at the moment of booking. But don’t be skeptical, they usually offer good places. Last time I used this option I got a room in Holiday Inn. Not bad at all.
You don’t want to miss out an opportunity of visiting an exciting event/exhibition because all the tickets are sold out
There is just one thing about London I love and hate at the same time – there are SO MANY things going on but most of the time tickets ARE GONE in a matter of hours if not minutes. That’s how I missed ‘The Friends set’ – Monica Geller’s apartment and a Central Perk-style cafe in 2015 and many other cool events. London is truly an amazing city with all the opportunities it offers. And you really don’t want to miss out.
To be honest, I still can’t manage to get everywhere I want. Sometimes I’m just lucky to get a selfie with Mick Jagger on the way home (yea, I was passing the Saatchi Gallery when Rolling Stones were there for the official opening of their exhibition). But sometimes to get where you want requires a good planning and fast reaction. In Russia, they say: You have to know the right place and be able to run fast.
My primary source of information in London is Time Out London. I don’t visit the website daily, but I follow their page on Facebook. I also get a free copy of a magazine every Tuesday; they distribute it in the mornings at almost every tube station.
London bloggers are also a good source of information on what’s happening in the city. I love Poppy’s ‘Poppy Loves‘ London lifestyle blog about almost everything in the city. Make sure to check out her Afternoon Tea recommendations. It’s something I want to do properly one day.
If you are in love with photography, you want to see as many places as possible to take beautiful shots of London
Let me tell you one story first.
Once I was dreaming of going to Paris to shot street cafes and independent coffee shops for my blog. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to plan my weekend trip properly. I had to figure out all the locations to visit when I was already there. As a result, I lost an enormous amount of time finding the places I needed only to find out that they were closed on Sunday or had closed before I got there. So frustrating! Needless to say that my next trip will be better planned.
When talking about photography in London, we are talking about making a real plan. You might want to find that famous Blue door from the film ‘Notting Hill‘ and at the same time to take a photo of the city from the high point. You can manage to visit 2 locations in one day, but you should know that you need to book a free ticket to Sky Garden with the best view in advance.
I’m sure you want to come back home with nice photos of really beautiful places in London. I explained how I do my preparation in the post ‘Why I love Instagram without taking endless selfies‘. In short, I always try to find local people there. They know the area the better than Lonely Planet and I get very inspired by their shots.
I was told I’m obsessed with planning and don’t enjoy the moment, but the reality is I find a joy in finding interesting places to take a photo of. Or finding the place I saw so many times online or in films and just to get there. That’s my idea of travelling along with trying local cuisine and getting to know local culture of course.
Do I sound like a crazy person? Maybe. But I do what I love, and that’s what makes me happy.
Want to know where to take the best photos of London? Check out The Instagram Guide to London.
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