4 days in London Itinerary | London Tips by a Local

The atruim at the British Museum
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London is a city with a lot going on. Full of history and culture, it’s the perfect place to search out one of a kind experiences. Mindful travellers who love a bit of luxury are spoiled for choice. This 4-day London itinerary covers my favourite places and activities in London, as well as where to stay, eat and drink.


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London is one of the most exciting cities in the world. Iconic cherry-red double-decker buses whizz past instantly recognisable buildings like Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s Cathedral. World-class restaurants and luxurious hotels are just across the street from phenomenal museums.

There’s so much to see and do in London that it can all get a bit overwhelming!

It doesn’t matter if you’re travelling solo, with a group of friends, or with family. Everyone will find something they love.

If you’re planning an itinerary for 4 days in London then this post is for you.

I lived in London for years and my friends and family would often visit for just 4 days. I wanted them to experience as much of this fabulous city as possible. As a result, I’ve refined and used this itinerary many times.

I know it’s good because my friends then pass it on to their friends!

Although you won’t have time to see everything, this itinerary covers many of London’s best museums and iconic landmarks. Having lived in the capital for 8 years, I’ve also got some great local spots in London for you to visit.

This London itinerary includes my favourite things to do in London, London travel tips, how to navigate the London Underground, where to eat in Central London, where to stay in London, photo-worthy places, and much more!

I’ve designed this itinerary to be done on foot and via London’s excellent public transport system since that’s how I like to explore the city.

If you prefer something a little more unique, consider a private tour of the city in an electric Mini Cooper!

You’ll find a detailed interactive map for your 4 days in London near the bottom of this post and you can save that for your own trip.

Whether it’s your first time visiting Britain’s capital or simply one of many, I want to help you get the most out of your visit. This massive London travel guide will have you prepared for everything!

A red double decker London bus goes past the front of Westminster Cathedral
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LONDON ESSENTIALS

Spend at least 4 days

Always take an umbrella

Book hotels and excursions 3-4 months in advance

Use public transport (or walk) instead of taxis and cars

Table Of Contents
  1. 4-DAY LONDON ITINERARY | HOW TO SPEND 4 DAYS IN LONDON
  2. Itinerary for 4 Days in London
  3. Who is this 4 day London Itinerary for?
  4. London Itinerary | Day 1
  5. London Itinerary | Day 2
  6. London Itinerary | Day 3
  7. 4 Days in London Itinerary | Day 4
  8. 4 days in London Map
  9. How Many Days in London is Enough Time?
  10. When is the Best Time to Visit London?
  11. Where to Stay in London
  12. How to Get to London
  13. Getting to London from the Airport
  14. Getting Around in London
  15. Day Trips and Guided Tours in London
  16. What to Pack for 4 Days in London
  17. FOLLOW & SHARE

4-DAY LONDON ITINERARY | HOW TO SPEND 4 DAYS IN LONDON


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Itinerary for 4 Days in London

Here’s a quick summary of what you’ll be seeing every day. For all the details, including which days of the week I recommend for each area, visit the specific days below.

Day 1 | Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben & Westminster Abbey

Today you’ll be exploring Westminster and Covent Garden. In addition to exploring the homes of the British Monarchy and Government, you’ll also have the chance to visit some renowned art galleries. You’ll finish the day with a West End show.

Day 2 | Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Borough Market, Tate Modern, St Paul’s Cathedral & Sky Garden

See both the ancient and modern sides of London today with visits to some of the most famous historic sites followed by modern art and a garden at the top of a skyscraper!

Day 3 | British Library, British Museum, Michelin-starred lunch, Shopping District & The Globe Theatre

Start your day exploring Britain’s most famous museum before heading to some of the most well-known shopping areas in the world. Have a Michelin-starred feast before taking a very unusual walking tour. Top it off by watching Shakespeare as it was meant to be seen.

Day 4 | Aire Ancient Baths, Thames Boat Trip, Afternoon Tea at The Shard & a Comedy Show

Relax at one of London’s best spas before taking a boat trip on the Thames. Enjoy a Peter Pan themed afternoon tea and then laugh off all those calories at the Comedy Store.

Who is this 4 day London Itinerary for?

This London itinerary is designed with a particular woman in mind.

I’ve designed it for independent female travellers who want a London experience that’s not in the guidebooks. It’s perfect for first-time visitors. You’ll see lots of the iconic sights, but it’ll also get you off the well-trodden tourist path. If there’s an option to give back to the local community, that’s where you’ll go.

I want to make it easy for you to do thoughtful travel in London.

Obviously, no 4 days in London could cover everything the city has to offer. Even with 8 years and multiple return visits, I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface.

I know this itinerary with a focus on local experiences will leave you feeling like you’ve had a great first taste of the city.

If you’re on a return visit to London then you might want to look at an itinerary with a focus on art galleries and museums, shopping and relaxation or unusual sights. You might even want to consider heading out of London for the day on an easy day trip from the city.

Here’s how to spend 4 days in London, my way.

A wall and shop front with the text Borough Market in London
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The facade and tower at Spitalfields market in London
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London Itinerary | Day 1


AREAS YOU’LL VISIT | Westminster & Covent Garden

DAY ONE TOP SIGHTS
Trafalgar Square | The National Gallery & National Portrait Gallery
Buckingham Palace
Houses of Parliament & Big Ben
Westminster Abbey | no tours on Sunday, open for worship only
Cleopatra’s Needle | optional London Eye
Dinner & West End show, ballet or opera

BEST DAYS | Monday to Saturday


Start your day right by grabbing a coffee from one of London’s best independent coffee shops before heading to Trafalgar Square.

Caravan Coffee Roasters at The Savoy is close to the starting point of today’s itinerary. The company is built on an ethos of economic freedom for all, environmental stewardship and damn fine coffee!

