4 days in London is the perfect amount of time to appreciate all that this pulsating city has to offer. And if you’re here looking for a 4-day London Itinerary, you’ll be pleased to know you’ve come to the right place. I’ve spent most of my life living and working in London, which is why I’m confident that my London itinerary is the best on the internet.
London is one of the most happening and exciting cities in all of Europe. I know you’re probably thinking I’m biased because I’m a local, but it’s true. With its rich history, vibrant culture, magnificent architecture, eccentric fashion, wild nightlife, and unrivalled culinary scene, London ignites your senses in every possible way.
While I like to think I know London city pretty well, I certainly can’t claim to know it all. I can, however, advise you on all of the top London hotspots, as well as some cool hidden gems that not many tourists get to hear about. I will also share my insider tips to ensure you have the best possible time exploring the city. Oh, and let’s not forget the best places to eat, sleep, and party.
Sound good? Let’s get to it then. Here is a perfect London Itinerary for 4 Days in the city.
4 Days in London – An Insider London Itinerary
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Is 4 Days in London Enough?
As I already mentioned, London is a sprawling city boasting an abundance of things to see and do. It would be impossible to experience it all in 4 days, so I encourage you to plan your time wisely if you want to make the most of your trip.
In my opinion, the perfect London itinerary combines a balance of significant landmarks – you know, the places you see in every guidebook and travel blog – along with some cool hidden gems. Half of London’s charm is in its alternative culture and quirky neighbourhoods, so you would be missing out not to explore this side of the city.
That’s why when people ask me how to long to stay in London, 4 days is the minimum. With four days in London, you can cover most of the cities main attractions, including parks and museums. But you’ll also have some time to wander off the beaten path and discover some of the more unusual things to do in London.
With this in mind, I’m confident that if you follow my suggested London itinerary, you’ll feel like you’ve experienced the very best of what the city has to offer.
Where to Stay in London
There are several factors to consider when choosing where to stay in London. I imagine your budget is likely to be the most prevalent one. It’s no secret that London is an expensive city. So while staying in central London is ideal for sightseeing, it’s not going to be your most budget-friendly option.
Thankfully, London’s public transport network is one of the best in the world. This means you can stay on the outskirts of London, and be able to reach the city centre quickly and easily. With 4 days in London or more, I’d say this is a valid option. But any less than that, my advice would be to stay central.
Here’s a brief overview of the best neighbourhoods to stay in London:
If you want to be at the very heart of all the action, you may wish to consider staying in Victoria or Covent Garden. You can expect to pay high-end prices for accommodation, but with many key attractions within walking distance of your hotel, this area is very convenient indeed.
For the night owls and fashionistas, Soho is a chic central neighbourhood boasting a realm of nightlife, restaurants, and shopping. Also famed for being the epicentre of LGBTQ+ culture in London, it’s one of the most vibrant and happening districts in the city.
For those looking for somewhere a little offbeat and quirky, I would look into staying in Shoreditch (East London) or Camden (North London). Both areas are eccentric and unconventional in their own right, highlighting an amalgamation of street art, markets, nightlife and underground edge.
If you’re travelling as a family or you’d prefer a more ‘local’ neighbourhood vibe, I suggest staying in Notting Hill or Kensington. Located in West London, both areas are peaceful and close to some of the cities best attractions, while the city centre is easily accessible via public transport.
Unique Hotels in London
Unsurprisingly, there is no shortage of accommodation options in London. You can click any of the location links above to search for hundreds of hotels, hostels, and guesthouses in the area.
To keep things interesting, here I suggest some of the more unusual places to stay in London. Hotels that I believe reflect the edgy character of the city.
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Hostel $: St Christopher’s Inn Village
For a unique hostel experience in London, check out St Christopher’s Inn Village. They are the first hostel in the city to implement private pod-style accommodation. So you can enjoy the perks of a friendly hostel vibe, as well as the comfort of having your own space. It’s also in a prime location for many of the cities main attractions.
Budget $: The Corner London City
If a pod is too small for you, perhaps you’ll consider a Cubi all-in-one pod at The Corner instead. This innovative and eco-friendly hotel manages to cram all the features that you’d expect from a private room into a small cubic space. The result is a fun and unique hotel experience, that’s not only affordable but in an excellent location too.
Mid-Range $$: nHow Hotel
When it comes to instagrammable hotels in London, nHow Hotel tops the list every time. The entire property adorns vibrant and funky decor, that is sure to send any photographer into a tizzy. Features include an onsight fitness centre, cocktail bar, restaurant, and state of the art guest rooms.
Luxury $$$: The Exhibitionist Hotel
For those with a high budget, consider the super chic Exhibitionist Hotel for a luxury stay in London. Located in the upmarket neighbourhood of Kensington, everything from the beautifully restored, 18th-century townhouse to the contemporary decor is designed to be a show stopper.
