With so many famous landmarks, world-class museums and famous shopping streets, London is a city that you could spend weeks exploring, but if all you have is a mere 24 hours, there are still plenty of chances to sample the city’s highlights.
Start your day early with breakfast at one of Covent Garden’s atmospheric cafés where you can enjoy some freshly baked pastries while ogling the street performers as they set up shops on the square. From here it’s an easy stroll to Leicester Square, where you can pick up some last minute tickets for a West End show in the evening and hop on one of the open-roofed sightseeing buses which will take you around the main sights – don’t miss a stop off at St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey. Buckingham Palace is sure to be on your list, so time your arrival for the changing of the guards, after which you can enjoy one of London’s impressive Royal parks, with a tour of St. James’s Park and enjoy a picnic lunch by the idyllic lake.
If you want to get your fill of culture, now’s the time to hit the city’s premier museums and galleries – choose from the world renowned National History and Science Museums, the excellent temporary exhibitions at the V&A, classic art at the National Gallery or an eye-opening selection of modern art at the Tate Modern.
You can’t come to London without indulging in some chic London shopping, and while the Harrods department store still reigns as the tourist Mecca, there are plenty of other options for shopaholics to get their fill. Take a stroll along Bond Street, where you can mull over the impressive window displays of the high-end designer stores, then head to Oxford Street for just about every high street store you can imagine. Those with more alternative tastes can duck down nearby Carnaby Street, where clusters of independent designers, handcrafted jewellery and unique gift stalls are abound.
Before you head to the theater, take a wander around the cobbled streets of Soho and fill up on cheap and tasty Chinese food in vibrant Chinatown. It’ll be dark by the time you emerge but the day’s not over yet, so walk down to embankment where you can board a Thames River cruise and admire the sights from the best viewpoint in town – Big Ben, London Bridge, the Houses of Parliaments and the London Eye are all on route. Finally, hop off at Southbank, and while away the final evening hours sipping cocktails by the riverside before crawling back to your hotel for some well-deserved rest and recuperation.