A well-planned trip to London can be both exciting and memorable. As a child growing up in England, I remember my trips to London with my mother fondly. Here is a list of the 10 best day trips I’ve taken in London, complete with a description, locations, and other helpful hints to help you navigate the city and have a wonderful day making memories!
Day Trip #1: Lunch and a Play
This is probably the day trip I took the most while living in England. I watched Phantom of the Opera, Beauty and the Beast, Miss Saigon, Oliver, Chicago, and the Lion King all in London. It’s great if you head up to London with plenty of time to spare before your showing, get some food (Fish n’ Chips, Mmm!), then dash on over for your show. If you’d like cheap tickets, you can go to London the day of and get discount tickets for the shows that haven’t sold out. Showings run all day and varies depending on which play choose. Try this website for play information: www.londontheatre.co.uk
Day Trip #2: The Tower of London
I first went here on a school field trip and loved it! It’s educational, interesting, and gives you some insight into the history of London and England as a whole. I always love to stop and see the crown jewels. They are truly a stunning sight. And the royal armor exhibit is also a must-see. Ticket information can be found at the website: TowerOfLondon. A adult ticket costs 18.70 pounds and a child’s ticket costs 10.45 pounds.
Day Trip #3: The National Gallery
I love art. I could spend all day lost in an art gallery, so if you’re like me, you’re going to love The National Gallery of Art. The National Gallery of Art is free and contains 2,300 pieces of art, not including their special exhibits. Famous works of art such as those created by Cezanne, Monet, Seurat, Rubens, Rembrandt, and Michelangelo can all be viewed here. Check the website for additional information: www.nationalgallery.org.
Day Trip #4: Sightseeing in London
Okay, so this is the ultimate tourist thing to do, but come on, you have to do it. There’s so much cool stuff to see in London that you don’t want to miss out on. Amazing activities to do on this day include riding in a double decker tour bus (top deck, sunny day, sunblock, and sunglasses are a must!), going to Buckingham Palace, walk around and look at the architecture, go see the Big Ben, visit the House of Parliament, and take a ride on the Eye of London. Here’s the visitor website for London’s Eye: www.londoneye.com.
Day Trip #5: Tea at the Ritz and a Day of Shopping
My mom and I didn’t figure this out until we had been coming to London for quite some time. Tea at the Ritz is incredible, and it’s surprisingly affordable. As funny as it may sound, The Ritz is a proud member of the Tea Council’s Tea Guild, and you don’t want to leave England without having a proper cup of tea! There are 17 different kinds of loose tea to choose from along with a spread of fresh cut sandwiches. There are also tea cakes and pastries. There is a dress code (no tennis shoes, no jeans) and reservations should be made in advance. Afternoon Tea at the Ritz will run you 40 pounds. www.theritzlondon.com.
Day Trip #6: Shopping on Sloane Street
Sloane Street was all the fashion rage in the 60s. Now it offers a wide variety of clothing stores and has been featured on fashion TV shows such as America’s Next Top Model.
Day Trip #7: Notting Hill Carnival
Notting Hill Carnival is Europe’s biggest street festival. There are beautiful costumes, magnificent floats, yummy food from street vendors (plenty of Caribbean food), and very loud music. This carnival occurs in August, so hopefully you can catch it this year. Here is the website for information about parking/festival hours: www.thenottinghillcarnival.com
Day Trip #8: Madame Tussauds
Everybody loves Madame Tussauds. Last time I went there, they had a room that looked like a night club. It had little water ponds and it was filled with celebrities. As “Toxic” by Brittany Spears played, we walked around the room taking pictures with the wax figures. Information is at the website: www.madametussauds.com.
Day Trip #9: Tour of the Royal Botanical Gardens
The Royal Botanical Gardens are absolutely amazing, and since I love nature, there’s nothing like spending a summer’s day outside in nature while still being in London. The gardens cover over 300 acres and house more than 38,000 species of plants and animals. They have beautiful tropical plants and a lovely layout. Additional information can be found at the website: www.kew.org.
Day Trip #10: A day in Camden Town
This is my absolute favorite day trip to London. Maybe because I stumbled upon it one day, maybe because it’s so darn cool! It’s London’s most popular open air market and it has everything from clothes and jewelry to delicious food and music. Every time I go it’s so alive and active, nothing about this place is boring. There’s a strong sense of alternative culture here and everything you look at is unique and interesting. Here’s some information about the area: www.camdenlock.net.