1 Day in London. An itinerary that…
- Is varied
- Is designed to be doable
- Includes to big sights
- Includes eating options
- And some evening entertainment
1 Day in London. 24 hours. What’s the first thing you do? Get a 1 Day London Pass. Why? Because it gets you into a bunch of the leading London attractions without paying for admission, letting you skip the pesky queues too. You’ve only got one day, remember? You don’t have time for queues. Also, it gives you great discounts on West End Theatre tickets, which will be coming in handy later on today. We’ve put together an itinerary for your 1 day in London that shows you plenty of the city, but is doable in just the one day. For some, it may be a little taxing on the legs. So consider getting the London Pass + Travel option. This gives you unlimited use of the London transport system across the duration of your London Pass. As a great big alternative to what I’m about to suggest, you can get on (and off) a hop-on and hop-off London bus tour. With your London Pass, you can choose between two different tour operators to find the one that’s right for you. Both of them have tours which cover much the same area as the itinerary below, and stops close to the main attractions. So if you feel like getting chauffeured around town on a double-decker bus, with a lively tour guide filling you in on what you see, a hop-on hop-off bus tour could be the option for you. The below itinerary is for those who primarily want to see London on foot. To pound the pavement. With a little water ride somewhere in the middle. I’ll say no more. Let’s get into it. Here’s 1 day in London…
We’re starting off at London Victoria, as it’s ideally located for our exploration of the City of Westminster. Take a stroll down Victoria Street, grabbing some breakfast-to-go from anywhere that takes your fancy. You’ll see Westminster Cathedral on your right, which is free to enter. But its architecture as seen from the outside is perhaps its most remarkable aspect.
As you reach the foot of Victoria Street, the western twin towers of Westminster Abbey come into view, with the London Eye then Big Ben in the background. The abbey, coronation church of the British monarchy since the 11th century, has a fascinating history to go with its striking Gothic appearance. Described as Britain’s Valhalla for the amount of famous folk buried here (Queen Elizabeth I, Charles Darwin, the famous Poets’ Corner where many key British literary figures’ graves are found), it’s an important place to visit during your 1 day in London. Its history, and the histories of those laid to rest here, reveal much of the country’s history from the Middle Ages through to the present day. Have a quick coffee and a slice of cake from the superb Cellarium Cafe located within the abbey complex.
Next, we’re walking down to Westminster Pier to catch a Thames River Boat Cruise. As you walk past Parliament Square on your way to the pier, take in sights of Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster, one of the primary centres of power within UK politics as the home of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Palace and Big Ben are both iconic London sights. And there are a whole lot more of them to come today. Starting with the River Thames. London’s storied water feature reveals itself as you turn towards Westminster Pier. Hop aboard the City Cruises boat for a sightseeing, guided boat ride down the Thames. Your London pass allows you to hop-on and hop-off the cruise as often as you like during the pass’s duration. You can do so at any of the four piers: Westminster, London Eye, Tower and Greenwich. Today, we’re heading down to Tower Pier. You’ll gain new perspectives on the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben from the water. And you’ll see and hear about St Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare’s Globe, Tate Modern, Tower Bridge, The Shard and the Tower of London as you make your way to Tower Pier.
The historic palace, prison and fortress sitting on the northern bank of the River Thames, the Tower of London is a highlight of any London itinerary. And this 1 day in London itinerary isn’t going to buck that trend. You’ll want to see the Crown Jewels and grab a picture with one of the impressively dressed Beefeaters during your visit, possibly hopping onto one of the tours conducting by the palace guards too. Entry is free with your London Pass, but there may still be a little queuing involved to get into this symbol of British heritage and monarchical history.
I’m hungry, you’re hungry, we’re all hungry. If you’ve got a London Pass + Travel, then you’ve got the whole city to play with. You can meet us up at the next attraction if you like. But if you’re a committed walker/teacher’s pet, you’ll be sticking with me through the knotted streets of London’s oldest area, the City of London. It’s the financial and business centre of the city these days. And there’s one thing hungry tourists on-the-go and city boys ’n’ girls have in common: they like good quick lunch places. So help yourself to something quick and tasty from one of the many food outlets dotted around the area, and tuck into it while you walk to our first stop of the afternoon.
We wanted to get a little bit of height into this 1 day in London itinerary. Built by Sir Christopher Wren to commemorate the Great Fire of London, The Monument (as it is much more commonly known) is a powerful reminder of the resilience of London and Londoners. Its height of 202 ft is the same as the distance it stands from the place on Pudding Lane where the fire started. This area was decimated by the fire of 1666. Take in the view from the top to see all that has risen up in the centuries since. Access to The Monument is free with your London Pass.
And now we’re on the move to see Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece. St Paul’s possesses one of the finest domes in all of Western architecture. It became a symbol of the UK and London’s sturdiness and togetherness during the Second World War, when it was photographed during The Blitz, unbroken and undimmed through the smoke. The breathtaking nave greets you as you enter. The crypt honours some of the most famous Great Britons, including the cathedral’s architect, Lord Nelson and Florence Nightingale. And don’t tell anyone your biggest secrets in the Whispering Gallery—an architectural quirk means people will be able to hear your whispers from the other side of the dome. Use your London Pass to head inside St Paul’s, free of charge.
We want to round off the day by seeing a show in London’s theatrical core: The West End. So let’s take a stroll down Fleet Street and the Strand to Trafalgar Square. Fleet Street was once home to many of the nation’s leading newspapers. While they’ve moved out now, a number of pubs and other buildings are still famed for their associations with British journalists, writers and publishers. Pop in for a swift pint or five at one of the historic pubs located along this famous literary strip. Oh, and if you’re hungry, tuck into some quintessentially British pub grub while you’re there. Because of how fast things move in the Business We Call Show, I can’t say for sure what musicals and plays are going to be showing in the West End when you visit. But right now on the London Pass Concierge site, we’ve got discounted tickets to The Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock, The Book of Mormon, The Lion King, The Mousetrap and so, so many more. Check the London Concierge site for more details of what showstopper you could be rounding off the day with. And we end at Trafalgar Square. You’ll want to see Trafalgar Square at night before your 1 day in London is over. It’s up to you whether you see it before or after you head to a show. If you didn’t get some pub grub on Fleet Street, Chinatown boasts plenty of fun late night options. Thank you very much for your care and attention during this whistlestop 1 day in London itinerary. It’s not necessary to tip your guide, but there’s an upturned flat cap by my feet if you feel so inclined. Safe onward travels. Want to know which souvenirs to pick up on your holiday in London? Look here.