Royal Wedding fever has hit the streets of London! The excitement is mounting and many of us are waiting in excited anticipation for the big day. How fabulous to be part of such a momentous occassion; the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton; aka Will & Kate.
So, hello and thank you for visiting 3 Days in London. With only 7 days to go, exciting times are ahead, and if you are in London for the Royal Wedding, we hope you have a fantastic time at what will surely be the event of the century (ok, maybe decade!! )
If you are visiting London for the Royal Wedding, I hope you are finding London to be all you imagined it would be. I’m guessing you will be here for a few days so I thought it would be fun to give you a short itinerary for your stay in our fair city, a 6 hour tour of some of our most iconic buildings and famous attractions in the City of Westminster. The Royal Wedding procession will go past some of London’s most famous landmarks, I have included many of those in this walk.
This is an easy walk taking in Green Park, Buckingham Palace, The Mall, St James’s Park, Horse Guard’s Parade, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Parliament Square and Westminster Abbey as well as the London Eye, Southbank, Jubilee Bridges and Victoria Embankment and gardens.
The temperatures are soaring, so take lots of water and have a great walk. I would suggest that you start off at Green Park and visit Buckingham Palace to see the fabulous flowers and then take a walk to Big Ben & Houses of Parliament via St James’s Park, Horse Guards Parade, Admiralty Arch and Trafalgar Square; so here goes:
Starting off at the entrance to Green Park (from the Tube Station) on Piccadilly (just next to The Ritz Hotel), stroll along Queen’s Walk through the park till you reach The Mall and on the right you will see Buckingham Palace = approx 15 minute stroll. Be sure to look at the lovely houses on your left. Please note that parts of the park are already closed off prior to the wedding.
highlight: Buckingham Palace
At Buckingham Palace spend some time looking at the spring flowers in the Memorial Gardens. Unfortunately you will not be able to visit the Queen Victoria Memorial fountain and part of the memorial gardens as they are closed off already prior to the Royal Wedding. = approx 15 minutes
highlight: Memorial Gardens
then take a walk along The Mall heading towards Trafalgar Square. On your way take a stroll through St James’s Park and enjoy the lake, wild birds and the fountain. There is a restaurant in the park where you could stop for refreshments. Look out for the pelicans, decendents of the original pair presented to King Charles II in 1664 by a Russian Ambassador. The gardens are beautiful this time of year and the tulips are magnificent, take your time and be sure to enjoy the gardens laid out by John Nash = approx 45 minutes.
highlight: pelicans at St James’s Park
When you reach the far end of the park take a few minutes to visit Horse Guards Parade. If they are not closed off in any way then you could look out for the fabulous Turkish Guns, one on either side of the parade ground in front of the Horse Guards Buildings. = approx 15 minutes
highlight: Turkish Guns
From there head back to The Mall (on the left of the parade grounds) and walk along to your right through Admiralty Arch, then at Trafalgar Square, enjoy some time looking around. While you are there stop at the 2012 Olympic Clock for a photoshoot as the countdown continues till the opening of the games! Trafalgar Square is one of the best places to hang-out in London and is always busy with visitors to, and residents of the city alike. You could also pop in at The National Gallery for a look at some of the fabulous paintings. = approx 45 minutes
highlight: 2012 Olympic Clock
From Trafalgar Square, head south along Whitehall (dual road/carriageway) towards Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament (Westminster Palace). A pointer for the correct direction is that Lord Nelson on his perch (column) faces towards Big Ben and Houses of Parliament along Whitehall (name of the road), = approx 30 minutes
highlight: Lord Nelson on his perch (column) facing along Whitehall towards Big Ben and Houses of Parliament
Along the way you will pass a number of famous and important buildings, many of which feature in the policies of the country, as well as which you will also pass Downing Street on the right hand side of the road (you can’t go into Downing Street but you can see through the gates). Note all the memorials along Whitehall especially the Cenotaph.
highlight: Downing Street
At the intersection of Parliament Street and Bridge Street you will find Big Ben on the left across the road. While you are there, be sure to cross over to Westminster Abbey (looking towards the right) where Prince William and Catherine (Kate) Middleton will take their vows. You will also see Parliament Square and the Protestors who camp out there. Enjoy approx 60 minutes in this area, there is a lot to see. After your walkabout, return to Big Ben
highlight: Big Ben (of course)
and definitely Westminster Abbey
Then walk up to the bridge (Westminster Bridge). The scaffolding has been removed and you can now view the whole palace alongside the river.
highlight: view of Houses of Parliament aka Westminster Palace
At that point you would be able to see the London Eye and the Aquarium. approx 10-15 minutes
the London Eye with the Aquarium in the background
highlight: London Eye
There is an ice-cream stand in the vicinity where you can buy a double cone soft vanilla ice-cream with flake for approx £2-£3.
You have two options now:
1) Take a walk along the Victoria Embankment (with the river on your right hand side and Big Ben behind), towards the next bridge (Hungerford & Golden Jubilee Bridges), along the way you will find the RAF (Royal Air Force) monuments alongside the river bank as well as all our gorgeous trees that are just about in their full greenery = 30-45 minutes.
highlight: the view of the London Eye
2) Alternatively cross over Westminster Bridge to Southbank and take a walk past the London Eye and along Southbank (with the river on your left) till you reach the Golden Jubilee footbridges where you will cross over the river Thames towards Victoria Embankment and Embankment Station = 30-45 minutes.
highlight: the Buskers that frequent this section of the embankment
At Embankment Station there are a number of coffee shops where you could stop off and have a cuppa. If its a hot day, then have an ice-cream instead and spend some time in the Victoria Embankment Gardens where you will find a memorial to the poet Robert Burns and many other interesting memorials and statues, so be sure to explore the park thoroughly. If you have time climb the stairs onto the bridge for a magnificent upstream view of the river towards the London Eye etc. = 60 minutes or so
highlight: the view of the river and the Houses of Parliament, London Eye and Westminster Bridge. (if it’s late enough, you may catch a fabulous sunset).
In summary and with approx times depending on how fast or slow you walk:
Green Park station stroll through the park to Buckingham Palace 30 minutes
Buckingham Palace through St James’s Park to Horse Guards Parade 60 minutes
Horse Guards Parade and Trafalgar Square 60 minutes
Walk to Big Ben and Houses of Parliament 30 minutes
Time at Big Ben and Westminster Abbey 60 minutes
walk along the Embankment (the London Eye will be on your right hand side) to Embankment station 45-60 minutes
stop for coffee (or not) 60 minutes. At Embankment Station there are a number of coffee shops where you could stop off and
have a cuppa or if its a hot day, then have an ice-cream instead If you have time climb the stairs onto the Jubllee Bridge, for a magnificent view upstream of the river towards the London Eye etc.
I have allowed extra time for each leg of the excursion, so you may find it takes a bit less for each. It’s up to you how long you want to take at each place. Good luck and have a fabulous trip. Do let me know if this works for you, I would appreciate your comments.
For more on the above attractions and other places of interest in London click here.