London for First-timers

Climb atop Nelson's Column's giant lion guardians for an iconic photo opportunity.

Where to Stay

Located in bustling commercial centre, the vibrant entertainment district of Soho, The Nadler Soho is an ideal base for a first-time visitor to London. 

An affordable, luxury boutique hotel, The Nadler offers elegant rooms and great facilities within close proximity to must-see landmarks like Oxford Street, The British Museum, the London Eye, River Thames, Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace. Cosmopolitan and eclectic the hotel reflects its surrounds, while offering an inviting retreat from Soho’s lively bar, restaurant, art and shopping scenes. 

Stay at The Nadler Soho with a great deal from Agoda.

Tube Stop: Tottenham Court Road or Oxford Circus

What to See and Do

Buckingham Palace

It does not matter if you are a royalist or republican, no trip to Great Britain is complete without visiting Buckingham Palace. Look out for the Royal Standard flag to confirm that the Queen is in residence, and time your visit to witness the iconic The Changing the Guard ceremony.  

Tube Stop: Victoria, St James Park or Green Park  

British Museum

Housing a permanent collection of more than eight million objects, the British Museum is regarded as one of the world’s most prolific museums. Do not miss the celebrated Roman and Greek art exhibitions and controversial items such as the Pantheon’s Elgin Marbles, Egyptian mummies and the Rosetta stone.

Tube Stop: Tottenham Court Road, Russell Square or Holborn 

Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is an unavoidable hotspot for first-time visitors to London. The junction swarms with crowds, sparkles with over-the-top neon advertising, and is great spot for people watching. Visit for a guaranteed sighting of a double-decker red bus and for a picture in front of the famous Shaftesbury Fountain.  

Tube Stop: Piccadilly Circus

Shakespeare’s Globe

Step back in time and explore the life and literature of England's national poet, William Shakespeare. In ode to the Bard, Shakespeare's Globe presents Shakespearean plays with respect of old conventions. Check the Globe’s event calendar while you are in town to catch a play in authentic recreated surrounds.  

Tube Stop: Blackfriars, Mansion House, London Bridge, Southwark, or St Paul's.  

South Bank 

London’s cultural heart, South Bank is a lively and interesting precinct which buzzes year-round with spectacular festivals and events. Walk the along the River Thames to witness firsthand, important structures like the London Dungeon, London Eye, Millennium Bridge, The Shard, and Tower Bridge.

Tube Stop: Waterloo or Southwark

Trafalgar Square

Built to commemorate Britain’s Battle of Trafalgar victory, Trafalgar Square is an imposing landmark of great nationalistic importance, which demonstrates the pride and splendour of the Commonwealth realm. Climb atop Nelson's Column's giant lion guardians for an iconic photo opportunity. 

Tube Stop: Charing Cross 

The West End

Outside New York’s Broadway, London’s West End is the most famous theatre precinct in the world. Home to 40 venues, West End hosts a range of shows, covering everything from musicals to classic plays to comedies. Make a night of it with dinner, a show and drinks in vibrant Soho.  

Tube Stop: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus

Whitehall Street 

Whitehall is one of the most important streets in the world. Its resplendent big stone buildings house United Kingdom and Commonwealth government offices such as the Horse Guards and the Number 10 Downing Street. The street culminates with Parliament Square and distinguished buildings like Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Supreme Court. 

Tube Stop: Charing Cross or Westminster 

Where to Eat and Drink

Right of Pub Passage  

Referred to in Charles Dickens' novel A Tale of Two Cities and boasting a history that dates back to 1538, the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is about as iconic a pub as the iconic English pub gets. The Fleet Street landmark is famous for its Victorian atmosphere and historic pub grub staples. Explore the pub’s baffling labyrinth of rooms and swill a pint in evocative surrounds. 

Tube Stop: Blackfriars, Chancery Lane or Temple

Gourmand Goods

The Borough Market is a London institution, famous for fresh organic produce and gourmet delights. Just a short distance from London Bridge, innovative providores aim to enrich the local community with viable, sustainable, independent, and quality foods. Explore the markets, chat to stallholders and discover new flavours.

Tube Stop: London Bridge, Borough or Monument 

Ethnic Epicureans

Amid trendy East London sits Brick Lane; a cobblestone stretch renowned as Indian homeland. Eateries dot the thoroughfare, selling snacks, delicacies and sit-down meals of countless Asian persuasions. Barter with local restaurateurs, sample a variety of curries and soak up the street’s unique character. 

Tube Stop: Aldgate East, Aldgate or Liverpool

Celebrity Chef

Two of the United Kingdom’s most notable chefs, Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver have lent their name to a collection of restaurants in London. Experience the renowned chefs’ signature dishes firsthand; Oliver's much-publicised Fifteen can be found in Islington, while Ramsay’s touted Restaurant Gordon Ramsay sits amid Chelsea exclusive surrounds. 

Tube Stop: Fifteen  Old Street. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay  Sloane Square. 

Branson’s Best 

Situated 100 feet above London’s Kensington High Street, overlooking an acre and a half of rooftop gardens, Babylon offers one London’s most spectacular dining settings. Owned by Sir Richard Branson, the restaurant is a favourite amongst high-flyers and well-dressed foodies. Book a table to enjoy a menu of British favourites. 

Tube Stop: High Street Kensington

Where to Shop

To Market  

The world-famous Portobello Road Markets attracts thousands of visitors every Monday through to Saturday. Its southern end concentrates on antiques and bric-a-brac, the middle is dedicated to fine foods and street eats, while the northern end specialises in second hand, vintage and retro fashions. Walk the market’s length and soak up its vibrant atmosphere. 

Tube Stop: Notting Hill Gate

Retail Heartland 

One of the most famous shopping streets in the world, Oxford Street is a hive of retail activity. Featuring more than 300 shops, the Union Jack flag lined street is constantly abuzz with fashion devotees and fashion editors alike.  Peruse landmark stores like Selfridges and Top Shop (the largest fashion store in the world). 

Tube Stop: Oxford Circus or Bond Street

Hipster Haven 

East London’s hipster hub, Shoreditch boasts an exciting cutting-edge retail scene. Home to the world’s first pop-up mall, Boxpark, plus a high street populated with eclectic retailers and eateries, Shoreditch is a one-of-a-kind shopping destination. Shop the suburb’s famous smattering of thrift stores for unique buys.  

Tube Stop: Shoreditch High Street

Alternative Universe

Widely-reputed as the birthplace of Punk, Camden Town is London’s centre of alternative culture. Proudly declaring the area’s identity, six open-air markets hawk everything from vintage to futuristic fashion and quirky antiques. Dress like the locals do, shop for goth, cyber and punk fashions at Camden Stables and Camden Loch.  

Tube Stop: Camden Town

Luxury Epitomised 

Stretching across seven floors and 330 departments, Harrods astonishes and intrigues shoppers of all tastes. Selling everything from haute couture to pet accessories, and an unmatched selection of international brands, the iconic department store is touted to be the best in the world. Dedicate a day to experience all the super store has to offer. 

Tube Stop: Knightsbridge

How to Get There

Together with partner airline Etihad Airways, Virgin Australia operates flights to London, via Abu Dhabi, from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.  

Words by Alice Nash - Published 13 January 2014
Quick Facts 
Population Approx. 8 million
Area 1,572 km²
Time Zone GMT 0
Languages English (official)
Currency Pound (£GBP)
Electricity 230V with 50Hz frequency. 240V may also be found although 230V is the official voltage
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