What to do on your first time in London in 2023

It’s your first time in London, and you want some advice on planning your tripthis guide is just what you need!

first time in london

Instead of individual attractions like the British Museum or Buckingham Palace, we have compiled a list of five areas to visit. Everything is accessible by foot, perfect for enjoying a busy day to the fullest. 

A complete guide of London tips for first-timers!  

These places are among the 5 best places to stay in London. Whether in a hostel, hotel, or Airbnb – each area offers a slightly different experience and vibe.
While you explore the city, you might want to know where to leave your suitcase in London, especially if you stray a bit farther afield from your accommodation or have to check out early. This guide will provide you with helpful left luggage London tips too! 

See the sights of Westminster and ride the London Eye  

Westminster is the best area of the city to do some sightseeing in London, starting at the famous  Westminster Abbey. This historic cathedral was the site of numerous royal coronations, weddings,  and burials since the Norman Invasion of England in 1066. The abbey features impressive Gothic architecture, with soaring vaulted ceilings, intricate stone carvings, and stunning stained-glass windows. 

Today, it is a popular tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You really feel the weight of history as you wander the huge cathedral, it is definitely something you should plan to visit. 

The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament, is the seat of the UK  government. This building is beside the cathedral, on the north bank of the River Thames. It is home to the House of Commons and the House of Lords. 

It features impressive Gothic Revival architecture and the iconic clock tower known popularly as Big Ben. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist attraction, with guided tours available to visitors. 

Just across the river is The London Eye. This giant Ferris wheel is located on the South Bank of the River Thames. Standing at 135 meters tall, it is one of the tallest observation wheels in the world.
From there, visitors can enjoy some unique panoramic views of the city. You can spend time in one of the 32 pods to see the sprawling metropolis from high above central London.

Accommodation in this area of London can get expensive but tends to be of very high quality; it’s also the best area to stay if you want a hotel with a view of the River Thames. So if you have the money to spend, why not? You’re surrounded by some of the best attractions in the city, and all major transport links are nearby.

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🐣 Visiting London for Easter?

Check out our guide for the best things to do in London this Easter!
Including Easter Egg hunts for the kids, tasty themed afternoon teas and classic London Easter traditions.

Experience the glamour of the West End and see a  performance  

London’s West End is one of the city’s most iconic and vibrant areas, known for its theatre district, shopping, and entertainment. The West End is home to some of the world’s most famous theatres. It is known for its impressive range of musicals, plays, and shows. We recommend anyone visiting London for the first time to experience a show here.

The West End is also a shopper’s paradise! Oxford Street is London’s most famous shopping street, with over 300 stores, including Selfridges, John Lewis, and Topshop. Regent Street is home to some of the city’s most exclusive stores, including Liberty and Burberry. Carnaby Street, just off Regent Street, is great for independent shops and boutiques.

The West End is home to some of London’s most famous landmarks, including Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly  Circus, and Covent Garden. 

Trafalgar Square is great for taking pictures with the famous Nelson’s Column. Home to the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, it is known for its bright lights and iconic advertising billboards. Piccadilly Circus is a popular meeting spot for locals and tourists alike. Think of it as London’s answer to Times Square!

Covent Garden is a beautiful market and shopping area, with plenty of street performers and cafes amongst charming shops and restaurants. Some of the best restaurants in the city are found in Covent Garden and neighbouring Soho.
In the Chinatown district, you can find authentic, delicious, and affordable Chinese food in a picturesque setting.

Covent Garden or Soho can be loud, busy, and expensive to stay. We suggest instead opting for accommodation in the quieter West End areas, like the Marylebone district. Staying there will still give you easy access to the best that the area offers without the huge price tag.

Take in the atmosphere in Camden Town  

Camden Town is a vibrant and eclectic neighbourhood in North London, known for its alternative fashion, music, and food scene. This is a fantastic place to spend a day. You’ll certainly be kept entertained in this fun North London spot -expect nothing less than great bars, restaurants, markets, parks, and music venues! 

One of the top things to do in Camden Town is to visit its famous street markets. Camden Market is comprised of several smaller markets, making it fun to explore. It has everything from vintage clothing, jewellery, and arts and crafts to street food, international cuisine, and fresh produce! 

