The Basics of Exploring London

Like many other students, a trip to London, while it may be an appealing one, might seem impossible to do unless you want to live off pot-noodles for the rest of the week.  However, after living in a dull northern town for years, I decided it was time to visit London.  If you can, go with someone that knows their way around because they’ll help you with the directions – and so that you do it all on the cheap.

There are various hurdles that will need to be faced if you have never visited such a large city. Prepare yourself for the underground. Personally, I had never heard of an Oyster card until this visit. Struggling to buy tickets is not necessary any more. If you don’t have one, you can use a contactless credit card to pay your way through. Or, if you’ll be going in between destinations all day, cut the cost of buying multiple tickets and buy an all-day Travelcard. Make sure to know during which times you aren’t allowed to travel in the case of choosing an off-peak Travelcard. Finally, once you’ve finally found your way through a maze of signs, get ready to jump onto the train quickly…


Once you have arrived in London, I recommend starting the day off wandering around the river Thames. After being packed like sardines in a stuffy tube train, you will probably need some air. Many of the most famous landmarks surround the Thames. A simple walk over the bridge and along each side will make you feel as if you could tick London off your list of places to visit. You’ll see everything from the London eye and St Paul’s Cathedral to the MI5 building.

Be sure to stop at Whitehall Gardens on your way – here you can either have a moment’s rest in the midst of calming scenery or play a game of ping pong. Then take a detour away from the Thames toward Big Ben for your must-have tourist picture.


If you’re looking for something free to do, and you’re interested in art, there are not only the free exhibitions at the Tate museum, but there are designated places such as the hidden underpass near Euston station where people are allowed to graffiti.


Finally, make sure you stay for the evening if you visit at Christmas time to enjoy seeing the Christmas lights amongst the stunning views. With the German markets lining the paths, you can’t avoid the Christmas spirit. You will certainly do no wrong if you stop for a mug of hot mulled cider to warm yourself on a chilly London night.

Finola Billings

Featured image by Anna & MichalEmbedded image by  Rachel LovingerSally Nyland and Finola Billings.

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