A Wee Little Guide to London, England

According to the State Department, only 36 percent of Americans own a valid passport. Now, to me, that number seems awfully low. With the summer coming and people booking trips left and right, I say get your passport and head across the pond.

Getting There

When I recently purchased plane tickets to London, I used Funjet. The best thing about Funjet is its a book-now, pay-later option on fights. Instead of shelling out that cash up front, you can make payments monthly.

Where To Stay

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The Dictionary Hostel
Located in a very cool and hip area of London, The Dictionary Hostel is one of my favorite places to stay. Positioned right next door to Translate Bar (where you’ll receive discounted drinks!) and right down the street from one of the top brunch spots in LDN, this is one place you’ll want to rest your head at night.

Ibis Euston St. Pancras
Only a 20-minute walk from Baker Street and Oxford Circus, this is a unique and fairly inexpensive hotel to stay. With a friendly staff, delicious food and free candy at reception (!), Ibis Euston is a gem in the heart of London.

Where To Eat

The Breakfast Club
There is always an hour-long queue outside the bright yellow building, but the wait is worth it—trust me. Try the pancakes and berries with a bloody mary that’s hot and spicy like Helen Mirren (or so the menu says).

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Nordic Bakery
If you’re a fan of cinnamon rolls (and how could you not?), head here immediately. This cute bakery is located right off Marylebone High Street in North West London and is a must-have.

Pizza East
Sunday Roast is a must when in England and one of the best, and possibly surprising, places to get a roast is Pizza East in Shoreditch.

 

Homeslice
Whether you’re wanting just a slice or a full pizza, head to Homeslice. With both traditional and unique flavors on the menu, this pizza spot will satisfy your every craving.

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Molly Bakes
Freakshakes are taking over the London world with good reason—just look at it. If you’re a lover of all things sweet and don’t mind heading to the dentist early this year, head to Molly Bakes immediately.

Sketch
Afternoon tea is a must in London and Sketch is a unique location to have your tea. The gorgeous interior is made for Instagram, and the tea set will make you contemplate sticking the dishware in your bag. Oh, and check out the bathrooms.

Duck and Waffle
Although this place can be pricey, the view is worth every penny—as are the cocktails!

What To Do

While London is very expensive, the nice thing is that the major museums are free.

Saatchi Gallery
This art gallery is so weird and so cool. The contemporary gallery hosts well-known and unknown artists and many of its pieces have been at the height of controversy since opening in 1985.

Columbia Flower Market
Open on Sunday mornings until 2pm, get your fill of flowers at the Columbia Flower Market. Grab a bouquet or just walk along for the scents; it’s a fun and enjoyable way to see real Londoners out and about.

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God’s Own Junkyard
Neon art and signs line the walls of God’s Own Junkyard—the oldest sign makers in London. Whether you’re looking for the perfect place to take Instagram photos or wander around drinking coffee and looking at unique signs, GOJ is somewhere to get lost on a weekday afternoon.

Tate Modern
The building has some of the best views of Southbank and St. Paul’s Cathedral and the artwork inside is bloody ridiculous. Everywhere you turn, there are pieces by Picasso, Warhol, Dali, Rothko, Richter, Duchamp, Hockney and the always weird and wonderful Tracey Emin.

Borough Market
While most tourists know about Borough Market, they tend to head there on the weekend. I recommend taking a trip during the week for delicious street food and people-watching.

Shoreditch Art Walk
Shoreditch is home to some of the best street art in London. Wander around yourself or sign up for a free walking tour to learn more about the history behind the art.

Post originally appeared on ALIVEmag.com. More information added here.

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21 Free Things To Do In London

Although London may be my favorite city, it’s rather expensive for someone who loved eating and shopping, but is living on a rather limited budget. However, if you’re like me, there are a numerous amount of free things to do in London. Yes, free. To help you get started planning your trip across the pond, here are 21 free things for you to do in London.

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1. Stare in awe at the bones of a T-Rex at the Natural History Museum.
2. See the Rosetta Stone for yourself at the British Museum.
3. See the Peter Pan statue at Kensington Gardens.
4. In the Winter, head to Hyde Park for the Winter Wonderland or walk through the gorgeous park on any given day.
5. Walk to the top of Primrose Hill in Regents Park.
6. Try to push the trolley through Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross.
7. Aimlessly wander around Southbank.

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8. Be entertained by the street performers in Covent Garden.
9. See the amazing exhibits at the Science Museum.
10. Watch the Changing the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace.
11. Strike a pose on the famous Abbey Road zebra crossing.
12. Meet the stone lions at Trafalgar Square.
13. Take an up-the-nostril selfie with Big Ben.
14. Go see the Shakespeare Globe. Trust me.
15. Take a walk through the 35,000 monuments of Brompton Cemetery.
16. Get up early on a Sunday and stroll through Columbia Flower Market.

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17. Visit God’s Own Junkyard to see vintage neon signs and movie props.
18. Walk through Shoreditch and look at all the street art–you might spot a Banksy.
19. Discover the original Beatles lyrics and the diary of Jane Austen at the British Library.
20. Try not to pee your pants when walking through the Tate Modern at pieces including Matisse, Picasso, Rothko, Pollock, Warhol and so many others.
21. Head to Angel Comedy Club for their free comedy every night of the week.