30 best London attractions according to zone 1 tube stations

 

29

JUNE 2019

It’s not easy for me writing about the must-see London attractions. As my home city, I’ve a slightly different opinion as to what I think other first-time travelers should see. Most new visitors often want to see Buckingham Palace or Big Ben, while others prefer to discover a local’s London.

This is why I’m doing something a little different in this post. Alongside the already well-known sights, I’m listing 30 top London sights based on zone 1 tube stations.

What is zone 1 on the London Underground?

Zone 1 is the central area of London according to the tube map. The stations here consist of the most popular attractions such as Piccadilly Circus and Westminster. You won’t be surprised to find that zone 1 is also the most expensive zone in terms of ticket prices.

There are 9 zones in total on the London underground map. The further the zone, the lower the price. However, outside zone 3, most of the stations are not considered as London zip codes.

Must see 30 London attractions by zone 1 on the London Underground

London is a big and busy city, and it can be overwhelming for new visitors. Seeing the capital by zone 1 is one way to explore, while also making the most of your Oyster Card.

The list is in alphabetical order, and I’ve also included which tube lines you can take to get here.

1. Baker Street – Bakerloo, Hammersmith and City, Jubilee and Metropolitan lines

When you think of Baker Street, there’s probably one character that springs to mind. It’s the home of fictional English detective, Sherlock Holmes, who lived here at 221b Baker Street.

Today, the address is home to the Sherlock Holmes Museum, where you can find all the memorabilia under one roof. It’s a unique museum to see in London, and one that existing — and new — fans of the books will enjoy.

The museum’s open every day from 9.30am to 6pm. There’s an entrance cost of £15 (€17; $19) for adults and £10 (€11; $13)* for children (under 16).

Local tip: Search for 237 Baker Street when looking for the museum. It’s actually between 237 and 241, so you may just walk past it!

 

A map of all the zone 1 sights listed in the post

Blink and you might miss it! The Sherlock Holmes Museum in Baker Street

 

2. Bank – Central, Northern, Waterloo and City lines – must see London attractions

As its name suggests, Bank is the heart of the financial capital of London. It’s something that becomes more obvious once you exit the station. One of the first buildings you’ll see is the grand Bank of England. It’s the central bank of the United Kingdom, set in an impressive Roman temple-style building. The Bank of England was designed by English architect, Sir John Sloane, who specialized in neo-classical style.

Inside the Bank of England is a museum that’s open to the public, and it’s also free to enter. What’s more, the events cost nothing, and you can learn more about what they do. The museum opens every day from 10am to 5pm, except bank holidays (UK public holidays). Last entry to the museum is at 4.30pm. Check the website for more up-to-date information and to better plan your visit. 

Best sights to see in London for first-time travelers – Bank of England

 

 “Seeing the capital by zone 1 is one way to explore, while also making the most of your Oyster Card.”

3. Barbican – Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan lines

At the heart of the city of London is Barbican. Given its central location, you’re likely to find city workers, and also plenty of university students, especially during the week.

However, aside from work and school purposes, there are several attractions in the area you may want to visit. The Barbican Centre hosts different types of cultural events such as concerts, film screenings and art exhibitions. More impressively, inside is a library, 3 restaurants and a conservatory. These features make The Barbican Centre the largest of its kind in Europe. Check to see what’s on during your visit.

Other attractions worth visiting while here include The Museum of London and St. Giles-without-Cripplegate. The Museum of London showcases the history of London from prehistoric to modern times. It’s a short walk away from The Barbican Centre and is located on the London Wall.

Visit one of the few remaining medieval churches in London at St. Giles-without-Cripplegate. The church has survived 3 fires, the last one happening during the blitz from the Second World War. St. Giles-without-Cripplegate is also where military commander and Lord Protector of England, Oliver Cromwell, got married in 1620. You can find the church on Fore Street, just behind the London Wall.

