Top 12 places if your visiting London for the first time

If you're planning to visit this enchanting destination for the first time, we've got you covered

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tourist in london standing by big ben in the background

Welcome to the majestic city of London, where history meets modernity and culture embraces diversity. If you’re planning to visiting London for the first time, we’ve got you covered with our ultimate list of top things to see in London. From iconic landmarks like Big Ben and Tower Bridge to hidden gems such as Camden Market and Notting Hill.

So let’s dive right in and explore what makes London one of the most fascinating cities in the world!

Buckingham Palace

visiting London for the first time then this is your first stop, Image is Outside Buckingham Palace London

The palace is one of the most iconic landmarks in London and is a must-see for first-time visitors. This is the official residence of the British monarch and has been home to some of the most famous royal families in history. Its open to the public during select times throughout the year, so be sure to check the schedule in advance. You can find out more at the Buckingham Palace Website.

A visit to the Palace is a great opportunity to see some of the stunning architecture and art inside the London landmark, as well as learn about the rich history of this royal residence.

Westminster Abbey

West Minster Abbey London

Westminster Abbey is one of the most famous churches in the world and has been the coronation site for British monarchs since 1066. The current building dates back to 1245, making it one of the oldest surviving Gothic structures in England. Even if you’re not religious, a visit to Westminster Abbey is a must-do when in London. Not only is it an architectural marvel, but it’s also steeped in history.

Take a guided tour to learn about the Abbey’s many fascinating features, from its royal tombs to its beautiful stained glass windows. Find out more on the WestMinster Abbey Website

The Tower of London

tower of London
Image by Ana Gic from Pixabay

When you visiting London for the first time, the tower is an essential place to visit. It is a historic castle located on the River Thames in the centre of London. The tower was founded in 1066 by William the Conqueror and has been used as a prison, a royal palace, and a place of execution. Today, it is a museum that is open to the public, with a 60 minutes tour included with the price of a pass which you can find out more at Historic Royal Palaces.

St Paul’s Cathedral

St pauls cathedral London
Image by Tinnapat from Pixabay

Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most famous and iconic landmarks in London. The current cathedral, which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, was completed in 1710 and is a prime example of English Baroque architecture. The cathedral is also home to the tombs of many notable figures, including Admiral Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. Visitors can explore the cathedral’s interior, climb to the top of its dome for panoramic views of London, or attend one of its regular services.

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar square London
Image by jyst3260 from Pixabay

Another one of the most iconic and popular tourist destinations in London. The square is home to Nelson’s Column, which commemorates Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, who defeated the French at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The square also features a couple fountains, numerous fine statues and sculptures, and the National Gallery is well worth a visit which offers free entry all year around.

Visitors to the Square can enjoy its many activities and attractions, including posing for an image with Nelson’s Column, watching the fountains, admiring the art at the National Gallery, or simply just sitting there and watching the world go by. A popular destination for special events and celebrations, such as New Year’s Eve, Christmas carol singing, and more.

The London Eye

London eye next to the river thames in London

The London Eye is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city and offers stunning views over the Thames and London skyline. It’s a great way to get your bearings of the city and to see some of the key sights such as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral.

You can find more details on ticket prices at the London Eye website. If you’re visiting London for the first time, make sure you include a trip on the London Eye in your itinerary!

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

Big Ben London

A trip to these famous landmarks is essential when you come to London. Located on the River Thames, this iconic landmark is one of the most recognizable in the world. While you can’t go inside Big Ben itself, you can tour the Houses of Parliament and see where laws are made.

Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

Outside Kensington Palace London
Photo by Gotta Be Worth It

Hyde Park is the largest park in central London, and is home to a number of famous landmarks, including Speakers’ Corner and the Serpentine Lake. Kensington Gardens is smaller than Hyde Park, but contains a number of important tourist attractions, including Kensington Palace the birth place of Queen Victoria and the Albert Memorial. For more information visit the Kensington Palace website

Leicester Square and Covent Garden

Inside Covent Garden London
Image by Younjoon CHOI from Pixabay

Leicester Square and Covent Garden are two of the most popular tourist spots in London. In Leicester Square you will find some great examples of the best shopping London has on offer, as well as a variety of top restaurants and cafes. Covent Garden is a beautiful area with a great variety of shops and restaurants, as well as a market that sells fresh produce and beauitful flowers.

Camden Market

Camden Market Sign in London
Image by Lalli from Pixabay

A world famous market is a must-see for any visitor to the city of London, so a trip here is a must.
A huge range of stalls and shops on offer making this one of the largest markets in London. You’ll find everything from souvenirs gifts to clothing and accessories.
Also be sure to go through all of the market’s different sections, including the Stables Market, Lock Market, and Electric Ballroom. Also don’t forget to try some of the delicious food on offer!

Oxford Street Shopping

busy Oxford street London
Photo by Aleksandra

If you’re looking for some retail therapy while in London, then Oxford Street is the place to be. This iconic street is home to over 300 stores, making it one of the busiest shopping streets in Europe. You’ll find all the major high-street brands here, as well as plenty of independent shops and boutiques. And if you need a break from all the shopping, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to keep you refreshed.

Notting Hill

Portobello road in London
Image by Terry from Pixabay

Not just a famous location for many movies but home to Europes biggest street fiesta known as the Notting Hill carnival. You will find lots of top class restaurants, bars and great shops n home to the famous Portobello road street market.

Getting Around

A handy tool to download onto your phone is the TFL transport app. Here you can find upto date information of live travel around the city using the Transport for London network.

TFL transport screenshot of app
TFL App screenshot

The app has many features which will help you enjoy getting around London and plan your visits to major attractions. You can download the app here which caters for IOS and Android devices.

Our Conclusion

London is a great city which is vibrant 24-7 and has many things to do. We have only just touched the surfaces in this post with a whole more lot in store for the visitor to see day and night. If your visiting London for the first time then these are key places to go.

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