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What to see in London on my jet lag day..

We will be arriving in London early morning but the family member we are staying with isn't picking us up until after work/evening. This will not be our only day in London, but I am overwhelmed with all of the places to see in London.

Can anyone suggest some thing to do to fill that day and see a decent amount of stuff but considering we will be tired.

Could anyone suggest a place to store out bags (we will have 2 carry on sized bags).

Also, we are not super interested in museums, we enjoy people watching, and would like a good introduction to London. (We will possibly only have one other full day on the ground in London)


Posted by
219 posts

I'm actually flying in to LGW.. I'm guessing that changes things?

Posted by
9363 posts

Whatever else you do, I would NOT suggest taking a hop-on, hop-off bus tour that first day. They are a great introduction to the city, but if you didn't get much sleep on the plane, you could find yourself nodding off and missing the whole thing. That happened to my parents and my sister's family on their first trip to London after an overnight flight. Stay outside, keep moving (even browsing in shop windows), and stay awake as late as you can that first day.

Posted by
8 posts

The Hop on Hoop Off is a great intro to the city-and not too tiring, the act of geting off and on keeps you moving and awake. If you arrive early enough then another suggestion is to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, there is some great people watching there.

Posted by
59 posts

This sounds like their first trip to Europe. Who's going to nod off with all this excitement? These people are overwhelmed by all the tourist possibilities and sound like they are young enough to stay alert during all this fun stuff. The hop on hop off should be perfect for them. Nancy, think about your first trip those many eons ago! LOL

Posted by
219 posts

Thank you for all the help! I'm still considering the bus, but it seems somewhat expensive and we're on a somewhat tight budget. This is what I've put together for our first day, let me know what you think!

4/21 Day 1

7:20 Arrive
Take Southern Rail Line – 45 min - £10,90 – to Victoria Station (To get to Westminster take line 11 or 24)

9:00 Eat something, get oriented

10:30 The London Tour - Westminster & the West End
-From Westminster Tube exit 4 (lines Circle, District, and Jubilee)

-Featuring: Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the Changing of the Guard, Royal Park, St. James's Palace, clubland, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, Admiralty Arch

Afterwards, stop by visitor center near Piccadilly

13:00 Lunch

14:00 –National Gallery

Afterwards, spend time in Covent Garden before going to get our bags.

**I'm still not sure what time we're meeting up with family so I'm having to make some assumptions on time.

Posted by
9363 posts

I was reporting my family's first trip. They didn't sleep much on the plane, and once they got on the bus and sat down, the swaying of the bus soon knocked them all out. No matter how excited someone might be, sitting on a bus isn't the same as moving around, and if you are tired, you could fall asleep. I'm just sayin'...

Posted by
8700 posts


I see that you've discovered that taking a Southern train to Victoria is cheaper than the Gatwick Express. One thing to be aware of is that if you'll be arriving on a weekday, the Southern trains will be full of commuters while the Gatwick Express will not be crowded at all. Still, if you pack light, you won't have much of a problem fighting the crowds.

If you do take a Southern train, buy a one-day, zone 1-6 travelcard at the Gatwick train station. Buy a Southern train ticket to get you from Gatwick to zone 6. Use the travelcard for Tube and public bus rides in London for the rest of the day.

If you're feeling adventuresome, study the routes of the hop-on hop-off tours in advance online. Pick up a map of the London bus system and use your travelcard to create your own hop-on hop-off routes. For online maps of bus routes, go to the Transport for London site.

Posted by
64 posts

I absolutely vote for the hop on hop off bus. My husband and I did this on our first day in London and it worked well for us. We got on on top of the bus in the open air and found the fresh air to be really helpful. You could get off and walk a bit near the London Eye and go on the wheel for a great view. Take a walk on the Thames then get back on the bus.

Posted by
354 posts

I agree with Tim about the crowded commuter trains. Considering the time you're arriving, if it's a weekday the regular commuter trains will be super crowded. Your itinerary sounds ok to me, though you might be a bit too tired to take in the National Gallery in the afternoon. Good idea to go to Covent Garden - people watching and you can rest your feet at a cafe.

Posted by
18 posts

I would not assume to arrive at nine after landing at 7:20 at Gatwick. I also would take the Gatwick Express into Victoria just for the quick arrival into town.

Posted by
875 posts

We were on our way to Athens the next morning so I wanted to go to the British Museum to see the "Elgin" Marbles. We also walked around Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, down Whitehall to Big Ben. Had lunch at a pub mid-day. About 4:30 p.m. my husband seemed to run out of energy so we took the tube back to our hotel near Heathrow, had dinner there and then a somewhat early evening to bed. Felt great the next day when we flew to Athens and joined our tour -- everyone there was really jet-lagged out but us.