 

must see London attractions - St Giles without Cripplegate

Must see London attractions – St Giles without Cripplegate

 

 

4. Top London sights in zone 1 – Bond Street – Central and Jubilee lines

Who’s ready to shop?! There’s usually only one reason to head to Bond Street, and that’s to spend big. Both exits from the train station lead onto Oxford Street, another major high street mecca. The difference between the 2, is that Bond Street has more high-end stores and boutiques.

Personally, I like getting away from the crowds and exploring behind the main shopping street area. St Christopher’s Place is a square you enter through a narrow passing off Oxford Street. It may not be so secret anymore, but this plaza, full of activity, is still a favorite meeting point.

South Molton Street is pretty to walk through, with plenty of quaint — and expensive — attention-grabbing shops. It leads to Brook Street, where you’ll find the iconic 5-star Claridge’s Hotel. While this luxury hotel may be out of your price range, a drink at Claridge’s Bar won’t break the bank. Alternatively, you may want to have afternoon tea at its restaurant, The Foyer and the Reading Room. It’s gained a name as being one of the best afternoon teas in London, and in a historic Georgian setting.

Want to know how much it’ll cost to stay at Claridge’s? Check for dates and availability.



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Sparkling South Molton Street at Christmas

 

5. Must see London attractions – Borough – Northern line

Away from the posh, and back to the urban at Borough Market. Markets and eating are 2 of my favorite pastimes, and I never say no to an invitation here.

However, and this is a big however, Borough Market’s insanely busy on the weekends, and also during weekday lunchtimes. If you’re planning on visiting during these periods, be prepared for crowds of people, long lines and nowhere to sit!

Saying that, I highly recommend taking a tour, and if possible, during a weekday morning. It gives you a chance to visit and really enjoy the market, without masses of people hovering around.

 

Attractions to see in London - Borough Market

Attractions to see in London – Borough Market

 

6. Charing Cross – Northern and Bakerloo lines

The number one attraction visitors come to see in Charing Cross is Trafalgar Square. It’s probably one of the top 10 things to see in London, plus it’s free too. The square’s where you’ll find the towering Nelson’s Column, guarded by 4 lion statues — usually with people sitting on top.

Depending on the time of year you visit, Trafalgar Square also hosts free events and shows. From musical performances to feast/international days, it all happens here.

One of my favorite art galleries is also in Charing Cross, The National Gallery. From its grand building to the impressive range of art inside, it’s a must see. Better yet, it’s free, and open daily from 10am to 6pm every day (Fridays till 9pm).

 

Top attractions to see in London – Trafalgar Square – photo by Christian Reimer

 

7. Covent Garden – Piccadilly line

From shopping to entertainment, there’s no-one I know who doesn’t like visiting Covent Garden. It’s the home of London’s theatreland, with hit musicals like Mamma Mia and The Lion King.

After taking in a show, explore the piazza of Covent Garden. There’s an endless variety of shops, eateries and bars, as well as live performances and theatrics always taking place. Other noteworthy attractions in Covent Garden include the Royal Opera House, the London Transport Museum and the London Film Museum.

 

Zone 1 London attractions - Covent Garden

Zone 1 London attractions – Covent Garden

 

8. Must see London attractions in zone 1 – Embankment – Bakerloo, District, Circle and Northern lines

There aren’t many places in zone 1 where you can escape the maddening crowds of London. Thankfully, there’s the River Thames to bring your levels back down to calm.

Upon exiting Embankment station, cross the road, and it’ll bring you straight to Victoria Embankment. It’s one of my favorite walks to do in London, and a great place to get away from the masses.

Keep walking north, and you’ll come across Cleopatra’s Needle. This historical landmark is one of 3 ancient Egyptian obelisks that were re-erected in London, Paris and New York. While all are genuine obelisks, they’ve no connection with the famous Egyptian queen herself.

Cleopatra’s Needle sphinx along the Victoria Embankment in London

9. Goodge Street – Northern line

Goodge Street is the cool, big brother of the neighborhoods in London. Rather than being known for one main attraction, Goodge Street is simply somewhere different to explore in London. It’s located in the plush Fitzrovia area of the city, with an overwhelming choice of bars and restaurants to match.

