Things to do on a first-time visit to London

For those headed to the British capital of London on a first trip, getting to know the main attractions, modes of transport and best location to stay can be helpful to know before you go. When it comes to accommodation in the city, it’s best to stay near the city center as London is a massive city at nearly 1,500 sq. km.

There are many types of hotels to choose from, ranging from corporate types in London, to boutique and historic properties. Staying at any of the hotels near Paddington Station would definitely be a great choice. With several restaurants and bars near Hyde Park and fantastic shopping and entertainment nearby as well, it will make commuting around the city much less of a hassle.

Here are some of our top tips for a first time visit to London:

Explore the city


To get a feel for the city, set off on a tour of its pubs and cafes, where you can meet and interact with the locals. The pub culture in London is centuries old with some of the oldest venues in the UK. Go on a pub crawl and enjoy the beer with English traditional dishes while chatting up with locals. A lot many of these are of historical significance and definitely a great way to acquaint yourself with British culture and traditions. One such spot to hang out and down a few pints, while enjoying the free entertainment courtesy of the buskers is Covent Garden.

Public Transport

London Bus

When it comes to commuting around the city, Londoners will swear by the different modes of public transport to get around the city. The most popular is, of course, the Underground, popularly known as the Tube. Getting from one section of London to another using public transport is the most economical and convenient way to travel. The only issue, especially during rush hours, is the traffic jams that can be lengthy and tiresome. To save money on public transport, invest in an Oyster Visitor Card that can help to save as much as 50% on costs. While there are London’s famous black cabs as well only use them if urgent as they tend to be very expensive.

Popular Tourist Spots

When it comes to tourist spots, London is home to some of the most iconic ones in the world. Staying in central London will definitely make it easy to get around with most of the prominent attractions found in and around central London. Among the most famous attractions to visit are:

  • Buckingham Palace
  • Kensington Palace and Gardens
  • The Tower of London
  • The London Eye
  • The British Museum
  • Big Ben
  • The Palace of Westminster and plenty more most of which are in the heart of the city or nearby.
  • While the museums and art galleries are free (they only charge a fee for special exhibits) the others are paid attractions.

One of the most economical ways to see most of the paid attractions is to buy a London Pass. Along with getting fast track entry (skip the queues) there are special deals and discounts at hotels, restaurants and other venues across London.

If you have any questions about visiting London for the first time, please leave a comment below.

Mike Shubic

Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.


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