london travel

What To Do With 24 Hours In London

4/10/2016Jake Ryan

Help; I've only got 24 hours in London!

  London is one of the most exciting and culturally rich cities in the world, but if time is against you and you only have 24 hours, here is my perfect itinerary so you don't miss a thing. 

With a mixture of both the major landmarks and underground cool, you can experience London like a tourist and a local, all at the same time.


Begin your morning with a big English-style breakfast. Get an early start and prepare for a feast at this must-see eatery; a funky brasserie that mixes rustic nostalgia with quirky cool. It is a firm favourite with native Londoners and with its fantastic dishes and top-notch juices, there is no better way to start the day.

Walk off the fantastic food you have just had with a stroll around the famous Carnaby Street. Loved by the locals, the 13 streets are known for their unique boutiques and global brands, making it one of London's most popular and distinctive shopping destinations. Only a short walk from the Riding House Cafe, it is the perfect opportunity to pick up some artisan treasures to take home.

Possibly the most iconic landmark in London is Buckingham Palace. The official residence of the Queen of England and one sight not to be missed on your 24 hour tour of the city.

After taking the habitual photos and gawking at the Grenadine Guards on horseback, make sure you have a front row view of the Changing of the Guard Ceremony which takes place everyday at 11.30am outside of Buckingham Palace.

After the ceremony has ended, it is now time to experience a glimpse how the other half live by taking a tour of Buckingham Palace. While the Palace is mostly closed to the public, the State Rooms are open to visitors every year from 25th July-27th September. This self-guided audio tour will take you on a journey through 19 magnificent rooms including the Grand Hall, State Dining Room, Throne Room and the Ballroom. Admission is by timed ticket only with entry every 15 minutes. I always buy mine in advance from the official website. Not only does it save long waits but as a bonus you are given a free repeat ticket that can be used for another visit throughout the year.



When leaving Buckingham palace, take a scenic walk straight down The Mall past Green Park and through the beautiful Admiral Arch. Carry on walking and to your left you have the iconic Trafalgar Square and the next stop on your itinerary. This is a great space for a photo opportunity and if you stand behind the fountains and face the National Gallery, you will even get a shot of Big Ben in the background.

By now you will be feeling rather peckish and what better way to enjoy lunch than observing the impressive and stately architecture of the National Gallery while you dine. Whenever I am in London I always ensure that I grab a bite to eat in this award winning café.

After lunch, you should have time to duck inside and get a quick view of some of the exceptional paintings. I recommend room 43 on level 2 which houses the works of Monet (my favourite artist) and room 45 with Vincent Van Gogh's legendary 'Sunflowers'.


After spending an hour basking in the culture that is the National Gallery, get some fresh air and head to the South Bank of the Thames. Cross over the Millennium Bridge and you will be afforded views of Westminter, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the London Eye and St. Paul's Cathedral. The Southbank along the River Thames is one of those unsung heroes of London and one of my favourite ways to experience the culture and eclecticness that embodies the city. Taking a leisurely walk, you can pass by Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, an impromptu skate park, the Tate Modern and the Tower of London, all whilst enjoying the many street performances. If you're feeling peckish, there are several great places to grab a bite to eat along the way.



Continue up the South Bank until you reach your next destination; the EDF London Eye. It is basically a slow-moving enclosed Ferris Wheel that provides unparallelled views of the city and all the places you've explored so far. The best time to take a ride is just before sunset, so make sure you pre-book your ticket for around 6pm. (Make sure you book in advance as queues are notoriously long plus you save 10%)

7.30PM || THEATRE 

Now you can't come to London without experiencing a show in the famed West End theatre district. With several shows to choose from there really is something for everyone (one of my all time favourites is Wicked). I highly recommend getting tickets well in advance to secure the best deals. My favourite site to use is who always have offers running. If not, last minute tickets are generally available at the box office on the day and you'll find half-price tickets at the booth in Leicester Square. 


After catching a show, by far the best way to enjoy London at night is by strolling around the buzzing West End district. Encompassing Covent GardenLeicester Square and much more, this is the place that most people think of when they imagine London. If you are looking for a more authentic experience, hang around the theatres to catch actors heading to real pubs after the shows. The nearby Soho neighbourhood is also lively with after hours eateries and dance clubs tucked away behind the elegant facades. The perfect way to end the day.

What would you do if you had 24 hours in London? Drop me a comment below.

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