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San Jose (California)

Jessie from San Jose (California) asked

I've got 24hrs, can anyone map it out for the wife and I?

The wife and I are taking a day trip to London from Paris in a couple of weeks.  We will be there on a Monday, spending the night then leaving the following afternoon.  Can anyone map out a great 24 hours for the wife and I?  Or maybe suggest absolute musts in the timeframe we have, meals, tourist, non tourist, shops, etc...

Update with more details: We will have 1 backpack, no rolling luggage. Our train arrives around 10am and we will leave around noon the following day by train as well. We are staying at a hotel in the Bloomsbury area. The wife especially likes shopping at little ecletic antique shops, old bookstores etc. We are not huge fans of touristy spots unless it is an absolute must, as we are limited in time.


5 Answers
top answer by
Alex from London

Jessie, you already have some really good recommendations so I am going to try to give you a bit of an alternative option. I will assume you are okay walking and taking the tube (get a day-pass!) But, of course, cabs is always an option. Plus, I imagine this isn't your first time in London and you don't mind skipping some landmarks?

To start, you will be staying in a great central area very close to the International Train Terminal of St Pancras so I recommend you pop into your hotel to drop your bags , once you arrive, perhaps you will begin exploring by 11:00ish

Okay, here goes:

11:00: Pop in the tube and take the pink, purple, yellow or red line to Liverpool street station. Head over to Old Spitalfields Market for lunch. If you are a coffee lover, you are in luck there are loads of options such as Peloton and Nude.  If nothing finds your fancy in the market area, head up Brick Lane towards the Truman Brewery all the way to Shoreditch.  The area I just described is excellent for independent and quirky shops so take some time to explore and shop. Additionally, keep your eyes open for great street art an graffiti.  This is a really young and trendy neighborhood, very artsy and independent-minded.

14:00: Walk south towards Aldgate and Tower Hill (if  you want a good sit down eating option, try the restaurant at the Whitechapel Gallery). Cross Tower Bridge Rdand continue west on the riverbank on to the Scoop and More London, into the Hay's Galleria, and onwards to Southwark Cathedral

14:30 Borough Market will only be partially open on a Monday but there are great cake and gelato shops on stoney street where you can have a rest. Otherwise, continue on towards the Shakespeare's Globe by the riverside. If you are tired, take a break at the Swan Pub adjacent to the Globe theatre, the upstairs has the most stunning view of St Paul's Cathedral. An alternative is to continue on for 5mins until you reach the Tate Modern where you can get a  cup of tea or a glass of wine on the 5th floor bar which also offers a stunning river view. The museum has a pretty quirky shop.

15:00 Cross Millenium Bridge to St Paul's Cathedral. Now you have two options, either walk down Fleet Street or walk through Blackfriar's, along the riverside embankment and then make your way through the charming Temple Courts (visit Temple Church) until you emerge at the Strand, opposite the Old Bailey.  I would highly suggest a stop at one of the historical pubs such as the Old Bank of England or the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.

16:00 You are now very close to another shopping haven, Covent Garden and Neal's Yard (up to Seven Dials). An excellent area to wind down the day, slowly walking along the boutique filled streets. If you want a bit more culture, finish up at Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross, the centre of London.

19:00 At this point you will be ready for dinner so choose a place in Covent Garden, Soho or Leicester Square/ Chinatown.  I will also repeat the recommendation for Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club or you could try to squeeze in a musical in the West End (albeit that really depends on your tastes and priorities).

If your train is at 12:00pm the next day you can just about fit in a hearty breakfast.  I would suggest you try to make it to Kings Cross by 10:00am for breakfast in Granary Square. Two great options are Caravan and the Grain Store.  Plus the square is only a ten minute pleasant walk to St Pancras International, over the Grand Union Canal and the pedestrian Kerb.

Now, for some restaurant recommendations.

East (morning lunch): Dishoom, Albion, Haksmoor, Hixter, Canteen, The Breakfast Club, Pho, St John's, DF Mexico, Duck and Waffle (also amazing views from the top of the Heron Tower).

Covent Garden/Neal's Yard: J Sheekeys, Opera Tavern, Polpo, Stick n Sushi, Flesh N Buns, Delauny, Great Queen Street, Tom's Kitchen at Sommerset House, Jamie's Italian, Haksmoor Seven Dial's.

Soho: Yauatcha, Dean's Street Bistro, Bodega Negra, Koya, Imli Street, Ridding House Cafe.

Hope you find this helpful, and enjoy London!

