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1.5 Days in London

I am traveling to London for work, and I will have approximately 1.5 days of free time. I've traveled quite a bit in Europe, but have never been to London. For those of you who have been or who live there, what would you recommend with such limited time? I definitely plan to come back some day with my family, but I'm flying solo on this trip. I'm in my 30s, enjoy walking around cities, history, museums, and most of all, eating.

I think I am going to try to go the British Museum, but will skip the National Gallery this trip, given my limited time. I'd like to try to see Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and Parliament. I'll be staying about half a mile north of the Tower of London and London Bridge.

Thanks!

Posted by
5611 posts

If you are into EGYPTIAN artifacts then by all means spend time at the British Museum.

If you are interested in London, visit Parliament Square where you will see Elizabeth's Tower
Which houses the bell known as Big Ben. Adjacent is Parliament. Across the road Westminster Abbey.

Take the Vergers tour of the Abbey.

From there walk up Birdcage Walk through St. James to see Buckingham Palace.

Or just off Birdcage walk are the Churchill War Rooms which you could visit before you walked up to Palace.

Then stroll through Green Park to Piccadilly and follow it to Piccadilly Circus. If you want a rugby or football ( soccer) jersey stop in at Lillywhites.
Keep going past Leicester Square till you hit Charing Cross then head back down towards Big Ben.

You'll come upon Trafalger Square. Late lunch in the cafe in the Crypt or in the National Gallery Museum cafe. Back down Whitehall past Number 10 Downing Street and the Horseguards. Turn left at Parliament Square and cross over Westminster Bridge.

Photo ops and your choice if you want to ride the EYE at Sunset.

Next morning be at the Tower of London at 9am.
After seeing the Tower head up to Leadenhall Market for lunch.

You can see a lot in a day and a half. Put on your walking shoes and go

Posted by
7124 posts

You don't say when and which days of the week.

Head to the British Museum on your half day.

Start your full day at the Tower of London which opens at 9am most days. When done, after 2-3 hours, catch a #15 red bus past St Paul's to Charing Cross/Trafalgar Square. I would also suggest lunch at Cafe in the Crypt, St Martin in the Fields.
Walk down Whitehall, past Horseguards and Number 10, to Parliament Square. Get a view of the Houses of Parliament from Westminster Bridge, then visit the Abbey. Walk thru St James's Park, past Buckingham Palace, then thru Green Park to Picccadilly. End your day in a Soho bar/restaurant, after some gift shopping in Fortnum & Mason.

Posted by
379 posts

Thanks all for your thoughts. David, my time will be on a Saturday and Sunday this month. Harley, I did mean Tower Bridge, thanks.

Is it worth trying to catch the changing of the guard? Also, does anyone know the best website to purchase tickets for a show in the West End?

Thanks again,

Steve

Posted by
5611 posts

Waste of time to try to see the Changing of The Guards. Highly overrated and crowded. Pass.

Use the half price ticket booth at Leicester Square. Offerings are on line. Theatre Monkey is a good website to review as well.

Posted by
379 posts

Thanks, Claudia. That's what I figured about the changing of the guard, but wanted to check with someone who'd seen it before. And I will definitely use that advice regarding buying a ticket to a show.

Posted by
1 posts

This post is very helpful. I have 1.5 days on a Tuesday and Wednesday in July. Is there a specific hotel that would be ideal for this itinerary?
Thanks!

Posted by
379 posts

The answers to my post were indeed very helpful, thank you all! I unfortunately had really only two partial days as I had to work my than I anticipated. I stayed at the Andaz London Liverpool Street, which was a very close walk to the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St. Paul's Cathedral, and for my purposes, where I needed to be for work. I loved the hotel and would definitely stay there again. Free wifi, free non-alcoholic minibar, free wine and hors d'oeuvres every night, and the rooms and stay were great. Also right next to Liverpool Station so you can take the tube anywhere.

I landed just before 7 am on Saturday morning. Took the express train to Paddington Station, cab from there (could've easily taken the tube too). Being so early, my room wasn't ready, but the wonderful staff at the Andaz gave me access to the spa/health club on the premises, so I got a refreshing shower. I them immediately went to the Tower of London, which I enjoyed immensely. Walked across Tower Bridge, and had lunch at The George in Southwark, walked back over the London Bridge (and saw the makeshift memorial to the victims of the recent terrorist attack - very upsetting). Worked for several hours, caught Evensong at St. Paul's Cathedral, then worked more.

The next morning, I got an early start and walked from my hotel, mostly along the Thames (saw the Eye on the other side of the river), to the Churchill War Rooms & Museum (which opened at 9:30). This was an absolute highlight for me. I would rate this as one of the top museums I've ever been to. Get there early if you go. I had no wait when I entered, but after roughly 1.75 hours there, there were, by my estimate, over 200 people waiting to get in.

From there, I took a brisk walk around the very nearby Westminster Abbey, Parliament, and Big Ben. I wish I had time to get into Parliament, but sadly, I didn't. I walked to Buckingham Palace, through St. James' Park to the Mall, which I followed to Trafalgar Square, where I had an enjoyable lunch at the Admiralty. The rest of my trip was spent working, with the exception of drinks on Monday night at the rooftop bar at Sushi Samba, right across the street from the Andaz.

If you stay at the Andaz or in that area, I would highly recommend getting dinner at Dishoom in Shoreditch. Excellent Indian food, at what is, by London standards, reasonable prices. They have a beautiful veranda you can sit outside and enjoy. Just plan on a wait.