What you will see:Sightseeing bus, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Downing Street, Westminster Abbey, Horse Guards and Trafalgar Square
We’re going to start our London in six days with a sightseeing bus. We suggest catching the ‘Red Route’ at Trafalgar Square. The journey will take you up the Strand and past St. Paul’s. After rounding Tower Bridge and the Tower of London it will cut across the river. Then it will head down Victoria Embankment to Westminster (allow for 60-80 mins). You should get off here. Craig has written an Original Bus Tour review on his blog.
Alternatively, how about a London Duck Tour instead? The route isn’t quite as good as the sightseeing bus, but it has the added bonus of diving into the Thames for an amphibious view of Parliament (allow for 75 mins). When it’s over, make your way across Westminster Bridge.
Westminster Abbey is the setting for coronations, funerals, and the burial place of many kings and queens (allow for 90 mins).
A little further up Whitehall you will find one of London’s most popular photo spots – the sentry boxes outside Horse Guards.
At the end of Whitehall is Trafalgar Square and Nelson’s Column. But all we’re doing now is looking for somewhere to eat and drink. There are plenty of great pubs around Leicester Square (5 min walk), Chinatown (10 min walk) and Covent Garden (10 min walk).
What you will see:The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral and a show in the West End
Let’s spend the morning at the Tower of London. This world heritage site was built by William the Conqueror, and is home to the Crown Jewels (allow for 3 hours in total)
Next to the Tower of London is Tower Bridge. They have an exhibition inside, but we suggest that you give it a miss (it’s not that interesting). Just take some photos instead. If you’re lucky then you might be able to see the bridge open and close.
Now you have a choice… if you’d like to experience a choral mass then stick around for the Evensong service at 5 PM (it lasts for 1 hour). Otherwise we’ll jump on the No.15 bus towards Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square for a West End show.
Check out our theatre guide to see what’s on. Most of the theatres can be found around Covent Garden, Shaftesbury Avenue and Piccadilly Circus – all within 10 to 20 minutes walking distance of Trafalgar Square.
What you will see (option 1):Madame Tussaud’s, lunch in Regent’s Park, and the rest of the day spent at London Zoo
You should definitely buy your tickets in advance to avoid the queues (allow for 60 mins queue time, and 90-120 mins for the visit). They’ve got everything from David Beckham to President Obama and the Queen.
If you feel like a bit of exercise then take a long stroll through Regent’s Park to London Zoo. It’s got a huge lake and some nice rose gardens and cafés where you can stop for lunch.
If you don’t fancy the walk then catch the No.274 bus from Dorset Square to Primrose Hill (allow for 25 min ride, and 5-mins walking at either end)
London Zoo is fairly large and will take up your whole afternoon, so allow for 3 to 4 hours. Highlights include the lions and tigers, Gorilla World, the BUGS! exhibit, a rainforest enclosure and Penguin beach.
What you will see (option 2):Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, and some shopping at Harrods
Take the train to South Kensington and then pick two of the following three museums. Our recommendation would be the Natural History Museum followed by the Science Museum.
The Natural History Museum is called the “dead zoo” because it is full of stuffed animals from all around the world – elephants, birds and even a Blue Whale! The most popular exhibits though, are the ages-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 and a floor full of airplanes (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 – the world’s most famous department store. 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:A ride on the London Eye, the London Dungeon or London Aquarium, the Globe Theatre or Tate Modern, and the view from The Shard
No six days in London would be complete without a ride on the London Eye. Remember to buy your tickets beforehand as the queues can get quite heavy (allow for 30-45 minutes queuing, and 30 minutes on the wheel).
The rest of the day will be spent on the Southbank, but you’ll only have time to do two of the following four, plus the Shard – so choose wisely!
The first two attractions are right next door to the London Eye (in the County Hall). The London Dungeon is quite pricey, but it has a good mix of costumed actors, scary rides and audience participation (allow for 90 mins).
The second one is the London Aquarium. Highlights include the two-story shark tank and underwater sea tunnel (allow for 90-120 mins).
Now we’re going to take a stroll up the Southbank towards London Bridge (allow 30-35 minutes). If you don’t fancy walking, then you can catch the RV1 bus instead.
Right next door to the Globe is Tate Modern. This is home to the country’s collection of modern art, and includes works by Dali, Matisse, Rothko, Pollock and Pablo Picasso (allow for 90 mins).
Our final stop will be at The Shard. This is the tallest observation deck in the city, and is well worth spending 60-90 mins (if you don’t mind the height!). It’s a great place to enjoy an evening meal as well – but remember to book your table beforehand.
What you will see:Cutty Sark, National Maritime Museum, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich Park, Royal Observatory, boat back to Westminster
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 have time to do them all – so just choose two out of the following four. The first one is the famous old 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. One of the highlights is the actual jacket that Nelson wore during the Battle of Trafalgar (allow for 2 hours).
You could also have a look around the Old Royal Naval College, with its famous Painted Hall and Chapel (allow for 60 mins).
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 through Greenwich Park to the Royal Observatory. The museum covers everything from time-keeping to astronomy, and there is a large planetarium on site with several shows a day (allow for 3 hours in total).
After you’ve finished exploring Greenwich head back to the river for a boat trip back to Westminster. The 60-minute ride to Westminster Pier (by Big Ben) will give you great views of Canary Wharf, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and The City. Note: the last boat is between 4 PM and 4.30 PM.
What you will see:Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace, afternoon tea at The Ritz or Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly Circus, shopping in Regent Street and Oxford Street, a theatre show in the West End
Your 6 days in London continues with one of the must-see sights of London – the Changing of the Guard ceremony 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. You can check out the schedule here.
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 are right in the heart of the West End now, and we will be returning here tonight. But we’ll spend the afternoon buying gifts in three of London’s most famous shopping streets – Regent Street, Oxford Street and Carnaby Street.
Your final night will end with a bang – a big show in the West End. Check out our theatre guide to see what’s on. Most of the theatres can be found around Covent Garden, Shaftesbury Avenue or Piccadilly Circus.
London: A Visitor’s Guide
Have you seen our guidebook? Honest reviews of 200 London attractions with money-saving tips, opening times, prices and maps
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