Day Trip to London - Itinerary Idea
Updated: Oct 1
Day trip to London itinerary: The Monument, St Dunstan in the East, Leadenhall Market, London Wall, Tower of London and HMS Belfast
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There are so many things to do in London, a variety of things to see, museums to visit and the list goes on. Here's one idea, centred around the Tower of London:
Depending on your budget and how much time you have to spend you can do everything on the list or just some of them.
1. The Monument
The Monument to the Great Fire of London. There are 311 steps to climb all the way up if you want to see a panoramic view of the City of London.
Designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke, The Monument was built between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London (1666). It is 202 feet tall (61.5 m), the same as the distance from where it was constructed to where the fire began in Pudding Lane.
Even on the cloudiest of days, the view is still worth climbing all the stairs.
How to get to The Monument
We arrived in London St Pancras at around 9.30. If you happen to already be in London and want to have plenty of time to enjoy everything else on this itinerary, I would suggest making your way to the Monument a bit earlier than we did, and maybe plan to be there for 9.30, when it opens.
From King's Cross, you can take the Circle Line to Monument Station. From there you walk for about a minute to reach the destination.
The Monument is open daily from 09:30 to 13:00 (last entry 12:30) and from 14:00 to 18:00 (last entry 17:30)
The admission ticket is £6 for adults and £3 for children payable only in cash at the time I visited (August 2023).
It takes around 30 minutes to go up and down the stairs and spend about 10 minutes enjoying the view.
2. St Dunstan in the East Church Garden
Between London Bridge and the Tower of London, you can find the ruins of a Church originally built around 1100.
It was damaged by the Great Fire of London (1666), rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren, and then severely damaged by the Blitz of 1941.
The ruins have been opened as a public garden in 1971.
It was beautiful on a rainy day and I'm sure it's even more captivating in the sunshine
If you have 30 minutes to spare while you're in London I highly recommend this impressive little place.
How to get to St Dunstan :
From the Monument, there is a 4-minute walk to St Dunstan, or, a 5-minute walk from Monument Station if you're not planning on visiting the former.
There is no need for an entry ticket if you want to visit St Dunstan In the East Church grounds, you can roam around freely.
You can spend as much time as you desire, but for a quick visit, set aside 20 minutes for St Dunstan in the East Church Garden.
3. Leadenhall Market
Leadenhall Market has been around since 1321 being originally a meat and poultry market. Before that, the space it occupies was considered to be the centre of Roman London. Nowadays you can find quite a few cafes, restaurants and shops.
As a fun fact, some scenes from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone were filmed there.
How to get to Leadenhall Market:
From St Dunstan, it's a 6-minute walk and from Monument Station only a 4-minute walk.
No entry ticket is needed to enter Leadenhall Market, but they do have quite a few interesting cafes and restaurants there, so you might end up spending some money. If you've been to The Monument and St Dunstan's Church, you might want to have lunch at Leadenhall Market.
The Market itself is open 7 days a week, but for shops/cafes opening hours, please check with the specific businesses.
If you just want to have a look around, 10-15 minutes are more than enough, but if you're planning on having lunch there, add an extra 30-45 minutes.
4. The London Wall
The London Wall was built around 200 AD to defend Londinium (London) and was initially 3-4 km long. There are a few sections of the wall still standing, and you can see some of them as you go from Leadenhall Market towards the Tower of London if you follow my itinerary.
How to get to The London Wall
From Leadenhall Market you can walk for 10 minutes and reach the London Wall or go to Monument Station and take either Circle or District Line to Tower Hill - takes about 8 minutes in total plus the time you might spend waiting for the train.
From St Pancras take the Circle Line to Tower Hill, from there, there's a 2-minute walk.
You can spend quite a lot of time following all the remaining parts of the wall, but if you just want a glimpse of Roman history, this part, located North of the Tower of London, will do the trick. Set aside 15-20 minutes at least for visiting this part of The London Wall.
5. Tower of London
The Tower of London is the most complete example of an 11th-century fortress palace remaining in Europe. Here you can see (but not film or photograph) the Crown Jewels as well as the Ravens - the famous guardians of the Tower. Inside The White Tower, the huge building in the centre of everything you can find, amongst historical objects, the Royal Armouries Collections.
How to get to the Tower of London
From the London Wall, you walk for 4 minutes and reach the Welcome Centre/ Ticket Office.
From St Pancras/ King's Cross, take the Circle Line to Tower Hill (13 min) then there's a 3-minute walk from there to the Ticket Office.
An entry ticket is £33.6 as I'm writing (September 2023) and it grants you access to The White Tower, The Crown Jewels, The Bloody Tower, and everything else which is within the Tower's grounds. I highly recommend you book the tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
The Tower of London is open Tuesday to Friday from 9 to 5:30 and Monday and Sunday from 10 to 5:30.
You need at least 3 or 4 hours to visit everything The Tower of London has to offer, especially taking into account the queue to see The Crown Jewels which seems to be permanent (we queued for about 15-20 minutes and considered ourselves lucky)
6. HMS Belfast
HM Belfast is one of the only 3 surviving bombardment vessels from D-day and has a fascinating history. It was launched in 1938 and took part in the Arctic Convoys, the Cold War and The Korean War.
In 1971 it was moored on the Thames, near Tower Bridge and opened to the public as a branch of the Imperial War Museum. There are 9 decks to explore, with a lot of ladders to climb, so please make sure to wear appropriate shoes for this activity.
How to get to HMS Belfast
From The Tower of London, there is a 15-minute walk, from Kings Cross 10 min on the Northern Line and then a 7 min walk from Tower Bridge Station.
HMS Belfast is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm. Tickets are £24.50 for adults and £12.25 for children (2023). You can book online for peace of mind, or you can buy the tickets there.
If you have at least 2 hours to spare while visiting London, I would highly recommend you add this to your list.
The ship museum itself has a lot to offer and it also offers some great views of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.
If you're starting your day early, you can attempt to visit all the places on this itinerary, or you can pick just some of them.
If you visit any of the above, I would love to hear all about it, so please let me know how it went, in the comments below.
I hope life is treating you well.