As some of you may know, London was on my bucket list since I was old enough to travel. For years I listened to my mother, sister, and grandmom talk about England and how wonderful the country and city of London are. So when I finally had the opportunity to go with my mom this year, I jumped on it! When we arrived in England our first stop was London, the capital city and home of the British Royal Family! In addition to that, London is full of historical sights and a wide variety of different cultures which makes visiting this city very exciting for newcomers. Tourists and locals can spend hours wandering around Hyde and St. James Park, shopping at Harrods, walking along the River Thames, and/or picnicking in the many beautiful squares. Regardless of what you choose to see and do there is something for everyone in London, England. For those planning your next getaway, here are our recommendations for two days in London, England and what you should see and do!
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Day One in London, England
Visit Kensington Palace & Wander around Hyde Park
I know everyone is not as interested in the British Royal Family as I am, however, I do think the palaces are worth checking out while exploring the city of London.
The British Royal Family has been around for centuries and makes up a large part of the history and historical sites in London. Kensington Palace is the birthplace of Queen Victoria and has been home to the young royals for the last 300 years! This palace can be viewed from the grounds or from the inside for those who want to get a closer look.
Inside guests can explore the room where Queen Victoria was born and the rooms where she was raised. Additionally, inside Kensington Palace, guests can explore Princess Diana’s closet, the King’s and Queen’s State Apartments, the King’s Gallery where the finest paintings of the Royal Collection are on exhibit, and more.
Though there is a lot of history within the palace, there is a lot of modernization going on too! For example, Kensington Palace is the current residence of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children George, Charlotte, and Louis!
Tickets, Pricing & Hours of Operation
Kensington Palace is open Monday to Sunday from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm. However, the last admission to the palace is at 5:00 pm daily. Tickets can be purchased online or in-person by credit card only.
Ticket pricing is as follows:
Adults: 15.30 pounds
Children: 7.60 pounds
View Princess Diana's Memorial Fountain
Outside Kensington Palace and Kensington Gardens is Hyde Park. Hyde Park is one of London’s eight Royal Parks as well as one of the largest covering about 350 acres. In this park, tourists and locals often go boating, take afternoon jogs, go horseback riding, and even swim in the Serpentine!
Inside Hyde Park is also Princess Diana’s Memorial Fountain. This fountain was created by Her Majesty The Queen in 2004 and is made up of 545 pieces of Cornish granite. The design of the fountain was created to reflect Princess Diana’s life. The water in the fountain flows in two directions from the highest point before falling and meeting again in a calm pool located at the lowest point of the fountain. For those visiting in the warmer months, feel free to take off your shoes and dip your feet in the refreshing water while relaxing in the sun and taking in the beautiful sites.
Go on a Shopping Spree at Harrods Department Store
Harrods, commonly known as the world’s leading luxury department store, is located in London only a few blocks from Hyde Park. Here locals and tourists spend hours shopping for quality items created by the most well-known designers in the world such as Tom Ford, Fendi, Gucci, Cartier, and many more. Inside Harrods, customers can find everything from rare diamonds to the most recent fashion must-haves.
Additionally, Harrods contains a wonderful food market and food hall for those looking to enjoy a snack or meal during a fun day of shopping!
Hours of Operation
Harrods Department Store is open daily. Monday until Saturday, Harrods is open from 11:00 am until 7:00 pm and on Sundays, Harrods is open from 11:30 am until 6:00 pm.
Enjoy some Sweets from Peggy Porschen Cakes
Peggy Porschen Cakes is not only an Instagramers dream but in this beautiful cafe, the sweetest of sweet tooths can be fulfilled!
Peggy Porschen was founded in 2003 by an award-winning cake designer named, you guessed it, Peggy Porschen, and her husband Bryn Morrow. She baked cakes for several A-list events such as Kate Moss’s wedding, Elton John’s White Tie & Tiara Ball, and more. However, you don’t have to be famous to enjoy one of Peggy Porschen’s creations. This cafe is open seven days a week from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm for walk-in guests and clients.
In addition to delicious sweet treats, Peggy Porschen also serves all-day breakfast including pancakes, eggs benedict, and breakfast bowls as well as lunch which includes risotto, tortellini, and salad.
Visit Buckingham Palace & Walk through St. James Park
While in London, you must visit the home of Her Majesty The Queen! Buckingham Palace, located in the center of Westminster, is one of the most iconic historical sites in London. Since 1837, Buckingham Palace has served as the official residence of the United Kingdom’s sovereigns and is currently the administrative headquarters of the Monarch.
In addition to being an administrative building, the palace is still very much a family home. For example, both Prince Charles and Prince Andrew were born and raised at the palace and it’s also where the royal family held several christenings and weddings!
Though Buckingham Palace is not open to visitors throughout the year, I still recommend going and checking out the area. If you are lucky, you will even get to witness the changing of the guard!
Fun Facts about Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace is made up of 775 rooms! These 775 rooms include 19 State Rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms. Every summer the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are open to visitors!
