ONE DAY LONDON
Planning on visiting one of the busiest metropolitan capital cities on Earth? Make sure you have your bucket list and timing right for the unforgettable experience of one day in London
Words: Aleksandra Georgieva
Photograohy: Lea Fabienne
09 January 2019
London is one of the metropolitan capitals in the world that everyone has heard of and many have had the chance to visit. Yet, if you are from those, who plan a trip there in the future, we might interest you in a guide to the productive way of exploring the British capital within the time frame of one day.
One of the biggest cities in the United Kingdom, London is bursting with life - the streets are always lit up, bursting with traffic, cyclists, locals and visitors, all of whom represent diversity. London does not fit in a certain criteria because it is not just one thing. It is international, multi-cultural, poverty and privilege, tradition and innovation, ancient and new. The city is never silent or empty, there is always something happening, a venue where people celebrate the artistic, fashion or music scene, there is never stillness - only motion.
If you have never visited before, you should definitely plan your route as the crowds may get you frustrated and slow you down. There is much to be seen and done, so you should prepare to grab every opportunity to embrace the clashes of culture and city life. For those of you, who are not early birds and need that vital caffeine boost, London is your playground. The coffee shops are not just plenty - the majority of them actually specialise in quality coffee sourced directly from farmers and extracted in a way that gives you a delicious cup of properly filtered coffee in most places you go. The baristas are skilled and knowledgeable, and the venues are full.
We recommend you take your coffee out for a chance to explore the city in the early hours of the morning when the population is already on the go towards work and the tourists slowly start to fill up all the main streets and squares. Hyde Park - the largest and most famous one in entire London wakes up under the first rays of sunlight as locals are already walking their dogs, students have grouped together, and suit-up people are seen cycling to the office. This will be your window-opportunity to visiting some of those famous landmarks you have had on your bucket list since you could possibly remember. NOMADSofORIGIN recommends you take a stroll through the city centre in the morning before the crowds have grown drastically.
The morning is the perfect time for walking up onto London Bridge and past the Southwark Cathedral. Nearby you will find Borough Market, which will probably give you a sense of deja vu as you have likely seen it on the Big screen in major film productions such as Harry Potter. Past the riverbank is the Tower Bridge, which leads to the Westminster, where you will find the Houses of parliament, the South Bank arts complex, At Paul's Cathedral and Tate Modern.
If you take the Westminster Bridge over the Thames, Big Ben will rise on your left close enough for a great picture that would skip the discomfort of having the crowds of tourists in the close-up shot. Take a right turn past 10 Downing Street and you will reach the famous Trafalgar Square, where Nelson’s Column overtakes the centre. The National Gallery is just a-few-minutes-walk to the north of the square, while the west side will take you straight towards the Buckingham Palace. To the northeast is the Covent Garden - filled with shopping alleys, restaurants and street entertainers that amuse the crowds with varied skills from magical tricks to musical performances, jewellery handcrafting and pavement painting.
Lunch would depend on your personal preferences, yet you will have a rich choice between elegant restaurants and take-away food venues that burst with options between traditional international cuisine. The afternoon would be the perfect place for visiting the exhibitions of famous venues such as the Science Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum, the London Transport Museum and of course one of the world's best - The British Museum. Only minutes away from Covent Garden it is free to enter and hosts some of the largest and mostly varied exhibitions of different times throughout the global history.
As the evening rolls around, you will find many people heading towards the West End - the land of theatres in London, where you can witness world-class plays and shows, worth every penny. Make sure to check for tickets in advance as bookings happen fast from the most famous plays like Les Misérables to the tiniest performances, advertised all over venues, underground stations and posts all over the British capital and nearby cities.
If you had not managed to find tickets for the plays you like, alternatively you could enjoy a walk you already took, only so much more peaceful than you may remember it. When down falls, take a walk back past the river Thames and you will find the London Eye lit up in red, blue and white as the colourful glow cuts through the darkness of the night. It is one of the most romantic views in the city and definitely worth the visit when the crowds have become limited and you have the comfort of the calm evening on your side.
Your next stop will be Soho - the heart of evening fun where visitors are spoiled of choice when it comes to cocktails. If you are not afraid of heights, head over to The Shard - one of the most iconic modern buildings in London that offers a bird-eye view of the centre of the British capital. Floor-to-ceiling windows reveal the golden lights of the city at night as the traffic fills up Tower Bridge and the clash between modern and vintage architecture stands out right before your eyes. Seating is rare to find, but the atmosphere is definitely worth the visit.