Day 14 – How much can you pack into one day in London?

May 27, as I was commenting to a UK resident that there is just so much to do in London, he shared this great quote with me; ‘When you are tired of London then you are tired of life’ (Samuel Johnson).  So no matter if you have a day or a week in London, you’ll find the list of attractions, shows, districts, activities, monuments, museums, galleries, restaurants, shopping etc… is infinitely exciting.

With our last day of this adventure upon us, we ventured out to try and conquer London in a day.  An impossible feat but we covered quite a bit of ground nonetheless!  Here’s what we did:

  • Buckingham Palace for changing of the guard.  It is held daily at 11:30 from May to July, and on alternate dates throughout the rest of the year. A popular attraction for visitors, arrive a bit in advance to get a good spot near the gates.
  • Tower Bridge, the iconic bridge, which I actually thought was called London Bridge.  The Tower of London is also located near the entrance to the bridge on the north end of the River Thames.
  • Tate Modern, a fantastic 5-floor gallery of contemporary art, featuring themes for all tastes and famous paintings by Picasso, Dali and more.  ‘Enjoy Great Art for Free’.
  • Big Ben & Houses of Parliament, walking around this building is an impressive example of grandeur and gothic architecture.  Westminster Abbey is also across the street.
  • London Eye, a half-hour ride on one of the world’s largest observation wheels providing 360 degree views of London.  We rode it at sunset, which is highly recommended!

And for our last supper, well, you may be able to guess where we ate…did I mention Jamie’s Italian had 17 locations in Britain?!

Last thoughts…

We set out to experience traveling throughout Britain by rail and can honestly attest to the fact that there is no better way to do it than with a BritRail Pass.

14 days, 12 destinations and approximately 3,000 km later, trains were frequent, punctual, clean, safe and comfortable. Oh and the views, spectacular!

We also found it convenient that train stations are located in the city center so it was easy to hop off and enjoy a town, even if just for a quick stop over.

A note on the food in Britain, the old idea that it’s all about meat and potatoes is so far from the truth, in fact EVERY meal was delicious, from Indian fare, seafood, Italian, French, Mexican, fish n chips – every place we visited had a great selection of quality restaurants.

After a few days we wished we had worn pedometers, because we must have walked a million steps!

We saw a beautiful mix of cities, landscapes and culture and loved every minute of our UK adventure.

And a node to our theme song ‘on the road again’ which quickly became ‘on the rails again’.  Happy travels!!!

By: Angela Guezen

Photos by: Jen Crane

6 Responses
  1. Whowl,whpwl.whowl
    What a trip,what a journey,what an odyssey!You did not just visit Great Britain,YOU CONQUERED IT!You did alot,travelled by train a lot,walked a lot,saw a lot,SLEPT LITTLE! Thanks for sharing your travels.Looked forward to reading them each day.Now what do I do?I’m tired,exhausted.Think I will take a long sleep and DREAM.Did I really do all that? xox Marv

  2. Hello, Sounds like a great trip! My husband, two teenagers, and I are doing a similar trip in July. I have a question about travelling with your Britrail pass. Did you make reservations ahead of time (other than your overnight sleeper journey?). One friend who has travelled often in Britain in the summer months recommended that I do make reservations, but I remember travelling easily without any reservations (though that was some years ago). The cost of reservations for multiple trips for four people really adds up, but I don’t want to risk getting stranded without seats. Any advice? Many thanks!

  3. Angela

    Hi Christine,
    Honestly, it depends. We had reservations on a few trains that we could not miss, or on trains where departures were less frequent. For four people, if you wish to sit together then reservations would be recommended, especially in July. For this reason, if you have any longer journeys I would recommend reservations. For shorter train rides, where departures may be every 15-30 minutes perhaps you could be more flexible, and take any available seats. Other factors are: time of travel (seat reservations are recommended during rush hour), willingness to sit apart, and how tight your schedule is. Wishing you a wonderful trip!

  4. Amy May

    Thank you Angela and Jen. My 15 year daughter and I are doing the trip in July. We have a question on how to pack. How do you handle your luggage? Considering we will be on the train most of the 10 days (with a few days when we will stay at one place for more than one night), we plan to travel light but can’t image tolling a small suitcase everywhere we go. We are thinking of each carrying a large backpack with all our belongs? Also, are there locker spaces at the train stations? Any suggestions and advices would be appreciated. Thanks. Amy

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