A layover in London can be an opportunity to explore one of the most vibrant, storied cities in the world. With a little planning, you can make the most of your time and see some of the city’s highlights, even if you only have a few hours to spare. Here are eight suggestions for things to do during a layover in London.
Visit Buckingham Palace
No trip to London would be complete without seeing Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the British monarchy. Even if you’re only there for a short while, it’s worth braving the crowds to get a glimpse of this historic building and its beautiful grounds. The best time to go is during the Changing of the Guard ceremony.
Take a Spin on the London Eye
For breathtaking views of London, there’s no better way to see the city than from atop the London Eye ferris wheel. On a clear day, you can even see all the way to Windsor Castle. While there is usually a bit of a line to get on, it’s well worth the wait. And if you purchase your tickets online in advance, you can skip the line entirely.
Browse the Stalls at Borough Market
Food lovers will rejoice at Borough Market, where they can find everything from fresh produce to artisanal cheese and delicious sweets. Even if you’re not looking to buy anything, it’s fun to wander through the stalls and take in all the sights and smells. Just be sure to save some space for lunch – there are plenty of gourmet food options available at Borough Market as well. You can even explore lovely restaurants in Hyde Park.
Shop till You Drop on Oxford Street
For retail therapy, head to Oxford Street, home to more than 300 shops spanning over one mile (1.6 kilometres). Whether you’re looking for high-end designer goods or budget-friendly fashion finds, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for (and then some) on Oxford Street. To explore the street fully book a hotel near Oxford Street London.
See Big Ben and Parliament Up Close
No visit to London would be complete without getting a photo of Big Ben and Parliament – two of the city’s most iconic landmarks. For great views, walk across Westminster Bridge or take a boat ride down the River Thames. And if you have time, don’t miss a tour of Parliament, where you can see firsthand how British laws are made.
Admire St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral is another must-see London landmark. This historic church has been standing since 604 AD and is famous for being where Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer got married in 1981. Visitors can explore the cathedral floor and crypt or climb more than 500 stairs to the top of its magnificent dome for sweeping views of London below.
Take a Walk in Hyde Park
Hyde Park is one of London’s royal parks and boasts more than 350 acres (142 hectares) of green space perfect for picnics, relaxation – or taking a leisurely stroll along its many scenic paths. If you’re feeling active, you can also go boating on Hyde Park’s Serpentine lake or try your hand at horse riding at Hyde Park Stables. Check yourself in one of the lovely Hyde Park hotels.
Check Out Covent Garden
Covent Garden is one of London’s most popular tourist destinations and features an array of shops , restaurants , cafes , bars , and street performers . It’s also home to Covent Garden Market , which sells everything from fresh flowers to handmade jewellery. Be sure to stop by Neal’s Yard Dairy while you’re there – it’s considered one of the best cheese shops in all of England!
Whether you have eight hours or just eight minutes, there are plenty of ways to make the most out of your layover in London. With its many historic landmarks, world-class museums , plentiful shopping opportunities, diverse gastronomic offerings, and stunning green spaces , there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city. So next time your flight has a layover in London, don’t just sit around waiting for your connecting flight – go out and explore and book a short yet comfortable accommodation in Hyde Park.