My top recommendation for drinks in Goodge Street is Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals. The bar pays homage to author Jules Verne’s fictional world traveler, Phileas Fogg. It’s colorful, with great cocktails, wine and service, plus it’s travel-themed too. What more could you ask for?

Stay here in Goodge Street: The fabulously chic Charlotte Street Hotel is my luxury boutique hotel of choice. Romantic, and a little discreet, it’s the ideal place to stay in Fitzrovia. It also belongs to the same hotel group as the fabulous Crosby Street Hotel in New York City.



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Mr Fogg's Botannicals - Goodge Street London

Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals – Goodge Street London

 

10. Must see London attractions –Green Park  Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria lines

Exiting at Green Park tube station brings you to several top London sights. As soon as you exit the station, you’ll find yourself moments from Green Park. It’s one of the Royal Parks in London, and spans across 40 acres.

From here, you can also visit Buckingham Palace and buy tickets to tour the royal palace and the gardens too. However, it’s only open to the public from July to October. That said, you may want to get your tickets in advance and be the first in line.

The excellent Royal Academy of Arts is also a few minutes’ walk from Green Park station. Like the majority of art galleries and museums in London, it’s also free admission. However, there’s a charge for specific exhibitions, so can check the website before you visit.

I can’t write about Green Park without mentioning the luxury boutique hotel, Flemings Mayfair. This wonderful hotel is located in the Mayfair quarter of London, complete with first-class rooms, suites and service.

Local tip: visit Fortnum & Mason. Stock up on quality English tea, biscuits, jams and more at this upmarket department store. They make great gifts for family and friends, or a treat just for you.

Outside the Royal Academy of Arts in Green Park, London

11. High Street Kensington – Circle and District lines

Generally speaking, Kensington is the area where the rich and famous live. The fact that it’s situated in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea says it all.

The main reason to come to High Street Kensington is to visit Kensington Palace. The home of the young royals is open Monday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm, with last entry at 5pm. You can beat the crowds with a smug smile by getting your tickets in advance. Kensington Palace is popular for obvious reasons, and lines get busy very quickly.

The area surrounding High Street Kensington is also worth exploring. There are plenty of great shops, small cafes and restaurants, plus entry to the wonderful Hyde Park. Speaking of Hyde Park….

 

Best places to visit in London zone 1 - Kensington Palace

Best places to visit in London zone 1 – Kensington Palace

 

12. Hyde Park Corner – Piccadilly line – must see London attractions

Hyde Park Corner’s most famous attraction is Hyde Park. It’s the largest green space in central London, and another of the 8 royal parks.

Come winter, a section of the park transforms into Winter Wonderland; an annual event with a fairground and Christmas market stalls. When summer arrives, so too do the outdoor concerts.

Hyde Park’s also near to the swanky area of Park Lane. Expect top 5-star hotels like the Intercontinental, and The Dorchester, as well as flashy sports cars parked outside.

Hyde Park is a must visit in London

13. King’s Cross St Pancras – Circle, Hammersmith and City, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines

Die-hard Harry Potter fans come to King’s Cross St Pancras for just one thing. Walk in the footsteps of the young wizard and visit platform 9 ¾ on a themed bus or walking tour. From King’s Cross, there’s also the option to take a tour of the Warner Bros Studio. Your ticket price includes round-trip transportation, as well as the chance to see all your favorite sets from the franchise.

The other main reason to visit King’s Cross is to travel nationwide, or out of the country. Along with trains to other UK destinations, London St Pancras International is also the terminal for the Eurostar. Travel from London to Paris, or to Disneyland Paris, Brussels or Amsterdam, and all within a few hours.

 

Harry Potter Warner Bros tour

You can take the Harry Potter Warner Bros studio tour from Kings Cross St Pancras

 

14 Knightsbridge – Piccadilly line – best London attractions in zone 1

There’s one landmark so popular in Knightsbridge that it’s become its own must-see attraction when visiting London. Harrods is a one-of-a-kind luxury department store, and just seconds away from exiting Knightsbridge station.

