Few cities are as iconic as London. From taking a black taxi cab to having afternoon tea, everything is an experience in the British capital. That’s not to mention the soaring towers, classical palaces, bustling museums and cool markets that give this metropolis its distinctly vibrant atmosphere.
London’s been around for almost two thousand years now but, despite its age, it has never lost its liveliness. There’s a festival, a ceremony or an exhibition at every time of the year and the city is never truly empty of tourists. Once you’ve taken in the view from one of the awe-inspiring high-rises or gotten onto your first red bus, you’ll begin to understand why the world just never tires of London. Join the cool crowd and hop onto a cheap flight from Abuja to fashionable London!
London’s the capital of Great Britain and a thriving cultural capital in its own right. The city grew up around the Thames River in 50 AD and has been getting bigger and better ever since. With a population of over 8 million people and a record-number of 30 million tourists passing through the city each year, London is one of the most vibrant places in the world.
Naturally, English is the most widely spoken language in London but the British capital is extraordinarily diverse. In fact, with over 250 languages spoken in London, the city is the most linguistically-diverse city in the world. So even if your English isn’t fluent, there’s no need to worry as there’ll probably be someone who speaks your language! Bengali and Panjabi are the next most common languages spoken in the city, though Nigerians will find healthy Yoruba and Igbo populations, too.
Flights to London
The journey between Nigeria and Britain’s capitals takes around 6 hours and 35 minutes.
Best time to visit London
Something exciting happens every month in London so you won’t be bored no matter when you visit. June and July are the most popular months, with royal ceremonies and open palaces, Wimbledon season and outdoor festivals. December, the heart of winter, is also a popular month to visit due to the Christmas festivities (think ice rinks, ballets and fireworks!). Of course, prices are quite high in these periods.
Low season falls from January to February, when it’s cold, wet and grey. If you can brave the weather, though, there’ll be wonderful discounts, not to mention the January sales!
Cheap Nigeria Travel advises that you book your flight in advance to score the best deals.
It’s only fitting that such a big city has more than one airport. Each airport tends to serve a certain type of airline and they are all in different locations so consider carefully. The main airports are Heathrow and Stansted. All have excellent facilities and transport links to the city.
Heathrow Airport (LHR)
Heathrow is London’s main airport: it’s the busiest and close to the city centre. You can easily access the city centre with public transport and taxis. However, expect long queues at immigration.
Stansted Airport (STN)
Stansted is the budget gateway to London, especially if you’re coming from other European destinations.
London City Airport (LCY)
Situated very close to the financial centre of London, London City Airport is mainly for business travellers. It’s the most accessible and uncrowded of London’s airports.
Gatwick Airport (LGW)
Although Gatwick technically does service London, it’s quite far and better suited to visitors heading for the coast. Immigration, though, is quite fast.
Luton Airport (LTN)
The most basic of London’s airports, Luton is also quite far from the city centre.
Airlines flying to London
The most popular airlines on this route are British Airways, Turkish Airways and Lufthansa. Many airlines offer direct flights from Abuja to London.
Visas and customs
Nigerian citizens are required to have a valid passport and UK visa in order to enter the country. The UK is quite strict about visas and security so expect long queues and an obvious security presence.
All airlines have their own baggage allowances. It is standard, however, to allow three bags: a checked bag of around 30 to 45kg, hand luggage of around 7kg and a handbag that fits under the seat in front of you. Once you’ve booked your flight from Abuja to London, we will let you know what your exact allowance is.
There’s so much to do in London that you could visit a hundred times and always find an exciting new attraction. The capital can seem overwhelming in this way but take a deep breath: we’ve simplified your itinerary by assembling the top five attractions in London. These are the classic places to visit in London that all your friends will ask you about. Get your camera ready!
Just off Parliament Square, you’ll find Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament (including Big Ben). Unsurprisingly, with a history of coronations and royal weddings stretching back to 960 AD, Westminster Abbey is a World Heritage Site.
The Houses of Parliament are located at Westminster Palace, just beside the Abbey. Visitors are welcome most days of the year, although it’s a good idea to book ahead for a tour. The belltower of Big Ben boasts a grand clock and is best viewed from the riverside.
London’s been home to plenty of ruling dynasties for centuries. There’s a bit of royal history around every corner and nowhere more so than in the royal palaces.
The official residence of the British Queen is an iconic attraction in London. The palace balcony has been the scene of numerous historical royal appearances, from the celebration at the end of World War II to the appearance of Prince William and Kate Middleton after their wedding.
Buckingham Palace is closed to the public for most of the year but in summer, when the Queen goes holiday, it opens the doors to an alternate universe of crystal chandeliers, red carpets and priceless art. It’s also the location of the changing of the guard which takes place year round.
