Plan your amazing 4 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 4 Day London itinerary, you will get the most out of London and branch out of the centre.
In 4 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 for more details on the London Pass with an Oyster Card. Find out whether paying for 1 or 2 tickets on the doors are worth than buying a London Pass. The website normally tells you how much each individual attraction costs. It also depends on how much time you have and how many attractions you want to pay and visit.
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. Before you travel, make sure you check out the COVID regulations on the Government website.
Can you see London in 4 days?
4 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 to get to all the attractions early as possible. Just prioritise what you want to see and do first.
If you don’t want to spend money inside all the attractions, you can see London for free. There are many things to do in London for free. Visit my Free Attractions Guide and London on a budget post to find out more. 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 also 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. 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. I got tired walking for 2 hours. There are parks around London everywhere. If you decided to live in the suburbs, there are also local parks that are great with the locals. You’d be away from the tourist spots, and it’s more intimate. Make sure to stop over to relax. For tourist parks, the 8 Royal Parks of London is a must to visit. It’s not as intimate as the local parks, but there are more things to do and live events that happen every season.
Tips on public transport and Oyster Card
Bused are the cheapest means of public transport. It costs £1.55 per tap journey within an hour on the Oyster Card. So, if you hop on two buses within an hour, you won’t get charged twice. However, traffic in Central London can get busy, it may take forever to get to your destination, the buses can pack you like sardines, and you may feel claustrophobic. Although it’s busy on buses during COVID, it’s slightly spacious now we’re back to normal, but it does get busier as times move on. If you have elderly members in your party, people will give up their seats for them, but it’s not ideal if the buses are cramped together.
Tubes are in the mid-range spot in terms of price. If you tap in your Oyster card, you’ll be spending around £2 – £5 one way or more depending on where you are. It doesn’t work the same way as buses though, so if you tap in and out twice within the hour, you get charged. Although quite expensive, tubes are the quickest way to get to your destination, but there will be a daily cap so you won’t spend more than what you paid for if you travel frequently. On average, people spend around £11 – £15 a day on travel around Central London. Click here to find out how travel caps work. You won’t be charged for interchanging between lines, but you must touch in and out, otherwise, your 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. 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 depending on how long you’re in London. The longer you’re here, the cheaper the London Pass with an Oyster Card will be. 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.
Avoid taxis because that can cost you double which can rise up to £15 or more, especially if you’re staying outside 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 Victoria Coach Station, not far from the main Victoria Station itself. As for trains, London Bridge, Victoria, and St. Pancras International are the main stations for travel out of London, and Victoria Station has links to Gatwick Airport if you take the Gatwick Express train. If you want to go up north of the UK, get off at Victoria Station and take the Gatwick Express to Gatwick Airport. Scotland is a recommendation for a weekend trip if your budget can afford it after a 4 day trip to London. For weekend inspiration, check out the best staycations in Scotland. It takes around an hour and a half to get there depending on where you want to go. Check out Megabus and National Express websites for more details on buses for travel out of London.
Transportation for Disabled and Pregnant Visitors
Unfortunately, there are limited access on tubes and buses for wheelchair users. 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 either a baby pram or a wheelchair user. A lot of people fight for that space if there are people with prams, 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. If no one is willing to help, feel free to ask. There are also seats available for pregnant women on buses, trains and tubes, and 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 rain coat 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 rain. June to August will get hotter with light winds from June. You should expect a heatwave by August and September. October to November is when the leaves fall. By this time, you’d feel a cool sunny breeze, and fresh air moving away from Summer. December onwards will be Winter, so expect to bring thick coats, scarves and gloves up till March.
When the season changes between May to June and September to 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.
Global warming has changed the weather recently. Yes, we do have rain, but in 2021, although still cold, we had the hottest Christmas in history. In 2022, between January to March, we have been a little sunnier, but it’s still cold. Currently, there are several storms hitting parts of the UK. London did get affected, people were blown by the winds in the beginning of February 2022. Greenwich’s O2’s roof wre destroyed, the most affected London has been were several 100 year old oak trees falling down. We weren’t as bad as parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland. It’s expected that Storm Gladys will come along. We’ll see what happens Make sure you bring gloves, thick scarves, and layered clothes in February. Of course, bring an umbrella, (if it doesn’t get blown by the wind). Although it’s cold, the wind gives it that fresh air. Don’t stay out in the cold too much!
What to pack
London is known for walking and using public transport, so make sure you have sturdy shoes and umbrellas. Bring a camera, because if you’re using smartphones, your battery can die after half a day touring the city depending on the phone brand.
