This was my first trip to London and only my second trip outside of the US. The other trip was a trip to visit family living in Germany so I don't think it really counts as travel when you have someone who knows exactly where to go and can take you there. Anyway, wow! What an experience! The tube was easy, London was very walk able and our trip was great minus the cold I got in the middle of it. The weather even cooperated for the most part.
My favorite experiences:
Eating fish and chips from a neighborhood takeaway for lunch in a little urban park off the beaten path.
A day trip to Eastbourne to walk a small bit of the South Downs Way between Eastbourne and Beachy Head. The walk was much shorter than planned because I started coming down with a cold that morning and the weather was windy and misting rain (the only not so great weather we encountered). But the scenery was just lovely. I highly recommend this day trip if you like hiking/nature/the ocean/pastoral settings/small towns. This area has it all. It's an easy 1.5 hour train ride from Victoria station. Be flexible though. A signal problem at Eastbourne station occurred right before our train was to arrive and no trains were able to go in or out of the station for hours. We eventually had to take a replacement bus to another station and train hop back to London. It was kind of fun actually, or would have been if I hadn't been coming down with a stupid cold.
-Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace were worth it. Next time I will skip the more touristy stuff and visit parks and take hikes and take trips to small places outside of London. London is great but there is very little England there. It's very cosmopolitan and multi-cultural.
-The Tube is fantastic! We didn't have any trouble navigating. Don't let it intimidate you, just don't stand on the left and make sure you have your oyster card ready.
-The tea! I drink good loose leaf tea at home in the US so I was surprised that the tea was actually just a bit better even than what I'm use to.
I would totally do it all again except for the cold part. And yes, pack light, pack light, pack light!
I can't wait for our next trip abroad.