London holds a special place in my heart, both with family there and it being the place Jon proposed. It is true that there is no shortage of tourist traps, but as a non-Londoner I love them! Here is a guide of ideas if you’ve got just 24 hours in this beautiful city.
A fantastic way to explore the iconic bridge is on the Tower Bridge Exhibition tour. A unique experience with the glass floor. We had a wonderful time seeing London life 42 metres above the River Thames!
St Paul’s Cathedral
Sir Christopher Wren’s most celebrated building is a magnificent stop off. Inside St Paul’s Cathedral, you can climb to the Whispering Gallery or head down to the crypt to see Nelson’s tomb. There is a path from St Paul’s to the Millennium walk bridge across the Thames, while the £18.2 million Millennium Bridge is a sight in itself. This suspension footbridge was completed in 2000 and in the past had an issue with wobbling.
Trafalgar square and Covent Gardens
The National Gallery and The National Portrait Gallery are located in Trafalgar Square and are the perfect, free way to see some incredible collections of art-work. A favourite is Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’. Covent gardens are a lovely space to see some on street entertainment, have a little rest or do some shopping, or enjoy the sunshine and get a selfie with the famous Trafalgar Square lions.
Wander around Westminster
You will see so many beautiful sites around; you’re bound to be spoilt for choice! Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, South Bank Centre, Tate Modern, Millennium Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Shard to name a few!
Shakespeare’s Globe is a great space for theatre performances, and offers cheaper tickets than most. Walk over Westminster Bridge to Southbank for tourist attractions including the London Dungeons, Sea Life Aquarium and the London Eye. The London Eye will take around half an hour and is worth a spin if you haven’t before, letting you experience panoramic views of London from your glass-sided capsule.
Around Buckingham Palace
From Westminster Abbey, take a short walk to glimpse 10 Downing Street, and from there stroll through The Mall or through St James’ Park towards Buckingham Palace.
On the walk, you can pass by the Ritz and over the road Top1One, a gorgeous hair and beauty salon in London. Pop into the salon while you’re passing and take a little time to relax and get some hair and beauty treatments. Treat yourself to a little pampering while in Mayfair and get a manicure and pedicure while your hair is styled.
The palace is only an 8-minute walk from the salon and is the official residence of British royalty. If you arrive before 11:15 am, you can see the Changing of the Guard.
On Exhibition Road you can find three excellent, completely free museums – the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Afterwards, stroll through Hyde Park from Constitution Hill up to the London Landmark, the Marble Arch.
Sail along the Thames to Greenwich
An experience I had with my Dad many years ago, and one of the best (in my opinion) London experiences. The boat travels past the iconic London scene towards Greenwich, and is a small fee for London.
Disembark at Greenwich Pier and see the Cutty Sark, the Maritime Museum and the Old Royal Naval College.
Our visit was for my art paper, so we visited to see the beautiful frescoes and grand halls, being witness to the enormous ceiling mural in the painted hall. Jon proposed to me on a bench at the top of the hill at the Royal Observatory. The park is beautiful in itself, and the Royal Observatory is a fascinating visit.
The West End
Catching a show at one of West End’s many theatres is a great way to round off 24 hours in London.
I am lucky to have seen many; it is an enjoyable experience. Booking in advance is recommended, or you can sometimes pick up tickets on the day from Leicester Square.