London is well known for its near-infinite offering of ways to spend your time – from museums to concerts, parks to skyscrapers, it really does have it all. In fact, the worst thing about London is the fact that you’ll never be able to fit in absolutely everything that you wanted to see into your packed holiday schedule. To help you out, we’ve taken a day out of the office to explore the best places to visit in London, even if you’ve only got one day!
Everything you see in this list and the video above can be visited in one day and can be seen by any visitor to London for completely free.
Westminster is probably London’s most famous area, featuring sites such as the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. Take a stroll across Westminster bridge for a panoramic view of the area or simply take a break and jump in one of the London Eye’s glass-walled cabins for an unforgettable experience overlooking London in all its splendour.
Continue walking and you’ll arrive in front of the imposing Buckingham Palace, home to one of London’s most famous residents (the Queen!), venue for royal marriages and landmark historical site. The palace can be visited both on the outside and on the inside (for a fee!), don’t forget to grab a classical photo with one of the guards before leaving the spot.
St James’s Park is the oldest Royal Park in London. Whilst not the largest, it is abundant in verdant beauty, St James’s Park is the perfect place for an afternoon walk. Take a picnic on the grass and feed the squirrels, or just relax and enjoy the view.
The Shard is the tallest skyscraper in London and hosts restaurants, offices and hotel rooms. Its eclectic architecture and mesmerizing views attract millions of tourists every year.
For another set of arresting views and a hip atmosphere to boot, head towards the Southbank. As you walk, you’ll reach London’s best contemporary art museum – the Tate Modern. Take a few good hours to visit both its temporary and permanent exhibitions and see the work of artists such as Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp or Francesca Woodman. Since you’re at the Tate, grab a coffee on the wide terrace and admire once more the beauty of London.
The Millennium Bridge is a modern construction that connects the Tate Modern with Saint Paul’s cathedral and generally with the northern side of Thames. Once you get to Saint Paul’s, make sure you walk all the way around it as each of its side is as beautiful as its grand entrance. The massive baroque church is absolutely awe-inspiring, with its elegance, architectural precision and sheer size!
One of London’s greatest museums, The National Gallery, is situated in the majestic Trafalgar Square. The gallery hosts some of the greatest collections of paintings in the world and presents the works of painters such as Michelangelo, Turner and Van Gogh. With free entrance 361 days a year, there really is no excuse for leaving this off the itinerary.
It is said that the heart of London beats in Soho and there’s a good reason for it. In Soho you’ll find everything from eclectic bars and restaurants to chic designer stores and galleries. Here you can find a cosmopolitan mix of cultures, a perfect representation of the essence of London. Connected to Soho by some narrow paved alleys, Chinatown is perhaps the most colorful part of central London. Don’t forget to taste the crispy duck on display in the windows of the restaurants.
Yes, London is a city with amazing panoramas and there are plenty of options if you just want to gaze at the city from higher grounds. But the view from the Emirates Air Line offers a completely different perspective – that of the financial district of Canary Wharf, not to mention it actually serves as a means of transport and can be used with just the tap of an oyster card.