London is hands down one of our favourite cities for the history, charm, style, friendly people and even the food. It’s a city that warrants multiple visits because let’s face it, you won’t get to see every site, monument and museum in between shopping, tea drinking, theater shows, spa visits, oh and more shopping. So, if it’s your first time visiting London Town, we’ve picked our top six must-see sites that you can squeeze in between everything else. They may seem obvious, but trust us, you don’t want to be that person who has been to London but never taken a picture of Buckingham Palace. There are a slew of other sites to see, but these are perfect for a first time trip in London.
1. Buckingham Palace
It’s where the Queen calls home, so that’s enough for us to want to get as close to it as possible. But it’s also so entrenched in British history and tradition, it’s at the top of the must-see list. During the summer months, you can even get a tour inside the palace walls — just beware of the long lines to buy tickets. If you’re not up for standing in line, just being near the grand palace and watching the guards change (usually every second day at 11:30), or getting close to the Queen Victoria monument should suffice. Also a must — since your close by — stroll through Green Park, a gorgeous tree-lined park with benches and lots of grassy spots (and lounging chairs in the summer).
2. Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey has been steeped in royal history for the past 700 years. Kings and Queens are buried within the floors and in tombs, along with notable poets, writers, political figures, actors, lords and ladies. It’s where the royal family still attends mass on Sundays and is the site of coronations, Princess Diana’s funeral and some royal weddings. The architecture is stunning and you can roam around the abbey for about £15.00.
3. Piccadilly Circus
London is full of bustling city squares that are always packed full of people, cars, taxis and tour buses thanks to it being the junction of 5 busy streets. Piccadilly might just be one of the busiest squares, and it’s sort of the equivalent to New York’s Times Square with huge billboard ads (the most notable being the huge Sanyo and Foster’s ads). It’s also a must-stop just to take a picture and capture the hustle of vibrancy of the city.
4. Oxford Circus
Step outside of the Oxford Circus tube station and you’ll be in the mecca of shopping in London. The corner of Oxford Street and Regent Street is always bustling with Londoners toting bags and bags of clothes, shoe and accessories. That’s because just about every British staple as far as stores goes is right here in this spot. From Topshop and super trendy and cheap Primark, to Debenhams and John Lewis department stores, if you don’t leave this part of London without a purchase or two, you can at least leave with the fact that you visited one of London’s busiest and most lively intersections.
5. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
Just a quick stroll up the street from Westminster are the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. It simply a must for the photo opt. Walk across the bridge and get snapped in front of the iconic building that is the focus of many London postcards.
6. Trafalgar Square
One of our favourite spots in London is this square. Named after the most famous naval officer for the British Royal Navy, Lord Nelson and his epic win in the battle of Trafalgar during the Napoleonic Wars, the Square is an bustling, open space that is always filled with Londoners and tourists and situated right in the middle is Nelson’s column. It’s not as busy as Piccadilly Circus and there are plenty of coffee shops/cafes and shopping close by.
More sites to see:
- Covent Garden
- The Victoria & Albert Museum
- Abbey Road
- Carnaby Street
- Tower of London