London in a Day Itinerary

I recently had a pretty long layover in London that didn’t even last a full 24 hours, so it prompted me to share a London In A Day itinerary. One day in London may be far too short for some, and for others, it’s more than enough. Aside from the usual gloomy weather and/or rainy days, I happen to be one of those insane people that really like London. The architecture sold me.

During my first visit to London I only took a couple days to wander the city in between hitting the countries I’d really traveled to Europe to see (Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Iceland). However, after my first day I was googling apartments that I could possibly rent should I return one summer. I had no clue when I’d be able to live that type of life but look at me, renting an apartment in Malta for a month and writing this.

London In A Day

 

Buckingham Palace

My previous trip to London allowed me to purely be a tourist. Go check out Buckingham Palace before or after hitting up Trafalgar Square and any museums that may interest you. It’s funny that I only knew of Trafalgar Square from Harry Potter films, but for some reason I input that location into my maps when I ran out of things to do on one rainy day. I saw a huge museum as I was getting a few photos and didn’t think much of it because I don’t like to pay for museums (it’s the DC in me, all of our museums are free). I happened to google the cost just in case it was cheap enough for me to enter and lo and behold I read that it was free. After becoming engulfed in the artwork I left out to explore some more.

Soho Square/ Oxford Street

If the weather is nice, I suggest hanging out in Soho Square whether it be for sunbathing or to rest your feet after trampling up and down Oxford Street. While I never shop while traveling (super frugal and no space for things) I do tend to window shop a bit. Sometimes I want to be in the crowded areas but not necessarily do anything. Besides, I can now say I’ve been to the Topshop on Oxford Street, if only to escape the rain and bum some wifi.

The London Eye

Another great area to explore is anywhere near the London Eye. At some point I was able to get my shots of Big Ben (pre-restoration) and the London eye all within a few minutes of eachother. One thing I didn’t think to do was walk across the London Bridge so if you want to be a super tourist, do that.

Check Out Other Neighborhoods

Brixton

During my recent day in London I wanted to check out other neighborhoods outside of Central London. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy Central London and if I could rent an apartment for an extended time anywhere, it’d be there. But I wanted to see what else was out there.

Brixton is a neighborhood that I see pop up often during others trips to London. Because I was staying in the Victoria area (close to Buckingham and a great place to hop on the express train to the airport), Brixton was an hours walk away. I set off on foot to see what I’d find.

By the time I actually made it to Brixton I was famished. I sat down at a local Nando’s restaurant and waited out the rain. I must say it was finger licking good and even though we have Nando’s where I live in the states, this was the first time I’d ever visited. I don’t ever recommend eating things you can eat anywhere, so I’d recommend eating your way through the Brixton Market and Village. Another cuisine I love in London is Indian food or if you want to keep it simple, find a spot for fish and chips.

Due to the African and Caribbean influence in Brixton, you may be interested in checking out the Black Cultural archives to see the history of these communities and how they were formed. Another thing I noticed during my wanders around Brixton was the endless number of vintage shops and thrift stores. If thrifting is your thing, London is the place to do it.

Shoreditch

I thought I’d make it to Shoreditch during my one day in London but I unfortunately did not. Thankfully I’m starting to realize that if I had, I wouldn’t have had the chance to see everything. If you’re good on playing tourist in Central London and have no desire for Brixton, I think it’s safe to assume that your London in a day itinerary could consist solely of things to do in Shoreditch.

I met a Brit on my plane to Copenhagen last year and ended up hanging out with her and another friend during my first day there. The one area she recommended I check out was Shoreditch once I got back to London and I wish I had made the time to do so. She told me about the street art and I thought it was nothing special, but it turns out that this area is known for it’s street art and has been labelled as some of the best in London. The wheels are turning in regards to my next trip to London and I think I’ll go out of my way to see it.

In addition to art, Shoreditch is known for its street food. Shoreditch is also somewhere that you can eat your way through at one of the many restaurants, but I’d definitely start with street food as an appetizer. It’s usually cheaper and if you’re on a tight budget it may be pleasant not having to tip on top of paying for food.

If you’re as into clubbing as I am (jk, I hate clubbing) then Shoreditch is definitely the area for that. Londoner’s know how to party. When I was headed to the airport in the middle of the night we went through an area where hundreds of people were spilling onto the streets after/in the middle of partying. It made me consider for all of two seconds checking out the London club scene the next time I return.

If you’ve been to London have you checked out any of these areas on the list? How’d you like it and what would you recommend?

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4 comments

  1. Hey Monique! How far is “touristy” London from the airport? Does the trip from the airport significantly cut into your time if you have a long layover?

    1. Hey Alison! So there are 3 airports but I’ve been to both Gatwick and Heathrow a couple times and both are usually an hour via public transportation.Navigation is pretty easy in my opinion and this all depends on where you’re staying. For instance, I stayed in the Victoria area on my last trip and had it not been a weekend, I could’ve gotten to Gatwick in 30 mins on the express train. However, if I’d stayed in the area I stayed in last time (Kings Cross (also popular))) it would’ve taken an hour due to the lack of an express train. I’d pick an area to stay 50% for convenience and 50% depending on the time of your departing flight. Thinking of Paris, and both airports there…it seems as though and hour from the city is the norm and give yourself 15-30 mins more to be safe.

  2. I went on the London Eye while in London it was so much fun. They had a little interactive movie experience. Notting Hill and Bloomsbury are other nice neighborhoods too.

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