First-Timer's Guide to London
First-Timer's Guide to London
My life long dream has always been to travel to London, and this month I finally got the opportunity to check that goal off my bucket list. As I was heading to my next destination with Norwegian Airlines, I stumbled upon their Spin the Globe magazine feature with Layla Nia. The LA based travel blogger provided the airline all her tips and tricks to get the best travel experience in Olso. I was inspired by the article and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to put my own spin on it about my dream country, England.
alright, let’s DISCUSS the uk
My landmark to tour in London
If you’re into Royal history, purchase a ticket to Westminster Abbey. You get a walking tour of the church and they provide a headset with a tablet to guide you through it.. As you walk and admire the gothic architecture, you’ll learn where important figures from the monarchy were buried and the story behind the tombs. William Shakespeare, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, and Stephen Hawking are some of the notable figures that were buried there as well.
Their gift shop was my personal favorite, I got myself a Queen Elizabeth pin which was only £2.
Fun fact: I collect pins from all over the world, specifically England.
After the tour, walk over to the ageless Buckingham Palace. My cousin and I were lucky enough to visit the palace on the day of the Changing of the Guards which was very exciting!
The best place for people watching
If you’re into street style, visit Soho.
I am more of a morning style spotter because I love analyzing how people start their day.
Get yourself a cappuccino and a pastry at Pret a Manger (it is way better and different than the American one), or at a local pub / coffee shop if that’s more your cup of tea. Sit by a window, and get ready to take a dive into British fashion while sipping on a delicious drink.
There are also plenty of shopping opportunities around the area, don’t forget to take advantage of them!
Where should you stay?
If you are planning a cross-country or quick solo trip, The YHA Hostel was amazing!
From the moment we walked in the staff was very welcoming and open to receiving questions about London. It is also very central and in great shape!
The sleeping situation was decent. They have two bunk beds and the two girls that stayed with me respected my space and did their own thing. My bed’s mattress was pretty comfortable which really helped my jet lag.
They provide WiFi (it actually worked!), and a little complimentary toast and coffee to get your day started in the lounge area!
Address: 14 Noel St, Soho, London W1F 8GJ, UK
Most people don’t know that
Big Ben tower is not the real name of the infamous bell tower. The Great Bell is actually what it is originally known as. The nickname derives from honorary Sir Benjamin Hall, a Welsh civil engineer and politician.
The Big Ben is under construction for the next two years, but it will still ring its bell on the Queen’s birthday, Remembrance Sunday, and New Years!
The best thing I ate
On my way to Abbey Road, I ate at a little Indian restaurant called The Rajdoot. My cousin and I had the best curry with mixed meats, lemon rice & chicken tikka malowa of our lives! The waiter and manager were super nice which was a major plus.
Address: 49 Paddington Street, Marylebone, London W1U 4HW, England
Don’t forget to try England’s classic fish and chips! I purchased mine at Westminster’s Blind Shades. Their decor was very colorful and aesthetically pleasing, great for photo ops.
Address: 45 St. Martin's Lane St. Martins Lane Hotel, London WC2N 4HX, England
Save time when you’re traveling by
Even though I prefer walking, buying a ticket to the hop on hop off red bus is a great option to get to know the city and spot where you would want to explore next! Some people might consider it touristy, and it is. However, I learned so much about the buildings, the architecture, and the country’s history that I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t get on the bus. They also have night and boat tours that are very informative!
My top tips to save pounds are
Explore on foot. Definitely walk as much as you can. You get to know the city more and submerge in the local community.
If you’re planning on utilizing public transportation, get yourself an Oyster card and not a single ticket.
Before exploring stop by Tesco to get yourself snacks to munge on. It’s their local little market, there’s plenty around London. You’ll avoid food breaks or overspend at restaurants.
Carry cash with you. The international fees are not worth it and that way you’ll know how much money you’re spending throughout the day. If you’re traveling to other European countries during your trip, keep in mind that England will most likely be the most expensive one.
i would like to thank my cousin diana for exploring this country with me and making my dream come true.
Any extra tips and to-dos you would like to add?
Leave them in the comments below!
Cheers and Safe Travels,