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On the First Day I Arrive in Londn - What to Do?

We arrive on 12/26 @ 9:30 a.m. After we get to our hotel and get sorted, what should we do for the rest of the day that will not be too exhausting? Our hotel is in the Kensignton area. I was thinking a hop on/hop off bus tour might be OK since we aren't going to have tons of energy that first afternoon.
We'll be up at the crack of dawn on Dec 27th with a full itinerary but I am thinking of things we can do that won't take too much energy or walking when we first arrive.

Posted by
2030 posts

I agree - If the weather is not too bad -- relax and take the hop on hop off bus to get an overview of the city. You might have to sit inside rather than on top if it's cold or rainy but you will still see a lot. You may see a nice tea salon open to rest at also.

Posted by
3551 posts

Your idea is a good one about hop on and off bus. However it is getting quite expensive for just a few hours use(about 20 GBP ea.) I would walk so you can to stay awake. If not raining, walk thru Hyde Park to Buckingham Palace for a snack. By then you will be ready to return to hotel. Or if raining bus to Trafalgar sq and visit National Gallery (no fee), have a snack/lunch downstairs then cross st to St Martin-in-the Fields Church(no fee) then make your way to hotel for an early night.

Posted by
5688 posts

Hi Jennifer,
I often find that walking around outside is helpful for overcoming jet lag after sitting on a plane for 8 hours. A couple of suggestions:
- If the weather is nice, see if you can book a "flight" on the London Eye. Stroll along the Thames.

- The previous suggestion for the National Gallery is good; its a great museum. The British Museum and Tate Modern are other good choices.
- If you can tolerate a little walking, take the afternoon London Walk (

Posted by
2785 posts

You must remember the December 26th is Boxing Day which is a holiday. The tube and buses will be running on a limited schedule and a lot of places will be closed.

Posted by
658 posts

Also remember that 26 December is the traditional start of the sales. So unless you love manic crowds avoid the area around Harrods or Kensington High Street, Picadilly, Oxford Street, Regent Street etc.

Try taking a walk through Kensington Gardens or Hyde Park and then find sanctuary from the insane bargain hunters in a nice friendly pub, The Red Lion on Waverton Street is pleasant.

Posted by
808 posts

Find a street facing Café in Kensington with a large window and people watch all the bargain hunters! Enjoy a nice hot Tea and a scone and relax! Soak in the experience!

Posted by
25 posts

Thanks for all of the suggestions and advice. We are lucky in that a friend lives in London and will pick us up at the airport and drop us at the hotel. I like several of these suggestions - very excited to get there!

Posted by
3428 posts

Consider going to Leciester Square and Covent Garden and just people watch! I don't know if the markets will be open in Covent Garden on Boxing day, but it is one of my favorite places to stroll. There are always "performace artists" and buskers around. They put on quite a show. Leciester Square is just unique!! A wonder place to wander or sit and observe!