How to Enjoy a Whirlwind 24 Hours In London
If you find yourself in beautiful and historic London with only 24 hours to see as many sights as possible, it can be overwhelming to decide where to start. But there is no need to fret. You can see most of the London sights while passing through or enjoy your London layover with these quick tips:
Eat Breakfast at New Armouries Café
Before you start exploring, have a quick breakfast at the New Armouries Café at the Tower of London. This eatery offers delicious croissants and pastries to get you powered up for a day of sightseeing.
Explore the Tower of London
After breakfast, begin your 24-hour whirl through London at the historic Tower of London. This majestic place is home to the Crown Jewels, legendary ravens, and Beefeater Yeoman Warders. It was once a feared prison, and you can learn more about this part of the castle’s history when you visit the Bloody Tower and its Dungeons.
You may be amazed to learn that a menagerie was once part of the Tower and consisted of elephants, lions, and monkeys. So little did the keepers know what to do with the animal “gifts” that they even allowed a polar bear to swim in the Thames. Eventually, the animals were removed and became the first residents of the London Zoo. Statues of the wild animals that once lived at the Tower can be seen all over the Tower grounds in memory of this part of the castle’s history.
Just a short walk from the Tower of London is Tower Bridge, which provides panoramic views of the picture-perfect city.
Catch the Changing of the Guard
As the morning rolls on, make your way to Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guard. The ceremony is colorful, military by nature, and should be on your 24-hour London itinerary. Afterward, stroll through St. James’s Park, where you’ll see magnificent pelicans while enjoying the view of the London Eye.
Visit the Heart of London
By midday, you should be able to get to Westminster Abbey. Several of the most significant moments in British history have taken place inside the abbey walls. This gothic place, where ceremony, celebration, and worship collide, has been a major London attraction for many decades.
Moving on from the abbey, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben await. These structures form the perfect backdrop for the ultimate one-day-in-London selfie.
Finally, board the London Eye for a bird’s eye view of the city. The London Eye, or Millennium Wheel, is Europe’s tallest cantilevered Ferris wheel. It is 443 feet tall, so if you’re afraid of heights, you should probably skip it and enjoy the view from the ground.
Museums and Shopping Awaits
Late afternoon is the best time to visit the British Museum. It is the first national public museum of the world, combining world cultures under one roof. You won’t be able to see the 8 million objects held in the museum in an hour, which is why they offer a 1-hour tour of the most fascinating exhibits. These include The Rosetta Stone, Parthenon Sculptures, the Hoa Hakananai’a statue, the Aztec serpent, the Lewis Chessmen, and more.
After this educational hour, you can unwind in Covent Garden, where street performances will keep you entertained. This is the perfect place to find a London souvenir and grab a late afternoon bite before dinner.
End Your 24-Hour Visit at the Thames
End your 24-hour whirlwind tour of London at the striking Shard building, where you can watch the sun go down over the city. As night begins to fall, you can book a cruise on the River Thames and listen to spooky urban legends about historical London. Some of the most popular cruises include the London Dinner Cruise, the City Cruises Thames Jazz Dinner Cruise, and the Bateaux London Platinum Dinner Cruise.
Prepare Well for a Busy Day
Before tackling a 24-hour trip through London’s streets, it’s crucial to be well prepared. Use the London Underground to get from Point A to Point B. If you’re only flying out the next day, book your accommodation close to the Underground to minimize travel time. Don’t forget to buy a London Pass. This saves heaps of time and money when visiting several locations. Wear comfortable shoes, like sneakers or walking boots, and keep your water bottle filled up. There is much walking between Underground rides, and you don’t want to get dehydrated.
Lastly, have fun and make memories.