Visiting London for the first time (Things to do) | England
Updated: Mar 18, 2019
Since London is one of the most vibrant cities in the world, there is always a reason to visit the city. No matter what you are interested in, there will be something for you. When I visit England for the first time in 2011, I have a short but great time observing and getting to know London. However, it is my second time there that I was like "Wow, there is so much very fun and amazing things to do here". In fact, you may find the hardest part of a London vacation is deciding what to see and what to miss out.
If you are a first timer to London, here is a list of MUST things to do to enjoy London the most.
1. Visit Wonder of the World
Do you know that "7 Wonder of the Year" list is changing every year? Some say, there is a different list for different era. OMG, I just know it. LOL. As far as I remember, Stonehenge was on the list. But I don't remember from which year. (I should be looking deeper into this).
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument consisting a ring of standing stone belief had been built between 2000BC-3000BC. It is a fantastic creation with the larger 25-ton stones transported from a quarry 18 miles away. How did the people back than transported these massive rocks? I can't imagine how.
Stonehenge is located well within a day trip from London. And there is a lot of tour package you can choose from. You can mix and match the tour to your liking. Like us, we choose to visit Roman Bath, Windsor Castle and Stonehenge on a day trip from London. It cost us around 60++ pound sterling.
2. Be at Greenwich Mean Time 00:00
Greenwich Mean Time(GMT) used as standard time in several countries especially in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth Country. GMT is a synonym to Coordinated Universal Time(UTC). The meridian line in Greenwich represents the Prime Meridian of the world, Longitude Zero (0° 0' 0"). Malaysia are 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. That why when we set up our phone or computer, we set it to GMT +8 or UTC +8.
When I say it like this, people gonna go "blah blah blah" But don't you amaze "like how can they create and think about it?"
Here, you gonna learn about the history of time, you can take a picture with a leg at each hemisphere, eastern and western at Royal Observatory. Other than that, you can explore the museum, monuments, memorials, statues and many more.
You can get here by Docklands Light Railway (DLR), river boat or train. Greenwich is just 20 minutes from central of London.
3. Eat Lobster
Staying at Paddington, it is so easy to find halal and delicious food. Subway and KFC at our road also halal so eating is not a problem here. Other than that, in this area, you can easily get cheap fish and chip and pizza. So in this list, I'm gonna put something little bit fancy for you to try.
As you know, Burger and Lobster (which is now in Genting Highland) origin is on a rooftop in London. This restaurant serve wild, live Atlantic lobsters, prime cut and aged beef burgers. For burgers, I'm not sure either it is halal or not, because most burgers unfortunately have a mix of beef & pork in the patty, so it may be a safer bet to stick to the seafood dishes at this restaurant.
After few days dining in Burger and Lobster, I'm still craving for lobster, so we had another round of lobster at Steak and Lobster Marble Arch. Lobster here is cheaper and it comes with unlimited salad and fries so, we sit and chit chatting longer here and our tummy is a lot fuller.
4. Be like royalty
Who doesn't admire British Royalty, either Prince Harry, Prince William, Princess Diana, Meghan Markle, Kate Middletown, or Queen Elizabeth herself. So why not visit where they live or party? There are two famous Castles that tourist always visit which is Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.
Windsor Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and the oldest in continuous occupation. And pssssttt: This is where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had their wedding. So by going there (yes you can enter the castle), you can daydream about being a royalty or royalty best friend.
From March - October the doors open to the public at 10.00am every day, including Sunday, and close at 5.15pm.
From November to February opening time is 10:00 am, closing 4.15pm. Last entrance is 90 minutes prior to closing time.
Changing of the guard happens between 11 am and 11.30am also adding to the morning rush.
The changing of the guard takes place daily at eleven o'clock in front of Buckingham Palace. The ceremony is accompanied by military band's music. The band usually plays a lot of traditional music – particularly when the ‘old’ and ‘new’ Guards are being led to the gates of Buckingham Palace – but they occasionally will branch out into some unexpected tunes. For example, it’s not uncommon for Michael Jackson or Games of Throne theme music to be heard!
5. Watch Theater
Calling all fans of Lion King. !
When you in London, you got to watch The Lion King theatre at Lyceum Theatre. This is the Walt Disney's long-running and multi-award winning musical The Lion King. Set against the majesty of the Serengeti Plains and to the evocative rhythms of Africa, Disney's The Lion King is unlike anything you have seen before in musical theatre, and it will redefine your expectations of what theatre can be. It is so emotional to watch the theatre in front of me. The show was truly magical. The whole experience was stunning - from the songs, the singing, dancing and the way the scenery moves and changes - incredible.
6. Picnic at the park
Since we stay in Tune Paddington, (oh I love this hotel and the location) there is a lot of park within our walking distance. Our favorite and most go to park is the Hyde Park. There is a lot of activities to do in this ginormous royal park in London such as picnic, cycling around the park, see Prince Albert and Princess Diana Memorial, see Peter Pan Statue and visit Kensington Palace.
7. Catch the Hogwarts Express at Platform 93/4
King’s Cross is where students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry catch the Hogwarts Express.
Harry and his friends get to the platform by dashing through a brick wall between platforms 9 and 10. Meanwhile, in the real King’s Cross, platforms 9 and 10 are separated by tracks, but you can find a platform 9¾ on the wall in the station concourse.
Look out for a luggage trolley embedded in the wall, and you can pretend you are off to start your magical school journey. The trolley is accessible at all hours, and you don’t have to pay to take your own photographs. You can have a professional photograph taken with a scarf in your house colours, which is then available for you to view and purchase inside the Harry Potter shop next door. The queues for the trolley can get busy during school holidays and festive periods.
8. Look at spectacular view of London City on Eye On London
The London Eye has become an iconic feature in the landscape of London. The London Eye is an achievement of engineering, a place of celebration and a great way to see the capital from a unique, high flying point of view.
Big Ben and The Parliament Buildings are just across the Thames from The London Eye and the view you get of these beautiful buildings is magnificent. Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, Hampton Court, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London are only a few of the landmarks you get a bird’s eye view of as the wheel moves round. And the lighting on top is superb for a selfie. A lot of people can't stop taking their photo because of this lighting. Hah.
9. Proof you're a big fan of football by visiting their Stadium !
I don't understand football but it is the game that every men watch and I just love the handsome player. Who doesn't ? (Wink wink)
On this trip, we went to Webley Stadium Tour. Why Wembley Stadium? Because it is the largest UK's sport and music venue. The tour take us deep into the heart of the stadium including the Dressing Rooms, the Press Conference Room, Players’ Tunnel, Pitch side and the iconic Royal Box.
10. Riding a London double decker bus ride
Riding London double-decker buses seem like a dream for me, but for Londoners, they're simply one of the ways to get around. Big, red double decker bus really a symbol of London to the tourist. Sitting on top of the deck gave the fun and the view is spectacular! You're gonna scream "Yeah! This is London!"
Credit card-sized plastic passes called Oyster cards give you lots of underground and bus rides for a cheap price. You can buy Oyster passes in London convenience stores or at tube stations. If you're staying for three or more days, buy a week pass Oyster card; it's worth it !
If you’re traveling with children, it can be really difficult to maneuver through the Tube stations with stroller because very few of them have elevators, and it’s the rare station that doesn’t have at least a few stairs. A bus, on the other hand, is easy to board without unloading your child, and has specifically marked sections where you can park your stroller while you ride.
Do you agree with me? Is there something I'm missing?
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