London in 3 Days: It can be done!

 

London Thames Houses of Parliament

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Can you see London in 3 days?

London; its one of those cities where just the name conjures up a bustling metropolis of cobbled streets seeped in history and so may sites to see you feel you might need a month there.

Well the good news is that you can still see all the main sights and delights in only three days by following my three walks below:

Where to stay-

I suggest having a look at the Travelodge website  https://www.travelodge.co.uk/ they have some really cheap options. FYI, rooms don’t normally have air con (not many in London do) so if its summer and anything more than warm then the room will get stuffy.

I personally like staying around Kensington High Street, South Kensington, or very central. Having said that I also like to shop around for a good price so have stayed at the Vauxhall and Convent Garden Travelodges, convent garden was awesome location, Vauxhall good for transport and cheaper.

The Tube connections from airport aren’t too bad, you can catch train direct from Heathrow to Paddington but the extra cost of express isn’t worth it, the Piccadilly line/Tube into London is fine (buy your Oyster card at the airport station).

From Stanstead or Luton it’s a pain to get into London, London city airport isn’t too bad.

Tower Bridge London

Getting around-

The easiest way to get around as a tourist is the double decker buses, not only are they an icon, you get great views, and its cheap at 1.50 pounds a ride or 4.50 a day on the Oyster card (worth investing in one of these!)

This link will take you to a bus map of London.

All instructions below are for walking but there are plenty of buses which head the same way.

Great map of London’s attractions also included.

http://www.ukguide.org/london/London-map.htm

Map of London: London Underground Maps, London Street Maps

www.ukguide.org

Central London Maps, Underground Tube Maps, London Street Maps

What to see-

Natural History Museum, (South Kensington Station- Piccadilly Line) London
A centre of scientific excellence in the discovery of taxonomy and biodiversity, this world-famous museum promotes the discovery and enjoyment of the natural world through such exciting exhibits as the Life and Earth Galleries, wildlife garden and geological collections.(pretty cool building and its free to go inside)

Walk 1
From the Natural History Museum, you can walk north up Queens Gate (west side of museum) to Kensington Road. On your right will be-
Royal Albert Hall, They show symphonies and plays here. The height of prestige for musicians.

To the left/in front is the Kensington Gardens and look at
Kensington Palace,  (ie- Princess Diana’s house, not interesting inside, but a nice garden to stroll through)
Once the favoured home of kings and queens, this royal residence, redesigned by Christopher Wren for William and Mary in 1689, was home to Princess Diana, and today features the Court Dress collection.

Then head east through the park and come to the serpentine lake to-
Hyde Park,
Once the hunting ground for Henry VIII, this large royal park is best known for its famous Speakers’ Corner (you’ll pass this on corner just before bus turns onto oxford street when heading for picidilly circus), where people speak their minds; Rotton Row, a famous horse-riding area; and Serpentine Lake, home to waterfowl and oarsmen.

At hyde park corner, you can see the Wallace monument (that big statue with the guys on the horse) if you double back you can see Knightbridge, and the big tan coloured building with flags is-

Harrods, Harrods Food Hall Located right outside the Knightsbridge tube stop, Harrods has long been a bastion of style and taste in London. It’s a destination for fashionistas and the wealthy, as well as…(downstairs is tribute thingo to Princess Diana and Dodi.)

From Hyde park corner head diagonally through green park. Heading along constitution Hill, till you get to –
Buckingham Palace,
Surrounded by vast parklands and gardens, this grand palace has been the Royal London residence since Queen Victoria’s time, and contains priceless works of art, fine furniture and decorations that form part of the Royal Collection. (see the guards do the changing of guards, I think it’s around 11 am)

Next head along birdcage walk, towards Westminster.
You will come to-
Westminster Abbey,
An architectural masterpiece of the 13th to 16th centuries, the Abbey has been both the coronation and burial site of English monarchs since William the Conqueror. (Worth a look inside, lots of dead poets and royalty buried under your feet)

You’ll also see the
Houses of Parliament,
The symbol of England’s strong democracy, this famous Gothic building houses the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

And of course
Big Ben,
Big Ben is the bell inside the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster, though the tower itself is often called Big Ben.

If you head along Whitehall, you will also see
Downing Street, This is the English equivalent of the White House, can’t see much as guards at gate etc.

