3 Day London Itinerary
How can something so small be such a big part of everyone’s lives? How can something so small have more than millions of visitors every year? It’s true what they say, “good things come in small packages”. London has everything wrapped in a tiny box for people to open. In this 3 Day London itinerary, you will get the most out of London and branch out of Central London.
In 3 days, there are plenty to see if you visit the major attractions. If you buy the London Pass, you can save money, especially if you buy a Travel Oyster Card with it. You’ll be saving a lot on travel too. Click here for more details on the London Pass with an Oyster card.
Whether it’s your first time or fifth time in London, be sure to visit my London Guide. London’s social and economic climate change every day so if there are new updates on the news or online, be sure the guide will be updated.
Can you see London in 3 days?
3 days is enough to visit all the main attractions. It may not be enough to visit the hidden gems, considering most attractions take 1 – 2 hours to enter. All the major attractions get busy during the day so every website will advise getting to all the attractions as early as possible. Just prioritise what you want to see and do first.
If you don’t want to spend money to go inside all the attractions, as an alternative, visit my Free Attractions Guide.
Alternatively, spend some time visiting free museums and galleries such as the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum and many others, which is included in this itinerary. Visit my Museums and Galleries guide for information on free museums and galleries.
If you want to save time, my tip is to visit 2 attractions each day and spend more time exploring other areas of London. Most attraction tours lasts about 1 – 2 hours. If you visit 2 attractions, that’s roughly 4 hours of your day gone. For example, I spent 3 hours walking in the grounds of Tower of London. By the time I finished, it was already lunchtime, which you’d have to spare 1 hour for. If you want to do that, that’s fine but after lunch, take some time taking photos of other famous attractions or relax in the parks. London is a city where people walk, and something not a lot of people are used to. After 2 hours of walking, from experience, I do get tired. There are parks around London everywhere, make sure to stop over to relax. Click here for information on the 8 Royal Parks.
Find out whether paying for 1 or 2 tickets are worth it than buying a London Pass here. The website normally tells you how much each individual attraction costs. It depends on how much time you have and how many attractions you want to pay and visit.
The attractions mentioned below are recommended time to visit and it’s for you to use as a guide.
Tips on public transport and Oyster Card
The cheapest means of public transport are buses. It costs £1.50 per tap journey on the Oyster Card, however, traffic in Central London can get busy. It may take forever to get to your destination and the buses can pack you like sardines. You may feel claustrophobic. If you have elderly members in your party, people will give up their seats for them but not ideal if the buses are cramped together.
Mid-range transportation prices are tubes. If you tap in your Oyster card, you’ll be spending around £2 – £5 one way or more depending on where you are. You won’t be charged for interchanging between lines, but you must touch in and out, otherwise, the Oyster Card will charge you double. Contactless Credit and Debit Cards have the same value as Oyster Cards, so you can use that as an alternative.
I get asked a lot about whether to get an Oyster Card or a Travel Card. My answer is that Oyster Cards are more cheaper and convenient. Most people don’t use Travel Cards anymore, it’s a little old fashioned now for locals, but if you get the The London Pass with an Oyster, it’s so much more convenient. Travel Cards are more convenient if you’re travelling outside London.
People don’t usually get Ubers around Central London because of traffic. When I took an Uber from Leicester Square to Victoria Station, it costed me £8.65. The journey takes 3 minutes but because of traffic it took me 10 minute to get there. Just imagine going long distance. The North, West and East London are fairly busy in terms of traffic.
Avoid taxis because that can cost you double which can rise up to £15 or more, especially if you’re staying outside of Central London. Don’t forget the traffic.
If you’re travelling from other parts of the UK, coaches, buses and trains will definitely drop you off closer to the centre and you can take public transport from where they drop you off. The usual drop off point for coaches is in Victoria Coach Station, not far from the main Victoria Station itself. As for trains, London Bridge, Victoria, St. Pancras International are the main stations for travel out of London.
Transportation for Disabled and Pregnant Visitors
There is limited access on tubes for wheelchair users, it’s useful to note down. You should check for a wheelchair logo on the tube map to see where there are ramps and lifts. On the buses, there is only one space for wheelchair users. A lot of people fight for that space if there are people with baby pushchairs, however, they should give up that space for wheelchair users. Disabled people are priority here. The Transport for London staff will be happy to assist disabled people to get in and out of train and tube stations. Members of the public are more than happy to help out should you need assistance too.
