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you don’t know what the Bow Bells are, chances are you weren’t born in East London. The Bow Bells reside in St Mary-le-Bow church in Cheapside, and the old saying was that you weren’t a true Londoner if you weren’t born within earshot of the Bow Bells.

London is all things to all people. Where it can be flamboyantly expensive, it can also be surprisingly cheap to stay in the city. There is a growing trend for visitors to rent houses from or stay with locals – these houses are slightly away from the main tourist links, so not only can tourists save a lot of money, they can also see the parts of London that other visitors may miss.

St Mary-le-Bow church was built in 1680 by Sir Christopher Wren, one of the most well-known and prolific architects in British history. It marks the centre of Cockney London, and there was a time when the bells could be heard over much of the city. The heart of Cockney culture is a fantastic area to begin any exploration of London given its location.


Cheapside has some famous locations in easy distance. It’s close to the South Bank, St Paul’s Cathedral, The London Eye and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, which are all essential tourist locations to visit when staying in the capital. With a lot of museums costing nothing for entry it’s also a great way to have a cheap day trip out.

London has a brilliant transport network, meaning that other attractions such as Leicester Square, Covent Gardens and Nelson’s Column are all within easy reach. Although the public transport system can be hectic at times, buses and trains run often – you rarely have to wait more than five minutes for the next tube train. With the extensive tube network being incredibly easy to use due to the way the map is clearly laid out, it’s a great way to explore different parts of the city quite quickly. The tube is, for some, one of the reasons to visit London in the first place, with it including the oldest section of underground in the world. The tube is iconic in its own right, and a large part of visiting London for many tourists.

Those willing to travel even further out can enjoy Kew Gardens, one of the finest botanical gardens in the country, Richmond Park, where you can see free roaming deer in the middle of London, and jewels of the East End like Portobello Road.

If you’re at a loss at where to start, take a look at Smitten by Britain, a website run by London-loving folk who want the world to love their city as much as they do. The site contains information about what to see, where to eat and how to get there. Following what locals have suggested can seriously enhance a visit. People want to show off their city to the world, and will therefore try to persuade people of some of the lesser known attractions.


Sadly, the Bow Bells don’t have the power that they once did. London is much louder now than when they were cast, and you can’t hear the bells much past Shoreditch. But Bells or otherwise, London will always be full of those people who love and live the city.