1 Day in London - An Itinerary

1 Day in London itinerary Skyline

You know, some folks rail against the ideas of must-do’s. If somewhere is on a must-do list, it must be avoided. It’ll be full of tourists, overpriced and tacky.

And this is sometimes true.

The flip side is that a must-do is generally a must-do for a reason. I mean, who goes to Cairo and doesn’t want to visit the pyramids? Or Australia’s red centre without dropping by “the rock”. Yes, must-do’s are probably going to be busy, but if you do your research and get your timing right, you can often skip the crowds, and enjoy the attraction to its fullest, revelling in its awesome.

Because generally, if there’s one thing that is true about a must-do sight, it’s going to blow your socks off.

Day in London itinerary skyline sunset

Let’s take a look at five of my favourite must-see sights in London, capital of the UK and a spot I was thrilled to call home for a couple of years before I set off on my travels. This post is set up to help you do all of these sights on a shorter trip to London, say one day, and I’ve ordered them in the way that I’d recommend you go about doing that.

A 1 Day London Itinerary

1. The Tower of London

History! If you like the TV show Game of Thrones (and who doesn’t?), then you’ll love the Tower of London. This place was home to so much plotting, scheming, death and betrayals that it almost makes George’s epic tale of Westeros seem pale in comparison. Queens, princes and archbishops died here, and history was literally made on the grass underfoot.

Admittedly, there are less dragons in London.

Expect to spend a least half a day here, exploring all there is to see, from the tower, to the execution block, to the crown jewels themselves. At the time of writing adult entry was in the region of £21, with full ticket pricing information here.

While you’re at the Tower of London, you might as well take the opportunity to pop across the Thames on Tower Bridge, easily the most famous of London’s bridges, and for good reason!

Tower bridge london

2. The South Bank and London Eye

Once you’ve crossed over Tower Bridge, you’ll find yourself on the South Bank, cunningly named because it’s on the south bank of the river Thames. As you walk west along this lovely bit of pedestrianized river way you’ll find yourself passing such sights as HMS Belfast and London’s City Hall.

You’ll also be walking past the recreation of Shakespeare’s famous Globe theatre, the Millennium Bridge which leads to St. Paul’s cathedral and the quite magnificent Tate Modern Art Gallery, all of which are likely to tempt you in. Go on, I won’t tell anyone.

Once you’ve made it past all these attractions, and maybe grabbed a bite to eat at Borough Market just behind London Bridge, you’ll find yourself coming around the corner, with the Houses of Parliament swinging into view and the giant Ferris wheel known as the London Eye looming large.

london eye crazy sky

If you want a spectacular view of London, take a spin in the wheel, and marvel as the city unfurls beneath you. Pricing and ticket information here.

3. The Houses of Parliament

Once you’ve done getting your dizzy on, you’ll want to pop across the river again to take in the Houses of Parliament, home to the English lawmakers and the bell known as Big Ben. This is one attraction that is easy to see from the outside, but not many people know that you can also drop inside if you want to, and go on a guided tour.

Tours aren’t quite “turn up and go in”, but with a bit of research (and by visiting this site) you should be able to visit the English home of power and authority without too much trouble.

If it is too much trouble though, fear not. The building is very impressive from the outside, and you can sate your thirst for history quite easily by popping to Westminster Abbey, which happens to be just behind the Houses of Parliament.

Westminster Abbey has played host to some of the most important historical events of the last thousand years in the UK, hosting 16 royal weddings, around 50 coronations and a host of memorial services, including that of Diana, Princess of Wales. It is also home to some of Britain’s most famous dead, including Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, notable royals, and many more. Very much worth a visit, even at a rather excessive £18 per adult at time of writing. Full details on pricing and opening hours here.

London skyline.png

4. Buckingham Palace

Ah, the Queen. Depending on you who you talk to in the UK, she’s either a lovely old dear who the country needs, or a tragic waste of tax payers’ money.

Whichever, she does happen to have a number of rather lovely houses to live in, the most famous of which is of course Buckingham Palace. Here you can peer through the railings to watch the changing of the guard and wonder as to how the other half live, and wave frantically at the windows on the off-chance that someone waves back.

You can also visit Buckingham Palace in very narrow windows of opening during the summer, with full details of pricing and opening hours available on this website.

Of course, whilst you’re at Buckingham Palace, you should probably take a moment to explore some of the other local attractions. A quick stroll down the Mall will take you past the pretty St James’s Park, home to a number of pelicans, and out onto Trafalgar Square, where you can enjoy seeing the lions, Nelson’s famous column and sate your art appetite at the excellent, and free, National Gallery.

5. Visit a decent London Pub

It’s not all hard work and sight-seeing, you know. When you’re in London, you really should take the time to experience a truly British experience – a pub. Enjoy a pint of something exotically named hand-pulled from a wooden handle, and marvel as to how the decor is likely not to have changed for a good couple of hundred years.

Some practicalities for your London visit

For the day as described above, getting around by foot is entirely feasible – contrary to public opinion, central London is perfectly walkable. If you’re not so into walking though, then London is very well served by public transport.

London buses.png

The cheapest way to use that is with an Oyster card, a pre-pay system which works out much cheaper than paying for tickets, and available at nearly every transport hub. Find out more here.

In terms of visiting attractions, a number of London sights are free, including some of the top museums. However, places like the Tower of London aren't free, and if you think you're going to be visiting a few sights, then you will likely be able to save money with a London Pass, giving you access to over 60 top attractions. Check our our full review and guide to the London Pass to see if it's for you.

Accommodation wise, London has a wide range of options, ranging from hostels offering budget-ish beds, through to properties of fairly mind-blowing budgetary proportions. Here are some more tips to get the best deal on your accommodation

Further Reading On London

We have plenty of further reading to help you plan your trip to London, both content we’ve created based on our experiences, and third party content we think you’ll find useful.

And that sums up our idea of the perfect one day in London! Have you visited London? What would your perfect day look like. Let us know in the comments below!

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1 comment :

  1. Thanks for helping out others to plan their trip. This information was quite useful. Ashish


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