Red7 Blogs , July 19, 2016
With a population of 7.5 million people, London is one of the biggest and most diverse cities in Europe. Famous for its history and architecture, the city of London is great for sightseeing and offers spectacular views.
It makes the perfect choice for hens as there is something to do all year round. Whether you’re into art, shopping, theatre or just fancy some really good nights out, London will definitely have you covered!
There are plenty of places offering incredible views of the famous London skyline. For the highest viewing platform, head to The View from the Shard. From the top you’ll see St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Gherkin and the London Eye, not to mention the expanse of London’s architecture at its finest. For hens that would prefer a private area, book a private capsule on Europe’s highest Ferris wheel, the London Eye. Adventurous hens looking for something unique need to experience the 360 degree views visible when you Climb the O2. You’ll spot famous landmarks, as well as the Emirates Cable Car and the ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture in the Olympic park. Another unique viewing point is the Tower Bridge Glass Floor viewing platform. Not only does the viewing area offer skyline views, visitors will also have a birds-eye view of the traffic crossing Tower Bridge below them – yikes! Lucky visitors may even get to see the bascules being raised beneath them as ships are let through!
London is known for its amazing shopping, so what better way for hens to spend the day before hitting the town at night. At the heart of London sits Oxford Street with its many flagship high street stores and world famous Selfridges, whilst nearby Regent Street is home to some of the city’s oldest shops, including Liberty. From here you can take a short walk to Carnaby Street. Known to be the fashion hub in the 60’s, you’ll still find an eclectic mix of independent boutiques, brands and cafes. Feeling flash? Then head to the Kings Road and mix with the stars of Made in Chelsea around Sloane Square.
Saunter just a little further down the road into Knightsbridge, home to Harrods and the big name fashion designers. If you’re looking for unique gifts and for a place to explore, head to the cobbled streets of Covent Garden where you’ll be greeted with street performers as you wander around the shops. For vintage finds and unusual pieces, world famous Portobello Market in Notting Hill is at its best on Fridays and Saturdays. But if you and the hen party would much rather have everything in one place, then go straight to Westfield. Home to high street favourites and luxury designer brands, you’ll also find plenty of bars and restaurants for when you need a break from all that shopping!
Britain was the first place in the world to have a public museum, so it’s no surprise that the capital is host to so many world famous museums. Open daily, London’s galleries are the perfect place to step away from the hustle and bustle and unless you are buying tickets for a specific exhibition, admission is free! The British Museum, Natural History Museum and V&A are open on Fridays until late if you fancy a wander through the galleries after dark. Hens looking for international modern and contemporary arts should try the Tate Modern, which officially opened its brand new building in June 2016. Design lovers can explore the art, sculpture, tapestries, photography and jewellery on display at the V&A. Or, if you’d rather step away from the art side of museums, check out the Natural History Museum for dinosaurs and the natural world.
For a fun-filled day out head to ZSL London Zoo & Aquarium in Regents Park to see lions, monkeys, giraffes, penguins and turtles. You can even get up close and feed the giraffes – perfect selfie opportunity! For a day out without the animals, explore the 300 acres of the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens for stunning gardens, historic greenhouses and galleries. Hens who are after a history lesson are sure to love The London Dungeon for gory stories of London’s past, whilst gin lovers will be in their element on one of London’s many Distillery tours. The Beefeater Distillery is London’s oldest distillery, whilst the Ginstitute at Portobello Star offers tasting courses to find out about all things gin.
During the day London’s West End is known for its tourist attractions and shopping. However, as night falls, the West End becomes a stage. Popular theatre choices include the Lion King and Wicked, with Aladdin coming to theatres in the summer of 2016. If you and the girls fancy a bit of a sing-a-long, head to the Jersey Boys for the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
When it comes to clubbing in London, there’s a night out suited for everyone’s tastes. XOYO in Shoreditch is known to ignore genres and focus on quality bookings, attracting a huge variety of top DJs and producers, so be sure to check out what’s on beforehand. For the hens nostalgic of their time in Ibiza, Studio 338 the mega club in East London is for you. Open all year round, during the summer months’ clubbers can party on the largest terrace arena in Europe, which turns into a heated and covered club in winter. For something a bit different, check out Proud Camden. A former horse hospital in the famous Camden Stables, it has since been transformed into a seductive burlesque and cabaret bar.
