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 + Tips
Getting around London couldn’t be easier. There are generally 3 options:
By London Underground (Tube):
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 £7.00 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.
By 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!
What To Pack
Where better to start on your London in a day itinerary?
Simply jump off the tube at either London Bridge, or Tower Hill, depending on which side you wish to view the bridge from.
We recommend getting off at London Bridge, that way you can actually walk over the bridge itself and it will lead you straight onto your next stop – the Tower Of London.
Tower Bridge has become an iconic symbol of London, and one of the most photographed landmarks in the world. Because of this, Tower Bridge is sometimes confused with London Bridge, which is just half a mile upriver.
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.
Tower Of London
The Tower Of London is a historic castle situated on the North side of Tower Bridge.
Best accessed from Tower Hill Underground Station, the Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history.
For any history lovers, this is a natural second stop on your London in a day itinerary.
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.
Leadenhall Market (Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley)
Leadenhall Market is just a 10 minute walk from the Tower Of London. A Harry Potter fans ‘must’ visit!
A popular thing for any tourist to do in London, is to hunt out Harry Potter filming locations around the capital.
Leadenhall Market, which first appears in the film Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, is the most popular though and is where Diagon Alley was transformed.
The place that gave Harry his first look into the world of wizardry!
This is also one of the destinations visited on the popular Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour.
The covered market in London, is home to high end fashion brands and cosy restaurants scattered among the cobblestones.
Another popular Harry Potter spot is of course Platform 9 3/4, which is located at King’s Cross Station.
St Paul’s Cathedral
After taking photos of all the famous London landmarks, you’ll probably want to tick this one off your list.
From Leadenhall Market you can either walk to the cathedral, (15 minutes) or jump on the underground one stop from Bank to St Paul’s.
One of the most famous and recognisable sights of London, St Paul’s Cathedral is most commonly known for its intricate dome.
Standing at 111 metres high, it was once the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1967, and the dome is still among the highest in the world.
A beautiful building, you can tour the inside of St Paul’s Cathedral for £20 per adult.
However, we recommend booking your St Paul’s Cathedral Entry Ticket in advance.
The London Eye
The next big attraction on your London in a day itinerary, and by this time you’ll probably be eager to see the giant wheel!
Jump off the tube at Waterloo station, which is just a 5 minute walk to the bottom of the wheel.
Standing at roughly 135 metres in height, the London Eye receives more visitors per year than the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramids of Giza combined.
The famous ferris wheel is the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, with over 3.75 million visitors annually – each one adding a big tick to their London bucket list.
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
From the London Eye it leads nicely onto Westminster Bridge and of course Big Ben.
Sadly for now Big Ben is under reconstruction until 2021, however Westminster is the bustling government area near Buckingham Palace. So where to start?
Westminster Abbey, The Houses Of Parliament and Parliament Square are all popular destinations on people’s London bucket list! Also it’s an ideal spot for touristy photos with phone boxes and the city backdrop from the bridge.
Of course, don’t forget to hang around for the chime of Big Ben as it rings in the iconic clock tower every hour, on the hour!
In addition, the Big Bus Open-Top Hop-on, Hop-off Sightseeing Tour will take you to all these touristy places.
Next up, from the importance of Parliament, to the royalty herself! Because who doesn’t want to visit the Queen on their London in a day itinerary?
The walk from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace via The Mall is one of the most iconic in the city.
Home to Her Majesty The Queen, Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom.
Tourists flock daily to take photos from outside of royal walls. It’s in fact only possible to get inside Buckingham Palace for a couple of months per year.
Between July – September each year the State Rooms are opened to the public and you can book your Buckingham Palace: The State Rooms Entrance Tickets in advance.
Another great tour that includes Buckingham Palace is the Changing of the Guard Walking Tour.
Take in the highlights of this world famous ceremony and follow the guards journey to Buckingham Palace whilst also learning about the British royal family.
Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street and Regent Street are some of the most popular shopping areas in London.
However the latter two are a couple of the most famous shopping Streets in the UK.
Along Regent Street you’ll find the standard big brand names such as Apple and Calvin Klein. If you follow it all the way until you hit Nike Town you’ll find yourself at the crossing of Oxford Street.
Oxford Street is Europe’s busiest shopping street, with around half a million daily visitors, ramping up at certain times of the year like Christmas!
With the majority of tourists in the capital on the hunt for either high end London fashion, or typical UK souvenirs, Oxford Street is high most peoples London in a day itinerary.
Don’t forget you can take the Big Bus Open-Top Hop-on, Hop-off Sightseeing Tour to get to all these places.
The Shard Or English Pub For Dinner
Why not make it an evening to remember on your London in a day itinerary?
Also a great Fun Date Idea In London.
So depending on your style of dining, or how tired your legs are, we have listed two options.
The Shard for fine dining:
You can actually see the Shard whilst crossing over Tower Bridge and London’s highest and best viewpoint is situated at the top of The Shard.
Access to the 244m high observatories on floors 68, 69 and 72 will cost you around £32 per adult.
We recommend booking your The Shard Entry Ticket in advance.
Although if you want to make an evening of it you can try one of their six restaurants and bars.
Make sure to book in advance though, because as you can imagine they’re rather popular spots.
For up to date offers on restaurant bookings at The Shard you should check Book A Table.
Traditional Pub for a relaxed vibe:
The other options is to have traditional fish & chips or pie & mash at an English pub.
Famous for its beer drinking and pub grub culture, a visit to England wouldn’t be complete without having a pint at a local boozer.
There are old English pubs on nearly every corner in London, making it easy to tick off on your London bucket list.
If unsure where to start, there are some great pub tours including Historical Pub Walking Tour where you can explore some of the city’s most historic pubs and even follow in the footsteps of Dickens!
Be sure to grab a packet of pork scratchings and watch a football match while you’re there too, to soak in the atmosphere!
Where To Stay In London
Luxury – The London EDITION
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.
Mid-Budget – Corus Hotel Hyde Park
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.
Budget – The Queens Hostel
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.
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