London: A Visitor’s Guide
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What you will see:Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Nelson’s Column, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye
Let’s start our London in four days with Changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace. The ceremony starts at 11.15 AM but we recommend getting there by half-10 for a decent spot (you will need to get there by 10 AM if you want a spot right up against the gates).
The ceremony usually takes place every day in the summer, but alternate days thereafter. Check out our link for the schedule.
After the ceremony ends at 12.15 PM head down The Mall towards Trafalgar Square. This is home to one of London’s most famous landmarks – Nelson’s Column. If you like art, then you might like to visit the National Gallery (allow for 60-90 mins).
Westminster Abbey is London’s most prestigious religious building – the setting for coronations, state funerals, and the burial place of many celebrated kings and queens (allow for 90-120 mins).
Now head over Westminster Bridge to the London Eye – a great way to end your first day. Try and buy your tickets beforehand to avoid some of the queues (allow for 30-45 minutes queuing, and 30 minutes on the actual wheel).
What you will see:The Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral and a theatre show in the West End
Next to the Tower of London is the world-famous Tower Bridge. They have an exhibition inside which takes you up to the top walkways. We suggest that you give it a miss, but if you’d like to give it a try then allow yourself 60-90 mins.
Now catch the No.15 bus outside the Tower of London, which will take you on a sightseeing tour through the heart of The City. Get off at St. Paul’s Churchyard (allow 20-25 mins).
St. Paul’s Cathedral is Christopher Wren’s masterpiece, built after the Great Fire of London in 1666. We recommend going inside and climbing up to the dome for a fantastic view of the city (allow for 2 hours).
There are plenty of great restaurants around Covent Garden for an evening meal, after which you can catch a West End show. Most of them start around 7.30 PM – check out our theatre guide to see what’s on.
What you will see:Three of the big museums, shopping at Harrods, and a concert at the Royal Albert Hall
Begin your London in 4 days with a train to South Kensington and then choose two of the following three museums. Our recommendation would be the Natural History Museum followed by the Science Museum. All three are within five minutes walking distance of each other.
The Natural History Museum is called the “dead zoo” because it is full of stuffed animals from all around the world. The most popular exhibits are the age-old dinosaur bones (allow for 2-3 hours).
The Science Museum covers everything from the earliest computers and cars to the Apollo moon landings. They’ve also got an IMAX cinema (allow for 2-3 hours).
The Victoria & Albert Museum explores the history of art and design. You will see fabulous furniture, jewellery and clothes, and the world-famous Cast Room – containing replicas of the world’s greatest monuments and statues (allow for 2 hours.
All three of those museums are free, so you should have plenty of money left to splash out at Harrods. You’ll find it a short walk down the Brompton Road (allow for 1 hour shopping time, or more if you use the restaurant).
What you will see:Boat to Greenwich, Cutty Sark, National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park, and a concert at The O2
Let’s start your final day with a boat trip to Greenwich. The 60-minute ride from Westminster Pier (by Big Ben) will give you great views of The City before passing under Tower Bridge and past Canary Wharf.
There are a few different things to do in Greenwich, so we are going to give you a choice. Bear in mind that you won’t be able to do them all – so just choose two out of the next three. The first one is the Cutty Sark clipper ship (allow for 90 mins).
If you’re into naval history then you might like to visit the National Maritime Museum instead (allow for 2 hours).
If you haven’t already had a spot of lunch, then we recommend walking into the historic town centre. Greenwich is a World Heritage Site that dates back hundreds of years, and there are plenty of old pubs and tea rooms.
When you’ve got some energy back, take a stroll up the hill in Greenwich Park, then check out the Royal Observatory. It has a museum and a large planetarium on site with several shows a day (allow for 3 hours in total).
If you still have some time left you might like to spend it watching a concert at The O2. You can find out what’s on here. The easiest way to get there is by train (allow for 30 mins train ride, and 3 hours for the show). You could also get the No.188 bus (allow for 35 mins).
Here are some more ideas about how to spend four days in London