Bring rucksacks (backpacks) 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, especially if you’re on a budget. 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 4 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 also depends on how much time you have. Check the London Pass website for prices. Please note that some attractions aren’t available with the London Pass (two different tickets). They’re available with The London Explorer Pass, which you can find out more. Compare and contrast which one suits you best.
It may be cheaper to get 2 for 1 promotion tickets and buying your Oyster Cards separately. Note that 2 for 1 deal aren’t always available at every attraction. 2 for 1 deals 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, save it to Excel, and create a specific itinerary guide for yourself.
I will make an itinerary for a self-guided tour, and an itinerary with a private tour and a London Pass. I will also tell you how long each one takes. Click for 1 day in London, 2 days in London, and 3 days in London.
I’m assuming you’ve just landed at the airport and have taken public transport to get to your destination? If you haven’t taken an airport transfer to your hotel, if you land in the morning, I advise on getting to your accommodation straight away, take off your shoes, relax and get acquainted with the services offered.
Check out tour leaflets and tourist attractions. Ask for information at the desk for recommendations on where to eat and what to do during the day. 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, find a hotel near the South Bank, then stroll around the South Bank area for a quiet, breezy walk. If you prefer a lively atmosphere, take the bus, tube, or walk to the West End. The West End include Oxford Street, Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus for late night shopping. Shops close between 8 – 9 pm and it’s included in this itinerary. You can click on the attractions in the Table of Contents to find out more about that attractions.
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 and Whitehall)
The Lord of the Moon Pub
The Silver Cross Pub
Leicester Square and Chinatown
Covent Garden and The Lion King
Shaftesbury Avenue – The Theatre District
4 days in London: Day 1 of 4 – Covering the West End
St. James’ Park
At 8 – 830 am, take the tube or bus to St. James’ Park Station to arrive between 9 – 10 am. To get to St. James’ Park, you can take the tube to St. James’ Park Tube Station. It’s just a 2 minute walk. Victoria Station or Green Park Station are nearby tube stations. If you want to visit Buckingham Palace and Green Park, get off at Green Park Tube 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 is 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, and you can see the times and dates for the Changing of the Guards on the website. Usually, you can watch the Changing of the Guards in Horse Guard Parade between 11 – 12 pm. 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.
Note that if you decide to visit the one Buckingham Palace and you’re at the back, it’s really hard to see as they can be blocked by the people in front of you. Click for my experience in The Changing of the Horse Guard Cavalry.
Once the Changing of the Guards finishes, walk through the Horse Guard Parade archway and you’ll end up in Whitehall.
Trafalgar Square and The National Gallery
To your left, you’ll see Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery. There’s a hidden gem, the smallest police station standing in the corner. It hasn’t been used in a very long time, and there’s nothing in there, but it’s situated under a large lamp, and can accommodate one policeman. It’s more of a booth than a police station.
The history of the smallest police station started during The Bloody Sunday Riots of November 1887. The riot happened in Trafalgar Square, and the Metropolitan Police decided they needed to keep a watchful eye on them. Ever since then, they built a “police booth”. The idea to build the police station inside a a large lamp post was that if the revolt became unruly, the light would flash to signal extra assistance. Since the riot ended, it’s been a tourist attraction ever since. Not many people notice this, and it’s not a big tourist attraction, but it’s been there since the 19th Century.
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. 😊 Since we’re back to normal, you can walk in or book a ticket on their website. There are les people that visit at this time although still busy.
Where to eat near Trafalgar Square
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 £4. Sit in Trafalgar Square and enjoy the beauty of the mermaids and fish fountains, the giant lions protecting Trafalgar Square, the crowds , the cool breeze or the sunshine.
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 to £6 for a sharing platter and £12 – £15 for bigger meals for fish and chips and pie. Pubs in Central London can be busy and difficult to find a table. My advice is to get there before 12, have beer and find a good spot for lunch. Pubs are usually open from 11am, so you’ll have an hour to chill out before noon for lunch.
Aside from plush toys, you can buy stationary, bags, toys and many more.Leicester Square and China Town
Walk towards Leicester Square, the home of film premiers, situated behind The National Gallery. Don’t spend too much time here, though. It’s just a place to hang out and eat lunch. 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. A lot of websites recommend you go up Indigo Hotel on the 9th floor to see the view of London, but personally, it’s not worth it. It’s better to go to the Shard, or Sky Garden.
Spend 1 hour in the M&Ms and Lego Stores. Both stores can be very busy and can get claustrophobic, so spend no more than 30 minutes in Leicester Square.
Where to eat near Leicester Square
There are many places to eat near Leicester Square. There are many fast food establishments like McDonald’s Burger King and KFC, Bella Italia and Angus Steakhouse. Soho and Chinatown are just a doorstep away for more eateries. I’ve never eaten in Angus Steakhouse, but it does get busy, especially Friday and Saturday nights.
