Depending on where you’re staying, you can fly directly from Shannon to
Stansted, Heathrow or Gatwick. All three airports offer an express train
to the centre of London for around £18.
See the city
To get a birds-eye view of the ‘City on the Thames’ look no further than the London Eye, a colossal Ferris wheel that takes you 135 metres upwards at its peak. Speaking of towering structures, no visit to London would be complete without viewing perhaps its most enduring symbol, Big Ben. During the summer (and on Saturdays during the rest of the year), you can also take a tour of the adjoining Houses of Parliament in the majestic Westminster Palace. The guided tour takes about 75 minutes – in that time, you’ll learn about the great political figures of British history in the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The tour will set you back roughly £12 per adult, £5 for kids, while children under five can go for free.
London is, of course, home to the
British Monarchy so it’s only right to take in Buckingham Palace, the
Queen’s official residence. Or take a tour of the Tower of London where
you can seek out the six resident ravens and marvel at (but never touch)
the Crown Jewels. Finally, relax in the majesty of Westminster Abbey,
one of the finest cathedrals in the world, and the location for every
Coronation since the Battle of Hastings.
Image used under Creative Commons from Peter Pikous.
Shopping and Entertainment
Want to do a bit of shopping in the capital? Head to the neon-lit Piccadilly Circus, which sits right in the heart of London’s shopping scene. Harrods is an institution but if it’s a little pricey for you, try Selfridges, where you'll find everything from high street names to Alexander McQueen and Paul Smith. Art and history lovers are also spoilt for choice with the British Museum, the National Gallery, and the Victoria & Albert Museum all based in the capital.
Those looking for live entertainment will find it in an impressive theatre scene that rivals Broadway in New York. Most of London’s theatres are found in the West End where Shakespeare, musicals, comedies and fringe await all comers. Expect to pay between £8 and £40 depending on your choice of drama.
The best way to get around London is the Tube, the second largest underground in the world. It can be a bit labyrinthine so make sure you have a good map. An Oyster card, which offers discount tube trips, is also a must have.