Parliament first - you have to go across the street to a smaller white building to buy tickets. Then back across the street to stand in queue for for Parliament. You put on lariats whilst in line and then go thru airport like security and get your photo taken to wear on the lariat. You can then wait in line for the guided tour - quick wait, I believe they start every 30 minutes or so? Tour guide was great - amazing stories & views of Westminster Hall (the only place you can take pictures) and then into Parliament itself. Great info, amazing architecture and we loved that you get to go into both the House Of Lords and the House Of Commons. Tons of statuary, murals -- beauty everywhere! Tours are max of 25 people - so not to bad to stand and hear the tour guide. Loops you so you end up back at Westminster Hall. We thoroughly enjoyed it & definitely worth the money. Took about 1 hour 15 minutes. After we took some pics of the great detailed architecture on the outside of the building - and checked out Big Ben.
Walked across the street to Westminster Abbey- but was closed for the day. ( I believe closed @ 1? )Took pics outside and had a coffee.
Walked back towards the eye but went up to see #10 Downing Street & Trafalgar Square. TONS of things to see along the way - military statues, etc. #10 was closed to the public down the lane and under heavy guard. Trafalgar was quick - and down the lane you can see Buckingham palace. Walked down there for a bit, but gated off for the London Marathon - planning on walking more around tomorrow, but Buckingham not open to the public until June.
Walked back up Trafalgar to Covent Garden - a ZOO! In my opinion really overrated - mostly just a big clothing mall you can see anywhere. If you need to shop I guess this is the place for international/ famous brands, but it was so insanely crowded with tons of people just standing in every entrance or exit with no consideration for people trying to enter or leave. To me - skip it.
Tip: if you need the Tube - skip Covent Garden stop and go down a few blocks to Leister Square stop - much easier.
Took tube back - Picadilly Line this time. Off at Knightsbridge exit and tried to check out Harrod's - but an absolute madhouse. A cattle call. You couldn't try to stop and browse at anything if you wanted to. Looks fun (especially all the chocolatiers!) but will try during the week when (hopefully) less insane.
Walked back to the hotel to unpack, have some amazing afternoon tea and then relaxed after a long hectic day.
Next day planned: Hyde Park, Kensington Palace and V&A.