The closest tube stop to Trafalgar Square is Charing Cross Underground, on the Bakerloo and Northern Lines. You can also take the train to the Charing Cross Railway Station.

Trafalgar Square

I’m sure you’ve seen photos of Trafalgar Square. It’s home to Nelson’s column, the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery. The fountains and lion statues are a favourite, but there’s also a more unusual sight: the Fourth Plinth.

In three corners of Trafalgar Square are plinths with the type of statues you’re used to finding in historically important cities. Bronze busts of old men you’ve possibly never heard of, usually riding a horse or gazing off into the middle distance.

They tend to be pretty expensive, and here in the square, the funds ran out before the final statue could be cast.

For about 150 years nobody knew what to do with the empty plinth, but it’s now home to a rotating art commission. Recently it has hosted a giant blue rooster, a skeleton horse and a giant dollop of cream!

The front of the National Gallery building in Trafalgar Square in London
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The fountains of Trafalgar Square in London
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The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square with a giant dollop of whipped cream and a drone on top
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It’s fitting that the square is also home to two of the most important art galleries in Britain. The National Gallery has some incredible works, with artists such as van Gogh, van Eyck and da Vinci among the most famous. The National Portrait Gallery hosts the most extensive collection of portraits in the world.

Both galleries are free, so you can pop into both for a quick look around, or take more time to enjoy one of them.

You’d need an entire day to see everything that the National Gallery has to offer, but since the permanent collection is free to enter, you can easily just see a few iconic paintings. My favourites are all included in the gallery’s highlights.

Plan to spend 1-2 hours here if you’re just wandering around and taking it all in.

You can also use the Smartify app when you’re there to learn more about the paintings. If you want to visit one of the temporary exhibitions then you’ll need to pay and book in advance to ensure entry.

THE DETAILS
Where |
Trafalgar Square
Hours |
daily 10am–6pm and Friday until 9pm (Closed 24–26 December and 1 January)
Cost |
free
Best Tour |
To get the most out of your visit, you should consider taking this highly recommended guided tour of the gallery.

Although less popular than the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery is home to some phenomenal works. My favourite route tracks the history of the British monarchy from 871 to the present day.

TIP | The National Portrait Gallery is closed for refurbishing until 2023

Again, entry is free so you can just pop in for a quick look around, but a proper visit to the collections will take a couple of hours.

THE DETAILS
Where |
Trafalgar Square
Open | daily 10am–6pm and Friday until 9pm (Closed 24–26 December and 1 January)
Cost | free
Best Tour | if you’re serious about art, then this 3 gallery tour is for you. You’ll cover the best of the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and Wallace Collection, travelling in a classic black cab (taxi) with included high tea.

Aim to leave Trafalgar Square no later than midday, heading down the Mall to your next destination, Buckingham Palace.

The Mall is a gorgeous road, flanked by statues, and impressive buildings and runs alongside beautiful St James’ Park. Take your time wandering down to the Victoria memorial outside the gates of the Palace.

Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace is a 15-minute walk.

Buckingham Palace

For most of us, the gates are the closest we’ll get to the Queen. The palace is the official residence of the British Monarchy in London.

The wrought iron gates in front of Buckingham Palace London
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The front of Buckingham Palace in London
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The guard outside Buckingham Palace in London
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If you’re a massive fan of pomp and ceremony then you might want to time your visit to see the Changing of the Guards here. It usually starts at 11 am, so you’ll need to make your art gallery visits quick to make it here in time.

LOCAL TIP | The Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace tends to be extremely busy and is behind iron gates. I much prefer watching the mounted cavalry change at Horseguards Parade where you can get unobstructed views. 11am daily, 10am on Sunday.

Buckingham Palace itself is only open to the public during the summer months, but if you visit in spring then I really recommend taking a guided tour of the incredible gardens.

At all other times of the year, this will just be a quick photo op before heading on to Westminster.

THE DETAILS
Where |
Buckingham Palace
Hours | State Rooms: from 22 July & August 9:30am – 5:15pm and September to 2 October 9:30am – 4:15pm, closed Tuesday & Wednesday. Gardens open in March & April with tours every 30 minutes from 10am – 3pm.
Cost | State Rooms £30, Garden tour £24.50
Tickets | Buy here

From the Palace, you can take Birdcage Walk towards Westminster or, for a much nicer experience, wind your way through St James’s Park. You’re probably getting a bit hungry now, so why not stop for a quick refuel at one of London’s many fantastic pubs.

My choice nearby is The Red Lion, famous for hosting celebrities of the day, such as Charles Dickens and Winston Churchill. It’s just a 15-minute walk from Buckingham Palace and about 10 minutes from Westminster Abbey if you stop for some photos outside Parliament.

The Houses of Parliament & Big Ben

If you’re looking for one place that’s shaped the history of modern Britain, then the Palace of Westminster, aka the Houses of Parliament, has to be the best contender. Assassinations, treason, bombs and fires have all played their part in the creation of the building you see today.

And, of course, rising above it all you’ll find Elizabeth Tower, home to Big Ben, the nation’s best-known bell. Any Londoner would instantly recognise the tone of the bell, famous worldwide from BBC news broadcasts.

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If you want to get up close and personal with the machinations of the UK Parliament, you’re in luck. Although Big Ben is still closed due to ongoing restorations, you can take a tour of the Palace of Westminster or observe Parliament in session during Prime Minister’s Questions.

THE DETAILS
Where |
Houses of Parliament
Hours | Variable depending on parliamentary sessions. Tours run between 9am and 3pm.
Cost | free to UK residents, £29 for a guided tour for overseas visitors
Tickets | UK residents and overseas visitors

Westminster Abbey

Unless you really want to see the inside of the Palace of Westminster, I’d recommend spending your time at the Abbey instead. If you leave Trafalgar Square at midday and don’t take things too slowly, you should be able to make it to the Abbey by 1:30pm.

