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Essential things to do on your first visit to London

London is one of the most iconic, vibrant and diverse cities to visit in the world. That’s why a first trip to England’s capital can seem both an exciting and 

daunting experience. But planning ahead will ensure you get the most out of your trip.Are you here to see the most important landmarks, immerse yourself in London’s fascinating history, indulge in the delights of its culinary excellence, enjoy a pint of beer in a pub, or check out the excitement of a Premier League football game?   

Royalty

The Royal family draw in millions of international visitors every year. Their philanthropic work at home and abroad has brought them global attention on top of the allure of the family’s history and heritage.

The late Princess Diana’s work is still fondly remembered, particularly given the high profile lives of her sons, the Princes William and Harry. That’s why many of London’s tourists make their way to Buckingham Palace. Look out for the Royal Standard flag flying – it means the Queen is home.

Sport

England may not have won the football World Cup since a famous victory against West Germany in 1966 at the now demolished Wembley stadium but its sporting heritage is still wonderfully captured in London. Not least, you’ve got the chance to experience the best soccer league in the world at the new stadiums of Arsenal and Tottenham.

The new Wembley stadium also hosts an eclectic mix of events throughout the year from sport to rock concerts. You can also check out where the 2012 Olympic Games were held at West Ham’s stadium, and experience the great game of cricket at Lords, the place where the professional sport began.

History

History in London is boldly captured in the array of world famous museums it has as well as within the city’s memorable sites such as in its groundbreaking architecture and the footprint left by its most famous inhabitants. Must-see historical sites include the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Tower Bridge, and Baker Street (made famous by Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective Sherlock Holmes).

There’s also the iconic Prince Charles the only independent cinema in the West End, and one that still shows around ten different films per week including special events with the stars and filmmakers themselves. The Hippodrome in Leicester Square, which first opened in 1900 as a theatre, is another. Today you can catch live stage shows like Magic Mike, have dinner at the Heliot Steak House, learn how to play casino games across five floors featuring poker, blackjack, roulette, electronic games and slots, or watch the latest sports events on the big screen in the lounge. 

There’s also some unforgettable museums to see such as the HMS Belfast, a floating museum which preserves the ship which fought during D-Day in 1944 and later during the Korean War. The Imperial War Museum nearby complements this experience while the Charles Dickens Museum, National Maritime, National History, and London Transport museums are all highly recommended.

Culture

Be prepared to walk a lot. If you’ve got energy in your legs, you’ll get the most out of your trip to London. And perhaps the best way to capture the city’s cultural heritage is to visit one of its world famous pubs such as the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese which has been standing at its site in Fleet Street since it was rebuilt following the Great Fire of London. There are riverside views at The Mayflower, Michelin-starred food at The Harwood Arms, or you try The George Inn which was a favourite of William Shakespeare.

Famous restaurants, great pubs, iconic sports teams, celebrity homes, and even must-see roads (The Beatles crossed Abbey Road in north west London for that famous photograph and album cover in 1969) in addition to the unforgettable history and culture you’ll experience. London is one of the most visited cities in the world because it has something for everyone.

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