London is a big bewildering place and often feels like one big winding road.  For newcomers, the prospect of knowing the capital can be discouraging.  There is so much to see and do in London, there is no possible way to include it all during a single visit. London has been in my life for over thirty years and I still find something new nearly every day.  It’s true.
 
I always say, experience the city and you’ll fall in love.  But, if you rush from tourist site to tourist site (then wait in long queue’s to get in), you’ll only frustrate yourself.
 
Here’s some advice on how to step right in and feel at home in the capital.
 
Take A Walk

To orientate yourself in London, use your feet.  Yes, take a long walk.  Take a lot of long walks. The tube map is very misleading, as the space between stations isn’t at all geographically accurate; use Transport for London‘s Walking Tube Map to discover how near or far the sights really are to each other.  Walking is the best way to learn London and almost every walk in any direction will lead you to something London special.

Walk The North Bank, Then The South Bank

Where to begin walking?  A stroll along the South Bank can be fun, it’s also overrun with tourists. Also try a walk along the North Bank, to orient yourself with many Central London landmarks. The route isn’t quite as pretty, nor bejewelled with so many cultural institutions as its southern counterpart, but there’s still plenty to see. Start at Westminster and take in the great plane trees of Embankment Gardens. The sights come thick and fast, with good views of the London Eye, Oxo Tower, Millennium Bridge and Tate Modern.  Take a wander around Somerset House. Thread in and out of the historic passageways on the edge of the City, and finish up by the Tower of London.

Learn Some Capital History

London’s vast history is a lot to remember!   The Museum of London is the best place to get an introduction to everything from Boudica to the Blitz.  Key exhibits include the Lord Mayor’s coach, a recreated Victorian street, a model of the Great Fire, London’s oldest map and the cauldron from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  It might also help you to learn a little British slang so you can impress us while you’re here.  You might even want to learn how to make a proper cup of tea, too!

Find A Big View

Maps, models and museums are one thing, but there’s no better way to get on top of the city than, well, getting on top of the city. London has many hills.  You can’t go wrong with the ‘big three’ tourist hills of Primrose Hill, Parliament Hill and Greenwich Park, but there are many others dotted around.  Combine a survey of the city with a restoring drink in one of London’s numerous rooftop bars. Try the Shard or The Walkie Talkie Building.

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