London has been one of those cities that has captured me in a way I didn’t think it could. I’ve always been more of a nature and outdoorsy kind of girl, but the more I travel to foreign cities with my job, the more I’m starting to fall in love with some of these bigger metropilitan cities like London. When I’m traveling for work, my layovers tend to be 24 hours or less, leaving me with little time to explore when you consider I haven’t yet slept when I arrive in all the European cities we visit (all our flights to Europe are overnight flights out of miami, so the most I end up getting to sleep before I explore is 1-2 hours on my rest break during the flight).
Still, with just 24 hours I was able to see quite a bit of London, and Ive put together a list of things to do for how to make the most of your time if you ever have a short layover there.
The best thing you can do during a short layover in London to see the most of the city is to walk everywhere. I started my walk at Hyde Park and made my way over all the way to the London Eye, stopping at all the famous touristy spots on the way. Our walk took about 2+ hours total, but like I said we stopped a lot at many different spots to take photos and explore. While theres a lot of famous buildings and landmarks to see in London, there are a few that you just cannot miss if it’s your first time there:
- Hyde Park
- Buckingham Palace
- Phone Booth in front of Big Ben
- Big Ben (currently under renovations)
- London Bridge
Once we arrived at the London Eye my crew and I took a water taxi from there to Greenwich, a small town just outside the city. It was maybe a 30-45 minute water taxi ride, where we were able to grab a beer and see the city from a different perspective. I highly highly recommend just riding the water taxi down the river if you’re ever feeling tired from walking because we had great views of a lot of buildings from it! Our feet were tired at this point so it was the perfect way to keep going. There are a lot of water taxis to choose from but we went with Thames Clipper River Bus because they accept Oyster cards. Speaking of which, if you plan on being in London for more than a day definitely grab an Oyster card (Londons public transportation card).
Once in Greenwich something cool to visit is the Meridian Line. While Quito, Ecuador is famous for the equator line, Greenwich represents the Prime Meridian of the world, Longitude Zero (0° 0′ 0″). Every place on the Earth is measured in terms of its angle east or west from this line. At night you can visibly see the line stretch across the sky thanks to a laser beam that has been installed.
Now, if you still have time, make sure you check out the St. Pauls Cathedral and One New Change shopping center. The Cathedral is beautiful both inside and outside, and the One New Change shopping mall is just a few steps away and has a beautiful restaurant and bar on the rooftop called Madison. The rooftop has a great view of the cathedral and amazing cocktails!
Apart from the walking tour and other touristy spots I’ve mentioned, there are a few food and drink staples you have to try while in London:
- Fish n Chips
- Pie & Mash
- Gin & Tonic
- Blood Pudding
There’s still so much left for me to see in London that I haven’t yet visited but I hope this gave you a glimpse into what the city has to offer! My next visit will most definitely include a stop at the museum of Natural History which I heard was amazing, as well as the botanical garden in a high rise overlooking the city. Has anyone ever been to either? Comment below your favorite spots to visit in London!