For a first timer visiting London, I would say pack a good pair of shoes. My first visit to London, England recently left me in awe of the scenery and my feet quite sore ( I made the fatal mistake to attempt to look cute versus practical). For anyone traveling to London on a short time frame, here are some suggestions to really let your eyes see what only books show you in a short 48 hours.
Most places within London are easy to get to and from the metro. I highly suggest upon starting your planning to get an Oyster card. It allows you to go to and from different sights over London.
First day (these are in order of location and how easily you can get to the next), start with Kensington Palace which is located a short walk to Buckingham Palace. Hyde Park and St. James Park are located between both Kensington and Buckingham palaces which allows for a scenic stroll. If the weather allows, head to the market and relax on the lawn of one of these parks for a nice picnic. If you want to opt for a cheaper option you do not have to tour the palaces (this tends to save you a nice €18 each) walking on the gardens is free. Upon my trip to Buckingham Palace there was a parade of military show. I would suggest looking into different events that could be seen while at each sight (high likelihood that some might be free).
On the way to Big Ben, stop to take a peek at Westminster Abbey. There are a lot of historical sights around this area so you can pretty much hit the major ones in one shot: Parliament building, Palace of Westminster, Westminster Bridge, and Big Ben.
After all this walking I headed over to a traditional English Tea. There are many cafe’s and five star hotels that make getting Tea an experience as glamorous as the Red Carpet at the Golden Globes. If you are searching for a more relaxed and laid back version on your stay, we are very similar in our taste! I found The Tea Terrace a great place to relax. They do not require a dress code or a reservation (most English Tea establishments require a reservation) and also provide visitors with a traditional afternoon tea to replenish you from your strolling.
(Yes I ate all of this by myself)
As you continue on throughout London, I highly suggest that you pick a few places for shopping. If you are anything like I am, this girl loves to shop! Brompton Road has some of the best shops both reasonably priced as well as some luxury brands that will keep you drooling (as well as calculating how long it would take to pay your credit cards if you max them out). One stop you must make is at Harrods Department Store. It is a luxury department store that has boutiques inside the store. Harrods Department Store within it’s 5 acre site (I said that right!). Don’t miss it even if you are just there to browse.
The second day in London you should visit Tower Bridge which is located near Tower of London. I highly suggest this sight considering the rich history that’s associated with it. I love the area around the Tower of London for the amazing views of the skyline.
By hitting this area you also have a chance to see the Crown jewels at the Tower of London. If you are checking off your “major location” list I would also suggest that you take a subway ride to Piccadilly Circus. Piccadilly Circus (not an actual circus. Sorry no clowns on peanuts is an actual circus) could best be described as the Times Square of London.
A short distance from the Tower of London is the Borough Market. Borough Market is a food market with different specialties from around the world. This is a great stop on your two day trip to really sample some of the best international foods.
If you are a huge museum goer I would suggest taking the afternoon to visit The British Museum or The National Gallery.
By breaking out the areas of London into neighborhoods it allows for you to see the maximum sights in a short period of time.