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Planning a European trip but need to move between destinations quickly? Landed in the UK’s capital, but unsure of what to do next? 

Tower Bridge

Photo by Charles Postiaux on Unsplash

Don’t worry, this guide will help you plan the perfect one day in London so that you can make the most of what the city has to offer, even in a short timeframe! 

The Best Way To Spend One Day in London

Drop Off Your Luggage in the Morning

If you want to explore as much as possible, don’t make things harder for yourself by carrying your luggage around with you all day. Instead, head over to luggage storage space, such as Kings Cross Left Luggage.

This station is connected to numerous underground lines (Circle, Piccadilly, Hammersmith & City, Northern, Metropolitan, and Victoria), making it easy to head to your next destination.

While at the station, Harry Potter fans should be sure to visit the Platform 9 ¾ store – or to keep an eye out for any passing wizards. There’s also an excellent photo opportunity located next to the shop itself, though you may have to queue up for this! 

Kings Cross Platform 9 3/4

Head To the British Museum

The British Museum is just 15 minutes away from Kings Cross by tube and is the world’s oldest national public museum, having first opened its doors in 1759.

Check out their website for more information on specific exhibits so that you can plan your tour from the museum accordingly – otherwise, you could easily spend the entire day here. The most popular exhibits are the Rosetta Stone, the Mummy of Ramses I, and the Elgin Marbles.

Stop By Buckingham Palace

After exiting the museum, hop back on the tube and head to St. James Park Station, which is close to Buckingham Palace. If you arrive around 11 am, you’ll be able to see the famous Changing of the Guards ceremony, but it’s always worth a visit either way.

Once you’ve taken some photographs outside the palace, have a walk through the nearby St James Park, one of London’s most beautiful green spaces, heading in the direction of Green Park station.

St James Park is one of the best parks in London

Stop For Lunch in Soho

Soho is one of London’s most vibrant and exciting neighborhoods, known primarily for its many bars and restaurants. As a result, it is the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat, no matter which kind of cuisine you may fancy.

Make sure to explore nearby Covent Garden afterwards which is home to the famous markets as well as excellent shopping and dining.

Covent Garden street

Visit Trafalgar Square

After lunch, walk towards Trafalgar Square. This takes around 20 minutes, but you’ll pass by a range of “famous” sites along the way, including Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square. Art lovers may want to take this opportunity to visit the National Portrait Gallery or the National Gallery. 

After visiting the square, walk down Whitehall towards Westminster Station. This will again take you past some interesting historical and cultural sites, including Horse Guards Parade and Downing Street. At Westminster, get on the tube towards London Bridge. 

Visit the South Bank

Stepping out of the tube at London Bridge, take a look at the Shard – the tallest building in London. Thrill-seekers may want to book a visit to the top, but otherwise, head in the direction of Borough Market, one of the best markets in London, for a bite to eat – whether you’re looking for some delicious global cuisine or a sweet treat! 

Don't miss Borough Market during your one day in London

Then, walk along the river in the direction of the Tate Modern Art Gallery. This will take you past Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Stopping by the Tate is worthwhile, even if you are not interested in art, as you can head to their free viewing platform on the tenth floor, giving you access to panoramic views of the city.

Alternatively, you could head in the opposite direction after visiting Borough Market and walk toward Tower Bridge. Here, you’ll also have the opportunity to stop by the Tower of London.

Next to Borough Market, you can also visit the Southwark Cathedral free of charge, and while small, it is definitely a worthwhile pitstop.

Southbank London

Head Back to Kings Cross

After a busy day of exploring the city, head back in the direction of Kings Cross to collect your luggage. If you’re looking for something else to eat before heading out on your next adventure, there are plenty of restaurants and fast food spots in this area, meaning that you are once again spoiled for choice. 

Don’t forget to take plenty of photographs throughout your trip or to stop by any souvenir shops you pass.

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