A while ago I posted a photo on Instagram and asked you if you’d be interested in reading a sort of a tour guide post about London and many of you said yes. Silly creatures, now you will actually have to read it!
London is a huge city and, obviously, there are many things you need to see and many places worth visiting. There are also plenty of travel guides around the internet, but I will share with you my favourite walk, that we usually take with all friends, who come to visit us.
Here is the moment to mention that we live in the East part, so the route can be adjusted in a different way if your start and finish line are somewhere else. Keep in mind this is a short tour, that only covers a small part of London’s glory and if you have more than just a day, you can be sure you’re not going to be bored.
But if you happen to end up in the city just for a day and you want to make the most of it, but without completely exhausting yourself, here is my route:
1. Get yourself to Piccadilly Circus
There is one way to experience the buzz of central London and it is called Piccadilly Circus. No matter whether you go on a weekend or a week day, there are always tons of people, cars, performances, noise, lights…sunshine – if you’re lucky. It can be a bit overwhelming, actually, if you’re not used to big cities, but is certainly worth visiting. I remember the first few times I was in London and the feeling I used to get when going to this place – it’s just pure excitement and fascination. Love.
2. Head down Piccadilly Street
Yes, it’s not going to be easy, with all those crowds, but head towards Green Park (West, for those of you, who happen to be carrying around a compass with them.) The street is full of shiny shops and cosy cafes – even if you’re not looking to buy anything, window shopping is still enjoyable, right? Ah, make sure you buy some breadsticks. Or seeds of some sort. Trust me on that one. Oh, and if you happen to be in the area around Christmas time, make sure you check out also Regent Street – the decorations are always epic!
3. Cross Green Park and reach the Buckingham Palace
You know – shiny gates, the Queen, the guards. Take some photos and start walking towards St. James Park.
4. Take out the snacks you bought and enter St. James Park
If you’re hungry, you should have taken some food for yourself as well, because the above-mentioned treats are for the squirrels and ducks in the park, not for you. If you’re charming enough, you can even pet one of them or have a squirrel climb up your legs. They’re really not shy. And if the weather permits, you can blend with the locals and sit on the grass while having a pint or some ice cream. Or both. If weather does not permit – well, you should have brought a rain coat. By the way, I forget the snacks 99% of the times I go to this park. Squirrels must really hate me.
5. Guard’s Road
If you’re lucky, by crossing the park you’ve ended up at Guard’s road – trust me, you will recognise it. Now, take a right and start walking towards Westminster. Don’t forget to take some photos first, obviously.
6. Westminster Abbey
The legend says, you can actually enter inside. The reality insists that it is nearly impossible, as there are always crowds and queues. But even if you are not lucky enough to be able to go in, the view from the outside is stunning as well. Royal Weddings, coronations – the place is certainly fascinating.
7. Big Ben
After walking past the Abbey, unless you are blind or Big Ben is under construction (as it is now), you must see the giant clock tower – one of the most popular symbols of the country. If your timing is on point, you will hear the powerful sound it creates. Take those selfies and chose your next option!
Depending on your physical fitness, you can either cross Westminster Bridge and continue walking along the river or take a boat from the Westminster Pier and “cheat” a little bit by still seeing the main sights from the comfort of the boat’s deck. With a pint in your hand. Or a glass of wine. Or both?
If you chose the walking, you will be able to take your time and enjoy every corner on the way, while walking towards Tower Bridge. There is always something going on in that area – a festival, an art exhibition…it is always worth it and I can’t really predict what you’re going to see.
If you decide to hop on the boat (yes, your Oyster or contactless card are valid as tickets here as well), then make sure you grab a seat at the back – it is cold sometimes, but so worth it. Just keep in mind you might get some water in your face. You will be passing by many of the great attractions of London – St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Eye, Tower of London, The Shard, Greenwich Park…
My favourite moment is going under Tower Bridge. I can safely say, this is the best way to appreciate the full glory of this monument!
My journeys usually end at the O2 Arena – you hop off the boat at North Greenwich Pier and the Arena is a 2-minute walk away. By this moment you’re probably starving, so I recommend going in to grab a bite – inside is like a small city with many restaurants, so I am sure you will find something to provoke your salivation.
If you’re still not tired and you have more time, then check out the Emirates Air Line – I don’t mean grab a random but expensive flight. It is an actual cabin line above the river, giving you a wonderful view while listening to some interesting information about the area.
And if you’re still not tired, then there is something wrong with you! 😉
P.S. Probably every photo in this post was made in a different day…hence why the obvious difference in seasons. I’m not organised enough to take all the photos for a blog post about the city I live in during one day…ah, well.