London is famed for being one of the most iconic cities in the world, rivaled only by the likes of New York and Paris. With a colorful history and a bustling city scene, there is no wonder that people come from far and wide every year to experience all that London has to offer. Although it is wise to spend more than a day in London to get a true feel for British culture, there is a lot you can squeeze into a London day trip that will leave you wishing you could come back for more. If you are struggling to whittle your options down to a select and special few, make sure you take note of what to do in London for a day.
Stop by Buckingham Palace
No day trip to London would be complete without visiting the home of the Queen. As somewhere that has housed major monarchs for many years, Buckingham Palace is as much an architectural marvel as it is a key bucket list tourist stop. You should make sure you bring your camera with you to capture some shots of the palace, but you should also visit in the two months of the year where the Queen opens her doors to visitors. If you are there just after the sun comes up, you can avoid huge crowds, see the palace in rose-tinted lighting, and immerse yourself in the rare quiet of the London morning.
Visit Big Ben
As the most significant part of the United Kingdom’s Houses of Parliament, Big Ben has been a crucial part of the London landscape since its construction. You will recognize it from old postcards and travel articles, but there is nothing like seeing it in person. As soon as you set foot near Westminster, you will see the old clock and gothic spire piercing the sky. To make your London day trip even more special, you should walk past Downing Street to catch a small glimpse of where history is made.
Ride the London Eye
While both Big Ben and Buckingham Palace can be seen at great angles from the ground, there is no doubt that you can add a whole new dimension to all the London landmarks by taking a ride on the London Eye. Seen as one of the city’s most loved attractions, it is also the best place in the entire city to see an enhanced view of London. Ideally, you should book in advance of your trip to save you money, and to ensure you don’t spend hours queuing with other tourists in a bid to get to the top.
Walk Along the Thames
If there is one part of London that people always talk of, it is the magic of the River Thames. As a feature which has defined the city since its conception, it has been an integral part of London’s landscape through major events like the Great Fire of London. In both winter and summer months, walking along the Thames gives a sense of serenity to your otherwise busy day in the city. Even better is the abundance of bars, cafés, and restaurants that line the riverbanks, where you can sit and take in the views. If you would like to delve deeper into the history of the city, you can visit the Museum of London.
Experience London greenery
As one of the largest cosmopolitan cities in the world, you’d be forgiven for thinking it would be a challenge to find any green space in the middle of London. However, the beautifully green Hyde Park is somewhere that people can visit to relax on the grass and to see how local people go about their day. Other notable green spaces include Regent’s Park and Kew Gardens, which are home to both native and exotic plant species from around the world. You can also find many hidden green spots if you have a spare moment during your day to explore.
London is one of the fashion capitals of the world, and if you are looking for what to do in London, one essential activity is to go shopping. From the wonderfully charming vintage spots in Camden to the ever-busy shopping haven of Oxford Street, there is something here to suit every kind of shopper. If you are more interested in spending your money on souvenirs, you can find small shops on every street corner selling a variety of London and England based memorabilia. During the winter months, you should also make sure to stop by the Christmas markets that are scattered across the city. The market in Leicester Square is recommended the most if you want to combine it with a trip to Chinatown or a viewing of a West End production.