You’ll often see street performers playing music and dancing on the streets around the market.  The street art adorning the buildings contributes to the youthful, artistic vibe and adds plenty of colour to the town. 
The neighbourhood includes music venues, including the legendary Roundhouse, where you can catch performances by established and emerging artists. A popular nightclub open since the 1930s, The Electric Ballroom hosts live music events and club nights throughout the week.

If you’re looking for outdoor walks and green spaces, Camden Town has several parks and green spaces to explore. Primrose Hill offers stunning views of London’s skyline and is a popular spot for picnics and outdoor recreation.

Regent’s Park is home to the London Zoo. It offers a beautiful and tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is a great way to spend a few hours seeing wildlife, especially if you’re travelling with little ones. You can also have some great family time at Madame Tussaud’s on the other side of the park!

Whatever you decide to do in Camden, it is a great area to explore, and somewhere you must see on your visit to London.
Camden is also pretty near Euston train station and not too far from central London, making it a great place to book accommodation for international visitors at a slightly cheaper price than elsewhere in London. 

Enjoy authentic East London  

The neighbourhoods in East London provide some of the most authentic experiences in the city.  East London was historically the most working-class part of the city. This is reflected by the interesting, historic streets, charming pubs, and warm and friendly people. Indeed, East  Londoners, or “Cockneys”, are famous worldwide for their wit, cheer, and warmth. 

There are some great hidden gems around East London, with fantastic old pubs and family favourite cafés. At the same time, the immigrant communities in the area have also brought some fantastic Asian food, shops, and culture. There are also some really vibrant and hip places to visit and enjoy there. 

For tourists to London, it certainly offers a taste of the youth culture in the city. Brick Lane, for example, is one of the trendiest streets in the city. Here, you can shop for vintage clothing at the  Brick Lane Market and find handmade crafts and art at Backyard Market. You can also try various street food at Boiler House Food Hall and some of the famous South Asian cuisines in the area.

Shoreditch offers amazing bars and live music venues, such as the famous Old Street Records and Old Blue Last. Another cool neighbourhood is Whitechapel. This historic East London neighbourhood is just a short walk from Liverpool Street Station. While there, you can also enjoy the Whitechapel Gallery! 

And if you fancy history or spooky tales, do a Jack the Ripper walking tour. These tours will take you around the sites where London’s most famous killer murdered his victims! 

East London is also a great place to stay – it’s cheaper than somewhere more central and has lots of nightlife, great bars and delicious food places to try. 

Visit the Tower of London and the famous Tower Bridge  

The Tower of London is a historic castle located in east central London that dates back to the  11th century. Originally built as a fortress, the Tower has served many purposes over the centuries. This iconic London landmark was the scene of some of English history’s most important (and gruesome) events. 

It’s famous for its impressive architecture, including the White Tower, which is the oldest part of the fortress. The Tower of London is also home to the Crown Jewels. This collection of precious gems and crowns was used by British monarchs throughout history, and is now available to be viewed by tourists.

The Tower of London is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions and a must-visit symbol of the city’s rich history!
While at the Tower, you also have to visit the iconic Tower Bridge. The bridge was built in the late 19th century and is a stunning architectural combination of a suspension and a bascule bridge. The bridge features two towers that are connected by a high-level walkway. These offer panoramic views of the river and the surrounding area.
Tower Bridge is a functional and popular tourist attraction. It includes a museum and exhibition centre set in the bridge’s Victorian engine rooms.

The adjacent neighbourhood of Shadwell, offers nice river views and a quieter, cheaper place to find a place to stay. It is still very central, and the rest of London is easily accessible from there. 

Find cheap and secure luggage storage in London  

A proper list of things to do for your first London trip is essential. But so is knowing where to store your luggage in London. Avoid sticky situations thanks to London left luggage! 
There are many London luggage storage facilities available across the city, among which Nannybag. It’s the perfect way to figure out where to store your bags, and the best thing about it is how simple it is. Simply enter your location on the Nannybag app or website, select one of the left luggage facilities, book and drop off your luggage, and then enjoy the city unburdened!

Your bags will be safe and protected, and there’s free cancellation if your plans change.
So, if needs be, why not check out the Nannybag luggage storage service while in London? All the locations mentioned in this list are great places to stay as well as great places to leave your bags before you explore. 


Nannybag is a collaborative luggage storage network that enables business and leisure travellers to safely store luggage all around the world for a few hours or more. Working with local businesses, including shops, restaurants, and hotels, travellers can use the Nannybag website or app to book the left luggage service that suits them best and enjoy their stay 100% hands-free!