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Last Minute London

It’s probably hard to believe that you can get a great deal on a last minute London vacation, but it’s true. Even though London is one of the most sought-after and expensive travel spots, if you play your cards right, you can visit London, England, for a fraction of what it would cost you otherwise.

Sites like Expedia London or Thomas Cook London thrive by offering last minute vacation deals to travelers who need a discount. Through sites like these, people can find cheap hotels, airline tickets, entertainment, and more. All that they require is that the vacationer in question be willing to book their trip within two weeks or so of their scheduled departure date. When it comes to finding cheap holidays London hotels and airlines have to offer, timing is critical.

There’s a bit of a trade-off that happens every time you book a vacation. When you plan in advance, you do so that you can be sure to get the exact vacation you want. If you must have a first-class seat next to a window on a plane leaving at three in the afternoon, planning ahead can let you do that. When you want to have the suite in a hotel in the middle of London, then it’s important to make sure that that room is reserved for you well in advance. When you’re looking to book last minute London vacations, however, you trade away your ability to be selective in favor of saving money.

Some people look at booking cheap holidays London as taking the leftovers that other vacationers didn’t want. The fact is, however, that they are often anything but leftovers. Many times, late rooms London hotels have to offer are because of a sudden cancellation, not because they are rooms that nobody else wanted to stay in. Similarly, cheap flights London airlines have available aren’t there because nobody wanted them, they’re there because planes need to make sure that they are at full capacity before they take off. Sometimes, it’s possible to find a good selection of last minute flights London airlines have to offer because that particular flight isn’t very popular. It might take off or arrive very early or late in the day. It might require several stopovers. There are any number of things that can make a flight more or less popular than another one.

The same is true for hotels. Finding last minute London accommodations is especially easy when you’re planning your vacation off season. By choosing a less popular time to travel, and waiting until the last minute to book your accommodations, you can manage to save a lot of money, and have a really wide selection of rooms and hotels available to you.

Last minute London holidays can be just as much fun as holidays that are planned well in advance. If you are willing to learn the ins and outs of finding last minute vacation deals, you can plan an excellent holiday on the cheap.

Everyone knows that London is an amazing city, filled with history and culture, shopping and entertainment. When you think Europe, two cities pop up almost simultaneously: Paris and London. These are the two cities that everyone should visit at least once. Of course, these two destinations are not at all cheap, particularly London, but if you look hard, you can always find affordable places to stay, flight bargains to take advantage of, or inexpensive dining or entertainment spots.

I am assuming you have already arranged for your last minute vacation deals, including flights and hotel accommodation. Last minute vacations are not so difficult to arrange for, as there are plenty of deals available on numerous vacation websites. I was always able to get really great deals on my last minute trips, including flights and hotel accommodations in most European cities. This year, I started planning my last minute London trip at the end of May, about 3 weeks before the departure date. I did not really plan to go to London this year, but an old friend of mine called me back in May to let me know that he would be in London in June with his girlfriend, and as we didn’t see each other for 5 years, I thought it would be cool if I could come too. That’s how it all started.

The flight was not a problem at all. I would always book my flights either through Expedia.com or would actually call the airline directly to see if I can get a better last minute deal. Calling the airline directly in most cases works great, but sometimes it doesn’t, and I find that Expedia.com actually offers the best rates for flights to Europe. Anyway, booking a flight from Boston to London, England was not a problem, and Expedia.com was helpful as always.

The hotel hunting was a different story. Should I even mention that every single hotel accommodation in London seems expensive, particularly after you convert sterling pounds to dollars? It took me almost 10 days to find a good last minute hotel deal in London. I was actually desperate, because I could not book the same hotel as my friends did as it was fully booked. So, my search was limited to the South part of London as I wanted to be at least close to where my friends stayed. London is a huge city, much bigger than Paris, and it looked like a good idea to find a hotel in the same neighborhood.

I always use TripAdisor.com for my hotel accommodations. It’s extremely useful in terms of actual people’s reviews, plus they always have great last minute hotel deals. The site was very helpful in finding the right hotel, but securing an accommodation there for my particular dates was a bit tricky. In the end, I guess I got lucky as someone cancelled at the last moment, and I was able to get a room at this hotel for the whole duration of my stay in London. The hotel was only 5 minutes walk from where my friends stayed, and near the same subway station, so it all worked out pretty well.

What I totally missed to do though was to plan ahead which London attractions I wanted to see first. We all know that London is packed with exciting attractions, from top-notch museums to captivating historic monuments and buildings. At some point during my first two days there, I thought it would be a great idea to have it all planned in advance. There are simply too many things to see, and London is enormous! It’s easy to underestimate the time needed for your sightseeing trips. Unlike in Paris, where everything is compact and all main attractions seem to be close to each other, London is totally different. One should plan carefully what to do there, and the best thing you can do is divide the city into smaller sections, and visit places just in this part of the city. Moving between two different parts of the city is time consuming and exhausting.

