What to Do in London for a Day

What to Do in London for a Day?

Are you in the capital looking for the best things to do for a lovely day tour? London certainly comes up with unique and exciting activities for first-timers and frequent visitors alike.

Activities like an afternoon cruise tour and panoramic bus tours allow you to catch a glimpse of the city’s top attractions. The afternoon tea cafes, parks, museums, and joyrides make up for the best family time during the day. But, of all these options, what are the ones that truly stand out?

This article listed the best things to do in London for a day tour. No matter if you’re with a family and kids or on a solo adventure, the energy of London knows no bounds! Here’s a complete guide on what to do in London for a day, categorised as morning, midday, afternoon, and evening activities:

1. Morning Activities

Morning Activities
Morning Activities

London’s morning brings out a refreshing vibe for everyone. The energy remains at its peak since you know that a fun-filled day ahead waits for you. So, let’s get started:

Traditional English Breakfast

Start your morning with a “quintessentially English” breakfast at a fancy restaurant in Central London. If you’re roaming around the Square Mile borough, visit the famous Duck & Waffle located at 110 Bishopsgate. If you plan to start your day from the City of Westminster, have a traditional “Full English Breakfast” at the Regent’s Cafe located at 17-19 Regency Street.

Cafes and Bakeries

Aside from these two cafes, you can discover several bakeries across Central London to enjoy a traditional morning snack. For instance, Gail’s Bakery is known for its freshly baked bread, pastries, and brewed coffee.

Start your day from the lively West End of London, head to Soho, and find Gail’s Bakery at Wardour St. For a more artistic and luxurious experience, reserve your spot at Mayfair’s “Sketch Gallery” at Conduit St in the City of Westminster.

The London Eye

London Eye nowadays closes at 6 PM. So, it’s best to enjoy an early morning ride for a crystal clear view of the city. Book yourself a standard flight ticket for £39 (on-the-day booking and £29 advance booking). For large families or those who want a VIP experience, the whole pod can be booked with the capacity of up to 25 individuals. Be sure to book the whole pod experience at least one day ahead.

Westminster Abbey

After a nice breakfast at a fancy cafe in the City of Westminster, Westminster Abbey should be the first landmark to visit. The abbey is adjacent to the Houses of Parliament and is known for being a site of coronation, ceremonies, and burials of several Monarchs. Westminster Abbey opens at 9:30 AM on weekdays and 9:00 AM on Saturdays, while it remains closed for tourists on Sundays.

Houses of Parliament and Big Ben

Right next to the Abbey are the glorious Houses of Parliament with a massive significance in British Democracy. The building is officially known as The Palace of Westminster and is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the world. The palace offers various guided, self-guided, and audio-guided tours with entry to exclusive places like the House of Commons and the Palace’s Gallery.

As you visit the Houses of Parliament, don’t forget to put Big Ben Tower (now known as Elizabeth Tower) on your must-see list. The entry ticket to the tower allows you to climb over 300 steps up to see the massive Big Ben clock from the inside.

Guided London Tours

If you want to avoid the hassles of finding restaurants, cafes, and landmarks by yourself, book guided tours in London for a smooth experience. We recommend going for a guided tour of Buckingham Palace, as it’s the best place to start your morning.

Watch the traditional royal ceremonies in the Palace’s Courtyard, the highlight of which is the Guards Changing Ceremony that begins at around 10 AM. Book your guided tour of Buckingham Palace one day in advance and arrive early to get the closest spot for a spectacular view.

2. Midday Activities

Midday Activities
Midday Activities

After a refreshing breakfast and a little bit of sightseeing, it’s time to rev up the adventurer in you! Gear up as some energetic midday activities are coming your way:

The British Museum

Hosting the world’s largest collection of artefacts, artworks, and paintings, the British Museum is one of the most prestigious museums in the world. Head to the Great Russell St in the Bloomsbury area and enter this incredible place of eight million works from history.

Entry to the museum and access to its permanent collection is free (although you’ll need a pre-booked ticket). With millions of artefacts and over 60 galleries, you can easily spend a few hours lost in the aura of this remarkable museum.

The National Gallery

Trafalgar Square is a place of fun and entertainment all day, but the highlight of the area is the National Gallery. This free-to-enter gallery has some remarkable works from popular artists including Vincent Van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, and Jan van Eyck. The permanent collections are free and it takes around three to four hours if you want to explore the entire collection. 

The Tate Modern

Tate Modern is a contemporary art gallery located in the Bankside area of the Southwark Borough. The museum was formerly a Bankside Power Station, and the main exhibitions are displayed in the building’s massive Turbine Hall.

Don’t miss out on events like social spaces, art workshops, and photography sessions held at various locations inside the gallery. Be sure to visit the Barbican Art Gallery to explore British Contemporary Art from the 1500s to the present day.