Kensington Palace is the second most famous royal palace in use. Currently, Prince William, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle all live on the extensive grounds. Kensington has an equally glamorous past, having been home to a young Queen Victoria, as well as Princess Diana.
Unlike Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace is open to the public year-round.
The Tower of London
Although no royal currently resides at the Tower of London, the imposing fort was once also a palace. The impressive building was begun in 1078 and has expanded ever since. It’s well-known as the place of Anne Boleyn’s execution, as well as being home to the glittering British Crown Jewels.
From antiques to cutting-edge fashion, London has a market for every item imaginable. The most popular include Portobello Market, which has a different market every day, and Brick Lane Market, an East London market that attracts a very hipster crowd. For the foodies, Borough Market and Camden Market are must-visits!
Museums and Galleries
London’s got some of the most impressive museums and galleries in the world. As an added treat, the majority are free!
The British Museum
The British Museum is a beautiful building that’s home to an even more exquisite historical collection. The museum is regularly shrouded in controversy over the acquisition of its pieces (many taken from their original locations during the colonial period). However, if you do decide to visit, there really are stunning artefacts from all over the world. Highlights include the Rosetta Stone from Egypt, the Benin Bronzes from Nigeria and the original Parthenon Marbles from Greece (all of which activists consider stolen items).
The National Gallery
Another expansive collection of world-renowned art can be found at The National Gallery on Trafalgar Square. Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh, The Entombment by Michelangelo and The Fighting Temeraire by Turner are just some of the iconic pieces you’ll find here. If you don’t have a clue where to start, ask at the front desk for one of the free tours.
There are two Tate museums in London: the Tate Modern and the Tate Britain. The former is host to a number of pioneering contemporary art pieces, while the Tate Britain is home to an artistic history of Britain with pieces by big names like Turner and Ofili.
Taking in the views
To understand just how large and impressive London is, you’ll need to have a city view. Naturally, London isn’t short on these, either…
Coca-Cola London Eye
The traditional viewing platform of choice, The London Eye is located along the Thames River. Although it’s not half as high as many other places in the London, the London Eye still manages to offer great views, not to mention a classic experience.
View from the Shard
A more modern experience is provided by the Shard. The building of offices also offers the highest viewing platform in London and is an architectural landmark in its own right. This is the perfect spot to unwind with a cocktail at sunset.
Health and safety
London’s regarded as a generally healthy city and there are no required vaccinations for travellers. However, it is advisable to be up-to-date on the usual vaccinations, such as measles-mumps-rubella and polio.
In terms of safety, London’s a bit of a mixed bag. Although the city is generally considered safe, it has experienced multiple terrorist attacks and is also a hotspot for pickpocketing. However, by following a few safety tips, you’re very likely to have a wonderfully safe time in London.
Cost of living
- Cheap meal: 6852, 60 NGN = 15 GBP
- McMeal at McDonald’s: 2741,04 NGN = 6 GBP
- One-way public transport ticket: 1142,10 NGN = 2,50 GBP
- 1 night in a double room, budget hotel: 11 488,85 NGN = 25,19 GBP
London’s got one of the world’s most complicated and expensive public transport networks which easily overwhelms visitors. Read on, though, and you’ll be well-prepared.
The first thing you need to understand is that London is divided into different zones and travelling between different zones has various costs. To reduce transport costs, it may be worth finding accommodation in Zones 1 and 2 (the city centre).
If you’re willing to put in the effort, there are a few tricks to keep your transport costs low.
The underground has become something of a tourist attraction in its own right. It’s the most convenient method of transport around the capital. London does also operate overground trains.
The iconic red busses of London are also the cheapest way of getting around the city. Fares aren’t calculated by zones but are a flat 1,50 GBP. If you’re staying further out from the city centre, the bus is probably your best option in terms of cost.
For a city built around the Thames, it’s not surprising that Londoners continues to use the waterway to get around. However, the river boat only operates in a very limited area and is best used as a cheap way to cruise the Thames.
Public Transport Passes
The Visitor Oyster Card offers capped fares for tourists, as well as discounts to various attractions, such as theatre shows. However, it must be ordered before arrival in London.
For those who don’t order the card, there is the ordinary Oyster Card. It doesn’t offer any discounts to attractions but you can load a travelcard onto the Oyster Card. The travelcard will give visitors staying longer than a week discounted fares. Bus passes can also be loaded onto an Oyster Card.
The classic London taxi remains a popular way of getting around the capital. The fares, however, are quite high: realistically, they start at around 6 GBP.
With a thriving contemporary arts and culture scene, as well as a tangible history, London bridges the gap between the past and the present. The city is timeless and diverse, with attractions to suit all interests. It may seem overwhelming and even complicated to visit London but this is one city that is really worth the effort. Take the plunge into the dynamic British capital with affordable flights from Abuja to London!