To help you out, I have compiled a list of London’s main attractions, and all that you have to do is to figure out what else you can see in this particular part of the city. Any guidebook can help you with that.

Here’s the list of the 10 top must-see attractions in London:

last minute vacation deals1. Westminster Abbey – Price: for Adults: £16.00; for  Children: £6.00

If you would be given an opportunity to visit just one attraction in London, then it’s got to be Westminster Abbey – one of the most significant buildings in English history, simply a must-see. it’s also one of the most visited sites in London. Almost every English king and queen, since the coronation of the of William the Conqueror in 1066, has been crowned or buried there, and often both. The reigning Queen Elisabeth II has been crowned on King Edward’s throne there as well.

The abbey also serves as a wedding place for many royal weddings, including the latest wedding of Prince William.

Located at: Westminster Abbey

London SW1P 3PA

last minute vacation deals2. The London Bridge –  Price: for Adults: £23.00; for Children: £16.95

Your children will love this 2-part tour – located within the arches of the London Bridge, this attraction has won ” Best Year Round Scare Attraction” for 2 consecutive years. But, first you will enjoy an enthralling journey back in time, learning about the London Bridge history, starting from Druids and all the way to Victorians. This is your only chance to meet Vikings, Romans, and some sinister medieval characters. People who visited this interactive exploration say it does manage to take you back in time with the help of all sorts of animations, striking special effects, and real life actors.

If you are brave enough, then you can continue with the second part of the attraction – the London Tombs. Your children, and most likely you too, won’t easily forget the horrifying encounter with the walking dead. For the youngest visitors (under the age of 11), there is also the Guardian Angel Tours – to protect them from anything too terrifying.

Located at: 2-4 Tooley Street

London SE1 2PF

last minute vacation deals3. The Thames River Boat Cruise – Price: for Adults: £13.50; for Children: £6.50

There is no doubt a Thames river cruise will be one of your best experiences in London. There is nothing like seeing the city from the water – the Thames river is flowing through the heart of London, revealing to you the city’s most famous attractions.

The City Cruises boats have open upper decks along with comfortable lower saloons, offering you the best panoramic view of the city of London.

You will be able to see such iconic sites as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Millennium Footbridge, the Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, and the Tower of London – these are just some of the highlights.

The cruises are hop-on-and-off all day event.

Boarding locations: Greenwich Pier, Tower Hill Pier, London Eye Pier, and Westminster Pier.

last minute vacation deals4.  Windsor Castle – Price: for Adults: £16.50; for Children: £9.90

Among all currently occupied castles, Windsor Castle is the largest and also the oldest castle in the world – it still serves as her majesty’s official residence. Erected more than 900 years ago, it covers some 480,000 square feet and is surrounded by gorgeous gardens and charming English scenery. Inside the castle’s grounds, one can find St George’s Chapel, a perfect example of Gothic architecture and the burial  place of Henry VIII. There is an exhibition dedicated to the Duke of Edinburgh’s 90th anniversary, and, starting from February 2012, the Windsor Castle will also be a home to photo exhibition featuring 60 photographs of Queen Elisabeth II, dedicated to her 60 years on the English throne.

If you are lucky you will be able to have a look at the State Apartments, generously furnished with treasures from the Royal Art Collection, including paintings by Van Dyck, Brueghel, Holbein, and Rubens.

Absolutely recommended! You can get there from London Paddington Train Station, which is only a 30 minute trip from London.

Located at: Windsor

Berkshire SL4 1NJ

last minute vacation deals5. The Tower of London –  Price: for Adults: £18.00; for Children: £9

The Tower of London is one of the most popular attractions in London, located right in the city’s heart, just a short walk from the Thames River. This is one of the most famous fortresses in the world that served over its 900 year history as an armory, prison and a royal palace. Its fortified walls still keep many of the dark secrets and are home to the Crown Jewels. Many kings and queens expanded the fortress over the centuries, and used it throughout the years as a powerbase and refuge.

Right in the middle of the site you will admire the big and beautiful stone building of the White Tower, currently hosting the exhibition of arms and armor called Fit for a King – on display is the armor from the royal houses of Windsor, Hanover, Stuart, and Tudor. You can’t miss the chance to see the spectacular armor of Charles I and Henry VIII.

Located at: Tower Hill

London EC3

last minute vacation deals6. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre – Price: for Adults: £11.50; for Children: £7.00

If you love theatre, then you simply can’t miss this famous London attraction. The present day Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is a reconstruction of the original building that was home for Shakespeare’s open-air playhouse back in the day, a place where the renowned and mysterious English playwright wrote many of his famous plays. First built in 1599, the theatre perfectly recreates the ambiance of the of Elizabethan London, and offers you both the contemporary and historical tour of the Globe.

