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So... we heard you've booked your tickets and are looking for the best possible way to maximise your time in London. This suggested itinerary covers the best of what London has to offer in 6 days! From pleasing culture buffs and bargain hunters to entertaining families and satisfying the tummies of hardcore foodies. London definitely has something for everyone. :)
Travelling from Heathrow to your hotel
With multiple transport options available, it is really convenient to get from Heathrow International Airport to the city. To access the city, you can choose to take either the Heathrow Express, the Underground Tube, Rail, bus or taxi. Check out this guide for more information on transportation! There are also plenty of Uber drivers that will take you at just about any time of day (definitely a life-saviour on rare occasions when all other transport services are not in operation).
#HHWT Tip: Choose to stay in Zone 1 as much as possible as it is closer to public transports such as the Tube and bus lines. It is also nearer to some of the main attractions that most people would visit on their first trip to London. Do expect the cost to be slightly higher but you'd definitely save a lot on time and transport costs as many of the attractions are within walking distance. If you're looking for hotel ideas, check out this list of London accommodations that are near halal food! We also recommend getting an Oyster Card loaded with a 1-week travelcard applicable to Zones 1 & 2 for a bang-for-your-buck transport option (for more budget-friendly hacks to conquering London, check this handy list out!).
Start with sightseeing on a river cruise (1 - 1.5 hours)
♪♫♪ We’re on a boat ♪♫♪ passing under Tower Bridge[/caption]
Take the circular cruise at Westminster Pier (return tickets cost GBP15.25 for adults and GBP10 for childer, though please do check whether you're eligible for family rates, as well as any special promotions they may have!). Find yourself sailing down two of London’s most iconic structures that are on opposite ends of River Thames - the house of Parliament and the Big Ben on the north and the London Eye on the south (please note that Big Ben is currently undergoing restoration until 2021, with the tower obscured by scaffolding ?).
Cruise past Cleopatra’s Needle, the Millennium Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Modern, the City and Tower of London, the Shard, HMS Belfast and Somerset House.
Explore Westminster (1.5 hours)
Hop off your river cruise at Westminster Pier and take a 10-minute walk to Buckingham Palace.
Observe the Changing of Guard ceremony at 11.00am - please note that the ceremony may not happen every day, therefore it's important to double-check the times and days ahead of your trip (you can do that here!).
Learn about the five regiments stationed at the Guards Museum (and the Bearskin they wear!)
*Be sure to double-check the timing of Changing of the Guard so you don’t end up like our friend, Mr Travolta here ?
Grab a sandwich and have lunch at St James Park (1 hour)
Take away sandwiches and puff pastries from nearby sandwich bars (some in this area carry halal sandwiches). Alternatively, the Halal Guys (famous for halal food carts in NYC) are opening an outlet in Leicester Square nearby too!)
Have lunch by the Blue Bridge in St James Park with stunning views of the Duck Island and Horse Guards.
Walk to the House of Parliament (unfortunately Big Ben is currently undergoing restoration until 2021, with the tower obscured by scaffolding so you can't take selfies with the famous clock tower ?)
Stroll over to Westminster Abbey where the royal British coronations and burials are held. William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and Geoffrey Chaucer are also buried here.
#HHWT Tip: There's a prayer room at the South Building of St Thomas' Hospital located nearby (the room is on the Ground floor and comes with ablution facilities, however, but brothers and sisters share the same space). For more info on this and other prayer spaces located in London near to attractions, check this list out!
[caption id="attachment_6489" align="alignnone" width="900"]
The intricate detail of Westminster Abbey is breath-taking![/caption]
Take a 10-minute stroll to Mango Tree for dinner. They're known for their delicious contemporary Thai cuisine! ? (Please note that all meat used in the restaurant are certified halal except for the duck. However, since the restaurant is not halal certified, we advise readers to dine at their own discretion)
Window shop in the heart of London’s shopping district (3 hours)
Start your shopping trip at the Marble Arch and stroll down Oxford Street. This area is known for its large department stores and brands such as Primark and H&M.
Head over to Bond Street if you're looking for classic designer labels and then Regent Street for the world’s largest toy store - Hamley’s (everyone has an inner child in them, right? :P)
Have lunch at Tinseltown (a halal-certified American-style diner, with an outlet at Great Portland Street which is close to Oxford Street. Alternatively, check out this list of halal eateries near Oxford Street and other shopping streets in London!)
