If you look at guidebooks for London, they are sometimes just as thick as some books meant for entire countries. London is the kind of place where you could spend your entire life and still not see everything. As a tourist, that makes it hard to spend a very limited amount of time in such a big city. I’ve narrowed it down to 5 things to do in London if you’re on a very short trip.
Big Ben and Westminster Abbey
An obvious (and cheap) choice when coming to London. Though only British citizens are allowed inside, it is still an impressinve, world-reknown landmark of the city. If you watched the Royal Wedding, or simply admire the royal family, make sure to visit the Westminster Abbey. This is where Queen Elizabeth II was crowned, where Will and Kate were married, etc. It is next door to Big Ben and the parliament buildings, so you can’t miss it.
Changing of the Guard
Whether or not you’re a fan of the royal family, everyone loves a good parade! The Changing of the Guard started when Queen Victoria encountered some very drunk officers of the Royal Guard and decided that from then on, the guards would be inspected and relieved twice a day for 100 years. Even after the 100 years were over, the tradition lives on to this day. Make sure to get there early if you want a good spot!
Tower of London and Tower Bridge
This fortress, built by William the Conquerer has stood for almost 1,000 years, and no one has ever been able to take the castle for his own. It is a very impressive castle, still surrounded by a now-empty moat, only accessible by a draw-bridge and looks over the River Thames. Next door if the famous Tower Bridge, which you can go into and learn about bridges, how this one was made and functions, as well as step on the glass floors and look down to the road and the water underneath it.
London is home to a ton of flea markets, and shopping areas. One of my favourites was the Old Spitalfields Market, dated back to 1638. You can find an enormous varity of knick-knacks, antiques, handmade everything, and many food vendors, each with a unique flare that can’t be found anywhere else. Borough Market is the place to go for food: you will find everything and anything there. Watch out though, every Londoner goes there for lunch and it will be packed. You can also check out Carnaby Street in Soho, a small pedestrian shopping street and Picadilly Circus, which will bring you to Bond Street, for all the high end, designer boutiques you could ask for.
Shakespeare’s The Globe Theatre
If you’re a fan of theatre, this is the place you need to visit. A full-functioning theatre, meant to look as historically accurate as possible, right on the spot where Shakespeare’s theatre used to be; The Globe. You can visit the theatre on a guided tour and see the exhibition, or go see a play during the summer and stand in the crowd like a real groundling. During the winter, you can also see a play in the covered theatre that is link to The Globe.
There you go! There are definitely a million more things to see and do in London, I guess you’ll just have to come back!