With only three days to spend in one of the world’s most spectacular and diverse cities, is it any surprise you’re confused about where, how or what to start with? We can hardly blame you given the mix of old and new, concrete and grass, flashy neon night lights and majestic sweeping palaces and odd and otherworldly food.
You’re overwhelmed. Going toe to toe with the European cousin of the Big Apple, London is a truly global metropolis. To help you navigate these tricky and exciting three days, we’ve got the only itinerary to London that you’ll ever need!
What to Pack for a 3 Day Trip to London
Table of Contents
For those of us with more touristy/sightseeing aspirations, the London Pass gives you access to over 80 sites and destinations, all included in the price! The money this pass can and does save you is fantastic. If you’re the kind of traveler who wants to see the big sites or enjoy the infamous red bus and hop on hop off tour, this one’s a must have.
If you’re planning on going to London, you’ll be much better off getting an Oyster Card. This card is essential for getting around London, day or night, as it makes the cost of using London’s fantastic bus and underground system much lower. This allows you to do just about anything and go anywhere you want.
A Decent Camera
Even if you’re not the selfie type, the architecture alone in London is so beautiful you won’t be able to help yourself. Trust us, we tried! There’s so much to see here, and such historic sights, a camera always comes in handy.
Spare Coins. Lots of spare coins.
This one sounds a bit weird but a lot of the bathrooms in London aren’t free and you might have to pay a couple of pence for the privilege. Very often, especially at London’s many nightclubs, there are bathroom attendants and you’d be hard-pressed to avoid shilling out a couple of coins for their services
It’s London. Of course you need an umbrella, even in Summer. If it’s not raining, drizzling or overcast, you may be in the wrong London .
What to See in London in 3 Days
8 million people. 300 languages. Over 130 Museums. 25 000 streets. Over 20 000 landmarks. For a fairly small city, London can seem awfully big. To help get the most of your short time there, we’ve devised a 3-day guide to the best London has to offer and her hidden gems.
Day One – London Itinerary
While often a subject of controversy given Britain’s… colourful, ahem, past , the British Museum is filled to the brim with wonders from every corner of the globe. From Egypt’s Rosetta Stone and Greece’s Elgin Marbles to Easter Island Statues and Aztec antiquities it’s like traveling the world in one day.
Despite the controversy the British Museum is the type of place that you’d send someone if they wanted to find out as much about human history in a day as possible. It really does have everything from everywhere.
Be warned though, the Museum is huge. You’ll want to know what you’re interested in, otherwise, instead of this three-day guide to London, you may need a six-day guide to the Museum!
With an “off the beaten track” vibe and an eccentric array of people from all over the world, Camden Village is one of the coolest places you could find yourself visiting in the world, let alone London.
While it’s not known as London’s party scene, it does offer a great and vibey bar scene and has a sort of grungy punk rock atmosphere. Amy Winehouse , George Orwell and Charles Dickens are some of it’s famous former residents. It’s home to small flea market-style shops, unusual clothes, the Jazz Cafe, the World’s End, a great variety of street food and so many hidden gems this article isn’t long enough to name.
Camden is definitely a place you’d live to regret not seeing, and on a side note is home to one of the world’s finest drunken falafel stands. You could take our word or see for yourself!
The Comedy Loft
After a long day of sightseeing, shopping, eating and drinking galore, what better way to end the night than by taking in some of Britain’s finest comedic talents.
The comedy loft is very “Camden” because it’s one of those places you don’t really know about unless you know about it. Located underneath a bar, open to all and with a first come first serve seating, it’s one of the gems in London’s comedic scene.
Have a beer, meet some new people and end the night off with a laugh. Who knows, you may just spot the next Rowan Atkinson!
Day Two – London Itinerary
On your second day in London, see some of the city’s best sights and immerse yourself in the eclectic mix of cultures all around you!
The Tower of London
While it seems like an extremely touristy attraction, the Tower of London is one of the most accessible vestiges of old England. With plenty of interesting facts, weapons, architecture and creepy stories you’ll definitely be entertained.
The Tower, interestingly enough, is also home to 100 people, including Yeoman Warders and their families as well as ceremonial guards known as Beefeaters. It’s also played host to several infamous prisoners such as Rudolf Hess, deputy leader of the Nazi party.
If you’ve opted to get that London Pass we mentioned earlier, entrance is free! Plus for those with a fascination for jewels and all things rich and powerful, the tower is home to a vast array of Her Majesty’s jewels, up to and including The Crown Jewels.
Boat ride along the Thames/ Sunset on the Eye
One of the most famous rivers in the world, the Thames is everything from a transport route to a tourist destination and party center. Take a boat ride or two along the Thames using that trusty London Pass! Catch it as the sun sets and enjoy the amazing British banter (all tour operators seem to have been born with) as the sun glimmers along the infamous river.
