Thousands of kilometres and almost 8 million people, it’s hard to know where to start exploring a metropolis like London. If we look at it as a whole, the city seems noisy, loud and unfathomable. But when we break it down borough to borough, the real character shines through. So how do you see all the incredible landmarks that London has to offer, and get a taste of the culture of the cities burrows, and experience uniquely London things all in 24 hours? My first suggestion is to extend your stay and make your stay in London longer than just a day. Barring that change, here is a sample itinerary that will give you a good start on seeing the magic London has to offer in 24 hours.
Where to Stay in London:
Assuming you are arriving at Heathrow I'd try somewhere in South Kensington or Bloomsbury as both are on the direct Tube line from Heathrow. If you are arriving at Gatwick then somewhere in Victoria or the London Bridge area would be suitable. I personally prefer South Kensington because of its connectivity.
BREAKFAST: Here, you can choose from 2 options. Either start your day with the famed traditional English breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausages, fried bread, mushrooms, baked beans and coffee or do just as well grabbing pre-packaged fruit from a convenience store in a tube station or at a local grocery store and eating it on the way to your first site.
Must Visit : London Itinerary 2 Days
There’s nothing better than exploring London on foot. But since we are short on time, why not take the Original London Sightseeing Tour for a whistle-stop visit to all of London’s most famous landmarks? See double the sights in half the time. You can hop on and off wherever you like, at destinations including Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, Royal Albert Hall, Piccadilly Circus and the British Museum. The double-decker buses feature live tour guides and multi-language audio commentary while tickets also include a free 24 hour cruise on the River Thames and three complimentary guided walking tours.
LONDON EYE/ BIG BEN/ WESTMINSTER ABBEY:
The South Bank is my favourite walk in London. This route along the Thames river will take you past some of the city’s best sights: the Houses of Parliament, the afore-mentioned London Eye, the South Bank Centre, the Tate Modern, the Millennium Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Shard to mention but a few. It is best to start early as it gets very crowded later. The route will take somewhere between one to two hours. Unless you stop by The London Eye which is the most popular tourist attraction in London and with good reason if you’re only in London for a day, make sure you stop by. Please note one round takes approx 30 minutes.
It’s just a half-mile walk from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace, the official residence of British royalty. Admire Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Rubens and Vermeer paintings as you wander through the state room. Or, pretend you’ve been invited to one of the queen’s famous garden parties out on the luxurious grounds. Stick around until 11:15 to watch the Changing of the Guard.
Source: Flickr maurice
Take a 15 to 20 minute stroll from the palace through the St. James Park to Trafalgar Square. Here you can grab a sandwich at any number of cafes located on the roads shining out from Nelson’s Column or tucked into nearby alleys and bring it back to the square for a good round of people watching. Or, duck into the cafeteria at the National Gallery and observe the impressive and stately architecture while you dine. If you have time, you can also duck inside for a quick view of the paintings.
SHOPPING IN LONDON:
London is one of the best places in the world to shop. Head over to the heart of London shopping, bustling Oxford Street, which has more than 300 shops, designer outlets and landmark stores. Home to the legendary Selfridges, it also boasts a range of famous department stores such as John Lewis and Debenhams scattered among every well-known high street chain imaginable. Else, explore Covent Garden if you want hip fashion, unique gifts, rare sweets or one-off handmade jewellery. You can stock up on the latest urban street wear, funky cosmetics and shoes.
Catch the Underground to South Kensington. Yes, this is firmly on the well-trodden tourist path, but these attractions deserve all of the admire they get. Apart from being one of London’s prettiest neighbourhoods, South Kensington is also home to some of London’s and the world’s, in my opinion very best museums. Depending on where your interests lie, pick from the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum or the Victoria and Albert Museum. All three are located on Exhibition Road, and all three are absolutely free to enter. Note these places shut at 6:00 pm except Albert museum which is open till 10:00pm.
Also, stop by your hotel room to freshen up and get ready for a night to remember!
It’s best to head straight up to the top of Exhibition Road to one of London’s most famous green spaces Hyde Park. The park was originally used as a space to house the Great Exhibition of 1851; the structure was later moved to Crystal Palace Park in South London. The modern-day park is full of flowers and fountains, with the Serpentine Lake right in the middle of the action. Grab something to drink from one of the park kiosks, and take a seat on the grass to do a bit of people-watching. They have an amazing restaurant in the middle of the park make sure you grab a drink; they have ciders to die for.
DINNER: Chances are you have already marked a number of striking dining spots along the adventures so far. If not, head back to the tube and take the Bakerloo line to Piccadilly Circus or the Northern Line to Covent Garden, where you’ll find a diversity of restaurants to fit every budget. Note that the restaurants here are little pricey while if you skip to the smaller streets you’ll find less expensive and more authentic fare from just about every region of the world. Also, if Indian food is what you are looking for, look no further than Bricklane.
Leicester Square and Covent Garden are both a haven for partiers, but if you want something more of authentic British culture head to Shoreditch area. There’s a wide variety of clubs and bars in the area, so take your pick. Else hang around the theatres to catch actors heading to the real pubs after the shows. The nearby Soho neighbourhood is also lively both during after the pub rush, with afterhours eateries and dance clubs tucked away behind buildings with stylish facades. Pubs are generally open till 11 pm.
CLUBBING: Gulp down an energy drink!
London's vibrant club scene puts the city on the map as the capital of cool. Super clubs like Ministry of Sound, Fabric and Heaven are among the biggest and best known places to party. Finding the right club for your big night out is not very hard as long as you know what you’re looking for, whether it is drum-n-bass, techno, hip hop, house, or jazz. Every neighbourhood has a slightly different vibe but this should help get you started. Clubs in London range from the very VIP to the jeans-and-sweatshirt kinds of places. While some clubs are strictly all about one kind of music, at others you’ll find that every night of the week will be devoted to a different theme, so again, check with the local bible, Time Out, before hitting the clubs.
If celeb spotting is your main goal, then get dressed in your best and try to get into Project or Cirque Du Soir in Soho or, one of London’s most exclusive clubs. Soho is also where you will find many of London’s top gay clubs. If you are looking for a venue where you with a choice of a cocktail bar and lounge as well as an exclusive night club Amika located on South Molton Street Mayfair is very much recommended. You never know you might spot Justin Bieber, Rihanna, JLo, Rita Ora, Naomi Campbell, Prince Harry etc, so many who have come to this venue.
GETTING BACK IN NIGHT:
- When travelling back to your hotel in London at night remember to check that your minicab is licensed - they should have a sticker on their back window with their PCO number.
- Never get into a cab if you are not sure if it is licensed. only black cabs can be 'called' in the street. Black cabs can be hard to come by late at night but the night buses run mainly from Trafalgar square for the same price as during the day. They run all night usually at half hour intervals but some are more frequent.
- Check with Transport for London before you travel for details of night buses.
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