Essential Tips for Kiwis Travelling to London
The trip from New Zealand to London is long and could be pretty arduous, so you want to make sure that you pack as much as possible into your stay once you reach this fantastic city. Our tips for visiting London are based around the idea of working within a budget. Like many capital cities, London can be incredibly expensive, but you don’t have to splash the cash in order to have a great time there. Staying at our youth hostel in north London is the first and most obvious way of making your funds go further. Our long term hostel in London Hendon is clean, comfortable, safe, and offer all the facilities you need to set off exploring the thousands of places there are to visit in London.
When to Go
There’s not really any such thing as a quiet time to visit London, but there are some parts of the year which are even busier than others. If possible, you should avoid the months of July and August as these coincide with the longest UK school holiday, which means the city is packed with local tourists as well as international visitors. The weather is likely to be hotter at this time of the year as well, which means that the longer queues for popular attractions like the London Eye will be even more unpleasant. One of the best times of the year to visit is September, when the kids have gone back to school and there’s still a good chance that the colder weather of winter won’t have arrived yet. Of course, nobody really visits London for the sunshine, so always carry an umbrella or fold away emergency plastic ran mac. Alternatively, you might want to soak up the excitement of London in the weeks before Christmas, but once again you’ll be dealing with bigger crowds. The good news is that we provide cheap accommodation in London throughout the year.
When you first encounter the London Underground system, it can seem daunting, but it’s an incredibly useful way of getting around the city. London is huge, so exploring more than a small area on foot isn’t practical and the bus network, although extensive, runs pretty slowly thanks to the weight of traffic. Make sure you purchase an oyster card to avoid queuing at ticket machines and download the iconic underground map to plan your journeys. You might see harassed looking locals running to catch their train, but you can relax. Even if you’re on a tight schedule and miss one tube train, the next will be along in a few minutes.
We’ve already said just how expensive London can be, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a huge number of free attractions scattered around the city. Museums like the British Museum, National Gallery, Science Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum are some of the greatest museums in the world. Each one would take more than a full day to explore properly and, unlike in many other parts of the world, they are completely free to enter.
The same applies to the many parks, gardens and green spaces in London. As well as the simple chance to escape from the noise and bustle of the city streets for a while, with places like Regent’s Park, Hyde Park and Battersea Park. Also included are attractions like landscaped gardens, boating ponds, tennis courts and open-air bandstands, hosting free music concerts.
Changing of the Guard
Many people are drawn to London by the sense of history and ceremony, and nothing captures this better than the changing of the guard, which takes place every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, if the weather permits. It happens at Buckingham palace at 10.45 am, and if you want a good spot to watch from, you need to get there early.
The London Pass
Booking entry to all of the attractions and places you want to visit can be a time-consuming business, so an app like The London Pass might be the answer. For a one-off fee it includes entrance to attractions like The View from the Shard, London Zoo, Hop-on Hop-off Bus tours and Westminster Abbey. It also lets you jump to the front of the queue at some attractions and comes with its own guidebook. The key advice if you do purchase the pass is to make sure that you plan your travel well in advance to take full advantage and visit 2 or 3 local attractions in one day.
Off the Beaten Track
If you’re taking advantage of the value offered by our London long term hostel to enjoy an extended stay, then take the time to escape from the tourist traps and explore some of the less known corners of London. These include Little Venice, an oasis of tree lined canals located between Warwick Avenue and Hyde Park. As well as some tranquil areas that offers the chance to enjoy breakfast or lunch on one of the many canal boats cruising up and down.
Other hidden gems include the Sky Garden, located at the top of the building known as the Walkie Talkie, which offers free access to stunning views across London, as well as an outdoor terrace where there’s a roof top bar and a botanical garden. Another attraction that’s maybe not so secret but slightly out of the way is Primroses Hill. Although it’s not so much the hill itself that’s appealing, but rather the stunning view of London which it offers. It is one of six protected viewpoints in the city, and on a clear day you can easily pick out landmarks like the Shard, the London eye and the BT Tower.
If you’re planning your trip to London and we’ve fired your imagination, then make sure your first step is to arrange affordable accommodation in our London youth hostel. Once you’ve got the perfect place to stay you can concentrate on putting together the perfect itinerary.