How To Spend One Day In London

I find it wonderful to have visitors and get a chance to be a tourist in London. It’s so easy to get into a routine and stop exploring. When someone visits me, I ask for my guests’ preferences, what they would like to see. Every time I realise how much London has to offer and how difficult it is to plan out a day’s route that would include a variety of activities, would be interesting and cover as much as possible must-sees in the least amount of time possible.

I am no expert guide but I have a few places I love revisiting and showing to people out of town. Last week I had my cousins visiting for a couple of days but they only had half a day for sightseeing and we made the best of it. Our plan included:

  1. Oxford Circus, Soho, China Town
  2. The National Gallery, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Square
  3. Trafalgar Square
  4. St James’s Park
  5. Buckingham Palace
  6. Hard Rock Cafe

Our time was limited so we couldn’t add much more, and we do enjoy walking around taking our time and getting a few pictures. I will add a few recommendations on what else to see around these locations for those that have more time to explore.

    1.  We had breakfast at home and headed straight to Soho, on our way passing Oxford Circus, and China Town because our plan was to treat ourselves for brunch – Bubblewrap Waffles.
      I do recommend to consider having your breakfast in one of many cute cafes in Soho, perhaps visit a few shops on Regent or/and Oxford streets and then head to China town for this delicious treat to make it a full morning in Soho.


    1. From there we headed to The National Gallery. On your way, you can pass Leicester square and having the time, treat your kids, or the kid inside you, to a visit to the M&Ms store as well as LEGO store. Keep in mind these are very busy and your visit can be prolonged by waiting in queues, especially LEGO store which usually has quite a queue to get inside even when the weather is not too nice. Just a few minutes walk away is Piccadilly Circus which is one of London’s most popular tourist destinations, home to the iconic Piccadilly screens and the statue of Eros.How much time you will spend in The National Gallery will depend on how much of it you will want to see,  typically people spend up to 2.5 hours here but if you just want to see the highlights to save time, I would say 1hour would be plenty. Next to The National Gallery is the National Portrait Gallery where a visit usually takes up to 2 hours.
    2. After the visit to the museums, take a bit of time to check out Trafalgar Square and possibly take a few pictures of the fountain with the National Gallery in the background or with the famous statues of four lions, surrounding Nelson’s Column.trafalgar-sq-3


    1.  Next destination, St James’s Park. On your way, you pass Admiralty Arch which is just 2 mins away from the Trafalgar Square. Unfortunately, due to road works, it was mostly covered but I’m sure they will wrap up soon so future visitors can enjoy this majestic landmark. Close by you have a number of museums & galleries to check out if you have the time, however, we continued down The Mall towards St Jame’s park, briefly stopping in the square in front of the Household Cavalry Museum, to take a few very Instagram friendly pictures with a bit of London Eye peeking behind the museum.

      From here, you have an option to do a little 1hour detour to see the Horse Guards, Downing Street, London Eye, Big Ben, Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey.

      Then have a stroll in the beautiful St James’s Park where you can expect to see many different birds (check Duck Island), feed squirrels and parrots. Must spot to visit is the Blue Bridge, offering spectacular views across St James’s Park Lake to Buckingham Palace to the west and Horse Guards Parade, Big Ben and the London Eye towards the east.

      We were there just as the sun started to set and it was so very beautiful.

    2. Another must-see on our list was the Buckingham Palace, a sight to pass by or depending on visit’s timing & season, visitors can tour the palace’s opulent private and state rooms or watch the changing of the guard.palace


  1. The last item on our list was dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe as per the request of one of my guests. We chose the original venue, standing on Old Park Lane since June 14th 1971. On our way there we passed Green Park and Wellington Arch. As it was already quite late and we were super hungry after all the walking, we didn’t visit Hyde Park which is just there, and it’s a beautiful place to visit if you have the time! 

    As an alternative, you can choose to pass on dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe and head towards Knightsbridge and have your pick of upscale restaurants or go for a visit to Harrods where you can do some shopping and choose from many dining options. 

Thank you for reading and if you are planning a trip to London, I hope it helped! What would be your favourites to see on this route? Should I do more posts like this with different sights?


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