Oxford Street

Visit one of the busiest streets in London to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city. Oxford Street is home to over 300 shops that remain active throughout the year, so much so, that the total number of visitors exceeded 200 million last year. Be one of those lively souls who love a nice day out on a busy street in London.

With hundreds of shops on the street, you can engage in just about any activity that fancies you. Want to buy souvenirs? Do you wish to spend a few hundred quids at a designer shop? Fancy a great lunch at a restaurant? Oxford Street has everything to cater to your energetic day. 

Covent Garden

Covent Garden is another market area in London known for its wildly active piazza. The main piazza of the market is always a centre of street performances like freestyle music, open-air magic shows, and other entertainment activities. For a better view of the performances, have a nice lunch at a rooftop restaurant at the piazza and watch the performance from the balcony.

For souvenirs, antiques, and vintage items, head to the Apple Market inside the covered market of Covent Garden. The highlight of the market is the London Transport Museum displaying the rich history of transport in the capital over the years. The All Aboard play zone of the museum is surely going to be a fun activity for the little ones.

Camden Market

Move to Camden, a colourful borough known for being a dynamic entertainment hub. The Camden Market, home to over 1000 different shops, stalls, and eateries, is located next to the Regent’s Park along the Regent’s Canal. So, if you’re already tired of visiting the market, how about a calm and gradual walk along the canal?

As you walk your way down to the other end of the Camden Market, interact with other tourists and locals. For an even more calming experience, book a boat tour and relax in London’s “Little Venice”.

Hop on Hop off Bus Tours London

Nothing delivers a more rewarding sightseeing experience than the Hop on Hop off Bus in London. It’s simply the best way to see most of London in the least time. Book a hop-on hop-off bus tour, get your e-ticket or pass, and find the nearest tour bus to board.

These tours feature comfortable double-decker buses taking you through the famous places of London for some awesome panoramic views of each landmark. You can leave the bus whenever you want, explore the surrounding area, and hop back on the next bus from the stop nearby.

Book a suitable time that covers most of your midday (ideally from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM). If you plan well, you’ll be able to use the bus for sightseeing as well as for transport between the places you want to visit.

3. Afternoon Activities

Afternoon Activities
Afternoon Activities

London’s afternoon is known for the spectacular “Golden Hour” that brightens the city landmarks until the sunset. Here’s how you can make the most of these lovely moments in the capital:

Hyde Park

This 350-acre park in the City of Westminster is a beloved place for every Londoner. Being a first-time visitor, you can quickly blend yourself into the local activities by visiting Hyde Park. The park is located in Mayfair and extends westwards to Kensington Palace.

Entry to the park is free. You can bring a picnic and enjoy the glorious sunset from the lush green landscape of the park. If something adventurous has struck your nerve, book a boating session at Lake Serpentine.

St. James’s Park

Head to the Central District of St. James in Westminster and enter the Royal St. James’s Park. St. James’s Park is bounded by three palaces and a royal balcony offering breathtaking views of the capital.

Buckingham Palace is located to the west and St. James’s Palace is located to the north of the Park. The park is free to enter throughout the year. Rent a deckchair to relax and enjoy the cool breeze of the afternoon on the backdrop of Buckingham Palace.

Kensington Gardens

Located between Lake Serpentine of Hyde Park and Kensington Palace, the Kensington Gardens are among the well-maintained and preserved royal gardens. Afternoon activities at the park include walking along the floral pathways, interacting with the park’s wildlife, and spotting the famous Diana’s Statue opened a few years back.

Thames River Cruise

A cruise tour in the afternoon from the Royal Borough of Greenwich to the City of Westminster, it’s a dream come true for every wanderer! The Thames Cruise Tour is the most rewarding afternoon experience anyone can have in the capital.

Stand on the balcony of your luxurious cruise, sip the afternoon tea on board, and spot the popular landmarks from a unique perspective. These tours generally start from Greenwich borough and offer spectacular sights of the landmarks including:

  • Canary Wharf Skyline
  • Tower Bridge
  • Tower of London
  • Millennium Bridge
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • The London Eye
  • The Palace of Westminster

Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

For all the Potterheads out there, what’s better than spending an afternoon at the Warner Bros. Studio in London? See the “Making of Harry Potter” at the Warner Bros. Studio. Book Warner Bros. and Harry Potter Studio tour that takes you directly to the Studio in Leavesden. Visit famous places like the Forbidden Forest, the Great Hall, Diagon Alley, and Dumbledore’s Office.

The studio also has animatronics and a green screen section to reveal the making of the magical scenes. Don’t forget to shop the apparel, wands, and souvenirs from the Studio Shop. The tour lasts for almost 4 hours. So, you can book an afternoon studio tour starting at 3 PM and return by 7 PM to continue your evening activities in the city.

