Visiting London for the first time? Lucky you – you can experience one of the coolest cities in Europe with fresh eyes. But knowing where to go and how to maximise your time takes serious consideration. To ease the pressure, we’ve created the ultimate three day itinerary for your first stay at the Park Grand hotels, London.
Start your trip to London by ticking off a couple of the major tourist attractions.
Head to Parliament Square where you will see important political and religious landmarks. Those staying at hotels near Lancaster Gate can walk here via Hyde Park, culminating with the Palace of Westminster, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey. You can purchase a ticket to visit the interior of the church that provides the setting for royal occasions such as coronations, weddings, and memorials.
Stand on Westminster Bridge for a beautiful panorama of the UK parliament building then stroll along Whitehall. You will pass the Churchill War Rooms, Horse Guards Parade, 10 Downing Street, Great Scotland Yard, and the Women of World War II monument.
Whitehall ends at Trafalgar Square where you can admire the fountains, lion statues, and Nelson’s Column. If you’re passionate about art, do pop into the National Gallery. This impressive museum exhibits work by European masters such as Van Gogh, Monet, and da Vinci.
Leaving Trafalgar Square you can venture into the buzzing Covent Garden and browse the boutiques and market stalls in the old apple market. There are ample places here to grab a light meal, coffee, or scoop of ice cream.
The London Transport Museum is a fascinating journey through the history of the “tube” as well as London’s signature red double-decker buses.
Wrap up your day with a happy hour drink in Covent Garden or the nearby Soho Square before heading back for a scrumptious dinner at the Park Grand restaurant.
Rise early and ride the London Underground to the City of London. The Walkie Talkie skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch Street is topped by a botanical garden and observation deck that provides one of the best city views. You will need to book a slot in advance to access the Sky Garden but it is free. Snap up the earliest time – usually, 10 am – to avoid the queues that form later in the day and soak up mesmerising views of the city streets.
Cross the street and take a stroll around Leadenhall Market. This covered market contains bakeries, bars, and salons but the main purpose of visiting is to ogle the architecture. Pick up a pastry and a coffee and then continue onwards to your next destination.
Postman’s Park is a serene little patch of green space named for the local post office workers who would lunch here. The park contains a touching memorial to those who sacrificed their lives to save others.
Right around the corner from Postman’s Park, you will find the Museum of London. This free museum details the history of the English capital from the Roman invasion through to the modern day. You will learn about how such catastrophes as the Great Fire and the Plague reaped havoc on the city.
This museum is interactive and perfect for kids and adults alike.
Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, St Paul’s Cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of London. You can visit the interiors and climb to the Whispering Gallery before culminating at the upper terrace for another wonderful view of the city. Otherwise, you can admire the church from the ground before commencing.
Cross the River Thames using the pedestrian-only Millennium Bridge. This structure grants terrific photo opportunities of the cathedral, river, and Tate Modern. If you wish to contrast yesterday’s gallery with modern art – factor in time to tour this free gallery.
When you are ready you can indulge your inner foodie with a meal at Borough Market. London’s number one food destination presents a range of stalls as well as restaurants and bars if you feel like having a formal sit-down meal.
Borough Market is sited at the base of the Shard and you can venture down to the riverbank for an eyeful of the tallest building in the UK. Instead of visiting the free observation deck at Sky Garden, you might consider paying to access the View from the Shard.
Set aside time in the morning to swing by one of London’s shopping districts. It’s up to you whether you treat your loved ones back at home or splash out on items for yourself! London’s shopping areas are rather diverse so you will need to make a decision. These are our recommendations for where to shop near the Park Grand hotels, London.
- Oxford Street: We all know the name of this street and it comes out as the most popular place to shop in London. You can browse high street fashion boutiques, perfume shops, and the Selfridges department store.
- Fortnum & Mason: There’s no finer place to purchase tea and associated cutlery or food-filled hampers.
- Harrods: Prices at this luxury department store are steep so only shop here if you are not constrained by budget. Otherwise, we do encourage travellers who visit London during December to pay a visit purely for the spectacle of the festive window installations.
Once you wrap up your shopping trip, you can fill your final afternoon with a bang! Drop off your purchases and refuel with lunch at your London hotel restaurant.
Depending on your personal interests, these are our top recommendations for things to do in London on your first visit.
- Hampstead Heath: This sprawl of green meadows, woodlands, and bathing ponds is perfect for adventurous souls who cherish nature. Visit the Hill Garden and Pergola for photography or Parliament Hill for the best views.
- Fulham High Street: Experience local life in this leafy residential district. The high street is lined with coffee shops and independent boutiques. You can also wander along the riverside.
- Tower of London: Satisfy your thirst for history at the fortress, prison, and execution ground that houses the Crown Jewels and is guarded by friendly Beefeaters.