Hey there fellow travelers and welcome to my post where we will cover 10 ways to spend one day in London. Now, we all know the joys that travel can bring, from visiting far off places, experiencing different cultures and of course, all the new foods. But there is also a downside, – that dreaded day to ‘waste’ in a city whilst waiting for a midnight flight.

spend one day in London - header

So if you are like me (as I live in Australia, all outgoing flights seems to leave late at night), there has been many a day where you need to find something to do that is enjoyable, but doesn’t take too much time – or cost too much money. So if you are looking at how to spend a day in London, here are 10 things you can do to pass the time in an enjoyable way.

Let’s check them out…

  1. Start Your Day with Breakfast at Dishoom
  2. Stroll Through London’s South Bank
  3. Visit the Tower of London
  4. Cross the Tower Bridge
  5. Explore Borough Market
  1. Visit St. Paul’s Cathedral
  2. Take Afternoon Tea in London
  3. Discover the British Museum
  4. Catch a West End Show
  5. End Your Day at a Historic Pub

How To Spend One Day In London

London, the capital city of the United Kingdom, is a thriving metropolis with an unparalleled blend of history, culture and modernity. The city boasts iconic landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and Big Ben, which stand as testaments to its rich past.

With its unique blend of history, culture, and modern attractions, London promises an unforgettable experience for all who visit. So if you are looking at what to do in London for a day, here are 10 options to help you out.

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spend one day in London - House of commons

1. Start Your Day with Breakfast at Dishoom

Dishoom is a highly acclaimed restaurant chain in London drawing inspiration from the charm and character of the old Irani cafes of Bombay. Once integral to Bombay’s social fabric, these offer a welcoming space for people of all walks of life to gather over good food and conversation and the inviting atmosphere, excellent service and scrumptious breakfast offerings make it the ideal spot to begin your one-day London adventure.

Breakfast is a culinary experience not to be missed here with a menu that offers a delightful fusion of Indian and Parsi flavors with a modern twist including:

  1. Bacon Naan Roll – A Dishoom signature, the Bacon Naan Roll is a delicious combination of smoked streaky bacon, cream cheese, chili tomato jam, and fresh herbs, all wrapped in a soft, freshly baked naan bread.
  2. Kejriwal – A spicy and savory dish of fried eggs on buttered toast, topped with green chilies, cheese and spring onions.
  3. Akuri – A traditional Parsi dish, Akuri is creamy and spicy scrambled eggs cooked with fragrant spices, tomatoes, and fresh coriander served with warm, buttered pav (bread rolls).
  4. Vegan Sausage Naan Roll – For a plant-based alternative, try the Vegan Sausage Naan Roll, featuring a delicious vegan sausage, cream cheese, chili tomato jam, and fresh herbs, all tucked into a soft naan bread.
  5. Granola & Yogurt – Dishoom offers a delicious and healthy mix of oat and seed granola, served with creamy yogurt, fresh seasonal fruits, and a drizzle of honey.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a local looking for a morning treat, you’re sure to fall in love with Dishoom’s unique blend of flavors and charm.

Check out my: 10 Ways to Spend One Day in New York City

2. Stroll Through London’s South Bank

Taking a walk along the South Bank of the River Thames is an ideal way to experience the vibrant atmosphere and stunning views that London has to offer. Stretching from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge, this is a bustling cultural hub and a popular destination for tourists and locals alike and offers a perfect blend of iconic landmarks, modern architecture, and serene riverside paths.

Here are some highlights you can expect as you stroll along the South Bank:

  1. Westminster Bridge & The Houses of Parliament: Begin your walk at Westminster Bridge, where you’ll enjoy fantastic views of the Houses of Parliament and the iconic clock tower, affectionately known as Big Ben. Take a moment to capture the quintessential London scene with your camera.
  2. The London Eye: As you continue along the South Bank, you’ll encounter the London Eye, one of the world’s tallest observation wheels. This impressive structure offers breathtaking views of the city skyline and is a popular choice for visitors seeking a bird’s-eye perspective of London.
  3. Southbank Centre: Next, you’ll come across the Southbank Centre, a complex of artistic venues that hosts a range of events, exhibitions and performances throughout the year. The Centre comprises the Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Hayward Gallery.
  4. National Theatre: The National Theatre, located on the South Bank, is a renowned performing arts venue with three auditoriums showcasing a diverse program of drama, dance and music.
  5. Riverside Cafes & Restaurants: As you stroll along the South Bank, you’ll find plenty of riverside cafes and restaurants where you can stop for a coffee or a meal while enjoying the picturesque views. Be sure to try some traditional British fare such as fish and chips or a hearty meat pie.
  6. Street Performers & Public Art: The South Bank is known for its lively atmosphere with street performers and a wide array of public art installations to enjoy.
  7. The Tate Modern: Art enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Tate Modern, one of the world’s leading contemporary art museums. Housed in a former power station, the Tate Modern offers free admission to its permanent collection which includes works by artists such as Picasso, Warhol, and Hockney.
  8. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre: As you approach the end of your South Bank walk, you’ll find Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre which is a faithful reconstruction of the original 16th-century playhouse. Attend a performance or take a guided tour to learn more about the history of this fascinating venue.
  9. Tower Bridge: Finally, you’ll reach the iconic Tower Bridge – we will discuss this separately below however.
spend one day in London - Southbank

