Want to see all the highlights of London with limited time? Here’s my power touring plan for a weekend in London with 48 hours of sightseeing suggestions. We spent two nights in London prior to a cruise departing from Southampton.
We stayed at The Royal Horseguards. It was a fantastic historic location right on the River Thames and across the bridge from the London Eye. Our rate included a wonderful traditional English breakfast buffet. I would rate this property 4 out of 5 stars. It was very traditional and elegant, but our room was in need of some repair (sink handle was stripped, furniture was water stained, outlets didn’t work). The bed, however, was heavenly!
The Royal Horseguards Hotel wasn’t cheap, though, so you may want to look at alternate locations nearby. If you are flying into Gatwick, there is a nonstop train to the Clermont London, Victoria which is also a great location and walking distance to Buckingham Palace.
You can purchase the Hop On Hop Off Big Bus London tickets from your concierge at the hotel or from the bus driver right as you board the bus at any one of the marked stops. There was a bus stop one block away from our hotel, so we hopped on and toured around to get the lay of the land. The Big Bus London Tour does provide earbuds and recorded commentary while you are driving around, which helps identify the historic buildings, statues, and monuments. It was a great way to get our bearings. To check the routes and find out more, visit https://www.bigbustours.com/en/london/london-bus-tours
We hopped off and visited Buckingham Palace, which was packed with tourists. There was not a changing of the guard ceremony on the day we were there. To check the schedule during your visit, check: https://changing-guard.com/dates-buckingham-palace.html
We purchased admission tickets to St Paul’s Cathedral (where Princess Di and Prince Charles were married) and climbed to the top of the dome for great views of downtown London. https://www.stpauls.co.uk/ Admission is free, but a 23 GBP donation allows you to climb to the top of the dome.
Next, we enjoyed breathtaking views from the famous London Eye. We waited to purchase tickets to make sure that the weather was good and had no wait to board at 6 pm on a Friday night. For advance tickets and more information: https://www.londoneye.com/tickets-and-prices/
After disembarking from the London Eye, we enjoyed a 45 minute river cruise on the Thames. You can buy these tickets in the same place as the London Eye Tickets.
For a traditional pub atmosphere and food, we hung out at The Wellington, which is walking distance from the Royal Horseguards. https://www.nicholsonspubs.co.uk/restaurants/london/thewellingtonstrandlondon#/
Overall, we really did see and do a lot in a weekend of sightseeing in London while adjusting to the time change. Next stop, Stonehenge!