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London is one of my favorite cities in the entire world. Actually, London is one of my favorite destinations period. I love busy cities. As a solo traveler, nothing makes me happier than melting into the crowd and not standing out like a sore thumb.
And London? Is huge. Absolutely huge.
As a traveler, this is wonderful news if you don’t want to constantly change hotels or locations. You can easily spend two weeks in London, and feel like you’re barely scratching the surface of this remarkable metropolis.
So, obviously, London is perfect for travelers who want a classic “big city” experience. I think I’ve made that very clear, haha. At the same time, though, it’s easy to find small neighborhoods that you make you feel as if you’re outside the bustle of London.
However, one of the most difficult things about travel to London is that there is TOO much to see and do on any single trip. It was actually pretty hard for me to write this 4 Days in London Itinerary without making it impractical (re: too busy) to follow. You need to make compromises.
My TOP Tip for Four Days in London
Don’t, don’t, don’t plan a million activities each and every day, and then try to schedule each second of your trip once you’re on the ground. I, uh, was guilty of this error.
Which is understandable! I was so excited to come back to London that I felt as if I had to do as much as possible.
I broke my own travel rules, which is always allow a little of bit of leisurely time. Honestly, I tried to accomplish WAY too much on my most recent trip to London. My busiest day consisted of 36,000 steps, and I didn’t arrive back at the hotel til nearly 9 in the evening.
… I had an amazing day, of course, but my feet absolutely hated me. I was exhausted. And I wish I had more time to simply explore, you know?
Don’t make my mistake, friends.
Instead dream of the future. London is a place that you have to tell yourself that you’ll visit again. Otherwise, you’ll overexert yourself.
I truly want you to avoid making my mistakes, hence I decided to write this 4 Days in London Itinerary to give you a rough idea on what’s reasonable to accomplish in London within that timeframe.
Let’s talk about it.
London Travel Tips
Without a doubt, London is a dream trip for many people. London is also expensive. Seriously, my credit cards aren’t a big fan of London, even though I adore this city.
Since you’ll spend money, you want to do whatever possible to make your 4 days in London a magical experience. In addition to not over-planning and rushing all over this enormous city, you’ll want to take care with your packing and public transportation skills.
Best Time to Visit London
As a big city, London is a great destination to visit anytime of the year. Of course, summer promises the very best weather, although you’re still probably going to experience some rain. This is England, after all.
Summer is also “high season,” so you’ll want to book hotels and activities well in advance. For example, I visited London in August, and bought tickets ahead of time for Westminster Abbey. No joke, they were completely sold out on that day, so anyone who wanted to purchase tickets in person was out of luck.
The weeks leading up to Christmas is another popular time to visit London. This city is absolutely gorgeous at Christmas time, and will allow you to fully embrace the holiday spirit. Keep in mind, though, that London absolutely shuts down on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, so even though December is gorgeous, I don’t necessarily think the holidays themselves are the best time to travel.
All in all, though, I don’t think any season is bad. I would even go to London in the dead of winter when it is dark and bleak outside.
Don’t let the season discourage you from a trip to London. You can honestly come whenever you want, and still have a fantastic time. Even in rain and snow, London has soooo many wonderful indoor attractions, such as massive free museums, to keep you occupied and happy.
Getting Around London
London has an extensive public transportation system that you will definitely want to use. Taking taxis everywhere will ruin you. And don’t even think about renting a car either. London isn’t where you want to learn how to drive on the left side of the road.
Ultimately, with 4 days in London, you’ll have to board the Tube to effectively see the best areas of the city.
The Tube (London’s metro) goes absolutely everywhere. Despite its size, it’s pretty easy to use and each station has maps and stops available. Just remember to stand on the right of the escalator. The left is for travelers who are in a hurry.
Recently, the Tube has gone completely cashless. Of course, you can still buy an Oyster card and “top up” the amount of money as you ride, but the Tube will also let you use Apple Pay to board each and every time.
Where to Stay in London
London has such a wide variety of neighborhoods. Where you stay is entirely up to you and your budget. Personally, I love the glamor and elegance of West London, but realize that everyone has different priorities.
I’ve listed a couple of accommodation ideas in different neighborhoods to help you figure out where to stay.
Accommodation for 4 Days in London
- Andaz London Liverpool Street: I adore Hyatt’s Andaz brand, which is young and hip and boutique-y. You don’t feel as if you’re in a corporate hotel at all. This East London location is the perfect spot for a solo traveler. See prices on Booking.com and Expedia.com.
