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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. 

Getting around

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.

Five for free

  • 1 - Changing of the Guard

    The Changing of the Guard is a ceremony in which the guards at Buckingham Palace are relieved of duty when a new shift arrives. A fabulous display of pomp, splendour, rhythmic marching and furry beefeaters, the ‘change’ takes place at 11am outside Buckingham Palace. Be sure to check out the schedule as it only happens daily from May to July. It takes place on alternate days otherwise.

    Image used under Creative Commons from Pierre Lardinois

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  • 2 - Covent Garden

    Packed with restaurants, bars and markets, Covent Garden is always a hive of activity. Located in London’s West End, it is the destination of choice for theatregoers and patrons of the Royal Opera House at night. By day, it’s a great place to shop, have a meal and recharge.

    Image used under Creative Commons from David Baron

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  • 3 - Tate Modern

    If you find traditional paint-on-canvas art a little stuffy then the Tate Modern might be for you. Free (with the exception of special exhibitions), this vast industrial building houses an extraordinary array of contemporary, innovative and sometimes downright bewildering pieces of art. The pedestrian bridge across the Thames adds to the overall experience.

    Image used under Creative Commons from graziano88

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  • 4 - Hyde Park

    Hyde Park is the perfect place to relax after a long day’s sightseeing. The 350-acre park is divided in two by the Serpentine River, which, as its name suggests, meanders wildly. Rowing boats can be hired, and, if you get hungry, the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen puts on a great spread. Hyde Park is perhaps most famous for its speaker’s corner, where members of the public can, and regularly do, pontificate about anything and everything.

    Image used under Creative Commons from gailf548

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  • 5 - Camden Market

    Located by the Camden Lock, Camden Market is the largest street market in the UK, and attracts around 500,000 visitors each week. With hundreds of designer workshops, studios, stalls and shops selling an extensive array of goods, there’s something for everyone. If it’s lunchtime nibbles you’re after, the Market also offers an endless variety of authentic international cuisines.

    Image used under Creative Commons from Dave Catchpole

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