Rainforest Cafe is a well known family restaurant in the heart of the West End. It has an Amazon, rainforest atmosphere. The store front window is covered with wild plush toys ranging from colourful parrots, snakes, crocodiles, and many more. Aside from the plush toys, you can buy Amazon mugs, stationery, keyrings as you go through a gift shop covered with green leaves found in the Amazon. Downstairs in the dark restaurant and bar, a couple of giant elephant and a gorrila stands in the middle of the store. A crocodile can be seen through a foggy river, and a large frog can be seen smiling behind a wall. When a child has a birthday party, one of the staff would dress as a frog to make their day that extra special. Staff there wear their khaki green ranger’s uniform. A lot of families with young kids come here to eat.
As it’s a family restaurant, there are many pushchairs preventing you from walking through the restaurant. Although the atmosphere is great, from experience, the service can be slow, and the food bland. If you want to visit Rainforest Cafe, buy a few souvenirs here, or experience the atmosphere, then go for it, but I wouldn’t recommend eating here.
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. I recommend 4 Seasons or C&R, hidden in a small alleyway. When eating in Chinatown, the tables can be tight spaced and there’s no space to pass through. It can also be crowded and noisy, sometimes, there’s not a lot of seats, and you’d have to book in advance, especially during the Chinese New Year. Saturdays are non existent if you turn up and want a table on the day.
Piccadilly Circus is nothing but a square to hang out in. You usually hear noisy buskers, especially in the evening. You’d also see people eating and sitting by Shaftesbury Memorial. This is a great chance to take photos in front of the billboards, so take no more than 15 minutes here. Piccadilly Circus lights up at night and the billboard lights reflect the vehicles below. Soho is a great area for a vibrant nightlife, and the LGBT community also hang out here.
If you feel like shopping at big high street and high-end stores, Regent Street is connected to Piccadilly Circus, and Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road are connected to Regent Street. It can get dark at around 5pm – 6pm, this is when London lights up. Shops around these areas open between 8 am – 9 am and close between 8pm and 9pm everyday. 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. The dark pine wood walls gives it that dark, intimate 15th – 17th Century Tudor feel. You can see the Tudor architecture, and you’d be stepping inside luxury brands. I still feel a million dollars just walking through the store.
For the kids, check out Hamley’s Toy Store. Hamley’s is cheaper than Rainforest Cafe, and you’d have a better experience here. You’d often see sales assistants entertaining passersby and encouraging you to enter the store. There are 7 floors and it’s a heavenly place for kids of all ages.
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. Alternatively, save going to Regent Street for 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 jewellery, fashion and art. Covent Garden still holds that 19th Century architecture. You can check out the Jubilee Market and The Apple Market for souvenirs. The Apple Marke t is not that big. With only around 10 stalls selling handmade silver and gold jewellery, handmade protraits, and many more, you’re sure you won’t find them in high street stores.
Street entertainers here can be cheesy, but there’s usually big crowds that gather in the large square in front of the large St. Paul’s Church. You’d usually find jugglers, and cheesy magicians. Be careful, they might choose you to volunteer in front of a large crowd, even children are victims. For those who don’t want to volunteer, you can head over to the other side of Covent Garden and admire the living statue, where you’d throw a coin and he moves. It’s less crowded and less noisy. That way, you’d save the embarrassment of being an entertainer’s volunteer.
There are many luxurious and high street fashion stores and quirky shops here. Unlike the large Regent Street and Oxford Street where you’ll see giant high street stores, Covent Garden’s designer and boutique stores are smaller, but the crowds are still the same.
Check out Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop for traditional British toys. They’ve been open for 100 years. Check out my favourite store Moomin which sell quirky books, gadgets, tableware, clothing, stationery. You can also find the Apple Store here, but the crowds are the same as Regent Street. For the kids, 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.
Flat Iron Restaurant, Covent Garden
Restaurants, cafes and pubs in Covent Garden
There are many fast-food restaurants, British pubs, and high-end restaurants to choose from. Fast food restaurant Shake Shack is around £12 for burger, chips and drinks. Pubs selling fish and chips and traditional British pies are around £12 – £15. Check out The White Lion Pub, Nag’s Head, and The Lamb and Flag. Of course, there’s Tesco and Sainsbury’s Supermarket for your £4 meal deals.
As for restaurants, you can opt for Steak and Co. and Flat Iron for great steak and general European dishes. They also do vegetarian options here. Flat Iron can get very busy so make a reservation before visiting. 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 +, a standard price in Central London.
