Incredible 3 Days in London Itinerary—See All the Top Sights

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Whether traveling to England or touring Europe, London is bound to be on your bucket list of cities to visit. You’ll surely enjoy this dreamy city with this 3 days in London itinerary.

The best part about London is that it’s a perfect solo destination and a great place to visit with friends. It’s even a popular place to visit with small children or as a honeymoon escape! 

London is massive and full of galleries, museums, restaurants, and outdoor attractions. It’s also a large melting pot. No matter where you go, you will meet locals, tourists, and ex-pats. 

While I was living in France for a little while, a good friend of mine was studying at the University of Greenwich. I visited her in London quite a bit and explored all the best areas. 

Even though London is huge, you can still see the best parts of the city by spending 3 days in London. Here is my suggested itinerary to make sure you get the most out of your visit!

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3 Days in London Itinerary

Click the links below to go directly to each section if you want to read more!

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 1

Buckingham Palace 

No trip to London is complete without seeing the queen. Well, at least seeing Buckingham Palace, where all the important things occur with the Kimg. It was built in 1703, and though the current monarch doesn’t live there, Queen Victoria did for most of her reign. 

The most popular thing to do here is to see the Changing of the Guard Ceremony. It usually happens around 11 a.m. I recommend Buckingham Palace as your first stop after breakfast. 

The ceremony is right inside the main gate and is free to watch. In the summer, you can also tour the staterooms for a fee. If you’re interested in the history of the monarchy and have some extra time, you should consider going inside. 

Here is a map of Buckingham Palace. Click here for a tour to check out the Buckingham Palace staterooms.

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Buckingham Palace

Trafalgar Square

From Buckingham Palace, head to Trafalgar Square. It’s one of the most famous spots in London. The street artists in the square are also really fun to watch. 

The main attractions in Trafalgar Square are the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery. You can enter for free, but please donate to help with the upkeep of the museums! You might need to pay a small fee to enter the galleries if there is a special exhibit. 

Both the galleries are worth visiting, especially if you are a big Monet or Picasso fan.

Here is a map of Trafalgar Square. Both the galleries are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

trafalgar square, 3 days london
Trafalgar Square

Westminster Abbey 

Westminster Abbey is definitely a must-see in London. It’s beautiful inside and outside. This will probably be the most time-consuming part of day one, so make sure to get here by early afternoon if you can give yourself enough time for your visit. 

You will receive an audio guide when you enter, and you can explore as quickly or slowly as you want. You’ll see tombs and memorials dating back thousands of years. 

The Abbey has also been the location of British royal coronations since 1066. You might also recognize the inside if you watched the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. 

If you have time after touring the Abbey, you can also go to the London Eye. Sunset is the best time to go. It offers the best views of London, especially over Westminister Abbey and Big Ben. 

It can be busy, though. Consider buying your ticket a few days or weeks beforehand so you don’t have to miss out. 

Westminster Abbey is located at 20 Deans Yd, London SW1P 3PA, United Kingdom. They’re open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. It costs 25£ ($30 US). Get your Westminster Abbey entrance ticket here.

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Westminster Abbey, photo credit: Natalie Castle

Day 2

Borough Market 

One of my favorite places in London was the Borough Market. It’s the oldest market in the UK. Some believe it was even used as a market space as far back as 1014. You can find anything in the market, from fresh seafood to fresh produce to fun souvenirs to bring home. 

I definitely recommend visiting the food stalls as well. You can find typical English food and other options from all over the world. They also have tons of vegetarian and vegan options. 

My favorite section of the market is the baked goods and cheese section. It’s fabulous all year round, but they have an incredible array of pastries during the holidays. 

The seafood section is also amazing. You can get anything you can imagine, including octopus and squid. 

Borough Market is located at 8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL, United Kingdom. They’re open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and every other day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Tower Bridge

Just a short walk from the market, you can see Tower Bridge. It’s a huge bridge that crosses the River Thames. You can walk over it as the sides have walls protecting pedestrians from cars and traffic. 

The towers are perfect for a photo-op. I recommend doing the Tower Bridge Exhibition. You get to learn about the bridge’s history and how it was built. But the best part is the glass walkway. 

It’s above the Thames, so you get stunning views below. It can definitely be hard for those afraid of heights, though. My friend freaked out a bit at the beginning but eventually was able to relax and enjoy the scenery! 

Tower Bridge is located at Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP, United Kingdom

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Show on the West End

If you want to see a musical or show while in London, West End is the best place to do so. On this side of London, over thirty theatres offer daily shows. Some of the theatres even have Broadway productions. 

Always book tickets in advance for whatever show you want to see. Here is a list of theatres in the West End and what they are currently showing. 

The West End also has a large nightlife scene. There are plenty of chances to hit up a few pubs or dance clubs once the show ends. 

Here is a map of the West End and the most popular theatres. 

Day 3

Notting Hill BookShop 

A lot of people skip Notting Hill when in London since it’s a little bit outside of the city. I don’t recommend that, as it was one of my favorite places. I loved the quieter atmosphere and quaint neighborhood feel. 

The movie Notting Hill with Hugh Grant is also one of my favorites, so I couldn’t miss visiting this neighborhood while in London. The Notting Hill Bookshop is iconic and looks just as it does in the movie. Make sure to go in and browse the books, as they have some interesting ones about the history of Notting Hill and London. 

If you have time, visit the cookbook shop across the street—Books for Cooks. They have every cookbook you can imagine, and they also offer cooking classes on some weekends. 

