I went to London for the first time when I was 12. Years passed before I went back, but now I go to London each year on a two-day trip with my dad and still each year we discover something new. London just has so much to offer that it can be a bit overwhelming if you’re planning your first trip there. That’s why I thought I’d help you with these…
5 things to do in London
1. Camden Lock
My dad knew what he was doing when he took me to Camden Lock market the first time. I immediately loved it. All the little stands and shops, not to mention the food square with tastes from all over the world.
Camden Lock used to be the T.E. Dingwalls timber yard, but as transportation means evolved and the canals near Camden Lock were less and less used, it eventually shut down in 1971. Two years later the Camden Lock arts and crafts market was opened.
2. Madame Tussauds
Yes, it’s a typical thing to do, but anyone visiting London for the first time should go to Madame Tussauds (before spelled ‘Madame Tussaud’s’, but the apostrophe has been dropped). Although there are Madame Tussauds wax museums all over the world, the first one was opened in London on Baker Street in 1835. In 1884 the grandsons of the then already deceased Madame Tussaud moved the wax exhibition to Marylebone Road, where you can still find the museum today.
I visited Madame Tussauds on my first trip to London when I was twelve. The only evidence left is this photo with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Tip: buy your tickets online to skip the queue.
3. The Tower of London
The history of the Tower of London dates all the way back to the 1060’s. Since then a lot of rulers have transformed the building that was the scene of so many important events, like the execution of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII.
There’s so much to see at the Tower of London that it’s best if you research a bit what you definitely want to do once you get there. Are you interested in the history of the royal beasts? Or would you rather like to know more about the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers?
What I remember most of my visit to the Tower are the Crown Jewels and I would highly recommend fitting this exhibition in your schedule.
4. Covent Garden
Each time I visit London, and I’ve been there about 6 times now, I take the time to pass by Covent Garden. The Covent Garden neighborhood is great, with its many boutiques and interesting book stores, but Covent Garden itself really is the center of it all. Shops and market stands fill up the square while coffee houses and bars provide an opportunity to rest and soak up the atmosphere. The best thing about Covent Garden are the street artists. You see, not anyone can perform at Covent Garden. All street artists there have passed an audition, proving the quality of their act, but also passing a full risk and safety assessment.
5. Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace consists of a new guard exchanging duty with an old guard. The Guards at Buckingham Palace are called The Queen’s Guard and the handover of duty is usually accompanied by music from the Guards band. What’s fun is that they don’t only play traditional songs, but also sometimes pop songs or songs from famous musicals.
When the Guards are on duty they have to be absolutely still, which makes them an easy target for tourists taking all kinds of photos with them, or trying to make them laugh.
Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace takes place each day from May until July and on alternate days the rest of the year.
Sofie is a language lover and travel aficionada who combines a full-time job with freelance writing and blogging. She uses her weekends, vacation days and public holidays to travel the world and share her experiences with you on her blog Wonderful Wanderings. Be sure to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.