The Best of London in 4 Days
I go into quite a lot of detail in this comprehensive London Itinerary; therefore, for those who are short for time, here’s an overview of the best places to visit in London in 4 days.
- Visit some of Britain’s most famous landmarks such as Big Ben, St Pauls Cathedral and Buckingham Palace.
- Take in some of the best views of the city from the London Eye or the Shard.
- Meander the various free museums in London, including the National History Museum and the National Gallery.
- Shop ’til you drop on Oxford Street.
- Immerse in London’s history at the Tower of London.
- Escape the hustle and bustle at the picturesque Hyde Park.
- Get lost in one of London’s plentiful markets.
- Hunt for street art and other quirky pleasures in Shoreditch or Camden.
- Enjoy some of the best Chinese food outside of China in China Town.
- Experience the fabulous atmosphere of a London west end show.
London 4-Day Itinerary
Okay, so this is an action-packed itinerary which will have you out early in the morning and back late at night. The idea is so that you experience as much of the city as you can during your stay.
Of course, this is only a guide. If the itinerary seems a bit much for you, you can cut out anything that you don’t mind missing. I’ll detail it all below, and then you can refine the list to suit your needs.
- Day 1: Iconic London Landmarks & Sights
- Day 2: London History & Culture
- Day 3: London Museums, Parks, and Shopping
- Day 4: Offbeat London and Hidden Gems
Day 1 of London Itinerary
Iconic London Landmarks & Sights
- London Eye
- Big Ben & The Houses of Parliament
- St James Park
- Buckingham Palace
- Picadilly Circus & Trafalgar Square
- Covent Garden & China Town
*Waterloo is the closest tube station to our first stop of the day. When you have arrived, exit the station following signs for the South Bank. Use the Transport for London journey planner to map out your journey.
Okay, time to get acquainted with the city you’ll be exploring for the next four days. There aren’t many better ways to do that than to view it all from above and The London Eye offers the perfect opportunity to do just that.
The iconic London Eye is a 135-metre Observation Wheel and one of the largest of its kind in the world. Located on the South Bank of the River Thames, the wheel is one of the most recognisable structures amid the London cityscape.
Not only that, but it provides unrivalled views over our beloved city, which, on a clear day, can reach up to a whopping 25 miles.
Other than that, there’s not much else you need to know. A full rotation on the wheel takes 30-minutes, and unless you rent a capsule, you can expect to be sharing with others.
It’s also quite pricy to ride the London Eye. Nonetheless, it’s still the most popular paid attraction in the UK, so it’s worth buying your ticket in advance so you can skip the queue.
Book Here: London Eye – Skip the Line
Big Ben & The Houses of Parliament
Next up, we will take a gentle stroll along the Thames before crossing over at Westminster Bridge. The bridge itself is a landmark in its own right, providing an iconic view of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.
Depending on the time of day, you’ll often find the bridge to be quite atmospheric. Not only bustling with tourists and locals but street performers as well. Be wary of scammers in these parts though, which often involves some kind of game. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Big Ben (which is the name of the bell, not the tower) and the Houses of Parliament are considered national treasures of London.
Both are generally admired from the outside, but if you’re at all interested in politics, it is possible to witness a debate at the Houses of Parliament. You will need to book in advance, but it is one of the few free things to do in London.
*As of June 2020, the Elizabeth Tower, housing the Big Ben bell, is under construction and thus, clad in scaffolding. They estimate to complete the works by Summer 2022.
A short 5-minute walk from Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament is Westminster Abbey – One of the UK’s most notable churches.
Remarkably, it was Benedictine monks that founded Westminster Abbey in 960AD. It has since served as a coronation church, bearing witness to several royal weddings. It’s also the final resting place of some of the country’s key historical figures, such as Charles Dickens, Sir Isaac Newton, and Anne of Cleves.
Alongside a striking facade worthy of a photo or 10, the Abbey is a treasure house of paintings, stained glass, and artefacts documenting over 1000 years of British history. There’s also the coronation chair, whereby every King and Queen of England is crowned.
At £24 on the day and £22 to book in advance, it’s certainly not cheap to visit inside the Abbey. But if you’re remotely interested in British history, architecture, or the Royal family, it’s worth the money.
St James Park
By now you’re likely edging towards lunchtime or at the very least a coffee break. You’ll find various coffee shops and restaurants nearby the Abbey, but if it’s a pleasant day, I suggest picking something up to go and having a picnic in nearby St James Park.
One of 8 royal parks in London, this area is incredibly picturesque and an ideal spot to take a break from the hustle & bustle.
On route to the park, you can walk past Downing Street, the home of the British Prime Minister. You can’t walk down the street itself, but you can give Boris a wave (or the finger) through the gate.