With more than a million sq ft of space, 7 floors and 330 departments, it’s easy to spend a day here. However, Harrods isn’t just all about luxury goods. I personally like browsing the food section, or stopping for something to eat at one of the eateries.

Knightsbridge is also where you’ll find some of the best luxury hotels in London. The Mandarin Oriental is a 2-minute walk from Harrods, and the excellent Berkeley is about 5 minutes’ walk. They also serve a wonderful designer-themed afternoon tea here called Pret-a-Portea. Enjoy cups of bottomless tea while nibbling on Jimmy Choos, just in cookie form!

Department store Harrods in Knightsbridge is an attraction in itself

15. Leicester Square – Northern and Piccadilly lines

Exiting from Leicester (pronounced Les-ter) Square brings you to the one of the busiest, and most touristic, places in London. The main square is where film premieres take place, and where people also come for the nightlife. Though touristy, I’d still say to visit and see it for yourself.

Leicester Square also gives you easy access to London’s Chinatown, as well as Covent Garden and Piccadilly Circus.

 

Places to see in London - Leicester Square Gardens

Places to see in London – Leicester Square Gardens

 

16. Liverpool Street – Central, Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan lines

Liverpool Street station is always busy. The area’s another major financial district of London, so is heaving with city workers during the week.

Personally, I like coming to Liverpool Street for several reasons, the first being the markets. Old Spitalfields Market opens every day, with plenty of stalls selling clothing, jewellery and other goods. There are also plenty of restaurants, bakeries and coffee places in Spitalfields to just take a moment. Next door is Spitalfields Arts Market, where you can browse or buy the art as you wish.

As you explore further, you’ll reach Brick Lane. It’s generally known for the Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants, but you’ll also find bars and coffee places too. The Brick Lane Sunday Market is a weekly outdoor market that sells books and clothing every Sunday.

Another noteworthy building here is The Truman Brewery. It’s a former brewery located between Spitalfields and Brick Lane. Inside are independent boutique shops, a food hall and it’s also often used as a music venue.

Top places to visit in London – Old Spitalfields Market

17. Best places to visit in London – London Bridge – Jubilee and Northern lines

I’ve not met anyone (yet) who hasn’t heard of London Bridge. Even though most people mistake it for Tower Bridge, the area’s one of London’s most popular attractions.

In recent years, there’s another attraction that’s become a must-see sight in London Bridge, and that’s The Shard. Standing at 306m high, this glass and steel structure’s the 5th tallest building in Europe.

Tickets are available to access the viewing platforms on floors 68, 69 and 72. It’s the highest viewing point in London, and on a clear day, it’s possible to see up to 40 miles.

The exquisite Shangri-La Hotel is also located at The Shard. Check in to one of their fabulous rooms, or simply take a drink at the bar and enjoy the views.

 

Best zone 1 London attractions - The Shard in London Bridge

 

18. Marble Arch – Central line

You may not spot the famous arch in Marble Arch right away, but once you do, it’s quite a sight. English architect John Nash designed the white-marble structure in 1827 as the state entrance to Buckingham Palace. It was later relocated to its current location near Marble Arch tube station in 1851.

Leaving Marble Arch station also brings you to the start of Oxford Street as well as Park Lane. Hyde Park is across the road, and Baker Street’s about 15 minutes on foot.

From Marble Arch, you can also easily walk to Bond Street, or towards Edgware Road. This is the street to come and satisfy your Middle Eastern food cravings, and at a reasonable price too.

The grand Marble Arch – zone 1 London attractions

19. Marylebone – top areas to visit in London – Bakerloo line

To visit a location in the center of London with a village feel, come to Marylebone (pronounced Mar-lee-bone). It’s a short walk from Baker Street and is also one of the most elegant addresses in the city.

The 5-star hotel, and celebrity favorite restaurant, Chiltern Firehouse, is here, as is The Wallace Collection. Inside is an impressive gallery of French paintings, furniture and body armor from the 15th and 19th century. It’s free entry and The Wallace Collection is open every day from 10am to 5pm. In the instance you want to do something super touristy, the globally recognized Madam Tussauds wax museum is also here!

