London travel tips for getting over jet-lag after a long-haul flight from Australia

For Australians who are keen to fly direct to London, will the jet-lag be any worse?

The Kangaroo Route is about to undergo a radical makeover. With Qantas launching direct flights from Perth to Heathrow, temptation will be to go to London in one hit rather than stopping over to ease the jet-lag misery.

That's not what Western Australia's hoping for, of course. WA's Tourism Minister Paul Papalia reckons the flights could inject $36 million a year into the state economy. He says: "A multimillion-dollar marketing campaign is in place to promote WA in the UK and on the east coast of Australia, highlighting Perth as the perfect stopover destination."

From the UK perspective, that seems to be working. Stuart Lodge, director at Australia flights specialist, says: "A lot of people have swapped Dubai for Perth as a stopover – our bookings are up around 15 per cent. And the Visiting Friends and Family market loves the Perth direct flight."

But for those who want to get straight to London, will the jet-lag be any worse? Dorothy Bruck, chairwoman of the Sleep Health Foundation, says there's two parts to jet-lag – the change in the body's circadian rhythms, and fatigue from travelling a long distance on broken sleep. Shaving off a couple of hours via Perth could help with the latter, and the morning landing could help with the former.

"The single best thing you can do, however, is plan for a morning arrival in London, get lots of outdoor light and try to stay up until Londoners go to bed," she says. "If this is too hard, spend the morning getting outdoor light and have an afternoon nap. Set an alarm and limit your nap to a maximum of 90 minutes."

There are still likely to be some weird hours spent awake, but luckily there's plenty to do in London during those periods …


One of the few benefits of jet-lag is that getting up to see the sun rise isn't such an unbearable chore. But positioning is key.


One long-standing favourite spot for dawn photographers is Parliament Hill at the bottom end of Hampstead Heath. It's only 98 metres high, but that's just enough to rise above the city, and neatly present the skyline.

A lazier, more central option is Primrose Hill just to the north of Regent's Park. It's 65 metres high, and the panoramas aren't quite as good, but it's in the perfect spot for a stroll through the Royal Parks afterwards.


The Thames Clipper ploughs diligently up and down the Thames, occupying a weird niche between tourist attraction and commuter service. Eastbound services kick off from Putney at 5.50am, arriving at Canary Wharf via most of London's most impressive riverside sites an hour later.

The westbound service from Woolwich Arsenal also kicks off at 5.50am, ticking off the likes of the Tower of London, Houses of Parliament and London Eye before pulling up at Battersea Power Station. Download an app to your phone and you get the commentary that the bleary-eyed suits on the way to work are thoroughly uninterested in.



The other way to take on the Thames is to walk. The full Thames Path walking route stretches 294 kilometres from the Cotswolds to the sea, but more manageable, well-signposted chunks can be taken on before London properly wakes up. The main highlights reel can be found on the 16.8 kilometre Putney to Tower Bridge section, which veers from the green space of Battersea Park to the postcard-hogger buildings of the South Bank.



Every morning, Billingsgate Market near Canary Wharf sees thousands of fish fresh off the trawlers arrive, before being snapped up by some of London's top restaurants. The spectacle comes from the sheer scale of thing, and it all takes place between 4am and 8am.

If it's meat rather than fish you want to ogle, then the Smithfield Markets do much the same thing with vast horizons of beef, lamb and pork. That kicks off from 2am, and would-be market perusers are advised to get there by 7am if they want to catch all the stalls open.

The nearby and marvellously traditional Fox and Anchor pub opens at 7am, primarily to serve the market traders, but also open to anyone whose body clock is so out of whack they fancy a ridiculously early pint.



Thundering up and down a pool is a marvellous way of whiling away hours you'd ideally be sleeping. And if you're going to put in the lengths, you may as well do it in style. The London Aquatics Centre in Stratford played host to the swimming events in the 2012 Olympics, and nowadays opens up at 6am for both diligent lane-swimmers and the cripplingly jet-lagged.

In the summer months, braver souls can switch to outdoor splashing. The gigantic Tooting Bec Lido in south-west London is more than 90 metres long, and opens from 6am between May and October. Expect the, er, bracing water to wake you up even further. See,


On the 40th floor of the 230 metre-tall 110 Bishopgate skyscraper, the Duck and Waffle is always going to be a winner for city views – especially when the sun has gone down and London has lit up.

What gives the Duck and Waffle extra novelty factor, however, is that it's open 24 hours a day. So if you're suddenly unbearably ravenous at 4.30am, you can rock up and gorge yourself on modern British dishes such as duck eggs with wild mushrooms, spicy ox cheek doughnuts or spicy lamb sloppy joes with peanut brittle. See


If you didn't quite cram in enough films on the plane over to London, the Prince Charles Cinema just off Leicester Square can come to the rescue. It is famed for its all-night movie marathons, where cinema-lovers turn up in pyjamas, clutching pillows and monstrous quantities of snacks.

Usually taking place on Saturday nights, these marathons tend to involve several movies linked by a theme – that can be Disney, Wes Anderson or Jean-Claude Van Damme. Or, on other occasions, such as the Lord Of The Rings-athons, it's simply all the movies in a series played in order for completists. See


London has no shortage of clubs that will blaze through the night, although it's probably something a little stronger than jet-lag keeping many of the patrons awake. But Morning Gloryville is leading the charge for "conscious clubbing", setting up raves designed for the entirely sober in venues across the capital. Usual kick-off time is 6.30am.

The doof-doofs are all present and correct and the dancing is still high energy, but this wholesome take on clubbing also comes with yoga sessions, organic coffee, smoothie bars and massages. See


Of course, the time-honoured but in no way medically approved way of tackling jet-lag is to get on the sauce. The London Pub Crawl Co has apps and downloadable PDF guides to some of the better pub crawl routes. If you'd prefer an organised tour, the London Party Pub Crawl is in the love it or hate it five loud bars and lots of free shots category.

Meanwhile, London Tavern Trails caters to the sort of drinker less likely to use "party" as a verb.


See also: Economy passenger verdict on 17 hour non-stop flight from Perth to London

See also: Qantas unveils new international lounge for non-stop flights to London