There are also seats available for pregnant women on buses, trains and tubes. People would be happy to give up those seats for them.
January to April can still be cold, so bring a thick coat, preferably a raincoat, and something to keep you warm. By May, expect to feel cold for 10 minutes and warm and hot for another 10 minutes in between the rain. June – August, it will get hotter with a light wind from June time. You should expect a heatwave by August and September. October – November time is when the leaves will fall. You will feel a cool sunny breeze, a great fresh air moving away from Summer. December onwards will be Winter, so expect to bring thick coats, scarves, and gloves.
When the season changes between May – June, and September – October, it’s advisable to wear layers so that if it gets hot one minute, you can take off your sweater. When it gets cold again in the next 10 minutes, you can put it back on again.
What to pack
London is known for walking and using public transport, so make sure you have sturdy shoes and an umbrella. Yes, you may hear lots of people telling you that London is known for our rainy days. It’s true.
Bring a camera with you because if you’re using smartphones to take videos and photos, your battery can die after half a day touring the city.
Bring rucksacks so you can take off your jacket and sweaters when the weather decides to change ubruptly. You can store packed lunches in your rucksack as well. A lot of tourists nowadays like to bring light, so a nice medium bag will do.
Don’t forget your Guide to London and your itinerary.
Is the London Pass worth it for 3 days?
Because it takes between 1 – 2 hours to visit attractions inside, the London Pass is worth it. This is what the itinerary is for. It depends on how much time you have. Check the London Pass website here for more details.
Please note that some attractions aren’t available with the London Pass (two different tickets). They are available with The London Explorer Pass which you can find out here. Compare and contrast which one suits you best.
It may be cheaper to get 2 for 1 promotion and buying your Oyster Cards separately. Note that 2 for 1 deals aren’t always available at every attraction. 2 for 1 deal are available if you buy a National Rail train ticket at major stations. It’s also not ideal for people who are on a budget since entry tickets can be expensive.
You can tweak the itinerary a bit to personalise your holiday. I suggest looking at this itinerary and save it to Excel, create a specific itinerary guide for yourself for 3 days.
I will make an itinerary for a self-guided tour. An itinerary with a private tour and a London Pass. I will tell you how long each one takes. Although you may not have enough time to visit all the attractions in 3 days, you can substitute some attractions on other itineraries for more options. Click for 1 day in London, 2 days in London, 4 days, 5 days, 6 days, and 7 day itinerary guest post for co-blogger Keri.
I’m assuming you’ve just landed at the airport and have taken public transport to get to your destination? If you land in the morning, I advise you on getting to your accommodation straight away, take off your shoes, relax, and get acquainted with the services offered at your accommodation. Check out tour leaflets, tourist attractions for solo travellers, couples, and kids. Ask for information at the desk for recommendations on where to eat and what to do during the day near your area. I recommend finding accommodation near the 8 Royal Parks if you want to just relax after a long journey.
If you land at night and not too tired, then stroll around the Southbank area for a quiet, breezy walk. If you prefer a lively atmosphere, take the bus, tube, or walk to the West End area, including Oxford Street, Regent Street, and Piccadilly Circus for late-night shopping. Shops close between 8 – 9 pm. The West End is included in the itinerary. Click on the attractions in the Table of Contents to find out more about that attraction.
TABLE OF CONTENT
St. James’ Park
Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guards
Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery
WHERE TO EAT
(near Trafalgar Square)
The Lord Moon of the Mall Pub
The Silver Cross Pub
Leicester Square and China Town
Covent Garden and The Lion King
Restaurants, cafes, and pubs in Covent Garden
Shaftesbury Avenue – The theatre district
3 days in London: Day 1 of 3 – Covering the West End
St. James’ Park
At 8 – 830 am, take the tube or bus to St. James’ Park to arrive between 9 – 10 am. To get to St. James’ Park, you can take the tube to Victoria Station or Green Park Station. From Green Park Station, walk through Green Park and head towards Canada Gate (the black and gold iron gate on the other side of the park). You will see Buckingham Palace in front of you and St. James’ Park in front of Buckingham Palace. Alternatively, arrive at Victoria Station, and it will just be a 10-minute walk to St. James’ Park and Buckingham Palace.
Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guards
At 10 – 11 am, make sure you hang around in Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guards. You can see the times and dates for the Changing of the Guards here. Horse Guard Parade is next to St. James’ Park, you can either watch The Changing of the Guards in Buckingham Palace or Horse Guard Parade. The one in Horse Guard Parade is the Horse Guard Cavalry and the one in Buckingham Palace are footguards, both protecting the Queen. Get there as early as you can since it will get busy 5 minutes before the Changing of the Guards start. If you don’t like crowds, I suggest watching the one in Horse Guard Parade. Click here for my experience in The Changing of the Horse Guard Cavalry.
Watch the Changing of the Guards between 11 – 12 pm.
Once the Changing of the Guards finishes, head over to Horse Guard Parade. Walk through the Horse Guard Parade archway and you will end in Whitehall.
Trafalgar Square and The National Gallery
To your left will be Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery.
Spend no more than half an hour in Trafalgar Square and head over to the free The National Gallery. You can spend a whole day in the National Gallery, so I advise on spending no more than 1 hour here between 1 – 2pm. Walking through the Gallery for half a day will hurt your feet so I recommend not doing that.
Where to eat
Spare 1 hour for lunch between 12 – 1 pm. There is a Tesco supermarket if you are on a budget. You can get a bottle of drinks of your choice, a sandwich, a chocolate bar, or a packet of crisps (potato chips) for under £5 and sit in Trafalgar Square.
If you want to experience traditional British food, check out two British pubs I recommend, The Lord Moon of the Mall and The Silver Cross pub. The price range for eating in pubs are usually between £5 for sharing platter to £6 – £15 for bigger meals such as fish and chips and pie. Pubs in Central London can be busy and difficult to find a table, so beware.
Leicester Square and China Town
Next, walk towards Leicester Square (the home of film premiers). Don’t spend too much time here. Take a few photos with statues of Bugs Bunny, the characters from Singing in the Rain, Mr. Bean, Paddington Bear, and the Shakespeare Memorial. People usually walk by Leicester Square and Chinatown, nothing more. There are plenty of restaurants, pubs and bars around here if you want to grab something to eat. Go up to Indigo Hotel’s 9th Floor to see a bird’s eye view of half of London from the top. The view isn’t that great during the day, if you can, go up there at night.
As for Chinatown, admire the Chinese Gates next to the M&M’s Store. If you feel like having Oriental dishes, spend some time here.
Spend 1 hour in the M&Ms and Lego Stores. Both stores can be very busy and can get claustrophobic. Spend no more than 30 minutes in Leicester Square.
Piccadilly Circus is nothing but a square to hang out in. You usually hear buskers and people eating and sitting by Shaftesbury Memorial. This is a great chance to take photos in front of the billboards. Take no more than 15 minutes in Piccadilly Circus. Piccadilly Circus lights up at night and the billboard lights reflect the vehicles below.
Regent Street is connected to Piccadilly Circus if you feel like shopping at big high street and high-end stores. Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road are connected to Regent Street. It can get dark at around 5 pm – 6 pm, this is when London lights up. Shops around these areas open between 8 am – 9 am and close between 8 pm and 9 pm every day. Most stores open at 11 am and close at 6 pm on Sundays.
Check out the small cobbled Carnaby Street alleyway for small independent and chained stores. Liberty’s for luxurious fashion, beauty, and homeware shopping experience. You will admire the dark, intimate 15th – 17th Century Tudor architecture here.
For the kids, check out Hamley’s Toy Store. You will often see sales assistants entertaining passersby and encouraging you to enter the store. It gets busy here too.
If you love electronics, check out the flagship Apple Store, which also gets busy day and night.
You won’t have time to visit all the stores mentioned above if you want to save time, but I recommend spending no more than 2 hours shopping in these areas. You can save going to Regent Street on another day.
From Piccadilly Circus, you can walk towards Covent Garden, (an 11-minute walk or 8 minutes by tube on the Piccadilly Line (dark blue line) and window shop at the Apple Market for hand made jewelry, fashion, and art as well as the Jubilee Market for souvenirs. There are many luxurious and high street fashion stores and quirky shops. Check their website to find out about the quirky toys you can expect to buy. They’ve been open for 100 years. Check out my favourite store Moomin which sell quirky books, gadgets, tableware, clothing, stationery. Check their website to find out about the quirky gadgets you can buy.
Checking out another Apple store here for Apple gadgets. The crowd here isn’t any different from the one in Regent Street. Check out the London Transport Museum where you’ll be immersed in the history and development of British transportation dating back to the 18th Century.
The Lyceum Theatre for The Lion King is 5 minutes walk from Covent Garden. This is a long running theatre show in London since 1999.
