As the child of an American mother and an English father raised in the United States, I was lucky enough to visit London regularly throughout my childhood. Ten years ago, I decided to make the leap across the pond permanent.
In the last decade, I have scouted London’s myriad museums and parks, visited its wide-ranging neighborhoods, and found my favorite restaurants and pubs. As Dr. Samuel Johnson once quipped, “The man who is tired of London is tired of life,” and I’m happy to report that, even after 10 years, I’ve never stopped discovering new corners of this vast and varied city. To help you navigate—and see the best of the city—here’s my itinerary for first-time London visitors.
London’s weather is temperate, but changeable—pack layers (and an umbrella).
If you only have time for one thing, see Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament.
London is home to dozens of landmarks and monuments and multiple UNESCO World Heritage sites—and many of them are conveniently clustered in central London. On a half-day London highlights walking tour, you can see everything from Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace to the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
In the afternoon, get a different view and travel by Thames: It’s a quick trip aboard a Thames Clipper (which accepts Oyster cards or contactless bank cards) to Greenwich to see the varied attractions of the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO site.
London is home to more than 170 museums, making it an essential destination for culture lovers. Begin an edifying day out at the British Museum, located in the Bloomsbury neighborhood of central London. Though it’s one of the capital's busiest museums, a private tour makes it easy to see everything from Egyptian mummies to Grecian marbles.