In addition to 775 rooms, Buckingham Palace also has one of the most famous balconies in the world!
St. James Park
Located just outside of Buckingham Palace is St. James Park. St. James Park is one of the eight Royal Parks and is quite large at 57 acres. Inside St. James Park you will find impressive views of the lake and fountain, resident pelicans, and beautiful flower beds filled with vibrant colors. Here you can spend the afternoon relaxing in the sun or just enjoy the scenery while walking through on the way to your next sightseeing destination!
See Westminster Abbey Up Close and Personal
Located next to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament is Westminster Abbey. Since 1066, all coronations take place at Westminster Abbey and it is the final resting place of 17 monarchs. That being said, Westminster Abbey plays a big part in the British Royal Family and Monarch. Not only is Westminster Abbey where Queen Elizabeth herself was crowned but it is also the church where The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were married in 2011!
This church can be viewed from outside or inside for those who want to get a closer look at one of Londons most important Gothic buildings.
Check Out Big Ben
Elizabeth Tower, formerly known as Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament are among some of Londons most iconic landmarks and must-see sites.
Big Ben was built in 1859 and first rang across Westminster on May 31st. Big Ben was constructed after a fire destroyed the Palace of Westminster. During the rebuild, it was decided that the Houses of Parliament should include a tower and a clock which is how the idea for Big Ben came about.
Unfortunately, while my mom and I were visiting Big Ben was under construction so we weren’t able to see it. Fortunately, for those planning a trip in the future, the construction is expected to be completed by 2021.
Fun Facts about Big Ben
- Big Ben is 314.9 feet tall.
- The minute hands on each side are 14 feet long and weigh about 220 pounds each.
- The numbers on each side are about 23 inches long.
- A special light is illuminated around the clock face when parliament is in session.
- In 2012, Big Ben was renamed Elizabeth Tower in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.
Ride the London Eye
Want to experience 360-degree views of the city of London? Then take a ride on the world’s largest observation wheel, the infamous London Eye! The London Eye, located on the River Thames, was constructed in 2000 by Marks Barfield Architects and is made up of 32 pods that overlook the beautiful city of London from 442. 9 feet in the air.
Fun Fact: The London Eye is the United Kingdom’s most popular paid-for tourist attraction!
Pricing & Hours of Operation
The London Eye is open daily at 10:00 am and closes between 6:00 pm and 8:30 pm depending on the time of the year.
As for tickets and pricing, there are three different ticket options.
- The standard tickets cost 27 pounds per person.
- The fast track tickets cost 37 pounds per person.
- The London Eye plus one more attraction costs 40.50 pounds per person.
For those who choose to purchase tickets online, you will save 10%.
Have a Picnic in Trafalgar Square
After riding the London Eye check out Trafalgar Square.
Trafalgar Square is a large square located in Westminster that is surrounded by a number of incredible museums, galleries, and cafes. In addition to being surrounded by beautiful galleries and museums, Trafalgar Square is also home to several different fountains and statues. For example, this square contains Nelson’s Column and The Fourth Plinth! Many tourists and locals come here to relax and hang out in the sun when the weather is nice.
Trafalgar Square is also the center of national democracy and protest. On weekends rallies, demonstrations, and protests are frequently held here on different religious, political, and general issues.
Enjoy Dinner at The Champion
Located in Notting Hill right next to Kensington Palace is The Champion Pub. The Champion Pub is the perfect place to end your first day in London. This pub is known for its laid-back yet memorable drinking and dining experience. Whether you are looking to have drinks with friends or food with family, The Champion Pub is a gathering place for everyone.
In addition to tasty drinks, this pub also offers some delicious authentic English food!
Our Recommendations: Grab a few martinis and enjoy the Camembert baked in sourdough as an appetizer to share. If you are still hungry after that we recommend ordering the fish & chips and/or the pulled chicken & avocado salad with crispy bacon! You cannot go wrong with either!
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Day Two in London, England
Visit St. Pauls Cathedral
St. Pauls Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral located on Ludgate Hill at the highest point in the city of London. Due to its location, St. Pauls world-famous dome has become an iconic feature in London’s skyline. Still today, St. Pauls Cathedral serves as the mother church for the Diocese of London as well as a place of worship for all that wish to visit.
Visiting St. Pauls Cathedral is open to the public for a fee of 20 pounds per person (17 pounds if tickets are purchased online) and it is generally open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm.
Walk Across London Bridge
Although London Bridge is not as recognized as Tower Bridge, it is still a very famous bridge found in London today. London Bridge, which has been reconstructed from its original form, is the site of the oldest crossing over the River Thames. The current bridge standing today was built in 1973 which replaced the 19th-century stone-arched bridge that stood before it.
What is so interesting about the London Bridge you ask? Well, the 19th-century bridge was replaced after it began sinking at the rate of an inch every eight years. By the 20th century automobiles further overburdened the bridge beyond repair which is why it was replaced in 1973.
