What to see in London in one day

Who I am
Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Londons is calling. Is there a more beautiful, fascinating and magical city than London? It is impossible to describe it, perhaps only those who have visited it can fully understand its beauty, made of a mixture of tradition and innovation that is hard to see around. Its historic center, crossed by the Thames, is full of museums that collect artistic works of inestimable value, places to spend the cold winter afternoons, shops and much more. If you already have a good trip to London in mind, but if you haven't planned it yet, take a look at our proposed itinerary for a day in the English capital (even if we already tell you that a day in London is really too little). From fun to history, here's ours guide on what to see in London in one day.


  1. London day itinerary: Morning
  2. London day itinerary: Afternoon
  3. London day itinerary: Evening
  4. User questions and comments

London day itinerary: Morning

1 - National Gallery and Trafalgar Square

Our London itinerary starts from Trafalgar Square, the heart of the city, from which the main roads start: The Mall, the Strand and Withehall. Dedicated to Admiral Nelson's victory over the Spanish and French fleets at Trafalgar, this square was originally nothing less than the seat of the royal stables.
Right here is the National Gallery, one of the most important museums in London, where you can admire the Venus of Bilendorf (with its 25.000 years it is one of the oldest artistic finds in the world), as well as works by Botticelli and Michelangelo.
And we suggest you dedicate the first part of the morning to visiting the museum. But before entering this temple of history and culture, don't forget to have breakfast! For an Italian breakfast we suggest Caffee Nero near the square (Get directions), prices range from 10 to 16 pounds (€ 12,00-19,00).

2 - Buckingham Palace and Changing of the Guard

From Trafalgar Square it will be easy to get to Buckingham Palace via The Mall. Built in 1703, Buckingham Palace is the residence of the English Royal family that made us dream so much. Its interior has 775 rooms, and 20 hectares of park. If you go to London in the winter put your soul in peace, you cannot visit it. Entrance is only allowed in the summer months, a period in which the English Royal family moved to their summer residence. Quaint and not to be missed it is the changing of the guard, which has lasted since 1660. It runs every day from April to July and alternately from August to March (changeover time at Buckingham Palace is around 11:30 am).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 1,6 km / 20 min
  • Places visited: National Gallery (free), Trafalgar Square (free), Buckingham Palace (approximately £ 20,00 / approximately € 23,50)
  • London Guided National Gallery Tour Westminster and National Gallery Tour Entrance to Buckingham Palace Royal Stables
  • Where to have breakfast: Caffee Nero, Trafalgar Square (Get Directions)

London day itinerary: Afternoon

1 - St. James Park, Westminster Abbey and Palace and Big Ben

Quick lunch at the nearby Bar (Get directions), a nice place that offers lunch for around 20 pounds per person (€ 23,50). After lunch it's time to move to St. James Park along the famous Downing Street. Get some rest in the park, then head south. A short distance away you will find theWestminster Abbey. Imposing and majestic, it was the heart of London's religious ceremonies. In pure Gothic style, its interior will amaze you with its richness. It is also where the weddings of the English Royal family take place. Crossing the street you will find the Palace of Westminster, seat of the English Parliament. Fun fact: the Palace of Westminster is literally surrounded by an underground labyrinth that seems to have inspired Orwell for his Ministry of Truth in 1984. You are sure to know the two towers that overlook the parliament: the Victoria Tower, which gives access to Parliament, and the Clock Tower, which is what we commonly call Big Ben (although to be precise this is the name of the 13-ton bell of the tower and not the clock).

2 - Shopping (Regent Street and Oxford Street)

After seeing Big Ben, take the rest of the afternoon to do some shopping. Our suggestion is to go back towards Trafalgar Square to reach Regent Street or Oxford Street. You can walk through Parliament St. or travel by tube (the Oxford Circus stop is exactly at the intersection of the two streets).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 4,9 km / 1 h 6 min
  • Places visited: St. James Park (free), Westminster Abbey (approx £ 22,00), Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (free), Regent Street (free), Oxford Street (free)
  • Westminster Abbey ticket with audio guide London: Westminster Abbey and Changing of the Guard
  • Where to have lunch: Bbar, Buckingham Palace Road (Get Directions)

London day itinerary: Evening

1 - Dinner and Piccadilly Circus

After shopping, walk south again to reach Piccadilly Circus which, in addition to its characteristic luminous signs, also offers you an excellent place to dine if you feel the shortage of Italian food: the San Carlo Cicchetti restaurant. Perhaps the prices are not exactly cheap (around £ 40,00 per person / around € 48,00), but those who have tried it have not been disappointed at all.

2 - London Eye

The last stop of this day in London is the London Eye. You can reach it on foot (about 30 minutes) or by tube (the Bakerloo line directly connects Piccadilly Circus and Waterloo stations, the latter is a 5 minute walk from the London Eye). This giant Ferris wheel from 2000 is one of the symbols of London. 135 meters high, it will allow you to observe the whole city from a privileged position. If, on the other hand, you suffer from vertigo, no problem: the London Eye is perhaps even more impressive from the bottom up, when the lights that illuminate it reflect on the Thames, giving a unique play of reflections.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 2,2 km / 29 min
  • Places visited: Picadilly Circus (free), London Eye (approximately £ 26,00)
  • London Eye ticket
  • Where to dine: San Carlo Cicchetti, Picadilly 215 (Get directions)

Before leaving: useful tips

Suitcase ready for London? Well, but take a moment to read our useful tips for your trip.

  • museums for free: keep in mind that most of the museums and main attractions can be visited for free
  • Getting around: move on foot or by subway, which connects every corner of the city in an excellent way - more info on how to get around London
  • if you decide to extend your visit to enjoy London By Night, take a look at our offers for a stay in London

What not to see: the attractions that are better to give up

London is huge and visiting it all in one day is sheer madness, but at least we tried. Here is what we left off our itinerary due to time constraints:

  1. British Museum: the oldest public museum in the world. Due to its importance it is worth a thorough visit - More info on the British Museum - advice, prices and how to get there
  2. Sherlock Holmes Museum and Madame Tussauds: close together, suitable for children and families - More info on the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum: tips, prices and how to get there
  3. Warner Bros. Studio Tour: unfortunately this place is too far from central London
  4. Tate Gallery: it deserves a day apart to be visited properly - More info on the Tate Gallery: tips, prices and how to get there
  5. Tower of London and Tower Bridge: they are on the opposite side of our itinerary - More info on Tower Bridge: how to get there, prices and advice
  6. Camden Town: alternative neighborhood, very interesting but far from the chosen attractions
  7. The Shard: it is the tallest building in London and one of the tallest in Europe, but it is too far away

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