Since London is one of my favorite places, here is a detailed listing of first time experiences you should have in this lovely city. London is one of my favorite cities ever so I was totally in my element when I visited for the first time in 2016. We’ve since returned one other time and I would love to go back soon. If you’ve never been to London, here’s a great list of the must do’s for your first trip to this amazing city.
1. Visit “Big Ben”
One of the most iconic sites of London (other than maybe the red buses & telephone booths.) Big Ben is actually a nickname for the Elizabeth Tower or the great bell of the striking clock.
2. Westminster Abbey
This church is so rich in history it has touched the lives of so many royal and famous people since 960AD. They even offer a virtual tour online currently & prior to covid offered in person tours as well.
3. London Parks
London is a city that does parks so well! One of my favorite things to do is get some take away food and wine (or beer!) to relax and enjoy in a park. (Marks & Spencer grab and go is my fav!) A few of my favorite parks are Hyde Park & Green Park.
4. Tower of London
The Tower of London is officially Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London. It’s a historic castle close to the tower bridge. Highlight of visiting the Tower of London was seeing the Crown Jewels. All of the shinies!
5. Tower Bridge
The iconic Tower Bridge that crosses the Thames River built over 125 years ago. It is a suspension bridge that is often confused with the London bridge as it’s more visually appealing. You can visit the bridge to learn more about the history as well as walk across a glass floor above those crossing the bridge below.
6. London eye
The London eye is an enclosed observation wheel on the south bank of the Thames river. It offers a stunning viewpoint up above London where you can see Big Ben & Westminster Abbey as well as other iconic London sites. We chose to ride once during the day and once at night. If I had to choose one, I would say that nighttime was my favorite.
7. Walk along the Thames River
On the south bank of the Thames, there is a route referred to as “The Queens Walk” takes you over Westminster Bridge, along the south bank of the River Thames towards Tate Modern then back over the river on the Millennium footbridge to St Paul’s Cathedral.
8. Afternoon Tea
There are many options for a splurge and also a great experience on a budget. I definitely recommend one that includes a lovely glass of bubbly as well! Also, I’m not going to turn down a culinary experience that typically involves scones. Yum!
9. Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace is the royal monarch residence within London. You can tour the palace but another popular attraction is watching the changing of the guards. Keep in mind, the tours of Buckingham Palace are only available from July to October when the royal family isn’t there.
10. Take a day trip
We took a few different day trips outside of London. One was a day tour that included Stonehenge & the Roman Baths in Bath. It was great because we literally got picked up blocks from our hotel and dropped us off in the same location. It was really convenient! Another day trip we took was to Windsor & Eton where we visited Windsor Castle and Windsor & Eton Brewery.