This is important because I highly recommend taking the verger tour at the Abbey if there are spaces, and it starts at 2pm. If you’d rather just view things at your own pace, then all admission tickets come with an audio tour. The Hidden Highlights tour also gets rave reviews.

Allow around 2 hours for your visit.

Westminster Abbey has an illustrious history stretching back almost 1000 years. The building has seen countless Royal weddings and coronations and is home to the final resting place of Kings, Queens and poets. It’s also an architectural beauty, with soaring pillars, beautiful windows and a set of lovely gardens.

THE DETAILS
Where |
Westminster Abbey
Hours | Monday – Saturday 9:30am-3:30pm
Cost | £25 (audio guide included) with an additional £10 for the verger tour
Tickets | available here 2 months in advance. I highly recommend advance purchase as they guarantee a timed entry without the need to queue.

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Cleopatra’s Needle

Once you’ve finished at Westminster Abbey, head back towards the Thames and cross Westminster Bridge. If you’re not keen on doing the London Eye, then simply stroll along the Queen’s Walk beside the river, taking in the fantastic views of Westminster, until you reach the Golden Jubilee Bridge.

Cross back over the Thames here, and you’ll spot Cleopatra’s Needle sitting on the bank of the Thames to your right. The stunning Egyptian Obelisk is 3500 years old, but you wouldn’t know it. She’s rarely visited these days, but if you consider how she came to be here, you’ll get an intriguing glimpse into the British Empire’s dark past.

The walk from Westminster should only take you about 20 minutes.

OPTION | London Eye
The London Eye is the world’s largest cantilevered observation wheel, and the views are amazing on a clear day. If you’re keen, I recommend getting a Fast Track ticket with a glass of champagne for the best experience!

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Dinner & West End Show

Although you’ve had a busy day, it’s not over yet. A trip to London isn’t complete without doing “dinner and a show”, so now your only difficulty is working out what you want to see!

The Olivier Awards are basically the Oscars of the West End, so you can guarantee an amazing night out at any of the winners. There are also perennial favourite musicals such as Phantom of the Opera and Les Mis. My favourites also include & Juliet, Wicked and The Book of Mormon.

The Mousetrap is the West End’s longest running play for a good reason, and The Woman in Black is also excellent. I’m planning on sending you to see some Shakespeare tomorrow though, so you might want to keep things light tonight!

Another option is a trip to the exquisite Royal Opera House. My visits to see Turandot, Carmen and Swan Lake remain some of my best London memories. If you manage to secure tickets to a performance here then the pre-show dining at Balconies is superb. Make sure you book!

If you’re heading for a show, the evening performances usually start at 7:30pm, running for up to 2.5h. For dinner before the show, try The Petersham or La Goccia where sustainable sourcing is key for the delicious Italian cuisine. Pivot prides itself on its seasonal and vegan menus, and Whitcomb’s at The Londoner has a top-notch pre-theatre set menu.

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Post Theatre Drinks

If you’ve still got the energy, then check out one of the many fabulous cocktail bars in the West End. Swift has an upstairs bar with a buzzy vibe and a downstairs that’s more speakeasy. The tiny Bar Termini, where booking is essential, will transport you to the streets of Italy. Bar Américain is a treat for art deco and cocktail lovers, and Mr Fogg’s will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a Victorian collector’s parlour!

Head back to your hotel for a well-earned rest before tackling your second day in London!

London Itinerary | Day 2


AREAS YOU’LL VISIT | The City of London & Southwark

DAY TWO TOP SIGHTS
The Tower of London | opens an hour later on Sunday & Monday
Tower Bridge
Borough Market | best, but busiest, on Saturday
The Tate Modern
Millennium Bridge
St Paul’s Cathedral | closed Sunday
Sky Garden

BEST DAYS | Wednesday to Saturday

If you’re an early riser, start your day by going to Monument Tube Station (Circle and District Lines). Visit the Monument to the Great Fire of London before making your way to St Dunstan’s in the East.

St Dunstan’s itself is a ruined Christopher Wren (of St Paul’s Cathedral fame) church, and now home to a lovely garden. It’s a great spot to sit with a morning coffee from nearby Farmer J.

If you’d rather have a bit of a lie-in after your full day yesterday then go straight to Tower Hill (Circle and District Lines) for the opening of the Tower of London.

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The Tower of London and Tower Bridge

The Tower of London is one of the most fascinating places you’ll visit on your 4 days in London. It’s UNESCO World Heritage listed and has been on the site in one form or another since 1066.

The Tower is a historic castle that houses the Crown Jewels of the UK and has been home to murder mysteries, beheadings, exiled queens and more. You absolutely need to take a tour of the Tower in order to fully appreciate its past.

LOCAL TIP | When you arrive at the Tower of London, head straight to see the Crown Jewels. After that, backtrack to the moat near the main entrance to take the next Yeoman Warder Tour.

If you have a spare evening, then the Ceremony of the Keys is a cool tradition to experience. It occurs every night at 9:30pm, lasting for about half an hour. Tickets sell out fast and are usually released a month in advance. Check here to book.

It takes about an hour to see the Crown Jewels and another hour for the tour (running every 30 mins), so by the time you’ve explored, you can expect to spend about 3 hours here.

THE DETAILS
Where |
Tower of London
Hours | Sunday & Monday 10am – 4:30pm, Tuesday – Saturday 9am – 4:30pm
Cost | £29.90
Tickets | Buy online here

Once you’ve finished at the Tower, head over the world-famous Tower Bridge to the South Bank. Take your time and make sure to get a few snaps of the beautiful blue suspension bridge as you go.

