London in two days

London: A Visitor’s Guide

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London in two daysDay No.1

What you will see:A trip on the London Eye, a river cruise to Tower Bridge, then spend the afternoon at Tower of London, before taking in a West End show

A trip on the London Eye is a great way to start your first day. Try and get their as early as possible and buy your tickets beforehand, as the queues can get quite heavy (allow for 30-45 minutes queuing, and 30 minutes on the actual wheel).

Now we’ll cross over Westminster Bridge to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament (take some photos!), and go down the steps to Westminster Pier (the landing stage across the road from Big Ben).

Buy a ticket at the City Cruise booth for one of river trips between Westminster Bridge and Tower Pier. Boats leave every half-hour and take about 30 minutes to reach Tower Bridge. Along the way you will see some fine sights including Cleopatra’s Needle, the Globe Theatre, Tate Modern and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Get off the boat at Tower Bridge. If you’d like to go inside and see the exhibition (we suggest that you give it a miss, because you’ll run out of time for the rest of the day) then you’ll enjoy some fine views from the top walkways (allow for 60-90 mins).

It’s probably way past lunchtime by now, so have a bite to eat in the Tower of London. It was originally built by William the Conqueror in the 11th-century, and is home to the Crown Jewels. Why not do a Yeoman Warder tour, with one of the famous Beefeaters? (allow for 3 hours in total)

The best way to end your first day is with a show. There are a couple of different places you can try – check out our theatre guide to see what’s on.

If your theatre is in Covent Garden then you can either take the No.15 bus (allow 30 mins), or catch the tube from Tower Hill to Embankment. There are plenty of great restaurants in the Covent Garden piazza, if you haven’t had anything to eat.

Alternatively, you can catch the No.15 to Trafalgar Square instead, and take a 2-minute stroll to Leicester Square – the heart of the West End. Leicester Square is also home to the capital’s biggest cinemas.

London in two daysDay No.2

What you will see:Trafalgar Square, Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace, Afternoon tea at the Ritz, Piccadilly Circus and St. Paul’s Cathedral

 

Let’s start the day off in 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 spend some time exploring the National Gallery (allow for 60-90 mins).

Bear in mind that if you visit the gallery, then you won’t have time to see the next bit – so make your choice! Take a 15 min walk down The Mall towards Buckingham Palace. This is where the Changing of the Guard takes place.

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.

Take a walk through Green Park towards Piccadilly. It should be about lunchtime by now, so how about taking some Afternoon tea at the world-famous Ritz Hotel?

 

You will have to book up months in advance (3 months at least), but if you don’t make it, don’t fret – try the tea at Fortnum & Mason instead (book 1-2 weeks in advance). Fortnum & Mason is second only to Harrods as the most prestigious store in London.

Keep walking down Piccadilly and you will come to the neon lights of Piccadilly Circus. No trip to London would be complete without a photo of yourself standing underneath the Eros fountain.

You’ve probably had enough of walking by this point, so jump on the No.23 bus towards Liverpool Street. The 25-minute ride will take you past Trafalgar Square again, up the Strand and Fleet Street (past Somerset House and the Royal Courts of Justice), before dropping you off at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

St. Paul’s was built by Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London. Have a good look around and try the famous Whispering Gallery. You will likely be pushed for time before it closes for sightseeing, so allow for 1 hour only. Last admission to the domes is 4.15 PM.

You don’t actually have to leave at 4.30 PM though – you can hang around for the daily Evensong service at 5 PM. You don’t have to be religious to enjoy the Cathedral choir.

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