What you will see:A ride on the London Eye, a walk along Southbank to Shakespeare’s Globe and Tate Modern, and St. Paul’s Cathedral
Is one day enough to tour London? Probably not… because all you can really do is scratch the surface. But if that’s all you’ve got then, hey – let’s make the most of it! It can be difficult trying to decide where to go in London for a day, so we’ve drawn up some itineraries to help you decide.
If you want to see London all in one day 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 (trust us… you can’t miss it!).
The London Eye is the perfect place to start your day trip around London, as it will give you a great overview of the city (and show you all the places you will be walking to later). It’s probably wise to buy your tickets beforehand, though, because the queues can get quite heavy (allow for 30-45 minutes queuing, and 30 minutes on the actual wheel). Read Craig’s review of the London Eye to see what it’s like.
The best way to see London in 24 hours is definitely on foot, so let’s continue with a walk along the Southbank past the Royal Festival Hall. 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 art gallery loom up on your right. This old converted power station is home to some of Britain’s best (and worst) modern art. If you’d like to have a look around then allow yourself 60-90 mins. Even if you don’t want to step inside for the art then we still recommend trying the Level 7 Restaurant for its great views of London. Read Craig’s review of the Tate Modern to see what it’s like.
Next up on our suggested day out in London is Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. If you come during the summer then you might be able to watch a Shakespearean play, otherwise you can settle for a guided tour of the playhouse (allow at least 3 hours for the play, and 90 mins for the tour). Craig has reviewed both of these: watching a play and a guided tour.
Now cross over the river on the Millennium Bridge to St. Paul’s Cathedral. You can’t spend a day in London sightseeing and not look around Christopher Wren’s masterpiece. We recommend going inside and visiting the Whispering Gallery for a fantastic view of the cathedral floor (allow for 2 hours).
If it’s getting late and you’ve missed the last entry at 4 PM then don’t worry, because you can still enjoy the Evensong church service at 5 PM – a great way to round off the day. Read Craig’s review of St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Evensong service.
Note: If you want to plan a day out in London with our one day itinerary, then try clicking the link below. This will populate your London day trip planner with all the attractions mentioned above.
What you will see:More places to visit in London in 1 day including the London Eye, lots of landmarks and a West End show
You can see the best of London in 1 day with our sample tourist itinerary, which takes in many of London’s most famous landmarks. The day begins at Waterloo station. Use the exit beyond platform 19 and cross the elevated bridge to the other side of the road. Then walk along the street until the London Eye comes into view.
This one day trip itinerary for London includes a ride on the London Eye. Try to buy your tickets beforehand though, as the queues can get very long (allow for 30-45 minutes queuing, and 30 minutes on the actual wheel).
You should know where Big Ben is by now, because you just saw it on the wheel. So cross over Westminster Bridge and take some photographs 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 is the burial place of many celebrated kings and queens. Allow for a 60-90 min visit if you’ve got the time to spare. Read Craig’s review of Westminster Abbey to see if it’s worth a visit.
Cross over Parliament Square and head down Whitehall towards The Cenotaph. Just beyond that is No.10 Downing Street. You might like to spend 10 minutes in front of the famous gates to see if you can spot the Prime Minister. Read Craig’s review of the Downing Street gates.
Continue along Whitehall until you reach Trafalgar Square and Nelson’s Column.
That’s more than enough London sightseeing in one day, so we’re going to spend the rest of the evening in the West End. Touring London in a day can be tiring, so why not find a restaurant and then watch a theatre show? Or maybe you’d prefer to spend the evening watching a movie at one of the cinemas in Leicester Square instead?
Note: All of these things to do in one day in London can be added to your interactive day planner by clicking the link below. If you’ve got any questions then you can discuss how to tour London in a day in our chat forum.
What you will see:Two of the best museums, followed by shopping at Harrods and a concert at the Royal Albert Hall
If you’re still trying to decide what to see in London in one day, the here are some more day trip ideas for a good day out in London.
The best one day travel itinerary doesn’t always have to include famous places like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace – sometimes you just need a few fun places to put a smile on your face. So we’ll start this one by taking the train to South Kensington and choosing two of the following three museums:
The Natural History Museum is called the ‘dead zoo’ because it’s full of stuffed animals and animal skeletons. The most popular exhibits are the age-old dinosaur bones (allow for 2-3 hours). Read Craig’s review of the Natural History Museum.
The kid-friendly Science Museum covers everything from the earliest computers and cars to the Apollo moon landings. They’ve also got a 3D IMAX cinema and a roof-space full of airplanes (allow for 2-3 hours). Read what Craig thought of the Science Museum.
The Victoria & Albert Museum explores the history of art and design. It is full of impressive furniture, jewellery and clothes from around the world, plus the world-famous Cast Room (allow for 2 hours). Read Craig’s review of the Victoria & Albert Museum (it’s a lot better than it sounds!).
All three of those museums are free, so you should have plenty of money left to splash out on some shopping at Harrods – the world’s most famous shop. You’ll find it a short walk down the Brompton Road (allow for 1 hour shopping time, or more if you use the restaurant). Read Craig’s review of Harrods to see what it’s like inside.
If there’s nothing worth seeing at the Royal Albert Hall then catch the No.14 to Piccadilly Circus instead (allow for 20 mins ride time). This is in the heart of London’s theatre land, so why not book a West End theatre show?
Or maybe you’d prefer to spend the evening watching a movie in one of Leicester Square’s cinemas?
What you will see:See London in 24 hours with our 1 day sightseeing tour around the Tower of London, The City, St. Paul’s and the West End
Here’s another day plan for tourists spending 1 day sightseeing in London. If you just want to focus on seeing some famous landmarks, then this is the perfect London day trip for tourists with only 1 day.
Spend the rest of the morning visiting the Tower of London. The Tower is definitely one of the top things to see in London in a day, so why not get your money’s worth and join a Yeoman Warder tour with one of the famous Beefeaters? (allow for 3 hours in total) See what Craig thought about the Beefeater tour and Tower of London.
You’ll need to get a map out now for the short walk to Leadenhall Market (a great place to stop for lunch). Just follow the directions to Fenchurch Street station, and then head down Fenchurch Street itself – you’ll see it on the righthand side.
Now head down Cornhill towards Bank. This intersection has three of The City’s finest buildings: the Bank of England, Mansion House and Royal Exchange. If you love London architecture, like me, then I think you’ll agree that this is the best day out in London. Read about Craig’s day out in the City.
If you take a stroll down Cheapside you’ll end up at the rear of St. Paul’s Cathedral. You can’t visit London in 1 day and not see Christopher Wren’s 17th-century masterpiece. If you climb to the topmost dome then you’ll have a great view of the London skyline (allow for 2 hours).
Your London sightseeing itinerary for one day continues with a bus ride (because you’ll probably be totally knackered from all that walking by now). Catch the number 23 towards Trafalgar Square from the south side of the Cathedral. The ride will take you straight up Fleet Street and the Strand, past the Royal Courts of Justice and Somerset House.
Deciding what to do in a day in London can be difficult, so we’ve given you a couple of different options about where to spend the evening. If you fancy something to eat then find a restaurant in Covent Garden. There are plenty of nice outdoor and indoor restaurants around the Covent Garden piazza. Read Craig’s review of Covent Garden.
Either way, check out our London theatre guide to see which shows are on.
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