If you’re short for time in the UK’s capital, here’s our easy to follow London in a day itinerary to help you tick off all the bucketlist spots.
Getting around London couldn’t be easier. There are generally 3 options:
With the London Underground being the easiest way to jump on and off between tourist spots, we highly recommend using the tube system to get around.
Zones 1-2 contain all the central London districts, and most of the major tourist attractions. The daily cap for travelling in Zones 1-2 is £8.10 when using a contactless bank card.
If you don’t have a contactless card that works in London, the best option is to purchase a 1-Day Unlimited Travel Card.
These can be used on the tubes, buses, trams and Docklands Light Railway.
Most of the gaps between destinations are walkable, depending on how much ground you wish to cover and how much time you have.
Hop On Hop Off Bus
Standard buses are available within your daily travel card.
However, there is also of course the famous Big Bus Open-Top Hop-on, Hop-off Sightseeing Tour.
This is always popular among tourists and a is great way to see many famous landmarks around the capital at ease.
All whilst travelling around on a traditional big red London bus!
Some of the best days out we’ve had in London have been on private tours.
So for those short on time, or those that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.
From food tours, to canal rides and pub crawls, there’s plenty to keep you busy in the UK’s capital!
Also, for all tourists visiting London, I recommend purchasing a Go City London Pass.
These are a great way of saving money when visiting multiple tourist attractions during your stay in London.
Best Time To Visit London
London is an all year round destination. However, if you prefer the warmer weather, then spring through to Autumn (April – September) is warmer, if somewhat unpredictable!
Don’t write off winter though, as there is still plenty to do in the city. In addition, the Christmas lights are spectacular and the seasonal vibe is contagious.
London is always pretty busy but during the school summer holidays, end of July to beginning of September, is when you usually get the most visitors.
So, if you prefer it a little less crowded, avoid these weeks if possible.
Remember, this is just a guide, so you may want to mix it up and add/subtract different attractions.
What To Pack
1 Day In London Itinerary
For the perfect start to your 1 Day London Itinerary, I recommend heading to the famous Borough Market.
Located in the heart of London, Borough Market is easy to get to on public transport or by foot. The Market is open all day from Tuesday to Sunday.
Sitting under beautiful old railway arches, this market hall in Southwark is one of the largest and oldest food markets in London.
With over 100 stalls, you will find lots of fresh, locally produced artisan products. Including everything from pastries and bread to fresh coffee. As well meat, fish, various street foods and much more.
Loved by locals and tourists, the smells and colours will delight your senses before you even try any delicious food stuffs.
Visiting this vibrant, bustling market and trying some of the delicacies on offer is a great start to the day!
Now you are fuelled-up and ready to explore, the next stop is less than a mile away. Just a stroll along the banks of the River Thames will get you to Tower Bridge in around 15 minutes.
The picturesque and world famous Tower Bridge has become an iconic symbol of London. As well as one of the most photographed landmarks around the globe.
Built between 1886 and 1894, Tower Bridge is a stunning, combined bascule and suspension bridge that connects Southwark to Tower Hamlets.
Tower Bridge is sometimes confused with, the not quite as grand, London Bridge. London Bridge is just half a mile along the river, close to Borough Market.
If you want to get a close view of the bridge from the River Thames the Westminster to Greenwich River Thames Cruise is a great option.
Alternatively, if you prefer everything to be organised for you, then the Tower of London and Tower Bridge Early-Access Tour is highly recommended.
Tower Of London
You can’t visit Tower Bridge without stopping at the Tower of London. This historic castle, situated on the north side of the bridge, has played a prominent role in English history.
It’s possible to wander around the outside of this majestic building and get some great photos. However, if you are really interested in the history, and maybe want a peek at the Crown Jewels, you need to get inside.
Open daily from 10am – 5.30pm (with last admissions at 5pm) tickets are not cheap starting at £24.70 per adult.
Tickets are best booked in advance via the Tower of London and Crown Jewels Exhibition Ticket.
Alternatively the Tower of London and Tower Bridge Early-Access Tour is highly recommended.
Now you have crossed over the River Thames, the Sky Garden is just a 10 minute walk away. Located at the top of one of Londons newest skyscrapers, it is literally a garden in the sky.
Affectionately known as the Walkie-Talkie, due its shape, this impressive skyscraper sits on the north bank of the River Thames at 20 Fenchurch Street.
Occupying the top three floors of this 160 metre skyscraper, Sky Garden, with its floor to ceiling glass windows, offers fantastic 360° views across London.
From here can see many of London’s famous landmarks including, The Shard, The Gherkin, Tower Bridge, The Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral and more.
As well as the great views, there is a lush, foliage-filled garden area to enjoy. Plus two restaurants, three bars and an open-air terrace looking out across the River Thames.
Open 7 days a week, it’s free to visit. However, tickets are limited, so it’s best to book in advance so you don’t miss it off your 1 Day London Itinerary.
