London is one of the world’s greatest cities and is under an hour away from Banbury by train. Rich with history and tradition, it is also overflowing with amazing things to do, see and experience.

Spending time in England’s capital city is simply a must for any visitor to the south east. It’s buzzing atmosphere, outstanding architecture, vibrant culture and forward thinking food scene, means there’s a new discovery to made around every corner.

An important settlement for around 2,000 years, the conquering Romans established Londinium around what is now known as the City of London, which is in fact an independent city. The coat of arms on the right is for this area that has the ruins of the Temple of Mithras at it’s very core. Today the seats of power lie in the corridors of the UK Parliament’s Palace of Westminster and the Queen’s Royal Buckingham Palace, where she splits her time along with Windsor Castle and Balmoral in Scotland.

The Great Fire of London in 1666 and it’s subsequent rebuilding, kickstarted huge societal changes that perhaps continue to this day and in the process it became the world’s largest city. During the 20th century London endured bombing in both World Wars, expanded it’s Underground, rail and road networks, held an Olympics in 1948 and welcomed many immigrants from the Queen’s Commonwealth to make it one of world’s most diverse cities.

The counter-cultures of the 60s (Swinging Sixties), 70s (Flower Power & Psychedelia) and 80s (Punk and Acid House), helped shape Britain into the creative powerhouse it now is. There is an undeniable positive energy in the city much like you get with New York, Paris and Barcelona.

Here’s a reminder of what you can expect from this truly global metropolis.

Things To Do In London:

  • Royal Parks and Residencies; Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Hampton Court
  • Parks; Hyde, Regent’s, St. James’s, Kensington, Hampstead Heath & London Fields
  • Shopping; Oxford Street, Carnaby Street, Westfield, Boxpark, Selfridges, Harrods
  • River Thames; London Eye, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey & Houses of Parliament, SEA LIFE Aquarium
  • West End; Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Soho, Theatre District, Covent Garden, Neal’s Yard
  • Greenwich Royal Observatory
  • East End; Brick Lane, Shoreditch, world cuisine, street art & culture, hipster bars & hangouts, Olympic Park
  • Madam Tussauds, Big Ben, London Zoo, London Dungeons, Tea at The Ritz
  • Southbank Centre; Royal Festival Hall, Globe Theatre & BMI with IMAX Odeon cinema
  • Markets; Camden, Old Spitalfields, Leadenhall, Brick Lane, New Covent Garden, Smithfield, Borough
  • Museums; British, Transport, Science, Design, Natural History, V&A, Maritime
  • Galleries; Tate, Tate Modern, Serpentine, Hayward, National, National Portrait, Whitechapel
  • City of London; St Paul’s Cathedral, historic churches & pubs, Canary Wharf business district
  • Stunning walks, guided tours, open-top buses & river cruises

How To Get There:

By Car:
By far the quickest route by car is to use the M40 motorway south from;

  • Junction 11 at Banbury (A422)
  • Junction 14 at Leamington Spa (A452)
  • Junction 12 at Gaydon (B4451)
  • Junction 10 Cherwell Valley Services (B430)
  • Junction 9 Bicester (A41)

Travel time from Banbury is around 2 hours if traffic-free.
Be aware that there is a Congestion Charge if driving into Central London.

By Train:
There are direct trains from Banbury Station to London Marylebone, which take between 58 minutes and 1 hour 20 minutes, depending on the service. There are usually 3 trains every hour from platform 3.
Standard class prices range from around £40.00 peak time to £30.00 off-peak time, but do check on availability first. You can also purchase London Transport travel cards to combine travel with the London Underground (Tube) and bus travel in the city.
The best way to travel once in London is by Underground (Tube) and buses using the Oyster Card system which you can top up with debit and credit cards at all London stations.

By Coach:
National Express coaches run service 211 from Banbury Bus Station on Bridge Street, travelling to London Victoria which includes a change at Heathrow Airport. Travel time is around 2 hours 35-55 minutes which includes the change. Prices are around £65-70 per person for a day return trip.

Guided Tour:
Check the local tour guides that offer inclusive trips to specific tourist destinations.



Header image credit: AC Manley /