Travelling to London for the First time

Over 14.6 million people visit London every year. We're not surprised if you plan to be among those millions of others. It’s a city full of life, beautiful architecture, and rich history.

London is a lot of people’s first choice when it comes to visiting Europe. It’s in an English-speaking country, which makes it easy to communicate and ask for help if needed. However, London is still very diverse, and you will come across many different languages and cultures.

If you’re visiting for the first time or even the twentieth, you might still feel intimidated when it comes to getting around the city.

Here are some of our tips and tricks for getting around London, as well as some common mistakes first-time travelers make:

Book Accommodation Near the City Center

While it may be tempting to book accommodation outside the center to budget your expenses, you may want to rethink your decision.

Staying in or near the center will save you a lot of time commuting. You can use that time to sightsee and have more time in the day to enjoy all the perks being in London gives you. Not to mention that the cost of commuting can add up. In the end, you may spend more money by trying to save this way.

Avoid Going in Peak Season

London is one of the most beautiful cities in the UK, so when millions of people decide to visit, it can get pretty busy.

July and August are the busiest months of the year to visit. If you’re from the US, we recommend choosing a date that falls on Spring Break. Most European schools are open during the US spring break, and London will be less crowded.

Take Your Time

If you're visiting London for the first time, it may be tempting to plan your itinerary to include every attraction you've seen online. London is a huge city, so you must choose what to see if you’re only staying for a few days.

We recommend at least four days to see most of the main attractions and get to know the city. Pick a couple of main attractions to visit each day, so you don’t get overwhelmed or rushed trying to see everything. Leave some time in your schedule to wind down and explore the city without a plan.

Check Out the Free Attractions

Galleries and museums:

Many museums in London, such as the British Museum, National Gallery, Science Museum, and Museum of London, are free for all visitors and are fun and educational places.

Parks and Gardens:

If the weather allows it, you can also visit many of London’s gardens and parks if you need time to relax from the city’s fast pace. Some of our favorites are the Kyoto Garden and the Chelsea Physic Garden.

Markets:

London markets are unique and beautiful to visit at any time of the year, especially during the Christmas season. London's Christmas markets win first place for many people if it comes to deciding on London vs. New York for Christmas. That says a lot, considering both places will give you a magical, once-in-a-lifetime experience and atmosphere.

Book in Advance

Booking in advance is the best advice for every part of your trip, from the flight to the accommodations and tickets for the London attractions.

You will save money this way. Most of the time, you can get better ticket prices if you book in advance and online for places such as the London Eye, the Tower of London, or Madame Tussauds.

Use Public Transport

London has a well-developed public transport system, so you won’t have trouble commuting through the city. One of the quickest ways to get around is by using the London Metro. You can either grab an Oyster Card or swipe your credit card. The system is easy to use. You can also use the train network to visit some of the places near London.

Buy the London Pass

One of the best ways to get your money’s worth is by buying the London Pass. The London pass gives you priority entrance to many London attractions, including London Bridge, London Zoo, and bus tours around the city.

This pass does not include some of the most popular attractions, like the London Eye. To avoid hours-long queues, choose to buy a fast-track ticket. These tickets let you skip the long line. They’re available for many popular attractions, like the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

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