Christmas in London

Christmas in London is a magical time of the year. It’s the perfect place to go Christmas shopping, enjoy the Christmas lights, have glass of mulled wine and skate at an outdoor ice rink.

Here’s some things to look out for ūüôā

South Kensington

Hyde Park

  • Winter Wonderland: Christmas market, food and drink stalls, ice skating, shows, ice sculptures and more.


Oxford Street

Carnaby Street

  • Christmas lights
  • Christmas shopping

Regent Street

Liberty London

  • Christmas shopping

Leicester Square

  • Christmas market
  • Watch a Christmas movie

Trafalgar Square

  • Christmas tree
  • Carol singers
Christmas in London

The Strand

Covent Garden

  • Christmas tree & decorations
  • Check out Covent Garden in gingerbread by the Biscuiteers

Seven Dials

  • Christmas shopping
  • Christmas lights

St Paul’s

Tower Hill

Tower Bridge

South Bank



Don’t miss out! Your October London check list

Don’t miss out on things to do in London in 2019 and 2020. This is your October London check list for things you need to book now!

It’s not long until Guy Fawke’s Night when London’s sky will be lit up with fireworks displays across the city. The majority of displays are taking place on 2 November. Some displays are free and some have a ticket price. Tickets for several displays are going fast, and some have early bird offers, so don’t delay. See our events calendar for many of the displays taking place across London.

Christmas may still seem a long way away but the outdoor ice rinks will be opening again soon. Some of them get booked up quickly. Check out our events calendar for ice rinks in London.

Ice Skating @ The Natural History Museum

Pre-booking is required to see the iconic New Year’s Eve fireworks on the Thames. The first batch of tickets have sold out. Click here to find out when the next batch are available.

October is the time to start planning for the 2020 Wimbledon Championships. You have until 21 October 2019 to register for the 2020 Ballot. Click here to enter the ballot.

Theatre shows, especially those with a short run or a famous actor can sell out. Don’t miss:

  • War Horse returns to London for a short run, from 18 October until 23 November 2019.
  • Jake Gyllenhaal comes to the West End next summer in Sunday in the Park with George.
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat sold out in summer 2019. It’s back for a short run next summer.

See our London Theatre page and get those tickets now ūüôā


Where to watch the Women’s Football World Cup Semi Final in London

Watch England play USA in the Women’s Football World Cup Semi Final in London.

Here are just some of the pubs you can watch the Women’s Football World Cup Semi Final in London on Tuesday 2 July 2019



Last Minute Valentine’s Day in London

Looking for a last minute Valentine’s Day gift?

If you’re still looking for the perfect gift for your Valentine take a look at some of the suggestions below, including a chocolate walking tour for 2 in London, dine at the Gherkin or treat your loved one to an amazing view over London from The Shard.

Chocolate walking tour for 2 in London, Only £28.50!

Chocolate walking tour for 2 in London, Only £28.50!

The Gherkin: 3-course lunch w/cocktail, coffee & more, only £45!

The Gherkin: 3-course lunch w/cocktail, coffee & more, only £45!



The View from The Shard: flexible ticket, save 33%!

The View from The Shard: flexible ticket, save 33%!

¬£12 ‚Äď 3-day hop-on, hop-off Thames river cruise ticket

¬£12 ‚Äď 3-day hop-on, hop-off Thames river cruise ticket

West End: chateaubriand for 2 with unlimited fries, Only £45.95!

West End: chateaubriand for 2 with unlimited fries, Only £44.95!

Three Course Meal and Cocktails at Marco Pierre White’s London Steakhouse Co Restaurant. Was ¬£114.50, NOW ¬£55

Use code: HUGS20 to get 20% discount on products from all categories on
(ENDS 14th February 2019)
T&C’s apply

Sunrise Balloon Flight with Champagne for Two Sale Price £239, With Code £191.20

Sunrise Balloon Flight with Champagne for Two. Sale Price £239, With Code £191.20

2 for 1 Indulgent Spa Day for Two with Treatments and More Sale Price £99, With Code £79.20

2 for 1 Indulgent Spa Day for Two with Treatments and More. Sale Price £99, With Code £79.20



20 Essential Travel Tips for London

Using London’s transport system can seem daunting but it needn’t be.
Here are our 20 essential travel tips for London.

