• Take a Hike. London is very walkable, most key sights are within walking distance and you’ll have earned your pint on the way. A walking itinerary I can recommend is as follows:
Start with a coffee at Balans on Frith / Old Compton Street – crowd-watching is exquisite here
Next, walk to
B National Portrait Gallery, Saint Martin’s Place. This takes you through royal history, every room is a different era. Great to immerse oneself in and learn something while enjoying the paintings. There’s some modern art at the end
C Trafalgar Square. Get that selfie sitting on the lion. The National Gallery is at the north end, you can either walk straight down to Big Ben or detour to catch a glimpse of Buckingham Palace first
D Institute Of Contemporary Arts, The Mall. Buy some postcards, it’s a waypoint, you can walk all the way to the Palace and watch the changing of the guards at 11.30, takes 45 minutes (the changing of the guards), in summer it’s every day, else every other day
E Imperial War Museums, Churchill War Rooms, King Charles Street. These are quite interesting, to think it’s where they took on the Germans, without computers and all. Walk around through this complex (a bit further north there’s a throughway by the Horseguards Parade) to see Downing Street (which is gated, you can stand in front and get a picture though)
F Big Ben. Clearly. There’s a statue of Boudica, Queen of the Iceni tribe, who fought against the Romans, on a chariot opposite.
G Westminster Pier, Victoria Embankment. Embark here on the River Boat that can take you all the way to Greenwich; it’s a pleasant ride taking you past more views of the city and either way it’s worth getting out at the Tower
H Gordon’s Wine Bar. Great place to take a break
I Somerset House, Strand. This houses the Courtauld Institute, mainly modern art, Impressionists, Surrealists, and even more modern
J Temple Church. A hidden gem, the walk there takes you past plenty of the oldest pubs in London, this area is where the legal industry is based, barristers, who represent clients in court (unlike solicitors) have their ‘Inns’ here (that means offices, not bars, though they abound around them)
A Temple Church. The starting point
B The Old Bank of England, Fleet Street. This pub is quite impressive inside, you’ll have earned your Fish n Chips and a Guinness or Ale
C Sir John Soane’s Museum, Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Another hidden jewel, this place is the former home of architect John Soane, who’s random collection of artefacts includes a room with huge Piranesi prints, a depiction of the underworld. It’s an uplifting experience and quite surreal how much great ‘stuff’ someone could amass in their house
D Covent Garden. This area is quite touristic nowadays, you’re in the heart of Theatreland
E Seven Dials. Almost there.
F Foyles, Charing Cross Road. Why not buy a book instead of a T-Shirt and support this institution?