48 Hours in London. A Guided Tour
London, the trendy capital of England. A historic city perfect for a weekend visit. In this article, I’m going to share with you an itinerary of the best sites to see in London on a two day trip. Let’s get started.
We’re going to start at the Tower of London. Of course you can change the itinerary around to better match where you’re staying and other things you might want to see, but this will at least help you to make your own plans. The Tower of London is a castle that overlooks the Thames River. It dates back to 1066 and was built by William the Conqueror. Here you’ll be able to see the Royal Crown Jewels. Look out for the ghost of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, who was beheaded for treason at the tower.
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When you leave the castle you can take a picture of Tower Bridge. This iconic landmark is sometimes mistakenly called London Bridge. If you’re lucky, you might see the bridge open to allow a large ship to pass through.
Next on the itinerary is St Paul’s Cathedral. You can walk there, but it’s probably best to take the underground from Tower Hill Station. The Cathedral was built as part of the reconstruction after the Great Fire of London in 1666. Be sure to check out the Whispering Gallery at the top, where if you whisper against the inside of the dome, it can be heard by someone standing on the other side of dome.
From here it’s a ten minute walk to the Tate Modern art gallery. On the way you’ll cross the Millennium Bridge. The bridge was closed soon after its opening, because it swayed from side-to-side. The wobble was blamed on the way pedestrians walked across the bridge. The bridge was later reopened, but it never lost its nickname as the Wobbly Bridge. If you look down at the water of the Thames, it might seem a little murky, but if you put some of the water in a glass, the sediment would settle down to the bottom, leaving clear water that you can drink. Your fingernails would fall out, but you could drink it.
Tate Modern has free entry, but there is a charge for their exhibitions. Some of my favourite art is in their permanent collection, but they have so many famous works of art that they can never show them all at once. The restaurant at the top has great views over London.
By now you probably feel like you’ve seen enough tourist sites for one day, but Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is so close and you should take a look. The playhouse is an open-air reconstruction of the theatre first built in 1599. Make sure to book in advance if you want to see a play.
In the evening you could head to the West End to see a show or find the nearest pub for a pint of ale. And that’s the end of our first day of sightseeing in London.
We’re going to start our second day at Trafalgar Square. Here you can photograph the famous fountains. Also The National Gallery is in Trafalgar Square which is home to many famous works of art including van Gogh’s Sunflowers.
From here it’s a short walk to Piccadilly Circus where you can see the neon lights and the statue of Anteros.
Now it’s time to head in the direction of Buckingham Palace, home to Queen Elizabeth II. You can take the subway to Green Park Station and then walk through the park, or you can walk all the way, which will take about 20 minutes. On the way, you can shop for some tasty treats at Fortnum & Mason.
If you manage to get to Buckingham Palace by 11 o’clock you might see the changing of the Queen’s Guard. It lasts for 45 minutes. You can check the schedule on their website. The guards might look silly in their funny hats, but these are real soldiers, so stay out of their way when they’re marching, or they’ll march right through you.
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Next we’re going to walk through St James’s Park to get to Westminster Abbey. Grab an ice cream and enjoy a stroll in the park. Westminster Abbey is the church where royal weddings and coronations take place, although Queen Elizabeth II has reigned since 1952, so it’s been a while since the last coronation of a monarch.
Nearby you’ll also see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. The clock tower is actually called Elizabeth Tower. Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell, which is rung on the hour. In the Elizabeth Tower Gardens you can see Auguste Rodin’s Burghers of Calais statue.
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To continue sightseeing walk across Westminster Bridge and make your way to the London Eye. The giant ferris wheel which opened in 2000, was originally planned to be a temporary feature to celebrate the new millennium, but it is now permanent and is the most popular paid attraction in the UK. The observation pods have an amazing new of London. Book in advance to beat the queues.
That’s enough sightseeing for today. If you’re looking for a good restaurant and some bars, head to SoHo for a night out. And that brings us to the end of our two day tour of London. I hope you had a great time.
If you’re wondering what to eat while in London, you can check out my Youtube video which is all about Traditional British food.