One day in London itinerary

Get The Best Of London In 24 Hours!

Heading to London for a day, or perhaps you have a layover, or maybe London is just a stop on your UK itinerary? Whatever your reason for a brief stay, make the most of your time with our personally detailed crafted one day in London itinerary. While a single day may not be sufficient to explore all that this vibrant city has to offer, our guide is written to help you make the most of your 24 hours in London.

Our one-day itinerary for London was created based on our strong feelings for the city, which was sparked by our love of travel and repeated trips there. Allow us to take you on a tour of the greatest parts of London using our first-hand knowledge and unshakable love for its charm and culture.

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Hotels in London England UK.

london in three days itinerary

A street in Notting Hill London.Notting Hill London

Please have a read at the following points before going through the itinerary:

  • It is only a guide to what you can do, so it can be tailored to your own preferences. Not all events can fit into a single itinerary due to limitations.
  • '1 Day' is an entire day, not including the departure and arrival. This is a full 24 hours in London.
  • By no means should you have to follow this itinerary to the tee, however, this is a great guidance for you to plan your short stay.
  • We try as much as possible to give you the best and most accurate information. However, we highly suggest that you check for any changes that could happen, especially during certain seasons.
  • The duration of visiting times should be taken as an approximation as they might differ due to season, and anything else you might encounter. 

Option 1: One day in London for first-time visitors

This particular itinerary for one day is aimed at tourists visiting London for the very first time. Although you will only have one day, you can fill in a lot in a short amount of time. Whilst you will not see most of the city, this one day itinerary in London for first-time visitors will help you get a glimpse of what the city has to offer.

For this specific itinerary, we will list down the main attractions the city has to offer. Although you will not have enough time to visit each other separately, just seeing them from the outside is more than enough with the time you have available.

The Big Ben in London, UK.One Day In London Itinerary - The Big Ben

morning itinerary

To get the most out of your one-day trip, you need to start early. After taking your breakfast, head straight to Buckingham Palace. You can get here by all types of transport. We always suggest using the metro as it is fast and efficient, and efficiency is what you need when you do not have enough time.

buckingham palace

Around Buckingham Palace are several parks such as St. James Park and Green Park you can visit and go for a walk. The palace is only open during the summer months however at around 11, there is the changing of the guards which is a highly recommended performance to see. Check their schedule to ensure you do not miss.

Duration of Visit: 2 Hours (including Changing of the Guards and sightseeing).

You can only visit the Buckingham Palace State Rooms in the summer months. Check the availability by booking tickets here!

westminster abbey

After you visit Buckingham Palace, you can walk straight to Westminster Abbey which is around 15 minutes away. You can pass through St. James Park. The Abbey is a royal attraction built over 900 years ago with a strong British history hosting royal ceremonies from weddings, coronations, and funerals. The church is free to enter, however, you can take a tour around the church. Be advised that this is a place of worship and appropriate clothing is necessary.

Duration of Visit: 30 to 45 minutes, excluding optional tour.

quick lunch break

In order not to waste too much time, you can grab a snack at either a supermarket or also at one of the cafeterias around the area. You can also decide to carry some food with you and eat it on the go. 

Afternoon Itinerary

For the next part of your stay, you will visit the Big Ben, London Eye and the surrounding South Bank area.

Big Ben london

The Big Ben is 316-foot (96 metres) tall tower, representing British History. Also known as the Elizabeth Tower, this clock chimes every hour. The tower has gone through a long 5-year renovation. The Big Ben poses a striking appearance with its surroundings, attracting thousands of photographers and selfie enthusiasts for Instagrammable photos.

Duration of Visit: 15 to 20 minutes

the London Eye

The London Eye is most probably the most recognised landmark in the entire city. It is a 135-metre tall wheel, giving you the chance to see London from a bird's eye view. If you intend to go on the wheel, we highly recommend you pre-book your tickets so that you can skip the line.

Duration of Visit: 1.5 Hours (Including going on the London Eye)

If you wish to go on the wheel, book your tickets in advance from here.

South Bank Area and other attractions

Around the London Eye, there are several other attractions that you might consider visiting. Each one takes a considerable amount of time, so balance according to your time availability.

  • Sea Life London Aquarium: Take the opportunity to see a wide variety of marine creatures with over 600 species including octopus, penguins, rays, turtles, and sharks.
  • London Dungeons: Learn and witness the journey through London's gruesome history in special effects and immersive sets.
  • Shrek's Adventure: Enjoy a fun-filled journey through the world of Shrek and his friends with this immersive attraction.