London underground: Travel tips for London


Prices & Finding your way around

1. London’s transport system runs between zones¬†and you are charged depending on which zones you travel in, and the time of day.

2. Check out Citymapper or Transport for London to plan your route.

3. Use an oyster card or contactless credit card it’s much cheaper than paying for individual journeys.

4. Have you heard of the hopper fare? You can use the bus/tram as many times as you like within the hour and only pay for one journey (£1.50).


Oyster card & Contactless credit card

5. Register your oyster card/contactless credit card and you can monitor spend on journeys and claim a refund if charged incorrectly.

6.¬†Oyster cards and contactless credit cards are capped daily so you don’t pay more than a set amount each day (amount varies depending on the zones you travel in).¬†Contactless credit cards are also capped weekly (Monday to Sunday) so you don’t pay more than a set amount each week.

7.¬†Always use the same contactless card/oyster card when¬†making your journey that day. If you don’t you won’t be capped and if you use one to enter and one to leave then you pay a premium on each card as it won’t recognise a journey from start to finish.

8. Keep your cards separate when going through the ticket barrier, to prevent card clash and potentially paying twice.

9. You can use your oyster card on the River Bus and Emirates Air Line.

10.¬†If you see a pink card reader, tap your card on this when changing lines – it can save you money, for example, if you’re not travelling through zone 1.

11. When you no longer need your oyster card Рreturn it and you get your deposit back (£5) and up to £10 credit.



12. Buses do not accept cash. Either use an oyster card, contactless credit card or travel card.

13. When using the bus only tap on the card reader to get on, not off.

14. On the bus, the next stop is displayed on the information screens and also announced. When your stop is shown press the bell once and the bus will stop for you.



15. London is still accessible throughout the night. Check out night and 24 hour buses, night tube and overground night service.

16. You can hire a Santander Cycle from one of the docking stations around the city and return it to any docking station when you have completed your journey.

17.  Bus routes are served by low-floor vehicles, with a dedicated space for one wheelchair user and an access ramp. Buses can also be lowered to reduce the step-up from the pavement.

18. Around a quarter of tube stations, half of overground stations, most piers, all tram stops, the Emirates Air Line and all DLR stations have step-free access.

19. Public toilets are available at some tube and rail stations.

20. WiFi is now available at over 260 Tube and 79 London Overground stations across the network.

Check out our London transport page for more information.

oyster card and tube map


London for the Thrillseeker

There are plenty of opportunities in London for the thrillseeker.

Here are a few ideas ūüôā

Love Heights?

Ziplining London


Zipline on the¬†world’s longest and fastest urban zip wire. Don’t miss this Special Offer!

Spot London’s iconic landmarks from above on a breathtaking Helicopter flight¬†soaring above the city.

Climbing the O2

Climbing the O2

Climb the iconic O2 Arena.

Experience an exhilarating 160ft bungee jump solo or take the lovers leap!

Take to the trees with GoApe in Battersea.

Ice climbing London

Ice climbing

Go climbing at one of London’s climbing centres or try ice climbing (see Vertical Chill)

Dine suspended 100ft in the air above the city of London. Check out Events In The Sky for their next event.

Flip Out at a trampoline park in London.

The slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit

ArcelorMittal Orbit

Enjoy the view from¬†the ArcelorMittal Orbit, the UK’s tallest sculpture, then get your adrenaline fix by either descending via the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide¬†The Slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit¬†or experience the UK’s highest freefall abseil with the¬†ArcelorMittal Orbit Abseil.

Make a splash!

London for the thrillseeker

Thames Powerboating

Zip along the River Thames in a powerboat.

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a whale? Experience huge leaps, dives, side rolls and some serious g-force on the Predator Adventures Seabreacher Experience.

How’s your balance? Have a go at Stand Up Paddle Boarding.

