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I've never been to London

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Greatballs Tue 12-Dec-17 12:03:35


Following on from another thread today about living in London I noticed lots of people very passionate about the place. That doesn't seem to happen with other towns or areas so I'm intrigued to find out for myself what all the fuss is about.

Where should we visit? What should we do? I know it's a big place but what would you recommend for first-timers?

Thanks smile

Copperkettles Tue 12-Dec-17 12:05:58

The Tower of London
Regent street for the lights
The British Museum
Buckingham palace

I'm quite envious of you seeing it for the first time as an adult. It's amazing

Greatballs Tue 12-Dec-17 12:10:41


I read a thread about people who couldn't imagine living anywhere but London. It made me feel like I've missed something important growing up! 😁

Guessing we'll need a couple of days there.

BoogleMcGroogle Tue 12-Dec-17 12:10:43

The National Gallery (in Trafalgar Square)
Tate Modern and The Southbank (there might be a little Christmas market on when you go)

If you want to use the underground, work out what to do before you get there, as it can be very hectic in tube stations. Workers at the underground stations are generally courteous and helpful. You can use your contactless card at the barriers so no need to buy a ticket.

Have a lovely time! Don't be too disappointed if you feel you've not scratched the surface. London's great just to walk around and you can spend a lot of time getting from place to place.

Advicewouldbelovelyta Tue 12-Dec-17 12:11:50

I love London, we went there for our honeymoon. Stayed in St Pancras Renaissance hotel. Went to see 3 shows, my favourite was phantom. Went to Harrods and Tiffanys, madam tussuads, ripleys believe it or not, British museum.
The Christmas winter wonderland is amazing as well smile

SnarkyGorgon Tue 12-Dec-17 12:13:06

Natural history museum- one of my favourite buildings in the world

Advicewouldbelovelyta Tue 12-Dec-17 12:13:07

There's so much to do smile and we like to walk instead of tube

RestingGrinchFace Tue 12-Dec-17 12:14:03

Don't do the overly touristy stuff unless you do it in the dead of winter. Even then, that's not really London. The only touristy stuff I would stick to the art galleries (on cold, wet, weekdays), parks and, theatres.

Greatballs Tue 12-Dec-17 12:18:39

If you want to use the underground, work out what to do before you get there, as it can be very hectic in tube stations. Workers at the underground stations are generally courteous and helpful. You can use your contactless card at the barriers so no need to buy a ticket.

This is brilliant! The first time I used my contactless card the lady in the shop told me all about how it came from London where everyone is in a rush. I wondered what benefits it offered (set against the decreased security) but that makes perfect sense if you have a large number of people in a bottleneck.

DenPerry Tue 12-Dec-17 12:27:37

I went for the first time aged 25.. it just felt like anything could happen, the possibilities are endless, there is a buzz in the air, so many interesting people to look at, so many languages and accents to listen to, interesting buildings.. it feels like you are in the thick of it, where everyone wants to be. As a tourist I loved just travelling from tube to tube and popping out of the ground in a new area!
The people I know who live there though are trapped in this kind of inbetween where they don't want to leave, love living there but have become cynical, grumpy, fussy with high expectations.

EmpressOfTheSpartacusOceans Tue 12-Dec-17 12:30:47

Adults (16 & up) need a contactless card each on the tube / buses (London public transport doesn't take cash at all). Under 11s travel free & you can get discounts for 11-15 year olds.

The next most important thing to know about travelling by tube is that you need to stand on the right when using the escalators! The left side is for (usually) locals to run up & down, and people who block it will be asked to move very quickly.

There are big maps all over Central London & often walking short distances will be quicker than getting the tube - and more fun.

There's lots of helpful information here:

Greatballs Tue 12-Dec-17 12:42:00

Thanks! Sounds hectic...
I've got a 5 and 7 year old so probably won't do much underground-ing. Sounds stressful to do all day long grin

I'll look at these ideas and get planning. Feels like a military operation is in order. Is getting about really that much different to other cities? I've pottered about Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh without much hassle at all but I suppose London is busier. Sounds like we should leave the car at home too...

