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Day Trip in London

Hi,

I am flying into London this upcoming Sunday morning (10 am) from the Northeast US for a work trip. I will have Sunday free to explore the City and also Tuesday evening although likely that will be tied up with a dinner with a friend. I want to make the most of my visit and get as much of a feel of London on Sunday as possible. I visited as a tourist last when I was a child in the 1980s and am eager to see how the City today lines up with my memories then.

In general I like walking around and soaking in a city and getting a feel of it and its people. An itinerary that combines a fair bit of walking while hitting some key sights would be perfect. Buckingham Palace, Westminster, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square are must sees for me as I have vague memories from my visit as a kid.

My hotel unfortunately is not in Central London but in Marlow about 30-35 miles northwest of the City Center.

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
1196 posts

You should do your walking tour taking in the things you want to see.

Something you may not realise is that ‘the City’, with a capital C, refers to a specific area of London which is the financial area. It’s a sort of county within the wider city.

Posted by
8 posts

Ah thanks Helen I didn't realize that the City referred to the financial district only.

Posted by
5690 posts

Look at the London Walks schedule and see if there is something of interest.
https://www.walks.com/

They now ask you to reserve in advance; I have just booked either the day before or the morning of and been fine. You pay when you meet and they accept a card.

Posted by
8888 posts

You’ll need to drop your baggage at the hotel and then train from Marlow to Paddington Station. At Paddington take a Circle Line underground train to Westminster. Exit and as you walk outside you’ll be in the shadow of Elizabeth Tower and if on the hour you’ll hear Big Ben toll. Walk about Parliament Square then follow signage to Birdcage Walk. Follow it through St James Park up to Buckingham Palace.

From there depending on how you feel you could stop in the Bag O’nails Pub or cross The Mall in front of the Queen Victoria to Green Park. Walk through Green Park to Piccadilly and turn right. Or when you cross the Mall then turn right and stroll back to Trafalgar Square.

From Trafalgar Square take the tube back to Paddington and your 1.5 train ride back to Marlow.

Stay hydrated and be patient. Download https://tfl.gov.uk/ and review public transport options.

Posted by
16942 posts

Here is my suggestion for taking in the sites you want to see. It incorporates some of our favorite walks in London. And we actually have done most of this in a single day.

Start with the train from Marlow to London Paddington (52 minutes, one change on the way). From Paddington, take the Tube to one of the stations near Buckingham Palace on the Circle and District Lohnes—-Victoria Stations, or St. James. Whichever is on a direct Tube line from Paddington. (My choice would be St. James for the nicer walk through STL. James Park. Walk up and view the Palace from the front, then head toward Trafalgar Square, walking down the Mall or better yet through St. James Park on a path parallel to The Mall.

Once you have had a look around Trafalgar Square, walk east down Northumberland Ave. to the Thames at the Hungerford Brigde. The pedestrian Jubilee Bridges are attached on either side of the train bridge; take the one on the south side (your right as you face the bridge) and cross the river. Turn right and follow the pedestrian Thames Path along the river with great views of the buildings, including the Elizabeth Tower. Keep on past Westminster Bridge to admire the Parliament Buildings from this vantage point, then turn around and walk back, crossing over Westminster Bridge (the left sidewalk is less crowded with shell game conartists). Go have a look at Westminster Abbey before heading to Westminster Pier just north of the bridge.

Now you will board a Thames Clipper/Uber Boat for a ride on the river all the way to Tower Pier to see iconic Bridge and the area around the Tower of London.

From here you can get yourself back to Paddington by Tube, or #15 bus to Trafalgar Square then Tube, or boat, etc. But if you still have the legs left, I suggest you cross Tower Bridge and walk the Thames Path on the south side back to the Tate Modern, then cross the pedestrian Millennium Bridge to St. Paul’s, and THEN catch the #15 to Trafalgar Square for an above-ground ride through the City of London and lots of historic and brand new buildings.

