Unravel London in a week

06 April 2021

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Friendly disclaimer! 

We want to be as accurate as possible, but given these challenging times, we urge you to recheck that the venues are open when you decide to visit.

Witness the urban jungles of its city-central to the wide-open green expanses of its Royal Parks; from timeless history preserved immaculately at Westminster to the more burgeoning East End. London is a seamless amalgamation of age-old tradition and pomp with cutting edge innovation and modern-day trends.

 

A week in the city lets you explore all of the must-see sights around the capital while allowing you to get creative and personalise your itinerary according to your specific tastes and fancies. After all, there is a lot to taste and fancy when in London.

Detailed seven-day London itinerary

Day 1

Changing of the Guard

Guard changing ceremony at Buckingham Palace
By Linda Finkin/Unsplash

Often accompanied by a band, the Guard Mounting ceremony involves the formal handover of responsibilities between the existing Queen’s guard and the New Guards arriving from Wellington Barracks. With precision drills and stirring music, this traditional ceremony is a striking display of British military pageantry.

 

Unravelog Tip: Confirm dates and timings before your visit as schedules are prone to last-minute changes. Arrive early (by at least an hour) to avoid large crowds and secure a spot with a good view.

 

Useful info:

Take a stroll around St James’s Park

St James’s Park, London
By Tracey Bedard/Pixabay

Bordered by Buckingham Palace to the west, St James’s Park is one of the oldest of London’s royal parks spread over a massive area of 57 acres. The park also has a lake brimming with a variety of waterfowl as well as a colourful flower bed. 

 

Things to do:

  • Take a stroll down the Mall (a grand processional route), visit the Admiralty Arch built as a memorial to Queen Victoria, the park’s bird collection at Duck Island and the Horse Guards Parade grounds.
  • Catch a view of prominent London landmarks from the  Blue Bridge including Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the London Eye.

 

Unravelog Tip: Hire deck chairs available within the park (from March to October) to make lounging around more comfortable.

 

Useful Info:

  • Location: St. James Park
  • Timings: 5:00 am to 12:00 am
  • Cost: Free
  • Website: https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/st-jamess-park
  • How to reach: By tube, St. James’s Park (District and Circle Line), Charing Cross Station (Northern, Bakerloo and British Rail lines), Westminster (Jubilee, District and Circle Lines), Green Park (Piccadilly, Victoria and Jubilee Lines), Victoria (Victoria, Circle and District, British Rail lines)

Go back in time at the Churchill War Rooms

Churchill War Rooms London
By Frankemann/Wiki Commons

This comprises original Cabinet War Rooms from where the British government directed the second World War and the war bunker which sheltered Churchill and his staff during the Blitz. Once abuzz with planning and plotting, these war rooms are now also home to the award-winning Churchill Museum.

 

Unravelog tip: Be prepared for long queues during the holidays or summer months.

 

Useful info:

    • By tube: The nearest stations are Westminster and St. James’s Park 
    • By Bus: You can reach the Churchill War Rooms via routes 3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 87, 88, 109, 148, 159, 184, 211 and 453.
    • By train: The nearest stations are Charing Cross and Victoria 
National Gallery London
By Lucia Hatalova/Unsplash

With over 2,300 paintings spanning from the 13th to 20th-century, the National Gallery houses one of the largest collections of Western European art in the world. 

 

Things to do: 

Some of the many world-famous works of art you can expect to see at the National Gallery include ‘The Virgin of the Rocks’ by Leonardo da Vinci, ‘Self Portrait at the Age of 34’ by Rembrandt and ‘Sunflowers’ by Vincent van Gogh.

 

Unravelog tip: 

  • Reserve at least half an hour before or after your visit to the museum to check out Trafalgar Square.
  • If you’re a fan of podcasts, make sure to download the National Gallery podcast for more background information about the collections on display.

 

Useful info:

    • By Tube: Charing Cross (Northern and Bakerloo lines) or Leicester Square (Northern and Piccadilly lines).
    • By Bus: Routes 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 23, 24, 29, 53, 77A, 88, 91, 139, 159, 176 and 453.

Day 1 on the map:

Day 2

Explore the Tower of London

Tower of London
By Ana Gic/Pixabay

Having adorned several roles over the centuries – including that of a fortress, a royal palace, and even a prison, the Tower of London presently houses over 23,000 British crown jewels, a flock of ravens, a military garrison and the famous “beefeaters” responsible for guiding the Tower’s visitors.

 

Things to do:

  • Visit the exhibitions in the tower bridge engine rooms
  • Attend yoga sessions on the glass floor every Wednesday.
  • Attend the musical events and plays in the walkway and Bascule Chamber

 

Unravelog Tip: Book tickets in advance as they are not always readily available.

