36 Hours In London, England

36 hours in london

The vibrant metropolitan London City is the largest city in Western Europe which has attracted many travelers, backpackers, and holidaymakers over the years. The city itself has welcomed around 19.1 million international visitors worldwide! Today, the city is the most diverse among some of the other European cities. Visitors are pleasantly surprised by its rich historical and cultural legacy which can be displayed through iconic landmarks such as the Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, or even the St. Paul’s Cathedral. It can be a food and shopping destination where visitors are pampered by an endless list of choices, especially at places like Trafalgar Square. For art lovers, there are several theatrical plays or concert at the Shakespeare’s Globe. There is always something for everybody. If you’re unable to decide where to go or what to do, then scroll down to learn how to plan a 36-hour itinerary in London, England.

Day 1: Tour Buckingham Palace & St. James Park

Learn about the history of the Royal Family at the Buckingham Palace and take a lovely tour at the St James Park. Experience the vibrant and lively London by venturing to Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus.

Afternoon: Visit St James Park & Buckingham Palace

Start this trip with an afternoon stroll through the enchanting St James Park which is a 23-hectare (57-acre) lush green park nestled in Westminster, central London. Its eastern side forms a continuous chain of parks which include the Green Park, Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens. The park is the second smallest of the rest of the royal parks after Green Park, which makes it easier to maintain since it is known to be the most manicured green space in London. The scenic view of the lake provides an ideal spot to take some marvelous pictures. It brims with gorgeous swans, ducks, geese and other beautiful waterfowl. There is a resident colony of pelicans at the park. The best view of Buckingham Palace can be seen from the footbridge, spanning the central lake. Marvel at the beautiful technicolor flower beds, lush shrubs, and trees.

The royal stroll isn’t complete if you don’t visit Buckingham Palace. Undoubtedly, Buckingham Palace, the residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom, has been attracting many visitors around the world not only for its historical significance but also because of its grand and refined architecture and decor. Visitors are able to witness the Change of Guard ceremony, and take a tour of the palatial complex. This is a great opportunity to learn about the Royal lineage and get to see some rare glimpses of the Royal collection.

St James Park

Address: The St James’s Park Office, The Storeyard Horse Guards Road, St James’s Park, London, SW1A 2BJ

Website: St. James Park

Evening: Leicester Square and stroll along Piccadilly Circus

Leicester Square
Source: Photo by Flickr user Weldon Kennedy used under CC BY 2.0

Just some 14 minutes drive away from Buckingham Palace is the buzzing Leicester Square where you will have a panoply of eating options ranging from Chinese, Spanish, Peruvian, Mexican and other international cuisines. It is the only pedestrian plaza in the West End, bordered by Soho, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, and Piccadilly. There are several major theatres, nightclubs, pubs, cinemas, and entertainment hotspots. Make your way to the most famous intersections of the world-the Piccadilly Circus is equally a public space of London’s West City of Westminster. It was built in 1819 to connect Regent Street with Piccadilly. The word ‘Piccadilly’ is taken from a 17th-century frilled collar called the piccadill, and ‘circus’ is derived from the Latin word ‘circle’ which here refers to the round open space at a street junction. Piccadilly is also famous for its massive advertising billboards and neon signs mounted on the corner building on the northern side. The Piccadilly lights are always on 24/7. They were turned off to mourn the deaths of Winston Churchill and Lady Diana.

Leicester Square

Address: 1 Leicester Square, London WC2H 7DE, UK

Night: Head to Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club

End your night beautifully at the popular Ronnie Scott’s live venue which is the oldest jazz club in the world! It was opened in 1959 and has featured many legendary names of modern jazz and jazz fusion. It is recommended to book your ticket in advance so as to spare you from disappointment. Once inside the club, you can relax, and order your drinks. There is a service table throughout the whole show.

Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club

Address: 47 Frith St, Soho, London W1D 4HT, UK

Website: Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club

Day 2: Experience the history and culture of London

Savor an authentic English breakfast and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the breathtaking London city. Get into the history of the metropolitan city by visiting historical sites like St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Morning: English breakfast at The Regency Cafe, ride in the London Eye and visit the Big Ben

Relish a typical English breakfast at the Regency Cafe which has been voted as the fifth best eating place in London on Yelp in 2013. Located on Regency Street near Westminster London, the cafe was opened in 1946. Its interior is designed in an art deco style, where you can see photographs of Tottenham Hotspur football players. This is a ‘get-in-line-order-then-seat-yourself kind of place, where you basically wait in line until it’s your turn to order. This will provide you ample time to decide about the menu you would like to order. You can go through the blackboard menu overhead. The menu includes eggs benedict, bacon sausages, beans, homemade steak pie, tea and many more.

