ENTERTAINMENT IN LONDONLondon has recently been voted the best European capital to live in and it's easy to see why when you're aware of the abundance of entertainment and culture that is available in the city. Considering that London has a reputation for being an expensive city, there is an amazing amount of free stuff to do if you're feeling strapped for cash, including free entry to many major museums, and of course relaxing in some of London's luscious green areas.
Sightseeing (nearest tube station listed in brackets)For a look at the famous and historic, you can't do better than visiting the following: Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament (Westminster), Buckingham Palace (St. James's Park), St. Paul's Cathedral ( St. Paul's), Tower Bridge and the Tower of London (Tower Hill), Trafalgar Square (Charing Cross), Westminster Abbey (Westminster).
Some modern additions to the London landscape include the Millennium Bridge (links the South Bank to the City of London) and for great views of London, visit British Airways London Eye (Waterloo).
Museums and Art Galleries (nearest tube station listed in brackets)British Museum ( Tottenham Court Road), Imperial War Museum (Elephant and Castle, Waterloo, Lambeth North), Museum of London (Barbican), National Gallery (Charing Cross), National Portrait Gallery (Charing Cross), Natural History Museum (South Kensington, Science Museum (South Kensington) Tate Britain (Pimlico), Tate Modern (London Bridge or Waterloo), Victoria and Albert Museum (South Kensington).
Other museums that will make you part with a tiny bit of money include: London Transport Museum (Covent Garden), Cabinet War Rooms (St. James's Park or Westminster).
Theatre and CinemaThe West End is home to many major theatres with long-running musicals and famous productions. You can purchase tickets by calling the theatre's box office directly or via www.ticketmaster.co.uk. Alternatively you can go to Leicester Square on the day that you wish to view a performance and approach the TKTS booth (on south side of garden), where you can normally pick up tickets for half-price. Local newspaper and magazine listings print information of what productions are showing.
Shopping and Markets (nearest tube station listed in brackets)Oxford Street (stretching from Marble Arch Tube station down to Tottenham Court Road Tube Station) is possibly the most famous shopping street and is home to many major department stores, including Selfridges (Bond Street). Regent Street, Carnaby Street and Neal Street in Covent Garden are nearby and are well worth a look. Tottenham Court Road is great for buying electrical goods.
For something a little less hectic, try the Kings Road (start at Sloane Square Tube station and walk up it) or Kensington High Street (High Street Kensington Tube station), or if you feel like splashing out, visit Knightsbridge for Harrods (Knightsbridge), and Harvey Nichols (Knightsbridge).
Make sure you visit one of the following markets for a great London experience:
Borough Market (London Bridge, Fri 12-6pm; Sat 9-4pm), Camden Market ( Camden Town, many stalls now open 7 days a week 10am-6pm), Portobello Market ( Notting Hill Gate or Ladbroke Grove, Sat 8am-5pm), Spitalfields Market ( Liverpool Street, Mon-Fri 11am-3.3pm; Sun 10am-3pm ).
Nightlifewww.beerintheevening.com is a great place to check out online reviews for pubs and bars in your area; you can even add your own thoughts if you feel particularly strongly about a place. You should be prepared about the price of drinking in London - it is often dearer than the rest of England, and drinking in central London is almost certain to be pricier than in boroughs further out - e.g. a pint of beer in central London might cost somewhere in the region of £3. Having said there are often cheaper deals available.
The gay and lesbian community is strongly represented in London. There are many clubs, bars and events dedicated to the gay population - the heart of which is located in Soho and around Old Compton Street.
Getting away (nearest tube station listed in brackets)If the hustle and bustle of London starts to wear a bit thin, go and chill out in one of London's many open spaces. Our favourites include Battersea Park (nearest Train - Battersea Park), Clapham Common (Clapham Common), Hampstead Heath (Hampstead), Hyde Park (Hyde Park Corner), Richmond Park (Richmond), Victoria Park (Mile End).
If you really feel the need to escape for the weekend, then you could jump on the Eurostar and end up in Paris or Belgium. Alternatively you can be at the seaside in Brighton within an hour, or if you want to ramble in the countryside, then visit www.walkingclub.org.uk for a list of walks within a short train ride of London.
If you need more Entertainment ideas or advice then order our Moove2London Starter Pack on Our Services page with more detailed ideas and 2-month email support for all your queries.