First-Time In London? See The Best Of The City In One Day Itinerary

Find your perfect day out in London, from various museums, to royal attractions or the capital’s best food destinations.

If you’re only in town for a short span of time and want to experience the best the city has to offer, this is the itinerary for you. It takes you on a whistlestop tour past 20 of the city’s prominent landmarks.

If you don’t want to spend too long in any one place, you could just about get through it all in 1 day — but the itinerary is best to explore over 2 or even 3 days.

London is known for its chaotic walkways, historic relics, ancient pubs, regal palaces, myriad accents, and endless nightlife.  Whatever your tastes are, you can satisfy them in London.

Whatever your budget, one can always find and book accommodation in London. From budget to luxury, you can always search for a wide selection of Cheap Hotels London to suit all budgets and travel needs.

Buckingham Palace
London – Buckingham Palace Photo credit: Roger Wollstadt

Westminster Abbey 

Start your day with one of the country’s most iconic landmark, where most of England’s kings and queens have been crowned. Aim to get here when it opens at 9:30am, before the crowds descend.

The Houses of Parliament & “Big Ben” 

Getting inside to the debating chambers requires a long wait, which 1-day visitors will have to forgo, but you can admire the massive Gothic Revival pile from the outside.

No. 10 Downing Street

Bear left and look down Downing Street to No. 10. Security concerns mean that it’s no longer possible to walk to the prime minister’s front door.

Buckingham Palace 

If you’re not on a 1-day schedule, you can take a look around during the brief summer opening.

St. James’s Park 

Make your way back to Trafalgar Square via a stroll through one of London’s most elegant green spaces.

National Gallery 

The galleries cover some 8 centuries of the finest art ever created. Even on the most rushed of schedules, try to set aside at least 1 hour.

Leicester Square

Make for the “tkts” booth in the center, where you can book reduced-priced tickets for one of this evening’s West End shows.

Retrace your steps to Trafalgar Square:

Café in the Crypt 

Try to have lunch at the atmospheric subterranean self-service dining room in St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church, 6 St. Martin’s Place, WC2 (tel. 020/7839-4342) on the eastern edge of the square.

Somerset House 

Those spreading things over several days can visit the Courtauld Gallery and Embankment Galleries. If you’re watching the clock, content yourself with a quick glimpse of the magnificent courtyard.

Covent Garden

If you have the time, enjoy the street performers on the Piazza, a rummage at the market, a mooch about St. Paul’s Church, and a tour of the London Transport Museum.

St. Paul’s Cathedral 

Climb up 500 or so steps to enjoy the panoramic sweep from the top of the dome.

Millennium Bridge & River Thames

This is a bit of a detour, and so is only realistic for those spreading the tour over more than 1 day. Head south from the cathedral courtyard to the pedestrian bridge crossing the River Thames.

Tower of London 

Get acquainted with the 900-year-old symbol of royalty, blood, and gore late in the afternoon, when some of the hordes have departed. Allow yourself a few hours to get your money’s worth.

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