Check out our in-depth guide to visiting South Bank in London UK

Duration of Visit: Each attraction needs around 2 hours. Sightseeing a small part of South Bank would take you around 1 hour.

evening Itinerary

As we approach the end of your one-day trip to London, you might still have time to visit two more attractions, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. Seeing them from the outside is already marvellous enough and also walking across the bridge is a great way to end your trip to London.

tower of london

The Tower of London signifies a strong iconic symbol towards the rich British history dating back a thousand years. This tower is open to the public, and it also houses the Crown Jewels. You may not have time to go inside, but just strolling by it demonstrates how significant this structure is.

Duration of Visit: 1 Hour (You will need an additional 2 to 3 hours if you visit the Tower)

tower bridge

One of London's most iconic bridges is the Tower Bridge, crossing the River Thames between the borough of Tower Hamlets and Southwark. If you are lucky enough, you can witness the bridge operate its drawbridges to let large ships through. Also, take the opportunity to walk on the bridge and capture some photos.

Duration of Visit: 30 minutes (This does not include the admission to Tower Bridge)

This is the end of our itinerary for visiting London for one day for first-time visitors.

Tower Bridge in London UK.One Day in London - The Tower Bridge London

10 essential other things to do in london

Apart from the mentioned things to do, here are some quick-fire things that we suggest that could be alternatives.

  1. London Natural History Museum: Explore the wonders of the natural world from fossils to minerals, and interactive exhibits. Check out other museums in London.
  2. Hyde Park: Experience the tranquillity amongst the expansive green oasis with leisurely walks. Discover other parks around London.
  3. See a show: What better way to experience London's magic than with a dazzling West End production? Head over to Ticket Network and book your seat now.
  4. British Museum: Explore the vast collection of ancient artefacts and cultural treasures.
  5. Borough Market: Excel your taste buds with a culinary adventure at one of London's oldest and most renowned food markets. Find out what other markets are in London.
  6. Regents Canal Boat Ride: Take a relaxing ride down London's scenic waterways, enjoying panoramic views of the city's landmarks and tranquil surroundings.
  7. Kensington Palace Gardens: Wander through the picturesque gardens of this historic royal residence. You could also enter the palace for a fee.
  8. Notting Hill: Explore the charming streets of this neighbourhood with a selection of unique shops and boutiques. During August, the carnival takes place in Notting Hill.
  9. Shoreditch & Brick Lane: If you happen to visit Shoreditch, explore the colourful murals, and graffiti tags.
  10. Traditional Afternoon Tea: One of the UK's most British traditions is their tearooms where you find a wide array of delicate sandwiches, freshly baked scones, and delectable pastries, all accompanied by a selection of fine teas.
Autumn at Regents Park in London UK.Autumn at Regents Park in London

option 2: one day in London - an off the beaten path itinerary

If you visited London before, you probably visited the iconic landmarks. Right? If you have already done so, then this guide is perfect for you, as we will dive into places to visit for a recurring visitor. This itinerary will feature parks, different neighbourhoods, and markets.

Morning Itinerary

Starting your one full day in London is at Camden Town then heading to Regents Park and the London Zoo.

camden town

Camden Town is known for its vibrant nature with thriving markets, music venues, and street art. A visit here is extremely worth it! Take the opportunity to walk around the town and visit Camden Market and Camden Lock. The town can be reached by metro, only a few stops from central London. At Camden Market, you will find all sorts of fashion boutiques, international street food, and a lively atmosphere.

Duration of Visit: 1.5 Hours

regents park & london zoo

After going around Camden Town, the next stop will be Regents Park and the London Zoo.

Starting with London Zoo, this is one of the oldest zoos in the world. Experience everything from majestic lions to penguins to endangered species. This is a fun destination for all ages. After your zoo visit, take the opportunity to walk around the picturesque green spaces of Regent's Park. It is a big park full of gardens and lakes, perfect for an afternoon walk. 

Duration of Visit: 4 Hours (Including visiting the zoo and park)

Hampstead heath (optional)

As an option, you can opt to visit Hampstead Heath if you are looking for more of a relaxing and peaceful one day in London. This park offers picturesque panoramic views of London's skyline, and there are plenty of little landmarks within the park that you can visit.

Duration of Visit: 1 to 2 Hours

how many days in london?

There is so much to discover in London and its endless wonders can make getting to know it a challenge! Are you unsure how many days you will need? To ensure you make the most of your time exploring this dynamic city, we've developed multiple itineraries for your planning.

1 Day | 2 Days | 3 Days | 4 Days | 5 Days | 6 Days | 7 Days | 10 Days | 4 Day Christmas Itinerary | Trip To London in December

Camden Town in London UK.Camden Town in London

Afternoon Itinerary

Your afternoon itinerary will consist of visiting Oxford Street where you can spend some time shopping then move to Convent Garden.

oxford street

London would not be complete without spending a couple of hours on Oxford Street, doing some shopping at your favourite flagship stores. The nearly two-kilometre street has all that you need if you are a shopping enthusiast, from luxury retailers to budget-friendly fashion stores as well as cafés and restaurants.