Or, if you want some altitude, use the boat to get to the Eye of London – a magnificent Ferris wheel that sits along the Thames, with a stunning 360 view of London. The lines can be a little daunting but the views are well worth it. Plus since you’re there, the Southbank has some interesting happenings if you want to grab a bite before moving on.
Either option guarantees an unforgettable sunset experience!
This stop on our London itinerary is for lovers of all things cinema. The last of a dying breed of magnificent viewing pleasure, this Cinema often shows the more “Indi” or Noir of movies. A famous example of this is the airing Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita, with movie goers having lined up around the block to see it.
This last vestige of the independent movie theatre scene will give you an intimate setting to watch unique, less mainstream movies. Definitely an experience most who see London never have and so an obvious must-see!
Day Three – London Itinerary
On your third day, it’s understandable if you’re feeling fatigued. So to get you going we’ll be taking it easy before picking it up and making the most of the time we have left.
Kensington Palace/ Picnic in Kensington Gardens
While most tourists and London first-timers tend to rush straight over to Buckingham Palace, Kensington is where it’s at! The home of many young royals and where Princess Diana opted to raise her children, Kensington Palace has everything Buckingham has and more.
It’s strange to say it given the majesty of it all, but Kensington Palace has a somewhat wholesome feel to it. There’s also some interesting displays including an incredible projected royal dancing display. Other interesting items from a collection of the Queens best outfits to several renovated room showing how the Royals throughout the ages lived.
Wander around the majestic Palace and get a taste of what it looks like to be royal. Afterwards, settle down for a picnic. Feed swans and ducks, and enjoy the greenery and a calm start to a big day.
Kings Cross Station
The home of Harry Potter’s infamous Platform 9 and 3⁄4’s, Kings Cross Station is where many began their magical journey alongside Harry, Ron and Hermione almost 20 years ago.
The global phenomenon has a studio tour called The Making of Harry Potter, just outside of Watford. For us that’s a little bit of a journey and since we want to keep everything fairly central, we won’t be sending you there. But for the fanatics, it is something worth mentioning, especially if you want to make a day of it.
In addition to remaining a working station, Kings Cross is also home to some great Harry Potter merchandise for fans. And for cynics, it’s always good for a laugh watching throngs of people pretend to crash into a pillar.
Less than 15 minutes from Westminster Abby and Britain’s seat of government, Britain’s version of Las Vegas lights up. Once the sun starts to set, it’s time for the nightlife of that old English town to cut loose, and in Piccadilly Circus, that’s the nature of the game. Must-sees are Club 99 and the Piccadilly Bar crawl.
Bar crawls are great value for money, especially in London. Most follow a format that involves you paying the cost of three or four beers and in exchange you’re provided free entrance and a selected drink and shot on arrival. You actually wind up saving a lot. If you can limit yourself of course. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to explore London with fellow travellers from all over the world!
With bars, clubs, pub crawls and amazingly, home to “Ripleys, Believe it or Not!” Piccadilly Circus will offer you a night to remember!
Where to Eat During Your Three Days in London
One of the best things about travelling is the chance to experience new cultures and the food that comes with it. Even though it is London, when it comes to trying out new food you don’t have to resort to looking for Michellin Star hotspots. The heartbeat of any major city these days is street food. In that vein here are some of our favourite street food spots for you to get the most out of your cultural awakening.
Southbank Centre Food Market
Next to the Royal Festival Hall, a weekly marathon of artisanal food occurs.Travelers from all over the world enjoy a variety of delicious cuisines from the Curry Shack to Street Pig BBQ and more.
Buck Street Market
If you follow this itinerary, you’ll be passing through Camden at one point or another. Pop over to one of Camden’s crown jewels in the eating scene! Built on three levels allegedly using 52 reused shipping containers, this hipster hang out is definitely one to keep an eye out for.
KERB King’s Cross
Another spot you’re likely to see on your journey, KERBs many ventures are all on full display in Kings Cross. From 2 Lads kitchen to Dos Mas, Liberty Kitchen and the Chubby Dumpling, this spot was, according to legend, where the area’s food renaissance took place.
Located in a former truck depot and temptingly filled with electric party energy, this Shoreditch taste hub is guaranteed to either be a highlight of the beginning of your night or the end of it.
Phew! Your Itinerary for London Concluded
It’s been an amazing journey and if you’ve stuck to this guide you should get the best of what London has to offer in the short time you’re there. Going from borough to borough sounds like an exhausting journey but thanks to London’s efficient transport network, it really isn’t. In fact, it’s pretty fun, even if there’s been a drizzle or two.
If you find yourself in London for longer than three days, you might consider venturing out a little further out of the city. There are plenty of adventures and activities to be had, like a visit to Liverpool, or punting on the Cambridge backs.
London really is a fantastic city. Even if it seems like a lot to do in a short time, as long as you grab that Oyster card we mentioned earlier, you’ll be fine. Be safe, travel well and enjoy everything good old London Town has to offer!