When planning a trip to London in three days, you want to make the most of this amazing city. We have designed a free itinerary for you to follow, which includes London’s top attractions, like Big Ben, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, The Tower of London and St Paul’s cathedral.
There is so much to see in London that my first advice when spending three days in London is to make sure that you have chosen a fairly central hotel, preferably in zones 1 or 2 if possible, as you will then spend less time and save money on public transport. I would also recommend that you plan and know what routes or itineraries you are going to follow. That’s why we have written this 3-day London itinerary based on our experience.
London in three days
If it’s your first time in London and you want to see as much as possible, you need to think about going on a hop on hop off bus tour. It’s just an easy way to see a lot in a city as big as London, and it really helps you to figure out where things are if you use it on your first day. You will also get a free river cruise which is absolutely brilliant and something that I would very highly recommend.
London in Three Days: Day 1 in London
Day 1 in London
> Changing of the Guard
> Westminster Abbey
> Big Ben and London Eye
> Regent Street and Carnaby Street
> Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus
> Leicester Square and Covent Garden
> Route Map Day 1 in London
We are obviously going to head for Big Ben and London Eye for our first day in London if we are planning on visiting London in three days, so we have designed a walking route that starts at Buckingham Palace to see the famous ceremony of the Changing of the Guard, and then we will go on to explore some of the city´s most important landmarks, such as Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus…
This walking route is approximately 4.5 miles long, and I would allow at least 4 – 6 hours, although it could easily take you all day, especially if you go on the London Eye or visit Westminster Abbey.
Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
Our walking route that starts at Green Park Tube Station. From here, we´ll walk across Green Park to get to Buckingham Palace, where you’ll get a chance to watch the famous Ceremony of the Changing of the Guard. This ceremony takes place at 11 am, but we recommend that you arrive at least 30 minutes in advance as it does get quite crowded. Check confirmed dates here: Changing of the Guard in London. After watching the changing of the guard ceremony, we will then walk through the small but absolutely wonderful St James’s Park.
We will then walk along Whitehall, passing 10 Downing Street, and make our way towards Westminster Abbey. It really is a shame to visit London and not visit Westminster Abbey, so it´s something that we would recommend. If you buy your tickets in advance, you´ll skip the queues and it will be cheaper than buying the entry ticket at the door, or you can enter for free if you have a London Pass. It will take you around 2 hours to visit Westminster Abbey.
Big Ben and London Eye
From here we´ll walk past the Houses of Parliament, and we´ll be able to admire the Big Ben, obviously one of London´s most famous landmarks. We will cross Westminster Bridge and get the perfect photo of the Big Ben as well as the London Eye.
Once we cross Westminster Bridge, we can go towards the London Eye, and continue walking along the Southbank until we get to the Royal Festival Hall. This is the perfect place to stop for a coffee or a bite if we´re feeling a bit hungry, as there are plenty of restaurants and cafes. Just behind the Royal Festival Hall there is also a food market during the weekends, so that´s worth a visit.
Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus
We will cross the Thames along the Golden Jubilee Bridge and head towards Trafalgar Square, the famous piaza with the 4 lions. This is where you will find one of London´s most famous galleries, The National Gallery, which is free to enter. From here it´s only a short walk to another of London´s famous landmarks, Piccadilly Circus.
Regent Street and Carnaby Street
From here we would recommend that you walk along Regent Street, where you will spot Hamleys’ on your right, London´s most famous and biggest toy store. We will then go past Liberty, one of London’s most famous stores and discover Carnaby Street and London´s famous Soho. We will end our route through Soho, exploring the infamous Chinatown of London.
Leicester Square and Covent Garden
We will then discover Leicester Square, where you will come across another two very famous shops – M&M’s and Lego Stores. Leicester Square is where London’s Film Premieres take place, so you might bump into a famous actor if you’re lucky! From Leicester Square it’s only a short walk to Covent Garden, one of the most beautiful places in London, perfect to end your very first busy day of your trip to London. You will find lots of restaurants in this area, so it’s the perfect place to have something to eat or drink before heading back to your hotel.
This is also where you will find the vast majority of theatres in London, where we can watch the most famous musicals in London.
Map: Day 1 in London
Find out more about this walking route here: Itinerary 1: Buckingham Palace to Covent Garden
Day 2 in London
We will start our second day in London by walking along what is possibly London´s busiest and most popular street: Oxford Street, and then we´ll discover every secret that Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens have to offer before heading to explore at least one of London´s most famous museums. At the end of our route we will obviously go to Harrods, London´s most famous department store.
Oxford Street and Marble Arch
Our starting point for our second day in London is Oxford Street Tube Station. From here we´ll head west, discovering all the high street shops that Oxford Street has to offer. We will walk past John Lewis, Marks and Spencer´s, and Selfridges, being this last department store one that I would encourage you to enter. As you walk along Oxford Street keep an eye out for a little sign that indicates St Christopher´s Place, a little piazza with several restaurants and cafes that is hidden away and that definitely deserves a visit. Once you get to the end of Oxford Street you´ll find Marble Arch.
As soon as you enter Hyde Park you´ll bump into Speaker´s Corner. From here we have designed a route through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens for you to discover the most important sights of these two beautiful parks, including Peter´s Pan statue, the Italian Water Gardens, Kensington Palace and the Albert Memorial. If you are visiting London with kids don´t forget to take them to Diana Princess of Wales´Memorial Playground.
