If anyone asks me what is my favorite place in the world the answer is only one: London! There are many reasons why I love it (and why I wanted to go there since I was 5), but sticking to the travel theme, I believe it is a great place to be a tourist.
Think of great museums that charge you nothing to go inside and marvel at History and art. Think of parks where you can picnic or just simply sit down and relax. Think of walking by the Thames River on a sunny day or walk around Camden Market or Soho or Covent Garden…
Yeah, my list goes on and I could talk about all the great things this fantastic city has to offer for days… but what I will do here is share some of my favorite Spring/Summer itineraries that can be done with or without children – and that will not necessarily mean you will check all the “must sees” from your list.
Assuming you arrived the night before and that you are a Beatles fan, head to the famous Abbey Road and join other fans in the best “let’s do it like the Beatles” fashion and cross the road. After you’ve done that and took the picture, head to Abbey Road Studios and take a classic photo on the stairs – and that’s as far as you will be allowed to go.
From there, head to Trafalgar Square and enjoy the great view of the Big Ben you have from there and then walk to Buckingham Palace to catch the Changing of the Guard. By the time it’s done, you will be hungry, so head to Camden Market and just pick one of the many options you will find for your late lunch.
After strolling around Camden Market you might want to go for a different kind of retail therapy, so go to the Picadilly Circus area and stop by the fantastic toy store Hamleys – you don’t need to be a kid to have fun there!
By the time you are done having fun at the toy store, it will be already night and it will be perfect to see Picadilly’s lights.
Alternative: If you really feel like you have to enjoy the perks of visiting at least a cool museum for free, skip Hamleys and go to the British Museum. You can feel like a kid back to 5th grade History class and it is really fantastic.
For your second day in this amazing city, let’s get closer to the Thames. Let’s go on a boat ride from Embankment (with time for a Big Ben picture before you board the boat), passing by the Tower of London and Tower Bridge and arriving at Greenwich.
There you visit the Observatory and the Meridian Line, and the Painted Hall; those are my favorite places and they sure are beautiful. Once your visits are done, just sit on the grass at Greenwich Park and have a picnic – it just makes the perfect, relaxing day.
Before you hop on your boat back to Westminster, take a look, even if from outside, at the Cutty Sark and take a classic picture of Canary Wharf’s skyline. Once you’re back in Westminster, head to Covent Garden for dinner at one of the nearby pubs and then think about how much fun you had on the past 2 jam-packed days.
It looks like a very laid back itinerary, and it is. The idea here is to experience this awesome city at a leisurely pace two days should be enough time for you to fall in love with London and realize you should have stayed a week. Or a month.
Links for more info:
* Transport for London (official site with all you need to know on how to get around town): http://www.tfl.gov.uk/
* Abbey Road Crossing Webcam (I found this fantastic!): http://www.abbeyroad.com/crossing
* Trafalgar Square: http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/arts-culture/trafalgar-square
* Big Ben: http://www.parliament.uk/bigben
* Changing of the Guard (schedule): http://www.royal.gov.uk/royaleventsandceremonies/changingtheguard/overview.aspx
* Camden Market: http://www.camden-market.org/
* Picadilly Circus: http://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/place/77552-piccadilly-circus
* Hamleys: http://www.hamleys.com/
* Thames Clippers (routes and timetables for your boat ride to Greenwich): http://www.thamesclippers.com//routes-times-prices-booking/routes-times-prices-booking.html
* Greenwich: http://www.visitgreenwich.org.uk/
* British Museum: http://www.britishmuseum.org