Notting Hill Bookshop is located at 13 Blenheim Cres, London W11 2EE, United Kingdom. They’re open every day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

outside of notting hill bookshop, unusual things to do in london
Photo credit: Natalie Castle

Portobello Road Market 

While you can shop on Portobello Road Market any day, the weekends are the best time to go. Weekend vendors come and set up stalls for antique shopping. There are also usually pop-up flea markets where you can find some unique stuff to buy to bring home. 

And if you’re hungry,  there are also some amazing food stalls! The only downside is that it gets super crowded on weekends. You might have to push through some people to see certain vendors or wait in long lines to get food, so arrive early!

The Portabello Road Market is located at Portobello Rd, London W10 5TY, United Kingdom

Lancaster Road

Lancaster Road is iconic because of its colorful houses. From yellow to teal to pink, the homes in a row on this street are absolutely stunning. 

It’s worth snapping a few photos; you’ll probably see many other people doing the same. 

Here is a map of Lancaster Road. 

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Photo credit: Natalie Castle

Bonus Day!

If you happen to have an extra day or just some extra time on your schedule, head to Greenwich. The top reason for visiting this neighborhood in my book is because of The Fudge Patch. 

It was my favorite place to go when I visited my friend at the University of Greenwich. We were always at the fudge shop! Not only is it the best fudge in London, but the owner is always there, and he’s absolutely hilarious. 

His hand-painted murals of himself all over the shop are also hilarious and give you a great insight into his personality. They have every flavor you can imagine, as well as vegan fudge! 

While in Greenwich, here are some other things to do:

  • Visit the National Maritime Museum to learn about the Royal Navy and Britain’s history of wars involving the English Channel. 
  • Relax in Greenwich Park. If you climb to the top of the hill, you also get amazing views of the River Thames. 
  • Go shopping in Greenwich Market. I bought a lot of cute gifts to bring home here and a few things for myself. They have crafts, antiques, and food vendors. 

Here is a map of Greenwich to help you get around. 

fudge patch mural, london 2 day itinerary
Photo credit: Natalie Castle

How to Get to London

When coming from outside of Europe, you’ll often fly to London Heathrow (LHR). Most international flights land at this airport. If flying from another European country, you might fly into London Gatwick (LGW) or London Stansted (STN). 

Gatwick and Standsted are smaller and much further away from the city of London, so be prepared for a long tube ride. You will also have to get off the tube and switch to other lines for the trip. 

You can also travel to London by train if you’re already in the UK. The Eurostar train also connects to the rest of the European continent and is a fast option to get to London. 

How to Get Around London

London has an amazing public transport system called “the Tube.” The underground tube and the buses both run regularly and are almost always on time. There’s no need to rent a car while in London. 

No matter how long you are in London, I recommend getting an Oyster Card. It’s London’s public transport card where you can load money and scan it to enter and exit the buses and tubes. Using this card is much easier than buying individual tickets every time you need to use public transport. 

You can also pay with Apple Wallet by scanning your phone. Just make sure to load your credit card information into the wallet. Oyster Card is still the cheapest option, as you get charged a lower price per trip than if you use your phone or buy individual tickets. 

If you’re staying in the same neighborhoods throughout the day, you might even be able to walk most places. Some people rent bikes and cycle around London. Just be careful, as drivers are on the other side of the road from most countries, and traffic is extensive!

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When to Visit London

For the best weather, visit London from March through May. This is the time of year when walking around the city will be most comfortable. You can wear light layers rather than needing to bundle up. 

Despite the colder weather, I loved London near Christmas time. The shops are beautifully decorated. The Museum of Natural History also has a beautiful tree and carousel outside. London really feels magical during the holidays. Just make sure to pack a thick coat! 

Where to Stay in London 

Budget—Travelodge London Central City Road: This is one of the lowest-cost hotels you can get in London while still being close to most of the action. It’s only one mile from St. Paul’s Cathedral. They also have a free all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet! 

Mid-range—Sea Containers: This hotel is on the South Bank close to Tower Bridge. Most of the rooms overlook the River Thames. While it’s close to many attractions and pubs, the hotel has everything you need if you don’t want to leave. There’s a spa, a cinema, a restaurant, and a cocktail lounge. 

Luxury— Corinthia London: Located conveniently in Westminster, this hotel is close to all the attractions you’ll see on your first day. It’s also one of the best 5-star hotels in London, mostly because of the spa. They have nearly twenty treatment rooms with every type of facial and massage you could imagine. 

view from london hotel, river thames, explore london

Where to Eat in London 

As you might expect, there are many dining options in London. You can get almost any kind of food imaginable. Here are some incredible options.

Farm Girl Cafe: This is a small cafe in Notting Hill. Recently, it has become pretty trendy and famous amongst tourists, so you might need to wait a while for a table as they don’t take reservations. I love the bright blue tiles on the wall. Everything about the cafe is fun and cheerful. The menu primarily consists of fresh smoothies and typical brunch food. 

Sambal Shiok: One of the best places for me in London because I love Malaysian food. You should definitely make a booking in advance to save time so you won’t have to wait for a table. I recommend the curry laksa with chicken. You can also add vegetables or tofu if you don’t eat meat. 

The Pig and Butcher: If you’re in London on a Sunday, make sure you enjoy a typical English roast like the ones here. I recommend the pork belly and apple sauce. They also have a weekday menu and a full drinks menu, making it a great spot even if you aren’t there on Sunday. 

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Photo credit: Natalie Castle

Now You Have the Best 3 Days in London Itinerary—What Are You Waiting for?

This London 3-day itinerary should have given you everything you need to explore this amazing city. If you have more time in London, feel free to explore Greenwich or some of the other neighborhoods within London. 

Have you been to London? What would you add to this itinerary?

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