A city as iconic and fascinating as London deserves a weekend stay or more. But, connecting flights are common through this famed capital, so extending your trip from another European city for a bonus day in London is a wise choice.
So how do you see all the incredible landmarks of London and get a good taste of the culture in just 24 hours? Here’s an overview of the Best of London to give you a good start. Whenever you happen to arrive, grab your walking shoes (and an umbrella wouldn't hurt) to be prepared for a big day ahead!
Walk or Ride in Westminster
Westminster is where you want to be - it's the heart of London with many tourist staples. Explore on foot or opt for the Original London Sightseeing Tour bus. This red double-decker will allow you to see double the sights in half the time, while having a live guide explain the landmarks and history.
You’re able to hop on and off wherever you like at places like Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Royal Albert Hall, Piccadilly Circus and the British Museum.
Cruise the Thames
With this sightseeing bus ticket, you’ll receive a free ticket to cruise on the River Thames. We always love a reason to see cities in a variety of ways, so this is a great way to do so. While you're on the water, make sure to spot the Tate Modern Museum with its incredible architecture. If you have extra time before lunch, a stop at this modern museum is also worth the visit.
Lunch on the Strand
You've now walked, bused and cruised, it's time to dine! Head to one of London’s best known roads, The Strand. You’ll find various high street chain restaurants, charming cafes, and fast food outlets perfect for relaxing and whetting your appetite.
Stroll through Marylebone
After a morning of historically-rich sights, head north on the tube to Marylebone (pronounced mar-le-bone), for a taste of classic London living. This area is an affluent, walkable residential district filled with white terraced Georgian and Edwardian properties. You’ll pass the beautiful Regent Park and grand homes, many of which are still single-family. Nearby is also the Sherlock Homes Museum and Wallace Collection.
When in London, take time to relax and engage in the centuries-old tradition of afternoon tea. Typically between 3-6pm, high tea is made available, often served with savory and sweet snacks. The Marylebone area offers no shortage of options, or head back towards the Thames to find a unique tea venue, like the Swan which is attached to the famed Shakespheare's Globe Theater. Ah tea time, it's quite lovely, isn't it?
An Evening in Leicester Square
After recharging at your hotel, get a little dressy and head to Leicester Square to enjoy a lively night on the town. This area just west of the main sights in Westminster is a pedestrianized square with a fun vibe. Restaurant options are endless so have your choice of Italian pasta, English pub grub, Indian curries, or wherever your cravings take you.
Catch a Live Show
The Leicester Square Theater is iconic for its live performances. Grab tickets in advance to experience it in person or check out other great venues in this area, like the Sam Wanamaker Theater (next to the Tate Modern Museum). One of the best shows we've ever seen is the all-candlelit Othello at the Sam Wanamaker Theater. The smaller setting and lack of bright light provided for a unique and intimate performance.
Ride the London Eye
Before you call it a (most delightful!) day, enjoy a final nightcap and ‘champagne flight’ on the London Eye. It’s a breathtaking way to see London at night, and you’ll also find yourself in one of the capital’s best bars.
Where to Stay
When in London for a short time, the best areas to stay are in South Kensington or Bloomsbury. Both are on the direct tube line from Heathrow Airport. If you are arriving at Gatwick airport, then the London Bridge area or Victoria would be most convenient.
Before you head back to the airport, fill up on a big traditional English breakfast. It's delicious and you'll be glad you did for your travel day ahead!