11-DAY London, United Kingdom | Europe ITINERARY
London, the capital of England and the United Kingdom, is a 21st-century city with history stretching back to Roman times. At its centre stand the imposing Houses of Parliament, the iconic 'Big Ben' clock tower and Westminster Abbey, site of British monarch coronations. Across the Thames River, the London Eye observation wheel provides panoramic views of the South Bank cultural complex, and the entire city, per Google.
To read about My Travels, click here.
Must do, must see, must try:
IT'S CALLED FOOTBALL
Learn about 'soccer'. Experience a match and join the followers.
FOOD MUST: PIE & MASH
Steak and ale pie with a side of delicious mushy peas, yes please. Save room for sticky toffee pudding.
CHEERS WITH SUMMER PIMM'S
This drink gin based drink contains a secret mixture of herbs and liqueurs that will please anyone's pallet.
The 11-Day London Itinerary
For mild temperatures, visit between March through May to enjoy the outdoor and parks more. My later in spring visit in July was warmer but still very nice. Come mid-June for Wimbledon season.
Do not rent a car. You can get everywhere by foot, train, bus or taxi. London is made for pedestrians and great for walking.
London attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Besides the historical significance, London offers beautiful gardens, vigorous football games and scrumptious high tea and biscuits. A busy city with very active tourism that won't break your budget if you're cautious; this was a trip I saved for. The atmosphere is ideal for a friends reunion, romantic getaway or a family vacation.
Take off for London
Land around 12 PM and head to the train for an Oyster Card pay-as-you-go; best way to get around and they work for the buses too
2:00 PM - Check-in at the AirBnB
4:00 PM - Big Bus London; 2-3 hours, $40 Classic Ticket for the Orange Route
Highlights include: Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, River Thames and Westminster Abbey
Early Dinner at The Real Greek-Bankside ($$, Greek) and split the Peloponnese tower with a friend
Stay awake by taking an evening stroll along the Thames River
Drink at any of the river bars and order a Pimm's
Don't get in bed till after 9:30 PM, need to reset your clock!
8:45 AM – Tube from Angel Station to Green Park Underground
Stroll through St. James's Park
10 AM -12 PM – Buckingham Palace; time spent is 2 hours
11 AM – Changing of the Guard but confirm your date beforehand; get here early for a good place to stand toward the middle on the iron fence
Stay for the Guard's band performance, you might be surprised with a song or two
12 PM - Walk around Westminster; time spent is 3 hours, additional time for tours
Sights include: Westminster Abbey, Statue of Boadicea
Additional Options: Churchill War Rooms or National Portrait Gallery ;time spent is 1-2 hours, free
2:30 PM – Lunch at Pret Healthy Options in Leicester Square
3:15 PM – The National Gallery; time spent is 1-2 hours, free guided tours
Things to find: Equestrian Portrait of Charles I (Rm. 31); Lady Elizabeth & Dorothy (Rm. 31); The Hay Wain (Rm. 31); The Fighting Temeraire (Rm. 34); Whistlejacket (Rm. 34); The Stonemason's Yard (Rm. 38); Battle of San Romano (Rm. 54); St. George & the Dragon (Rm. 54); Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini & His Wife (Rm. 56); The Portrait of a Man (Rm. 56); Edward Grimston (Rm. 56); Martydam of St. Sebastian (Rm. 57); The Annunciation with Saint Emidius (Rm. 59); Vision of the Blessed Gabriele (Rm. 59); Bathers at Ashieres (Rm. 43); Sunflowers (Rm. 43); The Skiff (Rm. 44); Doge Leonardo Loredan (Rm. 62)
If you want to stay here (or in China Town) for dinner, try Joy King Lau ($$, Dim Sum) for the Pecking Duck
7:00 PM – Dinner at Itsu Sushi ($$, Sushi)
Then call it an early night
Breakfast at Gail's Bakery ($$, Bakery)
9:30 AM - Tube from Angel Station to Putney Bridge, then walk along the river and you'll wonder into Fulham Palace; time spent is 1 hour, free but donations are appreciated
The gardens are beautiful with tiny, little doors
11:15 AM - Tour Craven Cottage Stadium, Fulham Football Club; 1.5-2 hours guided tour, $20 but get tickets way in advance because tours are limited
Walk around to Chelsea Stadium; First timer? Try the Stamford Bridge tour instead; 1 hour guided tour, $22
1 PM - Lunch at The Durell Arms ($, Pub) for yummy fish and chips
Other day options in Chelsea, sights include: Vivienne World's End Store, walk down King's Road to Sloane Ave; or Chelsea Physic Garden (time spent is less than an hour, $14)
2:30 PM - Tube from Sloane Square to Temple Station
Snack from Yolkin ($$, Ice Cream & Macaroons) but it's weekends only for a frozen, GIANT macaroon ice cream sandwiches
3 PM - Walk around the City; time spent is 3-4 hours
The Courtauld Gallery; time spent 1-2 hours, $9
Royal Courts of Justice, Twinings Tea Shop, 17 Fleet Street, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese for a pint, Temple Church, Old Bailey, Paternoster Square
Finish by walking around the church where Princess Diana was married St. Paul’s Cathedral; time spent is 1 hour, $15
The doors are huge, but look up at the ceiling - my favorite part!
Pre-drinks at Sky Garden ($$$, Bar), reservations needed three-weeks in advance
Dinner at Sharwma Bar by Angel Station
Early night again, so much walking!
Evening Option: 7 PM - Show: Sh*T-Faced Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing; time spent is 1.5 hours, $33
Doors open at 6:30 PM, Leicester Square Theatre
8 AM - Tube from Angel Station to Notting Hill Gate
10 AM - Explore Kensington Gardens
Sights include: The Albert Memorial, Serpentine Gallery, Speakers' Corner, Old Police House, Diana Memorial Playground and more
Late breakfast or tea option: The Orangery ($$$, Coffee & Tea) at Kensington Palace
11:30 AM - Drinks at Kensington The Roof Gardens ($$$, Dance Club & Lounge); can you find the flamingos?
Shopping on Oxford Street, then nap time or British Library; time spent is 1 hour, free
Dinner at Pret Healthy Options
7-9 PM - Jack the Ripper Tour & London Ghost Walk; time spent is 3-3.5 hours, $45
Followed by drinks at the famous pub where two ladies had their last drink before encountering Jack the Ripper, The Ten Bells ($$, Pub)
Tube to Kings Cross Station and get your moment with Harry Potter
Visit Platform 9 ¾ Harry Potter Shop which is less busy at night
Drinks and cheese plate at The Pearl and Feather ($$, Pub)
Head to AirBnB because Jack didn't get us tonight
Breakfast at Starbucks
11 AM - Shopping at Spitalfields Market; about 1 hour
Followed with Brick Lane Market ($$, Indian Farmers Market) which is the best place to get authentic English curry; order peshwari naan bread
Lunch at Halal Restaurant ($, Indian) which is the oldest Indian restaurant, established before WWII
2 PM - Tour at Tower Bridge; time spent is an hour, $11
Inside the bridge, look down on London through glass floors to see engine rooms
Walk along the Thames River and relax at the outdoor amphitheater
4:30 PM - Tour Tate Modern; time spent is 2 hours, free
See Shakespeare’s Globe; take a tour if you can - time spent is 1 hour, $20
Then the Shard; time spent is 1 hour, $45
Drinks at GÕNG; Level 52 of the Shard ($$$, Cocktail & Champagne Bar)
7 PM - Dinner at the London Shard - Oblix on level 32 ($$$$, urban casual dining); make a reservation and check the dress code
Drinks at The Wheatsheaf ($$, Pub)
Breakfast at The Breakfast Club ($$, American Breakfast)
9 AM - Tower of London; time spent is 4-5 hours, $30
Crown Jewels first, then Beefeater tour and White Tower, then follow the audio guide
Lunch somewhere in Borough Market, just follow your nose
2 PM - Walk out to Millennium Bridge or check out HMS Belfast
Walk back to St. Paul's Cathedral - head North for 5 minute to a very small park, Postman's Park; in this park, read the tablets commemorating tragic acts of courage
4 PM - Head indoors at Museum of London; time spent is 1 hour, free
Don't miss this → look just alongside and you'll see the old London Wall
Train to Oxford Circus for shopping and walking through Soho to Covent Garden
Grab a tasty treat from Ben's Cookies
See the London Transport Museum; time spent is 1 hour, $23
7 PM - Tapas for dinner at Seven Dials ($, local food)
Breakfast at Starbucks for a coffee and croissant, save it for the train
8 AM - Train from Angel Station to Windsor & Eton Riverside; 1 hour
9 AM - Tour the summer home of the queen at Windsor Castle; typical visit is 3-4 hours, $26 with a free audio-tour included, bring your own plug-in headphones for easy use
Get and print tickets before, the line wraps around the castle so don't get caught in it
11 AM – Changing of the Guard
Sights: Tour: Round Tower, Norman Gate, Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, Drawing Gallery and China Museum, State Apartments, Grand Vestibule, Waterloo Chamber, St. George’s Hall, Garter Throne Room, St. George’s Chapel, Albert Memorial Chapel and Lower Ward
2:30 PM - Head out of the grounds for lunch at The Duchess of Cambridge ($$, Pub), order the steak and ale pie with mushy peas but save room for sticky toffee pudding; it's all so yummy
Stroll through town for some shopping
Take the Long Walk to Windsor and rest under a tree
4:30 PM - Tube from Windsor & Eton Riverside to Waterloo Station; 1 hour
Walk the Thames River
While near by, buy tickets for the London Eye - 2 days in advance
7 PM - Dinner at Pix ($$, Tapas Bar)
Breakfast at Starbucks and get something quick for the train ride
9 AM - Take the tube from King's Cross Station to Wimbledon Park Station; 1 hour
10:30 AM - Wimbledon Tour; 1.5 hours, $33
Shopping at Harrods
12:30 PM - Lunch at McDonald's
1:30 PM - Tour Victoria & Albert Museum; time spent is 2 hours, free
Option: Design Museum; time spent is 2 hours, $16
Stroll down W. Carriage Dr. to the park, passing Royal Albert Hall
Natural History Museum – picture in the entrance, don’t need to attend the museum
Take the bus or walk to Selfridges
Enjoy afternoon tea on the bottom floor
Make your way to the underground and to Angel Station
6 PM - Dinner at Niche ($$, Gluten-Free)
Drinks at Exmouth Arms ($$, Gastropub)
Breakfast at Gail's Bakery ($$, Bakery), pick any croissant by I recommend the ham and cheese
10 AM - London Eye; time spent is 45 minutes, Fast Pass $40 for the best scene of the day
11:30 AM - British Museum; time spent is 2 hours, free
Explore the West End area; time spent walking is 2 hours
Sights include: Piccadilly Circus, and browse through Regent Street
Enjoy the walk to Dukes Bar ($$$$, Bar), home of the James Bond Martini; get fancy and day drink
There's a business casual dress code
Head home for a nap
5 PM - Dinner at Santore ($$, Italian)
Stroll along River Thames/London Bridge at night all the way to Big Ben, which is a must-see at night
Travel a GO-Go
Use the Google map on the left to get a lay of the land and see all the fun spots that you'll visit. Download the free PDF by clicking the icon below to have this itinerary at your finger-tips.
How to Use the Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner to view the layers (days, points of interest, route).
If you click the star, this map will be added to your Google Map account. To view, open your Google Maps, click the menu button "Your Places", select the map and it will open.
A bucket list location of mine, thrilled when I was invited by significant other for a conference. London is everything and then some; the food, the fashion, the culture. Even though I was able to visit for over a week, there is still so much to do and so much to be seen. This city is always growing. But there are also the classic moments to experience, like gripping the gates at Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards, feeling the London drizzle, strolling through Kensington Garden and trying to read the underground map.
Favorite Moment: Visiting Windsor Castle and getting to see the history of kings and queens. The free audio tour tells you everything and more; so much information. I'd go again if given the chance it's that good. The taking the long walk after lunch and laying under a tree, I felt so royal. I cannot stress enough about buying tickets beforehand. Pretty sure the same people were still in line when we got to jump ahead just for having our tickets.
Least Favorite Moment: Not wearing more comfortable shoes and socks, and having a light jacket on me at all timed. My feet wore me down which made us rest a lot. That's not all bad because we rested with a glass of Pimm's but I should have been more aware of my shoe choices. And then there's the famous London drizzle that rests just on your clothes and gives you a chill; bring a jacket to fix that.
I loved experiencing London with my SO. We created memories and moments that we're going to treasurer forever. It was a fast paced trip, not so much relaxing on the beach but let's see nine museums in a day kind of trip. We powered through and did it all. Looking forward to our return trip one day.