How to spend one day in London
You could spend weeks exploring London and still not get to see all of it. But what can you do if you only have a day for sightseeing?
If you’re traveling around and want to spend a day in London, there’s plenty you can do. But you’ll want to get around easily and unencumbered. So, if you have a suitcase or backpack, your first destination needs to be luggage storage in London.
Once you have securely stowed your luggage, you are ready to hit the town! But where to go first? With a city as large as London, you can’t realistically see everything that may be on your list in a day. You also don’t want to waste too much time traveling around if you only have a few hours.
So work out what kind of things you want to do or see in London. For example, do you want to sightsee? Are you a foodie? Do you fancy getting in some culture? Did you want to go shopping?
Choose attractions and destinations that are near each other in London
Think about the kind of activities you want to do, and then narrow down your options by area. So, for instance, if Shakespeare’s Globe is a must-see for you, see what is close by that you can do afterwards. Or maybe there are a cluster of things you want to see – maybe shops or galleries – that are in close proximity.
Choose places that are within a reasonable distance from each other and you can pack more into your day, and will feel less weary after spending hours on tubes or marching through busy streets.
If you are looking for some top-line inspiration, here are four ideas.
1) Visit Knightsbridge
So let’s say you wanted to visit Harrods in Knightsbridge. If you wanted to combine a day of shopping and culture, you could also visit the Science Museum, Hyde Park, The Royal Albert Hall, and King’s Road, stopping along the way for lunch in a traditional London pub.
2) Visit East London
Or if you prefer cooler, grittier East London, you could explore Spitalfields and Shoreditch Markets and grab food in Brick Lane or at Box Park. The Van Gogh London Exhibit: The Immersive Experience and Whitechapel Gallery are also nearby.
3) Visit Central London
If you are fancy being right in the centre of things, Oxford Street, Soho and Covent Garden combine endless shopping choice, with everything from high street flagship stores to independent boutiques, plus plenty of people watching opportunities from cute pavement cafes and bars.
4) Visit London’s most famous attractions
If you want to tick some of the ‘big’ attractions off your list, you might want to visit the Tower of London, the South Bank and London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square.
That’s quite a lot to do in a day, so you may want to realistically consider how much time you will have at each, and your energy levels! You can always come back to London another time and see the places you missed this time.
Getting around London on a day’s visit
Where possible, your day trip destinations will be an easy walk or quick cab ride away. But if not, there are plenty of transport options for you. Buses in the centre of London are frequent and can get you most places you need to go, with the added benefits of seeing more of the city en-route.
The London underground (also known as ‘the tube’) is usually quicker than a bus, especially if you have quite a distance to cover, but you’ll see less of the city on your journey.
If you want to see as much of the city as possible, you could opt for a hop-on-hop-off bus tour. You can buy a one-day ticket and sit on the bus and view the city that way, while moving between destinations on your list.
Plan YOUR perfect day
The key to making the most of your one day in London is to plan in advance, so you know what you want to do or see, and can check everything is open on the day you are in town, and that you can feasibly get to see everything on your list.
It’s also important to plan a day that is perfect for YOU. If that is seeing the traditional tourist attractions, great. But equally, if your ideal day doesn’t involve a single well known shop, gallery or restaurant, that is fine too. London has plenty to offer all types of taste and interest, so make sure your day ticks your boxes, not the recommendations of a travel guide. And have fun!