How Many Days Do You Need in London? 5 Itineraries to Plan Your Trip

How many days do you need in London

Wondering how many days to spend in England's capital city? We've got you covered. London is such a special city, and there is much to see in the largest metropolis in the country. From the Tower of London to Big Ben, along with parks, gardens, shops, and restaurants, you'll want to make sure to fit in everything on your agenda. So, what's the perfect number? You'll want to consider why you're visiting, what you want to see, and how much money you have to spend. We'll provide different scenarios below to help you decide just how long to stay in London.

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The London EyeUnsplash

One-Day Itinerary

You can see a decent amount of London in just one day. If you're traveling for work and only have one day, bring some comfortable shoes — you'll be doing a lot of walking.

If you only have one day in London, it will most likely be busy. To begin, head to Waterloo Station and exit toward South Bank. Exit on Leake Street and spot the Graffiti Tunnel near the station. From here, turn left on York Road, turn right on Westminster Bridge, and find the stairs to the riverfront path at the bridge's southern side. Take a moment to look around. The view of the Palace of Westminster and the River Thames is beautiful.

From here, visit Westminster Abbey, one of the most beautiful buildings in London, and the site of many Royal weddings. From Westminster Abbey, walk 15 to 20 minutes to Buckingham Palace. Opt for a tour or simply enjoy the view from the outside. If you're lucky, you'll see the Changing of the Guard, which occurs daily at 11 AM.

Next, walk up the famous Mall to Trafalgar Square. Explore the area and pop into one of the many pubs for lunch. When refueled, hop on the tube from Embarkment Station to Manion House Station, which is near St. Paul's Cathedral. Finally, head to the Tower Bridge — you can't miss it. Cross the bridge, admire the gorgeous views, and pay to climb the tower if you have time.

Finally, hop back on the tube from London Bridge Station to Waterloo Station and watch the sunset from the London Eye.

The Shard, LondonUnsplash

Two-Day Itinerary

At least two days in London is a good amount of time if you are also planning on touring around the UK or Europe. This allows you to see some of the main attractions while also relaxing in London's many parks and pubs.

  • Day 1: Start at Piccadilly Station. Plan to see the Wellington Arch, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul's Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the London Eye, the Embankment for lunch, and Greek Park.

Yes, this is a hefty itinerary, but you'll only be walking about three miles. After you've seen as much as you possibly can, head back to whatever neighborhood you're staying in and enjoy some yummy London pub grub before tucking in for a well-deserved good night's sleep.

  • Day 2: Start day two near London Bridge Station. Explore the Southbank, which includes the Borough Market and The Shard. Borough Market is the ideal spot to grab breakfast before heading to the Shard for possibly the best views in all of London. Between the 69th and 72nd floors, you'll get 360-degree views of the city. After a slow morning of sightseeing, head to Notting Hill. Grab a bite to eat, peruse a flower market, and reminisce about the 1999 film starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts.

You can see most of London's landmarks in two to three days. There's also time to visit the city's markets, shops, and museums.

The Tower Bridge in LondonUnsplash

Three-Day Itinerary

With three days to explore the city, your itinerary doesn't need to be as jam-packed as the one- and two-day itineraries. For three full days, we recommend the following:

  • Day 1: Westminster and Central London, Trafalgar Square, Chinatown, Covent Garden, and the London Eye.
  • Day 2: St. Paul's Cathedral, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and the Shard.
  • Day 3: West London's Columbia Flower Market and Notting Hill, as well as the unique markets and stores in Camden. Also, why not ride a canal boat while here?

If London is your only stop and you have the time, stay a week or at least five days. You won't be sorry. We've included a busy five-day itinerary below. If you can stay an extra couple of days, spend the time exploring London's many neighborhoods, like Notting Hill and Kensington.

Fountain in Regent's Park, LondonUnsplash

Five-Day Itinerary

Five days in London is the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation. Luckily, you can take the first day pretty easy to adjust to your new location. Here's what we suggest:

  • Day 1: Westminster, Houses of Parliament (including Big Ben), Southbank, and the London Eye.
  • Day 2: Hyde Park, Marble Arch to Green Park, Buckingham Palace, St. James's Park, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, and the British Museum.
  • Day 3: Bankside and Borough Market, The Shard, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Sir Christopher Wren's Monument, and St. Paul's Cathedral.
  • Day 4: Shopping in Camden, Regent's Park, 221B Baker Street (for Sherlock Holmes fans), Shoreditch in East London, and Brick Lane for street art.
  • Day 5: Is there any place you didn't make it to on days one through four? Day 5 is your chance to catch up! If you stuck to the five-day itinerary, head back to your favorite place and soak in the atmosphere. Also, treat yourself to a delicious hot pub meal before heading home.

If you love London and plan on an expat life in this exciting city, stay for two weeks. You'll have plenty of time for sightseeing, exploring, and getting a taste of life here.

Covent Garden, LondonUnsplash

14-Day Itinerary

First of all, two weeks in London is a dream. There's so much to see and do! Plus, many unique towns are just a short train ride from the capital city. For the 14-day itinerary, we suggest following the five-day itinerary and adding additional museums, London neighborhoods, and day trips.

  • London museums: Victoria and Albert Museum, Museum of London, The National Gallery, Natural History Museum, to name a few!
  • Additional London neighborhoods to explore: Kensington, Notting Hill, Mayfair, and Hampstead.
  • Day trips from London: Canterbury, Kent, for gardens and beautiful scenery; Clifton, Bristol, for a variety of activities; and Bath, Somerset, for history.

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