To fool your friends, you can locate 10 Adam Street 800 metres away, where you’ll find a very similar door. The iconic door is now a hotspot for tourists wanting a souvenir photo!
A gentle stroll amid the gardens and wildlife of St James Park will lead you to Buckingham Palace – the official London residence of the UK’s Royal Family.
While it is possible to visit inside the Royal Palace, it is only open to the public between July and October. It’s also a rather expensive attraction, so again, unless you’re a fan of the Royal Family, I think it’s enough to appreciate from the outside.
In any case, the highlight for most visitors is to witness the changing of the guard. This ceremony is where the Queen’s Guard hands over responsibility for protecting Buckingham Palace to the New Guard, and it’s free to attend.
The guards in their traditional red tunics and bearskin hats are national icons, which is why many consider the ceremony a quintessential London experience.
*Please note, the days and times of the changing of the guard ceremony, differ from week to week. Always check the changing guard website on the date you plan to visit.
Piccadilly Circus & Trafalgar Square
From Buckingham Palace, make your way to Piccadilly and stroll the famous street lined with luxury hotels and designer stores. Eventually, you’ll end up at Piccadilly Circus, which is London’s answer to Times Square.
Albeit anticlimactic when compared to the NYC hub, it’s a great atmosphere all the same. Featuring all things iconic to London such as underground signs, red phone boxes, and red double-decker buses, it’s the perfect spot for an Instagram photo.
8 minutes walk from Piccadilly Circus will land you in Trafalgar Square. A bustling public square, that’s often the centre point for demonstrations, protests, and annual events.
Regardless of when you visit, you’ll always find something to keep you entertained, whether it be local street performers and artists, or something on a much larger scale.
Otherwise, admire the monuments and fountains that adorn the square. Or visit the grand National Gallery which is free to enter.
Covent Garden & China Town
It’s been a busy day, and I don’t know about you, but I’m parched. To round off your day, I suggest making your way to Covent Garden where you can enjoy a pre-dinner beverage or two at one of its plentiful bars and pubs. In all honestly, it doesn’t matter which one you choose. You can expect a great vibe regardless of the day, time, month, or season.
When I worked in London, after work drinks in Covent Garden was a religion. All I will say is that nights that start here have the potential to escalate very quickly. You’ll also find several excellent restaurants in the area if you wanted to stick around for dinner.
Otherwise, I recommend taking a stroll to China Town, where you will find some of the best Chinese food outside of China.
Day 2 of London Itinerary
London History & Culture
- The Tower of London
- London’s Bridges
- The Shard
- Borough Market
- Saint Dunstan in the East
- St Pauls Cathedral
- The British Museum
Tower Hill is the closest tube station to our first stop of the day. When you have arrived, exit the station following the signs for the Tower of London. Use the Transport for London journey planner to map out your journey.
Tower of London
The Tower of London is one of the most important historical buildings in all of the UK. And with that, an essential addition to any London itinerary.
There’s so much compelling history wrapped up in the tower that it’s hard to know where to begin. Today the fortress is most famous for protecting the Crown Jewels. But in the past, it’s been home to a wide array of institutions including the Royal Mint, a prison and even a zoo.
Most interesting, in my opinion, are the grizzly tales of famous executions at the Tower of London. Guy Fawkes, Anne Boleyn, and Thomas Cromwell to name but a few. It’s this gory history, which has earned the castle a spooky reputation.
The famous Yeoman Warder Tour is the perfect way to learn all about it. Be warned; however, there are areas of the tour that may be frightening for young children. I remember my Mum taking me as a little kid, and I was far from impressed at the time.
If the Yeoman Warder Tour is out of the question, there are other tours you can do, such as See the Crown Jewels or Meet the Ravens. Either way, it’s a guaranteed fun-filled experience for all the family at this famous world heritage site.
Next up, cross over the legendary Tower Bridge to The Shard. One of the newest additions to London’s skyline, The Shard is one of the most recognisable skyscrapers in the city.
Designed to resemble a shard of glass, the whopping 95-storey structure is home to some of the most high-end offices, restaurants and hotels in London – as well as London’s highest viewpoint.
Natalie and I went to the Shard on one of our first dates, not too long after its opening in 2013. We enjoyed a glass of champagne from the viewing deck, which although expensive, was worth it for the unrivalled views over the city.
Book Here: The View From the Shard
By now, you’re likely feeling peckish, and thankfully I have the perfect place where you can grab a bite to eat.
There are tons of food markets in London, especially during the Summer months, but Borough Market will always be my favourite. I don’t know if it’s because it’s one of the oldest in London or its industrial location beneath the railway arches, but it’s just such a vibe!