St Paul’s Cathedral
Next, the historical landmark that tops many peoples London bucket list, St Paul’s Cathedral. Less than 20 minutes away on foot, once you reach nearby Cannon Street, just follow it all the way.
One of the most well known and recognisable sights of London, St Paul’s Cathedral is famous for its intricate dome. However, you really have to step inside and and see the interior to fully appreciate this amazing building.
Apart from walking in the footsteps of royalty, you can also ascend the dome for spectacular views, head down to the fascinating crypt and plenty more.
Standing at 111 metres high, St Paul’s was once the tallest building in London. Interestingly, the dome remains among the highest in the world.
The second largest church in the UK, it’s an important landmark in the city of London and has to be on the 1 Day London Itinerary.
We recommend booking your St Paul’s Cathedral Entry Ticket in advance to explore this beautiful cathedral.
The London Eye
Located on the south bank of the River Thames, the London Eye is about a mile and a half from St Paul’s Cathedral, it will take just over 30 minutes to walk.
Alternatively, Waterloo is the closest underground station to the London Eye. So if you want rest your legs just jump on the tube.
Standing at roughly 135 metres in height, the London Eye gives you the opportunity to relax and enjoy some amazing views as you complete a full circle in your glass pod.
The London Eye actually receives more visitors per year than the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramids of Giza combined!
With a variety of tickets and experiences available, the most simple being The London Eye: Standard or Fast-Track Entry Ticket it’s best to book in advance.
You can also find combo’s such as the London Eye and Madame Tussauds Combo Ticket. Or the Madame Tussauds, London Eye & SEA LIFE Combo Ticket.
Big Ben & Westminster
Less that half a mile from the London Eye, across Westminster Bridge, is the iconic British clock tower Big Ben. Found at the north end of Westminster, Big Ben is actually the nick-name for the largest of the towers five bells.
Listen out for the chimes of Big Ben ringing out at each quarter of the hour and then the big one on the hour! You can’t visit London and not have ‘hearing Big Ben chime’ on your 1 Day Itinerary.
If you prefer to take a tour to all the main tourist attractions, including a stop at Big Ben timed to hear the bells, the London’s Top Sights: Walking Tour with Local Guide is a good option.
Westminster is the bustling government area – so where to start?
Westminster Abbey, The Houses Of Parliament and Parliament Square are all popular destinations in this area that top people’s London bucket list!
Also, it’s an ideal spot for some real touristy photos, with red phone boxes and the city backdrop viewed from the bridge.
One of the most popular tours of this area is the Guided Tour of Houses of Parliament & Westminster which also includes Westminster Abbey.
The final stop on your 1 Day London Itinerary has to be The Shard. Sometimes called ‘the vertical city’, this spectacular spire shaped building houses, offices, flats, restaurants and bars.
Also home to the highest and best viewpoint in the city, it has panoramic 360° views stretching for 40 miles in every direction!
The Shard is located on the south bank of the River Thames, close to London Bridge Railway and Underground Station. (Not far from Borough Market where you started this morning!)
Access to the 244m high observatories on floors 68, 69 and 72 will cost you around £32 per adult. Make sure you book your The Shard Entry Ticket in advance though, because it’s a pretty popular spot!
However, if you want to make an evening of it and literally finish your day on a high, you could try one of their restaurants and bars. With seven to choose from, offering various cuisine, you are sure to find something you like.
What better way to finish your 1 day London itinerary, than enjoying a meal whilst looking out across the magical night sky of this stunning city.
The London EDITION is located in central London’s Fitzrovia district, with Oxford Street, Theatreland and Piccadilly Circus all within a 10-minute walk.
Inside, there is a Michelin star restaurant, 2 cocktail bars, a 24-hour front desk, free WiFi and free use of the on-site fitness centre for all guests.
With a view of the vibrant city, each en suite room come with a flat-screen TV and air-conditioning. An iPod docking station, bathrobes and a mini-bar are also provided.
Each evening, the restaurant offers a contemporary British menu using fresh, British produce.
Set within a 20-minute walk fromand boasting a stylish, lounge , Corus Hotel Hyde Park features modern rooms with free WiFi.
The hotel is just a 10-minute walk from Paddington Station, offering a direct train link to Heathrow Airport.
The cosy, air-conditioned bedrooms at Corus Hotel have private en-suite bathrooms and satellite TVs with on-demand movies. Rooms also feature work desks, tea/coffee facilities, iron and ironing boards.
The conservatory brasserie serves a modern European menu using seasonal produce.
Olio Bar offers light snacks and beverages, and overlooks Hyde Park.
Featuring free WiFi, The Queens Hostel offers accommodation in London, just a 2-minute walk to Queens Park Rangers football stadium.
Guests can enjoy the on-site bar. Rooms come with a shared bathroom.
You can play tennis at this hostel, and the area is popular for golfing.
For more places to stay in London, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.