Redditor magulagie has created the ultimate London sightseeing map for tourists in a hurry. Just a shade over five miles long on the map, it takes in a ton of London’s most iconic features, and if you avoid going inside any of the places you pass, it’ll only take about two hours! Who needs to be filled in on all the historic interiors, anyway?
Perfect for ticking a lot of London tourist map boxes, filling up that Instagram story, or just getting your bearings on foot at the beginning of a trip full of London sightseeing. It’s like the Match of the Day of finding your way around London for the first time, and this one’ll hit like an injury time winner.
You’ll start off at Trafalgar Square…
There’s no London walking tour map without Trafalgar Square, so we might as well kick things off with this roaring-statue-filled paradise of pigeons…and a slice of London’s history, of course. A mighty first spot, and one that Nelson would very much approve of being tucked into first place.
Take a stroll along the Mall…
A route in honour of Queen Victoria has to be added to a London map of attractions, right? Well, not necessarily, but when it looks this grandiose, you’ll want to be making it your next stop on your sightseeing tour. On we march; our love of London building more and more with each stride…
Until you arrive at Buckingham Palace…
Can’t really miss this one, can you? The home of the Royal Family gazes out over the plush fields of Green Park and attracts millions of visitors each year. If you see King Charles, be sure to quiz him on whether he’s ticked off all these boxes on his London sightseeing tour. Will he be a mere poser on London attractions or to go-to knowledge box?
Then head along Birdcage Walk…
After you’ve taken a selfie with the Royal Family, it’s a no-brainer to make Birdcage Walk the next pin on your walking map of London attractions. Famous diary scribe Samuel Pepys mentioned this walk in his writings way back in the 1600s, and the name of the walk dates back to the reign of King James I. Not a bad smattering of history to saunter through on the way to your next destination. Tweet tweet.
Until you get to Westminster Abbey…
Even if you’ve been before, or don’t plan to look inside, making time for the resplendent piece of gothic architecture that is Westminster Abbey on your walking tour of London is a necessity. It’s been the location of 39 coronations since 1066, and you just need to stand and admire one of London’s crown jewels.
The Houses of Parliament, and Big Ben, are right next door…
Talking of jewels in London’s crown, it’s always nice to check out the big bonging boombox that is the Elizabeth Tower, better known as Big Ben. You can also kill two birds with one stone by adding the Houses Of Parliament to your London sightseeing day which, if nothing else, is good to tick off to say you’ve seen the place where Members of Parliament shout at the Members of Parliament sitting opposite them. And the place Guy Fawkes wanted to destroy.
Then head over Westminster Bridge…
The second path over the river in central London history, after London Bridge. It’s been here since 1750, though it’s only been green since 1970, and it’s the perfect spot for a moment of reflection on your walking tour of London… if you don’t get bumped out of the way by commuters hurrying across Westminster Bridge in the morning. Hey, it happens. Unless you’re the one who does the bumping. Then you’re the one to watch out for, you treacherous little fiend.
And you’ll get to the South Bank. Along here you’ll see the London Eye.
Though the queue might seem daunting, there’s no denying that the dome built for the millennium is something that just needs to be seen. The London Eye was even named London’s most loved landmark in a study, so at the very least you’ll need to head over there on your walking tour to see whether you agree. But if you want to crack on with the quickfire walking tour, you won’t be able to dive into a pod for the view on this occasion — they go around slooooowwwwllllllyyy.
The Southbank Centre:
Whether it’s a place to hang out in the summer to catch some rays or your checkpoint on the map for a cold day’s activity of viewing some art, there’s always something going on at the Southbank Centre, and you’ll likely see us banging on about it all year round!
And book stalls under Waterloo Bridge.
“I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.” Robert Louis Stevenson was a maverick with the pen, so maybe we should start adopting this practice too. If you’re looking for one to fill the first item, then you’ll find just the place on your walking tour. Maybe the man who gave us Treasure Island and Kidnapped also once carried a London sightseeing map in his pocket…
You’ll go past the scrap of sand we call the foreshore (and maybe even some sand sculptures!) and the OXO Tower.
While we can’t get away with calling it a beach, we’ll just play pretend for this London sightseeing tour, okay?! No time for a cocktail on these shores just yet though; there’s a tour to be getting on with! Dawdlers, be gone.
Before too long you’ll arrive at the Tate Modern.
London’s most popular art gallery, don’tcha know? Are you going to go in? NO. THERE IS NO TIME. YOU MUST COMPLETE THE REST OF YOUR LONDON SIGHTSEEING MAP.
Carry on along the river a little bit and you’ll see Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
And this is embarrassing but (for the only time on this walk) you’ll have to double back on yourself very slightly. I know, the ultimate betrayal; but still not quite as bad as the one poor Hamlet was struck with.
Then it’s over Millennium Bridge:
2000 gave us Kid A by Radiohead, but it also gave us the opening of the incredibly useful Millennium Bridge. You can decide which you prefer for yourself, though you can, of course, enjoy them simultaneously along your London sightseeing map walk through the power of headphones.
Until, you reach St. Paul’s Cathedral!
I hear it’s beautiful inside, but you’re not allowed to take photos anyway so, quite frankly, who’s got the time? Anyway, it’s Christopher Wren’s masterpiece and one that you’ll need to check off your London sightseeing tour list.
Time to walk along Cannon Street…
This bit’s a little boring, to be honest.
…until you get to The Monument!
The grand monument to the Great Fire Of London in 1666 is a tall order for your London tour, but I’m sure you’ll make it worthwhile.
Here’s what it looks like from the top.
A bit like a very tiny prison courtyard with a memorable view?
Now just roll down Lower Thames Street and you’ll soon get to the Tower of London!
You could go in, meet the ravens, ogle a Beefeater, check out the Crown Jewels. Or say ‘nahhhhhhhhhhh y’alright’ and carry on. There’s plenty more of your sightseeing tour to tick off. Anyway, it’s a classy fortress that might look easy on the eye, but was also used to lock people up in the Tudor period. Don’t get on the wrong side of them.
Tower Bridge is, like, right next door. Get a load of that.
Few more to go on your London sightseeing map. Getting tired yet? Good. You’ve nearly earned your end-of-tour pint. Hey! Stop thinking about alcohol and feast your eyes on Tower Bridge.
Then just a couple of minutes away you’ll reach the pretty marina at St. Katherine’s Docks:
Need a pint now. But St. Katherine’s Docks is pretty, and pretty much wraps up our London tourist map. I can hear those beer barrels being readied to fill the glasses.
Until – hurrah! – you finally arrive at a flower-festooned pub.
Well played, my tourist friend: the cheeriest of cheers to you. Well played. Pint.
Also published on Medium.