4 Days in London Itinerary: The Best Things to See and Do

London Tower Bridge

When considering how many days to see London, 4 days in London is the perfect amount of time to explore the city and really get a feel for the different boroughs and neighbourhoods. 

A London 4 day itinerary should include all of the iconic sights like Buckingham Palace as well as a few local favourites. 

Days out in London can be quite full as many of the attractions are either a short walk or tube ride away. This flexible itinerary will give you the opportunity to sightsee from morning to night on your days out. London can be seen at a slower pace however, and you can add and remove attractions based on your interests.

This itinerary is jam packed with ideas for days out in London with an international visitor in mind. We lived in England for two years, so we’ve included some of our favourite finds, as well as the icons you’d expect. Let’s get exploring!

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London

4 Days In London Itinerary

The best days out in London are filled with variety. They don’t require too much travel and you can easily switch around the order of the places you visit.

When planning this 4 day itinerary, London boroughs and localities played a big part, to allow you to find your way around easily and not spend too much time travelling between locations. 

What to see in London in 4 days will depend on your taste, however this itinerary can be moved around and additional ideas have been provided to ensure you have fun days out in London.

airport

Day Zero: Arrive in London

To see London in four days, you really need to allow a day to arrive and then either depart on the evening of day 4 or the following day. 

If you’re arriving into London from a longer haul destination like Australia, chances are you’ll be flying into Heathrow. Heathrow airport is a distance from the city centre, so allow additional time for transport.  

Transport options into London

FROM HEATHROW

FROM GATWICK

If travelling from continential Europe Euro Rail is also an option. Book Paris to London tickets here. From Dover port, catch the train. Alternatively, if you’re already in England, MegaBus are a cost effective alternative.

Day one London walking tour

Day 1 - The Royals & The Essential Icons

Buckingham Palace

Victoria is the closest station to Buckinham Palace. Victoria, Central, Jubilee and Northern Lines all stop at Victoria, making it a great central place to start.

This 4 days in London itinerary starts with a royal flair. Whether you choose to view the castle from the exterior, or venture inside (prebook this as entry is seasonal, popular and limited).

Whether you’re a royalist or not, it’s hard not to be impressed by the grand nature of the palace and surrounds. It’s well worth checking the schedule and timing your visit with the changing of the guards. This grand parade of guards on horses makes its way down the mall and is a bucket list item to tick off on your first London day itinerary.

Buckingham Palace London Itinerary

St James's Park

Great days out in London include monuments, but also a little bit of green space. St James’s Park is a beautiful space alongside Buckingham Palace and The Mall. Its full of squirrels, so its a wonderful place for days out for families in London.

The park features a large lake full of ducks and there’s also a cafe that serves coffee, ice cream and snacks in case you need to refuel. 

In Spring the park comes alive with bulbs. Daffodils are planted enmasse and provide a beautiful pop of colour. In summer, you’ll also find comfy deck chairs spread throughout the park, inviting you to have a sit or a play and enjoy the sunshine under the shade of a tree.

Horse guard parade London day trip

Horse Guards Parade

The Horse Guards parade is where the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace commences. They depart at 10am Monday – Saturday and 11am on a Sunday.

Special events are also held in the arena to celebrate significant Royal dates such as the Trooping of the Guard on the Queen’s official birthday.

When its not in use, you can walk across the arena and through the archway. You’ll see guards in full regalia both on foot and mounted. It’s a great spot to get the iconic photo with a guard.

Trafalgar Square

The best days out in London are on foot. That way you won’t miss a thing. Day one of this itinerary is one of the great days out in London because you see SO many iconic locations without having to walk too far.

When I first took this walk (I was guided by a local) I was in awe that at every turn I was faced with an iconic location. It just isn’t like that in Australia.

Additionally, if you choose just to wander and not actually go in to any of the attractions, or just pick one or two wisely, its one of the best cheap days in London.

Trafalgar Square is just a short walk from the Horse Guards Parade. Featuring wide open spaces and the most impressive marble carvings and waterfalls it is a must see stop when in London. 

Its flanked by The National Gallery, which features impressive Roman Pillars and if you have time to wander inside a great collection of art. Admission is also free.

10 Downing Street

10 Downing Street definitely deserves a walk by. Home of the Prime Minster, its an iconic address.

Whilst Downing Street itself is fenced off and guarded, you can sneak a peek through the palings and catch a glimpse of that oh so famous facade. 

Westminster Abbey London itinerary

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is a beautiful and iconic Abbey in the heart of London. Its exterior is much photographed and its one of those iconic photos you simply must take.

