London remains one of the world’s largest, most diverse and most exciting cities offering visitors thousands of things to do. From museums, royal palaces, beautiful parks, historical sites, world-class theatres and top restaurants, there is certainly something for everyone.
If you’re looking to experience the best that London has to offer in just three days, you’ve come to the right place. We did a 10-day trip to the UK which included London, York, the Lake District and then down south to Bristol and Bath before heading back to London. This article will however focus on our time in London and how best to cram the most into a few days if you only have limited time to explore the city. We’ll provide you with an overview of the must-see sights, activities, and attractions that will make your London adventure unforgettable. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, join us as we discover the best of London in three days.
As convenient as the London Underground is, you’re not going to see much so we would suggest getting orientated by purchasing a two-day Hop On Hop Off bus pass which will take you to most of the sights and also act as a taxi to get around. Seeing all the sites in London is going to be expensive, so pre-book your bus tickets and hop on at the closest point to your accommodation. Your Hop On Hop Off ticket will also give you a FREE Thames river cruise and discount on entrances to selected museums and attractions. There is little difference between the price for one and two days, so rather take the two-day option. Another tip would be to investigate the “London Pass“, this gives you access to over 80 attractions and also includes a Hop on Hop Off bus pass. It can be purchased for however many days you require it and can save you time and money!
We also opted to get a 72-hour London Underground pass which we used to get to and from our hotel and to go out in the evenings. Once we got the hang of it, we were like rabbits popping our heads up everywhere and within a stone’s throw from the target location.
Make sure that you book your accommodation not too far from an Underground station to avoid long walks back to your hotel after a long day sightseeing.
Day One in London.
Start your morning with a visit to Buckingham Palace and witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony. This iconic landmark is the official residence of the British monarchy and is a must-see for any traveler. Take a guided tour of the palace and the beautiful gardens that surround it. Afterward, take a stroll through nearby St. James’s Park and admire the stunning views of the London skyline. The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk is also located in the Park. Then head to 10 Downing Street at the opposite end of the park and hopefully get a glimpse of Larry the cat.
This should take you to lunch, so hop back on the bus and try to get close to Borough Market, a foodie paradise, for a delicious lunch. After lunch, head to Camden Market, the largest outdoor market in London, for a unique shopping experience.
End your day with a stroll through the bustling streets of Covent Garden, full of street performers, shops, and restaurants.
Day Two in London.
Hopping back on the bus, head to Big Ben. This newly refurbished clock tower is one of the most recognizable landmarks in London and a must-see on your visit.
After taking in the sights of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, head to the Tower of London, a 900-year-old castle that is home to the Crown Jewels. You can use your bus ticket to get a discount (maybe free) cruise on the river Thames to view London from a different perspective. You will go past the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, and the London Eye.
Being the last day of your Hop On Hop Off tickets (there is also a three day option though), do the full round trip just to see if there was anything you might have missed out on like Westminster Abbey and Saint Paul’s Cathedral.
In the evening, take a walk along the South Bank of the Thames and admire the stunning views of the London skyline by night.
Afterward, head to one of the many traditional English pubs to enjoy a pint of beer and some traditional pub grub. Look out for the roast beef served with the traditional Yorkshire Pudding (not an actual dessert) or a beer battered fish & chips. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try a new type of beer or cider? You’re sure to find something to suit your tastes!
Day Three in London.
Make this your fun quirky day!
Ride the London Eye for a spectacular view of the city skyline. Afterward visit the renowned wax museum, Madame Tussauds for a unique and interactive experience where you’ll have an opportunity to take a picture with your favorite celebrities. There are allocated time slots and the queues can get very long, so arrive early or purchase a skip-the-line ticket beforehand.
You can also visit the iconic Abbey Road studios, where some of the world’s greatest music has been produced and take a selfie on the famous Beatles zebra crossing.
For the little (or big) kids you could consider a visit to the magical world of Harry Potter at the Warner Bros. Studio. Here, you can explore the sets, costumes and props from the iconic films, and even have a go at creating your own magic.
To end your three-day London experience, head to the West End and catch one of the many long-time running shows like Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera, CATS or Mama Mia at the famous Royal Opera House or the Novello Theatre. One can always pre-purchase tickets or take your chances at the door for cheaper last-minute options.
Tip: When pre-purchasing tickets, look at the combination packages. These can also save you money especially if access is not included in your “London Pass“.
Samuel Johnson’s famous quote “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life” still rings true today. It is an exciting city that continues to evolve so there’ll always be something new to explore on future visits and the traditional landmarks and sights are always worth a second or third visit.
We can’t wait to go back to re-explore London in the future.