guide to the main places of interest featuring 360 degree images, map, photos, video, hotels, transport and weather.

I spent a long time researching for a holiday in London (including Europe & Singapore) because I preferred to have the flexibility to control my own time to see and do what I wanted. After I came back I decided to put this information together in a single web page to make it much easier and faster for other people who would be interested in visiting London too. This page has the answers to many of the questions that I had from a tourist's point of view. I think the most useful part is my customised London and surrounds Google Map that shows where all the main points of interest are located. I took these photos, 360° images and videos while on holiday with my wife for about a week in June 2012 around the time of the Queen's Diamond (60th) Jubilee. It gets dark around 10pm at that time of year which gives you lots of time as a tourist but can also cause you to go to bed very late!

This is part of a 6 week adventure that my wife and I took in the middle of 2012 that includes:

London map
My customised London and surrounds Google Map showing you exactly where the main features are located.

London video - full HD quality available (1080p = 1920x1080 pixels) so it's best viewed in full screen

London weather

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Season Winter Winter Spring Spring Spring Summer Summer Summer Autumn Autumn Autumn Winter
Avg Sunrise* 7:30am 7:00am 6:00am 5:30am 5:00am 4:30am 4:30am 5:30am 6:00am 7:00am 7:00am 7:30am
Avg Sunset* 4:30pm 5:30pm 7:00pm 8:00pm 9:00pm 10:00pm 9:30pm 8:30pm 7:30pm 6:00pm 4:30pm 4:00pm
Avg Min Temp 2°C , 36°F 2°C , 36°F 3°C , 37°F 5°C , 41°F 8°C , 46°F 11°C , 52°F 13°C , 55°F 13°C , 55°F 11°C , 52°F 8°C , 46°F 4°C , 39°F 2°C , 36°F
Avg Max Temp 7°C , 45°F 8°C , 46°F 10°C , 50°F 13°C , 55°F 17°C , 63°F 19°C , 66°F 22°C , 72°F 22°C , 72°F 19°C , 66°F 14°C , 57°F 10°C , 50°F 7°C , 45°F
Avg Rainfall 58mm 39mm 51mm 49mm 54mm 53mm 48mm 56mm 58mm 62mm 61mm 63mm
Avg Rainfall days 17 days 13 days 15 days 14 days 14 days 12 days 11 days 12 days 12 days 14 days 16 days 15 days
* Times shown include Daylight Savings Time: the last Sunday in March clocks are turned forward one hour and the last Sunday in October back one hour.

London's time zone is +0 GMT. The current date and time in London is:


I prefer to catch the train (also called the Metro or Underground or Tube) because I think they are easier to work out than buses. You don't have to check train times either because they arrive every few minutes which is the same for most major cities in Europe. Just keep in mind the direction of travel that you want to go in (North, South, East, West) to read the signs that tell you which platform to catch the train from. My customised London Google Map only shows the yellow circle line because I used it the most as a tourist:
  • We caught the Eurostar train from Paris (Gare du Nord station) to London (St Pancras station) [1 on the map] which is next to the King's Cross St. Pancras station on the yellow circle line [2 on the map].
  • So we took this line to Tower Hill which is where our hotel was located [3 on the map].
  • Most of the points of interest are within walking distance from the stations in the Western direction from the Tower Hill station plus the green District Line runs along here too giving you even more options and available trains to catch - the rest of the lines are on a map you can get from any station.
  • London Fenchurch Street regional train [19 on the map] to get to Southend-on-Sea [20 on the map] is next to the Tower Hill station. I went there to see Derren Brown's show called Svengali at the Cliffs Pavillion but it also has a nice coastal location with an esplanade, shopping and amusement park.
Get an Oyster card!
  • In 2012 a train ride in the city (Zone 1 only) costs £2.00 with an Oyster card and £4.30 if you buy a single ticket with cash (reference).
  • You swipe your Oyster card on entrance and exit from the train station making it much faster than queueing to buy a ticket every time.
  • A Travel card will charge £8.40 in Zone 1 (reference) for as many trips as you like but that's more expensive than 4 trips on an Oyster card where I would typically only do 2 per day anyway (hotel to point-of-interest and return).
  • You need to pay a £5.00 deposit for the card when you buy it at the station but you can get this money back after you return the card. We departed London from Heathrow Airport [airplane symbol on the map] where you can catch the train to as well (the blue line South-West) and get your Oyster card £5.00 deposit back too.
  • There is an Airport Express train but it is far more expensive and was not worthwhile for us because it left from a station too far away.
  • You can also use it on the buses so we caught one of those classic London double decker red buses one day just for the experience :-)
It's worth catching one of those famous London cabs/taxis, even just to try it out. They have a unique design that gives you lots of space in the back seats and I don't know why they don't have taxis like this anywhere else because it's really good.