Fun Fact about London Bridge
The previous London Bridge can be viewed in Arizona in the United States of America. Yes, that’s right! London Bridge was purchased in 1967 by Robert P. McCulloch Sr. who believed that buying the bridge and reconstructing it in Lake Havasu City, the city he had just founded, would attract tourists and prospective buyers.
After purchasing the bridge and reconstructing it in Arizona, the bridge was finally opened on October 10, 1971. To bring in visitors and residential buyers to the city, McColloch also built the English Village an open-air mall. Today the bridge is still standing and leads guests to The Nautical Beachfront Resort which is the only beachfront resort located in the state of Arizona.
Walk Across the Iconic Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is easily London’s most recognizable and well-known bridge. Tower Bridge was built over 125 years ago to ease road traffic getting into and out of the city of London while also maintaining access to the busy London docks. This bridge was built with moveable roadways allowing ships to pass under. To this day it is considered an engineering marvel that is raised around 850 times each year.
If you’d like to see Tower Bridge when it’s lifted you can go online and check out a full list of Bridge Lift Times here.
For guests who want to learn more about Tower Bridge, the bridge is open daily from 9:30 am until 6:00 pm. However, on the third Saturday of every month, Tower Bridge opens at 10:00 am instead of 9:30 am.
Explore the Tower of London
The Tower of London is a must when visiting London, especially when interested in the history of this beautiful city. In the Tower of London, tourists can explore over 1000 years of history including the crown jewels, the infamous prison, and the secure fortress.
Inside the Crown Jewels, a collection of 23,578 gemstones can be observed. On display are crowns and jewels from previous Kings and Queens in addition to the first crown the current Queen Elizabeth received during her crowning ceremony!
Also inside the Tower of London, tourists can learn about the passion, pain, and torture that occurred here so many years ago.
Pricing & Hours of Operation
Tickets for the Tower of London are as follows:
Adults 18-64: 26.00 pounds
Concession 65+ or full-time students: 20.70 pounds
Children 5-15: 12.90 pounds
Family Saver 1 Adult & Up to 3 Children: 38.90 pounds
Family Saver 2 Adults & Up to 3 Children: 64.90 pounds
The Tower of London is open daily but unfortunately, it is closed from December 24-26 and January 1st of every year. During the summer, the Tower of London is open Tuesday until Saturday from 9:00 am until 5:30 pm. On Sunday and Monday, it is open from 10:00 am until 5:30 pm.
In the winter the Tower of London is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 am until 4:30 pm and Sunday/Monday from 10:00 am until 4:30 pm.
Solve the Mystery at Jack the Ripper Museum
Jack the Ripper is an unidentified serial killer who murdered numerous women in the Whitechapel district of London between 1888 and 1891. The women who were murdered by Jack the Ripper were typically female prostitutes who lived and worked in the slums. Unfortunately, Jack the Ripper was never identified however due to the way some of the murders occurred it is believed the serial killer had some anatomical or surgical knowledge and therefore may have been a doctor or an aristocrat!
For those interested in Jack the Ripper and the mystery behind the serial killer there is a museum located just a few blocks from the Tower of London. This museum is made up of six floors that recreate scenes from that era and provide guests with information regarding the murders and potential murder. Will you be able to finally solve the mystery?
Hours of Operation & Pricing
Visiting Jack the Ripper Museum costs $12 per person (children cost $10) and the museum is open daily from 9:30 am until 6:30 pm.
Enjoy Afternoon Tea at Harrods
This was one of my favorite things we did while visiting London and I definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to enjoy a traditional afternoon tea in the city.
Harrods offers customers their choice of either cream tea or high tea. Cream tea is afternoon tea consisting of tea, a combination of scones, and clotted cream and jam. High tea is afternoon tea consisting of tea, small finger sandwiches, a combination of scones served with clotted cream and jam, a small variety of pastries and tarts, and champagne or wine if you choose. My mom and I opted for the high tea with no regrets. The tea was amazing as was the entire experience!
During our high tea experience, I enjoyed mint tea while my mom had lemon ginger tea. In addition to the tea, my mom and I both sipped on a wonderful glass of Harrods champagne while we tried all of the different finger sandwiches that were offered to us. Once we were finished the finger sandwiches, we moved on to the picture-perfect patisserie! Finally, while we finished what was left of our tea we enjoyed scones with traditional English clotted cream and jam! It was amazing and the service at Harrods was incredible!
At Harrods, tea is served on the fourth floor daily until 7:00 pm in the evening. That being said even if you are busy sightseeing during the day you can still make it for tea before it closes in the evening!
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For those of you planning your next European adventure but not sure where to go, let us help! There are so many awesome cities in Europe but why not explore one of the safest and most beautiful historical cities in the world, London!
London is full of historic sights while also being home to a wide variety of different cultures. Tourists and locals can spend hours exploring the Royal Palaces, shopping and dining at Harrods Department Store, solving the mystery at the Jack Ripper Museum, picnicking in the beautiful squares, and so much more. Regardless of what you choose to do, London has something for everyone. We hope this post on how to spend two days in London helps you decide what you want to see and do during your getaway!
Happy planning! Until next time.