Restaurants, cafes and pubs in Covent Garden
There are many fast-food restaurants, British pubs, and high-end restaurants to choose from here. Fast food restaurant Shake Shack is around £12 for burger, chips and drinks. Pubs selling fish and chips and traditional British pies is around £12 – £15 such as The White Lion Pub, Nag’s Head, and The Lamb and Flag. Of course, there’s Tesco and Sainsbury’s Supermarket for your £5 meal deals (bottle of drink, packet of crisps (a bag of potato chips) and a sandwich).
For restaurants, you can try Steak and Co. and Flat Iron for great steak and general European dishes. Flat Iron can get very busy so make a reservation before entering. The service is 5* and the food came out on time. We only waited 20 – 30 minutes for our food. The price range was between £10 – £15 +, which is standard price in restaurants around Central London.
If you’re fit enough, you can walk to all the activities mentioned above. Otherwise, take the bus or tube. Note that buses can get really packed and traffic can slow down your journey. Taking the tube is easier and quicker. It can also be packed, especially during rush hour. Depending on what tube line you take, most tubes aren’t really that busy, day and night.
Shaftesbury Avenue – The Theatre District
At around 6 – 8pm, go back to Piccadilly Circus and head over to Soho for lively entertainment and dinner. There are plenty of places to eat, from cafes, budget to high end restaurants, pubs, and clubs as well as a great spot for the LGBT community. Shaftesbury Avenue, the theatre district is next to Soho if you bought tickets to see a theatre show here. Two major theatre shows Thriller, the Michael Jackson show and Les Misérables are on the same street. Harry Potter the Cursed Child is at the end of Shaftesbury Avenue, at Charing Cross Road. The British Museum is around 9 minutes walk from Harry Potter The Cursed Child.
Check Tripadvisor and Bookings.com for accommodations near your preferred attractions.
If you’re looking for cheap accommodation for £35 or under between January – May (maybe June), check Travelodge, Premier Inn, Holiday Inn, EasyHotel as well as independent inns, pubs and hostels around the area.
Premier Inn, Holiday Inn and Travelodge prices can rise during peak times between July, August, and September. I advise on staying in lodges, inns, hostels, pubs and bed and breakfast during peak times. You can find these types of accommodation for £35 or below all year round.
I would avoid accommodations in Central London if you’re on a budget. Try to find them outside Central London such as North, East, West, and South London. Most areas in North, East, and West London can be quite rough but from the North, East and West London, they can be more accessible to nearby attractions and eateries by tubes and buses. Click here for information on safety during your visit. The North, East and West London are the most multicultural areas of London.
TABLE OF CONTENT
Big Ben and Parliament
The Southbank area
WHERE TO EAT
(near the Southbank area)
The Old Thames Inn Pub
The Anchor Bankside
Coppa Club Tower Bridge
The London Eye
Sea Life London Aquarium
Shrek The Experience
Shakespeare’s Globe and Theatre
Tower of London and Tower Bridge
4 days in London: Day 2 of 4 – Covering the Southbank
The Southbank area
At night, it gets really dark, whatever the season. Other than Christmas time, walk along the Southbank area for a peaceful stroll by the River Thames. It’s recommended that you find accommodation in this area. All you could hear are the rustling of the trees and the distant beeping of vehicles. You can see Tower Bridge, The Shard, and the Tower of London illuminate at night. The twinkling of lights from the office building on top of the River Thames can be seen in the dark like fireflies and the cool breeze gives you fresh air.
The Southbank area is the place to relax and enjoy social time with your family and friends. You can spend the whole day in Southbank if you visit all the attractions around here. During the summer, there will be children splashing about in the fountains by the Southbank Centre, people eating ice cream and enjoying the cool summer breeze.
During the winter months, usually between January – March, expect to see rain and lots of it, :), however, when it’s not raining, enjoy the cool fresh air sweeping across your face. Enjoy the Christmas markets in December and the gulp of hot mulled wine seeping down your throat into your stomach. Why not enjoy the smell of hot burgers and chips while shopping for winter warmers and Christmas decorations? Click here for information on the Christmas markets.
If you want to go straight to the Southbank area, there are many routes you can take. You can start your walk from London Bridge and visit Borough Market for 30 minutes for breakfast or lunch if you like.
You can also get off at Waterloo Station and walk towards the Southbank Centre for theatre shows.
