This Ultimate one day in London Itinerary is a resource to use if you are planning a one-day stay in this great city. Having been there for a couple of days, I definitely believe you could spend one day in London, do and see whatever is great about this side of the planet.
There could be a couple of other cities in Britain to rival London like, say, Manchester or Liverpool, but there is something about London that you can never get in any other city in the entire Europe. Well, I know it is hard to take my word for it. That is why this post would never have come at a better time.
Ultimate one day in London Itinerary – General information
London is the governing seat of the expansive United Kingdom. It is among the oldest and great ancient cities that still boast of ancient, modern and postmodern architecture. The city that has been home to English people for close to two millennia (yes, that’s 2000 years) has maintained its pristine old-age style and meshed it beautifully with modernity. It lies Southeastern of England with a clear view of River Thames.
There really isn’t enough time to be in London –it would be great to just live there. But in case you just have a day to spend in the City on the Thames, this guide gives you just the perfect sites that you don’t want to miss out on.
London is really an easy city that you won’t need much guidance to get around in. If you have a friend there though, it would be nice to have them take you around. Alternatively, I would recommend a little reading about the city before you visit. This will give you an idea of what to look out for when you venture out.
If you are the adventure traveler who wants to be surprised, however, go ahead and knock yourself out. London has it all in store for you.
Knowing a bit of history is essential before you start with the Ultimate one day in London Itinerary. This world famous city has been in existence since around 43 AD when it was established and named by the Romans. Several myths exist trying to explain the origin of the name, but all of them agree that the name has a Latin rooting. The current city extends over an area of around 600 square miles.
The initial London, and which forms the city’s core to date, however, covered an area of not more than two square miles. That area is today referred to as ‘The Square Mile’ and has become UK’s financial headquarter. It has a lot of semblance of the ancient Roman activities.
Talk about a consistent 2,000-year growth!
A lot of historic artefacts about London continue to be retrieved from The Thames. These form part of the stuff you will definitely enjoy and it’s important to know in terms of how to spend 24 hours in London.
How to get to London
Getting to London is pretty easy no matter where you are on the planet. The City opens its gates like a host would open his arms to welcome treasured guests, making it easy to get in by air land or water.
A flight to London is the most convenient way to the City. It was my preferred mode of travel. I landed at Heathrow airport- the City’s largest and most popular airport. Heathrow is used for connecting flights to most parts of the world, so you might guess it’s a beehive of activity. Getting through is not a pain, but I must say the customs officials are pretty thorough with necessary procedures.
If you are in the UK, it is just as convenient getting in by bus or the metro. You could also drive and take advantage of the city’s ample parking and free-flowing traffic.
How to get around
How to move around is an important aspect of the Ultimate one day in London Itinerary, because it defines how many attractions you will see or how much time you have on site. Walking around London is the most convenient way to move around if you want to feast on everything with your eyes. The streets are safe and although the city is populous, getting around on foot is still easy. The London Eye, The Trafalgar Square, the Big Ben and The National Gallery are all attractive sites within a walking distance of each other.
Some of the sites you will need to see within your one day stay in London are far apart. In this case, a train, bus or a taxi will help you connect quickly, easily and cheaply. The subway (call it the tube to sound more like a Londoner) is the fastest way to get around. But sightseeing is also a priority, so you might opt for a ride on a double-decker bus. A one-day travel pass will allow you to use all public means during your one day stay.
Weather conditions are essential for the one day in London Itinerary, because they are the reason for your clothing. Here is what I pack for my trips.
London has a pleasant weather, which rarely hits the extremes even in the roughest seasons. The city experiences light winds and the Thames keeps it humid even during the dry summer season.
You won’t be getting too much sun in London even during summer, but you can rest assured you won’t freeze to death either. I still recommend you to check the weather forecast and dress appropriately.
London is literally a boiling pot of recipes from around the world. The cosmopolitan nature of its population has allowed the city to excel in a myriad of dishes, all brought out with the perfection of their indigenous origins. Chinese delicacy? London got it! Italian special? London got it!
If you want to go completely English, the Fish and Chips is the meal for you. There’s not much fish coming from London itself, but there are tons of it streaming in from seaside towns just to make the meal complete.
Oh, and the traditional English breakfast! This one is heavy and ideal to set you on your way to a tasking 24 hours in London. It could incorporate any or all of the following; eggs, sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes, toast and blood pudding. Pretty mighty, right? ?
We are talking about a one day stay in London, so accommodation would not be the greatest of worries. Regarding the ultimate one day in London Itinerary it’s quite relevant where the accommodation is located, because you don’t want to waste to much time on getting to the important parts of the city.
Like I always say when it comes to one or two-day visits, an expensive hotel really does not make a lot of sense. You will be out to enjoy the city for the better part of the 24 hours, coming back to the hotel just to sleep and/or freshen up.
There are many cheap yet decent hotels in the city that would make for a great sleeping place. Alternatively, you could opt to:
- Use Airbnb accommodation
- Put up with a friend
- Couch surf
- Stay in a hostel
- Not sleep at all!
The exact nature of accommodation to choose will depend on your personality. Some people do not like to bother friends and would put up in a hotel even if they know someone. If you are the outgoing person who loves meeting and interacting with new people, a hostel or Airbnb arrangement will work best for you.
