1. EXPLORE WESTMINSTER
Westminster is perhaps the most famous area of London. Located on the north bank of the River Thames, Westminster includes the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and St James’s Park.
There are tremendous views of the London Eye, and Buckingham Palace is just a short walk up the street. If you are looking to knock all the major sights out in one go, this stop will do it.
2. CLIMB TO THE TOP OF ST. PAUL’S
When looking for a view of the London skyline, most people think to head to the London Eye. While the eye is fun to look at, riding it is a little overrated. The glass windows create a glare on photos, and you are only at the top for a very short amount of time. The best place to get a great view of London is the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral. The domed cathedral is famous itself and it is worth visiting just to look around inside. But, if you are brave enough to climb the 528 steps to the top, you will be met with outstanding views of the city. The climb itself is something of an experience as the steps are somewhat ancient.
4. TAKE A WALK ON THE RIVER THAMES
5. VISIT A MUSEUM
London has no shortage of famous museums, and the best part about it is that most of them are free. While any and all of these museums are worth visiting, my two favorites are the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert. The British Museum has 8 million works from human history and culture including mummies and the Rosetta Stone. The Victoria and Albert museum contains 4.5 million objects from decorative arts, design, and history.
6. SEE THE TWO TOWERS
Tower Bridge is one of the most famous London landmarks, and the Tower of London, resting at one end of the bridge, is the most historical. The Tower of London, or Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, is the historic castle and prison that is mentioned so often in film, TV, and literature. The tower was used by such famous names as William the Conqueror, Richard the Lionheart, and the Tudors, and was site of Anne Boleyn’s execution. It is now one of England’s most popular attractions, home to the Crown Jewels (including the world’s largest diamond), and is one of the most haunted buildings in Britain.
7. HAVE AFTERNOON TEA
Having afternoon tea in London is a must. While there are countless places to do it, my favorite is the Orangery at Kensington Palace. Kensington Palace is another of London’s famous historic palaces situated at the edge of Hyde Park in Kensington Gardens. The tea is fantastic (and affordable) and the building, staff, and atmosphere will make you feel like you are royalty.
8. WALK OR BIKE AROUND HYDE PARK
When you need a break from the noisy streets of London, it is time to talk a stroll in Hyde Park. As one of London’s largest parks, you can easily find yourself forgetting you are in the middle of a major city when you are here. It is home to famous statues, fountains, and Speakers Corner. You can explore on foot, or grab a bike using the Barclays Cycle Hires that are all over London.