An ultimate backpacker’s guide to London that’s brimming with amazing sights and grand monuments.
London is up there with the most visited cities on the planet. It’s a sprawling, super megalopolis of over eight million people, unfolding along the River Thames in a medley of characterful neighborhoods. From multicultural Brixton in the south to sleek Knightsbridge, hipster Shoreditch and punky Camden Town, it’s like exploring 50 cities in one. Topping that off are some of the most iconic landmarks and experiences; with Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye all vying for a spot on the itinerary.
This ultimate backpacker’s guide to London should help you whittle down the myriad things to do in the English capital to create a backpacking trip you’re sure to remember. It runs through the hottest hostels on the London scene and reveals some of the best attractions and eateries the city has to offer.
London Travel Tips: Things You Simply HAVE To Do
London is laced with all sorts of things to do and see. Check out the list below and you’ll soon realize that there’s rarely a dull moment under the gaze of Big Ben.
Be Overwhelmed By The British Museum
There’s no doubt about it – the British Museum hosts one of the world’s most eclectic and rich arrays of art and heritage. It can be a daunting prospect for someone with limited time. So, be sure to pick up a map when you arrive to find the items you’d most like to see. That’s a quick ticket to the heroic Parthenon marbles, the statues of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, gladiator helmets from Pompeii, sketches by Leonardo da Vinci – it’s endless!
Chase Ghosts In The Tower of London
The quad of towers and crenulated walls of the mighty Tower of London stand firm on the Thames by handsome Tower Bridge. They herald one of the hardiest castles in the country. Founded way back in 1066, it’s been a prison and a treasury in its long life. Tours are taken by the resident Beefeater guards, who will spin tales of executions and court intrigue and the ghosts who are said to haunt inside.
Go Vintage Shopping in Shoreditch
East London has long since taken over the mantle of the city’s most hip and happening quarter for young pros and the like. Ride the Tube this way and you’ll be greeted by artisan bakeries and coffee roasters like Ozone, casual Aussie eateries like Lantana, and more retro clothes warehouses than you can shake a guide book at!
Walk the Victoria Embankment
Ditch the open-air sightseeing buses and make for the Victoria Embankment. Located on a big bend in the River Thames, it’s a sure way to see the most iconic landmarks in the English capital at your own pace. Things start by the twisted Millennium Bridge (you know, the one that was destroyed by Death Eaters in Harry Potter!) and end in the heart of Westminster, where you’ll spy out the Neo-Gothic rises of Big Ben.
Guide to London: The Best London Eats
This is where our backpacker’s guide to London takes a tastier turn. This capital is famed for taking culinary influences from all around the world and spinning them into something unique and special. Yes, it’s the heart of fish and chips country, but there’s also so much more…
In the depths of winter on the cold London streets, you’re likely to encounter the smell of charcoal under grilling chestnuts. They might cost a couple of pounds per bag, but they’re sure to warm the bones as you navigate the festive markets of Covent Garden and the water-sloshing sides of the Thames.
The delights of Chinatown
Wedged between Shaftesbury Avenue and Leicester Square, London’s Chinatown district is a mass of eateries and kitchens that churn out oriental delights until the early hours. With dim sum, soy-topped noodles, Korean BBQ broths, Peking duck, and wagyu burgers bursting from the menus, it’s a must for anyone feeling a little adventurous on the dining front.
A curry on Brick Lane
In the midst of the capital’s Bangladeshi and Indian communities, this long run of spice-scented cookhouses rarely fails to get the taste buds a-tingling. It’s the perfect place to sample Anglo-Indian mashups like the tikka masala. But you’ll also catch authentic dishes from the subcontinent, whether that’s a daal or veggie paneer on the tandoor.
Our Hand-Picked Hostels in London
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If you’ve got anything to add to this ultimate backpacker’s guide to London that you might think will help other travelers, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.