In Westminster Abbey, opening times are between 10 am – 3 pm Monday to Saturday, 12:30 pm – 2 pm on Sundays. You will expect to see and hear 1000 years’ worth of history about the British monarchy, poets, scientists and prime ministers. Memorials and burials are found here including William Shakespeare, Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, Edward the Confessor and many more. You will be given auditory headphones and can be listened to in more than 5 languages. Spend 1 hour here and take photos of Big Ben and Parliament or the Southbank area.
Big Ben and Parliament
Big Ben’s Clock Tower is under refurbishment until late 2021. There are usually many tours you can take, from 45 minutes to 2 hours innside. Right now, tours in The House of Parliament has been postponed due to COVID-19, but you can go on a free virtual tour to get a feel of what you’ll see and experience when you do decide to visit.
If you love contemporary art and theatre, visit the Southbank Centre where you’ll see independent theatre productions and art. Right now, the Southbank Centre isn’t showing any theatre shows but there are virtual shows on their website here. You get a feel of what Southbank Centre offers so you can plan your future trip. The Southbank Centre is always busy day and night, offering different theatre shows for different age groups, including Christmas shows every year. All I can say is that it’s a great social hangout for everyone
Where to eat
Spare 1 hour for lunch or dinner in between visiting attractions. There is a Tesco supermarket if you are on a budget. You can get a bottle of drinks of your choice, a sandwich, a chocolate bar, or a packet of crisps (potato chips) for under £5.
There is also Sainsbury’s supermarket if you are on a budget. You can get a bottle of drinks of your choice, a sandwich, a chocolate bar, or a packet of crisps (potato chips) for under £5.
If you want to experience traditional British pubs, I recommend The Old Thames Inn Pub, The Anchor Bankside, and the Founder’s Arms. the pubs are right next to the Thames and every one of them offers great services. Although The Anchor Bankside Pub looks visually appealing, the busy environment and service are no different from the other two pubs mentioned. The price range for eating in pubs is usually between £5 for sharing to £6 – £15 for bigger meals such as fish and chips and pie. Pubs in Central London can be busy and difficult to find a table, so beware.
Coppa Club Tower Bridge – Opening times are between 7:30am – 11pm Monday – Thursday, Friday between 7:30am – Midnight, Saturday between 9 am – Midnight, Sunday 9 am – 10:30 pm. Coppa Club Tower Bridge is also situated further down from the Southbank. Take the tube to Tower Hill (Circle and District Line – Green and Yellow Line). You will see the Tower of London, it will be next to the Tower of London. It’s also overlooking the River Thames and The Shard. Coppa Club Tower Bridge is a popular restaurant attraction, not to mention an Instagram worthy place to take photos of the igloo seating areas. Click here for my dining experience at the Coppa Club Tower Bridge. You will find information about reservations and the igloo.
There is no need for introduction for The Shard. The tallest building in Europe overlooking the River Thames. I must say that the view is stunning at night. I recommend going to The Shard in the evening. Take the train or bus to London Bridge Station and it will be just in front of you. The service is also 5* and if your budget can afford it, then have lunch and dinner here. You can just have a few drinks to enjoy the view of London.
The London Eye
The London Eye is one of London’s Top 10 attractions and you may be able to get a discount when you buy 2 for 3, 3 for 4, or 5 for five attraction tickets in one of the attractions’ receptions around the Southbank. I spent £60 for 4 for 5 attractions back in 2019, but it may be cheaper now or with The London Pass. Shop around. It takes 30 minutes for the London Eye to go round. Opening times may vary during COVID. During the summertime, The London Eye opens from 10 am – 8:30 pm. During the winter times, The London Eye opens from 11 am – 6 pm.
The London Eye opened on 31 December 1999 to mark the start of the 2000 millennium by former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Originally called the Millennium Wheel, it was only supposed to be open temporarily, but the council granted them permission to keep it permanently.
Previously called the Millennium Wheel, the London Eye is 135 metres tall so you can see a bird’s eye view of London. The London Eye has been a popular icon in films, music videos, television shows, best-selling novels, and soap operas.
Although London can be very industrial with construction and road works, it’s hard to see some of the major attractions, however, you can view some of the major ones in half an hour. The first three attractions are Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and the River Thames. Not all major attractions, but you’re able to see them in Lego size view. With more than 3 million visitors going on the London Eye, it’s still the top 10 attractions to visit when coming to London. Click here for my experience in the London Eye.