CrabappleCake Tue 12-Dec-17 12:42:14

Walk or get the bus to see more. Skip madame tussauds. I'd look up free things to do and avoid tourist stuff. Take the chance to eat food from all over the world. Walk around Whitehall!

IamPickleRick Tue 12-Dec-17 12:53:45

Agree that the tourist stuff isn't really London proper. Depends how much time you have really though.

Have a wander around Camden market (better at the weekends)
Ice skating at Somerset House
Whispering galley at St Paul's
Afternoon tea at Liberty
Soho and Carnaby Street - just have a wander round!
See some shows - don't bother with Madame Tussaud's, it really is so much money to look at nothing particular ly interesting.
I have a British Museum membership and it's amazing!
Walk by the Serpentine in Hyde Park
See something at the Albert Hall.

Lifelong Londoner and I still love it fsmile

Advicewouldbelovelyta Tue 12-Dec-17 12:53:51

I don't do the touristy things with my 2 los lol and most tubes aren't pushchair friendly

CMH123 Tue 12-Dec-17 12:54:18

Could anyone link to the original London thread please?

spidey66 Tue 12-Dec-17 12:54:48

If you like art and craft markets....Camden Lock, Covent Garden and Greenwich are all good.

IamPickleRick Tue 12-Dec-17 12:55:49

And I've taken my kids to all of those before anyone says they aren't kid friendly 😂

Get on the Clipper as well if you can. The kids love it!

Plexie Tue 12-Dec-17 13:00:23

What sort of things are you interested in?

From Trafalgar Square walk through Admiralty Arch and up the Mall towards Buckingham Palace (ideally when a state event or visit it due, because the Mall will be lined with flags). Wander back through St James park around the lake towards Whitehall and walk down to Parliament Square to see the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

London can seem hellish with crowds of tourists/commuters so it's important to know of a few quiet spaces to get some breathing space. Parks when it's drizzling (hardly any other people around). Pedestrian areas along the river (Victoria Gardens next to the Houses of Parliament; South Bank near Royal Festival Hall can be very busy, but it's a nice walk from there eastwards, past Tate Modern, Globe theatre and down to Tower Bridge; there's also a pedestrian path on the north bank from London Bridge towards Tower Hill which isn't as busy as the south bank path). You can check online when Tower Bridge is due to lift up (several times a week).

Views from bridges: Waterloo and London Bridge.

Walking through the City of London is interesting too - a mix of old and new. It's quieter at the weekend.

Loads of museums and galleries. Do you have any particular interests?

Helena17 Tue 12-Dec-17 13:01:59

The Tower of London, Buckingham palace, Regent street for the lights
Harrods, The British Museum. Lots more smile

BrieAndChilli Tue 12-Dec-17 13:04:50

I love London and my biggest regret is not living there for a year or two before we had kids.
We have a good friend who lives there so have visited many time over the years, the kids love London too.

I wouldn’t want to live there but I love visiting.

BrieAndChilli Tue 12-Dec-17 13:05:08

* live there with the kids

thecatfromjapan Tue 12-Dec-17 13:05:51

As Plexie asks, what are your particular interests?

Are you crafty? Someone who's into sewing? Or history? Or art? there may be a 'must visit' that relates to your particular interests.

Greatballs Tue 12-Dec-17 13:14:59

Ooh lots of replies!

To the people who asked about my interests it would have to be child friendly attractions really as they'll be coming too. Although... I am interested in geeky science stuff so the natural history museum would be up my street. Also, is the museum at Greenwich okay for children? I used to know somebody who went to school tgere and had the meridian line running through the playground - that fascinated primary school-aged me! I love ships too so if they are suitable for the children we'd probably make a beeline that way.

Greatballs Tue 12-Dec-17 13:17:33


It's gone a bit wild though...

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