Built between 1245 – 1272 it’s one of the most significant abbeys in England. In modern times it is known for being the location for Prince William and Kate Middletons marriage and Princess Diana’s funeral.

Historically, it is the burial place of many historical figures such as Sir Isaac Newton, Edward the Confessor, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens and Anne of Cleves.

Aside from the famous graves (which are marked with engraved flagstones in the floor and walls), the Abbey also is home to the Coronation chair. This is the chair that all of the Kings and Queens have sat on during the coronation ceremonies since 1399. 

Allow at least an hour to explore inside. And book ahead. You’ll save a few pounds, have guaranteed entry and skip the peak queues.

Big Ben London itinerary

Big Ben

Big Ben and the House of Parliament are almost right next door to Westminster Abbey. Whilst the famous clock tower is currently under scaffolding, you still need to visit.

In winter an incredible Christmas tree is erected in the courtyard of the House of Parliament and across the road from Big Ben are a line of red telephone boxes which are perfect for that iconic London shot!

Big Ben is also right next to Westminster Bridge which is an iconic photo shot and your crossing point to the opposite side of the Thames.

London Eye London walking tour

South Bank and the London Eye

Unlike the city of Westminster, the opposite side of the Thames is much more modern in its architecture and activities.

The walk along South Bank gives you a great view of Big Ben and the House of Parliament.

The London Eye is one of the best ways to enjoy the London Cityscape from above. Its also very popular, so prebook your tickets to avoid the queues.

BOOK | Skip the queues (they’re crazy in summer!) and get your London Eye tickets here.

Day 2 - St Pauls, Tower of London & The Thames

St Paul's Cathedral

Day 2 starts at St Paul’s cathedral. The closest tube station is St Pauls which is on the Central Line.

Entry into St Paul’s Cathedral is £18. It opens at 8:30am with the galleries opening at 9:30am. You’ll need 2-3 hours to fully explore, including climbing up to the iconic dome (if you dare?!)

Highlights of your visit to St Paul’s Cathedral are:

  • The Duke of Wellington Monument
  • The Stone and Golden Galleries
  • Seeing scenes of the life of St Paul
  • The crypt
  • Ascending to the top of the Dome and the Whispering Gallery
  • The Ocolus – a 270 degree theatre in the crypt featuring a film telling the history of St Paul’s cathedral (its been repaired and rebuilt many times in its history!)
  • The smaller side chapels including St. Micheal and St George Chapel, the All Soul’s Chapel, Middlesex Chapel and the American Memorial Chapel

READ| Our guide to the best Cathedrals in England here

London walking tour map

The Millenium Bridge

If you’ve got 4 days, London smaller highlights like the Millenium Bridge are still possible – with a little planning!

If you’re a PotterHead, you’ll known the Millenium Bridge from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince film (its the scene of the Death Eater attack).

Even if you don’t love Harry Potter, this iconic modern bridge is a great way to cross the Thames and also a stunning example of modern architecture.

The steel suspension footbridge opened in 2000 and connects you to Southwark with ease.

BOOK | Want to see more iconic Harry Potter sites? You’ll love this Harry Potter walking tour!

READ | Ride the Harry Potter train in Scotland!

Shakespeare's Globe

If you’re looking for experience days, London is the place for you. Shakespeare’s Globe will cast you back in time!

A modern replica of the historic Globe theatre, its exterior is a great example of Tudor architecture. Additionally, it is also open for shows and a if when planning your London itinerary, 4 days seems like a bit of a squeeze, this might just be a great evening activity for you.

Borough Market

Borough Market is one of the largest and oldest food markets in London. It is also a great place to get lunch. Either to sit down or to munch whilst you wander!

There have been markets on the site since the 12th Century and history is present in the building itself.

Tower of London

Tower of London and the Crown Jewels

If you’re visiting London, four days will allow you to see the best sites, but you will need to book ahead and preplan your entry to fully enjoy your time here.

The same goes for the iconic Tower of London and Crown Jewels. Don’t skimp on the entry with this one and book to see both – how often will you get to come face to face with such iconic bling?!

The Tower of London holds 900 years of royal history and a lot of it is rather gruesome. You’ll want to take one of the guided tours of the grounds to fully appreciate the history of this Word Heritage site.

Tours are run by Yeoman – guards of the palace – who have a unique insight into the history and workings of the palace.

Like many castles, the buildings have been added on to over time, with each addition reflecting the history of the time.

Most notably the Tower of London was the execution grounds for Henry VII’s wives, including Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Lady Jane Grey. The execution site is still there today and Anne Boleyn’s grave can be found in the chapel.