Hang out with the Egyptian mummies at the British Museum (2 hours)
Walk off the heavy lunch as you make your way to the British Museum just 20 minutes away. Entrance to the museum is free (though a donation of GBP5 per person is recommended)! Please do note that the museum's opening hours are from 10am - 5pm.
Revel in its stunning architecture and their extensive collection of historical artefacts (think the Rosetta Stone, paintings and art from the different ages and old clocks).
Hop onto a bus and get off at Camden Town (take bus route 168 from bus stop H at Russel Square Station - about a 5-minute walk from the museum. Alight at Camden Town Station bus stop, 6 stops away). Alternatively, you can also walk from the museum to the Tottenham Court Road tube station and take the Northern Line to Camden Town, 5 stops away.
Get your souvenirs here with great bargains for English Tea in inventive London-inspired biscuit tins.
Head over to the Camden Lock street market for independent designer stalls selling anything from handmade clothes, photographs, art to jewellery.
Imperial War Museum in London, UK[/caption]
Credit: _dChris on Flickr
Explore one of my favourite museums in London, the Imperial War Museum. The 15-inch naval guns displayed outside were used by the Royal Navy during World War 2 and were considered one of the largest and most powerful weapons of its time.
Immerse yourself in this multi-story museum where oral accounts are used extensively to construct an interesting historical narrative starting from World War I (on the ground floor) all the way till today.
Stop by Tortilla (a chain restaurant selling Mexican food) for some of the best tortillas as you make your way back home (there are several outlets - you can see the full list here. Outlets within close proximity to the Imperial War Museum include the Bankside outlet as well as the Southwark outlet which will be opening on 30th March 2019). Be sure to add the guacamole for extra flavour ?Please note that only the chicken is certified halal (you can refer to a full explanation of their Muslim-friendly options here). Readers are advised to dine at your own discretion. If Mexican food isn't your thing, check out these other halal eateries in London!
Start your day at the famous Trafalgar Square (1 hour)
#HHWT Tip: Be prepared for the fickle London weather! Always bring umbrellas!
Visit Trafalgar Square, a popular spot once known for the huge flocks of pigeons.
Drop by Nelson’s Column, a monument constructed in the 19th century to commemorate Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, an important strategist who served in the Royal Navy. He lost his life during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Take a picture with the famous bronze lions at the base of the column and fountain with statues of mermaids, dolphins, and tritons. Fun fact: there are also sharks in the fountain – see if you can spot them! ;)
Show your appreciation for art at the National Gallery (1 – 1.5 hours)
See one of the world’s greatest collection of paintings at the National Gallery, dating back to as far as the 1300s. Admission is free, with opening hours between 10am - 6pm daily (except for Friday, where its open from 10am - 9pm).
Appreciate the work of world-renowned artists such as Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Turner, Renoir, Cezanne, and Van Gogh.
Take a 7-minute walk to Dishoom for lunch. Since it's a really popular place (both amongst locals and tourists), do make a reservation in advance to prevent disappointment (please note that the lamb and chicken used are halal, however, Dishoom also has alcohol and pork items on its menu, which is prepared separately using different utensils. We advise readers to dine there at their own discretion. You can also check out this list of halal eateries to get your Malaysian food fix!).
Stroll around the trendy Covent Garden on the West End as you immerse yourself in its rich history and culture.
See the Royal Opera House, independent designer stores, Jubilee and Apple Market. Pay a few pounds to show your appreciation towards these talented street performers.
Be impressed by London’s history of transport at the Transport Museum (2 hours)
Explore the London Transport Museum - if you’ve been taking the bus or tube to get around in the city, you’d be able to appreciate the technological progression of the British transport system.
Children and those under 17 enter free, while adult tickets cost GBP18 at the door, or GBP16.50 online. The museum is open daily between 1 am - 6pm.
With miniature models of the city, voice recordings and even a replica of an underground tunnel, get on old buses and trains, fiddle with the interactive displays and marvel at what London has planned for its next generation of transport.
If you’re travelling with toddlers, bring them to the Under-5 play area where they'd get to experience guiding a Northern Line simulator through tunnels and platforms!
Get star-struck at the World-Famous Wax Museum, Madame Tussauds (2.5 hours)