Walk 2

Start in-
Piccadilly Circus,
Located at the junction of five busy streets, this famous London landmark blazes with neon displays, which serve as a colorful backdrop to a bronze fountain topped by a figure of a winged archer.

Follow the signs along Haymarket, til you get to-
Trafalgar Square, London
A 145-foot-high monument, bearing a statue of Lord Horatio Nelson guarded by lions, marks the spot considered the centre of London.

The pole with the lions is-
Nelson’s Column, London
Ranked as one of London’s greatest landmarks, this 185-foot high monument (circa 1843) looks down on the busy streets, fountains and swirling traffic of Trafalgar Square.

Its free to go into the-
National Gallery, London
The National Gallery, London houses one of the greatest collections of European painting in the world.  The National Gallery’s permanent collection spans the period from about 1250 to 1900 and consists of Western European paintings. (you can see Van Gogh sunflowers and a few Monet from memory)

Next follow the signs along Charing Cross road to-
Leicester Square, London
Located right in the heart of London’s West End, this busy square is within easy walking distance to many of London’s top theaters, the café society and nightlife delights of Soho.

This area is called Soho and it is the heart of the Theatre District, check out the signs at the ticket places and get yourself some cheap tickets to a show!!

Next you need a beverage stop, whether it be a quick coffee or a lazy pint. The best place to head is-
Covent Garden, London
Filled with restaurants, bars, markets and boutiques, London’s premier tourist centre offers fabulous shopping by day, and the destination of theatregoers and patrons of the Royal Opera House by night.

The Punch and Judy pub balcony is a great place to watch the buskers!!
From Covent Garden follow the signs north to the
British Museum,
Founded in 1753, this museum houses the world’s greatest collection of world antiquities from ancient Greece, Rome and Asia, plus items from prehistoric Britain.

Great building, also free, and they have free walks nearly every hour of different areas. Either pop in for a quick look, or spend the afternoon going back in time on a journey around the globe.

Walk 3

Start at-  (St Pauls or Mansion House Tube stations, or a River Bus on the Thames, Blackfriers Millenium Pier stop)
St. Paul’s Cathedral,
Rebuilt by Christopher Wren after the great Fire of 1666, St. Paul’s has been the site of many historic state occasions, including Winston Churchill’s funeral and the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Further east along Cannon street (either walk or jump on a bus) is-

Tower of London,
One of London’s most famous landmarks, the historic Tower houses the Crown Jewels, the prison cell of Sir Walter Raleigh, known as the Bloody Tower, and the Chapel of St. John and the Royal Armories.

(I’ve never been in here, but there is a free video kinda display thing in ticket centre, it saves you almost 20 pounds just watching that and walking around outside, and from all accounts its not that great, unless you want to go in the armoury, see the crown jewels (not always on display))

And
Tower Bridge,
This bridge spans the Thames River, providing sweeping views of the city from a glass-enclosed walkway, with museums in each tower house that chronicle the bridge’s dramatic history

Walk across the bridge and head back towards central London. (you might want to catch a bus along Tooley st, to London bridge)

Walking along the Thames, you will see-
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre,
Reconstructed exactly as it would have been during the time of Shakespeare, this theater is a replica of the original Globe, where many of the Bard’s plays were first staged.(don’t think its worth going in unless you see a play, or are really interested.

Millennium Bridge,
With a modern design giving a unique tubular effect, London’s Millennium Bridge is a 330-meter pedestrian bridge linking the City of London at St Paul’s Cathedral with the new Tate Gallery at Bankside.

Tate Modern,
The Tate Modern is one of the most intriguing and interesting museums in the world. Even someone who isn’t a ‘museum person’ will want to visit the Tate. It is a must see, both for its setting…( a great gallery, and free!!) worth a stroll inside to see all the weird and wonderful ‘modern art’)

You have now completed the main sites, sounds, smells and delights of London Town.

Some other suggestions-

The Jack the Ripper walk- see http://www.walks.com/
Camden Town and Markets- http://www.camdenlock.net/
Abbey Road- ie the Beatles crossing- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbey_Road_(street)
A pub- (any ol’ corner pub, a pub is a Londoners lounge room)- http://www.beerintheevening.com/

 

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