Fresh, exciting and full of possibilities, who doesn’t love the thrill of new love?! And after visiting London, I’m telling you it’s possible to have a satisfying love affair with with this iconic city in just 3 days!
First things first, prepare yourself for a blow to your wallet. It’s just simply inevitable that you’ll be forking out that little bit of extra cash on transport and accommodation. But there are also plenty of exciting things to do and see for relatively little or no cost at all to make up for it! Be sure to make use of the tube, it gets you everywhere quickly and easily.
The city is always busy and bustling, full of multicultural crowds and plenty of tourists. You will find yourself marveling at every second turn as you gaze upon London’s awe-inspiring architecture with an astonishingly rich history! The city is a place you can really visit at any time of year, but is probably best during the warmer months for sunshine injection.
These are my absolute must-do’s for a short first time trip to London:
Big Ben and Houses of Parliament
Nothing quite screams ‘London’ to me like Big Ben does. The iconic landmark is the bell, clock and Elizabeth Tower that stands at the North end of the Houses of Parliament. After seeing countless images, actually standing before this impressive monument is simply surreal! And even better, the experience is cost free.
Right across from Big Ben is the famous Westminster Abbey. A beautiful English Gothic building, the Abbey is steeped in centuries long history involving the Royal family. Every monarch since William the Conqueror has been crowned here! Many royals are buried here as well as famous literary greats including Dickens, Hardy and Tennyson in the Poets Corner. Entry can be quite pricey, so if you really want to take a peek inside, go during service hours for a simple donation.
Home to the Queen of England, Buckingham Palace is a definite must-see! Whilst it can be somewhat underwhelming, it is still a classic English sight to behold. You’ll know the Queen is at home if the yellow, red and blue flag is flying. Either gaze upon the castle dating back to 1703 from its gates or opt for the two hour tour of the inside. If you’re visiting during May to July, be sure to catch the changing of the guard at 11:30am!
Just a short stroll past Parliament, in Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery holds pre-modern art. Enjoy free admission and feast your eyes on medieval religious paintings as well as the modern art of Monet, Cezanne and Renoir.
Stop by the London Eye at night to see this beautiful Ferris-Wheel all sparkling and lit up! If you’re wanting to splurge to get one of the best views of the entire city, take a ride during the day in the enclosed egg-shaped pods for 30 minutes.
Natural History Museum
This building is simply a true work of architectural perfection! Full of exhibitions on the animal kingdom (including dinosaurs), as well as what makes life possible on Earth, this museum is incredibly captivating! With free admission, you’ll easily while away a few hours here.
The oldest department store in London is a shopper’s dream come true. The majestic building is mesmirising to look at both for its exterior and colourfully decorated interior. With seven floors to explore, you can spend hours combing the stores. If you want some French flair, munch on a macaroon at Harrod’s very own Laduree!
On a sunny day, I could spend hours walking through this beautiful green oasis! As central London’s largest open space, this park also has a long history. Once a hunting ground during the time of Henry VIII, it was also a venue for duels, executions, horse racing and even a potato field.
Kensington Palace and gardens
More of a large, restrained yet elegant Manor, Kensington Palace has been home to royals for hundreds of years. It was most famous for housing Queen Victoria, Princess Margaret (sister of the current Queen) and Princess Diana. You can tour the interior and see the private apartments where the royals lived. Wander through the surrounding gardens that continue on from Hyde Park and see the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain.
Tower of London
If you’re going to spend money on admission to anything, the Tower of London is well worth it! A world heritages site, stepping into the Tower of London is literally stepping back into time. The Tower has a captivating history as the site of Anne Boleyn’s beheading and murder of Edward V and his brother. You can also see the Crown Jewels and the famous ravens that legend tells protect the Monarchy and White Tower. Designate at least two hours to exploring the site as there is so much to see! From the Tower, you also have a perfect view of London Bridge!
If you’re craving some contemporary art after the National Gallery, take a visit to Tate Modern. Just over the Millennium Bridge, the building itself is modern and eye-catching! Free admission is just another perk too.
Cool areas to visit:
- Notting Hill and Portobello Market
An area in West London, Notting Hill embodies coolness. Made famous after the Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts film of the same name, the houses are quirky and cafes, restaurants and boutiques abound! Be sure to visit Portobello Market, full of antiques on a Saturday.
- Camden and Camden Market
Take the metro to Camden and wander around its quirky streets full of pubs, live-music venues and boutiques. If you’ve got time, check out the famous Camden Market.
- Brick Lane
Finally head down to Brick Lane, an area famous for their curries and Indian cuisine!
A trip to England is simply not complete without visiting its famous capital. And if I was rich enough, the city is charming enough to make me consider living there! History and modernity collide once again in a way that makes London unforgettable.