Some of the best views will be once you’ve crossed the bridge, looking back towards the Tower. Butler’s Wharf Pier is one of my favourite photography spots.

The walk from the Tower to Borough Market will take about 25 minutes.

Borough Market

You’re probably feeling pretty hungry by now, so it’s time to walk along the Thames, past HMS Belfast (a great museum if you love maritime history), to Borough Market. London’s oldest food market has been around for around 1000 years! It’s my favourite market in London and you could easily spend an entire day of your London itinerary here.

LOCAL FAVOURITES | Olivier’s Bakery for all things baked, Bread Ahead’s doughnuts, a cheese toastie from Kappacasein, the moong daal dosa at Horn OK Please and Humble Crumble for dessert.

You can either make up your own picnic or head to the street food market and get a meal there. I highly recommend the fish and chips, but there’s also amazing paella, Thai, Vietnamese and pizza. Find yourself a spot to sit and savour your feast.

Crowds walking through Borough Market in London
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The charcuterie store at Borough Market
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Humble Crumble at Borough market
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THE DETAILS
Where |
Borough Market
Hours | Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 8am – 5pm, Sunday 10am – 3pm
Cost | Free to enter, pay for your food!
Tours | Celia Brooks leads highly recommended tours through the market but dates are very limited. Check here.

Once you’re refuelled, it’s time to continue along the Thames Walk until you reach the Globe and the Tate Modern. You’ll be back to see the Globe tomorrow, so for now continue along to the Tate Modern, virtually next door.

The Tate Modern

This iconic modern art museum sits inside an old power station on the banks of the Thames. Admission is free, so you should absolutely go in, even if you’re just planning to take a look at the incredible atrium with its revolving exhibitions.

While it used to be possible to just walk in, I currently recommend that you get a timed ticket in advance. You should be able to get here by 2pm.

Modern art lovers should plan on spending at least a couple of hours here. There’s a permanent free collection, along with rotating exhibits from a variety of well-known international artists. These usually require advance booking.

If you’re in need of refreshments then I highly recommend heading up to the cafe/bar. For the price of a drink, you’ll get one of the most incredible rooftop views out over the Thames.

THE DETAILS
Where |
The Tate Modern
Hours |
Daily 10am – 5:30pm
Cost |
General admission free, with special exhibitions from £10
Tickets |
Free timed tickets in advance here

Finish at the Tate Modern and head back over to the north bank of the Thames via the Millenium Bridge.

You’ll need to leave no later than 3:30pm in order to reach St Paul’s for the last entry at 4pm.

The Millenium Bridge

Although it was plagued by problems, this cool suspension bridge is now a bit of an icon when you’re visiting London. The walk across leads to a stunning framed view of St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is your next destination.

You’ll get great panoramas of both embankments from the bridge, as well as a wonderful view of Tower Bridge.

St Paul’s Cathedral

This is Christoper Wren’s masterpiece, and one of the most instantly recognisable buildings in the city of London. Whilst the exterior is beautiful, I think that it’s well worth heading into the Cathedral and up to the Dome via the Whispering Gallery (unfortunately, currently closed). You’ll emerge to rooftop views over the city of London that are hard to beat.

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It’s important to note that the last admission to the dome area is at 4:15pm, so grab your audio guide (included in your ticket price) and head straight there when you arrive.

THE DETAILS
Where |
St Paul’s Cathedral
Hours |
Daily 8:30am – 5:30pm, except Wednesday 10am – 4pm and open for worship only on Sunday (times here)
Cost |
£18 if booked in advance, £21 onsite
Tickets |
Advance purchase here

After St Paul’s, head to your last stop of the day for a well-earned drink watching the sunset. It’s the best time to visit the Sky Garden, which is a 15-minute walk from St Paul’s.

Sky Garden

The Sky Garden is a beautiful leafy oasis in the sky and the perfect spot to get panoramic views over the London skyline. It’s worth noting that the free tickets to the garden are only available until 6pm on weekdays and 9pm at the weekends. Outside of those hours, you’ll need to reserve a table at the bars or restaurants to guarantee entry.

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The free walk-in tickets can be booked up to three weeks in advance, with release dates clearly shown on the website. Although you can sometimes get in on the day, I do recommend that you secure your ticket before you get there so that you don’t miss out.

THE DETAILS
Where |
The Sky Garden
Hours |
Garden only weekdays 10am – 6pm, and weekends 11am – 9pm.
Cost |
Free
Tickets |
Free timed tickets in advance here

Rather than eating at the Sky Garden, I recommend booking a table at one of the many incredible restaurants on offer in London. Depending on your preference, you could opt for one of my favourite Michelin Starred restaurants in London, a sustainable restaurant where the emphasis is firmly on giving back, or explore Brick Lane for some of London’s best Indian food.

If you’ve still got the energy, check out another of London’s great cocktail bars before calling it a night.

London Itinerary | Day 3


AREAS YOU’LL VISIT | Bloomsbury, Fitzrovia & Soho

DAY THREE TOP SIGHTS
The British Library
The British Museum
A Michelin Starred Lunch
London’s best shopping districts | Shopping or an unusual walking tour
The Globe Theatre

BEST DAYS | Tuesday to Saturday

For today’s caffeine kick to start you off, I’m going to recommend B-corp certified Origin Coffee which has a little branch right by the British Library.

Get here via Kings Cross St Pancras (Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Picadilly, Northern, Victoria & overground services) which is a beautiful station. Take a couple of quick snaps of the stunning St Pancras Rennaisance Hotel on your way past.