Allow 2-3 hours for the walking tour, the Crown jewels and to explore the armoury which features weaponry and armour worn by Henry the VII, his army and their horses.

BOOK | Skip the queues and prebook your Tower of London and Crown Jewels tickets here.

Tower Bridge London

London Bridge and Tower Bridge

There’s often a little confusion around Tower Bridge and London Bridge. The more iconic blue trimmed bridge is actually Tower Bridge and its located adjacent to the Tower of London.

London Bridge is about a mile upstream and is a much simpler construction and not nearly as iconic.

Tower Bridge is an iconic photo stop. Sit on the stone fences outside of the Tower of London for a great vantage point.

The bridge takes both pedestrian and road traffic, with its middle section lifting to allow passing river traffic access.

If you’d like access to the glass walkway above or to see how the steam powered engines operate the lift, then you can take a tour of the bridge. Prebook your tickets below.

BOOK| Did you know you can go inside of and climb Tower Bridge? Book your tickets here.

Explore London by boat on the Thames Clipper

You don’t need to take an expensive tourist ferry to enjoy the Thames by boat – The London Clipper operates on Oyster Card and is substantially cheaper.

Tower station is the closest ferry stop and you can choose to head west towards Canary Wharf first or East Towards Battersea.

Grab a coffee and sit by the window to enjoy panoramic views of the city. Feel free to tap off after a one way journey or return back to Tower to keep exploring. As an indication Westminster to Greenwich takes an hour one way.

PLAN | Find the Thames Clipper route map here.

iceskating at Christmas in London

Day 3 - Museums, Harrods & The West End

The Natural History museum

Its beautiful facade and the iconic treasures it holds inside make the Natural History Museum well worth the visit. London Museums are also one of the best days out in London for free.

The Natural History museum is located in Kensington and its closest tube stop is the South Kensington Station which is on the District, Picadilly and Circle Lines.

The Museum is open Daily (except 24-26 December) from 10 – 17:50 with last admission at 17:30.

The museum is home to one of the best collection of dinosaur fossils – the gallery is one of the most impressive and iconic. The main galleries do not have an entry fee, making it one of the best free days out in London. If you’d like to see an special exhibition, plan and book that ahead as they attract a charge.

In summer the grounds are a great place to stop and have a snack in the shade. In winter however, they truly come alive with the installation of a pop up outdoor skating rink.

It’s very popular, so make sure to prebook your tickets to ensure you get a chance to glide around the central Christmas tree! (You can find more info about this in the linked post below!)

PLAN | Visiting in winter? Discover the best winter experiences in London (one is iceskating at the Natural History museum!)

London walking itinerary day 3

The Victoria and Albert Museum

Just across the road from the Natural History Museum is the Victoria and Albert Museum. Open from 10 – 1745 every day except friday when it opens until 2200, it is the world’s leading museum of design and art. Entry is also free.

The Victoria and Albert museum is quite unique. It displays a large range of fashion throughout the ages and as you make your way to the upper levels, you can even experience rooms set up with antique furniture to replicate historic life.

The museum is an immersive experience that transports you back in time.

In addition to historic pieces, it also exhibits sculpture and more modern art. Allow at least an hour to explore, more if you love this type of art.

Harrods

Days in London can’t be all free – unless you’re window shopping! That may be the case at Harrods.

This iconic luxury retailer was founded in 1849 and sells the finest wares. The facade is iconic and ‘must have’ London snapshot. 

Harrod’s Bears are an icon of the store and start at around £18 for a small plush bear. 

Harrod’s is a great place to stop for lunch or afternoon tea, just budget ahead as this quintessential London experience is a splurge.

Hyde Park and Kensington Palace

Hyde Park is the biggest Royal Park in London. Its open from 5am – midnight and its free.

The park is home to beautiful tree lined walking paths, monuments and Serpentine Lake. Most notably though, Kensington Palace is situated within its grounds and is well worth a visit.

QUeen Victoria grew up in Kensington Palace and these days it is home to many important artefacts from the Royal Collection.

BOOK | Kensington Palace entry and tour

The West End for dinner and a show

We’ve kept your day low key today, so you’ve got energy for dinner and a show on the West End.

Home to some of the best shows in the world, you can’t visit London without going to the West End and this London in 4 days itinerary would be incomplete without at least one night outing!

Book ahead for popular shows, or check online for discounted last minute tickets.

