This guide will go over all of the bucket list spots to see in London, as well as a 24 hour itinerary covering the best route to take with a map included! It’s ideal for those who want to make the most out of a day or two in the big city. We had a layover in London for a little under 48 hours and had the BEST time exploring. Obviously, it would be ideal to do a 2-3 day trip here, but we were very impressed with how much we did and saw in such a short amount of time. We did have it all planned ahead of time and had some reservations booked as well. Definitely use this guide if you’re only in London for a short amount of time, and don’t want to miss all of the tourist attractions, or don’t mind a more fast-paced day. Plus, we’ve included a “Bucket List Challenge” at the end for you to save and check off each item you’ve seen!
Where We Stayed
It is no secret London is one of the most expensive cities to be in (especially being Canadian as it’s double our currency), so we opted for a hostel. We got so many recommendations to stay at the Wombats City Hostel (they have private rooms as well, so it can be like a hotel), and it did not disappoint. We loved the atmosphere & vibe, plus the location was perfect for visiting London in a short amount of time. They have a great bar/restaurant in the basement as well – perfect for meeting others who are traveling around.
If the hostel didn’t work out, we would’ve tried Airbnb or a hotel. We were looking at paying minimum $200 CDN per night so just keep that in mind as it can get pricy.
How We Got Around – Get an Oyster Card!
So getting around in London is a breeze! We purchased an Oyster Card online ahead of time which was such a great option. It’s essentially a discounted payment method for all forms of public transit in London. It saved us so much time and money as we just tapped on and off each ride we went on. What sold us on it was that it actually included the train that went from the Gatwick Airport to downtown London on top of regular transit. We used it most on London’s Tube aka their Subway, and also on their busses and double decker busses as well.
Aside from the Oyster Card, we actually walked between most places. Uber is also readily available if you’d like to use that option!
FULL DAY ITINERARY
The attractions listed below are in order of us seeing them. This is the route that we took and recommend as it does a large loop around the city. Since we stayed at Wombats City Hostel, that was the starting point for our day.
- Walk to the Tower of London & Tower Bridge and admire the area – there is some cool history and artwork to check out.
- Walk to London Bridge – speaks for itself but one of the most famous bridges in the world!
- Take the tube to Sketch London – A stunning restaurant – we got breakfast here. Book a reservation ahead of time, but this is THE coolest place ever. If you’re boujee and can afford to have High Tea in their Pink room – DO IT. We did not, but got a peak inside and WOW. This was definitely out of the way but it had been on our bucket list for so long! Glad we got to experience it.
- Take the tube to Covent Garden – This is a huge area! Hang out here and walk around the shops! Don’t forget to grab some snacks for later. Ben’s Cookie’s is amazing, as well as Sherlock Holmes Pub or Mabel’s to grab a drink. We shopped around and brought home some tea from Whittard which is a famous tea shop in London.
- Next we walked to Leicester Square for a free walking tour with Strawberry Tours recommended to us by our hostel. It covered Piccadily Circus (like the Times Square of London with all the billboards), Buckingham Palace (home of the Queen), Changing of the Guards (only at certain times per day), St. James Park (we fed the ducks!), and ended at Big Ben and Westminster Abbey (in that order). Big Ben was covered in scaffolding and expected to be for a few more years. You can walk all of these places! About a 2 hour journey.
- We then took the tube and ventured to the famous Peggy Porchen Cakes for some dessert and coffee. It has the most stunning exterior that is all PINK!
- We then walked and had a late lunch / early dinner reservation at The Ivy Chelsea Garden. WOW was this place stunning and delicious! Highly recommend.
- Ended our time in London with at a traditional English pub for food/drinks called The Dicken’s Inn! A gorgeous original building that has been around for ages. We enjoyed our time here the most as it felt like such an authentic English experience.
Things we didn’t have time to do:
Notting Hill’s Colourful Houses
Beatles Alley – Abbey Road
The British Museum
Here is a map of the route we took! You can save this map for your future reference!
Below is a checklist of ALL the London attractions you should add to your bucket list and see! Save this and try to see them all!
Feel free to send us a message with any questions! You can check out our photos and stories on IG @thethompsontrotters
S & S
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