London in one day

London: A Visitor’s Guide

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London in one dayIdea No.1

What you will see:A ride on the London Eye, a walk along the Southbank to Shakespeare’s Globe and Tate Modern, ending at St. Paul’s Cathedral

If you only have one day to explore the city then it’s best to arrive into Waterloo station. Use the exit beyond platform 19, and cross the bridge to the other side of the road. Walk along the street and you should be able to see the London Eye.

The London Eye is the perfect place to start your day, as it will give you a great view of the city. It’s best to buy your tickets beforehand, as the queues can get quite heavy (allow for 30-45 minutes queuing, and 30 minutes on the actual wheel).

Let’s take a walk along the Southbank now, past the Royal Festival Hall and Southbank Centre. If you look across the river then you will have a great view of Cleopatra’s Needle (allow for 20-30 minutes walking time).

Once you get past Blackfriars Bridge you should see the Tate Modern gallery loom up on your right. This old converted power station is home to the best of Britain’s modern art collection. If you’d like to have a look around then allow yourself 60-90 mins. Even if you don’t want to venture inside for the art, you should still check out the Level 7 Restaurant for its fantastic views across the Thames.

Next up on our tour of the Southbank is Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. If you come during the summer then you might be able to catch a play, otherwise you can settle for a guided tour around the Elizabethan-style playhouse (allow at least 3 hours for the play, and 90 mins for the tour).

Crossing over the river on the Millennium Bridge will take you to St. Paul’s Cathedral. No trip to London would be complete without looking around Christopher Wren’s masterpiece. We recommend going inside and climbing up to the dome for a fantastic view of the city (allow for 2 hours).

If it’s getting late and you’ve missed the last entry at 4 PM, then don’t fret – you can still enjoy the Evensong service at 5 PM – a great way to round off the day.

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London in one dayIdea No.2

What you will see:A ride on the London Eye, a sightseeing trip taking in lots of the major landmarks, ending up in the West End for a show – all within easy walking distance of each other

Starting off at Waterloo again, use the exit beyond platform 19 and cross the elevated bridge to the other side of the road. If you walk along the street then you should be able to see the London Eye come into view.

The London Eye will give you a great view of the city. Buy your tickets beforehand though, as the queues can get quite heavy (allow for 30-45 minutes queuing, and 30 minutes on the actual wheel).

You should know where Big Ben is now… because you just saw it on the wheel. So cross over Westminster Bridge and take some snaps of the Houses of Parliament (allow for 30 mins) and then walk over to Westminster Abbey.

Westminster Abbey is the setting for coronations, state funerals, and the burial place of many celebrated kings and queens. It is well worth a visit if you’ve got the time (allow for 60-90 mins).


Cross over Parliament Square and head down Whitehall, which will take you past The Cenotaph and Downing Street. You might like to spend 10 minutes in front of the famous gates to see if you can spot the Prime Minister.

Continue along Whitehall until you get to Trafalgar Square. This is home to Nelson’s Column. There are also some toilets in the square, if you’re desperate for a wee.

You might like to spend some time exploring the National Gallery on the north side of the square (allow for 60-90 mins).

Continue your little tour through Admiralty Arch and up The Mall towards Buckingham Palace (allow for 15 mins walking time). Once you’ve taken some snaps, head through Green Park to Piccadilly – one of London’s grandest shopping streets (10 mins walking time).

A stroll down Piccadilly will take you past the Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington Arcade and Fortnum & Mason, ending up under the neon lights of Piccadilly Circus.

Welcome to the West End! This is the heart of London’s theatre land, so why not find a nice restaurant now and then take in a show? Or maybe you’d prefer to spend the evening watching a blockbuster movie at one of the cinemas in Leicester Square?

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Here are some more ideas about what to do in London in one day


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