With my other guides, I have had the benefit of visiting those places before creating it but in this case, I have never been to London (it’s high up on my list of places to visit). This guide is for Ronke, who will be visiting London for a couple of days next week. The information she provided me with was a huge list places they wanted to visit and the time frame of about a two days (arriving Saturday morning and leaving Monday morning).
Things I cut –
- Touring the Royal Opera House – no clear instructions on how to visit without attending a show.
- Sloane Square – Couldn’t identify the significance other than for shopping, girl you are on a time limit.
- The Queens Gallery – According to the website they will be closed from April 18 – May 18.
- Windsor Castle – This looks like a day trip and is too out of the way for a short visit.
- Victoria and Albert Museum – Unless you are into decorative art and design, I would skip this for now.
- Since you land at around 7:30 am, you should be able to drop off your baggage at the Google offices and rush off to Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guard at 11 am. Try to keep your bags there all day and head to the Airbnb later to maximize your time. Buckingham Palace is open for visits from July 22 to August 31 so you won’t be able to visit the interiors while you are there. Changing of the Guard should happen at 11 am on Saturday, April 21 but given it is the queen’s birthday there might be some changes. Either way, expect a big crowd for this show.
- From here head northwest, pass through the Wellington Arch to Hyde Park. From here you could take the long walk to Kensington Palace, or just wander around for a bit.
- Make a reservation at Sketch London and bring your appetite. Afternoon tea is served from 12:30-4:30 and will cost a pretty penny. The interiors are gorgeous and the food is never ending.
- Next head to the The National Gallery, free daily from 10am-6pm, here you will see paintings from the mid-1300’s to 1900. The huge square in front is called Trafalgar Square, an important landmark since the 13th century. If you want something a little more contemporary, wander a bit further east and visit Somerset House (again free and open 10am-6pm).
- Optional – If you have time head to The Churchill War Rooms before they close at 6pm, (19 pounds to visit). Here you will learn all about Winston Churchill, PM during World War II, and be able to tour the secret War Room bunker.
- After you can start heading to the London Eye, on your way you will pass by Big Ben, Houses of Parliment, and Westminster Abby (which closes at 1:30pm on Saturday). Finish your day at the London Eye at sunset, and be sure to book online (online prices start at 24 pounds per person)!
- Head back to Google and grab your stuff, hop on the tube and head to your AirBnB. If you are still hungry try a pub for some beer and pub grub.
- Jump on the tube to London Bridge Underground Station, from here walk east to the Tower Bridge and be sure to look up to see The Shard. The Tower Bridge was completed in 1894 and is an iconic symbol in London. You can visit inside for around 9 pounds, they are open from 10am-5:30pm.
- Next, you will be visiting the Tower of London, a historical castle where you can see the Crown Jewels, replicas of torture instruments, and a larger armory collection. They are open daily from 10am-5:30pm and tickets at the gate are 28 pounds.
- If you didn’t make it to afternoon tea at Sketch, backtrack a little bit to The Shard. Located on the 32nd floor is Oblix, where they serve tea from 12pm-3:30pm. Make sure to make a reservation.
- Make a quick stop by St.Pauls Cathedral, going in will set you 18 pounds and they are open from 8:30am-4:30pm, closed all day Sunday to tourists.
- An 8-minute walk north will bring you to the Museum of London, here you will learn all about the history of London. Free and open daily from 10am-6pm.
- From here you can either choose to go to
- The British Museum, offering human history, art, and culture. If you decide to go here, they offer a cheaper and casual afternoon tea at the Great Court Resturant inside the museum. They also have a Groupon offer right now.
- The Tate Modern, great for modern and contemporary art fans. They are both free and open until 6 pm. The Tate is also right to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
- If you aren’t completely wiped out then head to Notting Hill for dinner and do some light shopping if you have time.
- If you plan on taking the Tube, make sure to pick up an Oyster card which is similar to the Bay Area Clipper Card.
- Since you flight is at noon on Monday morning, you are going to have to face the morning rush to get to the airport around 9/10am. If you plan on taking the Tube at Kennington Station to Kings Cross Station (2.90 pounds with an oyster card), try to squeeze in a picture at Platform 9 3/4!
- The weather may not be nice (expect high 50’s with a chance of rain) but you will have plenty of sunlight (the sun sets around 8 pm).
- You will see Wagamama all over London and is a good option for lunch or dinner if you are in a pinch. It is a chain but the brits love it. Another popular chain is Dishoom, serving up Bombay cuisine.
- Looks like you won’t be able to squeeze in Borough Market this time around as they are closed on Sundays. It is located very close to the London Bridge and has excellent toasties.