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London in a Day

We have ONLY one day in London!!! What are the must see's? How should we travel? Thanks

Posted by
9060 posts

Rick's Paris Guidebook has a chapter dedicated to doing a London day trip effectively. The underground connects all sites in London, but there is a learning curve involved in using the transit system; for one day it may not be worth it. Thus, you may be better off using they hop-on hop-off tourist buses which connect the main attractions. Another good resource for a day trip is the "Top 10 London" guidebook.

Posted by
208 posts

I would think if I had only one day in London (I shudder at the thought!) I would have a list of the items I am interested in, with the opening/closing times and how to get to the place, and hit the ground running. Depending on the day of the week you are there, some things are open later (British Museum, British Library, etc.) so it might be best to save those items for later in the day. Typically many London things will close from 4-5pm but the ones that are open late may be open til 8:00 or 8:30.
Things I would not leave London without seeing:
1. The Tower of London. Take your time in the Jewel room - it is FABULOUS! Make sure you hit both sides of the moving platform.
2. Westminster Abbey. Thousands of years of history in one building. There are audio tours you can do.
3. If you like art, the National Gallery (FREE!!) Hit the must-sees (Arnolfini's Wedding Portrait, da Vinci's drawings). See if its open later.
To be continued:

Posted by
208 posts

4. A Thames boat ride. The Thames is a vital part of the city's history and it provides a fantastic view of the city - and from a different perspective.
5. Consider a night in the West End. Good sources for that are: and
6. Also consider the British Museum (also FREE!!) it is one of the world's best.

Here are some useful sites to get your time frames:

Good Luck!

Posted by
2739 posts

For only one day, not sure if I would go to The Tower of London, if I did go I would not go to the Jewel Room, usually there are long lines and you could be there for hours. I would go to the Tower walk around for a limited time then head for something else. Robin

Posted by
28 posts

I agree that a a hop on/off bus tour might be a good idea, especially one that includes a Thames cruise. I would hop off at Big Ben/Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Tower of London among others. Try to get a good commentator on the bus, I had one really good one and one boring stiff. If you get a bad one, hop off and enjoy wherever you are and hop on again. The above posters have some great ideas! Above all have fun, even if you get lost.

Posted by
34 posts

I spent my one day in London in Jan 2000 as follows:

arrived by train from Bath at around noon Saturday, hotel in Mayfair (weekend Superbreak deal-many still have those)
Walk to Buckingham Palace via Green Park (nice park, even in January)
Walked down s. side of St James Park to Parliament/ Westminster Abbey (did not go in)
Walked up Victoria Embankment to Embankment station
Took tube to Tottenham Ct station
Walked around Oxford Street, had lunch somewhere (sorry, it WAS 8 years ago!)
Walked to British Museum, spent the rest of the day there (the BM has become my gold standard for museums)
Tube back to Green Park Station
Dinner in a trendy restaurant down the street from the Ritz.
Left for the US the next morning.

After I got back to the US, I felt pretty good about spending most of my time at the museum-I was worried that I would be a "mile wide and an inch deep" if I tried to cram too many sights into a single day, and my memories of the experience are still vivid 8 years later.

Posted by
93 posts

St. Paul Cathedral, Westminster Abbey among others. If you do decide to go to The Tower of London, go early, and as RS recommends, head straight to see the crown jewels.