Tips And Tricks For Seeing London In 24-Hours
By DeAnna Taylor
Big Ben, the London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, these are all top attractions that travelers add to their list when they make the decision to head to London. The royal city is huge and there is so much ground to cover. But, what if you only have 24-hours there? No worries, here are a few tips to help you navigate this city when you are short on time.
The main attractions of London are spread out. Nothing is really within walking distance, so you will need to figure out how to get around.
While Uber is available, the price of driving from place to place can add up. However, it will also be the quickest. If you don’t mind taking public transportation, this will be the most economical option.
There are several airports you can fly in and out of. Once you arrive, you will likely need to take one of the city trains into one of the major train stations before transferring to the underground lines, also known as The Tube.
There are two options when it comes to transportation cards. You can purchase a one day card, which is literally only for the day that you purchase it or you can get an Oyster card. If you purchase the one day card at 2 pm, for example, it expires at midnight and you would have to purchase a new card of your trip carries into another day.
The Oyster card can be refilled and even cashed out when you get ready to leave. But, in order to cash out you have to wait for 48-hours, so be mindful if you are only around for shorter stays.
Since London is an English speaking country, the Tube is very easy to navigate and very efficient. Most stations will also list which attractions can be found at various stops so you won’t need to waste too much time trying to figure this out. There are several lines within the system, just like most major American train systems. So, if you’re used to navigating one of those you will have no issue in London.
Where to stay
If you are short on time, it is best to find accommodation within zone 1. London is broken into 5 zones, with the more central area of the city being found within zone 1.
There are plenty of hotels and Airbnbs scattered across the area. When searching, try to find a place that is very close to a Tube station or even a bus line. That way you can get around easily and make the most of your time.
Pro Tip: If you have a flight that is later than your check-out time, there are several options for storing bags around the city. You can take them to Victoria Station and store it for 7 pounds per bag for 1-3 hours. If you don’t want to pay that much, you can use the site Bagbnb.com (yes, just like Airbnb but for storing your bags). You can enter the area that is closest to you and you can reserve a time with a bag drop host. The price varies but normally starts at around 5 pounds.
Areas to see
If it is your first time in London, you will likely want to see the more tourist attractions while there. Luckily, most of them are within a short walk of a Tube station. This means you can hop off, snap your pics, and get back on to head to the next spot.
Pro Tip: Wear comfortable shoes because you will be doing a lot of walking especially when you are pressed for time.
The changing of the guard happens every morning starting at 10:30 am. Most people will head to Buckingham Palace for the 11 am ceremony there, but there are two other ceremonies that take place right before it. You can also see it at St. Jame’s Palace or the Wellington Barracks. If you do decide on Buckingham for the ceremony, be prepared for an insane crowd that gets there early to secure the best spots.
If you are looking to shop, which is major in London, make your way to the Oxford Circus stop. Several lines stop here and it is the city’s main shopping district with most of the major brands having stores.
There are also plenty of pubs and restaurants in this area if you are looking for a bite to eat between retail therapy.
No trip to London is complete without a plate of fish and chips. You can get it from local street food stands or almost any pub.
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.