London, has become one of the most popular destinations in the world, thanks to the buzz from the recent Royal wedding and the 2012 Olympics.
Most people who have been to London have seen the classic tourist destinations, but what’s the city like through the eyes of a local? Here are some insider tips on making the most of London’s bustling city centre – from visiting the top tourist sites to discovering the city’s best kept secrets.
Top money and time saving tips when visiting London
1. Keep away from the crowds on Oxford Street and visit one of London’s famous markets to bag a bargain. Think Borough Market for food, Portobello for antiques, Covent Garden for crafts, and Camden Market for the hottest fashions.
2. Planning in advance can help you jump lengthy queues at the gates when visiting the tourist favourites, such asthe London Dungeon and Madame Tussaud’s.Book at www.expedia.co.uk
3. Get 50% off the total bill or 2 meals for the price of 1 at more than 4,000 London restaurants with the London Tastecard, available at www.expedia.co.uk
4. Save 10% on individual gate prices at Kensington Palace, Whitehall Palace's Banqueting Hall, and the Tower of London with the Central London Palaces Pass. Passes are valid for one visit to each palace for two years following redemption so they can be used in multiple trips if you’re keen to keep coming back to the capital. Book at www.expedia.co.uk
5. Catch the overground train and benefit for 2 for 1 offers to many of London’s main attractions.
Need some inspiration?
1. For an alternative way to explore the Thames, get muddy hunting for treasure while Mudlarking - the foreshore of the Thames is a whole new layer of London bursting with hidden gems that hold the secrets of the Capital’s past for you to discover!
2. Visit the Billingsgate Fish Market to take your pick from the largest selection of fresh fish in the country – plus, budding fishmongers can have a lesson on how to prepare their fish from the experts at the Billingsgate Seafood Training School.
3. Londoners love great food so why not release yourinner gourmand: enjoy the finest French fare at the Alain Ducasse, delectable Japanese bites at Nobu, Indian morsels at Amaya, and tasty Chinese delicacies at Kai, all in Mayfair. Sample the best of British at Rhodes Twenty Four in Smithfields or sumptuous Italian food at The River Café in Hammersmith.
4. Tubes and buses are cheap and efficient but aren’t the most interesting way to get around London. Escape London’s busy public transport system with aVintage Bike Tour to Hampton Court. Your scenic cycling adventure will transport you out of the city, where you can explore the only remaining Tudor Palace in England at your leisure. Book at www.expedia.co.uk
5. For insight into the best celeb hideouts, avoid the regular tourist buses and explore the city’s best celebrity homes, film locations, and music landmarks with The Celebrity Bus Tour of London. Book at www.expedia.co.uk
6. Avoid the rush of tourists to the larger galleries and join leading curators, academics and artists on ‘‘First Thursdays’ – a guided tour of East London’s best galleries on the first Thursday of each month. Tours start at Whitechapel at 7pm.
7. For a night out like a real Londoner, avoid the busy bar chains you see in any city and start your night with drinks at the historic Gordon’s Wine Bar –this family run wine bar was established in 1890 and is thought to be the oldest wine bar in London.
8. To experience cinema with a sophisticated London twist on a rainy afternoon, curl up on a comfy sofa at an Everyman Cinema and relax with a cocktail or a slice of cake.
9.For a great night out, avoid busy Leicester Square and head to the enigmatic Cellar Door in Aldwych - an extravagantly refurbished public toilet that is now an underground club with an intimate 60-person capacity. That is, if you can find it!
10.To learn all about how to make the best cocktails, visit the Harrods World Class Cocktail exhibition until Sunday 16th October. Plus, for everything you need to know on cocktail mixing, learn from the experts at the Harrods World Class Bar in a series of master classes.
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