London is a city that’s made up of lots of small “villages”, each one with its own character and feel. If this is your first visit to London, you’ll want to make sure you cover the main areas like the Palaces & Government neighbourhood (marked in orange on the map), the shopping neighbourhood (marked in red on the map), ancient London (marked in brown) and Museum Land (marked in yellow). There’s more than enough here for a typical first-time visit of London that lasts 4 or 5 days and these neighbourhoods combine history, culture, shopping, nightlife and arts.
colour guide to London neighbourhoods:
Orange Neighbourhood – Palaces & Government
This is the Buckingham Palace neighborhood of London, marked in orange on the map. This is where you’ll find Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Winston Churchill War Rooms, Household Cavalry Museum and more! Its a really exciting place to visit, perfect for all ages, and is probably the most unique experience you can have whilst visiting London.
Red Neighbourhood’s – Shopping, Cafe’s, Theatre
The areas marked red on the map comprise the main shopping areas of London. The West End shopping district is where you’ll find major brands and most of the large department stores. It includes Oxford Street, Regents Street and Piccadilly and is the perfect place to get low to medium priced items.
Next to the West End shopping district lies Soho (also marked red on the map). Here you’ll find lots of smaller, little boutique shops, local pubs and restaurants. Its a really fun place to explore, with lots of tiny windy streets and allyways. One of the most famous parts of Soho is the Carnaby neighbourhood, which is where you’ll find a lot of British stores.
To the right of Soho on the map lies the neighbourhood of Covent Garden. The main square in Covent Garden is packed full of market stalls and small shops, perfect for buying gifts. In the streets that branch out from the main square you’ll find lots of theatres. Covent Garden is London’s theatre district, and is the best place to see a musical or a play.
Brown Neighbourhood – City of London
London’s financial and commercial hub is also the oldest part of the city and a great place to explore. The City of London is home to lots of ancient narrow streets, and hallmark landmarks like the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Monument and more!
Yellow Neighbourhood – Museums
The small yellow neighbourhood on the map is the museum district, where you’ll find 3 world class museums right next to eachother … all with free entrance! Discover The Natural History Museum, The Science Museum and The Victoria & Albert Museum!
Blue Neighbourhood – 21st Century London
On the south bank of the River Thames lies the Southbank Neighbourhood. A large part of this neighbourhood was destroyed during WWII and has since been completely rebuilt. You’ll find a lot of modern day attractions like the London Eye, Tate Modern Museum, London Aquarium & Imperial War Museum alongside the London Dungeon & Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
London is well known for its green spaces, the most popular two being Hyde Park & Regents Park. This is where you’ll also find London Zoo and Kensington Gardens, two of the capital’s most popular sites.
If you’re visiting London for over 4 or 5 days, you might want to explore some of the capital’s more up and coming and trendier neighbourhood’s like Camden, Shoreditch and Notting Hill (marked in pink on the map). These will give you a true flavour of “authentic” London, with their colorful and vibrant markets filled will local people. There are other areas which are located outside of central London (the large grey zone on the map) which are well worth a visit such as Greenwich or Hampstead.