The only downside to Borough Market is that it gets busy, and I mean really busy. Not only that but the multitude of stalls selling an amalgamation of cuisines can be overwhelming. With this in mind, I’ve listed some of my favourites below.
Vegan? Check out this Vegan Guide to Borough Market.
- Lebanese: Nana Fanny’s
- Indian: Horn Ok Please
- Meat Lovers: Hobbs Roast Meat
- Bakery Goods: Bread Ahead
Saint Dunstan in the East
Our next stop is somewhat of a hidden gem in London, but it’s always been one of my favourite places to escape the hustle and bustle. What was once a Church of England Parish Church, now lays in ruins following an attack during WWII.
The ruins are now a secluded public garden, and the range of plants wending their way around the remains makes for an enchanting scene. You won’t need long here, but I would certainly stop by on route to St Paul’s Cathedral.
St Pauls Cathedral
St Pauls Cathedral is another of London’s leading sightseeing attractions. A building steeped in history, no London itinerary is complete without it.
The cathedral has played an integral role in British culture for over 1400 years. After being largely destroyed in the great fire of London, it has since hosted a number of high profile services, including the funerals of the Duke of Wellington and Winston Churchill, and the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana.
For quite some time, the cathedral was the tallest building in all of London. Its dome unmistakable amidst the city skyline. But that’s not all; there’s a realm of things for you to discover inside of St Pauls as well.
If you purchase a ticket to go inside, you can take a guided tour of the cathedral floor and crypt, climb its three galleries, and enjoy panoramic views from the top of the dome.
Book Here: St Paul’s Cathedral – Fast-Track Entrance
The British Museum
It’s no secret that London is a treasure trove of museums, and our final stop of the day is one of the most well-regarded of them all.
Like most London museums, I’ve visited the British Museum countless times. It’s honestly my favourite London activity. As not only are most museums completely free to enter, but I always end up learning or discovering something new.
There are over 60 mesmerising galleries to explore at the British Museum. My personal favourites are the ancient Egyptian exhibits, but others feature artefacts from ancient Greece, Mexico, Japan, plus many many more. For the real historians out there, this is an unmissable addition to your London itinerary.
Wow, it’s been another busy day, and now is the time to kick back and relax with a cocktail in hand. Tonight, I recommend heading to Soho – one of the most vibrant districts in all of Central London.
This area is renowned for being the epicentre of London’s LGBTQ+ culture, but it’s also home to an abundance of trendy bars and chic restaurants.
Naturally, we’ve spent a lot of time in Soho, and I could be here all day recommending the best places to go. So, for now, I’ll keep it simple.
Start your evening with a craft beer or two at BrewDog Soho, followed by dinner at Bocca Di Lupo (Italian) or Mildreds (Vegetarian). Then if you still have the energy, party the night away at one of Soho’s bars and nightclubs.
Day 3 of London Itinerary
London Museums, Parks, and Shopping
- The National History Museum
- The Science Museum
- Afternoon Tea @ Harrods
- Hyde Park
- Oxford Street & Covent Garden
- West End Show
South Kensington is the closest tube station to our first stop of the day. When you have arrived, exit the station following signs for the National History Museum. Use the Transport for London journey planner to map out your journey.
National History Museum
Okay, day 3 in London and we will be spending the morning at some of my favourite London museums. Remember the majority of museums are free in London, so it’s set to be a cheap morning!
If museums aren’t your thing, I’ve listed some alternative things to do further down the article. If you’re sticking with me, the first museum of the day is the National History Museum.
Often considered to be the best of its kind in the world, London’s National History Museum never fails to blow my mind. I’ve been visiting ever since I was a little kid, and I’ll always remember how small I used to feel walking amidst the giant remains of dinosaurs and other prehistoric species.
One thing I continue to love about the National History Museum is how immersive and theatrical it is. I feel like it’s the closest I’ll ever get to time travel, as I wander the galleries packed to the brim with natural phenomena. Not to mention, it’s one of the most impressive buildings in the entire city.
I’ll be honest; you could easily spend the entire morning at the National History Museum. But if time allows, I suggest checking out the Science Museum, which is just around the corner.
As the name suggests, this museum documents the accounts of groundbreaking scientific achievements throughout the years. Young children especially, but adults too, are sure to enjoy the interactive displays, designed to both educate and entertain.
Afternoon Tea at Harrods
After spending the morning meandering around 2 of London’s prime museums, I’m sure you’ll be ready for lunch. You could eat inside the museums; however, the food is over-priced and underwhelming, in my opinion.
Nearby the museums you’ll find several great restaurants, including Honest Burgers and Pierino. Or, if a Traditional Afternoon Tea is on your London bucket list, which it should be, Harrods is just a 15-minute walk away.
I’m sure Harrods needs little introduction. It’s the most famous department store in London and despite its luxurious reputation, has a diverse customer base.