Flyboarding London


Put on some water jet boots and propel yourself up above the water when you try Flyboarding.

Kayak along¬†Regent’s Canal.

Check out the Lee Valley White Water Centre, where you can go white water rafting, kayaking, tubing and hydrospeeding



Up for a challenge?

Thames Path Challenge: 8-9 September 2018. 3 riverside events – Thames Path Challenge, Thames Bridges Trek, Henley 10K.

London Bridges Challenge: 30 September 2018. 10 mile walk along 12 iconic London bridges. In aid of Diabetes UK.

 The Gherkin Challenge: Sunday 28 October 2018. Climb 38 floors to the top of the Gherkin in aid of the NSPCC

London Marathon: 28 April 2019



How to keep cool during the heatwave in London

It’s gorgeous weather out there, but how do you keep cool during this heatwave in London?

Heatwave in London

London is currently basking in the midst of a heatwave and temperatures are expected to remain in the high 20’s all week. It is the perfect city to enjoy those long summer days.

Here are some top tips for keeping cool:

  • Take a dip in one of London’s¬†lidos or outdoor pools
  • Cool down in one of the many public fountains across London, including those next to The Scoop by London Bridge, in Granary Square at King’s Cross and the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in Kensington Gardens
  • Drink plenty of water. Did you know there are new drinking water fountains in Borough Market and¬†Kingly Court off Carnaby Street?
  • Don’t ditch the umbrella just yet, they make a perfect sun shade
  • Avoid going on the tube if possible (or at least try to avoid the evening rush hour) – it’s perfect weather for ambling around London or take to the river and catch a river boat
  • Stop off at one of the many ice cream sellers – what better excuse?
  • Cool down in an air-conditioned shop or shopping centre
  • Relax in a nice beer garden, rooftop bar or pub by the river
  • Enjoy all London has to offer away from the hottest part of the day – did you know there are evening outdoor cinema screenings all summer?
  • Find a nice shady spot in one of London’s many beautiful parks across the city

So dig out those summer clothes, slap on the sunscreen and enjoy London in this beautiful weather ūüôā


Make money in London ~ become an Airbnb host

Living in London can be expensive, maybe you have wondered about letting a room to help pay the bills, pay for your next holiday or fund an expensive purchase for your home. If so, you may be wondering how to become an Airbnb host.

Become an airbnb host

I registered with Airbnb in June 2017, just before the Wimbledon Championships (which I am conveniently located near) so luckily got bookings straight away and, with several positive reviews under my belt, have continued to do so. In my first full quarter of being a host I received Superhost status. You are reviewed every quarter (January, April July and October) based on certain criteria, such as star ratings, responsiveness and honouring bookings, and I have so far maintained this status. This endorsement sets you apart from hosts who haven’t got this status and is an optional filter for potential guests searching for accommodation.

In this first post I’ll go through some of the things to consider before you start accepting guests.

The space

You will need to decide how much of your home you want to share. Are the lounge and kitchen available to your guests? I am unable to provide access due to the layout of my flat but if you decide to, this could be unlimited access or you could give specific hours they can be used. Some hosts will let guests use the kitchen to make a cup of tea whilst others will let them make meals. The choice is yours.

Is the bedroom suitable? A comfy bed is always going to be welcome but some successful hosts offer a sofa bed, so if that is all you have to offer, don’t let that put you off. I’m lucky to have an excessive number of built-in cupboards in the bedroom which gives me space to lock away my things and still provide a wardrobe, drawers and cupboard for my guests. Try to provide somewhere to hang clothes and some drawers, at the very least.

With people using your home, there’s always the possibility things could get damaged. If there’s anything of sentimental value to you or would be expensive to replace, move it, it’s not worth worrying about.

What are your neighbours like? If you live in a block of flats this is particularly important as they may object to people coming and going. Do they play loud music or argue regularly, etc? This could impact on the enjoyment for your guests.