Sealife London Aquarium
Sealife London Aquarium takes 45 minutes and opens 7 days a week from 10am – 3:45pm. Discover marine mammals. Meet the sharks and stingrays. Join behind the scenes tour on how they care for 600 species. Explore the Amazon jungle and meet beetles, spiders, and bugs. Visit The Polar Experience and meet various penguins swimming inside the “frozen ocean”. Watch them shoot up towards the “ice sheets” at the top. Touch a live starfish with an experienced guide and get up close and personal with the sea creatures.
It’s very educational for children and adults alike. The place is also great for marine, bugs and insect lovers. Click here for my experience in Sealife. The guide covers information on different types of species in different areas of the ocean, general information about nearby attractions, promotional discounts, how long to spend time in Sealife, tips, and useful information.
Shrek The Experience is an interactive story about Shrek. It’s great for children of all ages. When I went with a friend and her children, there were children from 10 years or younger. From experience, the characters from Shrek made funny jokes to the children and it seems that they didn’t understand what it’s about. There were confused faces but that didn’t stop them from having a good time. If you love a live interactive story about Shrek, the dark environment, and colourful props, then Shrek The Experience is a great attraction to see. Make sure you take pictures with Donkey at the entrance.
Tate Modern is FREE. Opening times are between 10 am – 6 pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Friday and Saturday are open between 10 am – 10 pm.
Here, you can see pieces of art and photography in all shapes and sizes. The front of the gallery is quite cool. The Millennium Bridge is right in front of Tate Modern which leads to Central London and St. Paul’s Cathedral. There are huge parks, benches, and tall trees in the middle where people socialise and relax.
The entrance to the gallery isn’t that attractive though, what fascinated me was that the gallery had been built inside a former power station which closed down in 1981. Since then, the building had several proposals to host exhibitions and events, museums, and many more but was unsuccessful until 1995. The Tate Gallery then opened to host art in all its glory. If you are interested in contemporary art, photography, 2D and 3D designs, and many more, check out Tate Modern. There are events and exhibitions here too so check out their website.
Shakespeare’s Globe and Theatre Museum
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is a chance to tour the theatre and get the chance to find out the history behind the theatre itself. It only takes 40 minutes with a guide along with around 10 – 20 people. Opening times are between Monday – Friday. 11.30am – 10.00pm. Saturday & Sunday. 10.30am – 10.00pm. The entrance fee for the theatre tour is £17.50 adult price, but I feel for 40 minutes, £17.50 is quite expensive. A lot of people got bored with the guide but can be educational at the same time.
You’re able to go inside the theatre and see actors rehearse their lines and you can watch a Shakespeare show for £5.
As for the museum, it’s free of charge. You will see a mini model of the theatre and many tools and works Shakespeare produced. The museum is quite small and intimate and there weren’t many people in the museum when I visited. No worries about crowds.
Tower of London and Tower Bridge
The Tower of London tour lasts 2 – 3 hours including the Wardour Tour. Make sure you free your time for this if you decide to learn about 1000 years of British history.
Discover the Crown Jewels, meet the Ravens, join the Guided Yeoman Warden Tour, explore 1000 years of British history, visit The White Tower and the areas where they beheaded kings, queens, and prisoners for hundreds of years. Located in the banks of the River Thames and founded in 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England, the Tower of London is what shapes London today. Bloody stories lie behind the walls. Read more about the secrets in the Tower.
The Tower had also been treated unfairly by wealthy, powerful people while inflicting harm upon the rest of London.
Founded in 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England, the Tower of London is also near major attractions. Tower Bridge, The Shard, River Thames, a few minutes’ walk to the Southbank, a few miles to London Bridge Station and Borough Market. It was also used as a prison from 1100 for the Norman Bishop Ranulf Flambard but its purpose was to serve as a Royal residence. Click here for my experience on the tour on what to expect.
As for Tower Bridge, it takes 45 minutes for the tour. Opening times and hours vary. Check the website here for more details on opening times, entry price, and pre-booking tickets in advance. The experience for me wasn’t what I expected. The queue to go up the Bridge was quite tight because the entrance is placed in the middle of the bridge. Be prepared to be squashed with 20 or more people to get into the lift. Alternatively, you can take the stairs if you’re fit enough and you’ll be able to see timelines of when the bridge was built. The staircase is very medieval but it seems people don’t take notice of it.
