On my first flight crossing the pond, I had a 12 hour layover in London! I’ve never experienced a layover before, but adding an extra country on my route to Rome sounded like a good idea. We landed in London, England a little before 10 AM after a 7 hour flight from NYC and our plane for Rome didn’t leave until 9 PM that night.
We had 12 hours to spare in The Queen’s city – full of lovely British accents, iconic telephone booths, London taxi cars, and many royal palaces. So here’s how we spent a day in London- (London Photo Gallery)
I woke up on a plane in England at the Gatwick Airport, which is about 45 min to an hour away from London. Before we could head to the city, we went through customs where they question you for 5 minutes determining your intentions for entering the country :).
Since it was a layover, we didn’t have to worry about carrying our luggage around London (thankfully) – just our carryon from the plane. Which is something to consider ahead of time so you don’t regret rolling around a mini suitcase everywhere you go.
Then we took the Gatwick Express, which is the airport train that sends you on a straight shot to London Victoria (the stop you want to end up by all the touristy things).
Upon arriving, we walked up from The London Underground and immediately saw Big Ben, the London Eye (ferris wheel), and a whole lot of rich architecture along the river.
Trying not to stand out as a tourist too much, we felt the best way to see all of the city was on a classic bus tour. You know, those double decker buses with the British flag on them? Got a seat on the top deck (nice breeze) where you have the option to listen to an audio tour on headphones.
Once we got off, we made our rounds to some souvenir shops to see every London monument in miniature form of keychains.
All this tourist activity had us work up an appetite, so we went to this cute little cafe Pronto A’ Mangia to have what anyone should eat while in England – fish & chips.
Then we walked around a couple blocks to check out some London marks up close and personal such as Buckingham Palace, River Thames, Palace of Westminster, and London Bridge.
Seeing all of a city in a day is exhausting, in a good way. By the end of the day we were ready to head back to the airport and be on our way to Rome! One day I’ll go back to London for more than a day, but until then I have a day in London to reminisce on…