If you’re visiting London for the very first time, and you’ve only 48 hours in the extraordinary attraction-packed UK capital, then you’re going to need a little guidance as to what to fill your itinerary with – and what to (albeit, with reluctance) knock off it.
To be in the ‘Big Smoke’ for a mere two days and two nights isn’t long at all, like it or not, especially on a first trip but, should that be your visit’s remit, then so be it – and, in which case, these are the five attractions you’re best advised to try and squeeze in (please note; neither Buckingham Palace or the House of Parliament and Big Ben make the cut here, as you can only set foot in the former in the summer months and you can’t at all in the latter unless you know a UK resident who can arrange a visit of the building via their Member of Parliament)…
World-renowned as a vast repository of all human history and culture, it’s been open to the public since way back in the year 1759. Home to an extraordinary eight million-plus works of art and artefacts drawn from every corner of the planet, dating from the prehistoric age right up to modern times, it’s here you’ll be able to find awe-inspiring Egyptian mummies, the famous Rosetta Stone and the even more famous Elgin Marbles, friezes removed from Athens’ Parthenon – and where you’ll be able to find practically everything else too.
Effectively offering up visitors more than 900 years’ worth of history, thanks to its role down through the ages as a royal palace, a fortress, a prison, an execution site and now an exhibition site. The Tower’s pretty much London’s oldest building of true significant note, with its central White Tower essential for first-time-in-London-visitors, owing to it containing the UK’s Crown Jewels.
Just across the road from the Tower is, of course, the magnificently-realised paean to Victorian engineering that’s Tower Bridge. One of the most iconic constructions anywhere in the world, it crosses the River Thames, its raised walkways afford visitors a sublime view of so much of the city and plenty of picture-perfect selfie moments, at that. You can gain access to the walkways via buying a ticket to the fascinating Tower Bridge Exhibition or why not go the whole hog and attend a personal guided tour (lasting about an hour-and-an-half), so you can learn all the bridge’s history and the technical tidbits that make up its clever-clever inner workings.
The sight of multiple Royal weddings, state funerals and monarchical coronations, the Abbey’s a must-see for all its Gothic splendiferousness on the outside and its welter of history (so many resting places of so many legendary people; not least in the quiet ‘Poets’ Corner’ – and its audio guide’s a top tip for taking it all in. An age-old destination for visitors to the capital for many centuries since its construction around 700 years ago, its utterly central location makes it very each to reach from West End-sited Hyde Park accommodation, such as the Hyde Park International hotel.
Finally, no modern-day first-time visit to London’s complete without hopping into one of the pods of the London Eye (located on the fabulous family-friendly tourist trap that’s the South Bank) and revolving for around an hour before you’re plonked back on terra firma having been given a supreme opportunity to enjoy the ultimate panorama of one of the most famous cityscapes on Planet Earth. Basically, a giant Ferris wheel featuring 32 capsules, each of which is capable of holding up to 25 people, it’s possible to book a capsule for a large group or even an intimate occasion with that special someone – complete with Champagne and chocolates (a perfect accompaniment to indulging in one of those romantic best hotel deals London).