3. Visit the Tower of London

The Tower of London, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a historic fortress situated on the banks of the River Thames. Steeped in over a thousand years of history, the Tower has served numerous purposes including a royal residence, a prison, an armory, a treasury and a menagerie. A visit to this iconic landmark provides a fascinating glimpse into the rich and often turbulent history of the British monarchy and the city of London itself including:

  1. The Crown Jewels: The Tower houses the magnificent Crown Jewels, a priceless collection of ceremonial and symbolic objects, including crowns, scepters, orbs and the Sovereign’s Sceptre, which holds the largest clear-cut diamond in the world, the Cullinan I.
  2. The White Tower: The oldest part of the fortress, the White Tower was built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. Today, it houses the Royal Armouries showcasing a vast collection of armor, weapons, and historic artifacts.
  3. Yeoman Warder Tours: Join a guided tour led by the Yeoman Warders, also known as Beefeaters, who have guarded the Tower for centuries. These charismatic guides share captivating stories about famous prisoners, daring escapes and royal intrigue bringing the Tower’s history to life.
  4. The Medieval Palace: Explore the Medieval Palace, a reconstruction of the living quarters used by medieval kings and queens including beautifully preserved interiors and artifacts.
  5. The Ravens: According to legend, if the ravens ever leave the Tower, both the fortress and the kingdom will fall. To prevent this, six ravens (plus one spare) are cared for by a dedicated Ravenmaster. Keep an eye out for these iconic birds as you explore the Tower’s grounds.
  6. The Bloody Tower: Visit the infamous Bloody Tower, notorious for its tales of imprisonment and execution. Learn about the tragic stories of those who met their end within the Tower such as Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas More and the mysterious disappearance of the Princes in the Tower.
  7. The Tower Green: Pay your respects at the Tower Green where a memorial stands in honor of the individuals executed on the site, including three queens of England: Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Lady Jane Grey.

Whether you’re a history buff or a casual visitor, the Tower of London is an essential stop on any trip to the city. Entry costs vary with a single adult tickets costing around £29.90.

4. Cross the Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge, an unmistakable symbol of London, is a striking feat of Victorian engineering that connects the north and south banks of the River Thames. Built between 1886 and 1894, this magnificent bascule and suspension bridge showcases a unique combination of architectural styles, blending Gothic and neo-Classical elements. Crossing Tower Bridge is an essential experience for anyone visiting London, providing stunning views of the city and an appreciation for its historical significance.

For a deeper understanding of Tower Bridge’s history and engineering, visit the Tower Bridge Exhibition. Housed within the bridge’s two towers and high-level walkways, the exhibition features interactive displays, historical artifacts and a fascinating film that delves into the bridge’s construction. The glass floor in the high-level walkways allows you to observe the bridge from an exhilarating vantage point and offers a unique perspective on the bustling traffic and the Thames below.

Check out these: 10 Things to Do in London for Free

spend one day in London - London tower bridge

5. Explore Borough Market

Borough Market, located near London Bridge, is the city’s oldest and most renowned food market. Established over 1,000 years ago, this bustling gastronomic hub brings together a diverse array of local and international vendors offering an incredible selection of fresh produce, artisanal food, and unique culinary experiences.

