Busy and abundant in its offerings, London is where you will really be spoilt for choice. This city is one of the world’s most amazing capitals as it provides visitors with a vast variety of options - from different cuisines and cultures to museums and shops. With a plethora of choices that can easily overwhelm any tourist, it is quite the task to plan a 3-day itinerary for a brief trip to the capital of England.
I have carefully crafted this travel itinerary for you, however, after having lived in the city for a couple of years now. I have included top-rated sites and expat favourites that should not be missed out on. Why not make the most of your 72 hours here by also checking out the trendiest spots in East London?
On a side note, if you find yourself with itchy feet and are keen to get away from the mobs of people in London, it is easy enough to catch a local train to a nearby town like Brighton, Cambridge, Windsor or Oxford from the city centre. You can also extend your stay once there by spending a night at a place like an Airbnb in Brighton, for example. You can also take an international train from London to locations like Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris. Make sure to do your research before visiting these places by looking at things like itineraries for Amsterdam to find out what sorts of sites you should check out so you can plan your trip accordingly.
Every city has a set of classics that it is famous for, and you should check out these classics before you go on to do anything else in order to get a feel for the city first. The classics in London are the Big Ben, the London Eye and the River Thames.
You will start your day off by strolling through the famous streets of London, from where you will head to the Big Ben, and then after, have lunch near the Thames where you will finally end your day by soaking in the view of the city from high above on the London Eye.
If you have played enough Monopoly growing up, chances are you’re already quite familiar with the names of a few of the streets in London. So, to start off your day, wander along Oxford and Regent Street to check out some of the most iconic shops there like Hamley’s Toy Store and Selfridges (watch your credit card!). Also, be sure to take a picture with a red telephone booth somewhere along the way to commemorate your trip to London.
Big Ben, located at the Palace of Westminster, is a large clock tower. It is currently silent and under renovation until 2020, but it is still worth a visit if you're on a trip to London. Your trip to London cannot be complete without snapping a photo with the Big Ben, renovation or not, so be sure to do just that.
Walking along the River Thames will guarantee to help you spot lots of the major attractions in London. Once you are done strolling along the river for a while, you could grab some food anywhere along it. For example, you could cross the Westminister Bridge after checking out Big Ben to scope out the Southbank area on the other side of the Thames. You can find many decently priced chain restaurants there, such as Wahaca (a tasty Mexican restaurant).
The London Eye is notorious for its long queues, and most people will tell you to only see it from afar, but your London experience might not be complete if you don’t go on it. This used to be the world’s biggest Ferris wheel, which till now can still be seen from miles away.
Equally important as the iconic landmarks in London are the historical ones. No visit to London is complete without paying tribute to its history and people who had a hand in creating the wonderful international city that we have all come to love so much.
So start off your second day by visiting the Museum of London because what better way than to dive into a city’s history than by visiting a museum. Then, after you have had a short break for lunch, you should check out the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
To get a peep into the history of London, you have to visit the Museum of London as it consists of everything London-related from different eras. The most interesting section is the Roman exhibition as it depicts what the city used to be like under the influence of the Romans. By the way, all the museums in the city are FREE, so here's a list of 10 Free Museums in London if you'd like to explore some other ones aside from those already mentioned in this itinerary.
The Sky Garden, an 18-minute walk from the Museum of London, is easily the world’s highest green space. Not only will you see greenery at a great height, but you will also have a fantastic 360-degree view of the city, which will allow you to spot some of the best attractions once again. So, if for some reason you aren’t able to go on the London Eye, here’s your chance to get the best panoramic view of the city.. FOR FREE! Make sure you book well in advance as this spot is popular all year round. Oh, did I mention it's FREE?
Since we are talking about the history of London, St Paul’s Cathedral can’t be too far from that discussion. This is not only the most iconic church in London, but also a work of art. Its architecture teleports you into a different era, so visiting it is a must!
The Tower of London was formed by a combination of buildings, which used to be palaces back in the day. It actually had the most important location strategically, but now it houses royal Crown Jewels.
Let’s face it, what is a trip to a city without tons of pictures from its Instragammable locations, especially the ones that will keep your social media profile thriving for weeks, if not months! For the third day in London, you will head over to some of these pretty locations in the city.
First, start your day off in Notting Hill amongst the colourful and quaint cute little houses. You will also ideally have your breakfast here at one of the many restaurants. After you are finished eating, head over to Portobello Road to lay your eyes on the antique stores and vintage roads. To relax, go to Kensington afterwards and have a snack at the beautiful Hyde Park.
Notting Hill is one of the most visited areas in all of London simply because of just how pretty it is. There are plenty of sites here that have been used as filming locations over the years, so be sure to check them out. There are also quite a lot of eateries in Notting Hill (check out Farmer's Girl or Granger and Co.), so skip your hotel’s breakfast and have it here.
Portobello Road, which resides in the Notting Hill neighbourhood, is known for its antique stores and vintage shops/market that happens a few times a week. The street, with its different coloured homes and lively atmosphere, is a sight to look at.
If by now you are tired of the crowd you get flooded with every time you visit a landmark, then head over to Kensington Palace for a leisurely stroll around the Gardens or a late lunch/picnic in the park if it is a nice day out (grab some cheese/snacks and alcohol from your nearby Tesco or Sainsbury's ;)). It is a very scenic area that even has a nice pond to walk around. You could also rent a Santander bike for a ride around the park if you fancy it.
After you have wandered around Kensington Gardens, continue west towards the iconic Hyde Park to end your 3-day trip to London on a high note. Hyde Park is the largest park among the four that are housed in central London. If you are up for it, you can go boating as well. Otherwise, explore the rose gardens and tall trees. Why not also have dessert and coffee while you're here?
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