In fact, Harrods motto is ‘Omnia Omnibus Ubique’, which is Latin for ‘all things for all people, everywhere’. While on a little on the pricey side, you’re guaranteed the real deal when it comes to Afternoon Tea at Harrods.
Book a Table Now: The Harrods Tea Rooms
If all of the above sound a bit fancy or over the top, you could just as easily grab something light from a sandwich shop or supermarket and head to nearby Hyde Park.
Hyde Park to London is like what Central Park is to New York. A sprawling open space of meadows, lakes, flower gardens, and beautiful old trees. So if it’s a nice day, this is arguably your most enjoyable option.
Hyde Park is that idyllic and pretty, it’s easy to forget that you’re in a city at all. I suggest taking some time to wander around and enjoy famous landmarks such as the Princess Diana Memorial, The Serpentine Lake, and Speakers Corner.
Eventually, you’ll come out at Marble Arch, which is where our shopping endeavours can begin.
Oxford Street & Covent Garden
Everybody knows that London is one of the fashion capitals of the world, so if you’re looking to glam up your wardrobe, this is the place to do it. Upon leaving Hyde Park at Marble Arch, your eyes will bulge at the sight of the hundreds of designer stores that line Oxford Street.
You don’t need to be flash for cash either. Some of the UK’s most affordable high street brands such as Topshop, River Island, and even Primark have flagship stores here.
Continue your spree into Covent Garden, where the large fashion houses are replaced with quaint boutique stores. Meander down Neal’s Yard – one of London’s most colourful and photogenic streets, pick up some London themed gifts, and find somewhere that appeals for your pre-theatre show meal.
Check out this article for some of the best pre-show meal deals.
West End Show
Listen up; you absolutely cannot spend 4 days in London without experiencing the magic of a West End Show.
I was lucky enough to have parents and grandparents who would take me to shows regularly as a kid, and my love for the theatre continues to thrive. Some of my favourite shows include The Lion King, Wicked, Mama Mia, Chicago, and Les Miserables.
Unfortunately, ticket prices have increased substantially in recent years. So if you’re travelling as a family, it’s going to burn a hole in your wallet. But honestly, it’s worth it. Unless you’re from New York, whose theatre productions are on par with London’s, this is a once in a lifetime experience.
Plus, there are often ways of getting cheap theatre tickets. My only advice, however, is to check the seats. Often, discounted tickets have heavily restricted views.
Day 4 of London Itinerary
- Leake Street at Waterloo Vaults
- Leadenhall Market
- Columbia Road Flowers
- Camden Town
Waterloo is the closest tube station to our first stop of the day. When you have arrived, exit the station at Exit 2 towards Waterloo Road. Use the Transport for London journey planner to map out your journey.
Leake Street at Waterloo Vaults
Okay, it’s the last day of our London Itinerary, and today is all about offbeat London. We will be exploring some of London’s quirkier neighbourhoods, hidden gems, and alternative cultures.
London’s landmarks may be world-famous and for a good reason. But it’s the unconventional side that gives my beloved city character. But again, if you wanted to switch up the day with a day trip or another activity, you’ll find some options further down the article.
Our first stop is Leake Street at the Waterloo Vaults. A labyrinth of old railway arches beneath Waterloo Station, The Vaults is home to all things weird and wonderful.
During the evening, is when this venue really comes to life. At night the tunnels are bustling with theatre, comedy, music and other immersive events. But with just four days in London, you can’t do it all, so on this occasion, we will only be checking out the Leake Street tunnel.
The Leake Street Tunnel, otherwise known as the ‘Banksy Tunnel’, is one of the only places in London where graffiti is not only permitted, but encouraged. The result is a plethora of artwork from various artists, meaning some is great, others not so much. Either way, to experience the unique underground edge of this London hidden gem is well worth the visit.
Next up, hop back on the tube to Monument or Bank tube stations, and make your way to Leadenhall Market. Any Harry Potter fan needs to include this spot on their London itinerary, as it is the location that inspired Diagon Alley in the films.
Every time I walk through Leadenhall, I pray that a wand store will magically appear, and I’ll finally be the witch I’ve always wanted to be. But so far, no such luck.
Harry Potter fan or not, you’re sure to be impressed by the ornate Victorian marketplace, that’s home to several designer stores, restaurants, and London pubs.
*Consider yourself a Harry Potter fanatic? Check out this best-selling Harry Potter guided walking tour and trace the footsteps of your favourite witches and wizards around Muggle London.
Our next stop is just a short 15-minute walk away, and be sure to look out for the infamous Gherkin skyscraper along the way.
Eventually, you’ll end up in Shoreditch – one of London’s most trendy and happening neighbourhoods of current times. Famed for its impressive street art, diverse culinary & nightlife scenes, antique markets and infectious hipster vibe, it’s one of my favourite spots in the city.