- The Rockwell: I stayed here in a single room on my last trip to London and absolutely adored it. It’s affordable and clean, and very close to Earl’s Court Station to easily connect you to other areas in London. See prices on Booking.com and Expedia.com.
- Wombats Hostel London: This centrally-located budget option is part of a popular hostel chain. Wombats hostels of are high quality, and are perfect for travelers who are looking to socialize with others. See prices on Booking.com and Expedia.com.
What to Pack for 4 Days in London
- Lonely Planet London Guidebook: A physical guidebook is always a great essential to have on a trip. You can either pack your London guidebook or download pdf copies of relevant chapters.
- Sneakers: Most people who I encountered in London wore sneakers! Which is perfect since you will do so, so, so much walking. A high quality pair of sneakers will go a long way on your trip here.
- Travel Insurance: London is very safe for a large international city, but travel insurance is essential. As a non-citizen, you won’t have access to the NHS and will need to pay for your own healthcare if something goes wrong. I use World Nomads for my shorter trips, and think the price and quality of the plan is perfect!
- Travel Umbrella: You’re in England, so you’ll probably have rainy weather at some point during your stay. I’m not saying London has rain 24/7, but better safe than sorry! Pack a travel umbrella for your 4 days in London.
Quick Glance: 4 Days in London
|Westminster Abbey, Big Ben & Houses of Parliament, Churchill War Rooms, Thames River Cruise, Covent Garden
|Victoria & Albert Museum, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Ronnie Scott’s
|The British Museum, The British Library, Charles Dickens Museum, Bloomsbury, Mayfair
|Tower of London, Shakespeare’s Globe or Tate Modern, Borough Market, Jack the Ripper Tour
4 Days in London: Detailed Itinerary and Guide
Time to break down your four days in London.
I really tried my hardest to lump areas of London together (such as East London and Central London), so you’re not spending hours on the Tube. I cannot repeat enough how massive of a city London is. You don’t want to go back and forth if you absolutely don’t need to do so, even if the Tube is efficient and fast!
Lastly, I also kept a bit of “wiggle room” in this itinerary to allow you to modify it and add your own touches. I understand that we all like different things on our travels.
Day 1: Westminster and Covent Garden
Welcome to London!
On your first day, you’ll go to Westminster to see some of the greatest sites that the city has to offer its visitors. First, head to Westminster Abbey. It’s a bit expensive to enter, but totally worth the cost of admissions, especially if you’re interested in royal history, as well as literary history. Some of the most famous people in British history are buried here.
Buy your Westminster Abbey tickets in advance, particularly in summer and weekends. Time slots do sell out. Plus you will avoid having to wait in line, and your time in London is valuable. Tickets include audioguides.
After visiting Westminster Abbey, you will definitely have to snap a picture of London’s iconic Big Ben. Big Ben is such a symbol of London that no matter how many times I see it, the gorgeous clock brings a big smile to my face!
Don’t forget to take pictures of the Houses of Parliament too. Keep in mind that Parliament tours need to be scheduled in advance and are only available at certain times, so do your research!
While in Westminster, you will also want to make a little time to see a museum. For example, the Churchill War Rooms aren’t too far away, and the perfect spot for World War II history buffs.
Lastly, in Westminster, you can go to Westminster Peer and board a Thames Sightseeing Cruise. London’s central attractions are even prettier from the water, and the boat’s narrator will teach you a lot too. Just make sure to bring a jacket so you don’t get too cold.
Once you’re done sightseeing, Covent Garden is a wonderful area to explore for dinner and shopping. A lot of the shops stay open late (usually 8:00 pm) here.
As for meals, book a reservation if your heart is set on a certain place. Believe it or not, even the bar seating is reserved. So you need to plan ahead. And don’t even try coming here on a Saturday without a reservation. I’m serious.
Day 2: South Kensington, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace
Are you ready to see more of London’s best museums? We’re going to start our morning in one of my favorite areas of London.
South Kensington is one of the classiest areas in all of London and well-worth exploring. You will also discover some of London’s best free museums. My personal favorite was the Victoria and Albert Museum. This museum focuses on design and art throughout the ages, and you can easily spend hours exploring British design. I especially loved all the old books in this special collection.
You can also visit both the Natural History Museum and Science Museum for free. My advice is to pick one museum based on your interests, and then take your time wandering through all the exhibits.
After the museums, take time to explore London’s larges green space: Hyde Park.