Once you get to the bridge, you will see the view of London and the River Thames. It was raining when I went but the view from Tower Bridge wasn’t that spectacular. You will be able to walk on a glass floor above the River Thames if you’re brave enough to walk on top. You’ll also get a sticker to say “I did it”. To be honest, the information was more about the construction of the bridge more than the history and story of what happened in Tower Bridge.
You are then taken to The Engine Room. Unfortunately, this is just a museum, not the actual engine room itself. The website made it sound like you’ll be visiting the actual engine room itself. You can book to see the actual engine room through their website but it’s not a part of the tour. It’s better to walk through the Bridge rather than taking the tour. Plus, the entrance fee is super expensive for 45 minutes.
TABLE OF CONTENT
Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour (Golden Tours)
The Natural History Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum
The Science Museum
The British Museum
The Royal Albert Hall
Kensington Gardens and Diana Princess of Wales Memorial
WHERE TO EAT
(near Kensington High Street)
The Stanhope Arms Pub
The Tavern Pub
The Hereford Arms Pub
LATE NIGHT SHOPPING
Oxford Street, Regent Street and Tottenham Court Road
3 days in London: Day 3 of 3 – Covering Museums, Galleries, Hop On Hop-Off Bus Tour and Shopping
Hop On Hop Off Tour
I recommend the Golden Tours bus for the Hop-on Hop-Off Tour.
Between 8 – 8:30pm, see if you can spend an hour in one of London’s free attractions or hidden gems before going on the Hop On, Hop Off Tour. Some hidden gems can be found between the Hop on Hop Off stops too.
Check out my post here on 8 Royal Parks of London for suggestions.
Check out my guest post on Hidden Gems in London here for suggestions.
Click here for the timetables, prices, and other attractions with Golden Tours. There are 2 buses, the morning bus runs between 10am – 12pm and the evening bus running between 4pm – 5:55pm. So, depending on where you are, make sure you arrive on time at that bus stop.
Museums and Galleries
You can either visit free museums first or last. I recommend taking no more than an hour in each museum and on your third day, spend some time in free museums. Read my free museums and galleries post here and the British Museum post here.
They are all proximity to each other and free of charge. These museums have many activities for children. Check out their websites for details.
For the museums, take the tube to South Kensington or Gloucester Road (both Circle and District Line (green and yellow lines) and walk towards:
The Natural History Museum
Opening times are between 10 am – 5:50 pm being the last entry at 5:30 pm.
Whether you’re an insect lover or a dinosaur lover, there are bound the be areas where you can see their fossils, descriptions of their history, and several hours of fun and education in the Natural History Museum. Scientists, paleontologists, and archaeologists are still working tirelessly to dig more into the world of historical species. We look forward to finding more species and animals to add to the collection. Click here for my experience at the Natural History Museum and here to book a slot to visit.
Victoria and Albert Museum
Opening times are between 10 am – 5:45 pm, Fridays are between 10 am – 10 pm.
What comes to mind when you hear the word Victoria and Albert? Yes, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the most significant members of the royal family. London has dedicated a museum under their name and it’s for you to enjoy getting lost in it. Like the British Museum, the museum hosts 5000 years of art and design created by people throughout history. I haven’t had the chance to write about my experience in the V&A’s yet because of COVID but in the meantime, click here for the V&A Museum website so you can plan ahead.
The Science Museum
Opening times are between 10 am – 6 pm every day.
Whether you’re a science buff, want to become a scientist in the future or you ARE a scientist, then head over to the Science Museum. There are so many things to see and do that you have little time and day to visit everything. From visiting an interactive gallery, visiting a collection of medicines from the past to the present, learning about codebreaking, silent discos, and discover the science city between the 14th to the 17th Century, you’re bound to walk out with science knowledge in your head. Click here to book a slot for your visit to the Science Museum website and my experience here.
The British Museum
The British Museum takes 27 minutes with the Piccadilly Line from The Science Museum. (Opening times are between 10 am – 17:30 pm Monday to Thursday, 10 am – 8:30 pm, 10 am – 5:30 pm Saturday and Sunday).
Stop at Russell Square Station and it’s a 6-minute walk from there. Alternatively, stop at Tottenham Court Road Station (Red line) and walk towards Tottenham Court Road, turn right to Great Russel Street, and just walk straight up for 5 minutes.
From the British Museum, Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue is just 9 minutes’ walk from the West End theatres, Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, Chinatown, Trafalgar Square, and the Soho area.
