Welcome To 24 Hours in London For First Timers – Top Rated Activities
The city of London in the United Kingdom is a bustling city full of history and culture around every corner. Let me start out by saying I KNOW London is a huge and beautiful city, not at all able to be fully appreciated in only 24 hours! But, some of us travelers are on a time crunch and have to make-do with the small amount of time we have (or our lay-over allows for!) If 24 hours in London as a first time visitor is all you can spare but you don’t want to miss the opportunity to get the most out of your limited time there, you’re in the right place!
When Mr. Penny and I had the option to spend a 6 hour layover during a long international flight in the Copenhagen airport (AGAIN), or take advantage of a long layover in London; we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to add a stop in the UK’s beautiful city at no additional flight cost to us. We made the most of our 24 hours in London as first timers and had an absolute blast. Don’t miss out on the top rated activities for first timers in London, the best foods to try, or the essential ways to prepare with our latest travel guide: 24 Hours in London for First Timers!
Plan Transportation Ahead of Time
If you’re working with a limited amount of time to spend in London as a first timer, don’t waste moments trying to figure out transportation. Dive right in to the top-rated activities by planning ahead for transport!
Whether you’re taking the train in or arriving at the airport, don’t get caught waiting around for your ride! We personally flew in so we used a taxi and terribly overpaid for a ride from the airport. Book a private transfer ahead of time with a private company, prices start at just £55. Reserve Here!
Book a hotel/room that is easy to access
With only 24 hours in London for first timers, you will need a lot of time to travel back and forth to the place you’re staying between activities. So be sure to book a hotel or room that’s easily assessable or walkable to the destinations you want to visit! Don’t waste time traveling any more than you have too!
You can find a relatively cheap room (as cheap as London can go, lets be honest this city is EXPENSIVE), even in Westminster if you plan and book ahead! We booked a full year in advance to get the best rate.
Prepare for Inclement Weather
If there’s one thing all London natives know, it’s how dreary the weather can be. Don’t be the tourist that gets caught in the rain without preparation and ends up paying £30 for an umbrella. Yes we did this, not our finest expenditure but it was 100% necessary on the day we were there! Bring rain coats, closed toed shoes, and an UMBRELLA!
24 Hours in London for First Timers? Visit The Big Ben Clock Tower
When it comes to top rated activities for first time visitors in London, you can’t miss touring Big Ben! Located right in the center of Westminster, Big Ben (truly named Elizabeth Tower) is hard to miss; but still a must see when visiting even for a short period. Take the narrow stairwell through the great clock to see where the bell, Big Ben, hangs. It was unfortunately under construction while we toured, but miraculous none-the-less!
Tour Westminster Abbey
You are in Westminster, after all! One of our top rated activities as a first timer in London was the Westminster Abbey. The gothic architecture is absolutely stunning, and the full tour is only about 2 hours; leaving plenty of time to soak in the history AND have time to do other things during your trip! Definitely don’t miss out on this one!
Tour the Tower of London & the Tower Bridge
At just a little over £30 to enter, the Tower of London (which is conveniently located just in front of the tower bridge, think two birds one stone), is a top rated activity in London for first timers: even during a quick 24 hour stay. One of the oldest intact buildings in the city, there’s so much history here. You don’t need to book the guided tour, but there’s a lot to soak in so it’s definitely helpful!
24 Hours in London for First Timers – Be Sure to Take in the Views on the London Eye
If you’re only working with 24 hours in London as a first time visitor, the London eye (or the cities largest enclosed Ferris wheel) is a fantastic way to get the best views of the city in a time crunch! The panoramic views of the entire city is a vacationers dream come true. We took advantage of the opportunity to get out of the rain and get some of the best views you can get in London! With only a 30 minute ride time, it was a quick activity but definitely one of our top rated activities in London as a first time visitor!
Book a Walking Tour
With only a 1.5 hour allotted time, this Walking Tour is a great way to venture into the forgotten, overlooked and sometimes mysterious and macabre past of London on this Hidden London Walking Tour. This journey takes in a medieval crypt, the punishment cell of the Knights Templar, a church that shows scars from World War II, and the location of a long-lost Underground station. More tour options below:
Great Tour Options for 24 Hours in London for First Timers:
- London Eye Entry Ticket
- Tour Westminster Abbey
- Tower Bridge & Tower of London Tour
- Westminster Abbey, Big Ben & Buckingham Palace Tour
Book the best top rated activities in London for first timers through the above links for a GREAT rate!
Have a Guiness in a Local Pub
In true UK fashion, have a Guinness at a local pub and enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life. Like any large city, London is alive with culture. There’s no better way to soak it in than at the local pub!
Visit the Borough Market
The borough market is the oldest food market in London, over 1000 years old, and is such a unique experience. Filled with street food vendors and various small shops and places to dine/drink, there is absolutely no better way to get your fill of London and its culture! It’s easy to spend hours within the market, so prepare by allotting the right amount of time to be there! Learn more about how to get there, their hours, and more on their website.
Take a Walk in the South Bank
If you have any extra time, you HAVE to walk through the south bank as you’re leaving the Borough market. Think street performers and English culture GALORE! Right along the river Thames, the south bank offers beautiful views of the major landmarks (Big Ben, Westminster Abby, etc.) as well as great food and beverage options! Be sure to bring an umbrella if the weather is less than ideal, but the food vendors will be open anyway!
There are so many tours we didn’t get a chance to do! Take your pick of other top rated activities in London for first time visitors below:
There are SO many regions of London, it’s a shame to narrow it down to just one like Westminster. But with only 24 hours in London to spare, there’s no better place to get a true feel for the city culture and soak it in as much as you can! Bonus points if you can hit it on an extended layover and save a TON in flight costs.
24 Hours in London For First Timers: Top Rated Activities Highlights & FAQS
- Plan ahead and book transportation to save time
- Book a hotel or Vrbo that is centrally located
- Book guided tours ahead to save money and plan for inclement weather
- Enjoy the rich history through tours of the major landmarks
- Soak up the culture at the local street markets!
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