What to provide 

You don’t have to provide breakfast but a few essentials could make all the difference to your guests’ enjoyment during their stay. You may be limited on space, but a kettle is definitely a good idea. I haven’t got a kitchen available for my guests so I provide what I can in the hallway. This includes a fridge freezer, kettle, toaster, microwave, plates, cups etc and a few things such as tea, coffee, hot chocolate, milk, butter, jams, cereals and biscuits. As people like to eat different things and I hate wastage I also put a few things in the freezer, such as pancakes and pain au chocolat – so if one guest¬†doesn’t eat them, they are available for another. Most things I offer are things I like so I can always eat them if they are reaching their use by date. If you’re providing breakfast don’t forget to ask your guests for any dietary requirements.

Become an airbnb host

I also provide wifi access, a Smart TV with dvd player, hairdryer, universal plug adapter, full length mirror, blanket, books, bedside table with lamp and a table and chair in the bedroom. Towels, shampoo, conditioner, soap and shower gel are provided in the bathroom and guests can use the washing machine and have access to an airer, iron and ironing board.

Safety and Security

You will need to think about safety and security both for your guests and yourself. Consider whether you need locks for the bedroom doors and where you are going to put your valuables. If you are a female host you can specify female guests only.

Keep your guests safe. Provide a first aid kit, information about what to do in an emergency, give details of the closest hospital and have (working!) smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and a fire extinguisher.

How much to charge

You will need to decide how much to charge per night and whether to add a cleaning fee and security deposit. Airbnb add a commission to the guests and take a commission from you, so factor this in when deciding how much you need and what people¬†would realistically pay. Have a look at what other hosts charge near you. Make sure you compare yourself with similar properties in similar locations – there’s no point charging the same as a property near a tube station if you live further away – you won’t get the bookings. There are several options for pricing structures. Options include¬†smart pricing (a fluctuating price depending on demand), fixed price, charging more at weekends and charging a different price during special events or just on a particular day. You can also offer discounts for one-week stays etc.

How do you get paid? When the guest books, the booking fee goes to Airbnb who then release the money the day after the guest has checked in. It gets sent directly to your bank account and can take a few days to show up. Airbnb take out their commission before sending you the money.

Tip: Don’t spend your money until it is safely in your bank account, and preferably not until the guest has checked out. It is not uncommon for guests to cancel, with very little notice, even during their stay. You can set rules for cancellations by choosing from differing refund options.

The logistics

Become an airbnb host

You will need to decide on the check-in time and how they will check in. If you work from home or keep regular hours then this is easy to determine. Or you may have someone who can welcome your guests. Some hosts have a key box outside their door or other means of the guests letting themselves in. You can say you can’t accept bookings on particular days of the week (e.g. you can’t accept bookings on Tuesdays) but there currently isn’t the function to choose specific dates you can’t accept check-ins. You can block off the day but that would mean you can’t have someone before that date staying on as it shows up as unavailable.

You can set a minimum and maximum length of stay. I limit the length of stay as I don’t feel my home is suitable for long stays without the guests having access to the kitchen. I have been very lucky on the whole with the guests I have hosted but you need to consider some guests may not quite appreciate it’s your home rather than a hotel, could be difficult or you may just have a personality clash – ultimately you want to feel comfortable in your home so think about this when deciding your maximum stay. One night stays can seem like you’re washing the linen moments¬†after making the bed and not all hosts offer this but I have chosen to.

You can choose how far ahead to have your calendar – I have dates up to 3 months open but I also opened up specific dates in July early to enable advance bookings for the Wimbledon Tennis Championships.

Airbnb encourages hosts to offer instant book.¬† I chose to do this as you’re more likely to get bookings and there’s an instant bookings filter for guests to choose when searching. If you are concerned that you don’t know who you are accepting, you can set requirements such as only accepting someone who has a review from a previous host, proven certain identity criteria, etc and you can cancel if you feel uncomfortable with the booking.

Promoting your accommodation

When deciding what to write in your description – be honest, if you say you are next to the tube but end up being 20 minutes away – that’s more than likely to be mentioned as a negative in your guest’s review. Is there anything unique, fun or convenient on your doorstep? This could be a tourist attraction (famous or unknown), great walks or parks, shops nearby, etc.