If you want Afternoon Tea in Covent Garden, there are 3 places I recommend. Afternoon Tea at the Savoy Hotel for fine dining. The Savoy Hotel is a few minute walk from Charing Cross Station and Trafalgar Square. Whittard of Chelsea, for mid range dining. Whittard of Chelsea is situated in the middle of Covent Garden Piazza, a 1 minute wlak from Covent Garden. If you love Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, they do afternoon tea there too.
If you’re fit enough, you can walk to all the activities mentioned above, otherwise, take the bus or tube. Note that although buses are cheaper, it can get really packed and traffic can slow down your journey. Taking the tube is easier and quicker, although more expensive. The tubes can also be packed, especially during rush hour, depending on what tube line you take.
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. Shaftesbury Avenue, the theatre district is next to Soho if you bought tickets to see a theatre show here, and have great choices of restaurants and cafes before a theatre show. 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, and 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 £45 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 AirBnBs, lodges, inns, hostels, pubs and bed and breakfast during peak times. You can find these types of accommodation for around £35 – £45 per night depending on the season.
I would avoid accommodations in Central London if you’re on a budget. Try to find accommodations in North, East, South, and West London. Most areas in the North, East, and West are very multicultural and more accessible to nearby attractions and eateries by tubes and buses, but can be also be quite rough. Personally, find an accommodation in the South, which are also accessible to Central London. Click for more information on other areas of London in London Travel Guide for First Time Visitors, and information on safety during your visit.
TABLE OF CONTENT
The Southbank area
Big Ben and Parliament
The Southbank Centre
WHERE TO EAT
(near the Southbank)
The Old Thames Inn Pub
Founder’s Arms Pub
The Anchor Pub
Coppa Club Igloo Restaurant (Instagrammable Restaurant)
The London Eye
Sea Life London Aquarium
Shrek The Experience
Shakespeare’s Globe and Theatre
Tower of London and Tower Bridge Tour
4 days in London: Day 2 of 4 – Covering the Southbank
The Southbank area
Walk along the South Bank area for a peaceful stroll by the River Thames at night. Hear the rustling of the trees and distant beeping of vehicles. See Tower Bridge, The Shard and Tower of London illuminate at night. See the twinkling of lights from office building on top of the water, and it seems dark fire flies swim at night. Most importantly, feel the cool breeze giving you fresh air. As you can see from the map, although it looks like it’s next to each other, it can take about an hour to walk, plus an hour each to spend in each attractions mentioned.
The South Bank area is a place to relax and enjoy social time with your family and friends. You can spend a whole day here if you’re visiting all the attractions. During the summer, children get themselves wet, laughing and screaming while splashing through the fountains out of the Southbank Centre. People in their vests and shorts eat ice cream and enjoy the cool summer breeze.
In winter, visit the Christmas markets in December while you enjoy the strong pine-like smell of mulled wine as you gulp it down. Feel the warmth and the spiciness seeping down your throat into your stomach. Why not enjoy the smell of hot burger and chips while shopping for winter warmers and Christmas decorations? Click for information on the christmas markets.
If you want to go straight to the South Bank area, there are many routes you can take. Start your walk from London Bridge and visit Borough Market for 30 minutes for breakfast or lunch. You can also get off at Waterloo Station and walk towards the Southbank Centre for short running theatre shows. If you’re here, there are 31 things to do in South Bank.
When you get off at Westminster Station (Circle and District Line), the first 2 attractions you’ll see are Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and Parliament. You will often see demonstrators outside Parliament shouting about current affairs, and there are usually police patroling the area. There’s nothing to worry about though.
In Westminster Abbey, the opening times are between 10am – 3pm Monday to Saturday, 12:30pm – 2pm on Sundays. You will expect to see and hear 1000 years’ worth of history about the British monarchy, poets, scientists and prime ministers. In my opinion, it’s one of the best top 10 London attractions to visit. Memorials and burials are found here including William Shakespeare, Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, Edward the Confessor and many more. You’ll 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 after. Alternatively, head straight to the South Bank area.
Big Ben and Parliament
Big Ben’s Clock Tower is under refurbishment until late 2022. You can now see the top of the Clock Tower, but everything else is blanketed. There are also many tours you can take, from 45 minutes to 2 hours inside the Parliament, so click the website for more information on visiting Parliament and their tours. Aside from that, Big Ben and Parliament is usually admired from outside.