Exploring Borough Market is an essential activity for food lovers visiting London with highlights including:

  1. Fresh Produce & Artisanal Goods: At Borough Market, you’ll find a vast array of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, high-quality meats, fish, cheese, and a wide variety of baked goods. Many of the market’s traders are also producers, offering unique artisanal products that you won’t find anywhere else.
  2. Street Food & Prepared Dishes: One of the main attractions at Borough Market is the exceptional street food scene, offering a mouthwatering selection of dishes from around the world.
  3. Sweet Treats & Desserts: Indulge your sweet tooth with the market’s array of decadent desserts and confections including artisanal chocolates, handmade fudge, doughnuts and more. Be sure to try some local favorites, such as the traditional British sticky toffee pudding or a classic Eton mess.
  4. Specialty Shops & Stalls: Borough Market also features a variety of specialty shops and stalls selling an assortment of gourmet items such as olive oils, spices, teas and coffees. These vendors are a treasure trove for food enthusiasts looking to discover new flavors and ingredients or for special occasions such as Christmas or Easter as well.
  5. Market Talks & Demonstrations: To enhance your culinary experience, attend one of Borough Market’s talks or cooking demonstrations which are often hosted by renowned chefs and food experts. These events provide valuable insights, tips, and recipes as well as the opportunity to taste some delicious creations.

After exploring Borough Market, there are also a number of nearby attractions worth a visit such as the historic Southwark Cathedral, the fascinating HMS Belfast or the contemporary Tate Modern art gallery. You can also take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque Thames Path, soaking in the beautiful riverside views.

Borough Market is open Monday through Saturday, with the full market operating from Wednesday to Saturday.

Book your trip to London here!

6. Visit St. Paul’s Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral, an iconic landmark of the London skyline, is a breathtaking example of English Baroque architecture designed by Sir Christopher Wren. Completed in 1710, the cathedral stands on Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London and has played a significant role in the nation’s history hosting important events such as royal weddings, funerals and jubilee celebrations.

Here are some highlights and experiences to enjoy during your visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral include the Nave and Interior, the Whispering Gallery, the Stone and Golden Galleries and the Crypt.

And if you are looking for somewhere to practice your faith, St. Paul’s Cathedral is not only a historic site but also an active place of worship. Join one of the daily services or attend a choral performance by the world-renowned St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir, which has been an integral part of the cathedral’s worship for over nine centuries.

After visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral, explore nearby attractions, such as the Museum of London, the historic Guildhall, or the tranquil Postman’s Park. For a unique perspective of the cathedral, walk across the Millennium Bridge, which connects St. Paul’s with the Tate Modern on the south bank of the Thames.

Adult visitor ticket prices start at £20.50.

spend one day in London - St Pauls cathedral

7. Take Afternoon Tea in London

If you are looking for something that is quintessentially British, then take afternoon tea like they have for centuries. Afternoon tea is a beloved British tradition that dates back to the early 19th century and can be a delightful experience that offers a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and jam and a variety of delectable pastries and cakes – all accompanied of course by a pot of tea.

London boasts numerous establishments where you can enjoy this quintessential British custom, ranging from opulent hotels to cozy tea rooms including:

  1. Classic Venues: For a truly luxurious experience, consider indulging in afternoon tea at one of London’s historic hotels or iconic establishments, such as The Ritz, Claridge’s, or The Savoy. These venues offer exquisite surroundings, impeccable service, and the highest quality of food and tea, ensuring an unforgettable experience.
  2. Themed Afternoon Teas: London is also home to a variety of themed afternoon teas, which add a unique twist to the traditional experience. Some popular options include the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel, the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych, or the Sherlock Holmes Afternoon Tea at the St. James’s Hotel and Club.
  3. Boutique Tea Rooms: For a more intimate and relaxed setting, visit one of London’s charming boutique tea rooms, such as Sketch, Bea’s of Bloomsbury, or The Tea House Theatre. These venues often offer a more eclectic and personalized experience, with a focus on high-quality ingredients and creative presentations.
  4. Vegan and Special Dietary Options: If you have specific dietary requirements, fear not! Many establishments in London offer vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free afternoon tea options to cater to a diverse range of preferences. Venues such as Fortnum & Mason, The Egerton House Hotel, and Farmacy are just a few examples of places that offer specialized menus.

Keep in mind that these afternoon teas can be popular so it’s a good idea to make a reservation in advance to secure your preferred date and time. Prices for afternoon tea can vary widely, from budget-friendly options to extravagant, high-end experiences. Traditional afternoon tea is typically served between 3 pm and 5 pm and the experience usually lasts for 1.5 to 2 hours, allowing ample time to savor the treats and engage in pleasant conversation.

