I'll transit in London on the way to New York, from 14:30, Monday to 11:30, Tuesday. This is my first time to Europe. I'm a student and will travel with two other friends. I know it'll be after Christmas and before NY. Could you please give us some idea where to stay and how to make the best of our time in London during this holiday? We're in budget. It's very much appreciated.
Where to stay? Not sure if I can answer that, other than suggesting you research student hostels. As for what to see, that depends on your tastes and interests. I imagine I would take the Tube in from Heathrow and head for Westminster to see Parliament, London Eye, etc., and then head out to the Traflagar Square-Piccadilly Circus area. You certainly won't lack for pubs.
I recommend the YHA hostel by St. Paul's Cathedral. Perfect location at 36 Carter Lane. Great old building with lots of history and character. It used to be the school for the St Paul's Cathedral choir boys! http://www.yha.org.uk/hostel/london-st-pauls It's about a 10 minute walk to Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace.
Or you could walk down Ludgate Hill and build your own fabulous pub crawl from there! The pubs are thick on Ludgate Hill. (Just avoid Ye Olde Cock Tavern. It's not friendly, and the service is sloppy.)
To make the best use of time don't worry about getting around to a lot of far-flung places. Stay in the tourist core, and walk rather than take the tube whenever you can - sightseeing is automatic when you walk!
Thanks all. My concern is that I'll arrive at the airport at 2:30pm and the sunset will be around 4-5 pm at the end of December. Probably I should stay close to Victoria hub and walk to Burkingham Palace, Westminster Abbey,... I don't care much about pubs, just wanna visit the Christmas decorations in the evening. Any idea the best/ fastest way to get to Victoria from Heathrow airport?
Piccadilly Line Underground straight from the airport to Hammersmith, across the platform to the District Line and off at Victoria. Upstairs and you're there.
Under an hour.
I agree with taking the Tube into the city, about one hour travel time. Although it will be dark, there will still be plenty of people on the streets, evening traffic, after-Christmas sales, and the main streets well lit. I've had no problem staying out in central London until the Tube closes (around midnight).