You could spend a couple of days exploring all that there is to see and do in Shoreditch, but Brick Lane is a great place to start. The past decade has seen this once run-down neighbourhood, transform into one of the most famous streets in London. Boasting a realm of specialist markets, independent stores, street art, and alternative culture, Brick Lane is offbeat London at its finest.
While meandering around Shoreditch, don’t miss Box Park, which is a unique place to hang out and grab food. Stop by Beigel Bake for the best bagel outside of New York. Or if you like Indian food, you’ll find some of London’s best curry houses on Brick Lane. Finally, check out a hip rooftop bar such as The Curtain or Queen of Hoxton.
If you can find the strength to tear yourself away from vibey Shoreditch, I suggest hopping on the Northern Line at Old Street Station and making your way to Camden Town.
As much as I love Shoreditch, if I had to choose my favourite place in London, it would have to be Camden. I’m not entirely sure why, but the vibe feels somewhat less pretentious to me. That, and I’ve had some of the best times of my life there.
If you’ve heard of Camden, it’s likely because of its legendary music scene. Camden has paved the way to success for many iconic British artists, including The Beatles, Madness, Amy Winehouse, and Madonna.
In fact, if you do make it to Camden, checking out a live music venue such as The Roundhouse, Koko, or Electric Ballroom is the perfect way to round off your London Itinerary.
Ideally, however, you’ll spend more than just the evening in Camden. That way, you can meander the eclectic Camden market, grab some street food at West Yard food hall, and enjoy a pint at one of Camden’s esteemed pubs.
Alternatives to our London Itinerary
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, with only four days in London, it would be impossible to see all the city has to offer. And while I believe my London Itinerary to be the best way to spend your time, I’m well aware that our interests may vary somewhat. With this in mind, here are some of the other top things to do in and around London.
Up at the O2
For the thrill-seekers out there, you might want to try your hand at some ‘urban mountaineering‘ at the UK’s beloved entertainment venue, The O2. Historically, the iconic white dome was built to celebrate the turn of the Millenium; however, it proved to be such a hit with both Londoners and tourists alike that it’s now a permanent addition to the city skyline.
While most visit the O2 to eat, drink, dance, and sing along to their favourite artists, Up At The O2 allows you to view the city in a whole new way. Accompanied by a guide, you’ll embark on an exhilarating 90-minute climb onto the 52-metre high rooftop.
I’m ashamed to say that this is one London bucket list activity I haven’t yet done, but I hope to change that very very soon!
With its ‘Insta-Famous’ multi-coloured houses, a vibrant annual street festival, and the classic Hollywood movie by the same name, I’m sure Notting Hill needs little introduction.
An acclaimed neighbourhood in West London which is where I grew up, I’ve spent a lot of time in Notting Hill over the years. Beyond the flock of influencers and movie-famous landmarks, its charm is timeless. I love to stroll down Portobello Road hunting for wears at one of London’s oldest markets, before finding a beautiful spot for brunch.
By all means, do wander around the neighbourhood and admire the pastel-coloured houses. They are gorgeous and well worth a photo or 2. However, I must ask that you remain respectful of peoples privacy. Try to avoid standing on the steps or sitting on walls outside the property, or you could experience the wrath of a true Londoner.
Check out this list of the most Instagrammable spots in Notting Hill.
Thames River Cruise
Arguably one of the best ways to experience this fast-paced city is on the water, where you can ditch the crowds and take in the sights without a care in the world.
Depending on your budget, there are several Thames Cruise packages you can choose from. Some include 1-hour of sightseeing, others you can hop on & hop off, and there are even romantic dinner or afternoon tea cruises.
Get your Guide has a wide selection of tours to choose from at a competitive rate, so it’s worth checking them out before your trip.
Book a Cruise Here: London River Thames Cruises
Westfield Shopping Centre
If you find yourself with a wet and gloomy day in London (unfortunately they are not uncommon), a spot of shopping is the ideal way to spend it.
Sadly, most Central London shopping involves walking outside, but a short ride on the Central Line will land you at Westfield – a huge shopping centre and entertainment hub.
With a wide selection of stores ranging from high-street to luxury brands, it’s almost like having Oxford Street under the comfort of one roof.
Day Trips from London
Any longer than 4 Days in London, and I would suggest taking a day trip outside of the city. I assume many of you won’t know much about the UK outside of London, but with our beautiful coastal towns and quaint countryside villages, there’s a lot to see.
The following spots are easily reachable via a day trip from London while providing a welcome break from the hustle & bustle. Or for more, check out the full list here.
Brighton is one of the UK’s favourite seaside destinations. Throughout the year, people flock from all over the country to enjoy beautiful views, vibrant culture and infectious bohemian vibes.
