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Quick guide to London

Quick guide to London

London may be one of the busiest cities in the world, but many of its neighbourhoods have a local feel, and are packed with things to do.

Getting around
"If you're planning to use public transport to get around, we highly recommend picking up an Oyster card – especially since London buses no longer accept cash. If you have a UK bank account, you can also pay your fare with a contactless debit card. If you're in a rush and don’t have lots of luggage, the Tube (London Underground) is usually the best bet. But remember that early morning (7am-10am) and early evening journeys (4pm-7pm) are the most crowded. Fortunately, and especially in Central London, the next Tube stop is often only a short walk away. So if you're hopping between attractions, you may want to take a stroll and see more of the city. If you like to stay out late, there are plenty of night buses running. Find the quickest routes with the Transport for London (TfL) Journey Planner online. When it comes to taxis, you can wave down a black cab if the orange light on its roof is lit up. Most cabs only take cash, although a growing number offer card payments. For an easy ride, speak to a member of the ibis hotel staff, who'll be more than happy to book a taxi for you or point you to the nearest Tube or bus stop."
Seeing the sights
"London is vast, and there are many places you’ll want to see, from Buckingham Palace to Soho. So if you have no idea where to begin, it could be worth starting out with an open-top bus tour, such as those run by Big Bus Tours. These ‘hop on, hop off’ journeys take you past all the major landmarks and attractions – you can jump off when you reach one that interests you, and continue your tour on the next bus that comes along. Or if you just want to get stuck in, there are plenty of districts that are home to more than one famous attraction – many of which have an ibis hotel nearby. • Visit Greenwich to see the Cutty Sark, the Royal Observatory and the National Maritime Museum • Stop at Westminster to visit Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and 10 Downing Street • Head to Southwark for the Tate Modern Gallery and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre • Get off at Stratford to see the Olympic Stadium, or to shop at Westfield, Europe's largest urban shopping centre • Take the train to Hyde Park Corner to visit Buckingham Palace, or to take a walk through the massive Hyde Park (home to the Serpentine and the Peter Pan statue) • Or head to Kensington for the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Royal Albert Hall."
Going out
"As for music, you’ll find a wide range of tastes and scenes. The O2 Arena (Greenwich) hosts chart-topping acts throughout the year, and the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) is famous for its world-class opera and ballet. Camden Town is historically renowned for its live bands – especially at venues like The Roundhouse, The Barfly and The Jazz Café – and there are dozens of upcoming acts playing in the many pubs of Shoreditch. If you're looking for a bite to eat beyond the high-street chains, there are entire areas devoted to particular cuisines – such as Chinatown (near Leicester Square) or Brick Lane (near Aldgate), a single street that's almost entirely filled with Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants. Or for modern European dishes, try Brindisa (tapas in Southwark), Sixtyone Restaurant (refined meals and cocktail bar near Marble Arch), or Kensington Square Kitchen (for excellent brunches off High Street Kensington). No matter what you do in London, it helps to find an ideal place to stay. If you want to wake up on the doorstep of the best bits of the capital, find out more about our London hotels."
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