If you love contemporary art and theatre, visit the Southbank Centre where you’ll see independent theatre productions and art. The Southbank Centre is always busy day and night, offering different theatre shows for different age groups, including Christmas shows every year. The large South Bank Centre can’t be missed. The yellow paint is a trademark of the centre itself. If you step through the entrance, you’d be taken to a large spaced lobby. It feels empty as you go further in, but there are seating areas for passersby if they want a rest, and the seating area around the cafe is more crowded. You can get croissants, coffee, water, juices and sandwiches here. Down below, check out more restaurants and cafes by the River Thames. Grab What’s On at the South Bank for more information theatres. It’s never quiet in the Southbank Centre.
Where to eat
Spare 1 hour for lunch or dinner in between visiting attractions. There is a Tesco and Sainsbury’s supermarket if you are on a budget. Remember your meal deals.
If you want to experience traditional British food, check out The Old Thames Inn Pub. The service is better than The Anchor Bankside Pub and The Founder’s Arms situated further along the Thames. Although The Anchor Bankside pub looks visually appealing from outside, it’s usually difficult to find a seat. The ceiling is quite low and it’s also tight spaced. The quality of the food here is not any different from other pubs that offer better service. The Anchor Bankside Pub is great for socialising and drinking in the beer garden by the River Thames, but for eating inside, it’s a different story.
Coppa Club Tower Bridge Restaurant is another alternative. Opening times are between 7:30am to 11pm Monday to Thursday. Fridays are between 7:30am to midnight. Saturdays are between 9 am to midnight, and Sundays are between 9 am to 10:30 pm. Coppa Club Tower Bridge is also situated further down from the South Bank. You can take the tube to Tower Hill (Circle and District Line – Green and Yellow Line), and once you come out of the tube station, you will see the Tower of London next door. 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 igloos. Click for my dining experience at the Coppa Club Tower Bridge. You will find information about reservations and the igloos there too.
The Shard doesn’t need any introduction. The tallest building in Europe overlooking the River Thames, I must say that the view is stunning at night, and 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 there. You can just have a few drinks to enjoy the view of London if you’re on a budget.
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 4 for 5 attraction tickets in one of the attractions’ reception. I spent £60 for a 4 for 5 ticket package back in 2019, but it may be cheaper with The London Pass. It takes 30 minutes for the London Eye to go round, and opening times may vary during COVID. The London Eye opens from 10am – 8:30pm during summer, and During the opens from 11am – 6pm during winter. Read more about my visit to the London Eye.
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 from the top. You can only see Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. You’ll see the red buses, black taxis in Lego size, and you’ll see people walking through Queen’s Walk by the South Bank as small as ants. Personally, the London Eye is just an icon of London, nothing more, and £17.50 for half an hour can be expensive. With more than 3 million visitors a year, it’s still the top 10 attractions to visit.
Although they offer tickets to Madame Tussauds as part of the package, you’d have to take the tube to Baker Street to visit. It’s not in the South Bank, and Madame Tussauds can be crowded, especially now we’re back to normal. You’ll be wasting time crossing the Westminster Bridge, taking the tube from Westminster to get to Baker Street, and line up at the entrance. Shop around.
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. You can also swin with sharks behind a steel cage.
It’s very educational for children and adults alike. The place is also great for marine, bugs and insect lovers. Click for my experience in Sealife London Aquarium. 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
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 the concept. 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, Thrusday 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 interesting. It’s linked to the Millennium Bridge that links to St. Paul’s Cathedral on the other side. If you stand at the start of the bridge, in the middle of several glassed fences, you can take a great photographic spot where St. Paul’s Cathedral meets in the middle. There’s a huge park, benches, and tall trees in the middle where people socialise and relax in front as well.
The entrance to the gallery isn’t that attractive though, but what fascinated me was its history. 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 unsuccessful until 1995. The Tate Gallery then opened to host contemporary. If you are interested in contemporary art, photography, 2D and 3D designs and many more, check out Tate Modern. Check out their website for more information.
Shakespeare’s Globe and Museum
Shakespeare’s Globe has been around since the 17th Century. If you love Shakespeare and his plays, book a £5 ticket to see a Shakespeare show, from Macbeth, Midsummer Night’s Dream and many more. Shakespeare’s Globe overlooks the River Thames, and its Roman influenced style architecture is visited by many. The tour takes 40 minutes talking about the history of the theatre, not about Shakespeare himself. It can get a little boring, and £17.50 for a 40-minute tour of the theatre is quite expensive. It’s better to just visit the free small, intimate Shakespeare Museum where you’ll see his works, and the tools he used. A wall sized calligraphy of his quotes can also found as well as the miniature of the theatre itself.
Tower of London and Tower Bridge
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. You can check out my experience by clicking on the Tower of London tour link. Once you click on the link, you can 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 area where they beheaded kings, queens and prisoners.