Located just 1.5 hours drive from London, Brighton has been in my blood since I was a child. The iconic pier adorned with theme park rides and arcade games, the sprawling pebble stone beach, and the scent of fish and chips always leaves me feeling incredibly nostalgic.
In addition to its seaside charm, Brighton is a hub of creativity and an epicentre of LGBT+ culture. The streets of the city are vibrant and atmospheric, with street art, shopping opportunities, trendy restaurants, and nightlife aplenty.
If you find yourself craving some sea air during your time in London, you won’t regret making the day trip to Brighton.
Harry Potter Warner Brothers Tour
Harry Potter super fans rejoice! Central London may host the best-selling Harry Potter Walking Tour. But, for a truly bewitching experience, you cannot miss a wizardly adventure to the Harry Potter and Warner Brothers Studio.
I consider myself a Harry Potter fan, and I’m ashamed to admit I’ve not yet done this tour, but you only have to click the link to read thousands of positive reviews. Here’s what you can expect from the tour:
- Board the bus in central London and journey to the Warner Brothers Studio
- Enjoy a behind-the-scenes walking tour of sets, props, and costumes used in the Harry Potter movies
- Set foot on the actual sets where the movies were filmed
- Follow in the footsteps of your favourite characters down Diagon Alley
- Visit Platform 9 ¾ and ride the Hogwarts Express!
- Get Drunk off Butterbeer and try your hand at riding a broomstick.
Book Your Tour: London: Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour & Transfers
Or if you consider yourself more of a history buff, you won’t want to miss out on Stonehenge. A prehistoric monument and world heritage site, Stonehenge remains one of the biggest historical mysteries of all time.
Comprised of a collection of monumental stones, arranged into what seems like a strategic circle, the 5000-year-old monument is awe-inspiring. Why and how the stones came to be there has bewildered experts since the early medieval period.
Located in Wiltshire, 2 hours West of London, it could be tricky to make your way to Stonehenge by yourself. Instead, you could take this best-selling half-day tour with Get Your Guide.
Or make a day of it, and visit Windsor Castle, Bath, and Stonehenge – three of England’s most beautiful and heritage-rich sites.
Budget for 4 Days in London
It’s no secret that London is an expensive city. I cringe when I think about all the money I’ve spent living there over the years, but c’est la vie.
If you plan to see London the budget way, you could comfortably live on £60/$75 a day. But that means eating cheap, staying at hostels, using your feet rather than public transport, and being selective about the attractions you spend your cash on. Thankfully, there are plenty of free things to do in London if you’re travelling on a tight budget.
On the other hand, if you insist on paying for all the main attractions, eating at trendy restaurants, and staying in fancy hotels, you can expect to double or even triple that budget. Below is a breakdown of what your daily London budget might look like.
If you hope to visit most of the prime attractions in London, it pays to invest in a London Pass. The London Pass allows free access to over 80 attractions including, The Tower of London, The View from The Shard, Westminster Abbey, and many more. Not only that, but you will also get access to other great offers, including discounted prices on West End theatre tickets, shopping, and dining.
Dorm Bed in a Hostel: $25-40
Budget Private Room: $60-75
Premium Hotel Room: $100-300
Local Restaurant Meal: $20-30
Pub Grub: $10-20
Public Transport Pass: $16
Pint of Beer: $7-10
Tower of London: $28
Tips & Advice for Visiting London
Here I’ll list some of the local insider tips that I believe will help you have a hassle-free time in the city.
Where to Exchange Currency in London
The unit of currency in the UK is the English Pound. We recommend travelling with some cash in your pocket; however, if you prefer not to carry large sums, there are several ways to exchange money in London. Though naturally, some are more cost-effective than others.
ATMs (locally known as cash machines or cash points) are readily available throughout the capital; however, some may charge for using them. For the best deals and exchange rates, look out for the main high street banks such as HSBC, Halifax, Lloyds, and Barclays.
Another money-saving tip is to carry a currency card such as Easy Fx rather than withdrawing money using your debit or credit cards. This way, you can make purchases, withdraw cash and make transfers, all with no international fees.
Getting to London
Air – London is a thriving international hub, therefore no matter where you are flying from, there is likely to be a direct flight. (If you’re coming from afar, you’ll want to know how to survive a long flight!)
London City is the most convenient airport for Central London; however, it’s small, and flights are usually expensive. Heathrow is the leading London Airport, so your best bet is to fly into there. Non-stop trains run to Paddington every 15 minutes from Heathrow, so it should be straightforward enough to reach your final destination.
Avoid Gatwick, Stansted, and Luton if possible, as it can be tricky and expensive to get into Central London.
