24 Hours in London
Everyone says London isn’t walkable. Right before our trip to London a good friend told us:
London is like a safari. You go, go, go to see miles and miles of industrialized and gray city with a few pockets of cool architecture.
We were on a mission to prove our friend wrong. We set out to see the top sights in London in 24 hours and after a few unpleasant blisters and one too many plates of mushy food we were able to accomplish our goal of “walking London” in 24 hours.
Our walking plan
We heard of the main sites before traveling to London:
Oh you must see Big Ben!
The Tower of London is gorgeous!
You should ride the London Eye. It’s spectacular!
I’m sure all of that is true, but we were on a mission to see our own piece of London. We only had three main goals when we started our walk:
- Splurge on a London antique at Portobello Market in Notting Hill
- Learn at the Science Museum Exploring Space Exhibit
- Drool over the art at The National Gallery
In the end, what we saw in between these main sites on our walk made the trip all worth it.
Notting hill is the Disneyfied version of London. Colored houses. Babies in Orbit strollers. Custom cars. Men in top hats. Women in cashmere scarves. While strolling around drink coffee from GAIL’s artisan bakery and pick up an antique or London collectible at the Portobello Market.
Everyone hypes up Hyde Park and while it is gorgeous, I think that the lesser known Holland Park takes the prize. Not only does it have a cafe and an ice cream shop smack dab in the middle, it also houses a well-hidden tranquil Japanese Garden – Kyoto garden. With a running waterfall, exquisite Koi, and plenty of park benches this is a perfect spot for an afternoon picnic.
Princess Diana Memorial Fountain
I still remember coming in from a bike ride around our neighborhood block in 1997 to the horrific news of Princess Diana’s death. Combined with the chirping birds from the nearby Serpentine, this memorial fountain is a perfect representation of Royal England. After visiting, take a quick break at the nearby Lido Cafe while bird-watching.
If you only do one thing in London please visit the Science Museum. First – It’s free! Secondly – I was so enthralled, I actually forgot to take pictures! This museum could take a whole day if you wanted it to, or you could spend an hour relaxing in the space exhibit. If you are hungry at this point grab a bite to eat near South Kensington tube station. We stopped at Kensington Creperie and devoured the Oaked Salmon Crepe.
The National Gallery
There are a only a few times in my life that I had to remind myself to breathe – saying “I Do”, standing at the top of Multnomah Falls in Oregon, and taking in the sights and smells of London from the steps of The National Gallery. While chaotic, the view of the fountains, looming dinosaurs, and street performers lured me into a state of pure bliss. The architecture inside of the gallery is breathtaking and well worth the visit. After your visit pop up to Soho and relax for dinner with a side of ice for your feet. You deserve it.
Overall Walkability: 3/10
Happy walking and enjoy London!