First Time In London – What Should I Do?

I only have a few days in London and want the most out of my experience. What should I do?
Here are some of my tips to best enjoy this wonderful city. This is a little guide on how to come around town, enjoy your time here and to help you make your visit the best it can be, even if you are here for only a few days.

We will cover these topics:
-Cuisine
-Shopping
-Nightlife
-Nature
-Sightseeing
-History and culture
-Transport in London

CUISINE

If you are looking for the best food in London, search no more.
The Borough Market for example is a foodlovers heaven. Many stands offer organic vegetables, smoothies, pasta or other food to-go. You will find many different delicious dishes and ingredients.

The Hard Rock Cafe is something a lot of people visit while they are here. This restaurant has a lot to offer and is definitely worth a visit. I recommend you try the starters for four because they are insanely tasty and you will not regret it. Their vibe and food is just uncomparable.

Of course you have to try fish and chips in a traditional pub while you are in England. That is what the golden rules require. You will find many of these pubs all around the city. A quick google search can also show you the nearest one.

If your accommodation allows you to you might even consider prepearing a meal for yourself. The supermarket chains Tesco, Sainsbury and Coop are your best friends. There are so many express shops and off-license shops around the city. You will have the possibility to buy eggs for pancakes on a monday at 2 am.

SHOPPING

If you can handle large crowds of people, Oxford Circus is the place to go when it comes to shopping. To avoid the huge masses of tourists and commuters, I recommend you go before noon. Only a few minutes walk away you’ll find Picadilly Circus, which is famous for the Epos Statue and its many street artists.

Unarguably the most famous shopping street in London is Carnaby Street in Soho. You will find a lot of interesting stores, especially if you are looking for more high-end stuff.

Of course we cannot forget about Notting Hill. It has the best second hand and vintage pieces on the market and you will be surprised by the cute streets, architecture and markets around. The most famous one is Portobello Road market, which can be quiet busy on the weekends.

NIGHTLIFE

Especially the younger generation is interested in the nightlife this city has to offer. One night club I recommend to everybody is Fabric in Farringdon. They play mostly house music and are famous all around the world. The entry is about 20-25 pounds, which makes it an quite expensive evening.
Another club I have been to is Toy room in Soho. The vibe in there is unforgettable and they play mainly hip hop and rap. Soho and Mayfair and generally areas I would recommend to go to for a fun night out.

An area I used to live close to is Shoreditch. It is perfect for going out and hunt down some amazing clubs and bars. Visit the many traditional pubs around the city to get a feel of the english culture and to meet the real brits. You can also find many second hand shops and food markets there as well.

Camden Town is a tube station about 30 minutes by bus away from where I live now. The colourful streets and magical canal walks make you feel like you are in a fairytale.

NATURE

Naturelovers will be delighted by the selection of parks they can go to.
Of course the most famous one is Hyde Park in Central London. It has its charm with the Serpentine, the lake, in the middle of the park.

There is also Richmond Park where you can visit deer and see them in their natural habitat. That way you will discover Englands nature close up.

The Kew Gardens are a wonderful park to go to. It feels like a magical place when you walk up high in the sky and have a view over the trees and the green houses. In them you can see exotic plants and flowers. The best time to visit Kew Gardens is in spring because then you will experience the full range of plants they have to offer.

SIGHTSEEING

The first few weeks after I moved to England I started to do a lot of sightseeing. London has so many different things to offer. The Trafalgar square is one of them. In the middle of this vibrant place you will find the Nelsons Statue which is photographed by millions of people every year.

If you want you can visit the London Eye. Personally I do not recommend it because it is way to overpriced and you could you go to the Greenwich Emirates Cable Car instead. Generally Greenwich is an area which is way too “underhyped”. I love The O2, Greenwich Observatory and Park and think these are things you should see, even if you have only a few days. The Greenwich Park has an amazing view if you make it to the top of the little hill.

Did you know that there is an easy and cheap way to get a stunning view of the entire city? The Skygarden is the 35th floor of a skyscraper in Central London from which you have the most amazing view and can see far into the distance. The best part? It is completely free. Just book a time slot online, bring the pdf with you and you are good to go.

Unfortunately you will not be able to see Big Ben until 2021 as there are construction works going on. . Last but not least I would recommend you see the Tower Bridge. It is beautiful. That is all I can say.

HISTORY AND CULTURE

There is so much history, tradition and culture to experience in this magnificent city. Here is a short list of museum I would visit if I only had a few days in London:
-Natural History Museum in South Kensington
-Science Museum, especially for kids
-Tate Museum for amazing modern art
-National Portrait Museum at Trafalgar Square

TRANSPORT

The Oyster card is a universal public transport ticket throughout London. It is used for buses, train, tube, overground, tram and the DLR. If you stay for only a few weeks I advise you to get a Visitors Oyster Card in advance. This will make your journey running smooth.

You can choose between different ticket options, which will be charged on your Visitor Oyster Card. A weekly travelcard for zone 1 and 2 is best, if you stay for 5-7 days. You won’t have to worry about topping up your balance.
If you stay for 1-4 days I recommend you just top up your card 8 pounds for every day you are staying and you should be good to go. Whenever you need to top up your card, you can do so by using the machines provided in every tube station and some off-license-stores.

There is also a cap on how much you can spend per day. After that, the journeys are free until it resets after 24 hours. It also cool, that you can use different buses within 1 hour and you will pay only one journey.
Also, you will pay a 5 pound deposit and can return the card on the way back to the airport. You will get the deposit plus whatever amount was on your card returned.

In summer I recommend walking instead of public transport because the journey could be exhausting with the heat in the tube and buses and all the sweaty people. Rather enjoy a light wind and a walk through the city. Central London is pretty walkable.

See you in London!
Promise me you will never forget, that life is an adventure.

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