As for Tower Bridge, it takes 45 minutes for the tour, and opening times and hours vary. Check the website for more details on opening times, entry price and pre booked tickets. 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. Passersby would try to squeeze through the line of people waiting. Be prepared to be squashed with 20 or more people in the lift. Alternatively, you can take the stairs if you’re fit enough. You’ll be able to see time lines of when the bridge was built too. The medeival staircase has been around for hundreds of years, but it seems people don’t take notice of it.
Once you get to the bridge, you’ll see the view of London and the River Thames. It was raining when I visited, and the view from Tower Bridge wasn’t that spectacular. People would laugh nervously as they tempt to walk on the glass floor above the River Thames. Some would avoid it altogether by walking on the edge. If you’re brave enough, you’ll see the flow of the water below. When it rains, it can look aggressive, but when it’s sunny, the water flow can feel calm and at peace. You’ll also get a sticker to say “I did it”.
You’re then taken to The Engine Room. Unfortunately, this is just a museum, not the actual engine room itself. The website make it sound like you’ll visit the actual engine room. If you do want to see the engine room, visit their website, and book a slot as it’s not a part of the tour. Overall, the tour was more about the construction of the bridge than the history and story. 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
The Natural History Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)
The Science Museum
The British Museum
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
4 days in London: Day 3 of 4 – Covering Museums, Galleries, Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour and Shopping
Hop On Hop Off Bus 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, and some can can be found between stops too. The Hop on Hop Off bus will take you around London within 24 hours. From the London Eye, to the Tower of London, to the history of famous department stores, Liberty’s and Harrods, the tour guide will talk through brief history about each famous attractions. There are several coloured lines offering you different routes depending on what you want to see, and you’d be given an audio walkman if English is not your first language.
Click 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 the free museums first or last, and I recommend taking no more than an hour in each museum if you’re short on time. On average, it takes around 3 -4 hours to make the most just one museum, but on your third day, spend some time in the free museums.
If you want to find things to do in South Kensington, The Science Museum, the Natural History Museum and the V&As are all next to each other. The best thing about it is that it’s walking distances to the Royal Albert Hall and Kensington Gardens, one of the 8 Royal Parks of London. These museums have many activities for children, so check out their websites for more information.
For the museums, take the tube to South Kensington or Gloucester Road (both Circle and District Line, the green and yellow lines) and walk towards:
The Natural History Museum
Opening times are between 10am – 5:50pm being last entry at 5:30pm. Whether you’re an insect or a dinosaur lover, there’s bound to be areas where you can see their fossils, history descriptions and several hours of fun and education. Scientists, paentologists 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. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Natural History Museum, and believe you me, I spent 4 hours there. It was tiring. If you want to find out more about activities for the whole family, click for website.
Victoria and Albert Museum
Opening times are between 10am – 5:45pm, Fridays are between 10am – 10pm. 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 after their names, and it’s a great museum to get 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 my experience in the V&A’s yet because of COVID. In the meantime, click for the V&A Museum website so you can plan ahead.
The Science Museum
Opening times are between 10am – 6pm 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, you have little time and day to visit everything. From visiting interactive galleries, finding out who you are as a person, the history of transportation, global warming, the history of medicine, volcanoes and earthquakes, you’re bound to walk out with the knowledge of science. Click for the Science Museum website and find out more about my experience.
The British Museum
Take the tube to Tottenham Court Road, the shopping district, and walk around 10 minutes to the British Museum. It also takes 27 minutes on the Piccadilly Line from The Science Museum. (Opening times are between 10am – 17:30pm Monday to Thursday, 10am – 8:30pm, 10am – 5:30pm Saturday and Sunday). Stop at Russell Square Station and it’s also a 6-minute walk from there.
From the British Museum, Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue are just 9 minutes’ walk for 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 is 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 artefacts, 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’d be impossible to cover the whole museum in just one day, you’d probably have to dedicate three days in order to cover everything. Click for the British Museum website to plan ahead.
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. Alternatively, visit 1 or 2 museums for the day, and have lunch in between. The Stanhope Arms, Humphrey’s Bar, The Tavern and the Herefor Arms are great British pubs to eat nearby.
The Royal Albert Hall
Once you’ve finished visiting the museums, walk 6 minutes towards the Royal Albert Hall for great photo snaps for 20 minutes. Feel free to watch a concert if your time and budget can afford it. It’s best to book in advanced before you arrive. While you’re here, you can admire the many 18th and 19th Century buildings.
Kensington Gardens, the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial and Kensington Palace
After, 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. The Kensington Palace tour consists of Queen Elizabeth II’s and Princess Diana’s costumes and the story of Queen Victoria. Check out things to do in Kensington Gardens for ideas.