This is the best way that I know of to find a hotel on the internet. I used this method for every place we stayed at for our entire six week holiday in Europe/UK/Singapore and it worked very well. The basic steps are:
  1. Decide how much you want to pay each night. We budgeted an average of $200 a night for our whole six week Europe/UK/Singapore trip to get quite nice 4 or sometimes 5 star hotels. FYI: Our hotel in Venice was the most expensive (from supply and demand I guess) but the worst condition (old, no lifts, but clean) and Berlin was one the cheapest but best (5 star, middle of city and even had a giant aquarium in the middle!).
  2. Decide on your location. I usually choose the closest hotel to a major transport hub (like a train station) within my budget.
  3. Decide on check-in and check-out dates. Most hotels in Europe/UK seem to have a check-out time of midday and check-in at 2pm. When travelling between cities on a train (like in Europe) I usually booked the train that departs around midday and arrives around 2pm so I check straight in and know my luggage is safely in my room and not have to come back for the rest of the day. It gets dark around 10pm in June so there is plenty of sightseeing time left in the day.
  4. Find a hotel with high ratings and good reviews from people who have actually stayed there.
  5. Book it preferably at least a few months in advance to get cheap prices.
How to actually do it:
  1. See the currently available hotels in London. This searches every hotel booking website to find the best price which is why I think it's the best.
  2. Refine your search using the left hand column using as much detail as you can. For example, make up some check in and out dates for a couple of days in a few months time, select 4 stars and Landmark: Tower of London.
  3. Now click the Show Map link in the top right. I really like this feature because I can instantly see where the closest hotels are to where I want to be (such as the Tower Hill train station). Hover your mouse over the icon to see the hotel name, star rating and price.
  4. Just above the map link in the top right, change the drop down box to your local currency if it didn't do that automatically.
  5. Click on "Sort by: Guest Rating". Scroll down the list of hotels looking at their average rating given by people who actually stayed there and compare that to the price. Naturally the more expensive places usually have higher ratings so the trick is to find a high rating place with a low price.
  6. My priority is actually location so I sort it by Distance, then look for the highest rating, then see if it's in my price range.
  7. Now click on a hotel to see the details about it such as photos, features and most importantly the reviews. Sometimes you come across some amazing features such as the "DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London - Tower of London" actually had a big screen Apple computer with free internet that also works as a TV. We ended up booking this place because this feature made it stand out from the crowd and the room was great.
  8. I like to read people's reviews for their very honest opinions, especially the negative ones because you can find out if the problems are really important or not and if everyone keeps complaining about the same thing. To do this, scroll down to the bottom of the web page and click on a link that says something like "Read all reviews from" then when that website appears, click on the Reviews tab.
  9. After looking through a few hotels and their reviews you can try clicking on the Book Now button but don't worry, you don't actually book anything yet. This shows you a list of all the websites that are selling rooms for this hotel ordered from lowest to highest price so you know you can get the lowest price possible which is why I said in step 1 that this is the best way to find and book hotels on the internet.
  10. Click the Go button to transfer to that website to actually make the booking. I personally don't necessarily select the website with the lowest price. I prefer to book on websites that I am more familiar with such as so I have more confidence in knowing it will actually work properly and can group all my bookings together more easily, especially if the price is only an extra few dollars per night. My ultimate preference is to book with the hotel's own website which is what I did with the DoubleTree hotel (the Hilton website) only because their price matched the best price of and it was a low price too.
I wasn't too sure if my bookings were really passed through to the hotels or not with some strange booking websites I had never heard of before, so I was a bit skeptical. But sure enough, every single one of the 14 hotels I booked on our 6 week holiday through Europe/UK/Singapore had no problems at all and acknowledged my reservation every time.