This is what I call a nice day in London. We do large segments of this on every London visit. We love that city.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks Laura, Claudia and Lola for the helpful suggestions. I looked into the train travel from Marlow to Central London and it is very long, I would lose a lot of time. Since I am travelling on United Business I checked they have a arrivals lounge with a shower that I have access to. So currently my plan is to shower and change there and store my luggage (just 1 carry on will keep backpack on me) with Excess Baggage Company at Terminal 2 and come back to the airport in the evening and then go to my Marlow hotel. I have downloaded the Tfl Go, Tfl Oyster and Citymapper apps.

Posted by
8 posts

Lola your itinerary sounds perfect with the limited amount of time I have. I had gone to the Visit London tourist guide website and they had a 24 hour itinerary which I went through and your suggestions hit many of the highlights with convenient walking. My firm will pay for cab fare from Heathrow to my Marlow hotel so currently my plan is to use Heathrow as the jumping off point once I land (plan to shower and change at an arrivals lounge and then store my one carry on at The Excess Baggage Company store in T2) then return to Heathrow in the late evening to pick up my suitcase and then take a Cab from the airport to the Hotel.

Posted by
33339 posts

given your Forum name you might include a tour of Lord's Cricket Ground - tube Jubilee Line to St John' Wood and then the Ground is nearly across the street, there are signs

Posted by
6782 posts

I think it would be more time efficient to store the luggage at Paddington Station, pick it up in the evening, then train straight to Marlow.

I know the taxi from Heathrow is on expenses, but it still feels like a dog leg.

By this upcoming Sunday do you mean tomorrow- 14 April?

Posted by
8 posts

Hi isn31c what I like about getting back to Heathrow is that the Cab will be end to end at the Hotel. However I can also cab it from Central London if there are luggage storage options available. I will just have a carryon and a backpack so can easily take the train to such a spot

Posted by
8 posts

Nigel thanks so much for that thoughtful suggestion I didn't realize Lords was relatively easy to check out in this trip. Definitely a can't miss!

Posted by
4066 posts

Sunday in London is a day for eating. The so-called "Sunday Roast" is at lunch, but the main meal of the day, with piles of roast meat and vegetables. These days some pubs have upped their dining game by elaborating this spread. The rest of the day is spent recovering, maybe with a gentle stroll.
I don't know how this could fit your cramped schedule. You might check with your hotel on the possibilities in that area.
I also wonder about the strenuous round of tourism you are considering after a trans-Atlantic night flight and five-hour time change. If you can pull it off without collapsing, I salute your stamina.

Posted by
8 posts

Hi Southam,

I laughed when I heard your comment about hats off if I could pull of a cramped visit. It is a sentimental visit in many ways outside of work. I was a kid when we went to London in early 80s my Dad died soon after at an early age. By revisiting some of the sites I remember going to I hope to somehow reconnect with his memory. I am an Indian American but have grown to appreciate British culture despite my issues with British colonialism in India. I am stoked about my visit and hope to make the most of the 7-8 hours I will have on Sunday.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks all for the tips and suggestions I just wanted to update those of you who had been so helpful. I only had a few hours to spare on Sunday for sight seeing and on Tuesday evening I was having dinner with my cousin sister and her husband. Nevertheless those few hours were quite delightful. London is such a gorgeous city!

On Sunday I ended up taking a commuter train from Maidenhead train station into Paddington, then took the Tube and changed at Edgware Road to the Circle Line and got off at Westminster. I spent some time walking around the area, then walked across the Westminster bridge to the London Eye where I took a quick 40 min Thames River cruise. Then I walked back and took the Birdcage Walk to Buckingham Palace. I was pretty tired by then and ended up getting a dinner at a Pub near Buckingham Palace and then just took an Uber back to my Hotel. There is so much living history in the UK, even though our hotel for our corporate meeting was in a small place the restaurant/pub we went to was 600 years old!

On Tuesday evening I met my relatives for dinner in Hammersmith and then walked around a bit after that near the Thames River area. It is such a charming neighborhood!

Will definitely be back later with family to have a more extended vacation. Thanks again for all the help!