4. Evening Activities

Evening Activities
Evening Activities

After a proactive day on the busy London streets, you deserve a relaxed evening for a fitting end to your day. Or are you still energetic enough for some rip-roaring activities? The fun hasn’t ceased yet. Here’s the range of evening activities for your London day tour:

Fine Dining

We get it, you’re tired and empty after a busy day out in London. So, how about some fine dining options to enjoy local or international cuisine for dinner? Here are your best options to tantalise your buds on a beautiful London evening:

  • The Ledbury: Located on Ledbury St. in Notting Hill, it’s a modern European restaurant best known for its elegant setting and exotic Italian cuisine.
  • Ikoyi Restaurant: Enjoy authentic West African dishes in the minimalistic interior of Ikoyi Restaurant, located in the Temple district of the Square Mile.
  • The Ritz Restaurant: Enjoy a high-end, luxurious dinner in this fancy restaurant of the five-star hotel, The Ritz on Piccadilly in the City of Westminster.
  • Dinner by Heston Blumenthal: A graceful French cuisine restaurant with a fibre optic theme, this adorable restaurant is popular for its upscale location, Park Lane in the City of Westminster.


If you don’t feel like spending much at a fancy restaurant, London’s Gastropubs offer endless options for an evening meal. For instance, The Harwood Arms in Fulham is a famous pub best known for its game dishes and authentic British cuisine. It is London’s only Michelin-starred, so you can imagine the quality of service, the food, the taste, and the options.

You can also visit the floral neighbourhood of Chelsea to enjoy the local cuisine in an elegant setting at The Cadogan Arms. Other Gastropub options include The Grazing Goat in Marylebone, The Thomas Cubitt in Belgravia, and The Bull & Last in Highgate.

Live Music Venues

Any live event, from music to performing arts, reaches its peak at the West End theatres. Since it’s your one-day tour, you only deserve to attend the best musical nights in London. So, head to the theatres in London’s West End to enjoy the most interactive live music events. Your best options in the West End for a musical night out include:

  • The Apollo Victoria Theatre
  • The Prince Edward Theatre
  • Her Majesty’s Theatre at St. James’s
  • The Palace Theatre in Soho

The UK’s top musical artists and singers actively perform at these theatres. Even if you don’t plan a musical event, simply purchasing a ticket and walking into a West End theatre promises to be entertaining enough.

Rooftop Bars and Pubs

With countless rooftop bars, pubs, and restaurants around, it’ll be tough to choose the best one. But if it’s all about the views of the lively city from the rooftop (of course, it is), visit The Rooftop St. James located at the top of Trafalgar St. James Hotel in Trafalgar Square.

It’s a well-administrated, highly sophisticated, and graceful rooftop pub offering some tantalising cocktails. But the highlight of your evening is the outstanding views of Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery, the Thames River, and the London Eye from the top. Other options are Aqua Spirit at Regent Street in Soho, Madison in St Paul’s, and Skylark Roof Garden in Little Venice near Regent’s Canal.

Haunted London Tours

Finally, you get to end your night exploring the scary side of London. One of the best ways is to take a haunted bus tour and visit the places associated with the real scary events that happened in the capital. These bus tours generally include the “Jack the Ripper” locations tour and the Sherlock Holmes tour.

Other spooky-themed bus tours will take you to the actual landmarks of London with haunted backstories. You will board a vintage double-decker bus with your tour guide in a scary outfit to add a touch of terror to the fun. It’s a late-night sightseeing tour exploring all about the haunted side of each attraction such as the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, and London Bridge.


These are your best activities to spend a nice and refreshing day out in the capital. If you’re new to London, consider booking a day tour with the dedicated tour operators to have the best time here. With countless guided and self-guided tour options available, you can plan, choose what fancies you the most, and make the most out of the day in London.

At Roam Around London, find out various tour options that make up for great daytime adventures. These include guided walking tours, panoramic bus tours, cruise tours, afternoon tea tours, and private taxi tours – all offered by the most renowned tour operators in London. Get in touch now to enjoy exclusive discounts on your preferred day tours.


What are the must-see attractions in London for a day trip?

Spend your day sightseeing the historic attractions of Central London. Book a hop-on hop-hop-off bus tour during the day and a Thames River Cruise in the afternoon for a truly adventurous day out in the capital

Is it possible to see all the major landmarks in one day?

With a hop-on hop-off bus tour covering the maximum number of places in London, you can visit almost all major historic landmarks of the city, excluding the more upscale places like Canary Wharf and the Square Mile.

How should I plan my day in London to avoid crowds?

The main attractions are always crowded. So, be sure to plan carefully, get an oyster card for the Tube to avoid queues, and pre-book the tickets to all famous landmarks to avoid delays.

What are some budget-friendly activities to do in London for a day?

Go on self-guided walking tours along the South Bank of the River Thames. For midday, you can plan a city trip around free-to-enter museums like The British Museum, Tate Modern, The National Gallery, and the Museum Neighbourhood in South Kensington. For the afternoon, visit the parks or Royal Gardens offering free entries like Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, and St. James’s Park.

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