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By James Riches
If you are only in London for one day, you may be wondering how to make best use of the time. London, of course, is home to many famous landmarks that are recognised throughout the world, and seeing them often forms a big part of a visit to the capital. This guide suggests just one way to see as much as possible in twenty-four hours.
Breakfast in the Park
Arguably the most famous attraction London has to offer is Buckingham Palace, so a good place to start would be Green Park,an attractive area that truly lives up to its name. The park is home to a number of deckchairs dotted around, which can be hired for a moderate fee and offer a great place to enjoy a quick breakfast on the go.
Of course, the main event is found on the other side of the park. Such are the photo opportunities available outside the Palace you can easily spend a good half hour here. Look out for the famous guards, and get the best vantage point from the raised platform around the nearby Victoria monument. Once you've had your fill of photographs, turn around and head across the road to get to your next destination - St. James's Park.
This park is a beautiful walk, packed full of wildlife in the form of large numbers of ducks, geese and squirrels. Eagle-eyed walkers may notice the park's most crowd pleasing residents, the pelicans, somewhere in the middle of the great lake. At the other end of the park are the various attractions of Westminster, so when you see the bridge going over the lake, cross it and aim for the far right exit from the park.
The Delights of Westminster
Immediately after leaving, you should see Big Ben towering up ahead. You might want to get your Big Ben photo in here, as it is not too crowded and you can fit the whole tower into the frame easily. This done, head down the road to get a closer look. If you take the first right, you will find the imposing Westminster Abbey, which is worth visiting if the queues are on your side. Back on the road towards Big Ben, you can duck left down Parliament Street and have a quick look at the Prime Minister's house at 10 Downing Street. Head back the way you came and walk towards Big Ben to get close enough to see the Houses of Parliament.
In all likelihood, the area immediately around here will be jam-packed with tourists. Whilst there is a temptation to stop and take photographs, venturing a little further onto Westminster Bridge will afford you a better view. From the bridge, you can squeeze in a few snapshots with the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye in the background. The Eye is on the opposite side of the river at this point. Given that you only have a day, the sheer volume of people queuing for the London Eye will probably rule it out of your itinerary, but it is nevertheless an impressive feature of the south bank of the Thames.
A Sandwich in 'The Smoke'
By now it should be about lunchtime, so hop on the tube on the other side of the bridge at Waterloo and head towards Charing Cross. From here, grab a sandwich on your way down The Strand to Trafalgar Square, where stands the iconic Nelson's Column. After that, it is just a short walk to the left down Cockspur Street and Haymarket to the bright lights of Piccadilly Circus.
Once you've had a look around here, you might as well jump on the tube and head for St. Paul's Cathedral, which is just a few stops away with a change at Holborn. Stepping inside to experience the magnificent interior is thoroughly recommended, if cathedrals are your thing it really does not get much better than this.
Dinner at Ronnies?
You are probably well into the afternoon by now, so it might be time to start looking for dinner. Have a walk from St. Paul's down Cheapside to have a quick look at the Bank of England, and then take your pick from one of the many stylish restaurants in the area.
After dinner, if it is a night on the town you want then Soho is highly recommended. To get there, simply take the Central Line to Tottenham Court Road and enjoy the lively, interesting and varied night life on offer, such as the famous Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club. For a quieter, more relaxed evening, head for one of the cosy pubs in Earls Court, which is easily reached by tube on the District Line, and bring the curtain down on an eventful, fun day out in the big city.
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