London is the type of the city that one could spend days, weeks or even months exploring and still not get bored. One of the busiest and largest cities in the world offers pretty much everything a tourist could ask for, including museums, palaces, theatres, historical sites, parks
The best way to start exploring London is by paying a visit to Westminster. Within the City of Westminster, some of London’s most iconic buildings can be found, including Westminster Abbey, Palace of Westminster and Buckingham Palace. The whole route is walkable, but you can also take public transport, taxi or a sightseeing bus.
Sightseeing buses are really popular in London since they are very informative; buses offer details on London’s history and some amazing facts about the city. The tour takes you around London and you are able to stop wherever you want. The ticket is valid for the whole day or even longer, in case you arrange it that way.
Besides the sightseeing bus, there is also an option for keen walkers – it is walking tour, you can choose between several hours tour or a full day walking tour.
Our suggested itinerary of Westminster starts at Parliament Square since it is a well-known place, easy to find and reach via public transport and it is a stop on routes of all sightseeing buses. The square is surrounded by famous sites like Westminster Abbey, the Palace of Westminster, the UK Supreme Court and St. Margaret’s Church. You will also find the statues of many famous people, including Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill
The Palace of Westminster is more known as the Houses of Parliament. If you are interested in politics, you can pay a visit to the Houses of Parliament and take a public tour of it. You can book a ticket online for a self-guided or guided tour. Situated alongside the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben is definitely the world’s most famous clock.
Our next station is Westminster Abbey, one of the most imposing churches in England. The church is a World Heritage Site built mostly in Gothic style and it dates back to the 13th century. It is a royal church that has been used for British coronations and royal weddings, including the one of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. Ticket line tends to get really long because it is a popular place but tickets can be booked online. A little piece of advice: Evensong is sung daily, except on Wednesdays, so it is a good opportunity to see the church for free. Entry is via the Great West Door.
Continuing the walk in the direction of Buckingham Palace, you will reach St. James’ Park, 23-hectare park famous for impressive views of the lake and resident pelicans that were originally a gift from the Russian Ambassador to King Charles II. It is one of the 8 royal parks in London and it is an ideal place to enjoy the greenery while having a picnic or having a coffee break at the cafe located inside the park.
The most popular palace in the UK is located right next to the park, it is the royal residence – Buckingham Palace. If it is possible, don’t miss out the Changing of the Guard ceremony that takes place every second day at 11 am. After seeing the Queen’s home, you can continue to Trafalgar Square. Trafalgar Square is one of the most famous squares with Nelson’s Column and statues of lions. Two of London’s top museums are placed in the square, so if you are interested in art, the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery are a must-see. Galleries hold masterpieces from Picasso, Titian and Monet and many more. Entry to both of them is for free and you get to enjoy in best works of art.
When you’re done with admiring the artworks, it is time to cross the Thames walking onto Westminster Bridge. Two very popular attractions are located along the Thames, the London Dungeon and the London Eye. The Dungeon is an attraction that uses actors, special effects and rides in order to show London’s dark history but with a little laugh along the way. London’s Eye is the famous observation wheel on the South Bank that gives an amazing view over London and Thames while spinning slowly. Purchasing ticket online should be done to save time and money. In this area there are plenty of bars and restaurants to enjoy the vibrant evening scene in London.
After a good night’s rest, our recommendation for the day 2 is exploring the City of London, the area that is called “Londinium” and that forms a special mix of old landmarks and modern buildings. London’s Borough of Southwark is situated across the River Thames from the City of London and it is home for several attractions; The Shard, Tate Modern and Borough Market are the most familiar ones.
Tower of London was first built as a royal castle and defense tower. Over the centuries, it was expanded and used as fortress, prison, and armory and today it is famous for housing the Crown Jewels. Taking a tour around the Tower will help you understand it’s history and it is given by the Beefeaters. Crown Jewels rooms can get crowded so firstly visit them and later wander around the White and Bloody Tower. Tickets can be purchased online.
Visiting the Tower Bridge is the next attraction to cross out of the list. This is an iconic bridge with beautiful architecture. It is a typical landmark of London. The Tower Bridge Exhibition covers the history of the bridge, it also allows access to the towers and walkways, including the one with a glass floor that goes 138 feet above the Thames.
Head towards the Borough Market since it is one of the oldest markets in London, dating back to the 11th century. Today this market is an ideal place to enjoy food and get a full belly. The market is filled with fresh food such as meat, fruits, and vegetables, but also baked goods, wines, spices, and flowers. At the market, you can find a few restaurants, demonstration kitchens, and cafes but the real treasure is hidden at many food stalls that sell ready-to-eat food, including dishes from all over the world. Street food rocks!
Only a short walk away, you will find another interesting site, The Shard. The Shard is one of London’s skyscrapers that homes a hotel, few restaurants, shops, offices and a viewing gallery. It is the tallest building in Western Europe with its 87 floors. The Shard offers 360 degrees spectacular view over Central London and it is magnificent both during day and night. Tickets are fairly priced, they can be booked online but the view is worth it..
Another viewpoint that offers spectacular views is Sky Garden, London’s highest public garden. Unlike the Shard, this view you can get for free but you have to reserve a spot in advance since they are often fully booked. Tickets can be reserved up to 3 weeks earlier but in case all the free slots are already taken, you can still make a reservation for a bar inside.
Continuing by foot or taking the Underground, you will reach St. Paul’s Cathedral, one of the most recognizable symbols of London. The dome is typical for London’s skyline and the church is a place of worship with regular services. Visitors have the option to visit the Cathedral, the dome or the crypt, tickets can be bought online to skip the ticket line, especially in case you want to climb the dome.
We can call it a day by visiting some of the pubs in the area and chilling like a true British.
It’s the last day of your London trip and you still have to visit some iconic sights. Start the day by exploring the British Museum that hosts a large collection of world’s artifacts. It is free for all visitors and since it is dedicated to human history and culture, inside you can see some of the famous objects such as Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies.
After the history class, it is time for some shopping in England’s most popular shopping street – Oxford Street. It is the busiest shopping street in London with over 200 million visitors each year. Oxford Street offers more than 90 stores, including fashion and beauty shops but also technology and homeware stores. The most famous among all is probably Selfridges that occupies the entire block of the street. Shops are open every day and Saturdays are usually the busiest days. All things considered, Oxford Street is the place to shop til you drop!
After the shopping mania, it is time to relax at Hyde Park. Hyde Park is also one of the royal parks in London that offers nice alleys, flower gardens, playground, sports facilities and walking and cycling paths. There is also a lake and a few places to grab a coffee or to eat something, including lakeside dining.
After the walk, it is the right time for an afternoon tea. Kensington area has a lot of places to enjoy this tradition. You can have a regular tea or silver-tray fancy experience. In case you would like to try a more luxurious option, consider making a reservation in advance.
Kensington Palace is an active working royal palace but visitors are still able to visit the rooms in the palace. There is a lot to see and the place is popular with tourists and travelers so you can buy the ticket online. Wander around the home and workplace of Princess Margaret, Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Prince William
At the end of the day, we hope you are not tired of this magnificent town because when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.