Lonely Planet Pocket London

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Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet Pocket London is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Rise over the city on the London Eye, uncover the past at Kensington's museums, and explore Soho, Greenwich and the Tower; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of of London and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet Pocket London:

  • Full-colour maps and images throughout
  • Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests
  • Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots
  • Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices
  • Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss
  • Free, convenient pull-out city map (included in print version), plus over 20 colour neighbourhood maps
  • User-friendly layout with helpful icons, and organised by neighbourhood to help you pick the best spots to spend your time
  • Covers Westminster, Covent Garden, Bloomsbury, the City, the South Bank, Kensington, Regent's Park, Camden, Greenwich and more

eBook Features: (Best viewed on tablet devices and smartphones)

  • Downloadable PDF and offline maps prevent roaming and data charges
  • Effortlessly navigate and jump between maps and reviews
  • Add notes to personalize your guidebook experience
  • Seamlessly flip between pages
  • Bookmarks and speedy search capabilities get you to key pages in a flash
  • Embedded links to recommendations' websites
  • Zoom-in maps and images
  • Inbuilt dictionary for quick referencing

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Pocket London a colorful, easy-to-use, and handy guide that literally fits in your pocket, provides on-the-go assistance for those seeking only the can't-miss experiences to maximise a quick trip experience.

  • Looking for a comprehensive guide that recommends both popular and offbeat experiences, and extensively covers all of London's neighbourhoods? Check out Lonely Planet London guide.
  • Looking for more extensive coverage? Check out Lonely Planet England guide for a comprehensive look at all the country has to offer, or Lonely Planet Discover England, a photo-rich guide to the country's most popular attractions.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet.

About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travellers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves.

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London

ePub

 

Westminster Abbey & Westminster

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Westminster is the political heart of London, and the level of pomp and circumstance here is astounding – state occasions are marked by convoys of gilded carriages, elaborate parades and, in the case of the opening of parliament, by a man in a black coat banging on the front door with a jewelled sceptre. Tourists flock here to marvel at Buckingham Palace and the neo-Gothic Houses of Parliament.

MGet queuing at Westminster Abbey early in the day to thwart the crowds. You’ll want to spend most of the morning here admiring its mighty stonework, exploring the cloisters and the abbey’s historic grandeur. Head to St James's Park for some greenery at lunchtime and choose between a picnic or a meal at the marvellous Inn the Park.

RAfter lunch, head to Buckingham Palace in summer (when the State Rooms are open) or the Houses of Parliament the rest of the year (when parliament is sitting). Alternatively, visit the Churchill War Rooms for a feel of what life in London was like during WWII.

 

National Gallery & Covent Garden

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At the centre of the West End – London’s physical, cultural and social heart – the neighbourhood around the National Gallery and Covent Garden is a sightseeing hub. This is London’s busiest area, with a grand convergence of monumental history, stylish restaurants, standout entertainment choices and pubs. And if you’re in town to shop, you’ll be in seventh heaven.

MStart with the National Gallery, but aim for a selective tour of your favourite artists. Trafalgar Sq is perfect for a break and sublime views, and the National Portrait Gallery has some outstanding exhibits. Lunch can be expediently supplied by its splendid Portrait restaurant on the 3rd floor.

RWalk off your meal, heading east along the Strand to browse around Covent Garden Piazza, shopping, exploring and watching the street performers. The London Transport Museum is excellent, especially if you’re with kids.

NHave a table booked at Yauatcha for superb dim sum, or brave the queues for authentic Japanese fare at Koya. If post-dinner drinks are in order, go for a cocktail at LAB; otherwise buy tickets for a West End musical, theatre performance or opera to round out the night.

 

British Museum & Bloomsbury

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Bookish Bloomsbury puts a leisurely and genteel spin on central London. Home to the British Museum, the British Library, universities, publishing houses, literary pubs and gorgeous Georgian squares, Bloomsbury is deeply but accessibly cultured. You could spend all day in the British Museum, but there’s a tantalising choice of options outside, with excellent pubs and restaurants nearby.

MThe British Museum is one of Britian’s top sights, so arrive early to do it justice. You will need at least the entire morning here to make any headway, so plan to see the highlights, including the Parthenon Marbles, the Rosetta Stone and the Mummy of Katebet, or split your time between the permanent collection and the temporary exhibitions, which are invariably great.

RHave lunch at Lady Ottoline before ambling down to King's Cross. Bibliophiles and library lovers will find the British Library a true eye-opener. Lovers of fine architecture should get on a tour of the exquisite St Pancras Station & Hotel building to admire Victorian design and revel in historical anecdotes.

 

St Paul’s & the City

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For its size, the City punches well above its weight for attractions, with an embarrassment of sightseeing riches. The heavyweights – the Tower of London and St Paul’s – are a must, but combine the sights with exploration of the City’s lesser-known delights and quieter corners. The many churches make for peaceful stops along the way.

MMake an early start to get ahead of the crowds besieging the Tower of London. Explore Tower Bridge – check the website the day before to see if the bridge is due to be raised – and have a table booked for lunch at Wine Library.

