History, food and more theatres than you can shake a stick at – London has it all and more. No matter where you are in the country, the capital of England is easy to reach, and with so much to see and do it’s a great place for a day trip.
With many options and often not enough time, just how much can you see during one day in London? To answer this question, we’ve put together a one-day itinerary packed to the rafters with sightseeing, culinary delights and – of course – the bright lights of the stage!
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and there are few better ways to start the day than with a Full English. It’s going to be a busy day so head to the fabulous 80’s The Breakfast Club in Soho for a top-notch breakfast. The menu stretches from the traditional English fry-up to an American alternative and even a breakfast burrito for those craving a taste of Mexico.
With a good meal down you, it’s time for a short walk to Britain’s most famous toy store: Hamleys on Regent Street. Packed with new and nostalgic toys and games, Hamleys is a perfect pitstop for both children and ‘big kids’ looking for a stroll down memory lane.
Once you’ve dragged yourselves away from the seven (yes, seven) floors of toys, head to Trafalgar Square. With selfie opportunities galore, as well as some actual sightseeing to be done with Nelson’s Column and St. Martin-in-the-Field Church, it’s easy to see why this iconic landmark is on every tourist’s itinerary.
Just a few steps away is the National Gallery, where you can be wowed by works from some of the history’s most famous artists including Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Botticelli and much more. Entry is free, as are the guided tours which take place at 11.30am and 2.30pm every day.
Explore the popular Regent’s Park either by foot or, if you visit in summer, take advantage of the season by hiring a rowing boat and hitting the water. The 410-acre park is home to a zoo, rose gardens and even an open-air theatre. Just be careful not to spend too long here, as you’ve still got a lot more to see!
After a jam-packed morning, it’s time for some lunch in Borough Market. With a range of stalls and cafes serving an eclectic mix of high-end cuisine and takeaway grub, this foodie paradise caters to everyone and anyone. Grab a bite to go and tuck in while watching the world go by on the South Bank of the Thames. Remember to save room for the epic selection of cakes!
Wander along the South Bank until you reach Shakespeare’s Globe – a reconstruction of the playhouse where many of William Shakespeare’s shows were staged. If you don’t have time to take in a show at the open-air theatre, then the 30 minute guided tour is a great compromise.
Continuing the journey back in time, cross the Millennium Bridge and pay a visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Here you can discover the tombs of some of the most important people in British history, including Admiral Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. Be sure to conserve some energy for the climb to the Golden Gallery, where you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring panoramas of the city.
By this point you should have worked up something of an appetite, so head to the Hare & Tortoise for dinner. Don’t be fooled by the name – this is far from standard pub grub! In fact, the Hare & Tortoise actually specialises in traditional Japanese food, and with six restaurants throughout the city, you’re never too far from sushi, sashimi and ramen. For this evening, the Blackfriars or Bloomsbury branches are probably the most convenient option.
After a few cups of sake, it’s time to wind down the evening and catch a West End show. As the world’s largest theatre district, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to choosing your entertainment for the night.
You can either book ahead, or take a gamble and see what’s available at one of the discounted ticket booths around the city on the day of the show. With the variety and quality of productions on offer, this trip to the theatre is likely to steal the show at the end of an action-packed day.
Of course, there are more than enough attractions and activities to keep visitors to London occupied, and this is just one possible itinerary for a day trip to the capital. If you have any suggestions of alternative things to do in London then go ahead and let us know in the comments!