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Need to know how to spend 2 days in London? One of the really wonderful things about London I find is that there’s always some little gem just around the corner if you’re willing to look. There is an innumerable amount of wonderful things to see so you can easily fill up your London itinerary on a budget. However, if you’re short on time, here are a few sites you could hit while you spend 2 days in London.
Visiting The Shard
Did you know London’s highest and best view is situated at the top of The Shard? At almost twice the height of any other viewing platform in London, it offers a 360-degree view for up to 40 miles. I had bought tickets for The Shard and see this amazing view of London. It was the first destination on my London itinerary however, I was hit was a hard dose of jet lag and napped when I arrived at my hostel. By the time I woke up, took a tube, and found my way over there I had missed my scheduled time to go in. Ah well, I have to save something to do for next time right? At the time I went, the YHA hostel I was staying at actually had a group going to the visit The Shard. So if you’re a solo female traveler like myself, you may want to look into buying your tickets for The Shard thru your hostel.
Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden
What is so beautiful about Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden is all the multi-colored buildings. It’s like Sesame Street came alive! Neal’s Yard isn’t super hard to find but I would advise checking it out on a map or GPS prior to walking there as it’s not super easy to find either. Covent Garden was but a short walk from where I was staying at YHA Oxford Street. The Oxford Street location is perfectly centrally located in London. Making it easy to walk to places like Neal’s Yard and other little gems.
Somerset House on the Strand
If you’re strolling down the Strand, or near Trafalgar square, stop by Somerset House. It’s a really nice location previously owned by some wealthy Danish people. Currently, it’s a museum and a prime filming location, The Duchess was filmed in part here. Some of the exhibits are free, yey! Some are not, but it’s worth it just to walk into the courtyard. There’s a fountain there so if you’re hot, do like the kids did when I was there and run right through!
Tower of London Tickets Discount
The picture above is of the White Tower at the Tower of London and a must on your London itinerary. I’ve visited the Tower of London twice and had an excellent time on both occasions. I could spend a whole day in London just at the Tower. My second visit we coincidentally went when it was the Queen’s birthday and they had all sorts of military salutes going on for her! You can get a Tower of London tickets discount if you buy online, getting you 10% off! They also have student discounts.
The Tower of London Tour
On the Tower of London tour, you’ll be able to see the crown jewels. Note that you can’t take pictures of the jewels. Don’t be a pain like the girl on line in front of me who tried to and got in an argument with a guard for it. Be respectful! This is also where Anne Boleyn’s coronation parade started and where she was beheaded. Talk about having your happiest day and worst day at the same location.
What I really liked was the Tower of London tour audio guide here, it’s very detailed and entertaining. It gives a lot of information but creatively thru music and storytelling. One of the most remarkable things about the Tower is that a lot of the carvings made by prisoners housed in the Tower are still here. Many famous prisoners were housed here until their execution. There’s a whole exhibit on torture and what it was like to be held at the Tower. Today, the Tower no longer holds prisoners, it now houses the Beefeaters. You’ve probably seen them on that bottle of gin you have somewhere. It’s an honor to be a Beefeater, they really love their jobs and are some of the nicest people. Feel free to ask them anything.
London Film Museum
The London Film Museum is also a good place to visit if you’re a film and television nut like me. The one near the London Eye (another great attraction, even if you are scared of heights!) has a fee, the Covent Garden location is free. However, it does close for private events so check the schedule before you go. This museum needs a little help, there was minimal information for visitors on the exhibits. However, there is a great exhibit on Charlie Chaplin if you’re interested. I’m not really into Chaplin so this wasn’t all that exciting for me but the Sherlock Holmes room was. They have recreated the set from the Jeremy Brett series for display. There’s also a TARDIS and Daleks!
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
Shakespeare’s Globe Theater was my favorite thing I did in London this time around. At only five pounds for standing room, it’s a steal! Shakespeare’s Globe theatre tickets for the seats are more of course. It is about three hours long, with intermission, but it’s completely worth it. I saw the “Tempest” and it was phenomenal! On another trip I saw ‘As You Like It’ and it was marvelous! So obviously a repeat on my London itinerary I loved it so much. My aunt who doesn’t know much about Shakespeare even enjoyed it. This isn’t your high school production of Shakespeare, many of these actors have won notable awards and have spent time on the silver screen.
What’s truly amazing about this is that they use minimal props and set dressing. While still clearly getting their story across. I also noticed that they didn’t use mics, and still no one had any problems hearing them. This, my friend, is A+++ acting! I promise you won’t be disappointed. Plus, if you get lucky like I did, you’ll get to stare at Colin Morgan for three hours! Not a bad way to spend time in London.
Seeing London at Night
After the show came the decision to either take a tube ride back to the hostel or walk. I’d never seen what London at night was like so this was my chance! Sure I’d been out to pubs at night, but I’d never seen the Thames all lit up. It’s something I really, really wanted to do. Let me tell you, it’s gorgeous! I wish I had an apartment there! I braved the cold in my thin jacket and walked the Thames all the way back.
The nice thing about the Thames is there are people there all the time. It was nearly midnight at this point and I was worried it would turn into a horror film where the blonde girl walks alone in the dark. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. I just made sure to always walk with other people and no one bothered me. Some of my photos are blurry since I couldn’t hold still because of the cold, but you can take my word for it that it was beautiful!
Spending 2 Days in London
Now obviously this is a lot of things to do and they are a bit of a distance from one another so make sure to plan accordingly. I hope this was helpful in deciding what to do for 2 days in London! If you’re looking for something to do outside of London, be sure to check out Hampton Court Palace.