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Old Spitalfields Market (attraction)
  2. Brick Lane (attraction)
  3. Tower Hill (attraction)
  4. Tower Bridge Rd (attraction)
  5. Hay's Galleria (attraction)
  6. Southwark Cathedral (attraction)
  7. Shakespeare's Globe (attraction)
  8. Tate Modern (attraction)
  9. Temple (neighborhood)
  10. Covent Garden (attraction)
  11. Neal's Yard (attraction)
  12. Seven Dials (attraction)
  13. Trafalgar Square (attraction)
  14. Soho (neighborhood)
  15. Leicester Square (attraction)
  16. Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club (restaurant)
  17. Granary Square (attraction)
  18. St Pancras International (attraction)
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answered by
Allison from Houston

Perhaps try a hop on hop off bus tour. Also if you want to see a show I'd recommend Once Phoenix Theatre. I just saw it in June and it was wonderful. You can always try to get reduced price tickets at the TKTS booth in Leicester Square  Must sees should include Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar SquareLondon EyeWestminster Abbey, or just a walk down the River Thames

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Phoenix Theatre (attraction)
  2. Leicester Square (attraction)
  3. Buckingham Palace (attraction)
  4. Trafalgar Square (attraction)
  5. London Eye (attraction)
  6. Westminster Abbey (attraction)
  7. River Thames (attraction)
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answered first by
Kingsley from London

I'll let someone else do the day, but for the evening I'd always throw in a show - any one really. Take a wander up Dean St for a wide variety of pre-theatre dining then Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre - you could maybe catch the late show at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club afterwards.

Comments (3)

A show sounds like a great idea, my wife is a fan of Jazz so Ronnie Scotts could be just the thing. I am a fan of theatre so Miss Saigon would be my preference, but I was fortunate to see it with Lea Salonga so the show is now ruined for me as I will always compare to the original... Thank you for the tips.

I saw Lea Salonga in Miss Saigon too... all I am saying Jessie, is you might be pleasantly surprised... I know I was and I was sitting in the back row! :-)

@Kingsley, so true - I do love theatre so I don't doubt I would enjoy the show especially all of the nuances of watching it performed by a London Theatre group. Now you've given me much to consider... also nothing wrong with the back row - I've done that a few times as well :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Dean St (attraction)
  2. Prince Edward Theatre (attraction)
  3. Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club (restaurant)
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answered by
Michelle from Melbourne

Basically, you can get anywhere you like in London easily on the Tube. Having said that, staying somewhere central off Oxford St could work very well for you. The street is full of great shops, from Selfridges at the Marble Arch end, all the way down to Tottenham Court Rd There are also great cafes like Flat White and Fitzrovia and a wonderful evening meal Pollen Street Social. There's also easy access to the theatre district, and the The British Museum. On your way back to the train, you can see the Magna Carta The British Library. If you're into food, I'd recommend a trip to Borough Market. Of course, walking past Buckingham Palace you might catch the Changing of the Guard at around 11.15 am - look it up on Google to see if it's happening the day you're visiting. If you want a bird's eye view of the city of London, try London Eye or the observation deck The Shard.  If you're looking to use the Tube a lot, make sure you buy a pass - individual tickets can be very expensive. If you've not been before, a short ride in a London cab is a treat, but it gets expensive (and time consuming in the traffic) if you want to use taxis all the time to get around.

In terms of your specific likes Waterstones Piccadilly is a great bookstore as is Foyles. Antiques are not specifically my thing but you're in the right city for antiquities - my earlier recommendations of the British museum and the Library are fascinating.

Comments (1)

Kick note, Borough Market is closed on Monday/ Tuesday. Awesome recommendations though, very thorough!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Oxford St (attraction)
  2. Selfridges (restaurant)
  3. Tottenham Court Rd (attraction)
  4. Flat White (restaurant)
  5. Fitzrovia (attraction)
  6. Pollen Street Social (attraction)
  7. The British Museum (attraction)
  8. The British Library (attraction)
  9. Borough Market (attraction)
  10. Buckingham Palace (attraction)
  11. London Eye (attraction)
  12. The Shard (attraction)
  13. Waterstones Piccadilly (attraction)
  14. Foyles (attraction)
comments (1)
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answered by

Leave your bags at your hotel, even if the room isn't ready. Then head out following Rick Steves' Cheap Day Out in London.

You'll buy a one-day off-peak subway and bus pass (a great deal at about $12) and take the tube to Westminster.

The day will include free audio guided walks and tube and taxi rides to: 

Westminster Bridge, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, City of London, St. Paul’s CathedralBritish MuseumBritish Library, ending with dinner at a pub.

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. London (city)
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