 

Useful info:

  • Location: London Borough of Tower Hamlets
  • Timing
    • March to October:
      • Sunday and Monday: 10 am to 5:30 pm
      • Tuesday to Saturday: 9 am to 5:30 pm
    • November to February:
      • Sunday and Monday: 10 am to 4:30 pm
      • Tuesday to Saturday: 9 am to 4:30 pm
  • How to reach
    • Tube: Tower Hill Station
    • Bus: The 381, N199 and 47 routes.

Enjoy lunch while cruising the Thames

cruising on the Thames
By Carabo Spain/Pixabay

A cruise on the River Thames offers one of the best vantage points to spot some iconic sights around London. 

 

Things to do: Choose from a variety of cruises- from basic sightseeing and hop-on-hop-off tours to the more luxurious lunch or dinner cruises and even adrenaline-pumping speed boat tours.

 

Unravelog Tip: Pre-book your tickets to guarantee your place on board.

Using a Travelcard or an Oyster card can get you marginal discounts on cruise fares.

 

Useful info:

  • Location: Tower Pier/Westminster Pier/London Eye Pier
  • Timing: Typical sightseeing cruises depart every 30 to 40 minutes 
  • Cost: Varies depending on the type of cruise and operators.

Visit England’s most important church at Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey, London
By PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay

Numerous royal weddings, funerals and every coronation since the time of William the Conqueror has taken place within these historic walls. The Westminster Abbey is also the final resting place of 17 monarchs as well as famous commoners including the likes of Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Rudyard Kipling.

 

Unravel tips: Visit on Wednesdays for the least crowds and extended hours as it will be open only for individuals and not tours or bigger groups.

 

Useful info:

  • Location: Westminster
  • Timings
      • Monday to Friday: 9:30 am to 3:30 pm 
      • Wednesday: 9:30 am to 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm to 6 pm
      • Saturday: 9:30 am to 1 pm
      • Sundays and other religious holidays: Open for worship only
  • Cost: £18 (Attending service is free)
  • Website: https://www.westminster-abbey.org/ 
  • How to reach:
    • Tube: The nearest underground stations are St. James’s Park and Westminster
    • Train: The nearest stations are Victoria and Waterloo
    • Bus: Routes 11, 24, 88, 148 and 211 pass through Westminster Abbey 

Get a taste of politics at the Houses of Parliament

Houses of Parliament London
By Dominika Gregušová/Pexels

Officially called the Palace of Westminster, it is the governing nerve centre for the United Kingdom and is home to the two houses of parliament,  the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It also houses the 900-year-old Westminster Hall and the iconic Elizabeth Tower, popularly known as Big Ben.

 

Things to do: Watch a debate, committee or the Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons or House of Lords.

 

Useful info:

  • Location: Westminster
  • Timing:
    • All Saturdays: 9:15 am to 4:30 pm (Guided tour)
    • August: 
      • Monday: 1:15 pm to 5:30 pm
      • Tuesday to Friday: 9:15 am to 4:30 pm
    • October to July:
      • Monday and Tuesday: 2:30 pm to 10:30 pm
      • Wednesday: 11:30 am to 7:30 pm
      • Thursday: 10:30 am to 6:30 pm
  • Cost: From £ 25
  • How to reach: 
    • Tube: Westminster, St. James Park and Embankment Stations
    • Train: Charing Cross, Victoria and Blackfriars
    • Bus: 185, 344, 36, 88, C10.

Day 2 on the map:

Day 3

Take a stroll through the Strand and visit St. Paul’s Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral London
By adchimchaechill/Pixabay

The St Paul’s Cathedral, with its vast dome, awe-inspiring architecture and rich history is an icon of British resilience during the Blitz. It offers panoramic views over London from above and also has a crypt down below with the tombs and memorials of some of the nation’s greatest heroes.

 

Useful Info:

    • Tube: Central and Circle lines
    • Train: Thameslink
    • Bus: 63, 748, 76 routes

Cross over the London Bridge and watch a play at the Shakespeare’s Globe theatre

Shakespeare's Globe theatre London
By Tohma/Wiki Commons

Cross over the bridge to the South Bank of Thames and catch a play at the Shakespeare’s Globe Theater; a faithful restoration of the open-air playhouse built in 1599 where many of Shakespeare’s classic plays including Julius Caesar, Macbeth and Hamlet were performed.

 

Unravelog tips: For the best views choose a spot leaning on the stage or near the outer walls. 

 

Useful Info

    • Train: Blackfriars, London Bridge, Cannon Street and Waterloo
    • Bus: 45, 63, 100, 11, 15, 17, 26, 344 and 381
    • Tube: Blackfriars, Mansion House, Southwark and St Paul’s

Take a panoramic ride on the London Eye

London Eye
By Lucia Hatalova/Unsplash

Offering a 360-degree view of the city for up to 25 miles in every direction, the London Eye is the largest observation wheel in the world.  Soaring at a staggering height of 135-meters, this is the best to get a birds-eye view of London’s historic landmarks including those as far as Windsor Castle.