RStop at All Hallows by the Tower before heading to St Paul’s Cathedral, past Monument. Take a tour of the cathedral and make your way to the top of the staggering dome for choice views. If you’ve any time spare, peruse the Museum of London.

NTo wind down, head for cocktails with views at Sky Pod. Come back to earth for dinner at St John and round out the night in one of the City's historic pubs, such as Ye Olde Mitre, although note that some may shut at weekends. Shoreditch also makes a fine alternative for an entertaining and memorable evening out in London.

 

Local Life - A Sunday in the East End

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The East End has a colourful and multicultural history. Waves of migrants (French Protestant, Jewish, Bangladeshi) have left their mark on the area, which, added to the Cockney heritage and the 21st-century hipster phenomenon, has created an incredibly vibrant neighbourhood. It's best appreciated on Sundays, when the area's markets are in full swing, although you could come here any day of the week.

d Hoxton and Whitechapel are on the Overground.

t Liverpool Street is on the Central, Circle and Metropolitan Lines; Whitechapel is on the Hammersmith & City and District Lines.

This weekly market ( GOOGLE MAP ; www.columbiaroad.info; Columbia Rd, E2; h8am-3pm Sun; tHoxton) sells an amazing array of flowers and plants. It's a lot of fun and the best place to hear proper Cockney barrow-boy banter ('We got flowers cheap enough for ya muvver-in-law's grave'). It gets packed, so go early.

 

Tate Modern & South Bank

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The South Bank has transformed from an ill-loved backwater into one of London’s must-see areas. A roll call of riverside sights lines the Thames, beginning with the London Eye, running past the cultural enclave of the Southbank Centre and on to the outstanding Tate Modern, Millennium Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe, waterside pubs, a cathedral and one of London’s most-visited food markets.

MPre-booked ticket for the London Eye in hand, enjoy a leisurely revolution in the skies for astronomical city views (if the weather’s clear). Hop on a bus to the Imperial War Museum, where trench warfare, the Holocaust and London during the Blitz are brilliantly documented.

RStop at the Anchor & Hope for lunch before making your way to the Tate Modern. If you’ve a taste for modern art, the whole afternoon may vanish. Grab a photograph of St Paul’s Cathedral on the far side of the elegant Millennium Bridge and consider a tour of the iconic Shakespeare’s Globe.

 

Kensington Museums

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With its triumvirate of top museums, Kensington is compulsory sightseeing land. Shoppers will adore the King’s Rd, mixing with the well heeled up to Knightsbridge and Harrods via Sloane St. Earmark a sight-packed day that includes a visit to Hyde Park and conjoined Kensington Gardens. Dining is an experience in itself, with astonishing choice, whether you’re grazing, snacking or feasting.

MMake a start with the bountiful Victoria & Albert Museum, bearing in mind that you could easily spend the entire day in this one museum alone. If you have children, start instead with the Natural History Museum or Science Museum, both enthralling for young ones. For lunch, dine at the V&A Café.

RBurn off your lunch by exploring central London's glorious green expanses: Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens will delight adults and children with their galleries, play areas and Kensington Palace. If you fancy a spot of shopping, you're in the right place: walk the length and breadth of Old Brompton Rd, with a compulsory stop at Harrods.

 

Local Life - A Saturday in Notting Hill

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A Saturday in Notting Hill sees the neighbourhood at its busiest and best. Portobello Market is full of vibrant colour and the area is stuffed with excellent restaurants, pubs, shops and cinemas, making the entire day an event that embraces market browsing, the culinary, the grain and grape and, last but not least, a chance to catch a film in a classic picture-house setting.

t Notting Hill Gate station is on the Circle, District and Central Lines.

t Ladbroke Grove station on the Hammersmith & City and Circle Lines is also useful.

Conveniently located close to Notting Hill Gate tube station and on the way to Portobello Market, you can't miss Arancina ( GOOGLE MAP ; www.arancina.co.uk; 19 Pembridge Rd, W11; mains £2.80-24; h8am-11pm Mon-Sat, 9am-11pm Sun; tNotting Hill Gate) with its orange cut-out Fiat 500 in the window. It's a great spot for arancini (fried rice balls with fillings such as mozzarella and tomato) or a slice of freshly baked pizza.

 

Regent’s Park & Camden

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Regent’s Park, Camden Market and Hampstead Heath should top your list for excursions into North London. Camden is a major sight with an intoxicating energy and brilliant nightlife, while Regent's Park is an oasis of calm and sophistication amid the North London buzz. Meanwhile, Hampstead Heath offers you a glorious day out and an insight into how North Londoners spend their weekends.

MStart your exploration with a morning trip to Regent’s Park and the outstanding London Zoo. For a leisurely and picturesque 20-minute stroll to Camden, walk alongside Regent’s Canal on the north side of Regent’s Park, taking in Primrose Hill and its gorgeous park en route. In Camden Town, lunch at Market for top-notch modern British food, or nibble your way around an eclectic variety of snacks at Camden Market.

RFurther explore the markets before rewarding yourself with a delectable ice cream from Chin Chin Labs, or by sitting in the beer garden of the Edinboro Castle for an afternoon drink.

