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72 hours in London
Spending a busy weekend exploring London
There's so much to see and do in London, it's hard to figure out which activities to spotlight for a weekend visit. Here are our recommendations for an amazing 72 hours in this magical place.
First, a trip to London wouldn’t be complete without seeing Buckingham Palace, the residence of Queen Elizabeth and her family. Join the masses nearly every day for the changing of the guards at 11:30 a.m. Get there early to pick your seats; you won’t believe the crowds that show up to watch.
From Buckingham Palace, walk along “the mall” and take in the sights such as the Queen Victoria Memorial and the Admiralty Arch on your way to Trafalgar Square. This is a busy place and you’ll be able to snap photos of Nelson’s Column and the many statues and fountains while you people-watch. Trafalgar also is a good place to grab a bite to eat before you check out the National Gallery.
Next, step out for a night at the theater in the West End. Billy Elliot is a popular favorite that has been running for more than eight years!
Your second day in London should take you to many of the major attractions that we all know and love. Make your way down to the River Thames to explore the Parliament Buildings and Big Ben. These are the iconic images of the city and a photograph from the bridge or even across the river gives you the perfect vantage point to take it all in.
Once you’ve had your fill, it’s time to see Westminster Abbey. It’s a favorite of the Royal family with no fewer than 16 Royal Weddings taking place over the centuries. Lady Diana and Prince Charles, as well as Prince William and Duchess Kate were married here.
Viewfinder Tip: Sunday Mass at Westminster Abbey is open to the public.
The River Thames is a great place to hang out for the day, and you can walk across to the South Bank and have a picnic in the park before taking a ride on the London Eye. Next, hop on a water taxi and take a ride to the Tate Modern Art Museum. It’s a must to see and it’s free!
If you still have time and energy, afternoon would be a great time to see the Tower Bridge before dinner. This bridge is a beautiful display of craftsmanship; many people mistake the Tower Bridge for the London Bridge, but the London Bridge is not nearly as impressive. The Tower Bridge has two tall towers on either side, tied together by a walkway above. It’s beautiful to see at night and during the day.
Sleep in and spend the last day of your weekend in London in Greenwich. Here you can check out the Royal Observatory, where visitors flock to see the Greenwich Meridian. This is the exact spot where the world sets its watch. You can spend the rest of the afternoon strolling through the park, exploring the Naval college and the Queen’s house.
Getting around London is easy. Once you arrive, buy yourself an Oyster Card for three days. This will allow you to get around on the tube and save you a lot of money. London is big and spread out so having a pass is a must. If you are feeling overwhelmed, one of the double-decker bus tours is a good option to get your bearings. If you don’t see everything on your weekend visit, you can always watch a James Bond movie to see what you missed!
If you had 72 hours in a major city, what would you go and see first?
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