The British Library

I love a good library. So today starts at the British Library, which is one of the best. You’re not going to be sitting down with a good book (unless you want to), but visiting the Treasures Gallery. The gallery contains some gorgeous original documents such as da Vinci’s notebooks, an ancient Qur’an and a Shakespeare First Folio.

It’s free to enter and will take you about 30 minutes to an hour to wander about. It’s a really special place to visit and I honestly got a bit emotional at all the beauty on display, created from nothing but human emotion.

If you’re doing this day on a Sunday then you may need to skip the library as it opens much later.

THE DETAILS
Where |
The British Library
Hours |
Monday – Thursday 9:30am – 8pm, Friday 9:30am – 6pm, Saturday 9:30am – 5pm, Sunday 11am – 5pm.
Cost |
Free

From here, you can either walk to the British Museum or backtrack to the tube and take the Picadilly Line Southbound to Russell Square. Both options will take 15-20 minutes.

The British Museum

The good old British Museum. Home to a host of artefacts “liberated” from countries colonised by a load of white guys. There’s truly nothing more British than that.

I’m only half joking.

LOCAL TIP | The British Museum actually runs out-of-hours tours every morning before it opens to the public. Numbers are limited and this is a wonderful way to get a truly exclusive look at the collection. They run daily at 8:50 am and advance booking is required.

A trip to the museum, though, is a good opportunity to reflect on how colonialism continues to shape the modern world. Almost 2 million years of the history of the human species is on display here in the museum, and it really is an incredible place to explore.

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There are several options, depending on how much time you want to spend here. You could simply wander around and look at whatever takes your fancy, spending most of the day surrounded by stunning exhibits.

My advice would be to do one of the trails that the British Museum has specifically designed in order to showcase the collection. They’re a great way to see some of the most interesting and beautiful exhibits if you don’t want to get “museumed out”!

I recommend the Collecting and Empire trail (approx 1 h), which can be combined with either the 1 hour or 3-hour trail. Or, do a bit of pre-reading and make a trail of your own!

You might want to have a look at the Unfiltered History Tour from Vice, where the stories of artefacts are told by people from the nations they came from. Alice Proctor also runs the amazing Uncomfortable Art Tours – they’re not currently on sale but keep checking back as they’re an eye-opening way to view history.

THE DETAILS
Where |
The British Museum
Hours |
Daily 10am – 5pm, Friday until 7:30pm
Cost |
Free
Tickets |
Free timed tickets in advance here

Aim to leave the museum between midday and 1pm so you’ve got plenty of time to enjoy lunch.

A Michelin Starred Lunch

There are so many Michelin starred restaurants in London that you’d need about 3 months to have dinner at each of them! Since you’ve only got a limited 4 days in London, one of the best ways to get a table is to book a lunch slot. Many of them have really divine set lunch menus too!

Since you’re going to be staying in the area this afternoon, I suggest picking one of the options around Fitzrovia, Soho or Mayfair.

Having said that, my favourite choice, Portland, sits on the boundary of Fitzrovia and Marylebone. The tasting menu is sublime, the wine pairings perfection, and the atmosphere utterly unpretentious. It’s the kind of place that doesn’t mind you wearing your comfy walking shoes!

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It’s also absolutely perfect if you’re travelling alone, with plenty of other solo diners popping in throughout the lunch service.

LOCAL TIP | Although you can just turn up and get a lunch spot at most of London’s high-end restaurants, these represent the cream of the crop and are extremely busy. Book in advance to guarantee a table.

Pied à Terre is another great lunch option, and is London’s longest-standing Michelin starred restaurant! With an emphasis on sustainability and full vegan and vegetarian menus, you can choose to dine à la carte or from one of the multi-course tasting menus. Anything from 4 to 10 courses is available!

If you’re with friends or family then The Ninth is a lovely option, with dishes meant for sharing. They also have an extensive vegetarian menu. If you’re in the mood for tapas then look no further than Barrafina – the Dean Street original is still the best, but they now have several locations in the city.

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One of the newer kids on the block is the Californian influenced Sola Soho. The food here is fresh and light, and the set lunch menu served Wednesday to Saturday is wonderful. They can cater for vegetarian, but not vegan diets.

At Pollen Street Social, the set lunch menu puts British ingredients front and centre. They’ll even tell you how far it travelled to get to your plate! You may only have heard about the afternoon tea at Sketch, but the Lecture Room & Library does a wonderful set lunch on Friday & Saturday.

Now you get to choose what you want to do for the rest of the afternoon. If you want to hit the shops, now’s the time. If you’d rather take a walking tour with a difference, head off to explore the city with a guide who used to live on its streets.

4 Days in London Day 3 Option 1: Shopping

If it’s shopping you’re after, London has it all. From high street to high-end and everything in between, whether it’s food or fashion, you’ll find it here.

Bond Street

This is where you’ll find the flagship stores of some of the world’s most famous fashion houses. It’s probably my favourite shopping street in London. Asprey, Cartier, Dolce & Gabbana, Hermès, Prada and Tiffany & Co are all here, along with many others.

If you want to get your underwear from the place where the queen gets hers, don’t miss Rigby & Peller on Conduit Street.

Duck down Burlington Arcade to find Manolo Blahnik and Ladureé. Neither the heels nor the macarons will be much use to you for the rest of today, but you never know when you might need a snack or a sudden change of dress code, right?!

LOCAL TIP | Bond Street is at its best and brightest during Christmas when the stores put up incredible window displays for the festive season. Shops are generally open daily from 10am to 7pm.

Picadilly

Fortnum and Mason, with their duck-egg blue theme, is the best place to pick up treats for everyone not lucky enough to be with you. Grab some English tea and biscuits (that’s cookies for the Americans amongst you) to have a taste of London after you’ve left.

Book lovers are in for a treat at the flagship Waterstones Picadilly branch. Spanning 8 floors, it’s the largest bookshop in Europe!