You couldn’t get happier than relishing that delicious breakfast but what if you get the chance riding a giant big wheel of 135 meters (442 foot) high? Welcome to the London Eye! Located right at the center of London, opposite Big Ben by the River Thames, the London Eye has approximately 3.5 million visits annually, making it one of the most visited attractions compared to the Taj Mahal or even the Great Pyramids of Giza. The cantilevered observation wheel consists of 32 enclosed capsules positioned along the outside of the wheel. It takes about 30 minutes to travel one revolution. Visitors will have the chance to contemplate the breathtaking view of the city up to a distance of 40 km (25 miles), including the Windsor Castle on a sunny day. It becomes the focal point during New Year’s Eve where the dramatic fireworks are at display.

Another prominent must-see attraction you should consider is the famous Big Ben. Featured as London’s most iconic landmarks, the Big Ben which is officially called the Elizabeth Tower is a 13.5-tonne bell hanging inside the 315 ft-high tower previously known as the Clock Tower. It is the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament. The tower has a neo-gothic style designed by Augustus Pugin, and its construction was completed in 1859. Its clock has been the largest and most accurate four-faced striking and chiming clock in the world. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987 and has been part of a Grade I listed building since 1970.

Regency Cafe

Address: 17-19 Regency St, Westminster, London SW1P 4BY, UK

Website: Regency Cafe

Afternoon: Stroll along the River Thames, St. Paul's Cathedral and visit Tower Bridge

Enjoy an afternoon walk to contemplate the real beauty of London’s impressive historical architectures by strolling along the River Thames to St. Paul’s Cathedral. The prominent St Paul’s Cathedral is perched on the Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the London City and is classified as a Grade I listed building. It is a historical Anglican cathedral which was initially built by King Ethelbert of Kent back to 604 AD dedicated to the apostle Paul. It was destroyed by two separate fires, including The Great Fire of London in 1666. It was re-built between 1675 and 1710. The design of the cathedral was made by architect Sir Christopher Wren. The sublime Baroque architecture and the interior has made it particularly enticing which is why it has attracted so many visitors apart from its history. For Londoners, the vast dome is a symbol of resilience and pride. Visitors are fascinated by its Whispering Gallery which has acoustic properties. Do also visit the Victorian Gothic Tower Bridge which is a magnificent bascule and suspension bridge crossing the River Thames. It was built between 1886 and 1894, requiring about 450 workers to complete. It has been featured on several movies including Harry Porter.

St. Paul's Cathedral

Address: St. Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD, UK

Website: St. Paul’s Cathedral

Evening/ Night: Dinner at ROVI restaurant and concert at Shakespeare's Globe

For dinner, you can absolutely hang out at the newest restaurant in Fitzrovia, notably ROVI, which is rapidly becoming one of the favorite eateries in London. The restaurant offers Scandi-influenced succulent dishes set in an airy and unwinding atmosphere, where you can sit comfortably on the vibrant red sofa. The menu is generally served with vegetables, with a focus on an interesting concept of fermentation and cooking on a fire. There is a large central bar where you can order your preferred cocktail based on seasonal spices and house shrubs. End your night by enjoying a marvelous concert at Shakespeare’s Globe.

ROVI Restuarant

Address: 59 Wells St, Fitzrovia, London W1A 3AE, UK

Website: Rovi Restaurant

Day 3: Royal Park and shopping

End your trip by visiting Hyde Park and shopping at Trafalgar Square.

Morning: Tour Hyde Park and stroll through Trafalgar Square

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Hyde Park London</div>
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Marc Schloesser used under CC BY 3.0

Start your day with a full breakfast and head to Hyde Park where you can spend some quiet time appreciating the beautifully manicured royal park. And if you wish to do your last minute shopping, then head to Trafalgar Square where you will end up with amazing choices of shopping sites such as the Adelaide Street, or Oxford Street, which is the busiest shopping street with more than 300 shops. The square is a lively part of London, where you will find rallies and marches taking place often.

Hyde Park

Website: Hyde Park

A charming city

Source: Unsplash

If you’re preparing yourself for an epic trip to London, then consider this comprehensive planned itinerary.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Heyleena is a passionate travel writer who enjoys writing travel articles for people who seek to explore new places in a more conscious way. From travel guides to recommended vacation rentals, get...Read more

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