The costs are obviously one of the most important factors of the Ultimate one day in London Itinerary. Britains capital can be a pretty expensive city depending on where you look at it from. If you view it from the angle of luxury shopping in Milan or Paris, it is a pretty friendly destination. Compared to places like Madrid and Barcelona, however, and also other British cities, it becomes a costly place to visit.
The average costs for a 24-hour decent visit will be roughly as follows:
- Transportation: 15$ per day
- Food: 10$+ per day, if selfmade (25$ – 50$ for cafes & restaurants)
- Accommodation: 15$+ for a hostel (40$+ for Airbnb)
- Sightseeing: 10$+ for a sight
Your costs could go higher depending on what extras you intend to include in your 24-hour stay in London. If you want some typical British snacks or some shopping during the one day in London Itinerary, you will need to stretch your budget a bit further.
Ultimate one day in London Itinerary – Things to do & see
Now let’s get to the main part of the Ultimate one day in London Itinerary. As earlier mentioned, there is so much to do and see in this city. Therefore, with only one day to spend in London, it is important that you arrange your 24 hours carefully so that the most important things fall into a sequence and you are able to do them without much strain.
There, arm yourself with a camera and a pair of comfortable kicks (see my favourites here), and head out into the breathtaking city of London.
Stroll through the city centre
Strolling through the city centre is the first big point on the Ultimate one day in London Itinerary. Once you step out into the London outdoors you will be met by a breathtaking view of a giant city threatening to swallow you whole. Don’t fret. Walking around the streets will reveal to you a lovely and friendly city with so much that appears so regular yet so unique.
It will be fun to watch the big red busses saunter by. There are modern double-decker buses, which offer a great view of the city from the top deck. (You might want to catch one of these later on.) The black taxis buzz around like officers on patrol, ready to respond loyally to the next call of duty.
The red call boxes that dot the streets evoke a nostalgic feeling of days past, and it is amazing to find that they actually work. Make a point of calling home from one of these.
Wander into the City core and behold the architecture, which still reeks of ancient Roman designs. Appreciate how modern buildings have borrowed from the old age architecture. Behold the iconic tower of London while you are at it.
Visit the Tower Bridge
Close to the Tower of London, you get to hop on to the Tower Bridge, a passage across the Thames that has stood the test of time since it was first used in 1894. It’s the 2nd highlight from the Ultimate one day in London Itinerary. The Tower Bridge’s marvelous bascule cum suspension structure was built over a span of 12 years. The effort and attention to detail have seen it retain its state for close to a century and a quarter.
This bridge affords you a great view of the city with the expansive waters of the Thames offering a backdrop. Fish out your camera and grab several nice shots!
Visit the Big Ben
Visiting Big Ben is also must do from the Ultimate one day in London Itinerary. This wonderful piece of architecture is not even called the Big Ben! Its official name is the Elizabeth Tower (formerly Clock Tower) but the nickname for its bell has become so popular most people wouldn’t recognize it by any other name.
This is an iconic four-faced clock tower built in 1859. It was designed in neo-gothic style, standing on a 12-meter square foundation and extending to 96 meters in height. The English say it was once the ‘prince of world timekeepers.
Get into the London Eye
Get on board the world’s tallest Ferris wheel at the turn of the 21st century. This mega highlight also needs to be part of the Ultimate one day in London Itinerary.
The London Eye is a giant wheel standing at a height of 135 meters and boasts a diameter of 12 meters. The wheel has been in existence since 1999 when it was officially launched by then British Prime Minister Tony Blair. It opened to the public in 2000 and had been ridden by over 30 million people within eight years.
Hop into one of the cars on the rotating viewpoint and get to see far away corners of London from a high vantage point. There will be around 25 of you in any one of the 32-oval cars, so you don’t really have to panic if you are afraid of heights.
You will enjoy viewing the skyline from this point too. Maybe I should have mentioned carrying a pair of binoculars for this particular task.
Go to the Buckingham Palace
There is no way you can miss out on Buckingham Palace, which is why it also must be on the Ultimate one day in London Itinerary. You may want to make visiting the seat of Britain’s Monarch a priority, just like the prior four. To visit the palace, you will need to be in London during times when it is open to the public (22nd July-31st August and 1st September- 1st October). Visits are between 9.30 am and 7.30 pm.
You need not fret if your trip falls outside these dates though. You could always visit the (almost) equally spectacular Palace of Westminster which has a higher visitor rating (4.5/5) than Buckingham (4.3) anyway.
Visit a football ground
Does visiting a football ground have to be part of the Ultimate one day in London Itinerary? Yes, it does!
England prides itself as the home of football, and it is only fair that some of the best football in the country is found in London. You don’t even have to be a football fanatic to enjoy a football afternoon in London.
The atmosphere is just charged and you will enjoy it even if the game is not really your thing. If your 24 hours in London happen to fall on a weekend match day, make a point of getting in the game. The day starts much earlier than the game. There are dedicated pubs for certain clubs and people just tend to get on a new level of busy on such days. Arsenal and Chelsea are London’s biggest football clubs, but there is just as much charge in other clubs.
Visit Hyde Park
The last important point from this Ultimate one day in London Itinerary is to sample the largest Royal Park in Central London. The park was Henry VIII’s hunting ground until it was opened to the public in 1637.
There is so much to enjoy in London but if your stay is limited to just a day, the above activities and places should be your priority sites to ensure you get a true feel of the English capital. Just 24 hours in London? No problem!
Want to know more about another great capital? Read here
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