Coach/Train – If you’re travelling to London from within Europe, it may be cheaper to take the train or coach. We recently used Flixbus for our 3-week tour around Europe, and not only were they affordable, but reliable and comfortable too. It’s also worth checking out Interrail if you plan to visit other cities in Europe on the same trip.
Getting Around in London
While I usually love to explore new cities on foot, London is way too vast for that. In terms of the itinerary, I’ve tried to be as strategic as possible. Meaning that you won’t be hopping on and off buses or trains all day long. Having said that, you will be covering several neighbourhoods in London, so you’ll need to know how to get around.
Thankfully, London’s public transport network is one of the best in the world. OK, it could do with some upgrades here and there (erm, air conditioning on the Central Line would be a start), but it’s super reliable and in my opinion, very easy to understand.
First and foremost, I strongly encourage you to get a London Card or an Oyster Card. As I mentioned earlier, the London Card is an incredible deal if you plan on visiting several of London’s key attractions. And it also comes with the option to include free public transport. If you’ve found that the London Card may not be of great value to you, then an Oyster Card is your better bet.
The Oyster Card will ensure you get the cheapest rates when travelling around London. It also caps your spends once it reaches a certain amount, which is great if you’re moving around a lot through the day. You get the same deal if you use a contactless payment card. If you’re travelling with children, order them an Oyster Card 4 weeks in advance. That way, children under 10 travel for free, and under 18s at a discounted rate.
Many transport networks are operating in London, from buses and trams to trains and riverboats. But you’re most likely to be using the underground and buses the most. Either way, you can plan out your journey using the Transport for London journey planner.
Finally, when mooching around Hyde Park or somewhere similar, look out for our good old Boris bikes. In fact, they aren’t actually called Boris Bikes anymore. Now they are known quite boringly as Santander Cycles. But regardless of the name, they are low priced and a fun way to explore our greener areas.
The Best Time to Visit London
There isn’t any right or wrong time to visit London, as there is a great atmosphere all your round. Although, if you are relying on warm and dry days for sightseeing, between May and September will be your safest bet. Though this is London, so you should always prepare for some rain.
July and August tend to be the warmest months, but it’s also peak season, so expect inflated rates for flights and hotels. A lot is going on in the Summer, however, such as festivals and outdoor food markets. Londoners love to celebrate when the sun is shining, so you can expect a great vibe in the city.
London is also very festive throughout December. The Christmas lights in the city are stunning, and there are a few Christmas markets. It’s also the season for Winter Wonderland which is not to be missed if you find yourself in the city during this time.
Is London Safe to Visit?
As somebody who has lived in London for most of my life, I would confidently class London as a safe place to visit. That said, I’ve grown up there. I know the do’s and don’t, and of course, I have the privilege of being a local.
The actual answer is far more complex, and I strongly recommend you educate yourself on how to stay safe in London before you travel.
Like many places, theft and pickpocketing pose the most significant risk to tourists. There’s also a trend of gangs on motorbikes who snatch bags, phones, or whatever they can get their hands on as they drive past. We suggest keeping your belongings close to you at all times and using a small padlock or compartmental bag to keep your valuables safe.
Common scams pose another risk to tourists, and we advise being vigilant at all times. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut and walk away from the situation. Check out this article for examples of common scams in London.
With that, don’t even think about going to London without travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. In the unlikely event that something goes wrong, you’ll want the best cover money can buy.
For this reason, we always recommend World Nomads for travel insurance. They are affordable, offer a variety of packages and add ons, and allow you to make amendments to your policy while travelling.
If you need further convincing, read our article on why you need travel insurance. Or get an on-the-spot quote from World Nomads using the button below.
Staying Connected in London
While wifi is readily available throughout the city, travelling is so much easier when you have the internet on your phone. In order to avoid crazy roaming charges, consider getting a local sim card or invest in a pocket wifi device.
I also suggest using a secure VPN when surfing the web internationally. Using a VPN is very important these days to make sure that all your data is safe and secure.
Also, it helps while travelling not only for safety reasons but also unlocks geo-restricted content such as Netflix and helps to avoid demographic price discrimination while looking for a flight or a hotel.
In my experience, Surfshark is the best VPN for travel.
Thank You for Reading
Well, that concludes our recommendations for spending four days in London. What are you looking forward to seeing most? Is there anything else that you think deserves to be on this list? Do you have any other questions?
Let us know! We love hearing from you. You can reach out to us in the comment section below or through our contact us page.
Planning a trip to the UK? Check out our other articles to help plan your trip.
- 28 London Instagram Spots – The Best Photo Spots in London
- Gay In: London – A Guide to Gay & Lesbian London
- Gay In: Brighton – A Guide to Gay & Lesbian Brighton
Stay adventurous and happy travels.
Charlotte & Natalie x
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Last Updated on October 20, 2021 by Our Taste For Life