If you want a more intimate experience, then Hatchards is my pick. With many signed and first edition books, you can also make use of their worldwide shipping and gift-wrapping options.

Regent Street

This is where you’ll find many of Britain’s best-loved high street stores. If you’re looking to entertain kids then you can’t miss Hamley’s, the famous toy department store! Apple’s flagship UK store is here, along with Burberry, Ferrari and Penhaglion’s perfumery.

I love popping into Liberty, which is another of London’s most famous department stores. You’ll find gorgeous fabrics and homewares that are designed in-house and are just beautiful. There’s also a lovely tea room up on the second floor if you need a break.

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Neal’s Yard

One of the cutest shopping alleys in the whole city, no 4 days in London should miss a wander through Neal’s Yard.

Pop into Neal’s Yard Remedies for skincare wonders, grab a coffee at Jacob the Angel, a wine at Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels and some cheese at Neal’s Yard Dairy.

Vegans and omnivores alike will love the plant-based Wild Food Café.

LOCAL TIP | Pick one or two areas that you want to explore, according to your shopping interests. Don’t try to pack all of these into your afternoon unless you know exactly which stores you want to visit!

Carnaby Street

If you’re looking for something more quirky and cutting-edge, then Carnaby Street is where you’ll find the funky up and comers. Don’t miss the artsy We Built This City for souvenirs with colourful flair.

Oxford Street

This feels like an endless parade of department stores, but my favourite is undoubtedly Selfridges. Pop in to browse their extensive fashion collection, and then head down to the food hall.

If you’re looking for a really fun and individual experience, get in touch with the Hampers & Food Concierge department who will create a bespoke hamper for you!

Jermyn Street

This is really the place for gentleman’s fashion, where some of the world’s most famous tailors have been creating bespoke suits for over 300 years. For ladies, Thomas Pink has some lovely shirts that will last years – mine are still going strong after a decade!

You’ll also find one of the best cheese shops in the country here. Paxton & Whitfield has been going strong since 1797 and has an incredible variety to suit every palate. It’s even where the Queen gets her cheese. Don’t forget to ask for a taster!

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4 Days in London Day 3 Option 2: Unseen Tours Walking Tour

If shopping isn’t really your thing, then you might want to experience a walking tour with a difference. Unseen Tours is a not-for-profit social enterprise, where people who have experienced homelessness lead tours around areas where they formerly lived on the streets.

You’ll get to learn about London’s unique and special history whilst also gaining an understanding of how the past links to current social circumstances. It’s a great initiative, providing work to people who have traditionally been excluded from the tourist sector.

Currently, there are 4 tours available. If you want to stay in this area, then the Soho or Covent Garden tours are best. Otherwise, why not hop on the tube to experience a different part of London in Brick Lane or London Bridge?

Contact Unseen Tours directly if you want to arrange a private tour of the area.

THE DETAILS
Where |
Unseen Tours
Cost |
£15 for a 2 hour tour
Tickets |
Book here

The Globe Theatre

For another truly British experience, you have to head to the Globe Theatre. Although it’s a modern replica of the original building, there’s nothing quite like seeing a play here. You feel as though you’re becoming a part of history, watching Shakespeare as it was always meant to be viewed.

It’s a night out like no other and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Several plays are put on between May and October and during the winter months, you can enjoy performances in the candlelit Playhouse adjacent to the main theatre.

Book yourself the best seat in the house, or experience a play as a so-called Groundling, standing in front of the stage in the midst of the action!

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Evening performances start at 7:30pm (or 6:30pm on Sunday) so you’ve got plenty of time to get dinner beforehand. Either book in at the Globe’s own Swan Bar & Restaurant or make your way to Mallow (one of my favourites) for a plant-based feast nearby.

For something really different, check out the Midnight Matinees, a couple of special midnight shows that happen in summer.

If you’re a real fan of Shakespeare then skip the shopping districts, and head here for a Shakespeare walking tour or 50-minute behind-the-scenes guided tour of the Globe before the performance.

THE DETAILS
Where |
Shakespeare’s Globe
Cost |
£5-£62 depending on seats/standing, £13.50-£17 for guided tours
Tickets |
Book here for shows and here for tours

Most plays run until around 10pm, so you could fit in a nightcap with incredible views at GŎNG Bar on the 52nd floor of the Shard. An alternative, just across the bridge is Sabine, with a beautiful rooftop bar with views of St Paul’s Cathedral. Be sure to book in advance.

4 Days in London Itinerary | Day 4


AREAS YOU’LL VISIT | Covent Garden & London Bridge

DAY THREE TOP SIGHTS
Aire Ancient Baths | Spa
The Thames | Boat Trip
The Shard | Peter Pan Afternoon Tea
The Comedy Store

BEST DAYS | Wednesday to Sunday

Start your morning with a leisurely breakfast since today is all about taking it easy after the busy few days you’ve already had in the city.

Why not experience a champagne breakfast at The Stage, the wonderful champagne bar at the Londoner Hotel, built with sustainability in mind?

Alternatively, the breakfast at Indigo, One Aldwych is a lovely start to the day. Their veggie brekkie is absolutely delicious. I also highly recommend the breakfast at The River by Gordon Ramsay at The Savoy.

Once you’ve fueled up for the day, it’s time to head to your first (or maybe second) decadent stop of the day.

Aire Ancient Baths

Aire takes their inspiration from the baths of the ancient Roman, Greek and Ottoman civilizations. They’re created in restored historical buildings in the centre of cities around the world. Their London location is a haven from the hustle of the city above.

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE | The sublime baths are housed under the 18th Century townhouse that was home to JM Barrie, author of Peter Pan.

