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London, England, is a city with so many famous spots such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Parliament buildings worth visiting. With so much to see and do, planning your first trip to London can seem daunting. To help you plan your first trip, I have outlined some of the best tips for the first time in London visitors.

How long should you stay in London? Where are the best places to stay? This first-timer’s guide will help you make the most of your visit.

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Here Are Our Tips For Visiting London 

Stay In Central London

tips for central london

[stay in the city center to make exploring London much easier]

Central London is the heart and soul of the city. You are only a few minutes walking to major sites, bars, and restaurants. By staying in central London, you can see more in less time. Ultimately, saving you money on transportation but also your budget because you will need fewer days in the city.

No doubt you can experience parts of London in 24 hours.  But on the other hand, 10 days would be ideal.  London is a huge city and you won’t see everything but you can always come back.

London’s Underground 

tower hill street tube

[tower hill street tube underground]

The tube is a public transit system with 11 lines. Speaking of the Tube, yes, it is packed with people. However, it is easy to zip around the city. If you plan on staying in London for more than two days, I highly recommend buying an Oyster Card for the Underground.

Avoid The Holidays 

As a major city and popular travel destination, London is regularly filled with visitors. However, during bank holidays and school breaks the number of tourists nearly doubles in size. People from other parts of the UK and Europe travel to London for a quick weekend holiday, meaning even more crowds. Avoid the busiest months of July & August for your first time in London.

Set Aside Enough Time

tower bridge london england

London is a massive city, and the last thing you want to do is rush through Buckingham Palace or skip the Tower of London because you ran out of time. For your first time in London, plan to stay at least a week. This should give you enough time to see the historic landmarks and get to know some of the local neighborhoods.

Get to know London in one day with a sightseeing tour including the Tower of London, changing of the guards with optional London Eye Upgrade. 

Book in Advance

This one is crucial! You can spend countless hours of your trip standing in lines if you do not plan. From theaters to the London Eye, you would be amazed at how many attractions you can purchase tickets for in advance. Often you can even get a discounted price if you purchase at the door. When you book with a travel advisor, they will often have the best deals in town and help you plan your trip and determine if you should purchase the London Pass.

Visit Free Attractions

London can get expensive quickly, but that does not mean you have to pay top dollar (or pound) to see all the sights. Many of the museums in London have free admission, and the parks and gardens are also a must-see and cost nothing to stroll around and picnic. Seeing classic London sights like the Changing of the Guard and walking through the famous Harrods is also completely free of charge!

Popular Things To Do In London

  • See The Elizabeth Tower (where Big Ben is Housed)
  • Take a Beefeater Tour at the Tower of London
  • Admire Buckingham Palace, the residence of Queen Elizabeth and a highly recognizable spot in London.
  • Visit Westminister Abbey, where kings and queens are crowned, where famous people are buried, and where marriage take place.
  • Take a Hop-ON-Hop-OFF Bus Tour
  • Eat, Drink, and Shop at Covent Garden
  • Walk through the St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • Ride the famous London Eye, a giant ferris wheel located on the edge of the River Thames.

Museums

A classic museum to visit for first-timers to London is the Natural History Museum.  There are lesser-known options like Churchill War Rooms or the Sherlock Holmes Museum located on 221b Baker St.

Local Pubs in London

[Bloomsbury Tavern located on 236 Shaftesbury Avenue]

When traveling to London, one can’t miss stopping at the local pubs. This is where everyone gets together for traditional food. For instance, each pub seems to have its history and charm. On Sunday head to your nearest pub for a good old fashion roast with the best Yorkshire pudding in the world.

Food Markets 

[Borough market located on 8 Southwark St]

Borough Market comes to mind because there is so much good food here you will probably go home a few pounds heavier. Perhaps stroll across the Thames where the streets are quiet, with lots of quaint bakeries and cafes instead of the busy market.

Secret Food Tour:  London Bridge & Borough Market 

There is so much to know before visiting a city for the first time, but this list is a great place to start planning a trip to London!