How to enjoy London in under 12 hours

Buckingham Palace gates

Let me start by saying my arrival to Gatwick required me to walk to my hotel after a 10 hour long flight – which was a mile away from the airport. This would have been fine back in the US because sidewalks are everywhere: here, not so much. So essentially, after trying to find my way to the hotel for three hours, I sat outside another hotel and searched for Ubers to take me the last .3 miles. Zero luck. So after being extremely tired and infuriated with the lack of sidewalks, I hopped on a shuttle that came by the hotel I was sitting out of and somehow miraculously managed to make it to my own hotel! Now, it was time to sleep. And that’s all I did my first day in the U.K. (No shame).

I spot with my little eye: the London Eye and Big Ben

The City

At 8am I took a shuttle to the airport and purchased a coach ticket to London for £12 round trip which is roughly $18. Now what I’ve learned so far about the people here is that they’re hard to read. Are they being rude or just grumpy because of all the rain? Well, the guy who sold me my ticket told me to walk “that way” to find my bus stop. Okay, fair enough, I’ll walk “that way” except that way led me to the train station – not the buses. Eventually I made my way to the platform and managed to make it to my bus on time. Fast forwards 2 hours and I got motion sickness from all of the roundabout turns, stopping, and going.

Well, I made it to London! I met up with my sister at the bus station since she had been in London for about a month at that point and started our journey through the city. I hadn’t really taken the time to plan what I wanted to do that day and it ended up being a great time! We spotted the London Eye in the distance and decided to walk in that direction to find it – no map necessary.

Without the internet guiding us to each location, it felt much more relaxed and allowed me to enjoy my time in the city. There were no commitments or time restraints which gave me the opportunity to plan as I walked, finding a hole in the wall fish & chips shop. My sister highly recommended donuts for dessert – and it was amazing! By the end of the day we walked around 8 miles to all of the tourist spots and random food finds (got my workout in for sure).

  • Buckingham Palace
  • The London Eye
  • Big Ben
  • Fresh fruit cart
  • Lush
  • Fish and Chips
  • Crosstown Donuts
  • Hyde Park
  • and back to the station
The daily special
Fresh made juice for only £2

This morning I took an early flight to Bordeaux, France to continue my journey. I made it to my hotel around 10am and snuck in a much needed nap. Figured it would be best to get some food in my system around 3 for lunch, but all restaurants close from 3-7pm [which happens to be when I’m hungriest]. Tomorrows plan is to head into the city – I’ll update you all next Thursday!

Published by Crystal Diane

Landscape embroidery artist + Landscape Architect

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