How to Plan a Day Trip to London
As much as there’s plenty to do in Norfolk and elsewhere in the east of England, sometimes you just need a day trip to London.
A bustling city, a melting pot of cultures and an unrivalled buzz that only comes from visiting one of the world’s most iconic locations, a day trip to London is the perfect way to spend a Saturday or change up your routine. But, what should you do to ensure your squeeze out every last drop of out your day trip? Here’s how to plan it to perfection…
Book your train tickets in advance
First things first, make sure you’ve booked your train tickets well in advance. Train tickets are notoriously expensive, but you can shave a lot off the cost by booking them as soon as you know you’d like to make the trip to London. And, signing up for a rail card could make it considerably cheaper too – particularly if you plan on making lots of trips around the country over the course of the year.
Head to Waterloo Station
Catching the train from Norwich will bring you into London’s Liverpool Street in less than a couple of hours. This location is a perfectly good starting point, but you’ll be closer to many of the major attractions (and get some of the best views of London) if you take the tube a little further to Waterloo to be among the hustle and bustle. Less than 20 minutes on the underground will see you emerging into London at the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey – the perfect place to snap your first photograph.
Start on the London Eye
Then, spend the first 30 minutes of your adventure in London on the London Eye. It’s best to book tickets in advance (otherwise you’ll spend a lot of your precious time queueing), and the position from the air will give you a stunning view over London’s South Bank and Jubilee Gardens.
Grab brunch in Covent Garden
Back on the ground, walk across the river to Covent Garden, passing the National Gallery (a worthy contender for a trip to London, but one for another day perhaps) in search of brunch. You’ll find plenty of stalls, restaurants and cafes to grab a bite to eat in, with the likes of The Black Penny and Balthazar offering some of the most mouth-watering breakfasts around.
Make the most of the British Museum
Once you’re full and ready to head out into the city again, walk lunch off with a gentle twenty-minute stroll to the British Museum. The British Museum is full of some of the most awe-inspiring art and history in the world and, best of all, it’s completely free to see. And while the museums elsewhere in the UK are undoubtedly fantastic, the British Museum really is the pinnacle. From ancient Egyptian mummies to ancient Roman artefacts, as well as a series of brilliant temporary exhibitions such as LGBTQ histories, you can easily spend an entire afternoon here and still have plenty left to unearth.
Stop for afternoon tea
All that history is going to work up an appetite, so how about a quintessentially British afternoon tea? Opt for a high-end experience at somewhere like Palm Court or the Dorchester, or go for somewhere cheaper (but nonetheless delicious) like the Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell or the National Gallery’s café in Trafalgar Square – both of which are easily walkable from the British Museum.
See a West End Show
After a relaxed pace on the London Eye and in the city’s best museum, step it up a gear with a fun-filled show at the West End. London’s West End is said to offer the best theatre in the world (surpassing even New York City), so you really should make it part of your itinerary. Whether you want to rock along to a foot-stomping production of the School of Rock, or fancy the heart-thudding horror of the Woman in Black, you’re sure to have tons of fun.
Enjoy London’s nightlife
Once you’ve found somewhere for dinner (there are literally thousands of places to choose from), make the most of the fact you’re in the UK’s capital by soaking up London’s nightlife. From mega-clubs like the Ministry of Sound (with four dance flours, five separate rooms and four bars) through to smaller but very-popular places like Cargo (putting on a wide range of music and offering free entry before 10pm), you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to dancing the night away.
Catch the last train home
After all that dancing, you might like to stay overnight in London. But, if your budget doesn’t stretch that far or you’d just like to get home, you can catch the last train back to Norwich at 11.30pm. For those who simply can’t tear themselves away from the dance floor, the next train leaves London at 3.40am and pulls into Norwich at 7.30am after two changes.