CHANGING OF THE GUARD
A trip to London just wouldn't be the same without seeing the Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace. For a true sense of the Royal pageantry, the colourful and enchanting exhibition of military precision is hugely popular with tourists and Londoners a like.
Changing the Guard is the event that takes place when a new guard will exchange duty with the old guard. The handover is accompanied by a Guards band playing traditional military marches to songs from films and musicals and even some well-known pop songs.
During the procession you'll see Foot Guards in their full-dress uniform of red tunics and bearskins, an impressive spectacle with the backdrop of the famous house of residence of the Royal family. The Changing of the Guards consist of five marching infantry regiments - the Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards - and two regiments of the Household Cavalry – the Life Guards and Blues and Royals who have carried out this duty since 1660.
The ceremony lasts about 45 minutes and usually takes place daily at 11:30 from May until the end of July and on alternate days for the rest of the year, weather permitting.
Please visit the Changing of the Guards website for information on times and how to spot the different regiments of foot guards.
If you can't resist a bit of bargain-hunting, check out one of London's popular markets, Portobello Road and Spitalfield Market are all good options however Camden Market is perhaps London's largest and most famous eclectic collection of street markets. Make sure you have time to visit if you want a bustling hub of independent traders and fantastic food.
With such a rich diversity of people, there is no cuisine left off the table, it's the perfect place to try some exotic, authentic dishes from around the globe. There are endless stalls for traders selling antiques, collectables, jewellery, gifts as well as vintage and up-and-coming designer clothing. It's a great place to spend the day exploring the labyrinth of shops and bars, a true haven for any bohemian market lover.
Camden market is most popular at the weekend so be prepared to encounter some crowds however there is always a huge variety of things going on, it's a really exciting place to be.
Open every day from 9:30-17:30
Chalk Farm Road,
A must see square in the heart of London, Once you've satisfied your hunger in the markets and wish to stave off the urge to splash more cash, relax come the afternoon in Trafalgar Square. Here you can enjoy the rich history of London, sit and read or simply watch the world go by – some of the best people-spotting in London is to be found here.
Trafalgar square is dominated at its centre by Nelson's Column, commemorating the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), the famous British naval victory of the Napoleonic Wars over France. Admiral Horatio Nelson stands atop of the 170 feet column guarded by four huge bronze lion statues at its base.
Trafalgar Square is also the location of The National Gallery, the smallest police station in London and the he fountains, adorned with mermaids, dolphins and tritons - a cooling place to rest on after a day of sight-seeing.
It's easily accessible from Leicester square, Covent Garden and Charing Cross tube stations. Should you happen to be in London during December, it is highly recommended to visit Trafalgar Square, when the square plays host to a massive Christmas tree, donated every year from Norway as recognition from their liberation in World War II. The Square is also the traditional gathering place in London for people to see in the New Year.
However on any sunny day, Trafalgar Square is a great place to relax on the steps of the National Gallery having a picnic looking Whitehall towards Houses of Parliament and Big Ben - one of the best views around!
HOP ON THE TUBE
No matter which tube line you're near in London, chances are one of the city's treasures is awaiting you just a few short underground stops away. With an Oyster Card, spending a day exploring the best that London has to offer is a perfect, cheap way to spend a day.
On the Bakerloo line
Baker Street Station
Baker Street is the home of Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective Sherlock Holmes from his popular novels and Madame Tussauds wax works museum.
Regent's Park station
Chose to stop here to cause mischief with the monkeys at London Zoo, take-in Shakespearean plays in the fresh outdoors during the summer or relax and in the vast green expanse of Regent's Park.
On the Central line
Stop here for the British Museum and discover ancient treasures from civilizations throughout history such as the Rosetta Stone, a sample of the beard from the Great Sphinx and the controversial Parthenon Sculptures.
Notting Hill Gate station
Try to catch Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts as you peruse the market stalls filled with antiques collectables and vintage treasures along Portobello Road.
On the Circle line
South Kensington station
The museum triangle of London, travel to South Kensington to explore the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Science Museum, all of which are within easy walking distance this tube stop.
Tower Hill station
For some tales of medieval ghost stories to send chills down your spine, stop at Tower Hill for the famous Tower of London and Tower Bridge. If you're lucky you might just be in time to watch the Tower Bridge rise to let a passing ship by.
On the Jubilee line
Visit the home of UK democratic power, the gothic inspired Palace of Westminster. Here you'll find Big Ben himself, the London Eye and the fascinating Houses of Commons and House of Lords and the ancient Westminster Abbey where British Monarchs have been crowned throughout the centuries.
On the Northern line
Hampstead Heath is another of London's beautiful green spaces. For a chance to cool off on a hot summer's day cool the calm bathing ponds are particularly popular.
London Bridge station
Visit 'London's Larder', the Borough Market where fresh and exciting food has been available to curious passers-by. Here appetites of any sort have been satisfied since the 14th Century.
On the Piccadilly line
Russell Square station
See the inspiration behind Oliver Twist by dropping by the Dickens House Museum.
Leicester Square station
Roll out the red carpet in the entertainment capital of the Capital, Leicester Square. Home to the extravaganzas of various film premieres, Leicester Square is the place to be to rub shoulders with the biggest names from the silver screen.
On the Victoria line
Experience the striking works of British contemporary art, the Tate Modern is another of the capital's collection of amazing exhibitions and all free-of-charge.
A short walk from Victoria station is the achingly cutting edge and most dynamic examples of modern art, housed at the Saatchi Gallery. Feeling particularly inspired you may want to discover some other works of art amongst the boutiques and designer stores of Chelsea's fashionable King's Road.
On the Waterloo & City line
On a clear day, get a bird's eye view of London city on board the landmark London Eye; just remember to take your camera!