When a man is tired of London, he’s tired of life.
There was a time when I was at University that I got bored of London, and began to slowly retreat back to my quieter life in Essex. I’ve since fallen back in love with the city, and am starting to really miss it.
Before I moved out to Canada I decided to spend a day in my hometown of London doing bunch of touristy things. I wanted to see my home city for one last time before I flew out the week after.
I’ve seen a lot of London, like I mean a lot. But I still haven’t seen everything.
It took me 25 years to see the inside of Buckingham Palace after saying I’d book the tickets year after year. And last year I saw Number 10 Downing Street for the first time. I must admit, Downing Street has never really held my interest but it was still nice to walk past.
I much prefer walking on foot around cities, I find that this is how you find hidden gems, side streets etc. So everything we did today was on foot (minus one tube ride)
So with just under 24 hours to play with, this is what I ended up doing.
(Keep in mind that I travelled approximately 1.5 hours into London and left much later in the day than I’d planned – meaning if you’re staying in London and get out earlier than I did you can do so much more)
Tower Bridge & The South Bank
From here we caught the tube to Blackfriars, and walked across Blackfriars Bridge towards the South Bank. Along here you can see the Oxo Tower, Royal Festival Hall and the London Eye.
Just by the London Eye is the County Hall. Where you can visit tourist spots such as Shrek’s Adventure, The London Aquarium and the London Dungeon. These are all great attractions if you are traveling with children.
Westminster Bridge & Palace of Westminster
From the South Bank, you reach Westminster Bridge. This is a great photo spot for the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben. Even more striking at night.
Make sure to check out the statues of important figureheads in Parliament Square
Walking along past Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster, we took a right down Whitehall and peaked a glimpse at 10 Downing Street.
Until now, I’ve never had a photo taken with a Horse Guard. I guess there is a first for everything.
The end of Whitehall brings you out to the Magnificent Trafalgar Square. Looking up you’ll see Lord Horatio Nelson, keeping guard over the city. The beautiful building in the background is The National Gallery, my favourite art museum. It’s extensive collection feature’s paintings such as Sunflowers by Van Gogh and Water-lillies by Monet.
Trafalgar Square is a nice place to take a breather. Enjoy the fountains, climb the lions and take a moment from the busy city to embrace it all.
Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly Circus
From Trafalgar square, we then decided to take a walk down the Mall, towards Buckingham Palace. This is a beautiful walk and the sides of the road leading up to the Palace will sometimes be lined with British flags.
On the right side of Buckingham Palace you will find Green Park, a great place for a leisurely stroll all year round. Here you’ll find the Princess Diana Memorial fountain.
Heading out of Green Park and taking a right is Piccadilly. A long road featuring, De Beers, The Ritz hotel and the Wolseley.
Everything in London is at your finger tips. At the end of Piccadilly, we reached Piccadilly Circus. Similar to New York’s Times Square and a very busy intersection. From here, you can access, Regent Street, Liecester Square and Shaftesbury Avenue. We took Shaftesbury Avenue as we needed to make our way in that direction for our Afternoon Tea reservation.
Covent Garden & Theatreland
A short walk away from Piccadilly Circus is Covent Garden. Covent Garden is one of my favourite places in London. I find it to be much calmer during the daytime and it comes alive at night. Covent Garden is home to many quaint unique shops and market stalls. You’ll find cute little bars and restaurants adorning the side streets.
Covent Garden is in the heart of Theatreland and many restaurants and cafes offer a pre-theatre menu.
Here we browsed in the Moomin shop, which is a relatively new addition to the shop. I believe this used to be David & Goliath?
There is now a Laduree patisserie in Covent Garden too. There used to only be the Harrod’s and Burlington Arcade shops. I popped into the Laduree and already saw what I’d come for – the Caramel Cat! As a lover of pretty boxes and macarons, I bought 6 macarons presented in a box featuring a cat. Everything I love in one.
You can be sure to see many street performers in Covent Garden, we watched an Opera singer for a little while in the main market square. He was incredible.
It was now time for us to head to the British Museum, another one of London’s gems. Situated in the Holborn area of London, it was only a short walk away.
We had a reservation booked for afternoon tea here, we checked in and chose our tea of choice. English Breakfast all the way for me.
A variety of finger sandwiches, mini bagels and quiches. Sweet and savoury scones in the middle, topped off with an array of sweet treats. Finally accompanied by a glass of champagne.
I’ve been visiting this museum since I was a small child. It’s always fascinated me. Me and my sister are really into ancient Egyptian history, so we spent a while checking out the real-life mummies on display. Here is where they also display the original Rosetta Stone.
One of the West-End’s best attractions is the Theatre. I was lucky enough to see one of the previews for School of Rock thanks to my sister’s friend who works on the show. Even Andrew Lloyd Webber was attending that night. How exciting!
There is so much more to do in London, further afield. But with one day to play with this route hit some of London’s biggest landmarks and some of my favourite places.
Have you ever visited London? What are you favourite London landmarks?