My previous post on ‘how to spend 3 days in London’ highlighted the top sites for 3 days in the Capital. If you have longer than 3 days, you can visit everything included in that itinerary at a slower pace (and see all of the options), or you could choose to do something a little bit different.
This post aims to show a few of these alternative ideas which are all well worth a visit on your trip to London.
ONE. Greenwich & Greenwich Park
Greenwich is an area of London which is about a 30 minute ride on the DLR line out of the centre. It’s a lovely residential area, with Greenwich Park a huge space which is great for kids and nice walks. There are quaint streets, beautiful houses and lovely little local shops to explore. It’s also a great location for brunch. Also in the middle of the park is the Royal Observatory and Prime Meridian Line, which are covered below and coupled with Greenwich make for a lovely day in London.
TWO. The Royal Observatory & Planetarium
The Prime Meridian is where East meets West, and lies at exactly 0 degrees longitude meaning you can stand at the centre of the World! It is the standard for GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), and an historic location which played a pivotal role in the history of astronomy and navigation.
The Planetarium is also located at the site. Here you can book to see shows in the Planetarium Dome, which help you travel through space and time and build an understanding of the solar system. It’s a really interesting day out, which I highly recommend.
THREE. Cutty Sark and Maritime Museum
The Cutty Sark is a tea clipper, which was built in 1869. Its first voyage was to Shangai, where it was loaded with the equivalent of 47 double decker buses of tea! It subsequently completed eight trips to China for tea. It’s now a great museum telling the story of the ship, tea and lives of the sailors on board. You can also have afternoon tea on the ship, and although this wasn’t as good as I had hoped, it was still a fun experience.
The Maritime Museum tells the stories of sea exploration which have shaped our world – from the story of Admiral Nelson, to the battle of Jutland and life at sea. Definitely worth a few hours learning about history on the seas.
FOUR. Olympic Park and Stratford
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Stratford area are about a 30 minute tube ride out of the Centre of London, on the District and DLR tube lines.
I know, I know, I’m biased. I LOVE the Olympics, so any Olympic park is top of my list – as anyone who reads my posts will know. BUT. This Olympic Park is a lot of fun. And its historic. Remember Super Saturday? Where Jess Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford delivered 3 gold medals on one evening back in 2012 – that was here. And there’s more than just athletics here – there is something for everyone. You can get panormaic views out over London from the viewing deck at the ArcelorMittal Orbit, you can fuel an adrenaline rush ‘riding the slide’ which is a huge slide that you can reach up to 20mph on, and you can explore the park and stadium on a guided tour.
You can also combine the visit with incredible shopping at Westfield Stratford – a complex of great shops, eating and activities – including a Casino, rooftop bars and even a brewery tour.
FIVE. St Paul’s Cathedral
If you aren’t wanting to make a trip out of the centre, you could have another day exploring some of the sites in Central London which weren’t covered in the main 3 day itinerary. The most famous of these is St Paul’s Cathedral, which can be combined with the rest of the places mentioned below to create a great itinerary for a day in London.
SIX. London Bridge & London Bridge Experience
London Bridge itself gives great views across to Tower Bridge and the River Thames. Then at London Bridge, there is a fully immersive theatrical experience called ‘The London Bridge Experience’ which makes for a great visit. It is a theatrical experience with some of England’s most notorious characters including Jack the Ripper, William Wallace and so many more. You will learn all about what London Bridge was like throughout it’s dark history! Also at the site, you can visit the London Tombs, a yummy dessert parlour and do an on-theme Escape room.
SEVEN. Borough Market & Southwark Cathedral
Borough Market is probably one of England’s most famous food market, focusing on local products. It’s a great spot for lunch, and in the Winter has beautiful Christmas themed stalls. It’s also right next door to Southwark Cathedral. I’m lucky enough that my office is nearby and when renovation works were ongoing, we actually used the Cathedral as a venue for meetings!
EIGHT. Shakespeare’s Globe
Shakespeare’s Globe is a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre, an Elizabethan playhouse for which William Shakespeare wrote his plays. You can visit the site and do a guided tour, and open air plays are held throughout the year which make for a lovely way to spend an evening in a truly historic setting.
Summary of options for daily itineraries:
- Option 1 – Greenwich brunch and shopping, Greenwich Park, The Royal Observatory, Prime Meridian Line, Planetarium & show
- Option 2 – The Royal Observatory, Prime Meridian Line, Planetarium, Cutty Sark, Maritime Museum
- Option 3 – Olympic Park, ArcelorMittal Orbit viewing deck and slide, Stadium tour, lunch in Westfield Stratford, shopping and/or brewery tour.
- Option 4 – St Paul’s Cathedral & Millennium Bridge, London Bridge & London Bridge Experience, Borough Market, Southwark Cathedral, tour of (or play at) Shakespeare’s Globe
Thanks for reading! I hope this post has given you some additional ideas for your visit to London. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.