This Is (Possibly) The Most Efficient Sightseeing Tour Of London

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! 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.

You’ll start off at Trafalgar Square…

London Sightseeing Trafalgar Square
Photo: @mikewenjinsoo

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.

Take a stroll along the Mall…

The Mall, London
Photo: @garytnk

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.

Until you arrive at Buckingham Palace…

London Sightseeing Buckingham Palace
Wave hello to the Royals. Photo: @j_w_ellis

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.

Then head along Birdcage Walk…

Sights to see in London - Birdcage Walk
Watch out for these guys. Photo: @mickygee_london

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.

Until you get to Westminster Abbey…

Westminster Abbey London Sightseeing
Photo: @sugarandsoulco

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…

London Sightseeing Big Ben Houses of Parliament
Photo: Jurica Koletić

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…

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 the way by commuters hurrying across Westminster Bridge in the morning. Hey, it happens.

And you’ll get to the South Bank. Along here you’ll see the London Eye.

Sightseeing London Eye Wheel

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 this year, so at the very least you’ll need to head over there on your walking tour to see whether you agree.

The Southbank Centre:

Southbank Centre
Photo: @peacock_j

Whether it’s a place to hangout 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.

Waterloo Bridge Book Stalls
Photo: Clem Onojeghuo

“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 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.

River Thames Bankside Foreshore
Photo: @schledty

While we can’t get away with calling it a beach, we’ll just play pretend for this London sightseeing tour, okay?!

Before too long you’ll arrive at the Tate Modern.

Tate Modern

London’s most popular art gallery, don’tcha know? Are you going to go in? NO THERE IS NO TIME. You 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.

Shakespeare's Globe
Photo: @shoshincrcoil

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 the one poor Hamlet was struck with.

Then it’s over Millennium Bridge:

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 enjoy them both at once along your London sightseeing map walk through the power of headphones.

Until, you reach St. Paul’s Cathedral!

Sightseeing St. Paul's Cathedral
Photo: @rugger

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 masterpiece and one that you’ll need to check off your London sightseeing tour list.

Time to walk along Cannon Street…

Cannon Street, London
Photo: @always_tim77

This bit’s a bit boring, to be honest.

…until you get to The Monument!

Sightseeing The Monument, London
Photo: @aninhafonsecaa

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.

View from The Monument London
Photo: @hideggabor96

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!

Tower of London Sightseeing

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.

Tower Bridge is like right next door. Get a load of that.

Sightseeing London Tower Bridge

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:

St. Katherines Dock
Photo: @argen

Need pint now. But St. Katherine’s Docks is pretty, and pretty much wraps up our London tourist map.

Until – hurrah! – you finally arrive at a flower-festooned pub.

The Dickens Inn, London
Photo: @tommydipps

Well played, my tourist friend: the cheeriest of cheers to you. Well played.

Also published on Medium.