In my opinion, it’s better to see Buckingham Palace State Rooms only open in summer. If you’ve seen Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace is nothing different, but £17.50 for an adult entry fee is quite expensive for an hour.
Late night shopping
For a luxury late night shopping experience, get off at Hyde Park Corner. You can walk through Hyde Park or take the buses 14, 74 or 414, which will take 6 minutes to Knightsbridge. By tube, it will only be 1 stop away from Hyde Park Corner on the Piccadilly Line.
Late night shopping in Central London can be stressful because there’s so many people gathered together from locals to tourists. People who’ve never been to London get excited about shopping in Oxford Street and Regent Street, but in reality it’s not as glamorous as you think it is. It can be stressful. You’ll get tired feet if you’re not used to walking, and people seldom walk in a straight line. If you love high street brands like Zara, H&M and Primark, then feel free to shop here. The only difference between the high street stores in Oxford Street and shopping centres in the suburbs, is that Oxford Street have larger stores and busier crowds. Locals and tourists are mixed together, but if you find an accommodation in the suburbs, you’ll usually find more locals. It’s less crowded too.
Harrods open between 10am – 8pm every day, and 10am to 6pm Sundays. A lot of Brits don’t really shop in Harrods as it’s been commercialised a lot in the media. People usually go there to window shop or socialise. Only the wealthy would buy something here.
Harvey Nichols opens between 10am – 8pm Monday to Friday, 12noon – 6pm Sundays (browsing only between 11:30am – 12noon). Like Harrods, people usually go there to go window shopping and socialise. It’s just another department store full of designer brands.
Alternatively, visit Selfridges in Marble Arch. It takes 16 minutes on the 137 bus and a 3 minutes walk from Marble Arch) – Selfridges open between 10am – 9pm Monday and Tuesday, 9am – 9pm Wednesday – Saturday, 11:30am – 6pm Sunday. You can literally walk along the edges of Hyde Park to get to Marble Arch and Oxford Street. 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 Hamley’s. From Hamley’s it’ll be a 4-minute walk. Liberty’s open between 10am – 9pm Monday to Saturday, Sunday 11:30am – 6pm and Public Holidays between 12pm – 6pm. Otherwise, you can walk to Regent Street for 20 minutes from Oxford Street. Make sure you visit the cobbled Carnaby Street alleyway situated next to Liberty’s. Here, you’ll see a range of beauty, boutique independent retail outlets, designer shops and many coffee shops.
4 Days in London: Day 4 of 4 – Covering Shoreditch, Spitalfields Market, and Brick Lane
On your fourth day, I recommend visiting Shoreditch, Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane Market. There are so many markets you can choose from aside from Brick Lane and Spitalfields Market. As an alternative, you can visit Camden Town, or Portobello Market. If you want to find out more about day trips from Camden Town, St. Pancras International is the nearest station to get to anywhere in the UK. There’s lots of connection outside London you can take. There are so many things to do in Sheffield, and it’s one of the best day trips you can take.
Here is a guide to Shoreditch, Spitafields Market, and Brick Lane.
On your last day, make sure it’s on a Sunday to visit Shoreditch and Brick Lane Market, otherwise, every other day is closed. You can make Shoreditch on your first Sunday if you wish,but you won’t experience the busy environment on Monday to Saturday.
Visiting Shoreditch and Brick Lane Market during COVID felt different. Although there were still crowds of people visiti Brick Lane Market, the environment isn’t as packed and vibrant as it used to be. Even though there’s still vintage stalls scattered around Shoreditch, the buzz disappeared, but Brick Lane Market is still Brick Lane Market. Street food from around the world still exists, you can still find street art and grafitti scattered around the neighbourhood, and the salt beef bagel can still be found in Biegel Bake Shop, a famous 24 hour beigel shop popular with locals and tourists. The queue for the biegal bake is still long, and the Shoreditch neighbourhood still holds its history.
Brick Lane Market – opens from 10am – 5pm every Sundays. (Closed every other day).
There are 5 different markets in the Truman Markets selling bric-a-brac, fruit and veg, vintage shops, bagel bars, and many more. This is the place for you if you love collecting quirky products. The Backyard Market sell arts and crafts including handmade jewellery, fashion accessories and more. The Sunday Markets, Boiler House Food Hall, Ely’s Yard Street Food and Vintage Markets include food from all over the world. On top of that, there are 200 market stalls selling vintage clothes.
Grab a salt beef bagel from Brick Lane Beigel Bake (a recommendation from me). This place is always packed, and the line is usually exceedingly long – popular with tourists and locals. I usually have mine with mustard. Spend no more than 2 hours here.
