If you are visiting London (and you really should!), particularly for the first time, there are a usually be a few key sights on your must see list - the London Eye, the River Thames and all the views that it affords, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey (the location of that wedding), the beautiful Royal Parks, and of course Buckingham Palace.
Well, the good news is that all these places are actually very close together, and the even better news is that I have put together a short stroll that takes you past all of them!
Starting at Waterloo station, walk along Embankment towards St Thomas' Hospital, this will take you past the London Eye (and give you some fantastic photo opportunities).
Hint - if you aren't in to crowds, nip down Belvedere Road, which runs parallel to Embankment, it is a lovely street and a lot quieter than the main drag (you can catch up on the view from Westminster Bridge!).
Westminster Bridge is where you can catch some of the best views in London!
Hint - I took all of my photos on the same day as the Bupa London 10,000, so all the roads were closed (I literally stood in the middle of what is normally a super busy road to get my shots!), so it is worth checking out road closures if you are really in to photography.
|view to the west|
|view to the east|
From Westminster Bridge you will get a great view of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (the clock tower - yep, it has it's own name!). If you can, try and get your shots from the bridge as it can get really busy by Westminster Tube station (lots of political advisors and civil servants running all over the place!).
Fancy doing something a little bit special? How about afternoon tea in the Houses of Parliament? For the first time ever, visitors can enjoy afternoon tea in this amazing building, and it is sure to be something special!
Just past the Houses of Parliament is Parliament Square and Westminster Abbey, so yet more beautiful buildings to look at! Plus there is one of the legendary golden Olympic post boxes!
Hint - if you are tempted to take a time out at Parliament Square, don't, far better is yet to come!
After all the busy streets around Parliament Square you will probably be in need of some time out, so cut up Great George Street and head towards to tranquillity of St James's Park.
St James's Park really is an oasis in the city, full of beautiful plants and wildlife. It is such a calming place to come for some time out - if you are feeling extra stressed out, check out Headspace's Royal Parks podcast, and let Andy Puddicombe take you on a soothing walk.
Once you have strolled around the park a bit, make sure you walk along the lake and head for The Blue Bridge - it is here that you will get the best views of Horse Guards, Whitehall, The London Eye and Buckingham Palace.
Once you have absorbed the beautiful views it is time to drop in on the Queen. Head out of
St James's Park on to The Mall towards Buckingham Palace.
Buckingham Palace is only open at certain times of the year, and if you want to visit it is best to plan ahead. For a great post about visiting the Palace, hop over to Lauren's blog Aspiring Kennedy and read all about her trip inside (there was some serious cake!).
Finished exchanging gossip with Her Majesty? Then it is on to Green Park, another of the beautiful Royal Parks scattered across London, and also a great place to pull up a deck chair and have a picnic (it is also rather close to Fortnum and Mason if you are after something a little fancier!).
Depending on what you want to do, this walk could take anything from a morning (if you admire the sights from afar), to a whole day (if you choose to take tours of the various sights). The walk is also a great starting point if you want to explore other areas of London as Green Park is a really central location - you could head over to Harrods (check out Lauren's great post!), then on to the museums and galleries of South Kensington; or maybe head up and explore Regents Street and then on to Covent Garden? The world is your oyster [card].