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What we may be able to see

We fly into London (Gatwick) at 9am and fly out the next day from heathrow at 1pm. We will stay in the city overnight. Considering travel time to/from airports and time for check in, etc. what will we be able to see while we're there? We are hoping to see the tower, Westminster Abbey, the war museum, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul's cathedral, and ??? Is this possible and what recommendations do people have? Thanks!!

Posted by
45 posts

There have been several threads concerning this topic (one day in London) so if you do a search in the box on the upper right you'll probably end up with more information than you really need.

In my own personal one day whirlwind tour of London I saw Buckingham Palace, the Globe Theater, Millenium Bridge, had short lunch, Tower of London (with Beefeater tour), Big Ben, stopped to watch part of the Tour of London bicycle race, the Winston Churchill Museum, Houses of Parliament, and dinner.

It was a lot to do in one day and it was after a full night's sleep and not leaving until early the next morning. I think it depends a lot on how well you do with jet lag/flight fatigue and how tired you can stand becoming. Because so many of the London sites are possible to just see I think it's easy to do a lot in a short time. In other discussions people mentioned hop-on hop-off tours, they would probably make it easier than the way I did it (walking and tube only).
Have fun!

Posted by
1455 posts

Kristina, Where in the city are you staying?
As for "seeing" the places, do you mean viewing from outside or going in to explore? For example: Buckinham Palace is easy to see. You walk up, snap a photo, and you are done. If you want to take the tour, then that's more time consuming.

Next month I will be there for 12 hours staying near LHR. My goal is to hop the tube, get a box of truffles at Hotel Chocolat, drink a pint at a pub we discovered last time, and then off to see Spamalot at 8 pm. Anything else I do is all gravy!

Posted by
3428 posts

You list is hopeful in the extreme! I'd sugest The Tower( a coulple of hours) then Westminster (just look from the outside- only a few min.- a tour- much longer) then walk down Pall Mall to view Buckingham. Walk over to Victoria Station and catch the Tube - I'd recommend going to the Covent Garden/Leciester Square area if you like markets and people watching. Have supper at a Pub in the area or do China Town, then MAYBE theatre.

Posted by
30 posts

Good point about "seeing" things. There definitely is a difference between looking from the outside and doing a full tour. So I guess we want to do one or two good tours and see other things from the outside. I appreciate the suggestions so far. Thank you!

Posted by
10957 posts

Think about the hop on-hop off bus. It will give you a good all around tour of London and allow you to get on and off at different sites.

What time of year are you going? In the summer, it stays light well into the evening and you could "see" things in the evening hours when they are closed but "visit" places during the day that are open. ("See" meaning to just see them from the outside, "visit" meaning going inside?

Posted by
208 posts

I agree with Frank's suggestion about the hop-on/hop-off bus. Take the tour - it will give you a good overview of the city.

I think to see everything you have listed in one day is not realistic. If it were me and I had to choose between St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey, for historical purposes alone, you have to go with the Abbey. It is, afterall, where kings and queens are coronated, buried and memorialized. Don't look for the Coronation Stone in the Coronation Chair - its back in the country it was taken from - Scotland.

Based on your list, I'd do the Tower (check out the Crown Jewels - be sure to go down both sides of the moving belt and just stand above them and ogle them), the Abbey and possibly St. Paul's. Depending on the day of the week you're there, some of the museums are open late (British Museum, National Gallery). It might be worth a look.

What time of year will you be there? The Palace is only open in Septemberish while HM is in Scotland.