The first museum that comes to mind when people come to London in the British Museum. This is the first place I think of when I want to visit museums and art galleries. The British Museum doesn’t just cover British artifacts, it covers the history of the world. Explore collections from the Americas, Africa, Europe, animals that have had a massive influence on our society, Egypt and so much more, it would be impossible to cover the whole museum in just one day. You probably have to dedicate three days in order to cover everything. Click here for my experience at the British Museum and here to book a slot for your visit on the website. There will be tips and what to see in the museum.
Where to eat
If you visit all of the museums, that will be 5 hours of your time gone, not including lunchtime. 5 hours spending time walking in all of the museums can be tiring, so choose your time wisely, or visit 1 museum, have lunch and visit another museum.
There are also places to eat around this area and pubs for traditional British food including The Stanhope Arms, Humphrey’s Bar, The Tavern, and The Hereford Arms.
The Royal Albert Hall
Once, you’ve finished visiting the museums, walk 6 minutes towards the Royal Albert Hall for great photo snaps. Feel free to watch a concert if your time and budget can afford it. It’s best to book in advanced before you arrive. Take around 20 minutes taking photos here. There are many 18th and 19th Century buildings worth admiring here too
Then, relax in Kensington Gardens, the Diana Princess Memorial fountain (during the summer, adults and children splash about and get their feet wet) Hyde Park, and Kensington Palace. Kensington Palace takes an hour to visit. Kensington Palace contains Queen Elizabeth II’s and Princess Diana’s costumes. I don’t think it’s as good as Buckingham Palace State Rooms. Don’t spend too much time in Kensington Palace and Kensington Gardens.
In my opinion, it’s better to see Buckingham Palace State Rooms in the summer. If you’ve seen Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace is nothing different. £21.50 entry is quite expensive.
Late night shopping
For a luxury late night shopping experience, from Hyde Park Corner, you can walk through Hyde Park or take the buses 14, 74, or 414 and it will be 6 minutes to Knightsbridge. By tube, it will only be 1 stop away from Hyde Park Corner with the Piccadilly Line.
Late night shopping in Central London can be stressful because there are so many people gathered together, from locals to tourists. People who have never been to London get excited about shopping in Oxford Street and Regent Street, but in reality, it’s not glamorous. Your feet can get tired if you’re not used to walking and even if you take the tube or buses, you’ll be squashed together with other people. Some people usually avoid tubes for this reason. There will usually be traffic on buses while squashed together and will take time to get to your destination.
Harrods – opens between 10 am – 8 pm every day, and 10 am to 6 pm Sundays. A lot of Brits don’t really shop in Harrods. Harrods has been commercialised a lot in the media and people usually come here for window shopping or socialising. Only the wealthy would buy something here.
Harvey Nichols – opens between 10 am – 8 pm Monday to Friday, 12noon – 6 pm Sundays (browsing only between 11:30 am – 12noon).
Alternatively, you can visit Selfridges in Marble Arch (16 minutes taking the 137 bus and 3 minutes’ walk from Marble Arch) – Opens between 10 am – 9 pm Monday and Tuesday, 9 am – 9 pm Wednesday – Saturday, 11:30 am – 6 pm Sunday. You can literally walk along the edges of Hyde Park to get to Marble Arch and Oxford. It’s not far if your feet can manage it.
If that’s not enough, visit Liberty’s Store. From Selfridges, take the 94 and 159, stop at Oxford Circus if walking isn’t for you. From Oxford Circus Station, you’ll see the Apple Store, it will be on the same street as the Apple Store and will be a 4-minute walk. Liberty’s open between 10 am – 9 pm Monday to Saturday, Sunday 11:30 am – 6 pm, and Public Holidays between 12 pm – 6 pm. Otherwise, you can walk to Regent Street for 20 minutes from Oxford Street.
If you wish to see The Harry Potter Studio in 3 days, you may have to substitute some attractions and spare half a day free if you can. Otherwise, spend 4 or 5 days in London. You’ll be tired after your trip since it’s situated outside of London and can take more than 1 hour to get there by train. Have seen the Harry Potter Studio and looking for some day trips from London. Here are some best family day trips from London for inspiration.
There are many interchanges between trains. Make space for your journey time. Depending on where you’re staying, check out Citymapper or Tfl for travel options or journey planner to The Harry Potter Studio. You can use them to travel in and around London as well.
I recommend Euston Station for the The Harry Potter Studio. It will get you there in 55 minutes.