Duration of Visit: 2 Hours

Covent garden

Unless you want to stay at Oxford Street for the rest of the afternoon, you can move on to Covent Garden. This part of London is in the West End area also known for its historic market, street performers, and cultural attractions. Here you can visit the Covent Garden Market and the London Transport Museum.

Duration of Visit: 2 Hours (Without admission to London Transport Museum. You would need an additional couple of hours)

Evening Itinerary

For a bustling night out, visit the energetic Piccadilly and Chinatown which comes alive with activity and vibrant energy. While Piccadilly Circus dazzles with neon signs and bustling crowds, Chinatown offers a sight to behold with its colourful lanterns, fragrant eateries, and lively atmosphere. A night out in London's West End couldn't be better.

Oxford Street in London UK.Oxford Street in London

where to go after spending one day in london

London could be your stop in between a road trip, a layover, or just simple a first-time visit. You might want to know what and where to visit after London. If you intend to do a road trip and travel across the country, we can suggest some places around to visit. If you are not keen on driving, you can always take day trips from London with tour guides to places around the UK.

However, if you love to drive and wish to go on a road trip, here are some top destinations to visit from London; Cotswolds, Edinburgh, Norwich, Birmingham, Oxford and much more.

Option 3: a dedicated tour round London

If you are visiting London for a day and would like a guide with you at all times, then this tour is perfect! You will have one entire day visiting some of London's most iconic landmarks and to top it all off, a cruise on the River Thames.

This is a very brief summary of what the itinerary entails. Most places will be visited by bus as a panoramic tour:

  • A visit to Westminster Abbey and Parliament Square.
  • See the Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.
  • Walk through London's West End and visit Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guard (subject to schedule.)
  • Guided tour to St. Paul's Cathedral.
  • Guided tour to the Tower of London.
  • Towards the end of your tour, a River Thames cruise.

See the full itinerary here and also book your tickets.

Where to stay in London

Arranging reservations for lodging is certainly one of the first things you would do. Use the Booking.com user-friendly widget to select your chosen neighbourhood in London, number of persons, and trip dates, since there are many types of hotels available in London. The hotels will then be automatically located on the map based on the information you provide.

Check out our detailed advice on where to stay in London if you're still not sure which neighbourhood would be ideal for you.

Embark on your booking.com journey today!

 

Discover More About London With These Articles: Free Things To Do In London | Things To Do On A Rainy Day

This concludes our 'One Day in London Itinerary', where we have provided an extensive itinerary for your trip to London. This guide was put together using first-hand information from our trips to London. We have given you various alternatives for each day, so you may feel free to personalize and adjust the guide to your tastes.

One day in London itinerary - Frequently asked questions

The following are questions related to travelling to London for one day.

Is a day trip to London sufficient? Is it worthwhile?

The many wonders of London are worth visiting for more than one day. A quick visit provides a taste, but it is not enough. Prioritize the must-see attractions first for an enjoyable experience.

Which sights in London should not be missed on a one-day trip?

You will thus probably only visit a few attractions in 24-hours. It all depends now on whether you choose to view them from inside or externally. You will notice quite a few if you simply stroll about, have a quick look, and then go on. On the other hand, it will take longer and show you considerably less if you buy tickets to visit the interior.

How can I make the most of my one day in London?

To keep to your budget, there are several costs that you have control over to keep your spending low, such as the flights, hotel, restaurants you choose, attractions you visit and how much you want to buy.

Are there any plans or guided excursions available for a single day in London?

Yes, there are plenty of guided tours and trips available in London for those who are only in the city for the day. There are several options, from walking tours that concentrate on certain districts or topics to sightseeing bus trips.

What is the ideal amount of time to spend at each destination on a one-day schedule in London?

While the ideal amount of time varies, try to allot 1-2 hours for each big attraction. Make the most of your time by planning, buying tickets in advance, and giving off-peak hours priority to avoid crowds.

Is it possible to tour many London neighbourhoods or districts in a single day?

It is possible, though difficult, to visit many London areas in a single day. Pay attention to the surrounding neighbourhoods, make use of quick transit options like the underground, and give priority to the must-see or do attractions in each district.

top-rated things to do in london

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One day in London Itinerary Big Ben.

Photo sources

  • Big Ben Clock: Image by Mathew Browne from Pixabay
  • Notting Hill London Street: Photo by Leandro Mazzuquini on Unsplash
  • Regents Park in Autumn: Photo by Ahhh Bear on Unsplash
  • Oxford Street: Photo by Jay Wennington on Unsplash

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