Located at: 21 New Globe Walk


London SE1 9DT

last minute vacation deals7. Hampton Court Palace Price: for Adults: £14.50; for Children: £7.25

After acquiring the Hampton Court Palace in 1520, the colorful King Henry VIII significantly extended and developed it, making the palace his home. His royal descendants continued collecting fabulous paintings, tapestries, and furnishings for the palace.  Spread on more than 60 acres of formal gardens, the attractions include the Great Vine and the famous maze.

The visitors get a chance to enter the live world of the Tudors by discussing the current world affairs with the “King”, or observing how the “King” prepares for bed. According to the Guinness Book of World Records you can also enjoy the phenomenon of the world’s largest grape vine.

Located at: Hampton Court Palace


 last minute vacation deals8. The London Tower Bridge – Price: for Adults: £8.00; for Children: £3.00

The London Tower Bridge is probably one of the most recognizable structures in London. It stands over the River Thames since 1984, and is one of the most visited attractions in the city.

Take a tour of the London Tower Bridge and learn its history and how the Bridge was built. There are lots of interactive displays and videos that would guide you through the Tower Bridge. As well, you can descend into the Victorian Engine rooms, and see with your own eyes all the practical mechanisms and the original technology that was used to put the Bridge into motion.

For the most curious, there are also high-level walkways should you want to enjoy a breathtaking view of the city. You will find a lot of other interesting buildings and museums in the vicinity of the London Tower Bridge, including the Tower of London.

Located at: The Tower Bridge Exhibition

London SE1

 last minute vacation deals9. St. Paul’s Cathedral – Price: Adults: £14.50; for Children: £5.50

Even though St. Paul’s Cathedral was erected between 1675 and 1710, it’s iconic dome still dominates the London skyline to-day. A recent £40 million programme of repairs and cleaning works has managed to transform the interior and exterior of the building right in time for its 300th anniversary.

The attractions of this vast cathedral include the High Alter, the Quire (the seat of the priest and the choir), the grand Organ, and the Aspe (an American Memorial Chapel). Among other highlights of St Paul’s Cathedral is the extraordinary Whispering Gallery, located 30 meters above the floor, and famous for its acoustics. Some 55 meters above the Whispering Gallery, there is the Golden Gallery, offering the visitors spectacular panoramic view of Central London – that is if you have the energy to climb all the 530 steps.  Underneath the cathedral there is a spacious crypt, where you can find the toms of the Duke of Wellington, and Admiral Lord Nelson.

Located at: St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Churchyard

London EC4

 last minute vacation deals10. The Churchill War Rooms – Price: Adults: £14.50

This is the first museum of its kind in London dedicated to the life Sir Winston Churchill, often referred to as the “greatest Briton”. The museum shows the underground headquarters that were the epicenter of the British war efforts.

The exposition is divided into five parts, covering all ninety years of the Churchill’s life: his childhood, his early political career, a period known as the “Gathering Storm,” his years as British Prime Minister, and his later years.

Located at: King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AQ

Whether you are planning for last minute vacations or looking for the last minute vacation deals, you are probably looking to save as much money as possible. It’s important to remember though that London doesn’t come cheap, particularly if you are travelling from the United States or Canada. Everything looks expensive in London. Your biggest expense will be your plane ticket and the hotel accommodation. I have shared here a few tips on how you can get a cheaper airfare, and we will discuss last minute London hotel accommodation in greater detail in my next article.

You are probably wondering if you can save some money while staying in London. Besides the plane ticket and the hotel stay, visiting numerous London attractions will your next biggest expense. There are two ways you can save money here. The first one is to buy the London Pass – it’s sort of a “smart card” allowing you cash free entrance to more than 55 London most popular sites. It does include all of the attractions I have listed above. For instance, if you were to visit all ten attractions, it would cost you £150, and a 6-day Adult London Pass with Travel will cost you £145. You might say this is not really a huge deal, but you probably didn’t pay attention to the words “with Travel.” Yes, it includes the London Travelcard, giving you a free access to the public transportation system in London, including the famous London underground, National Rail Services, trams and buses. Just to give you an idea of your potential savings – a single Underground ticket will cost you £4! So, if you are planning to visit a lot of attractions in London, the London Pass with Travel will help you save lots of money.

The only reason I would not recommend that you buy the London Pass is when you know you will not be visiting too many sites. You would only save money with, let’s say a 6-day London Pass, if you visit at least 10 attractions. Therefore, if your last minute London trip does not include visiting at least 10 London attractions, then you can skip on the London Pass. Instead, you can just buy a Travelcard for around £30 and then visit a few sites you know you can’t miss.

But the main reason I really recommend the London Pass is that it allows you to skip the long lines, which would make you feel like a VIP. In summer months, wherever you go in London, the will be huge crowds and huge lines to the main attractions. So, if you know you can’t afford lining up for hours, then the London Pass will help you with that.

The London Pass contains over £460 worth of Entry to Attractions. Discover More of London & Spend Less with a London Pass.

Last minute vacations should not be difficult, and if you make it right, the savings that you can get from the last minute vacations deals, including last minute London trips, can easily surpass vacations planned well in advance, in terms of money and time savings.

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