London's zoo is ideal for the young and young at heart and contains fantastic exhibits including Tiger Territory, Gorilla Kingdom, Penguin Beach and Rainforest Life. Kensington Palace is a beautiful historic house that contains exhibitions relating to royal women dating back to the 17th century. Explore what life was like for royals from Queen Victoria to Princess Diana, in this palace set in picturesque gardens adjoining Hyde Park.
If you'd rather get stuck into some of Britain's wartime history, The London Pass gives you access to three fantastic museums. The banquet takes place in the torchlit, vaulted cellars of Ivory House near the Tower of London. You get a four-course banquet meal with unlimited beer and wine, followed by music and dancing! Make the most of The London Pass, the capital's attractions card, and save money with our three-day sightseeing itinerary.
Here's our suggested itinerary for first-time visitors to London with a three-day London attractions pass plus Travelcard the travelcard is an optional extra to make the most of your time here. Buy London Pass Save time and money Read more. All day: Thames river cruise Cruise by London's top attractions. Image courtesy of City Cruises. First things first, you will want to arm yourself with the best possible resources for taking on this 3 days in London itinerary.
This is hands down the best way to experience the city. It will not only take you to the best sites in London with some cheeky narrative, but also allow you to see the city while you move between them. We like this way better than moving between places underground. You will get one day included in your London Pass, so be sure to take that into consideration if you also buy that pass. Big Ben is the name of the booming bell which reverberates from Elizabeth Tower, the highest point of the Palaces of Westminster, home of the British Parliament. Parliament has been meeting in this spot since the early s and the sounds and sights of Big Ben have come to represent London itself.
Go where so few tourist get to go, inside the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abby. Enjoy a tour of the inside of the Houses and Parliament and learn about British politics from a local guide. This tour a small group tour and sells out almost every tour. History and politics buffs will love their books and unique themed gifts, but you can also pick up classic gifts like teddy bears, pens, English tea, and milk chocolate in the shape of Big Ben. A church has stood on this since for nearly 1, years.
And what a millennium it has been! In , William the Conqueror started a tradition that has been faithfully upheld — every English monarch has held coronation in Westminster. A fair number have been baptized, married, and eventually buried here as well. As well, London Walks, the legendary British walking tour company, offers guided walks of the area and a comprehensive tour of the Abbey. Hop back on the bus and get off at the next stop, Buckingham Palace.
Now for a moment of travel truths— the Changing of the Guards is often a bit of a disappointment. The ceremony is thrilling but the large crowds make it difficult to get a great view. If attending the ceremony is on your life long travel bucket list, do a bit of advanced research to confirm the time it varies by season and arrive ahead of time to stake out a good spot.
Buckingham Palace is the current residence for Her Majesty the Queen and the royal family so it is quite stately and impressive. You can enter the Palace and tour its 19 state rooms. Bumping into the Queen would be one of the most unique things to do in London. Walk about 20 minutes to Trafalgar Square and grab some lunch. There are a number of restaurants in the area to fit any budget. On any given day, you might enjoy gnocchi, eggplant, and sweet pepper cooked in a cream sauce with melted English cheddar, with sides of roasted zucchini, garlic bread, and salad for lunch.
Day One: London attractions on and around the Thames
You could easily spend several hours here depending on how much you like art. Depending on the time of year, you may be able to hop back on the bus and ride one more route. The red route features live English commentary which is great to listen to while on one of the open top buses. In the summer the buses run until 7pm and just riding around could take hours.
Day two features attractions that are generally close together and offer easy walking but you still need to consider transportation to and from your hotel room, and also how tired you might be throughout the day. You load money onto the card at the kiosk, pay a cheaper cost per ride compared to the single use tickets, and only have to pay 3 trips per day.
For our itinerary, I would recommend a 2 day card that gives access to zones 1 and 2. Take the underground to London Bridge station. Just a few minutes away, battle your homesickness by having an all American breakfast at The Breakfast Club.
The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Your First Trip to London
This family run cafe is well known for its unique restaurants, all day breakfast menus, and its secret bars. The art and artifacts on display are open free to the public beginning at a. Highlights include the Rosetta Stone, sculptures from the Parthenon, and a vast Egyptian collection including mummies. If you plan to see a musical or a play later and you certainly should! This iconic London crossroads has monuments, historic buildings, museums, and street performers.