Local tip: Take a detour to Marylebone High Street. I love the independent shops and quaint cafes and pubs along this road.

 

Marylebone High Street

Marylebone High Street – take a pretty detour

 

20. Must see London attractions – Notting Hill Gate – District, Central and Circle lines

You’ve seen the film at least 10 times and now want to see the inspiration behind it. Notting Hill’s in west London, and is as pretty and residential as the film portrays. Houses are grand, expensive, and many with the colorful doors you’ve probably seen on Instagram.

As well as exploring the tree-lined streets, many people come to Notting Hill for its markets. It’s located on Portobello Road, just a few minutes’ walk once you exit the tube station. Browse the row of stalls that sell everything from vintage clothes to fruits and vegetables. The opening times are:

  • Monday to Wednesday: 9am to 6pm, Thursday: 9am to 7pm. These times are changeable depending on the weather. Check the website for the most up-to-date information.

Friday and Saturdays are the busiest days of the week. Every Friday is the antiques market, where over 1,000 dealers sell different types of antiques and collectibles.

Portobello road market in Notting Hill – best places to see in London

21. Oxford Circus – Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines

If you don’t like shopping, Oxford Circus may not be the tube stop for you. It’s the epicenter for a wide range of stores and top department stores. This street’s also very busy on the weekend and during the holidays — visit at your peril!

However, there’s another side to Oxford Circus, and it has nothing to do with shopping. Go behind the main shopping street, and you’ll find some quieter back roads. Here is where you’ll find some nice bars and restaurants, as well as some familiar chain names too.

Local tip: Walk along Great Portland Street until you reach the end. There are some sweet coffee shops here, as well as opportunities to window shop too. Plus, at the end of the road is another royal park, Regent’s Park, just over the crossing.

 

Attractions to see in London - Oxford Street

Attractions to see in London – Oxford Street

 

22. Piccadilly Circus – top attractions to see in London – Bakerloo, Piccadilly

It’s right into the belly of the beast for this next zone 1 tube stop. Even if you’ve never traveled to London, you’ll surely recognize Piccadilly Circus by photo.

Home to the famous billboard with flashing bright advertisements, Piccadilly Circus is also where you’ll see the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain. Many people mistakenly call it the Eros fountain because of the winged statue of Anteros. It’s not hard to miss the fountain: there’s always usually in front taking a photo.

From Piccadilly Circus, you can also easily access Chinatown and the trendy area of SoHo. It’s the ideal spot for dinner or a night out, with many bars and nightclubs to keep you entertained. Boutique accommodation, Dean Street Townhouse, sits at the heart of the neighborhood. This boutique favorite may be in one of the noisiest areas in London, but it’s very surprisingly quiet inside.

The bright lights of Piccadilly Circus in London

23. Shoreditch High Street – London Overground – Best places to visit in London

For most first-time visitors to London, Shoreditch High Street may not feature anywhere on the itinerary. However, in recent years, more people are coming to check out the ‘hipster’ part of London for themselves.

You get a sense of the trendy vibe almost instantly as you exit the station. Expect to see some eclectic dress styles and plenty of vibrant street art too. It’s grittier in feel, but that’s how the locals like it. Aside from the many independent bars and coffee shops, there’s also a small area full of Vietnamese restaurants.

Shoreditch is where the cool kids hang out, but everyone’s welcome. Head up to Hoxton Square and navigate your way across the bars around the plaza. The boutique hotel, The Hoxton, is also a short walk away, with a lobby/lounge area for guests and the public.



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Shoreditch street art

Shoreditch street art – things to see in East London

 

24. Must see London places – Sloane Square – Circle and District lines

Come and see how the other half live in Sloane Square. It’s one of the most expensive areas in London and incredibly classy too. Though the houses may be pricey, the area’s free to explore. Expect to see pretty wide-angled streets and large houses with French windows and no curtains.

Sloane Street has plenty of independent boutique shops as well as chain brands, like Zara. The fascinating, and free, Saatchi Gallery, is also minutes from the tube station. As you keep walking further, you’ll eventually reach the equally posh quarter of Chelsea. There’s nothing out of place here, including the people (!) and everything’s postcard perfect.

