London in one day

At your destination

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO TOURING LONDON IN A DAY

Only have one day in London for your first visit and need to know what not to miss? Here’s a route you could take. Bring along a map and a water bottle… And your wallet, of course. Remember to leave your travel documents locked up in a hotel safe as you won’t want to waste time searching for them if they’re misplaced.

1. Your journey begins

As this is a walking route, start early at 8am so that you can pace yourself.

Begin at Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. Although an early visit means missing the Changing the Guard parade that happens at 11:30, seeing the French neo-classical façade up close is awesome enough. If you’re there in August or September, tour the palace state rooms, as they’re open to the public in these months. The tour also includes the Queen's Gallery and the Royal Mews.

Next, stop at Westminster Abbey, the official place of worship owned by the royal family; it’s famous for its medieval architecture. Make sure to look at the Poet's Corner where the likes of William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens are buried.

Image of Big Ben in London.

2. Stop for Lunch

Borough Market is London’s most renowned food market and a fabulous lunch stop. You won’t want to stop at any other place as the selection here is wide enough for all tastes.

  • For cheese lovers, pick up a piece of melted cheese bread. The cheese is made with rich, unpasteurised, full-fat milk and the bread is huge, so sharing is encouraged.
  • At Pieminister you can select any one of the ten award-winning pies for a hearty meal. The fillings are hot and will warm you up on a cold day.
  • Never leave London without tasting its traditional fish and chips. If you want to have a sit-down lunch, Fish! Kitchen is the restaurant for you. As the all-glass restaurant is modelled to resemble a giant fish tank, you will also have a good view of the Southwark Cathedral. Tip: The take-away section’s prices are less than half of what they are in the restaurant and the large terrace has ample space for you to sit and savour your treats.

3. Your Journey Continues

Work off those calories by walking to the iconic drawbridge, Tower Bridge. Take a selfie here as the crowd is thinner.

Proceed to the Tower of London and experience the grandeur of living in Europe’s oldest fortified castle. Linger here to view the opulent crown jewels and the Tower Green. The latter is known for its bloody past of executing well-known queens like Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey.

Move to Covent Garden next. You’ll see St Paul’s Cathedral along the way. Once you’re there, take a look at the beautiful Royal Opera House, pass by Leicester Square, and stop for a selfie at Piccadilly Circus. It’s a crowded place, so you’ll feel as if all of London congregates here.

4. Your Journey Ends

End your journey at Trafalgar Square; a spectacular open area dotted with fountains and statues with a sweeping staircase connecting you to the National Gallery. You’ll see the very tall Nelson's Column, with a statue of Lord Nelson (who died in the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar) on top.

Then grab a bite from a nearby takeaway stand before you depart for the airport.