What to do with 24 hours in London? Our student Jan gives you a tour

Jan in LondonCity breaks to London are very popular. If you want to spend only one day in London, and and see as of the city as possible, it's no easy task, but it can be done.

Jan, a student from Germany who was studying English in London for 10 weeks, put together an itinerary for a day in London. Our day trip to London takes place on a Saturday, which is the most difficult day for tourists for sightseeing because the city can become crowded quickly. All the better that Jan knows how to cleverly avoid the crowds. So come on!

Locomotion in London

I recommend that you take advantage of the blue bicycles for hire in London. They are extremely low cost in comparison with Tube and are distributed throughout the city. At the well-marked stations you can rent one and then return it to another location in the city. So you can get around quite inexpensively, see lots of the city and avoid long waiting times for the next train.

a day in london on bicycles

Start your day in London at 10 o'clock

Let us begin at Oxford Circus, to visit Oxford Street and its variety of shops. Since it should not be a shopping day, two hours should be enough time. 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, the shops are still quite empty.

By bike you can then get over to Piccadilly Circus as well as Trafalgar Square, and then to Big Ben and the London Eye. The ride is only about 15 minutes, and of course time for photos remains.

I would not recommend getting on the London Eye on a Saturday unless you have pre-booked, because it requires spending a lot of time queuing and it is quite expensive. However, London offers a better and cheaper option. More on that later. Now it is time for a lunch break!

After lunch ... 

We continue along to the beautiful St. James's Park through to Buckingham Palace. Take a few quick photos; on Saturdays it can get quite busy here. In addition, admiring the guards is not that much fun ...

Next to Buckingham Palace you find Green Park, which is very popular with young people in good weather. Adjacent is a large, but still pretty empty street, and you are just a few minutes from Hyde Park, the largest and best known park in London.

If you cross Hyde Park you can reach Kensington and Notting Hill, which, for me, are the most beautiful areas of London. The route from the London Eye to Notting Hill should not have lasted more than 50 minutes. The time now is 14:30 (2:30 pm), or for the more leisurely riders, 15:00 (3:00 pm)

Time for a stop at the pub!

Relaxed afternoon - time for the markets

In Notting Hill, you can admire the most beautiful houses and cars in London, as well as various bars, pubs and restaurants. What should not missed in any case is the famous Portobello Road Market.

Those looking for a relaxed stroll through the narrow streets of Portobello Market who fancy a little snack should visit the Côte
Brasserie in Notting Hill. It is a tasty French restaurant, with fantastic meat and the best fries I've ever eaten, and for only £10! If you spend some time in the market, you can be there for 18:00 (6:00 pm).

The Shard in London

London's skyline at dusk

After the day trip time, take a short trip home or to your hotel to get ready quickly for the evening. For now, we can leave the bike behind and take the tube to London Bridge. On nearby Tooley Street is The Shard, a skyscraper that has a unique Skybar on the 32nd floor.

Entry to the Skybar is free,  just make sure you have adequate footwear, so no sports shoes or sneakers! The best time to go is at dusk, with as cloudless a sky as possible, if that is possible in London.

From The Shard you have a breathtaking view of Tower Bridge, the banking district and almost all of Central and East London. An hour in the bar should be enough to enjoy the city skyline fully, unless you have to have a lot of money. The prices in the Skybar are understandably not cheap ...

The nightlife of London

If you want to start your evening in a typical English pub, you should take the tube from London Bridge to Leicester Square, where you can also find Chinatown nearby. There is a large selection of pubs, clubs and bars in a relatively small radius.

I especially recommend O'Neill's Pub in Soho, which is open until 3 in the morning, a rarity in London. Sometimes you have to pay admission, but it is worth it since there are 3 different floors with bars and music, plus a rooftop terrace. Later in the evening, the pub is converted to a club. I certainly had many fun nights there.


Who still has time on Sunday?

For those who still want to see something on Sunday, I must recommend Brick Lane. This is a great street in the Indian district in East London, which is especially popular on Sundays. On Brick Lane there are several markets, food courts, vintage shops and, of course bars and clubs. In addition, there is the coolest graffiti in the city! Brick Lane is a perfect insight into the London "scene" that should not be missed under any circumstances.

Of course you can plan a completely different day in London, but for "newbies" who want to explore the city without going on a conventional tourist tour, this plan should be just the ticket. I hope you enjoy London as much as I have, and I would love to read about your experiences!

Best wishes,

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