Leitfaden für Anfänger in London
From iconic monuments perched on the banks of the Thames River to funky neighborhoods covered in street art to leafy, peaceful parks and one of Europe’s best dining scenes, London is a treasure chest for first-time visitors.
Thanks to the sheer number of attractions, it can feel a bit overwhelming to ensure you're making the most of your London debut. Here’s a selection of must-sees that represent every facet of the capital, from food and fashion to art and architecture.
Say hello to London’s icons
You’ll be waving for a while.
You’re likely to feel a shiver down your spine as you gaze up at the towering Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (officially known as the Elizabeth Tower), arguably one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. You can head inside the political powerhouse on a guided tour, many of which combine it with a visit to Westminster Abbey—the grandiose location of not just one or two, but 17 royal weddings.
Watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony
Soak up the grandeur of Buckingham Palace.
There are few other places in the world where you can witness a Changing of the Guard ceremony as elaborate as the one that takes place outside of London’s royal residence each day. Combine it with a tour of the top sights, or if you’re visiting for the two months of the year the palace is open to the public, get exclusive access to the former home of the late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Feast your senses on Soho
Explore London’s bustling cultural labyrinth.
No visit to London is complete without circumnavigating Soho, a maze-like enclave in central just off the famous Oxford Street shopping hub. Avoid getting lost by taking a walking tour of the labyrinth (whose streets still disorient lifetime residents). Tours typically cover the bright-red lanterns of Chinatown; the dazzling billboards of Piccadilly Circus; the glittering theaters of the West End; and the Instagram-worthy adornments of Carnaby Street.
Travel back in time at the Tower of London
Tales of murder and mutiny await.
If you’re a history buff, you’ll be dying to delve into London’s ancient past at the Tower of London—home to the world-famous crown jewels and a gruesome, sordid history that dates back to 1066. Book ahead of time to guarantee entry to the incredibly popular attraction, taking advantage of tours that include a guide or early, skip-the-line access for insight into almost a millennium of history.
Discover the street art of Shoreditch
Explore the city’s capital of cool.
In London’s east end, Shoreditch has undergone a radical transformation over the past couple of decades. Now, the quirky enclave boasts a booming nightlife scene, an abundance of Michelin-starred restaurants, art galleries, and the city’s best street art.
Walking tours can help you locate the best of the graffiti, which is rarely indicated on maps, but usually found with a trusty local guide. Brick Lane is equally enticing, with its vintage shops and aromatic selection of Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants, hailed as some of the best in the world outside of Asia.
Meander London’s markets
You’ll find an eclectic mix of antiques, cheese, and Chinese food.
London’s markets are where the capital’s energy reaches its catharsis. In fact, they’re a big part of the city’s culture and specialize in everything from flowers (Columbia Road on a Sunday) to fashion (Spitalfields).
On all week are Camden Lock, famous for its sub-culture and music scene, and Borough Market, a wonderland of artisanal food. Be sure to sample British staples such as sausage rolls, Scotch eggs, and cheese.
Get your culture fix at the city’s museums
For history, art, science, and more.
With more than 200 museums registered in the capital—many of which are free—a museum visit (or several) is a must for first-time London visitors. The Science Museum is an ideal choice for families with kids, while the British Museum boasts 8 million artifacts from across the globe.
Art fans should head for the National Gallery, which features art from greats such as Da Vinci and Van Gogh inside a regal, beautiful building. Private tours help you better navigate the museums, skip long lines, and easily tick off those highlights.