Tourists love London as it offers a range of experiences for young and old! Spending 48 hours in London will give you a brief and very busy introduction to this vibrant city. Here are some of the must-see places during your 48 hours in London.
Experience the London Underground (the Tube)
London has one of the best underground train systems in the world. Unfortunately, it is also kinda pricey to use as your primary transport method to get around the city. The bus system in London is much more affordable, but you should at least take a short ride on the Tube – just for the experience!
London is a shoppers’ mecca and offers everything from budget buys to exclusive brands. Kensington is a stylish suburb offering shopping experiences such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols and many more boutique shops along King’s road.
For more budget-conscious shopping options, try one of the many markets in London. London is probably one of the cities in the world with the most markets. It is impossible to get to them all, so choose carefully. The Borough Markets, Camden markets and the markets at Old Spitalfields are open most weekdays, and you can find everything from clothing, art, and food between them. If you are looking for the best culinary delights for a quick lunch or snack, Borough Market is the best!
If you love the royal family and their traditions, a visit to Westminster Abbey comes highly recommended. Westminster Abbey is more than 700 hundred years old and is known as the coronation church. Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding also took place in Westminster Abbey. Some very prominent British figures are buried here, including Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, as are previous British monarchs, including Henry III and George II. To avoid the crowds, try to visit Westminster Abbey early in the morning.
Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s official residence. The changing of the guard is the main event at Buckingham Palace and is free! The changing of the guard takes place daily at 10:45 and lasts approximately 45 minutes. Art lover should consider visiting the Queen’s gallery for a peek at the royal collection of paintings.
Trafalgar Square is always buzzing with activity. You can find the world’s smallest police station in the southeast corner of Trafalgar Square. The Nelson Columns guard Trafalgar Square and commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar that took place in 1805. The statue of Horatio Nelson is on the top and looks down towards Westminster and Big Ben. Be sure not to miss this well-known landmark.
Get Cozy At The Holly Bush
The Holly Bush is a traditional eighteenth-century pub right in the center of Hampstead. You can grab a nice pint and sit near a fire for a cozy evening in London. The menu is very gastropub-ish and the interior is quite charming. You’ll feel like you traveled back in time. Grab a book, grab a bear, and enjoy!
The River Thames
There is a large selection of boat trips to take down the River Thames. Seeing a city from the water always provides an alternative view. Cruising down the River Thames will take you past Canary Wharf, the City Hall, Big Ben and the Tower of London. You can choose from restaurant cruises, hop on hop off cruises or high-speed cruises – there is a cruise to suit every budget.
Eat Your Way Through Maltby St. Market
Maltby Steet Market is a classic go-to for many locals. It is filled with a variety of street food from classic fish and chips to strawberry and cream doughnuts. It isn’t a big street market so challenge yourself to eat your way from one end to the other (if your feeling adventures and/or hungry)!
Get A Good View
There are so many options for viewing London from up high. The London Eye is expensive but provides lovely views of London. An alternative is to visit the summit of the Shard building around sunset to see Canary Wharf light up as the sun goes down. If your budget is limited, you can view London for free from the sky garden at the top of the 20 Fenchurch Street building – just remember to make a booking in advance.
Visiting A Museum
London has excellent museums, most of which are free. The British Museum has artifacts from around the world, such as the Egyptian mummies and the Rosetta Stone, and can keep you occupied for hours. Alternative options for free museums include the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The Tower of London
William the Conqueror built the Tower of London in the 1070s. The royal family has gradually expanded the grounds over the years. It currently houses a collection of the crown jewels. The Yeoman Warders give free tours daily on a regular basis and is an excellent way to get familiar with the main areas on the grounds.
Visit a Traditional British Pub
One of the best ways to spend a few hours in unpleasant weather is visiting a British pub. British pubs are cozy and provide an opportunity to give your tired feet a break after seeing so many sights. Pop into the famous George Inn for a traditional pint of beer. Alternatively, try another British favorite in the form of fish and chips. Seafresh near Victoria Station and the Golden Hind near Bond street are favorite spots for this traditional meal.
Experience an Afternoon Tea
Another traditional British experience to have during your 48 hours in London is going for an afternoon tea. Many hotels and restaurants offer this experience, and the prices vary considerably. The National Theatre’s afternoon tea is reasonably priced, and the quality of the food is excellent. Another option is the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson London, which includes sophisticated finger foods such as red velvet ladybird and Scottish smoked salmon.
Attend a theatre performance in the West End
Your 48 hours in London will not be complete without experiencing a theatre performance in the West End. There are a variety of theatres such as the Apollo Theatre and the Lyceum Theatre with shows that change regularly. Finding something to suit your taste will not be difficult. Buy last minute discounted tickets at the ticket booth on Leicester Square.
Have a picnic in a park
Londoners are spoilt with parks. Hyde Park is the most popular of the parks and usually quite busy. St James’s Park and Green Park are quieter if you want to avoid crowds. If the weather allows it, why not have a picnic in the park?
As you can see, there are so many things to do and see in London. What will you be doing and seeing your first time in London? Leave it in the comments below!