Tips for Your First Visit to London
London is one of those cities that everyone simply must visit at least once. The capital of the United Kingdom overflows with historic and iconic sights, including Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Tower Bridge.
For a first-time visitor to London, it’s hard to know where to start. To get the most out of your trip, it’s important to know what you simply can’t miss. Use these tips to plan your first visit to London.
Choose the Location of Your Hotel Carefully
There’s so much to see in London, but the sights are far apart. Getting around can take time, so choose the location of your hotel carefully. There’s definitely no shortage of great IHG hotels in London, but picking one with a central location and near an Underground station will save you both time and money. Plan to stay somewhere like the West End or Bloomsbury for easy access to the best of London’s theatres, shops, nightlife, and attractions.
Get Your Bearings With a Free Walking Tour
London is an expensive city, but there are so many ways that smart travellers can save money. In fact, many of the museums and art galleries in London are completely free to visit. Don’t miss the British Museum or the Natural History Museum, which are two of the best museums in the world. With so many famous sights to tick off, joining a free city walking tour will help you get your bearings, learn a bit more about London’s rich history, and take you past the major sights like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament.
Get an Oyster Card
Getting around on the London Underground, also known as the Tube, is easy and convenient, as long as you avoid the packed trains during rush hour. Much of London’s public transport does not accept cash payments, so getting an Oyster Card makes hopping on and off the trains and the red double-decker buses a breeze.
Invest in the London Pass
If you’re planning on doing a lot of sightseeing, then you’ll save money and time by investing in a London Pass. This gives you free entrance to over 60 attractions and tours, access to a free sightseeing tour bus, and the ability to skip the lines and get fast-track entry to many places.
Get Out of the City
Sadly, most tourists’ only experience of the U.K. is a visit to London. There’s so much more to see in this country and many great destinations are only a short journey out of London. Charming and historic cities like Bath, famous for its preserved Roman baths and Georgian architecture, and Cambridge, home to one of the oldest and most highly respected universities in the world, are easy day trips from London. If you visit Cambridge, don’t miss punting along the river to see fabulous views of the historic colleges.
Have you been to London? Do you have any more tips for first-time visitors?
This post was kindly sponsored by InterContinental Hotels Group, but, as always, all tips and opinions are my own.