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5 things to do with a spare hour in London

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London St Pancras hotel red phonebox

The capital is a place where you can easily fill a whole day, seeing the sights, having lunch and going shopping. But what if you only have an hour or two to kill – what can you do with a spare hour in London?

Over the last few months I’ve been up and down the country from Yorkshire (where I live) to London for various social events and business meetings. The social events are easy because I’m going to the city to see something or someone specific but the business meetings are scheduled in at certain times and afterwards I find that I may have a spare hour before I have to get my train. If I don’t need to eat… how do I fill it?!

London St Pancras hotel red phonebox

By my second business trip back in March, I had exhausted the usual pastimes I do when I visit London and had to think about how I could spend a spare hour. Here’s what I came up with.

1. Covent Garden. If you are near this area, it’s a lovely way to spend time. There are street entertainers to watch and loads of little shops but people watching is the best thing about this area. You never know what or who you’ll see. Take your camera so you are prepared. I wasn’t, back in the 1990s and I walked right past Kylie Minogue in her Neighbours heyday – walking round the piazza!

2. Walk Waterloo Bridge. This bridge offers great views of Big Ben and the London Eye and is often less crowded than the neighbouring Westminster Bridge. It is only 5 minutes from Covent Garden and right next to Somerset House and whilst the bridge itself is not architecturally interesting, the views it offers are fantastic.

3. The National Gallery. This museum is free to enter and houses more than 2300 paintings from the 13th to 19th centuries. There’s something for everyone to see and after you’ve seen enough they have a cafe, dining room and espresso bar for refreshments!

4. The Bank of England Museum. This little known museum is free to enter and a great way to spend an hour, surrounded by money! I went along after one meeting and just got in – it closes at 5pm and accepts the last entry at 4.30pm. When I was in there I picked up in my hand, a gold bar worth more than £300,000 that day! I even tweeted it and the Bank of England museum favourited my tweet which I liked!

5. Harrods! This Knightsbridge emporium is a London institution and the most famous store in the world! See the doormen at work (but they won’t let you in wearing ripped jeans) and once you are in – have access to 330 departments selling everything from books to furniture to Krispy Kreme donuts! A great way to spend an hour although whereas my other suggestions are free – this one could cost you money!

Most recently I was in London just before the Royal Wedding of Harry and Meghan, and took this lovely shot of Regent Street.

What do you do with a spare hour in London? Let me know so I have ideas for next time I’m there!

Article Categories:
Culture · Days Out · Lifestyle · Reviews · Tips & Hacks · Travel

Comments to 5 things to do with a spare hour in London

  • I do love London for celebrity-spotting. Kylie Minogue though – that takes some beating!If you’re near Kings Cross, Granary Square is a 5-minute walk. It has fountains and you can find the House of Illustration there. Very pretty views of the canal.

    the Pigeon Pair and Me 26th May 2016 8:03 pm Reply
    • You always know all the best places Nell!

      Nadine Hill 29th May 2016 9:15 am Reply
  • I love spending an extra hour doing something for me when in London. The last time I spent an hour in Liberties looking at fabric!

    Jen Walshaw (@Mum_TheMadHouse) 26th May 2016 11:40 pm Reply
    • Nice! Liberty is so unique, I love it there.

      Nadine Hill 29th May 2016 9:15 am Reply
  • I love COvent Garden and would always choose to spend my hour there 😉

    Cass@frugalfamily 27th May 2016 9:19 am Reply
  • I haven’t been into London for years – a shame as it’s my favourite city, and my hometown! I do love Covent Garden though, used to love the bead shop up there, could spend an hour easily in rummaging around. I don’t think it’s there any more though 🙁

    Michelle 27th May 2016 9:21 am Reply
    • I love Covent Garden too – so vibrant.

      Nadine Hill 29th May 2016 9:14 am Reply
  • Great ideas. I have never visited the bank of england museum before, will have to check it out next time I’m up that way x

    mama syder 27th May 2016 9:43 am Reply
    • It’s brilliant and free!

      Nadine Hill 29th May 2016 9:14 am Reply
  • I still have not been to look at the palace – with a spare hour I think I might just like to walk about the outside and take some photos!

    Sara-Jayne 27th May 2016 4:50 pm Reply
    • haha me too!

      Nadine Hill 29th May 2016 9:14 am Reply
  • Good list. Walking down to the rive is always a favourite of mine. Adore the photo by the way x

    Carolynne @ Mummy Endeavours 30th May 2016 11:49 am Reply
    • Thank you! It’s easy to find great stuff to shoot in London. I always take loads of photos when I’m there.

      Nadine Hill 7th June 2016 2:36 pm Reply
  • I’d love to visit Harrod’s but I have a feeling I’d be too nervous to go in for fear of feeling totally out of place!

    Shell Louise 30th May 2016 2:57 pm Reply
  • Do you know I’ve never been to Harrods! I thought it was one of those places that you’d get shot a look for not being posh enough but my friend told me it’s their families tradition to go every christmas time so I’m going to make a visit this winter! x

    Fritha Strickland 31st May 2016 3:18 pm Reply
    • Well I do know they don’t allow people into Harrods wearing ripped jeans (although they sell them on the designer floor) so go figure!

      Nadine Hill 7th June 2016 2:36 pm Reply
  • Great ideas, we do occasionally venture into London so I need to take in some more of the sights! Love the gold bar, would enjoy holding that too! x

    Karen Langridge 5th June 2016 10:01 am Reply
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