What to do in London in 8 hours


Hello! I will be in London on May 17 before my Essential Europ trip. Any suggestions on what I can do to experience London in a day.

Also any thoughts on how we should get to the hotel (umi) from Heathrow airport?


take a look at the tube maps. most likely a stop to somewhere near your hotel.

and if you really only have one day in London, I would recommend you just get on an afternoon bus tour or something similar. far too large of a place to really explore anything for just 8 hours.


Start on London bridge so you get the best view of Tower Bridge. Find your way down to the bank of the river on the walkway (walking away from Tower Bridge) and stop and grab a cup of coffee from one of the many vendors you’ll pass. Stay on the river walk and you’ll pass Shakespeare’s Globe theater, many street entertainers, some flea market type vendors, millenium bridge, many places to stop for a fish and chips lunch, and eventually you’ll get a good view of Big Ben. You will also walk right into the London Eye which I definitely recommend if you don’t mind waiting in line.

Definitely cross the river and head over to Big Ben to get a better look and Westminster Abbey and follow the signs to Buckingham Palace (you can always start your day here and watch the changing of the guards ceremony, which is boring, and head the opposite direction).

After you check out these two, head over and take a quick peek at 10 downing street which, while you cannot see much because its gated off, it is cool to see where the prime minister lives. If you aren’t tired of walking yet, keep heading north towards Trafalgar square. The National Gallery is on top of the stairs and has a free admission if you care to take a look inside.

Keep heading north still and you will run into Covent Garden. Definitely make some time to walk around the Piazza.

Take the bus (or tube if you’re short on time) east to the Tower of London. If you’re interested, the beefeaters can take you on a tour (where you’ll see the crown jewels), or you can just look on at the tower from walk ways around it.

If you are interested, you can see one of London’s top shows half price if you purchase your tickets in Leiscter Square tube station. Most of the shows start around 7pm and are surrounded by a few pubs where you can order a couple pints of London Pride.

If you can’t tell, I’ve given so many tours of London to friends and relatives while I lived over there, I can do it with my eyes closed. I would recommend figuring out how to read the tube map before you arrive in london to save some precious time on getting off at the wrong stops etc. Also purchase a travel card for the day when you get there for zones 1 & 2 so you can easily get on and off the tube and buses.


ps you can take the tube directly from heathrow into central london


Tequilalove, you have been most helpful. I was getting ready to buy a ticket for the original london tour but I like your idea much better. For the tube will I only need zones 1 and 2. I read you could get a discounted pass if you pre-order online.


Hey Paola

At Heathrow, buy an all day travel card (zones 1-6) and you can use this on tubes, trains and buses for the whole day. If you are going to the UMI Hotel take the Piccadilly Line to Earl’s Court then change to the District Line (bound for Edgware Road) to Bayswater. From there it is a short walk from the tube station.
Go to www.tfl.gov.uk for more information about getting around London.

Topdeck Team


are you arriving in london (traveling from heathrow) the same day that you want to explore it? if so, the administrator is right about getting the travel card for zones 1-6 because the airport is in zone 6.


Yes I will be arriving the same day. Check in is a 2p and after that we’re off to explore.
A coworker says I NEED to see Harrods. Is it far from where I’m staying? Thanks so much. You’ve been wonderful.


You’re pretty close to Harrods actually. Just a short walk across Hyde Park. If I were you I’d map where you want to go before you even get on the plane. You’ll save so much time that way and you’ll be acquainted with the city already so you won’t get lost and waste time. There should be free pocket maps available in Heathrow as well.

If you want to pop into any of the touristy bits keep in mind that most things close by 5 or 6pm. Check the hours of operation at sites you may like to visit. Harrods is normally open later but any of the museums, the Tower of London or Westminster Abbey will close earlier so visit those first if you plan on entering them. If you’re planning on walking through town you’ll probably end up walking past Buckingham Palace. I did and I had only arrived in town a half an hour earlier. You’ll miss changing of the guards as it’s at 11am but that’s okay because it’s normally packed with people and you can hardley see anything unless you are there hours earlier.

Have fun!


I’ve just been to Westminster Abbey London
and loved it. They are opened from 09.30 - 16.30 weekdays and saturdays till 14.30. Enjoy it B-)


hi how are you?

If you want to do anything in the uk, check out lastminute.com you can book these before you leave and you can save yourself some cash as well.

Have fun and enjoy your trip :slight_smile: