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After 7 years of living and working in London, we have prepared our recommended 3-day London itinerary. On it, you’ll find all you must-see on any London sightseeing trip.

London is one of the most stunning cities in Europe, with plenty of things to see and do.

With such a vast offer, choosing the right London itinerary can be challenging for first-time visitors. On top of it, the distances in London are also huge, so it is vital that you choose your London itinerary wisely to make the most of your time.

To make things easier for you, we have also included helpful maps with different itineraries in London

Download here the 3 day London Itinerary pdf

When is the best time to go to London?2020-06-05T20:24:13+02:00

The best time to visit London is March through June when the temperatures are pleasant.  However, late spring – along with summer – is also the prime tourist season, and rain is less likely.

How many days are enough for London?2020-01-04T10:16:27+02:00

Although you can see most of the iconic London in 2 days, we recommend at least 3 days to visit London properly.

What can you do in London with 3 days?2020-01-04T11:23:22+02:00

Day One:

  • St. Paul Cathedral
  • Borough Market
  • London Bridge
  • The Shard
  • Tower Bridge
  • Tower of London
  • Sky Garden

Day Two:

  • Buckingham Palace
  • Churchill War Room
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Big Ben
  • Houses of Parliament
  • London Eye
  • Trafalgar Square
  • National Gallery
  • Piccadilly Circus

Day Three:

  • Portobello Road Market
  • Natural History Museum
  • British Museum
  • Covent Garden

London Itinerary Planning Tips

Every trip needs a little bit of planning, especially a 3-day trip to London.

We want to make sure you are going to make the most of your time in London, so we have prepared all the things you need before starting your trip. We’ll cover things like knowing how to move around, best areas where to stay in London, day trips and more.

You might want to update your trip with visit to the 12 Most Beautiful Villages in the Cotswolds.

How to get to London.

If you are coming to London, the most likely is that you are flying to one of its many airports.

The good thing is that every airport has good connections with the city, being it normally an easy journey. Also, most of the airports will give you the option to get to the city center by bus (budget option), and also by train (normally fastest).

In addition, every airport will have plenty of information points and stands where to buy your train and bus tickets on site. Although you can do it if you want, you do not need to buy the tickets in advance. We promise, it has been 7 years here and we have used every single airport and never had an issue.

If you still want to buy your train o rail tickets in advance, check national express for coach connections from Stansted. The rest of the airports, offer tube and train connections which is easy and fast to get on site.

Pro tip: Do not exchange money at the airport. Instead, use a debit card like Revolut to withdraw money from the ATM’s in the airports for FREE. Is the easiest and cheapest way to have pounds from the beginning. Most of the ATM’s will not charge you to withdraw money.

How to move around London.

Travel in London is really easy to explore by using public transport. In addition, most of the sights are within walking distances concentrated in certain areas.

In the 3-day London itinerary below, we have minimized the amount of transport you need to take so you can explore it mostly on foot.

If you are not planning on taking a lot of public transportation, which is the aim of our proposed itinerary, the best way to move around London is by using an Oyster card using the tube. An Oyster card is simply a card you can top up as you use it. You can order it online if you want, although you can get one easily at any station or airports.

Alternatively, if you think you will cover most of the sights by public transport, you can buy a daily travel card. You can check fares for traveling in London here.

Lastly, there are many cabs all around London, and Uber is a good way to travel a bit more in comfort or maybe for not so well connected areas. So downloading the Uber app would be a good thing to do.

Pro-tip. Download the app Citymapper. This is the one we always use and is the best one. It will give you several choices on how to get from point A to B via tube, bus, etc, and will even include the price. It even has the tube map which you can see offline. There is no way you get lost in London with this.

London Pass- What is it and is it worth?

London Pass

The London Pass is a sightseer credits package which gives you access to a choice of over 80 popular tourist attractions in the city. It’s available for either 1, 2, 3, 6, or 10 consecutive days.

If you want to see what’s included, you can do it here.

In our opinion, the London Pass will save you money only if you are planning on visiting many sights and you have at the very least 3 days in London. Otherwise and to try to make it worth it, you’ll spend the whole day visiting things rather than enjoying the London experience itself.

In other words, most of the coolest things for your first visit to London are for free, so if you ask me, I would not use the London Pass. But again, that is only my personal opinion, because I rather see more things that lose a whole day visiting just a few. Having said so, I encourage you to check and put on paper the sights you want to visit and compare their prices against London Pass price. That way, you will really know if it is worth it or not.

In any case, we’d suggest you check the London Pass Review by The Savy Backpacker.

The best day trips from London

There are many amazing things to see and do in London. But there are also many pretty little towns and sights nearby London which can make a great alternative for any day.

Our favourites best day trips from London are:

Oxford

Oxford is one of the easiest and cheapest day trips from London. It is a pretty town, well known for the Oxford University, Bodleian Library and more. Check here for things to do in Oxford.

Cambridge

Cambridge is another easy day trip from London and really similar to Oxford. The city is by the river Cam, making it a really picturesque town. Check here for things to do in Cambridge.

Windsor

Windsor castle and town, are truly a beautiful way of spending your day. The castle is astonishing, as it is the visit to the interior which offers plenty to see. Then you can end up with a nice lunch somewhere in the little town for a perfect day. Check here for things to do in Windsor.

Canterbury

Who does not know about the Canterbury Tales? This magical town and its impressive cathedral are one of the top choices for a day trip from London. Get lost between its ancient walls and lively pubs, and admire some reminiscent Costwolds architecture. Check here for things to do in Canterbury.

Brighton

Brighton is a lively city located in the south of London, easily reachable by a one hour train (approx.) The town is also known for its nightlife, arts scene, shopping, and festivals. On a sunny day, a stroll through the colourful and vibrant streets of Brighton is a great plan. Check here for things to do in Brighton.

Bath Spa

Although Bath Spa is a bit further and a more expensive day trip compared to the previous ones, it is also one of the most beautiful places in the UK. Famous for the Thermae Bath Spa, there is plenty to see in this city designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Exploring the city on foot and taking a bike to explore the rural area of Bath, is one of the best days plans you can find. Check here for things to do in Bath.

Stonehenge

Stonehenge is perhaps the world’s most famous prehistoric monument and a very common day trip from London. You can book a half day tour from London here.

Harry Potter Studios

A really popular option for all Harry Potters fans is the visit to the astonishing Harry Potter Studios, located only a few miles to the north of London. Check here for more information

Choosing the right place where to stay in London is really important. You’ll want to reduce to the minimum the transportation time for a couple of reasons:

  • The obvious one, time. If you don’t choose the right area, it will easily take you up 1 hour to get there from the sights. Also, take into account that although you might pay more in a central location, you are also paying for your time and will decrease the number of tubes you need (which equals money)
  • Engineering works. The tube performs engineering works which can only be done during weekends so work during weeks is not disrupted. This could seriously impact your traveling time if your hotel is by a line with only one tube connection and that one is not working.

So our recommendation is to stay somewhere central, ideally never further than zone 2, and close to a tube station. Some of our suggested hotels in terms of price of locations are:

  • Warwick – By Sojourn. Located in Westminster Borough and nearby many of the important sights.
  • Marylebone Inn. A 5-minute walk from Baker Street Underground Station and 10 minutes from Oxford Street.
  • Days Hotel Waterloo. This London hotel is a 10-minute walk from Waterloo International Station and near the London Eye.
  • Point A Hotel London Kings Cross – St Pancras. Situated a 5-minute walk from King’s Cross train station, 1.1 miles from British Museum and 1.3 miles from Dominion Theatre
  • The Z Hotel Piccadilly. The Z Hotel Piccadilly is in the heart of London’s West End and offers compact and luxurious accommodation with a contemporary design. Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, and Trafalgar Square are all within a 5-minute walk from the hotel.

Alternatively, and now you have a map with the proposed London itinerary, you could easily check which hotel suit you the best in this map:

Booking.com

Where to stay in London on a budget: Best hostels in London.

  • Palmers Lodge – Hillspring at Willesden Green. With a clean and fresh touch, Palmers Lodge is a great choice where to stay on a budget. Although is not located in the city center, is just nearby the tube, making it easy to connect with the city center.
  • PubLove @ The White Ferry, Victoria. Located right above a London classic it is close to all major tourist attractions and transport hubs.
  • 247 London Studios. These studios, are only 15mins by tube to central London. There’s no curfew so you can discover our beautiful city on your own terms and they have all that you need for a pleasant and cheap stay.
  • Hostel One Camden. Claimed to be designed and run by backpackers, for backpackers. It is located in Camden, where is easy to connect to London highlights.

These are some of the best in relation to the quality, location, and price overall. In any case, if you want to see further budget options, just click the button below.

London Itinerary travel resources.

When it comes to general information and what’s going on in London, there are mainly 2 sites we normally check.

Visit London, which has a lot of information about anything you might want to know about in the city. They also write about things to do, food, events coming, etc.

The second one is TimeOut London. Keeping you always up to date to the latest London events, attractions, festivals, etc.

If you need to book activities or tours in advance, you should check your options in GetYourGuide below.

Pro-tip: Check these websites well in advance your trip for the dates you are planning to stay in London. You might find some really cool gigs, shows, events or anything else to do you did not even know about.

Complete 3-day London itinerary.

Let’s get into the action!

This 3-day London Itinerary means to cover the main London attractions and highlights. Although it is specially designed for first-time visitors, it could help as inspiration for anyone.

Also, you can decide in which direction you want to do each of the proposed itineraries. We recommend doing the proposed way for the reasons we’ll explain for each journey below. Also, it is really important to take into account the timetables of the places you want to visit to make sure you follow a logic route according to which places you want to visit.

How to read the map: Click the icon in the top left-hand corner of the map to view the points of interest and the walking route. To see it full screen, just click the icon on the top-right. You can click the check marks to hide or show layers. By clicking the icons on the map, you will get more information about each point of interest.

There is a star next to the title of the map, if you click it, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. Then you can view it on your phone or computer by opening Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

Legend: The camera icon means is a landmark. If there is a star, means is an area of interest. Finally, you have museums and food icons.

London itinerary day 1: Exploring the City of London

We suggest you start your sightseeing in London from St Paul or the Sky Garden.

However, our advice is to start in St Paul to avoid crowds. Then you can be in the amazing borough market by lunchtime, and maybe you can even make time to see an amazing sunset from the Sky garden.

This route has been done to explore London on foot and has a total of 4 kilometers approximately.

St. Paul Cathedral.

St Paul from Millenium bridge. A great place to start a London itinerary.

St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most important landmarks in London. It is a beautiful and impressive piece of architecture and feels as if is been trapped in time.

In addition, it plays an important role in London’s history. Not only is St. Paul’s perched on the highest point of the City of London, but it’s also the second largest church building in the UK, and one of the oldest landmarks in London.

By starting your day in St Paul, you will be able to see it with less tourist in a more relaxed way. If you want to visit the inside, we recommend you book your tickets online to avoid queues and to go straight in.

Once you are done visiting St. Paul, we recommend you to head to the vibrant Borough’s Market, via the distinctive Millenium Bridge. From here, you can also take some good pictures looking back to St. Paul and also from the city. After crossing the bridge, you will also pass through the curious Shakespeare Globe theatre. Although there is an entrance fee, you can see the exhibition museum for free.

Borough Market.

Borough Market is a pleasure for the senses and one of the oldest food markets in London.

Here, you can find anything from cheese, fresh meat, and fish, flowers, wine, etc. There is a big variety of food stalls where to choose from.

The market is normally open from 10 am to 5 pm and is closed on most Sundays during the year. Check the hours ahead of time when planning your day.

From here, you are just a few steps far from the famous London Bridge.

London Bridge.

London Bridge is one of the most famous spots in London and it is a great viewpoint towards Tower Bridge.

There is also a really interesting activity nearby, called the London Bridge Experience. Here, you can learn about London history on a different and “darker” way. You should take a look if you’d like to do something different.

From here, you can already see the Shard and maybe even look for a spot where it fits in your picture before getting too close.

The Shard.

The Shard in London

The Shard is said to be the new modern icon from London. The building is mainly used for offices, but it also offers a hotel, several restaurants, and shops.

Standing at almost 310 meters, the Shard is one of the tallest building in Western Europe.

From floors 68-72, and 244m above the city, The View from The Shard offers visitors unobstructed 360-degree, 40-mile views across the London skyline and beyond.

The price to get to the top, at £27.20 is not cheap. This attraction will be included though in case you decided to take the London Pass. If you ask me, it does not worth it, because you have free options which I honestly like even more. Read the pro-tip below to learn them.

From here, you just have a close walk to Tower Bridge.

Pro-tip. There are a few restaurants in the Shard on level 31 and 32. You could simply go the Shard reception, and say you are going up for a drink. No fee, no ticket needed, no reservation in advance, nada. Careful though with doing this during peak times on weekends or you might queue for quite a long time.

Also, you will still have a great view from all London later in the day from the Sky Garden, for free. Plus, The Shard will be in your picture, which could not be otherwise. You see, win-win.

Tower Bridge.

Tower Bridge snap with mobile

Tower Bridge was built over 120 years ago to ease road traffic while maintaining river access to the busy Pool of London docks. Nowadays is one of London’s favourite icons, and it is arguably one of the most famous and instantly recognizable structures in the entire world.

You can buy online a ticket to visit the interior and also learn more about its history.

Just a few metres from here, you will be able to see the next stop, Tower of London.

Tower of London.

The Tower of London is one of the world’s most famous fortresses and has seen service as a royal palace, prison, armory, and even a zoo.

Today is a World Heritage site and one of the most visited attractions. Take a walk through history and learn about some of the most important symbols of our culture and monarchy. Visit the Crown Jewel Exhibition and count the 23,578 gems that make up the Crown Jewels and marvel at the stories of how the collection was nearly destroyed through history. You can even see the crown Elizabeth II wore to her coronation!

The London Pass will also include the entrance to this attraction. This is a very popular landmark so it can get packed easily.

Once you are done here, we recommend you to go to St. Katherine’s dock for a nice view from Tower Bridge. The Dickens Inn pub makes a great stop in the way for a pint!

After this refreshment, you can continue to what could be the last stop of the day, The Sky Garden.

Sky Garden.

sky garden at night

If you were looking for the best views of London for free, The Sky Garden is your place.

The Sky Garden’s viewing gallery on the 43rd floor of the Walkie Talkie offers panoramic views over London from their foliage-filled atrium. With floor-to-ceiling glass windows, this lush urban jungle provides fantastic views of the famous rooftops of London, with an open-air terrace providing views across the Thames.

It is not only about the views, but also the good vibes this open green space provides. Although they take walk-ins and most of the time you will make it if you are willing to queue for a while, it is advisable to book your free visit ahead.

This is really a beautiful place to visit in London

If you have time for more…

If after the Sky Garden you have more time or feel like you would like to do one more thing, you can go to Camden easily from here.

Camden is pretty accessible and only about 18 minutes away from the Sky Garden. Simply walk 5 minutes to Bank station, and take the northern line (black) to Camden.

Camden is a lively neighborhood to see and live, which is best explored without any map. Simply go with the flow and get lost in its vibrant streets and markets.

London itinerary day 2: Waterloo and Central London.

The itinerary for this second day is ideally started from Buckingham Palace.

By doing it this way, you will be tackling first the most touristic places earlier.

This route has been done to explore London on foot and has a total of 4,5 kilometers approximately.

Buckingham Palace.

Buckingham Palace is recognized around the world as the home of The Queen, the focus of national and royal celebrations as well as the backdrop to the regular Changing the Guard ceremony.

Most of the people, simply go and check it around and through the door, although a visit is possible. You can take a tour of the royal State Rooms, which lie at the very heart of Buckingham Palace. Venture past the gates to admire many of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and porcelain.

If what you want is to see The Changing of the Queen’s Guard ceremony, it takes place on most days at the forecourt of Buckingham Palace around 11 am and lasts about 45 minutes. But if you d