This historic and royal park is famous for a good reason. You could easily spend an entire day in Hyde Park in beautiful sunny weather. I know that I could. I also loved seeing the swans at The Serpentine Lake.
If you feel up to it, Buckingham Palace isn’t a far Tube ride or walk from the easternmost corner of Hyde Park. Sure, unless you’re traveling in summer and have tickets to go inside the Palace, there isn’t much to do here. You can time your visit for the Changing of the Guard, and while this is a cool and classic London experience, the crowds can also be a bit overwhelming.
As for the evening, treat yourself to a fun show. For instance, I went to Ronnie Scott’s, which is a world-famous jazz club, and very, very fun (I even recommend going alone). The food is delicious, too, so treat yourself to a solid dinner too.
Day 3: Bloomsbury, Literary London, and Mayfair
Bloomsbury is another amazing area in London that’s well worth exploring. This area of the city is steeped in literary history. However, this area is most well known for the British Museum.
Like South Kensington’s great museums, admission is also free to the museum. While the museum has had its fair share of controversy, if you love museums, then it’s still worth checking out. For example, it’s really cool seeing the Rosetta Stone in person, especially after learning about it in school.
Another possible option is a 20 minute walk away to the British Library. Lovers of English literature will not want to miss this stop. This library has a ton of literary treasures on display including a stunning copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio. Like many other attractions, admissions to the British Library is free.
You will also want to see some of the prominent literary attractions in the area. For example, I spent about an hour exploring the Charles Dickens Museum and learning all about this famous author’s life (what can I say, I love the novella A Christmas Carol).
If you’re tired of museums, Bloomsbury has a lot of wonderful bookish walking tours that will shed light onto all the marvelous history that surrounds you. You can even do a self-guided walk around the neighborhood. Don’t skip unique spaces such as St. George’s Gardens and Tavistock Square Gardens — where you’ll see a statue of Virginia Woolf!
Wrap up your day by exploring nearby Mayfair. This is a very wealthy neighborhood. Very wealthy.
In Mayfair, you will come across some of the most expensive properties in all of Western Europe. Not going lie, it’s rather fun checking out the beautiful Georgian townhomes while imagining that you can buy one, haha.
You can also check out designer shops on Bond Street. However, my favorite thing to do in Mayfair was Mercato Mayfair. This hip market is easy to find and is right off Oxford Street. This market is in a unique setting – St Mark’s Church – and even if you don’t eat a ton, it’s a very cool spot to take pictures and do some shopping.
Day 4: Tower of London, Southwark, and East London
For your last day in London, we’re going to focus on East and parts of South London. You will definitely want to go to The Tower of London. This is one of my favorite attractions in the world, and is a “must see” for history buffs coming to London.
Like Westminster Abbey, The Tower of London is another attraction where you ought to buy tickets in advance so you’re able to skip the line. Your entrance to the Tower of London includes both admissions to see The Crown Jewels, as well as a guided Beefeater Tour, which is informative and wickedly funny!
Take your time going through the Tower of London to appreciate it. There is SO much to see and do and learn. I actually spent three hours here, and it was my second time visiting.
Afterwards, Shakespeare fans will want to head across the Thames River into Southwark. Here, you’ll find Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. During the day, you can take a fun tour of the Globe and learn all about Shakespeare and his iconic plays. Obviously, I loved it. However, if you’re not a Shakespeare person, then the Tate Modern, another one of London’s fantastic museums, is located nearby and well worth exploring.
If you’re hungry, I suggest stopping at Borough Market. This huge market is one of London’s oldest, and the perfect place to devour high-quality food. I had fish and chips, and then pastries while exploring the market (so healthy), and the people-watching experience here is top-notch.
At night, I recommend going on a Jack the Ripper Tour. Now I understand some Ripper tours are a bit ethically … problematic. It’s important to remember real women were brutally murdered, which really shouldn’t be viewed as entertainment. With all that said, I personally suggest going on Rebel Tours What About the Women? Jack the Ripper Tour. This tour focuses on the victims’ lives and the difficulties of living in the Victorian Era. Very thought-provoking.
Last but not least, most Jack the Ripper Tours depart near Brick Lane. It’s well worth checking out some cool street art before going on your tour. The art here changes every single day, so you’ll have to come back again on your next trip to London to see how this street changed!
I hope you enjoyed reading my 4 Days in London Itinerary and have plenty of great ideas to start planning your trip here. London is a fabulous city. You’ll have a wonderful stay – no matter what you decide to do!