For a night of laughs, London is host to the country’s best comedy shows. The Comedy Store in the West End is London’s most popular comedy venue with 3500 weekly visitors. Laugh Out London has nights in Islington, Hackney, Camden and Brixton, whilst the Piccadilly Comedy Club in central London and Angel Comedy in North London regularly feature the rising stars of comedy.
There are plenty of alternative ways to party the night away in London. Go for a Party Boat on the Thames, taking in the London sights while dancing away. For spectacular city views, The Silent Disco at The View from the Shard plays the best of pop, rock and party classics – perfect for the hens who don’t agree on music choices! Feeling competitive? Then book a table at Bounce; the bar filled with ping pong tables. Or, for Jazz club lovers that would rather spend an evening in the bar, a night in the iconic Ronnie Scott’s in Soho is a must.
Pink icons on the map below represent value options, orange icons are for those posh places as an extra special treat and blue are quirky eating experiences you won’t forget in a hurry!
Best for: Pubs, green parks and a busy nightlife
South of the Thames you’ll find the greenest areas of London such as Wimbledon and Greenwich Park. South London is also home to young professionals and students, resulting in some of the best nightlife. Head to Brixton for lively gig venues and cool bars.
Best for: Culture, architecture and bars
With Camden Town located in North London, there’s plenty to do when staying in London. Visit the infamous Camden Lock for market buys, take a stroll up Primrose Hill for views over the city and head to Regents Park to visit ZSL London Zoo.
Best for: Arts, culture and vintage shops
Arguably the coolest area in London, stay East for easy access to Shoreditch, full of quirky bars, and Brick Lane made up of curry houses and vintage shops. There’s always something going on. You’ll also be near to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, right next to Westfield Stratford City shopping centre.
Best for: Designer shops, museums and classic architecture
West London is where you’ll find all the Sloane Rangers shopping in the designer shops down the Kings Road. If staying west, you’ll be in a short distance from Notting Hill, the museums in South Kensington, Harrods in Knightsbridge, the posh restaurants in Chelsea and the deer in Richmond Park.
Best for: Tourist attractions, shopping, theatre
Central London is where it all happens, so stay here if you are planning a hen jam packed with sightseeing, shopping and good restaurants. Within walking distance of Central London you will find Covent Garden, St Paul’s, Soho, Southbank, China Town, London Bridge and Westminster.
Travelling around London has never been easier. If you plan on using the underground it’s definitely worth picking up a map, or downloading an app which will show you the quickest routes of travel. The underground has 12 tube lines, plus the DLR and local train network, with most underground trains running from 5am to around midnight. From August 2016 certain lines will begin to operate a 24-hour service.
The best way to pay for travel on the underground is with an oyster card or a contactless card. If you’re paying by these methods, the cost will be capped once the price of a daily travel card is reached. You can also buy paper tickets for single journeys, day travel cards and group travel. These tickets will also be valid for the London buses!
If the underground doesn’t appeal to you, the London buses are a great way to travel around the capital and, more often than not, will get you closer to your destination than the underground. The buses no longer accept cash but, like the underground, contactless and oyster cards can be used with a single ride costing £1.50 and a daily cap of £4.50. Paper tickets can also be used on the buses, and these can be bought at the underground stations.
Santander cycles (otherwise known as Boris Bikes) are available throughout the city if it’s a short trip and you would prefer to cycle to your destination. Simply find a docking station, select ‘Hire a cycle’ and follow the instructions on screen. The bikes have a £2 access fee for the day with the first 30 mins free. Each 30 mins after that will set you back another £2. Once you have finished your journey, return to a docking station near to your destination.
If you would prefer to let someone else do the navigating around the city, then taxi is the best option. Whether it’s hailing a black cab or booking an Uber through the app, make sure the taxi you get into is a licensed cab.
If you’re travelling into central London from an airport here are some helpful travel times:
Whether you’re travelling by tube, bus, bike or cab, always check the route you are travelling beforehand. On some occasions you might find it easier to reach your destination on foot.
If you only get a short amount of time in our bustling capital, then here are our top hen-worthy highlights.