 

Local Life - Walking on Hampstead Heath

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Sprawling Hampstead Heath, with its rolling woodlands and meadows, feels a million miles away – despite being approximately four – from central London. Covering 320 hectares, it’s home to about 180 bird species, 23 species of butterflies, grass snakes, bats, a rich array of flora and expansive views from the top of Parliament Hill. North Londoners adore this vast green expanse; it's particularly busy with families and dog walkers at weekends, and picnicking groups of friends on sunny days.

t Hampstead station is on the Northern Line. For Highgate Cemetery, get off at Archway (Northern Line).

d Hampstead Heath and Gospel Oak are at the heath's south end.

The final resting place of Karl Marx, George Eliot and Russian secret service agent Alexander Litvinenko (the latter poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 in 2006), Highgate Cemetery ( GOOGLE MAP ; www.highgatecemetery.org; Swain's Lane, N6; East Cemetery adult/child £4/free; h11am-5pm; tArchway) is divided into East and West. To visit the atmospheric West Cemetery, you must take a tour.

 

The Royal Observatory & Greenwich

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Quaint Greenwich (gren-itch), by the Thames in South London, is packed with grand architecture, and its gorgeous park and standout sights draw fleets of eager visitors. With the fascinating Royal Observatory and the fabulous National Maritime Museum, Greenwich should be one of the highlights of any visit to London, so allow a day to do it justice.

MArrive early for a morning stroll around Greenwich Park and head uphill for the delicious views of Greenwich and London from beside the statue of General Wolfe. Explore the Royal Observatory before heading downhill to admire the dazzling artwork in the Painted Hall of the Old Royal Naval College.

RRestore some calories at Greenwich Market or the Old Brewery before heading over to the brilliant Cutty Sark for a voyage back to the glory days of the tea trade. Finally, make sure you spare an hour or two for the National Maritime Museum, the world’s largest of its kind, and just as riveting for adults as for children.

 

Local Life - An Olympic Stroll in East London

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The 2012 Olympic Games have transformed great stretches of East London. Around the stadium itself, what was once a vast brownfield site is now a flourishing park with leading sports venues. The regeneration has spread to neighbouring communities such as Hackney Wick and helped turn under-rated areas such as Victoria Park into desirable real estate.

t Stratford is on the Central and Jubilee Lines. Bethnal Green is on the Central Line.

d Stratford is on the Overground.

The centrepiece of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the Olympic stadium ( GOOGLE MAP ), with its 54,000 seats, looms large over East London. From 2016 it will be the home ground for West Ham United Football Club and the National Competition Centre for athletics in the UK, as well as a concert venue.

Close to the stadium is this distinctive structure ( GOOGLE MAP ; %0333 800 8099; www.arcelormittalorbit.com; Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, E20; adult/child £15/7; h10am-6pm Apr-Sep, to 4pm Oct-Mar; tStratford) of twisted steel by Turner Prize–winner Anish Kapoor. At 115m in height, it offers a fantastic panorama from its viewing platform, which is accessed by a lift from the base of the sculpture. A slide running down the sculpture is planned for 2016.

 

Top Sights - Hampton Court Palace

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London’s most spectacular Tudor palace, 16th-century Hampton Court Palace is steeped in history, from the grand living quarters of Henry VIII to the spectacular gardens, complete with a 300-year-old maze. One of the best days out London has to offer, the palace is mandatory for anyone with an interest in British history, Tudor architecture or gorgeous landscaped gardens. Set aside plenty of time to do it justice.

d Regular services from Waterloo to Hampton Court, via Wimbledon station.

f Westminster Passenger Services Association (www.wpsa.co.uk) runs boats to and from Westminster Pier.

GOOGLE MAP
www.hrp.org.uk/HamptonCourtPalace ; adult/child/family £17.50/8.75/43.80 ; h 10am-6pm Apr-Oct, to 4.30pm Nov-Mar ; f Hampton Court Palace , d Hampton Court

 

The Best of London

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Commencing at one of London’s most historic sights, this walk crosses the Thames on magnificent Tower Bridge, before heading west along the river, scooping up some excellent views and passing breathtaking modern architecture, history and Shakespeare’s Globe on the way. It comes to a halt amid the renowned artworks of the Tate Modern.

Start Tower of London; tube Tower Hill

Finish Tate Modern; tube Southwark, London Bridge

Length 3km; 1½ hours

On Friday and Saturday, grab takeaway from one of the many stalls at Borough Market ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; www.boroughmarket.org.uk; 8 Southwark St, SE1; h10am-5pm Wed & Thu, to 6pm Fri, 8am-5pm Sat; tLondon Bridge). On other days head to Arabica Bar & Kitchen ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; %020-3011 5151; www.arabicabarandkitchen.com; 3 Rochester Walk, Borough Market, SE1; dishes £4-14; h11am-11pm Mon-Wed, 8.30am-11pm Thu-Sat; v; tLondon Bridge) for wonderful contemporary Middle Eastern cuisine in equally modern settings.

 

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