Five Musts for a Perfect London Vacation
London was such a dream trip. From start to finish, everything was amazing. However, like with any trip, there is always a little bit of a learning curve. No matter how many travel guides you read or blog posts you scour, you never know what the trip will bring until you're there. Last week and this week I shared part one and part two of my London adventure. Now here's what I learned are musts for any London vacation.
Pack multiple layers.
Packing a variety of clothing options was advice I got from everyone and everywhere and it held true. London weather is notoriously unpredictable so having lots of clothing options is a must.
How do you avoid having an overstuffed suitcase? Be smart about your layers. Button down shirts can do double duty as a layer over a tee or standing on their own. For late summer/early fall in London, a smart utility jacket is good for daytime adventures or popping around to the pub in the evening. Jeans are always a good option and it's rare that you'll be going somewhere so formal that they won't be allowed.
I'm used to major U.S. cities where women proudly strut around in buttery leather flats or block heels or even sky high stilettos. In London, sneaker culture is alive and thriving. While I did see a lot of ladies in nice flats and subtle heels, I saw many embracing the athleisure trends of sporty leggings and fancy sneakers. Plus, you'll want to be able to walk and walk and walk to soak up everything about this amazing city.
Research each neighborhood of London.
Like any city, London is comprised of many different neighborhoods, each with its own character. I did plenty of research on each one, almost as if they were their own little city, and it paid off. Sometimes we ended up spending more time in one area or another. All I had to do was check out my note on Google Keep that had a list of places by neighborhood and we were good to go!
Use public transportation.
I love the ease of calling an Uber as much as the next girl but in London there's no need. The Underground and double decker red buses run pretty much everywhere you could possibly want to go to the city and into the suburbs. You can also take a boat on the Thames like we did with our Greenwich trip.
Take advantage of free things.
London can be an expensive city. It's right up there with New York City and Los Angeles in terms of how much money you could potentially spend on your trip. But the great thing is that there are plenty of ways to save money and have the full London experience. First of all, many museums like the Victorian and Albert, Imperial War Museum, and National Gallery are absolutely free. Walking is, of course, always free and you'll see so much of the city this way. London's street art scene is fully thriving and you can catch plenty of beautiful murals in Shoreditch. Or even make it a game to track down every remaining Banksy mural in the city. For inexpensive eats, Borough Market is a must in terms of freshness and food options. Pub culture is pretty awesome, if not free, option so find your neighborhood one and feel like a Londoner.
Is it wrong that I'm planning my next trip to London already??? But my summer vacation fun is not over: stay tuned when I share my day trip adventures to Brighton and Oxford!