Historically, Brick Lane was a place where the poorest of the poor lived and congregate. Even Jack Ripper murdered his victims in this area. Now, it’s a place for trendy fashionistas. The community consists of heritage Asian Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Indian, and you’ll enjoy the community during COVID. Along with the multicultural community and retro, vintage fashion, you’ll see many colourful art graffiti sprayed all over brick walls and store fronts. Colourful posters of local musicians, and live bands can be found stuck on the walls. Some of the posters’ edges seem to have torn away that you can still see previous posters that were once advertised there. It seemed many people stuck these posters on top of each other.
Brick Lane is also home to street art, among them, a large artwork of a pelican on the side of a bricked building, (a photo most people use for social media). Take advantage of taking several photos when you pass them. Don’t forget to give the noisy busker playing Caribbean to R&B music your attention. He’s not always there though. Brick Lane is young, vibrant, multicultural, colourful, and artistic all rolled into one. A place not to be missed.
Situated in the East End of London and one of London’s famous streets, you can still see the multi-culture of London. Brick Lane is also a place for several curry houses scattered around this area. You can usually smell the hot spices mixed with different aromas of food as you walk past. Sometimes you can feel the heat from the hot pan as you choose your dishes.
You’ll find Brick Lane’s largest 3 storey vintage warehouse still. You’d be swimming in vintage, from Levi’s denim, to 70s leather jackets and funky boots, you’re sure to find a treasure buried inside.
Before COVID, I used to visit Brick Lane and I would have to squeeze through people walking. I used to visit the street food market and there’d be nowhere to sit even though there were hundreds of long benches. I remember the outside open spaced area where crowds of people would eat their street food and sip their cocktails and beer on a summer’s day These people have now gone. The red double decker bus converted into a restaurant that used to serve fast food vanished. The open spaced area is just that now, an empty space. Overall, there are still crowds of people browsing the warehouse, people choosing their meals, and crowds, but unfortunately, the buzz have disappeared since COVID. Hopefully, when everything’s back to normal, Brick Lane will get its buzz back. Brick Lane still kept its hallmark.
Old Spitalfields Market
Spitalfields Market is situated next to Brick Lane Market, and it’s an indoor market that’s been around for 350 years. It still keeps its 19th Century architecture painted in green. Unlike Brick Lane Market, Old Spitalfields Market is open 7 days a week. The nearest train and underground station is Liverpool Street, it’ll be a few minutes walk. Shoreditch Overground is further away. Get off at Shoreditch if you want to visit Brick Lane Market first. The indoor market sell many items. Rows of simple wooden stalls are placed nicely in a row. You will find large plastic containers and wooden boxes selling vinyls, CDs, and records. You’ll see several metal railings full of vintage jackets squashed together. You’ll see colourful printed t-shirts hanging from the stalls, colourful florists selling bespoke flowers ranging from £10 – £20. As for street food, why not grab a hot Thai noodle soup with eggs and greens, or buy a thick grilled cheese sandwich cooked in front of you accompanied with ham or beef. Not enough? Try out the dirties, juiciest, and tastiest gigantic hamburger while you hear buskers and street musicians singing and playing music in the background. There’s also a fish and chip shop in the corner.
When you’re in Old Spitalfields Market, you can take a walk through Fournier Street. Here, you’ll see many 18th Century houses, which still keeps its architecture. The many rows of classic Georgian townhouses are painted khai green, dark red, creme, black, and dark yellow. It’s as if you’ve stepped back to the 18th Century. Compared to Spitalfields Market, this street is quiet, and many people walk through here to feel the old, antique atmosphere. The Ten Bells pub is also situated here. This pub was once a place where one of Jack the Ripper’s victims worked. It’s still standing to this day, and people still drink their largers here.
Call To Action
- Choose what attractions you want to see first on Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4 to tweak it to your personal itinerary.
- Find out about different attractions not included in the itinerary by typing in the Search Box.
- Read my Excel Sheet. Sheet 1 will include the breakdown of the attractions you can see (using my suggestions) the transportation and cost and the recommended time to take in the attraction. In Sheet 2, you are able to type down the attractions you want to see, type down the length of time recommended from the itinerary guide, and use a calculator to calculate how the cost for each attraction are for adults, children and seniors. Use Google Maps to find out what buses, tubes and trains to take. It will show you how long it takes to get there.
- Compare and contrast how much you’ll save and whether the London Pass and Oyster Card package is worth it.
- You may have to spend an extra day or two in your 4 day itinerary if you want to go for a road trip. If you do want to go on a road trip and rent a car, then it’s best to save on petrol. Although petrol isn’t cheap here, you’ll get to see all the scenic routes and hidden gems along the way. You’ll miss it if you fly. Here are some epic road trips in the UK for inspiration.