Visiting London once should be on the goal list of any traveler’s. If you are traveling to London for the first time, you are probably wondering how much time you need in London. You have to realise that London is huge and there is no way to see everything in just a few days or even a few weeks… So don’t come to London thinking that you can see it all in just one or two days. For first-time visitors I recommend to spend at least 3-4 days in London. This should give you sufficient time to get acquainted with the city, see the main landmarks, and visit a few attractions. Also, don’t try to see ‘everything’. This is simply not possible and will leave you tired and frustrated. Plan to visit no more than two or three bigger attractions every day and leave some time for unexpected discoveries.
Kew Gardens – officially called the Royal Botanic Gardens – is situated in southwest London on the south bank of the Thames and is a wonderful place to spend time as you enjoy the numerous plants grown amidst its 300-acres. Laid out in 1759, the gardens became government property in 1841. In 1897 Queen Victoria added Queen’s Cottage and the adjoining woodland. A variety of tours are available free with admission, and many musical and cultural events are held here throughout the year.
Soho has long been known as the base of London’s sex industry. The area is now the most popular nightlife spot although there are still some sex shops dotted here and there, giving Soho a delightfully risqu? vibe. Soho is often considered the center of the city’s LGBTQ* community with plenty of gay and lesbian bars to check out after the sun goes down. In addition to bars and clubs, Soho has a number of theaters, jazz bars and restaurants to explore, making it a cultural hotspot. Its close proximity to Leicester Square means it’s also a great place to go for a few drinks after a play or stage show. During the day, Soho loses none of its charm. Here you’ll find lots of music shops, small cafes and quaint bakeries. Stop for a coffee and pastry on Old Compton Street for perfect people-watching.
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There is a saying that goes thus, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. The same goes for the National Gallery. The gallery is in Trafalgar Square and is one of the unique popular attractions where art is at its finest. Collections in the gallery are from famous artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Johannes Vermeer, Claude Monet, and Michelangelo. The gallery often has visiting exhibitions of other famous artists. This gallery is very educational with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Cost: Entry to the National Gallery is free.
Hyde Park is situated in the heart of London and is known for its greenery, open spaces, and numerous monuments. It was opened to the public in 1637 and is the largest royal park in London. Bordering the south-west edge of the park is the Serpentine, a man-made lake. The lake flows to other parks and landmarks and is popularly used for boating and swimming (mostly by the Royal bloods). The Memorial Fountain for the late Princess of Wales (Diana), The Rose Garden, and Speakers’ Corner are also notable attractions.
The British Museum opened in 1753 and prides itself on remaining free ever since then. The British Museum houses more than an incredible 7 million objects, and it would probably take a week to see everything. Don’t be fooled into thinking the British Museum is full of artifacts from old England. No, in days gone by the English were incredible warriors and the British Museum is full of the treasures the soldiers brought back from distant shores. Those treasures include the Rosetta Stone, an Easter Island statue, and the earliest known image of Christ.