Travel Guide: 12 Hours in London

I moved into London two and a half years ago to attend University and have since fallen in love with the City. I love the variety of cultures and architecture and how accessible the entire City is. Since I have lived here for a couple of years now, people often ask me for suggestions of places to visit whilst they are here and so I thought I would write an itinerary for a day in London. I normally walk between all these places but you can always get the Tube (Metro) between each of the places using an Oyster card.

Stop 1: Dominque Ansel

A 5 minute walk from London Victoria train station, Dominque Ansel is a café worthy of Instagram. From their cute pastries to the flower displays over the front door, it is the perfect place to sit and have breakfast before starting the day. I would recommend ordering the Cronut, a pastry exclusive to Dominque Ansel, which is a croissant-donut hybrid.

Stop 2: Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is a 10-15 minute walk from London Victoria. For those of you who are unaware, Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the Monarch, Queen Elizabeth. A tradition ceremony associated with Buckingham Palace is the Changing of the Guards where the guards responsible for guarding the Palace are replaced with new guards. This occurs between 11.30am and 12pm in the summer months.

Stop 3: Westminster

From Buckingham Palace, Westminster is a 15-20 minute walk. Here lies the Palace of Westminster, consisting of the Elizabeth Tower and the Houses of Parliament. The Elizabeth Tower is the name given to the clock tower that houses Big Ben, the massive bell inside the clock tower. The Houses of Parliament is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses that make up the UK Parliament. Further down the road from the Palace of Westminster are the famous red telephone boxes where, if you position the camera correctly, you can take a photo of you beside a red telephone box with the Elizabeth Tower in the background.

Stop 4: London Eye

Across Westminster Bridge is the London Eye, a giant Ferris wheel which is situated beside the River Thames. For a fee, one can either sit or stand inside one of the pods and experience a full rotation of the wheel, allowing a full panoramic view of London. A full rotation of the wheel takes approximately 30 minutes.

Stop 5: St Paul’s Cathedral

A 30 minute walk from the London Eye and across the Millennium Bridge is St Paul’s Cathedral, a working Cathedral in Central London. The Cathedral is best known for its famous dome.

Stop 6: Borough Market

If you head over Millennium Bridge and walk along Southbank for another 10 minutes, you will eventually end up in Borough where Borough Market is situated along the high street. Borough Market is one of London’s most renowned food and drink markets and is the perfect place to buy lunch.

Stop 7: The Shard

Across the road from Borough Market is The Shard, a 95 storey skyscraper which replaced the Southwark Towers, a 24 storey office block. The Shard mainly consists of offices but there is a privately owned observation deck where you can look across the entirety of London for a fee, however I would recommend saving your money and going up the Sky Garden instead as it is free and means you can include The Shard in your photographs.

Stop 8: Tower Bridge

Another 5-10 minute walk along Southbank takes you to Tower Bridge, a combined bascule and suspension bridge. There is a pedestrian walkway if you just want to cross the bridge but I would recommend using the Glass Walkway which is included as part of the Tower Bridge Exhibition. Hope you are not scared of heights!

Stop 9: Tower of London

Across Tower Bridge is the Tower of London, a historic castle and the official Royal Palace and Fortress. This was the location of the poppies in 2014 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the First World War and is also the location of the Crown Jewels, a world famous collection of 23,578 gemstones that are still used to royal ceremonies today.

Stop 10: Sky Garden

A 10 minute walk from the Tower of London is the Sky Garden. This is London’s highest public garden consisting of an observation deck and open air terrace that offers a panoramic view over the entirety of London and is free to go up. I would highly recommend getting to the top for sunset – if this is the case, I would strongly recommend booking beforehand as it is extremely popular, especially in summer.

Stop 11: Swinger’s London

A 5 minute walk from the Sky Garden is Swinger’s, a place offering both street food and cocktails alongside a competitive game of crazy golf. Since it serves alcohol, the venue is 18+ only, but if you are of age, I would highly recommend going as it is the perfect way to end a day in London.

Where are some of your favourite places to visit in London?

30 comments

  1. Ooooh a fellow londoner! You should meet me maria and isabel next time we meet up for one of our blogging meet-ups 🙂 I love your picks – Camden and the canals (angel or kings cross st pancras or camden’s) have to be my must-go spots xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • I would love that so much! Please let me know next time you guys are meeting up. I haven’t explored north of the river much but am hoping to explore more this year and do a similar post xx

      Like

  2. Such a helpful post for people going to London for the first time! My favourite place is Covent Garden when they’ve got food stalls up 🙌🏼 I’ve still never been on the London Eye so I definitely want to do that at some point 🙂 xx

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is a great guide for someone who hasn’t been to London before. I recommend going to the bar of the Shard. It’s called Aqua Shard. If you dress properly you get the view for free and have some great cocktails up there. I recommend the Pear&Cheese Martini (best cocktail of my life) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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