You will need to take photos of your home. Show it in its best light and let them imagine themselves there. Make sure it is clean, the bed is made, there is no rubbish or clutter in the photo. Showing the bathroom and kitchen is quite important to some prospective guests as they want to make sure that it looks clean and well equipped. Take the photo when the sun is coming in so it doesn’t look dark or if you are doing a night-time photo put lamps on to make it look cosy.

Once you’ve made all your decisions and completed your profile, you’re ready to publish. Airbnb suggests offering a discount for your first booking. It is quite a saturated market and without any reviews to prompt people to book with you it’s probably worth doing to make you stand out from already established hosts.

The downsides

Of course not everything is always going to be wonderful (for me it’s ironing the bedding ūüėČ ) and sometimes problems arise. It can be restrictive with regards to making plans. I have heard of some hosts making their guests wait until the last minute to tell them when they are home to let them in – but personally I don’t think that’s good hosting etiquette. It’s probably inevitable that at some point you will have a guest that for whatever reason you’re not enjoying hosting and as people won’t be used to the way some things work in your home there may be accidental breakages which can be an unexpected expense.


There’s going to be an initial expense, but probably very minimal, as most things you will have anyway, and you can wait until you have received a booking to purchase any items. Things you may need to buy are new towels, bedding, additional cleaning products etc. You can charge a cleaning fee to cover some costs but I decided against doing so. As I provide a separate kitchen area I provide separate mugs, glasses, plates etc but you may already have enough of these. You will also need to check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and fire extinguishers are working and in date. If you are going to provide refreshments then these will need to be purchased. The great thing about Airbnb is that it only charges you commission on your bookings so the only time you have to pay them any money is when a guest has stayed with you.

The upsides

Ultimately, for me, the upsides outweigh the downsides. Obviously earning an income is useful and perhaps it will help you re-invest in your home or pay for a holiday. There are many other benefits too. By opening up your home on a worldwide platform such as Airbnb you get to meet different people from all over the world and learn new things from them. You can help them enjoy their visit to London and perhaps they will even find a great restaurant or discover a bus route you weren’t aware of that you can benefit from and enjoy too ūüôā

So what are you waiting for, get hosting ūüôā

By Jo, Airbnb Superhost

In the next post I’ll look at what makes a good host


2018 – A Royal Year

There’s plenty to celebrate in 2018 – a truly royal year.

The first great royal event for 2018 will be the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s third child in April. Prince George, born in 2013, and Princess Charlotte, born in 2015 were both born in St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington.

In May the wedding of Prince Harry to former ‘Suits’ actress Meghan Markle will take place.

The ceremony will be held on Saturday 19 May at 12 noon in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

In addition to key members of the Royal Family, celebrity guests rumoured to attend include Serena Williams, David Beckham, James Blunt and the Spice Girls.

2,640 members of the public will be given access to the grounds for the royal wedding on 19 May, including charity workers, school children, royal household members and Windsor residents.

Following their vows at 1pm the newlyweds will proceed through Windsor in a carriage enabling residents and visitors to catch a glimpse of the married couple.

This procession will make its way from Windsor Castle via Castle Hill, along the High Street and through Windsor town and then make its return to Windsor Castle via the Long Walk.

The wedding reception will take place at St George’s Hall and in the evening Prince Charles will host a private reception for close friends and family.

On 9 June the annual spectacle of Trooping the Colour¬†will take place to celebrate the Queen’s birthday. This year the Queen will turn 92!

In October there will be another royal wedding ūüôā Princess¬†Eugenie, daughter to Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, and Jack Brooksbank will marry on Friday, October 12, in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Did you know

  • The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be celebrating their 71st wedding anniversary in 2018
  • The Queen has two birthdays. Her real birthday is 21st April but her official birthday celebrations are held in June
  • Prince Charles, next in line to the throne, celebrates his 70th birthday in November 2018
  • Meghan Markle will break royal tradition by giving a speech at her wedding to Prince Harry