Day 4 - Oxford Street & Surrounds

Selfridges

We’re starting the day on Oxford street at Bond Street tube station which is on the Jubilee Line. Don’t be mistaken into getting off at Oxford Circus as Selfridges is at the top end of Oxford Street and a bit of a walk from Oxford Circus.

Selfridges is another iconic British retailer. Founded by Harry Selfridge in 1909 it was ground breaking in its conception and founded the modern idea of a ‘department store’.

The store itself is interesting to wander and they have some fabulously decorated windows, however we’re heading to the rooftop. Take the lift in ladies cosmetics and you’ll be taken all the way to the top.

The rooftop features the San Carlo restaurant with indoor and terrace seating. In winter its transported into a wonderland including cabanas and mohair throws. All year round its a fantastic place to enjoy a drink and view the skyline.

Oxford Street, Regent Street, Carnaby Street and surrounds

Oxford Street is Europe’s busiest shopping strip. There’s around 300 shops to explore, ranging from the small to larger iconic department stores. Oxford Street is usually the location for the ‘flagship’ stores, so you’ll find a really great range, beautiful styling, incredible architecture and unique window displays.

Regent Street is accessed from Oxford Street. It still has a shopping vibe, however the architecture is far more cohesive and is just a little bit more ‘posh’. In winter its famous for its spectacular angel Christmas installations which span the road.

Make sure to step off Regent Street and head across to Carnaby Street. It’s a modern and colourful part of town known for its musical history. It’s also home to Kingly court, a beautiful multi level plaza perfect for a drink, snack and wonderfully festive in winter!

 

Liberty of London is on Marlborough Street not far from Carnaby Street. Located in a tudor revival building and is known for having its own fabric. Its worth walking past for the beautiful facade and windows. Its esepcially beautiful at Christmas time and has a real old world charm.

Lastly, Fortnum and Mason are an iconically British department store you must at least window shop by. Famous for their delicious hampers, they also have incredible Christmas windows and a lot of old world charm!

 

READ | Visiting in winter? You’ll want to take our self Christmas lights walking tour!

Leicester Square

Leicester Square is like a little bit of New York right in the heard of London. It’s the only square featuring live screen advertising and has a real modern buzz.

Although its origins hark back to the 1600s, these days is a real hub for shows, food and wine. Come back after dark to experience it at its best! 

Skip this stop during the day and just come back at night if you’re trying to pack as much into your 4 day trip to London as possible.

Covent Garden Market at Christmas

Covent Garden Market

After all of the bright lights at Leicester Square, we’re back to the traditional at Covent Garden Market.

Come ready to look up at the beautiful domed glass ceiling as you wander the food halls. Over Christmas giant baubles hang from the roof and the square outside is home to a giant Christmas tree.

Come hungry and ready to take some photos because this market is super scenic and very Instagrammable! 

London Transport Museum

You simply must squeeze the London Transport Museum into your four days in London. Its also one of the most fantastic places for days out with the kids in London as it is very hands on, as well as being engaging for bigger people too!

Prebooked admission is £16.50 or £18 at the door for adults. Kids are free. The museum is open daily from 1000-1800.

The museum features a huge range of iconic transportation including double decker buses, rail carriages and locomotives throughout London’s history.

You can explore a timeline of transportation in London and learn how modern day London came to be connected.

Many of the vehicles can be climbed on, explored and walked through – its a very hands on space!

London Thames

3 days in London itinerary

3 days in London is doable, but you’ll need to economise! We suggest taking the tube to cut down on travel time and perhaps travel over summer so you can enjoy longer days.

Base yourself centrally and prebook all entry tickets to save time. It’s really hard to answer the questions ‘is three days long enough in London’ and ‘how many days do I need in London’ as you can live in a city and never fully explore it!

If you’d like to turn this 4 day itinerary into a 3 days itinerary in London consider visiting Oxford Streets (minus the transport museum) after Hyde Park, or skip Hyde Park and head straight there after Harrods.

Walk and eat whilst exploring the markets, or just pop in for a transportable snack and keep moving.

Open air activities like Big Ben and Hyde Park can be explored early in the morning before most other attractions open for the day, so consider this when planning breakfast.

5 days in London itinerary: Additional Ideas

Churchill War Rooms, Windsor Castle, HP Studio Tour, Kew Gardens, The Shard, Notting Hill, St Pancras Harry Potter, 

Whilst a 3 days London itinerary might mean cutting out a few of the sites, five days in London will allow you either a slower pace or to fit more in!

You may even consider including some half days out of London. Our top suggestions for a 5 days itinerary in London are to add on a combination of these extras.