You enter through the facade of what appears to look like any other London townhouse. Once you reach the library, everything changes. Wander down a candlelit staircase to a magical underworld labyrinth of pools.

The technology-free cavern is a seriously wonderful place to unwind. Enjoy the series of different temperature pools or book one of the signature treatments for a truly relaxing experience.

THE DETAILS
Where |
Aire Ancient Baths
Hours |
Monday – Thursday 10am – 11pm, Friday – Sunday 8am – 11pm
Cost | From £90 for 90 minutes of spa access
Book |
Treatments and spa access here

Once you’re in a blissful state of relaxation, it’s time to continue your day by heading to Embankment Wharf. Here, you’re going to catch the UberBoat to London Bridge City Wharf.

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Thames Boat Trip

There are literally dozens of options for a boat trip on the Thames, but the new cruise collaboration between Thames Clippers and The Shard is a great option. The View from the River is a 50 minute guided circular cruise, taking in many of the sights that you’ve visited over the last 3 days.

The cruise starts and finishes at London Bridge City Pier and there are drinks and snacks available onboard. I suggest booking the 2pm cruise so that you don’t have to rush your day.

THE DETAILS
Where |
The View from the River
Hours |
Wednesday – Sunday at 2pm and 3:15pm
Cost |
From £12
Tickets |
Available here

After your cruise, walk the short distance to The Shard, where your next indulgence awaits!

Peter Pan Afternoon Tea at Aqua Shard

You started your day by visiting JM Barrie’s house, and it’s a lovely connection to see how his work continues to inspire people. If you’re not lucky enough to get a window table, simply ask your server and they’ll do their best to move you when one becomes available.

Developed in partnership with Great Ormond Street, a portion of the cost of this afternoon tea goes to help sick kids across the UK. Located on the 31st floor of The Shard, you’ll get amazing views as you enjoy treats inspired by Neverland Adventures.

Book the 3:15pm sitting if you’re doing the 2pm river cruise.

THE DETAILS
Where |
Aqua Shard
Hours |
Daily at 12:15pm, 1:15pm, 2:15pm and 3:15pm
Cost |
£52
Tickets |
Available here

If you’ve already been to The Shard then there’s an almost endless list of afternoon teas in London, so just pick one that takes your fancy!

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The Comedy Store

For more than 40 years the Comedy Store has been making London laugh. For a true taste of the British sense of humour, there’s no better place to spend your last night in London.

If you’re lucky enough that your 4 days in London coincide with the last Monday of the month, be sure to get to King Gong. These are rowdy open-mic nights where aspiring comics face down the crowd with the aim of remaining on stage for 5 minutes. It’s harder than you think!

THE DETAILS
Where |
The Comedy Store
Hours |
Daily from 6pm
Cost |
£10 for King Gong, other shows from £30
Tickets |
Available here

So there you have it, your 4 days in London are over in the blink of an eye. Clearly, it’s time to start planning the next trip!

4 days in London Map

To make things easy for you when you follow this 4 days in London itinerary, I’ve created a map with all the locations mentioned.

To save this map to your own account, just click on the little star next to the title.

How Many Days in London is Enough Time?

I know what you’re thinking – is it actually enough to only spend 4 days in London?

I definitely think you can see the top attractions in 4 days, and I hope the itinerary above proves that. In my opinion, it’s the shortest amount of time you need to really get a feel of London whilst also not feeling rushed.

In my opinion, longer is always better, but even if you’ve only got time for a day trip to London, it’s well worth a visit.

When is the Best Time to Visit London?

Listen, I will be the first to make a joke about how shit the weather is in the UK, but we do have some beautiful summer days. Spring can be beautiful in the city when all the blossom lines the streets. Crisp Autumn days are common, but you do always have to anticipate rain.

TIP | For first-time visitors, May to October tends to have the best weather and most going on in the city. Consider the shoulder seasons of April-May and September-November.

I honestly think that London is great at any time of year. The abundance of indoor activities means that there’s always somewhere to escape from the rain.

Christmas is also a lovely time to visit, with all the department stores vying to great the best window display and Regent Street’s lights getting festive!

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Where to Stay in London

For first-timers, I think it’s best to stay near the centre of town. You can maximise your time seeing the sights since you don’t have to travel as far to get to them. Here are my top picks. They all have a great focus on sustainability.

The Londoner

Given that I’ve recommended Whitcomb’s and The Stage, both located at The Londoner, it would be remiss of me not to recommend the hotel itself. The building received one of the first Green Loans for building in the country. Everything in the hotel has been designed with sustainability in mind.

THE LONDONER
Where |
38 Leicester Square
Booking.com |
here
Website | The Londoner

CitizenM Tower of London

You can’t get much closer to the Tower than this unless you’re in it. This is a fabulous location for exploring the city and will make spending 4 days in London really easy and efficient. This is one for the digital nomads with funky public spaces and a rooftop bar with amazing city views. The hotel partners with small businesses in the city and you can access services via the hotel’s app.

CITIZENM TOWER OF LONDON
Where |
40 Trinity Square
Booking.com |
here
Website | CitizenM

The Corner London City

This eco-focused hotel goes out of its way to increase its green credentials with houseplants throughout the public spaces, locally sourced food and drink, and plans for beehives on the roof. It’s a leafy oasis in the heart of the City and a great base for your trip.

THE CORNER LONDON CITY
Where |
42 Adler Street
Booking.com |
here
Website | The Corner London City

Ham Yard Hotel

With a living green roof and terrace complete with beehives and a veggie garden, it’s clear to see that there’s an eye to suitability here. You’ll find a mini urban village here, complete with a spa and bowling alley! The building itself has a BREEAM Excellent rating, and the brand is extensively involved in supporting local charities.

