Trafalgar Square, Northumberland Avenue, Mayfair… you would think you’re playing a game of Monopoly! London is a diverse and vibrant city, one that has welcomed people from all walks of life over the past 2,000 years. It has quickly become a hub of business and travel, and it's easy to see why. With any major city, 24 hours is simply not enough time to see everything that the city has to offer, and London is no exception.
From the moment you arrive until the moment you leave this amazing city, London offers many activities and sights for all ages and budgets.Whether you prefer to see the city on foot or on a bus, there is something for everyone.
Begin your 24 hours in London as early as possible, because, to put it bluntly, you would be silly not to. However you find yourself travelling to London, make sure you stop by Lowry & Baker for brekky.
Opening at 8am, this little café is a London staple, and it’s easy to see why. A traditional English setting, cosy and friendly atmosphere... perhaps the best selling point of all, it's an independently run institution. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so make sure you get it right. What better place to refuel the tank for a day of exploring the Big Smoke?
8 Portobello Road
There is no better way to digest a delicious breakfast than by taking a stroll through the Portobello Road Markets, one of the most famous markets in the world.
Established 150 years ago, this is the one of the city's focal points when it comes to antiques and fashion. If, for some reason, you're still feeling peckish, there are limitless food stalls full of diverse culinary fare. While you're here, make sure you check out Lancaster Road, a strip of colorful and simply beautiful houses.
7 Madame Tussauds
This world-renowned wax museum is essential for any London itinerary. You simply can't appreciate the wax figures until you see them in person at Madame Tussauds.
It may not have been on your list of things to do before, but you really should make a point of visiting. No matter if you’re with your partner, friends or your children, the museum has something to keep everyone occupied, thanks to the variety of interactive activities available. Real actors also operate the tours through the museum, which does nothing but enhance your experience.
Sea Life London Aquarium
As you head from Madame Tussauds to the center of town, pop in to the Sea Life London Aquarium.
The aquarium is the perfect spot for the kids to get lost (not literally) in the variety of sea life on offer, in a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere to boot. If you are travelling to London during the summer period, it is recommended that you pre-book your tickets to avoid the queues (as is the case with most tourist attractions during this season).
6 The London Eye
This one should be common sense, as the London Eye can be spotted from pretty much anywhere in the city and draws millions of tourists each year.
From the aquarium, it is quite literally 50 meters down the road, so don’t worry about trying to navigate the subway system. Some may think it's just a Ferris wheel in the middle of a big city, but as with Madame Tussauds, you just cannot fully appreciate what it has to offer until you experience it for yourself. The sweeping, panoramic views of the Swinging City are just breath-taking.
5 Westminster Bridge (/Big Ben/ Parliament)
Just five minutes away from the London Eye, you'll find an equally popular attraction: Westminster Bridge, along with Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. From the bridge, you can capture 360 degree views of the city in one photo: begin at Big Ben, then on to the Thames, then the London Eye, around to the Houses of Parliament and then around to Big Ben.
If you’re lucky, a traditional red double decker bus may sneak in to the photo at just the right time to add that extra sense of authenticity to the shot.
4 Westminster Abbey
Unlike the television show, the building of Westminster Abbey dates back to the year 929 and is most certainly one of oldest buildings in London. It's just another five minutes (if that) from Westminster Bridge and Big Ben, and you've no excuse for missing out.
This magnificent building has become famous for hosting a whole array of significant events over the centuries, including several royal weddings. Need I mention what it looks like inside?
3 Trafalgar Square
A similarly brief from Westminster Abbey will see you arrive in Trafalgar Square. Here, you will be surrounded by… well, tourists, yes, but also many traditional, independent British cafés, street performers and --perhaps the most famous of all-- The National Gallery.
This art gallery exhibits some of the world’s most valuable art collections, with over 2,000 pieces of art on show. Back to the Square itself, you can easily pass 3 hours here without thinking about it, but with just one day to spend, time is most definitely not on your side. Relax and enjoy a freshly brewed cup of tea, then continue your visit with a short walk to Buckingham Palace.
2 Buckingham Palace
Again, a must while in London. Try and time your visit to Buckingham Palace so that you can catch a glimpse of the famous changing of the guards ceremony (which only takes place once per day).
If you happen to miss the ceremony, or it’s just not your thing, that's no problem. You can take photographs at any time of the day. You can even learn some of the building's history through a short tour of the Palace.
1 See London Your Way, With Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours
While this isn't a tourist attraction as such, it will help you to discover more of the city in a short period of time.
There are many tour bus companies to choose from, each offering hop-on hop-off tours that take you to around the streets of London. In this way, you can pick and choose what you'd like to see. You can even hop off at Westminster Bridge, explore the surrounding areas, grab some lunch and then hop back on, ready to explore one of the many other areas in and around London. Or, if you prefer, stay put on the bus and let the guide to the talking!