London Travel Guide

Explore London

If there were one capital city for the world, it would be London. This metropolis is so deeply multicultural with over 270 nationalities speaking 300 tongues living here that you’ll find a beautiful conglomeration of different cultures, art and food right here.

But as international as it may be, it hasn’t lost its roots. British institutions like the British Museum, Westminster Abbey and Tower of London continue share the nation’s history with visitors. Deeply entrenched in rich history, London’s treasure trove of antiquity are everywhere, and best of all, you don’t even have to go far to find them.


Top Things to Do

Buckingham Palace

You can’t come to London and not visit the Buckingham Palace, the residence and administrative headquarters of the reigning monarch. Most tourists flock here to witness the emblematic Changing of the Guard (daily from April to July, every other day in other months) that takes place in the front courtyard of the palace.

Tower Bridge

It comes as a surprise to many that the famous “London Bridge” mentioned in rhymes is actually known as the Tower Bridge. Erected in 1886-1894, this suspension bridge has become a symbol of London. You’ll be treated to 180-degree views of both banks of the Thames River.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

One of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, St Paul’s Cathedral has dominated the skyline for 300 years, since its construction in the late 17th century. Today, it’s still the seat of the Bishop of London and functions as a working church with daily services.

London Eye

For the best views of London from above, you’ll have to hop onto this giant Ferris wheel perched on the South Bank of the River Thames. Also known as the Millennium Wheel, this is the most popular tourist attraction in the United Kingdom with over 3.75 million visitors annually.

Fazl Mosque

First built in 1926, the Fazl Mosque – known affectionately as The London Mosque – has played host to a number of distinguished visitors, including Faisal Bin Abdul-Aziz and his predecessor, King Saud. Besides having a large prayer hall, the Fazl Mosque also has a sprawling garden that has won numerous awards over the past few years.

Where to Eat and Drink

London’s diverse cultural dynamism is reflected in its gastronomy. You’ll find foods from every single corner of the world from Armenian to Cambodian, Ethiopian to Peruvian right here in this melting pot. Because of this multi cultural facet, there’s also a creative and interesting fusion of cuisines here, so rest assured your taste buds will be constantly tickled. Muslim travelers will also be spoiled for choice when it comes to halal offerings.


Recommended Places to Eat

Chor Bizarre

Named ‘the best North Indian restaurant in the UK’, this atmospheric Indian restaurant has a good list of halal dishes and many classic Indian staples. The eclectic interior instantly transports you to South Asia, and its food even more so.

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Hereford Road

A genuine neighborhood restaurant in residential Noting Hill Gate, this down-to-earth diner prides itself on serving high quality and affordable British staples in a relaxed environment. Opened in October 2007 and converted from an old Victorian butcher’s shop, Hereford Road offers simple yet innovative British cooking at its best.

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The Ivy

Having been a firm fixture in London’s dining and social scene since 1917, this British institution is a favorite among celebrities. Designed by the critically-acclaimed Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, the restaurant features harlequin stained-glass windows, oak panelling and striking contemporary art collection.

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Fera at claridges

Headed by the famous Simon Rogan, this Michelin-starred restaurant boasts an award-winning wine list as well as a farm-to-table approach that hones in on homegrown ingredients harvested seasonally. Its art deco style dining room emphasizes on the restaurant’s “nature” theme with a Manzanita tree right in the middle of it.

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Koshari Street

This tiny canteen with limited counter seating is an excellent budget option for those seeking halal-certified and affordable Egyptian street food. Originally serving only their signature dish, the Koshari, their menu has been expanded to include a tempting selection of Egyptian classics, both savory and sweet, as well as richly-roasted Arabic coffee.

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RECOMMENDED PLACES TO STAY

Threadneedles

As part of the Autograph Collection Hotels, this exclusive five-star luxury pad is plush and extravagant. This former Victorian bank has been transformed into one of the best hotels in town, with marbled flooring, high corniced ceilings

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South Place Hotel

The hotel blends modern technology with comfort, as evident from the bold designs in the ground floor chop house, Michelin-starred rooftop seafood restaurant, lobby, and meeting rooms.

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Andaz London Liverpool Street

The ethos behind this slick hotel is simplicity — and it’s obvious from the chic yet minimalist design.

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CitizenM

No other hotel in London gives you this kind of sweeping views over London. Plus, it’s within walking distance from major sights like Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

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Best Time to Go

As with many European cities, London is best seen in spring and fall, when temperatures are mild (at around 20ºC) and the city’s parks are green and blooming. Winter sees London shrouded in grey weather and chilly temperatures of approximately 0ºC, so unless you’re a winter lover, I’d advise avoiding London from November to February.

Note that Christmas is an extremely popular time to visit London, with the city decked out in a festive atmosphere.

Summer is also a good time to visit, though you’ll be surrounded by throngs of tourists and hotels tend to jack up their prices during peak season. No matter which time of the year you’re visiting, prepare to get wet as London is notorious for its year-round showers.


Getting There

Many airlines fly from Saudi Arabia to London, including Saudia, Etihad Airways, Qatar, Emirates, and Turkish Airlines. There are direct flights from Jeddah to London on Saudia, but most flights from Riyadh to London have at least one stopover in Abu Dhabi or Doha.

Getting from Airport to City
  • By Train

    The most popular train option is Heathrow Express, which runs non stop between London Heathrow Airport Terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5 and Paddington station. This journey takes 15 – 20 minutes and a single ticket costs £27 each way. The Heathrow Connect train service operates between Terminals 1,2 and 3 and Paddington station. The journey takes 25 minutes, and a single fare costs £10.20. The London Tube service also has a line that connects all Heathrow terminals with various parts of London, taking around 50 minutes to reach the city center.

  • By Bus

    National Express operate services from London Heathrow Airport Bus Station to London Victoria, with single fares starting from £6. The journey takes between 35 and 60 minutes. National Express offers a London hotel transfer service to and from Heathrow Airport called Heathrow Hoppa; The tickets for one person cost from just £4 single.

  • By Taxi

    Taxis are easily available outside every terminal, but it can be pricey, with a single trip costing between £45 and £70 and taking approximately 45-60 minutes to the city center.



Extra tips
  • In London, English is the official language although you’ll find many languages spoken all over the cosmopolitan city.

  • The currency in England is the British Pound (EUR). The current exchange rate is 1 SAR to £0.20.

  • The outlets in England supply 230 volts at 50 hertz.

  • The outlets in England use a British three-pin plug.