HAM YARD HOTEL
Where | 1 Ham Yard
Booking.com |
here
Website | Ham Yard Hotel

Treehouse Hotel

Fancy staying in a hotel designed to fulfil your childhood treehouse dreams? Then look no further! Bring your inner child to the gorgeous rooftop terrace to enjoy skyline London views. You can even use the hotel’s bikes to explore the city.

TREEHOUSE HOTEL
Where |
14-15 Langham Place
Booking.com |
here
Website | Treehouse Hotel

An mock tudor house on the streets of London
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How to Get to London

Flights to London from Europe

The most convenient airport for visiting London is undoubtedly London City, but it’s tiny and only really served by Nothern Europe.

London Gatwick is a popular destination, particularly for budget airlines, and is the main base of easyJet. Close behind, in terms of passenger numbers, is London Stansted, home of RyanAir.

There’s also a chance you’ll end up going via Luton or Southend if travelling from Europe.

Flights to London from the US & Canada

Virtually all non-European flights will land at London Heathrow, the UK’s (and Western Europe’s) busiest airport. You may also find that Gatwick is an option.

Eurostar to London

For those fortunate enough to live near good rail links, consider taking the Eurostar from Paris or Brussels. The train goes straight to St Pancras International train station in the heart of Central London.

Getting to London from the Airport

No matter where you land, I advise taking train or tube services where you can. The streets of London are notoriously congested and unless you want to waste your time in traffic, it’s not worth going by road.

From Heathrow, you can take the Heathrow Express which will get you to Paddington in just 15 minutes. The new Crosslink rail service can now get you across to the other side of London in record time when compared to the Picadilly line, which used to be your only tube option.

The Gatwick Express takes 15 minutes to get to Victoria Station, and other London stations are served by Thameslink from the airport, although they take longer.

From Stansted, it’s 50 minutes to Liverpool Street Station on the Stansted Express.

All other airports also have train connections to the city.

Getting Around in London

I know that a lot of people worry it’s going to be difficult to get around London. I do a lot of walking since that’s what I like, but London has an excellent public transport system.

You’ll mostly be using the London Underground, also known as the Tube, and the London bus network. You can pay using a pre-loaded Oyster card or using tap-and-go credit cards.

London Underground

The Tube is usually the most convenient way to travel around London, particularly if you’re going slightly longer distances.

Every one of the lines has a colour and a name, so you might end up taking the District Line to Wimbledon. Once you know which line you want, you’ll find a map by the platforms showing which stops are in which direction.

It sounds a bit confusing, but it’s easy to get the hang of once you’re there.

London Buses

I personally love taking the bus in London. You get to see much more of the city this way, but it can be a slower way to travel, particularly in rush hour.

The buses are all numbered and there are night buses that travel all over the city too.

Taxis

The classic black cab ride is definitely a taxi experience like no other. It’s also a lot more expensive than you might be used to. This is largely due to the fees and regulations that the drivers are subject to.

Uber has recently returned to London, but I personally wouldn’t bother with it unless you’re headed somewhere with no public transport links or have a lot of luggage.

Water Taxis & Thames Ferries

This is a really fun way to get around London, and a lot of people don’t even know it exists. The ferries are part of the public transport system and you can use them to get an incredible view from the Thames.

On foot

My favourite way to get around London. Sure, your feet might ache by the end of your trip, but you’ll get a feel for the city in a way you never do if you just take public transport everywhere.

This is the best way to find cute streets, sights and restaurants that you’d otherwise miss out on.

Day Trips and Guided Tours in London

There are a huge number of great tours in London, and it would be impossible to list them all. Have a browse of the most popular here, and see what takes your fancy!

What to Pack for 4 Days in London

What to pack for a trip to London will vary depending on what time of the year you go. London gets all 4 seasons so what you pack for December will be different from what you pack for July.

Always check the weather before your trip and don’t worry if you forget something. You’ll definitely be able to pick it up in one of London’s many shops!

What you’ll always need for 4 days in London:

  • A camera to capture all of your best London moments!
  • A cute day bag so that you don’t have to make any trips back to the hotel.
  • Comfortable shoes for walking
  • A smart outfit for the theatre, dining and drinks at night. Some clubs or old school establishments may have a dress code.
  • A sweater, no matter the season. London tends to get cool in the evenings, even in the middle of summer.
  • An umbrella and raincoat. Sometimes we try to convince people that it doesn’t always rain in Britain. We’re eternally hopeful. Better to be safe than sorry!
  • If your luggage allows, a pair of smart waterproof ankle boots are a great idea.

I really hope that you found this 4 days in London itinerary useful for planning your own trip. Please let me know if you find that any of this information is out of date or you’ve got a great option that you’d love to see here!

I can’t wait to get back to London on my next visit and find some new things to recommend to you!

Here are some posts to help you if you’re planning your own visit:

DAY TRIPS FROM LONDON | Complete Guide to Walking Box Hill in Surrey

TRAVEL INSURANCE | Don’t go anywhere without it! I use and recommend Safety Wing.

THOUGHTFUL TRAVEL | No matter where you go, try to always be aware of the fact that travel impacts the place and people that live there. Being a thoughtful traveller is more important than ever. Here are my top tips to make your trip a mindful one.

PHOTOGRAPHY | Love my photos and want to know how to take better shots on your own trips? Then my photography guide is for you. Here’s all the photography gear I use too. Want to buy one of my images? Head to the Print Store.

ESSENTIAL GEAR | You’ll find my travel essentials here, and a complete guide to all my hiking gear here.


A red double decker London bus goes past the front of Westminster Cathedral
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One Comment on “4 days in London Itinerary | London Tips by a Local”

  1. Pingback: Walks in Box Hill, Surrey + map (Updated for 2022) | Cat's Nine Lives

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