On our way to Budapest we had a 7 hour layover in London. Having both been there before we new the city pretty well and decided to venture out of the airport and do a little more exploring and grab a bite to eat in Leicester Square.
Surprisingly one day in London is more than enough time to do all the major tourists sights like the London Eye or Big Ben or the Buckingham Palace. The train from Heathrow to London centre is about 45 minutes which gave us about five hours to enjoy the city.
We arrived around lunch time and took the Underground to Leicester Square and found a restaurant right by the park with a patio. The sun was out which is a rarity so everyone was outside and enjoying the sunshine in the park, laying on the grass, having naps, reading, hanging out with friends. I ordered a veggie burger and it was exactly what I wanted and it came with fresh steak fries. After eating airplane food (aka buns and side salads) and snacks a refreshing meal was much needed. Especially since the airline said I didn’t put in that I was vegetarian so I didn’t have any food besides a sandwich that I had picked up at the airport in panic of starving on the plane.
Aaron got the spaghetti bolognese and we sat, relaxed and stretched our cramped limbs. After we did a walk around the area and visited Soho and Chinatown which are extremely close together. My favourite street near this area is called Carnaby Street which has so many cool little shops and cafes. After a decent stroll around the area we then made our way to Big Ben and the London Eye, going through the St. James Park which was full of people taking pictures of the abnormally large squirrels. My first time in London I was in the park and thought I had suddenly become an animal whisperer because the squirrels would come right up to you and if you’re lucky, pet them. You can also see the Buckingham Palace if you follow the signs.
Instead of crossing the bridge to the London Eye we walked left by the River Thames and found a bench and took in the warm air and cool breeze. Having sun and clear skies in London is an anomaly so being outside was a priority to us. We walked back the Leicester Square so we could be close to the Underground just to be safe so we didn’t miss our flight. Instead of heading to Oxford Street for some shopping we decided to join the locals and relax in the Leicester Square Garden. There’s also a Haage-Dazs Restaurant in sight of the Square.
Since neither of us got any sleep on the plane and London is 7 hours ahead of us we stopped into Costa, grabbed a coffee and headed back to the airport for our finally leg of the journey.
It was a very successful layover.
Although London is a huge place with so much to see it is doable to see the main tourist stuff in one go since it’s so close together. We walked everywhere as well so if you’re short for time the Underground is extremely easy to navigate.
What would you do in one day in London? Have you ever been there before?