Church Hill War Rooms

Located near St James’s park, you’ll dive deep into Winston Churchill’s war rooms. Top Secret during the war, you’ll visit planning rooms, escape tunnels and see equipment used to communicated during the war.

This is a fantastic hour or two’s worth of exploration into a critical era in London’s history.

BOOK| Prebook your Churchill War Rooms Entry Here

windsor castle

Windsor Castle

The Queen’s favourite Castle, Windsor, is just 40 minutes from London by train. Depart from Paddington station and then switch to the bus at Slough.

Windsor Castle features beautiful staterooms, lovely gardens and of course the chapel in which Harry and Meghan wed.

READ | How to plan a Windsor Castle trip from London

BOOK | Save time and prebook your Windsor Castle Entry tickets here

Harry Potter Studio Tour

The Millenium Bridge is good, a Harry Potter London walking tour is great, by HP Studios is AMAZING!

Its about an hour by train and then shuttle bus from Euston and well worth the journey.

You MUST book in advanced and arrive on time for your scheduled entry. Allow 2-3 hours for plenty of wand riding and wizardry!

BOOK | Prebook your Harry Potter Studio tickets here

Kew Gardens glasshouse

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens are a spectacular botanical gardens to the west of London. It’s around 40 minutes by train from Waterloo. Get off at the Kew Bridge station. It’s a little further walk but an easier connection to get to. 

The Kew Gardens house one the largest and most diverse botanical species in the world.

In addition to open garden plantings, the iconic glass house is a must see. Spanning two stories, the glasshouse is an iconic Victorian structure.

There is a cafe on site to grab a coffee or some lunch. Alternatively there’s lots of options in the township of Kew itself.

Visit at Spring for a spectacular display of spring bulbs planted on masse.

Notting Hill London itinerary

Visit the pretty pastel houses of Notting Hill

If you’re doing it for the ‘gram, or just love a pretty pastel house, you’ll want to visit Notting Hill.

Plan to arrive early to miss the bulk of the crowds. The best houses can be found on.

  • Portobello Road 
  • Farm Place 
  • Westbourne Grove 
  • Clarendon Road 
  • Lancaster Road 

If you love markets, and vintage wares – pop in to Portobello Road Market whilst you’re in the neighbourhood.

Eat cake at Peggy Porschen

The cake at Peggy Porschen in Belgravia is very good. The shopfront however is legendary.

Covered with beautiful blooms, pastel hues and pastel wrong iron seating, it’s an Instagrammer’s delight.

Again, arrive early if you’d love an unencumbered shot. Peggy Porschen isn’t too far from Harrods if you’d like to add this stop into Day 3.

Suggested days out of London

Bletchley Park, Beachy Head, Stonehenge, Cotswolds

If you’re wondering how many days to spend in London, but really want to head out of the city – go for it!

These are some of our favourite day trips from London that you can do by yourself or by joining an organised tour.

Stonehenge

If there’s somewhere you’re going to see outside of London, let it be Stonehenge. This incredible ancient stone structure holds so much history and is rather otherworldly.

You’re best to join a tour for this one as it’s a couple of hours out of London and you’ll waste time trying to get there one public transport. Our favourite tours are.

BOOK | Stonehenge half day tour (morning or afternoon)

BOOK | Full Day Tour: Stonehenge, Windsor and Oxford

The Cotswolds

If you love quaint cottages and old world charm, then the Cotswolds are for you.

A region rather than a township itself, the Cotswolds is full of unique villages that all offer their own charm.

We particularly loved The Slaughters (Slaughter comes from the old English word ‘slohtre’ which means muddy place) which has a beautiful church, an upper and lower village with a pretty stream running through and its own mill house.

Hire a car or take a tour for this region. Our favourites are.

BOOK | Cotswolds tour with lunch

BOOK | Full day tour of the Cotswolds and Downton Abbey’s Highclere Castle

Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park

If you like the idea of the Churchill War Rooms, then Bletchley Park is for you. 

Bletchley Park is just south of Oxford and the where the Turing machine (the code breaking machine that essentially stopped WW2) was developed.

You can see decoding machines throughout time as well the original huts where the machines operated.

You’ll need to hire a car for this adventure.

Oxford, Cambridge, Bath and the rest

There are so many options for day trips from London. In fact, we’ve rounded up the top 20 of them for you with everything you know about getting there and lots of tour ideas.

PLAN| The best 20 day trips from London

We’ve also written more detailed posts on these great day trip destinations.

READ | What to see and do at Beachy Head, England’s most spectacular cliffs

READ | Visit the best castle in Sussex – Herstmonceux

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