The First Time Visitor’s Guide To London

The First Time Visitor’s Guide To London

London is a pretty incredible city, and it draws visitors from all over the world- but with the city covering an area roughly 15 times the size of Paris, exploring it can be a daunting prospect.

Figuring out the best places to visit and the most incredible things to see can take longer than the actual holiday itself, and you’ll still have to master the complex and humongous public transport system when you get there.

Don’t let any of this put you off though- it’s a truly world class place. Take full advantage of the best London hotel deals and book a room in The Montcalm London City to come and find out for yourself!

Let’s take a look at some of the things you may need to know before you arrive- hopefully this guide will help you take away any stress you may be feeling about visiting such an amazing city.

How Many Days Do You Need to ‘Do London’ Properly?

Despite its gigantic size, and constant comparisons to Paris, London is actually a very easy to traverse city.

This is largely thanks to its incredible public transport system (more on that soon) and also thanks to the condensed city centre based around the Thames.

The Thames was a key part in the creation of London, so naturally all the most important bits tend to be within a stone’s throw of the river.

With that in mind, a long weekend would probably be ample time to explore all the major landmarks- although a week would arguably be better. There are people who have lived in London for years and are still discovering new adventures in the city.

Maybe multiple visits should be on the cards…

Public Transport

Now, onto the public transport network.

London’s network of trains, buses, taxis and boats spans the entire length and breadth of the city and is one of the most effective, and well used systems on the face of the earth.

The Underground, or ‘Tube’ as it’s known by locals, deals with more than 1.35 billion journeys a year alone- I’ll leave you to imagine what the total network deals with!

The Tube

The Tube

The Tube is by far the fastest, and easiest way to get from A to B in central London. The average wait time is around 3 minutes and there are a whopping 272 stations that are all conveniently located to get you where you need to go.

You should try and avoid the tube during rush hour, as it is inundated with Londoners racing to and from work, but at all other times the tube will be ideal.

Make sure you download the tube app, or check out a first timer’s guide to using the network- it can be complicated down there…



The London black cab is almost as iconic as many of the buildings in the city, and they can be a great way to get around if you’re in a pinch.

It is probably more expensive than some of the other ways to get around, but the cabbies themselves are worth the extra money- they have to pass a test to be a cab driver which involves them memorising 30,000 streets!

They’ll get you where you need to go!


London is a bike friendly city. There are bikes all over the city centre that simply require an app and a small payment to unlock, then you can ride to your heart’s content.

When you’re done, simply park up and lock it to one of the depots- and you’re good to go!

All of the major attractions can be reached by bike, and simply cycling along the Thames is a truly pleasurable experience in itself.


There is no better way to discover the true vibe of a new city than by walking its streets.

The smells, the sights, the sounds- London is alive and bustling and all the action can be found on its wonderful streets.

If it’s busy you may well be better off just wandering around than struggling with a packed method of public transport!

The Unmissables

Here are the key attractions and landmarks that everyone should see on their first trip to London.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham is the largest lived-in Royal palace in the world.

It is an architectural gem that attracts millions of visitors every year and you may be lucky enough to see the King himself!

You can tour the interior on select days, explore the stunning parks surrounding it, and watch the iconic Changing of the Guard ceremony outside the palace gates.

The Houses of Parliament & Big Ben

Big Ben

The Palace of Westminster is one of the most striking buildings in the city, and plays host to one of the longest surviving democracies on the planet.

On the north end of the Palace is the Elizabeth Tower where the giant bell ‘Big Ben’ is housed.

The London Eye

The London Eye

First installed as a temporary landmark, the London Eye is now one of the most visited places in the city.

You ride in a pod 135 metre above the Thames for stunning views of the city.

The Tower of London & Tower Bridge

The Tower of London is one of the city’s oldest buildings, and its long bloody history is on display at this incredible castle.

Just outside the Tower is Tower Bridge, one of the world’s finest examples of a bascule bridge and a stunning architectural marvel.

The Parks

London has the most green space of any city in Europe, and the many parks dotted around the city are truly wonderful to explore.

See the history of the city at the Royal Greenwich Park, track deer in the gigantic Richmond Park, explore the wild spaces of Hampstead Heath and go for a paddle in a row boat at Hyde Park. Each is as magnificent as the last.

The Museums

One of the many things London is famous for is its incredible museums.

The British Museum contains the most comprehensive collection of artefacts spanning the entire length of humanity, the Natural History Museum brings the ancient natural world to life and brings you face to face with the dinosaurs and the Science Museum lets you get hands on with experimental science.

Afternoon Tea After a Day Spent Exploring

So after you have spent the week exploring this stunning city you’ll be ready for another holiday!

Head back to the finest accommodation London City has to offer at the Montcalm at the Brewery, and enjoy a helping of the famous Montcalm afternoon tea now that’s relaxation.