Buses leave from Central London and travel to the magical sets of the famed movie and book series. Plus, get to see some of the most famous props and the costumes worn by Harry, Ron, and Hermione. London is a great city to explore. They each are worthy of their own half-day visit. The exquisite state rooms at Windsor Castle are open to the public when the Queen is not in residence. The palace creates a historical experience by revealing the inner workings of how the palace operated in its heyday.
The Heathrow Express is a quick and efficient way to get into the city from Heathrow Airport. The train leaves every 15 minutes and arrives in just about the same time to Paddington Station. Gatwick Airport also has an express train which arrives at Victoria Station. Trains run every 15 minutes and take a half hour to reach London. Both express trains offer considerable discounts for booking online and ahead of time. Both airports also have commuter trains, buses, and taxis to get you into London. Except for the taxis, these options are less expensive than the express trains mentioned above but do take more time.
You can check prices and schedules for Heathrow Connect trains or Southern Railways from Gatwick to compare. Pro Tip: Splurge on an express train, if you can, for a quick and easy trip. Then, use the Tube from Paddington or Victoria to get to your hotel in order to avoid London traffic and an expensive taxi ride. It comes with the convenience of not having to manage the trains and is more affordable than taking a taxi from the airport. Taxis are expensive and London traffic is heavy. Visitors staying for a few days should get an Oyster Card for easy use and refills in the Tube.
Your Oyster Card is good for your first trip to London and every return trip thereafter! If it makes sense for your time in London, add an Oyster Card to your London Pass purchase to bundle the savings. London is also pedestrian-friendly, especially along the Thames. The Riverwalk is a clear path connected with several bridges to help you cross to the other side.
A Week in England: The Best 5 Day London Itinerary
The Sumner Hotel — A quaint, mid-priced townhouse hotel near Marble Arch and Hyde Park with comfortable rooms and a super attentive staff. Rooms are a classic modern boutique style for which Radisson Blu hotels are known. In addition to spending time at Borough Market with an empty stomach, here are a few quintessential food experiences not to be missed on a London visit. So, have you traveled to London? What have I missed? Like this post? Please share it on social media using the share buttons below! Such a great guide! Thanks, Tamara! Glad the guide will be useful when you make it to London.
Thanks for reading and sharing on Pinterest, Natalia. Love the Pro Tops plus how you broke each day down into categories. What a great way to see London! I also like how you included things to see if it is your first time there. Going anywhere for the first time can be so overwhelming! Especially in a big place like London, Bryanna. You made me want to visit London again! Love the way you divided the itinerary with themes and suggestions for good food.
London is such a huge city and planning a trip there for the first time can be overwhelming, you just make it so easy! Wish I had your cheat-sheet on m first trip to London! You certainly covered all the hot spots and then some. Loved your tips! Can you share a bit more about the oyster card? Thanks, Amanda! The card is 5 pounds to buy, after which you load some money onto it. Hope that helps! I love the addition of the pro tips, especially times of day best to visit.
I do love London, but timed a few things wrong, ending up in bigger crowds than I like. Thanks, Rhonda. I certainly know that feeling of being in a crowd and wanting to be anyplace but there! Glad the pro tips will help for your next London trip. Hi Jackie! Any tips for going to London with a toddler? Hi Jen!
So exciting to hear about your trip. The Changing of the Guard with its parade, music, and horses are also toddler-friendly. If that show is too long, how about The Gruffalo? Let me know if you have any more questions and have a great trip!! Awesome, thank you for this! Most museums and art galleries are free and fantastic but eating at fancy hotels is only for the rich! As for traditional fish and chips, there is a great place in Waterloo road called Superfish. Hi, Joanne and thanks for the tip about Superfish! Totally agreed about eating in hotels, too expensive.
I only splurged on the Dorchester Tea because we wanted to have a fancy afternoon. Thanks again for reading. Hi, thank you for your tips. Do you recommend Stonehenge?
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Hi Helene, Thanks for reading and commenting. You know, as many times as I have been to London, I have not made it to Stonehenge.
There are some great tips here. Just trying to get a place to eat together will be challenging.