Compare hotel prices and find the best deal -

Things to see and do

London may have frequent rain but there are many things to see and do inside and outside so you will always have a good time no matter what the weather is doing. Always plan to do your outside activities at the start of your visit so you have the option to change to the indoor places if it rains. The weather changes quickly (the clouds move quite fast) so the forecast is not always accurate which gives you hope when it's raining but always take an umbrella even if it's a sunny blue sky. Some things are a bit backwards too - the museums are free yet the churches have expensive entrance fees!
Some main points-of-interest in London include (links are to sections lower down on this web page):
  • Tower of London and the Tower Bridge
  • Buckingham Palace and The Mall
  • Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
  • V & A (Victoria & Albert) and the Natural History Museum
  • Hyde Park
  • Millennium Bridge
  • St Paul's Cathedral
  • London Eye (the giant ferris wheel)
  • Westminster Abbey (church) and Big Ben
  • Harrods (department store)
  • Kensington Palace and gardens
  • Kensington Rooftop Gardens
  • See a live stage show performance in the famous West End area like The New London Theatre (we saw Warhorse there), the Cambridge Theatre (we saw Matilda) plus many others.
Some places to visit just outside London include:
  • Brighton (next to the ocean)
  • Southend-on-sea (next to the ocean)
  • Windsor Castle
  • Stonehenge
  • Bath
One of the most popular day trips from London goes to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath. We booked a bus tour online and I think all three places are iconic landmarks worth seeing.

Tower of London

[4 on the map]
Founded in 1066, this castle is most famous for looking after the crown jewels. You can walk into the giant vault to see the many valuables on display but no photos are allowed. It's quite an experience to see such huge jewels knowing that they are the real thing. You can also take a guided tour with a Yeoman around the castle grounds and even into the very old and sacred chapel. The main building in the middle of the complex, called the White Tower, contains many historical items such as armoury that was one of the purposes that the castle once had.

The Mall

(pronounced mal) [near 10 on the map] The main street that leads to Buckingham Palace

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

[25 on the map]

Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum

[12 on the map]
It's surprisingly large from a rather small and unassuming entrance - it's like a smaller version of the Louvre in Paris. I tend to think of museums as rather boring places and with no entrance fee, how good can this place really be? Frankly, I don't understand how something this amazing can operate without charging people, especially with the treasures it holds like the book of hours made in Paris 1828-1842 of silver-gilt, gold, velvet, enamel, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds & pearls. It has such a huge variety of subjects and rooms that you will find something of interest. The jewels are spectacular but my favourite things are probably sculptures.

Natural History Museum

[13 on the map]

Hyde Park

[14 on the map]

Windsor Castle

[21 on the map]
A self paced audio tour is available at the entrance. Even though you can't take photos inside the buildings, the palace and Saint George's Chapel are very impressive and definitely worth seeing.


[23 on the map]
In 863BC Prince Bladud contracted leprosy so he left the royal palace in shame to become a swineherd. Bladud's pigs also contracted his disease but were cured when they rolled in the hot mud around Bath's springs. Observing the miracle, Bladud also bathed in the hot murky water and he too was cured. Returning home in triumph he went on to become King.

About the photos
I've been a keen photographer for over 10 years and have been creating 360° panoramic images for about that long too. I've sold some individually, for web sites and have also photographed some weddings. All the panoramas on this page were taken handheld because you are not allowed to use tripods in most of the places I visited so you may find some strange gaps where the photos are stitched together because of this. The camera used for all of these photos is a 5D MkIII with a 24-105mm L series lens. This camera works great in low light situations, has a full frame sensor to get wide angle shots and produces super sharp photos. Unfortuantely it is very big, heavy and expensive ($5000+) so I made the decision to choose quality over comfort. A camera store assistant once told me: A man invited a lady over to his place one night to show her his photos. She said, "Gee, they're great photos. You must have a great camera." She invited the man to her place for dinner the next night and after the meal he said "Gee, that was a great meal. You must have a great oven."

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