 

Unravelog Tip: Book your ticket online to skip the long queues as well as save on ticket costs.

 

Useful Info

    • Tube: Waterloo, Charing Cross, Embankment, and Westminster lines.
    • Bus: 211, 77, and 381.
    • Rail: Waterloo and Charing Cross.

Day 3 on the map:

Day 4

Learn about human culture at the British Museum

British Museum London
By Hulki Okan Tabak/Pixabay

With a collection of artefacts spanning over two million years of human history, the British Museum is one of the oldest and most comprehensive museums in existence. Predictably so, most of its collections were acquired during the era of the British empire.

 

Unravelog tips: Prefer the early hours of the day as it gets incredibly crowded in the afternoon

 

Useful Info

  • Location: Bloomsbury
  • Timing: Monday to Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm (last entry at 3.30 pm)
  • Cost: Free entry (Time slots have to be pre-booked online)
  • Website: https://www.britishmuseum.org/ 
  • How to reach
    • Tube: Tottenham court road and Holborn
    • Bus: Routes 1, 8, 19, 25, 38, 55, 98, 242, 10, 14, 24, 29, 73, 134, 390, 59, 68, X68, 91, 168, and 188.
    • Train: Euston Station

Dwell in the glamour of Leicester Square

Leicester Square London
By Ian Muttoo/Wiki Commons

Known as the entertainment hub of London’s West End, Leicester Square is home to some of the best shows and theatres in the city, along with star-studded film premieres all year round. Try your luck at its famous casinos or go restaurant hopping and enjoy cuisines from all over the globe. 

 

Things to do: Go to the cinemas, visit the Shakespeare monument or the Garrick Theatre. Try your luck at the Empire Casino or unwind at Leicester Square Gardens

 

Unravelog tips: The afternoon movie screenings are much cheaper than the evening and weekend slots

 

Useful Info

  • Location: West End
  • Timings: Open throughout the year and at all hours
  • How to reach
    • Bus: Routes 29, 55, 6, 87, and 94.
    • Train: Southeastern line
    • Tube: Northern or Piccadilly lines

Shop till you drop at Regent Street

Regent Street London
By Ichigo121212/Pixabay

With its unifying façades, a year-round curated programme of events and world-class shopping experiences, Regent Street is the hub for all things fashion, wellness and lifestyle

 

Unravelog tips: Most stores are open before 10; arrive early to avoid midday crowds

 

Useful Info

  • How to reach
    • Tube: Bakerloo, Jubilee, Green Park, Piccadilly lines
    • Train: Overground and Southeastern
    • Bus: 12, 139, 38, 453, 9 and 94.

Enjoy afternoon tea like the Royals at Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace London
By Adam Hill/Pixabay

Home to the royal families for over 300 years, Kensington Palace is one of the only places in London to offer the unique opportunity to have afternoon tea within palatial grounds. For a list of the finest afternoon tea spots across London, read our blog on the same here.

 

Things to do: 

  • Enjoy afternoon tea at the Kensington Pavilion
  • Visitors can walk in the footsteps of royalty while exploring the re-imagined childhood rooms of Queen Victoria as well as the magnificent King’s and Queen’s State Apartments.

 

Useful Info

  • Location: Kensington
  • Timing
      • March to October, 10 am to 6 pm (Last admission at 5 pm)
      • November to February: 10 am to 4 pm (Last admission at 3 pm)
    • Tube: High Street Kensington or Queensway lines
    • Bus: Routes 70, 94, 148 and 390 or 9, 10, 49, 52, 70 and 452
    • Train: The nearest station is Paddington

Day 4 on the map:

Day 5

Go food hunting at Berwick Street Market

Berwick Street Market London
By Tarquin Binary/Wiki Commons

A haven for the food connoisseurs, the Berwick Street Market is an 18th-century traditional fruit and vegetable market. It also sells an array of trendy street food along with varieties of cheeses, cakes, artisanal bread, fresh flowers and more.

 

Useful Info

  • Location: Berwick Street
  • Timing: Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 6 pm
  • How to reach
    • Tube: Central, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines
    • Train: Southeastern
    • Bus: 14, 159, 176, 38, 453 and 98

Visit the magnificent Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens London
By Daniel Case/Wiki Commons

The Kew Gardens, (formally known as the Royal Botanic Gardens) is home to one of the most comprehensive botanical collections on earth. It features a diverse and historic landscape, rich architectural legacy, soaring treetop walkways and tropical glasshouses.

