Visiting London

Let our knowledgeable on-site staff help you plan your trip to London, England. Below we provide information on accommodations and hotels, eating and restaurants, and tourism, compiled by our on-site staff living in London. If you would like any more specific information, please reach out to us!

Getting to London

Most international flights to London fly to London Heathrow Airport (LHR). Visitors have various options for getting into the city center from LHR:

Taxi: A Black Cab from Heathrow airport can cost anywhere from £75 – £100 depending on destination, time of day, and traffic. Fares are calculated based on tariffs: tariff 1 weekdays, during the day; tariff 2 all day Saturday and Sunday, and weekdays after 10pm; tariff 3 holidays.
There is a minimum fare of £2.80 from Heathrow. Depending on how far the destination, it may be possible for the passenger and the driver to negotiate a fare before the journey. Black cabs are found outside arrivals doors.

Shuttle: Addison Lee is a private car service that will, like the taxi, take passengers to any address in London. Prices are from £60 – £100 depending on address and traffic. This service must be booked by telephone or online at least 30 minutes in advance.

Railway Trains: There are two types of trains from Heathrow Airport. Tickets may be purchased online in advance or at machines in the station on the day.
The Heathrow Express operates four non-stop trains per hour to and from Paddington and the journey time is 15 minutes. A one way ticket purchased day-of are about £22, however tickets purchased in advance are cheaper. The Heathrow Connect is a stopping train that runs to Paddington and takes about 35 minutes, at a cost of £10.20 per single journey.

Subway: The London Underground is the most cost-effective option and has a direct subway line into the city. The Piccadilly line is accessible from all Heathrow terminals, and tickets to central London can be purchased at the station at the ticket machines. A ticket for a single journey from Heathrow to central London (Zone 1) runs about £5.10 and takes about 50 minutes.

Buses: National Express coaches run throughout the day, offering journey times of 40–80 minutes to central London stations such as Victoria, Paddington, and Baker Street. A single journey coach ticket is about £7 per passenger. Follow the signs for the coaches (buses). Tickets may be purchased at the coach station on the day.

Four Stars

The Cumberland: Great Cumberland Place London W1H 7DL. +44 871 376 9014. Just off busy shopping hub Oxford Street, this luxury hotel is 2 minutes’ walk away from Hyde Park and Marble Arch. SAI 10% discount available, request discount as a member of the SAI community. Referent: Joana Segui Rubio.

Thistle Hyde Park Hotel: 90-92 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NR. +44 871 376 9022 / +44 845 305 8322. Located near Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, it is within easy walking distance to Notting Hill Gate and offers an elegant setting and a comfortable base for shoppers, with Harrod’s, Selfridges and Oxford Street all nearby.

Three Stars

St. Giles Hotel London: Bedford Avenue, Tottenham Court Road WC1B 3GH. +44 20 7300 3000. Located a block from the Tottenham Court Road tube station and shopping on Oxford Street, this functional hotel is also a 5-minute stroll from the British Museum.

Premier Inn: Various addresses in London. +44 871 527 9222. Good value and many locations in central London to choose from, close to historical attractions and great shopping.

Two Stars

Travel Lodge: Various addresses in London. +44 8719 848484. Recently refurbished, good value especially when booked early, no frills, budget accommodations.

Hostels

Clink 78: 78 King’s Cross Rd, London WC1X 9QG. +44 20 7183 9400. This hostel is housed in an old courthouse, offers free breakfast, and is a short walk to King’s Cross and St. Pancras train stations.

There are about six thousand restaurants in London and you will find every possible cuisine. We have not tried all the restaurants in London, however, there are quite a few that we have tried and recommend. These suggestions vary in price, ambience and taste. Enjoy!

Near London College of Fashion and University of Westminster

Ethos: 48 Eastcastle St, London W1W 8DX. +44 020 3581 1538. Near Oxford Circus, a self-service restaurant specializing in meat-free cuisine.

Aubaine: Selfridge’s, 2nd Floor, 400 Oxford St, London W1A 1AB. +44 20 7318 3738. French bistro cuisine in modern, light-filled space within Selfridge’s department store on Oxford Street.

Near London College of Communication and London South Bank University

Toulouse Lautrec Brasserie & Jazz Bar: 140 Newington Butts, London SE11 4RN. +44 20 7582 6800. Traditional French brasserie and wine bar with live music.

Assado: 157 Waterloo Road, South Bank, London SE1 8XA. +44 20 7870 3747. Portuguese influenced food with an Indian/Goan twist in flavors.

Near Central Saint Martins

York & Albany: 127-129 Parkway, London NW1 7PS. +44 0207 592 1227. In a stunning regency townhouse this Gordon Ramsay restaurant offers hearty meals made with fresh ingredients.

Dishoom: 5 Stable Street, London N1C 4AB. +44 020 7420 9321. Popular Indian restaurant with delicious treats from Bombay.

Near Chelsea College of Arts

The Cinnamon Club: The Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BU. +44 020 7222 2555. The original modern Indian restaurant in London, the restaurant has a long history of serving innovative and creative Indian cuisine in a magnificently majestic setting.

The Rex Whistler Restaurant: Millbank, London SW1P 4RG. +44 20 7887 8825. At Tate Britain museum, a lovely restaurant surrounded by the famous mural by Whistler entitled The Expedition in Pursuit of Rare Meats.

Near Camberwell College of Arts

No.67 Café and Restaurant: 67 Peckham Rd, London SE5 8UH. +44 020 7252 7649. An independent café within the South London Gallery, provides robust seasonal menus.

The Camberwell Arms: 65 Camberwell Church Street, SE5 8TR. +44 20 7358 4364. Pub with good food and live entertainment.

London is divided generally in North, West, East, and South and then the City of London is at its center. For transportation, the city is also divided in zones. London has 9 zones, most of which are suburbs. Tourists generally travel around zones 1-4, as most main attractions are located in that area.

Resources:

TimeOut London: A global guide to art and entertainment, food and drink, film and things to do.

Visit London: A guide to tourist attractions and sightseeing in London, as well as food and drink, and other things to do.

Tours:

London Walks: Interesting walking tours in London range from the classic sightseeing locations such as Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, to particular areas of London, to ghost tours.

Tickets & Passes:

Most London museums have free admission and may request an unspecified donation, at the discretion of the patron. Particular, temporary exhibits in the museums will require ticket purchase. Discounts are usually available to students and senior citizens.

London Pass: Sightseeing pass allows free entry to over 60 attractions, skip the lines, guidebook, and optional unlimited public transportation pass.

Transportation:

The best option for transportation in London is the Visitor Oyster Card and the Travelcard.

A Travelcard is a ticket that can be put on your Oyster card and allows unlimited travel on bus, Tube, DLR, London Overground and National Rail services in London. The Travelcard purchased must cover all the zones you travel through.

About SAI

SAI Programs is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.