London in One Day

One day in London just scratches the surface of all the wonderful things this city has to offer but that might be all the time you have. Perhaps you’re on a business trip and only have one day before you have to fly back home. Or you’re on a tour of England or Europe and only have one free day to do London. So what do you do?

st-pauls-cathedral

Well there is definitely more than one way to spend your day wisely and really enjoy London. Some people would like to pick one or two things, like the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, and spend some time exploring each of them with some depth. Some people would like to pick one thing, like the British Museum, and spend the whole day there really taking it all in. And then others would like to see as many of the main attractions and landmarks as possible to get a taste of the city. And that’s what “London in a Day” can help you with. I’m going to give you a taste of the city that will no doubt leave you wanting more and planning your next trip on the flight home.

With a day as packed as the one on this itinerary it does take some advance planning. You don’t want to zigzag all over the city and waste precious time and you want to feel like you’ve had a few moments to relax and just take it all in. Hopefully this itinerary will give you that balance, along with anticipating some of the questions you might have, to help you have a wonderful experience. Some of the questions you might have are:

  • I didn’t think to bring any drinks with me. Where can I pick some up?
  • I’m hungry. What would be a good place to have lunch or dinner in the area?
  • I need a toilet. Where can I find one? And will it really cost me money? (the answer is yes…public toilets do cost money)
  • I want to bring some souvenirs home to the family…but really don’t want to carry them around all day. Do you know a good spot to stop?

And …what the heck are all these buildings I’m walking by from one big landmark to another? Are any of them something I might be interested in knowing about too?

You can sit back and relax because I’ve got you covered.

Tomorrow I’ll be back with the full itinerary in two downloadable versions for you– the long version with information/commentary about the sites you’re seeing and a short “just the facts, ma’am” version. You can take your pick. Or pick both. But before that we should start with a few basics to ensure the day goes as smoothly and comfortably as possible and that’s what we’ll look at today.

Your GREAT day out starts with ensuring you have some essentials-

  • Comfortable shoes. Nothing ruins a day quicker than sore feet and blisters. Wear something you know you can walk in most of the day.
  • Some small change for those public toilets. About 50 pence should be enough for each toilet. Bring 10p and 20p coins in lieu of only 50p coins and you’ll be covered if they cost less too.
  • An umbrella. If there is any chance of rain, bring one. You have lots to see and with an umbrella you’ll still be able to enjoy it in most rainy conditions. Plus it seems like an umbrella is the best “rain prevention system” there is. I have many days in London with bright sunny skies that will attest to this.
  • Sunblock. Because you’ve brought your “rain prevention system” the skies will be sunny and blue for you * so you certainly don’t want to dampen what was a wonderful day with a painful sunburn to deal with on the flight home.
  • A day pass for the Tube. There will be several trips on the Tube for this itinerary, in addition to getting to the starting station from your accommodations and then back again at the end of the day. These can be picked up at the station you start from (or ordered online ahead of time- see further information below) and they are good all day for as many times as you want to use them on the Tube and the double-decker buses. For this itinerary you’ll only be traveling in Zone 1 but will also need to take into consideration which zone your accommodations are in and buy a Tube pass accordingly.
  • A bottle of water or your drink of choice. Sometimes it’s good to have a little snack like a granola bar or similar too (just in case you’re one of us that tends to get a wee bit irritable when you’re hungry and your dinner is still a little ways off yet).
  • Your London Eye Tickets that you’ve purchased in advance. More information below.
  • Your camera! With so many things to see today make sure that the battery is fully charged and you have lots of memory on your SD card left. You’re going to need it!

london-underground

London Tube Pass

There are several options available for Tube passes and the one you choose will depend on how long you are staying, whether you are traveling with children (over 11 years old) and if you have enough time to order the pass from home or not.

Since you’ll be making a few journeys on the itinerary it will likely be best to look at a Visitor Oyster Card or a Travel Card. The Transport for London website will give you a helpful comparison for these two options so you can make the best choice for you. Their website also includes maps to plan your route from your accommodations or a “Plan your Journey” tool where you can input your “from” and “to” locations and it will give you the results for trip time on the Tube, bus, or walking. Note the walking time as sometimes it is faster to walk than take the Tube.

There are also several free Apps available for the London Tube.  To avoid roaming charges it’s best to find one that will work off-line. Personally I have one called “Tube Map London Underground” by Visual IT Limited for Android. It was free, works off-line, and has a route planner on it (either on the map or with text) along with some other features.

london-eye

London Eye

Normally I’d suggest the most economical ticket choice, so your money would go further, but as this is the only entrance ticket you’ll be purchasing today and you’ve got limited time I’m going to suggest you spend the extra to get the tickets with Fast Track entry.

The price for anyone four years old and up is £29.50 **(children under 4 are free) but if you purchase your tickets at least 24 hours in advance online you can save 10% on that walk-up price and they are £26.55 instead. To purchase your tickets online please visit the London Eye website.

So you’ve got all your essentials covered and you’re ready to go right? Excellent!

Jump right to the full itinerary and start planning your day out in London!

*Obviously I can’t control the weather and ensure you have a bright and sunny day but I sure will keep my fingers crossed for you! :-)

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2 Comments

  • Some really interesting details! I love that you included those things that we most usually forget! An umbrella is definitely always a must – even when you think it’s sunny haha!

    • Thanks! I figure if you only have a day it would be shame to miss out on something for a little rain. Like the Boy Scouts say “Be Prepared!” and then we don’t have to miss out on anything! :-)

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