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8. Discover the British Museum

The British Museum, established in 1753, is one of the world’s oldest and most renowned museums housing an unparalleled collection of art, history and culture spanning over two million years. With over 8 million artifacts from around the globe, the museum provides a fascinating journey through human history, showcasing the achievements and stories of diverse civilizations.

Here are some highlights and tips for discovering the wonders of the British Museum:

  1. The Rosetta Stone One: of the museum’s most famous exhibits, the Rosetta Stone, is a key artifact in understanding ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. Discovered in 1799, the stone features a decree issued by King Ptolemy V, inscribed in three scripts.
  2. The Parthenon Sculptures: Also known as the Elgin Marbles, the Parthenon Sculptures are a collection of classical Greek marble statues, friezes and architectural elements that once adorned the Parthenon temple in Athens.
  3. The Egyptian Galleries: The British Museum is home to one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of Egyptian artifacts including mummies, sculptures, jewelry and everyday objects.
  4. The Assyrian Galleries: Discover the grandeur and sophistication of the ancient Assyrian empire in the museum’s Assyrian Galleries, which feature colossal stone sculptures, intricate reliefs and artifacts from royal palaces and temples, providing insight into the empire’s power, religion and artistic achievements.
  5. The Enlightenment Gallery: Step back in time to the Age of Enlightenment, an era of intellectual and scientific discovery, in the museum’s Enlightenment Gallery. Housed in the King’s Library, the gallery showcases a wide range of artifacts, books and specimens that reflect the spirit of inquiry and exploration that defined the period.

The British Museum also offers a range of other facilities such as cafes, restaurants, shops and cloakrooms. Admission and Opening Hours Admission to the British Museum is free, though donations are appreciated, and some temporary exhibitions may require a separate ticket. The museum is open daily from 10 am to 5:30 pm, with extended hours on Fridays until 8:30 pm.

spend one day in London - Brittish museum

9. Catch a West End Show

If you have the time later in the evening before your flight, London’s West End is a vibrant hub of world-class theatre, offering a diverse array of plays, musicals, and performances that cater to all tastes and interests. With over 40 venues in the district, catching a West End show is a must for any visitor to London, providing an unforgettable evening of entertainment, talent, and artistic expression.

The area boasts an incredible variety of productions, from long-running classics like The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables and The Lion King, to newer hits like Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

To secure the best seats and avoid disappointment, it’s a good idea to book your tickets in advance, either online or in person at the theatre’s box office. For last-minute or discounted tickets, consider visiting one of London’s official TKTS ticket booths located in Leicester Square, or check out discount ticket websites such as TodayTix or London Theatre Direct.

After the show, consider exploring the lively West End nightlife which includes numerous bars, clubs, and late-night entertainment options. Alternatively, take a leisurely stroll through the bustling streets of Covent Garden or Leicester Square, soaking in the vibrant atmosphere and illuminated landmarks.

10. End Your Day at a Historic Pub

London is home to a plethora of historic pubs, many of which have been serving pints for centuries. Steeped in history, these atmospheric establishments offer a unique opportunity to unwind after a day of sightseeing while experiencing a quintessential aspect of British culture.

From legendary literary haunts to hidden riverside gems, ending your day at a historic pub in London is a delightful way to immerse yourself in the city’s rich past and vibrant present – or at the very least to get one last English pint in before your flight.

In addition to their extensive drink offerings, many historic pubs also serve classic British dishes, such as fish and chips, bangers and mash, or a traditional Sunday roast. Be sure to sample some of these hearty, comforting meals while you’re enjoying the ambiance of your chosen pub.

Here are a few historic pubs worth considering for your visit:

  • Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese: Rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in 1666, this pub boasts a warren of cozy rooms and a roster of famous patrons, including Charles Dickens and Samuel Johnson.
  • The Spaniards Inn: Established in the 16th century, this Hampstead pub is said to have inspired scenes in both “The Pickwick Papers” by Charles Dickens and “Dracula” by Bram Stoker.
  • The Prospect of Whitby: Claiming to be London’s oldest riverside pub, this 16th-century establishment features stunning views of the Thames and a rich maritime history.

Whether you’re sipping a pint in a centuries-old tavern or enjoying a classic British meal by a crackling fire, a visit to a historic pub promises a memorable and enjoyable conclusion to your day in London.

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spend one day in London - English pub

Book your trip to London here!


There you have it; my things to do in London in one day. I would be pleased to know how this article helped you, and as usual,  let me know of your experiences here.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, or corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time.

Have fun


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