 

Things to do: Visit the Great Pagoda, the Japanese landscape (reminiscent of a traditional Japanese tea garden), the Temperate House (world’s largest Victorian glasshouse), indoor rainforests, the Palm House and the Princess of Wales Conservatory.

 

Unravelog tips: Try visiting in the spring or summer months for the best experience.

 

Useful Info

  • Location: Richmond
  • Timing: Daily from 10 am to 7 pm (last entry at 6 pm). Closes between 3 to 5 pm during winter months
    • Tube: Kew Gardens Station
    • Train: Richmond Station
    • Bus: Routes 65, 237 and 267, or 391

Day 5 on the map:

Day 6

Hop between hemispheres at Greenwich

Cutty Sark Greenwich London
By 5477687/Pixabay

Hop on a boat from Westminster Pier towards Greenwich, a place steeped in rich history and home to the Prime meridian. 

 

Things to do: Straddle between the east and west hemispheres at the Royal Observatory, pay tribute to the region’s maritime history at the Cutty Sark or the National Maritime Museum, or go on a shopping spree at Greenwich market.  Top off with a visit to the O2 to attend a live concert. 

 

Useful Info

  • How to reach:
    • Take the river boat from the Tower of London
    • Tube: Jubilee line
    • Train: Cannon street station

Visit the Docklands, London’s emerging “Manhattan

Docklands, London
By Lee Tyrrell/Pixabay

A visit to the Docklands offers a break from the touristy side of London and lends a refreshing look at the British version of a 21st-century city. Once a dangerous no-man’s-land after being bombed during the Second World War, it has now been reinvigorated into a thriving business centre filled with skyscrapers, subterranean supermalls, trendy pubs, and peaceful parks. 

 

Useful Info

    • Bus: Routes D3, D7, D8, 277, D6, 15, 115 and 135
    • Tube: Canary Wharf

Day 6 on the map:

Day 7

Visit the Victoria and Albert Museum- the Museum of Manufactures

Victoria and Albert Museum London
By Diliff/Wiki Commons

Housing a permanent collection of over 2.3 million objects spanning over 5,000 years of human existence, the V&A Museum has one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of applied and decorative art and design ranging from European, North American, Asian and North African cultures. 

 

Things to do: Highlights include Tipu’s Tiger, the earliest known photograph of London (circa 1839), Elton John’s spectacles, a plaster cast of Michelangelo’s David, among other fascinating things.

 

Unravelog tips: Visit on weekdays or late on a Friday to avoid crowds.

 

Useful Info

  • Timing:  
    • Daily from 10 am to 5:45 pm
    • Friday: 10 am to 10 pm
  • Cost: Free (Time slots to be pre-booked online)
  • Website: https://www.vam.ac.uk/ 
  • How to reach
    • Tube: South Kensington and Gloucester Road station
    • Bus: Routes 14, 345, 360, 414, 430 and C1
    • Train: Victoria Station

Explore the nooks and corners of Hyde Park

Hyde Park, London
By Leonard Bentley/Wiki Commons

Hyde Park is the largest Royal Park in Central London, created for hunting by Henry Vlll in 1536 after he acquired the manor of Hyde from the Abbey. It was initially enclosed as a deer park and remained a private hunting ground until James I permitted limited access to gentlefolk.

 

Things to do: Have a relaxing picnic along the banks of the Serpentine, attend the many world-class events and concerts hosted here, enjoy afternoon tea from its waterside cafés or pay your respects at the Diana Memorial Fountain, Hyde Park has something for everyone. Visitors can also check out the Speakers’ Corner on a Sunday morning to hear people from all walks of life share their views.

 

Unravelog tips: Check the Hyde Park website for scheduled events that take place here.

 

Useful Info

  • How to reach
    • Tube: Knightsbridge station and Hyde Park Corner in the Piccadilly Line; Marble Arch station and Lancaster Gate in the Central Line
    • Train: Paddington and Victoria stations

Splurge at Kensington High Street

Harrods, Kensington High Street
By Michael Caven/Wiki Commons

Featuring a wide variety of brand names and iconic stores including Harrods and Harvey Nichols, Kensington is the go-to big-budget shopping destination for Londoners and tourists alike. 

 

Things to do: Sprinkled amongst the high-end shops and designer boutiques are also several cafes, restaurants and London’s largest whole foods market.

 

Useful Info

    • Tube: High Street Kensington or Queensway lines
    • Bus: Routes 70, 94, 148 and 390 or 9, 10, 49, 52, 70 and 452
    • Train: The nearest station is Paddington

Day 7 on the map:

 

On a budget? Check out our blog  12 ways – Enjoy London on a budget for some of the best tried and tested tips and tricks to explore London without burning a hole in your pocket.

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