Saatchi Gallery is a few minutes walk from Sloane Square tube station

25. South Kensington – Best London attractions – Circle, District and Piccadilly lines

One fantastic feature that London has over other big capitals, is that admission to museums and galleries are free. Though you do have to pay for exhibitions, general entry costs you nothing.

South Kensington is the museum capital of London, with 3 large buildings just minutes from the station’s exit. Here is where you’ll find the Science Museum, Natural History Museum and the V&A (Victoria and Albert) Museum.

Visiting the capital’s museums is also one of the best, and free, things to do with kids in London. While there, swing by the ‘most Instagrammable’ Elan Café, just a short walk from the museum district.

 

Inside the incredible Natural History Museum

Inside the incredible Natural History Museum

 

26. St Paul’s Cathedral – top sights to see in London zone 1 – Central line

There’s good reason why visitors are drawn to St Paul’s Cathedral. This iconic church sits at the highest point in the city of London on Ludgate Hill. The current building dates back to the 17th century, but was first founded in AD 604.

Acclaimed English architect, Sir Christopher Wren, designed the current cathedral after it was destroyed during the Great Fire of London.

A shining example of English baroque style, St Paul’s Cathedral is one of London’s top, and most recognizable, attractions. You can enter the church if you want to attend mass or simply explore on your own. Check the website for opening times and to also see the calendar of events.

However, you may be keen instead to join one of their sightseeing tours. Your ticket price includes a guided tour of the church, and the chance to climb the dome of the cathedral. From here, you can admire London from above from the Whispering, Golden or Stone galleries. What’s more, your ticket also includes a multilingual multimedia guide, and a further year’s free entry.

Top zone 1 London sights – The view from the top of St Paul’s Cathedral

27. Tower Hill – Circle and District lines – zone 1 London attractions

Tower Hill tube station is one of my favorite stops in zone 1. The moment you exit the station building, you’re welcomed by the glorious Tower of London.

Tower of London – must see attractions in London

A palace, fortress and prison, the Tower of London is one of the best attractions to visit in the city. The palace’s exterior is already impressive from a distance, but it gets even better once you enter.

As well as the chance to see the Crown Jewels, you’ll also see the mythical ravens around the grounds. Legend has it, that if the ravens leave the tower, the kingdom will fall.

Being one’s of London’s must-see sights, the Tower of London is not only busy, but also expensive. You can save on your ticket price, and jump the line at the same time by buying in advance.

 

Ravens at Tower of London

The mysterious ravens at the Tower of London

 

Tower Bridge

It’s impossible to visit Tower Hill without coming to see its iconic bridge. Tower Bridge isn’t just a masterpiece of engineering, but it’s also one of the top sights to see in London. Given its symbolic status in the capital, it’s not surprising that many people mistake it for being London Bridge.

You can freely walk along the bridge deck — apart from when the bridge is being drawn — from morning to night. However, there’s an entrance fee to visit the towers, high level walkways and the Victorian engine rooms.

Local tip: Visit nearby St Katherine’s Dock. This tranquil marina’s a short walk from the Tower of London, home to offices as well as residences too. I also recommend walking up Wapping High Street, along the river. There are some lovely pubs here with river views, like the Town of Ramsgate and Captain Kidd.

 

Tower Bridge

The iconic Tower Bridge in London

 

28. Best areas to visit in London – Victoria – Circle, District and Victoria lines

The number one reason most people come to Victoria is to travel. As well as being one of the busiest train stations in the capital, there’s also the Victoria Coach Station nearby. Another thing to note, is that you can also take the Gatwick Express from Victoria to the airport.

The most popular London attraction in Victoria is Buckingham Palace (see section on Green Park). However, the area’s also home to the Victoria Palace Theatre, The Apollo Victoria Theatre, and the excellent Goring hotel.

Local tip: Walk down Elizabeth Street. This area, next to Victoria Coach Station, is a pretty, and rather discreet part of the neighborhood. Treat yourself to a Cronut™️ at Dominique Ansel Bakery, before checking out the small boutiques and beautiful houses.