As we exit Hyde Park we´ll find ourselves in front of the amazing Royal Albert Hall. You can take a tour inside the Royal Albert Hall, and explore one of the world’s most famous concert halls. We will then walk towards South Kensington, where we’ll find some of London’s most famous museums, such as the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. It can take you a few hours to visit each of these museums, but they offer free entry, so it’s worth visiting at least one if you have time.
Our route takes you along Kensington High Street and Brompton Road until we get to Harrods, but before we head this way you can always stop for a coffee or something to eat around South Kensington Tube Station, as there are several cafes and restaurants in the area.
Map: Day 2 in London
Find out more about this walking route here: Itinerary 2: Oxford Circus, Hyde Park and Knightsbridge.
Day 3 in London
If you’re visiting London in three days, then we would recommend that you spend some time visiting the famous Tower of London and walking along the Southbank, as well as admiring St Paul’s Cathedral.
Monument and North Bank of the river
Our walking route starts at Monument’s Tube Station, where we will start walking towards London Bridge. You will see The Monument to the Great Fire of London on your left-hand side, which has a viewing platform reached by a narrow winding staircase of 311 steps. You can visit The Monument, and it’s viewing platform. As you continue walking, you will get to London Bridge, and you are then able to walk along the South Bank of the river. From here, you will get some awesome views of Tower Bridge and The Shard, London’s tallest building.
Tower of London and Tower Bridge
Walking along the North Bank of Thames, you will reach a point where you can no longer continue along the Bank of the river, and you just need to follow the road until you see one of London’s most important landmarks: The Tower of London. We highly recommend that you visit the Tower of London, as no one should visit London and miss the opportunity to see the Crown Jewels. It will take you about 2 hours to visit the Tower of London, and it’s much better if you buy the tickets in advance or you can enter for free if you have a London Pass. Inside the Tower of London, there is a wonderful cafe/restaurant where we’d recommend you try an authentic British Pie and Mash or stop for tea and cake.
Our next stop will be Tower Bridge, and not only do you get to see it, but we will cross Tower Bridge on foot. Before we go up the steps to get to Tower Bridge, though, I would recommend that you have a wander around St Katharine’s Dock, as it’s one of London’s best-kept secrets. There are numerous restaurants in this area, so it’s the ideal place if you are looking to have lunch somewhere. In St Katharine’s Dock is where we can find The Dicken’s Inn, a unique pub housed in a beautiful 18th-century warehouse serving pub food as well as fine grill and pizzeria.
We continue to walk across Tower Bridge, admiring it’s beauty. Tower Bridge Exhibition is also open to the public, and it has an astonishing viewing platform from where the views are amazing. You can buy tickets in advance or enter for free if you have a London Pass.
Once we cross Tower Bridge, we will be able to walk along the South Bank of the river Thames, a very enjoyable walk that will allow you to get a proper feeling of what it means to visit London.
You will first walk past London’s City Hall (Greater London Authority’s headquarters) and the HMS Belfast, Europe’s only surviving second world war cruiser, a historic warship and museum where you will get the opportunity to explore what life was like at war at sea. You can buy tickets in advance to visit HMS Belfast or enter for free if you have a London Pass.
As we continue walking along the South Bank, we will come to Hay’s Galleria, one of my favourite places in London. Here you will find a selection of restaurants and cafes as well as a few shops and stalls. Our next stop will be Bourough Market, one of the most spectacular markets in London. Make sure to visit during market opening days (Wednesday – Saturday) as this area is definitely not the same if the market is closed.
Continue walking along the South Bank, passing Shakespeare’s Globe, Butler’s Wharf until you reach the Tate Modern and the Millenium Bridge, with a perfect view of St Paul’s Cathedral on the other side of the river. You can then cross the Millenium Bridge to go and see St Paul’s Cathedral or continue walking along the South Bank, as you can walk all the way to the London Eye.
Map: Day 3 in London
Find out more about this walking route here: Itinerary 3: St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London and South Bank
More suggestions to spend three days in London
- London Markets: We highly recommend a visit to Camden Market or Portobello Road in Notting Hill. You could always go to one of these markets first thing in the morning and then head to Tower of London and start walking along the south bank as I mentioned above. it will be a very long day, but you can always stop and go to your hotel when you have had enough!
- London Museums: Such as the Natural History Museum, Science Museum or the Victoria and Albert Museum. You could spend a whole day in some of these museums if you’re not careful, so it really depends on how much you want to see. you could always combine a market and a museum, or a museum and the south bank walk mentioned above.
Best Travel Options when visiting London in three days
If you are visiting London in three days, the best way to get around the city is by using an oyster card or a visitor oyster card. You can also use a contacless debit or credit card on London’s public transport system, but check bank commission charges if it’s a non UK card. This is definitely the cheapest way to get around London in three days, and you can use any of those cards to go on public buses, tube, dockland light rail trains or trains within London Travel Zones.
Recommended hotels to spend three days in London
As mentioned above, you really want to be as close to zone 1 as possible, as you’ll save on transport fees as well as time. We have shortlisted a few hotels for you, based on price and location. Check them out here: Recommended hotels in London.