The genius creation that’s the Cronut™️ at Dominique Ansel Bakery

29. Westminster – must see London sights – Circle, District and Jubilee lines

Unless you work in the area, most visitors come to Westminster to see the Palace of Westminster. Spanning over 900 years of history, it’s probably the number 1 attraction in London.

The historic building comprises of the world’s most famous clock, Big Ben, and the 2 houses of Parliament. Even if you’ve no interest in politics, I highly encourage you to try a tour of the parliament buildings. Not only is it really enjoyable and educational, but you also get a chance to see behind the scenes.

You can choose from a 90-minute guided tour, a family guided tour or even a tour with afternoon tea. It’s highly advisable to book your tickets in advance. They’re slightly cheaper, plus you also get to skip the lines and head straight through to security.

 

Must see attraction in London - Palace of Westminster

Must see attraction in London – Palace of Westminster

 

30. Best areas to see in London – Waterloo – Bakerloo, Jubilee, Northern and Waterloo and City lines

Just south of the River Thames is the buzzing area of Waterloo. For first-time travelers, it ranks high as a top destination in London given its many must-see attractions.

The area known as the Southbank is where you’ll find The London Eye as well as the Royal Festival Hall. It’s a stretch of path that runs along the river, with plenty of bars and restaurants on the way. Be sure to check the calendar of events, as there’s usually something going on. The Southbank also happens to be one of my favorite spots for people watching, especially come summertime.

There are 2 things I advise if you plan on riding the London Eye. First, you’d be crazy not to buy your tickets in advance. Lines are long here, even during the less busy seasons. Second, if you also enjoy seeing London at sunset, book a ticket for the last ‘flight’ during summer. The pods are less busy, and the colors at that time, and from that height, are mesmerizing.

London Southbank and the London Eye by night

How do I find my way around the London Underground?

The train system is also commonly known as the ‘tube’. You’ll hear this a lot in London, so don’t be afraid to ask for ‘the nearest tube station.’ The underground may be daunting at first, but get yourself a tube map, and don’t hesitate to ask staff for help.

I also advise getting lost on the tube — if you’ve the time to spare. It can be a fun way of familiarizing yourself with the system. If you come from another big city like New York or Paris, navigating the London Underground should be easy.

 

Colors of the London Underground train lines

Colors of the London Underground train lines

 

Which type of London travelcard should I buy?

Public transportation in central London is frequent, runs on time (most days) but it isn’t cheap. That’s why I always recommend taking an Oyster Card when you arrive in London. It costs £5 (a deposit you get back once you return it), and you can add any amount.

It works by tapping the yellow sign on the barrier (in the tube), or by the driver (on the bus). The Oyster Card prices* are cheaper than buying a ticket outright. To give you an example:

  • Oyster Card 1-day travelcard (zones 1 to 4): £10.10 (€11; $13)*
  • Standard travelcard: £13.10 (€15; $17)*

It may be cheaper to buy a weekly ticket if you’re staying longer than a few days. Prices are the same for Oystercard and a standard travelcard, and you can use it on all public transportation.

  • 1-week Zone 1 to 3: £41.20 (€46; $52)*
    1-week Zone 1 to 4: £50.50 (€56; $64)*

Children under 11 travel free on the London Underground, but they must be accompanied by an adult/s with a valid ticket.

Which of these London attractions would you like to see? Are there any other zone 1 tube station sights I missed out? Let me know in the comments below.

Till next time, happy boutique travels x

*Prices correct at time of publishing.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I’ve recommended. Thank you for your support.

Travel around the city with an Oyster Card to use all London transport

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Lisa Rivera

Lisa Rivera

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Welcome to my site! I'm Lisa, founder of Following the Rivera. I write primarily for a ‘flashpacker’ audience; a demographic (late 20s onwards) that enjoys glamping over camping, staying at boutique/luxury boutique hotels, sampling the local food and wine, cultural activities, and indulging in a spot of wellness on their travels. Read more here…

       

 

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