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7-Day London Itinerary

I just spent a week in London and had a fantastic time!

London offers something for any type of traveler - famous landmarks, royal history, fun tourist attractions, world-class museums, theaters and more. Because of this, it’s one of the most popular cities in Europe attracting millions of visitors from all over the world.

Planning your first trip to London can feel a bit overwhelming because there’s so much to see and do.

Just like any big city, it’s impossible to see everything on your first trip but I’ve included a suggested itinerary below for one week in London that will hit the main sights and leave some downtime for unexpected discoveries.

Honeymoon Travel Agent in MN
Sitting across from the British Museum in London soaking up the sunshine on a beautiful day!

First, some helpful tips.

Aside from some of the standard tips like pre-booking tickets for popular sights to avoid long lines (even most free attractions require advanced reservations these days) and arriving as early as possible to beat the crowds, here are a few tips specific to London:

  • It’s easy to overestimate how much you think you can do in a day and then winding up feeling exhausted. I think it’s best to only book one or two major attractions each day (depending on the pace you prefer) to give yourself plenty of time to enjoy each one without feeling rushed.

  • London is a very walkable city IF you plan your time strategically; grouping activities that are close together will help you avoid wasting a lot of time and energy crisscrossing the city.

  • One of the great things about this vibrant city is that it appeals to travelers with a wide range of interests, but I’d say the top three things to do in London for any first time visitor are: the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace.


Day 1

You will likely be quite tired on your arrival day, so I always recommend planning for a light/flexible schedule.

After getting some food to refuel, I like to get out and do some exploring on my arrival day. A nice walk in the fresh air always goes a long way to help combat jet lag for me.

St. James Park (one of eight Royal Parks) has lots of green space and is the perfect place to do some people watching. If you wanted to create your own little walking tour, you could see the Horse Guards Parade, which is adjacent to St. James Park, and then continue on to Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square.

The Hop On Hop Off Bus can also be a great way to get acclimated to the city on your first day.

EXPERT TIP: There are lawn chairs available to rent in St. James Park during the warmer months.


Day 2

Start your day with the Tower of London (arrive at opening time, if possible). While you can technically check it off the list in just a couple of hours, I’d highly encourage you to give yourself three to four hours here.

You’ll want to go straight to the Crown Jewels exhibit first to cut down on the wait time, and then join the next available (free) tour with one of the Yeoman Warders (aka Beefeaters).

EXPERT TIP: The Ceremony of the Keys is a special, time-honored tradition held every evening at the Tower of London when the gates are locked for the night (advanced tickets are required for this popular event).

After the Tower of London, you can walk across Tower Bridge – you can either just walk across it for free or pay an entrance fee to climb to the top and walk across the upper walkway that has sections of glass panel floors and lovely views; your ticket also includes a visit to the engine rooms where you can learn more about how the lift bridge was historically operated.

Suggested things to do nearby:

  • Borough Food Market (the Whird stand sells handmade fudge)

  • Shakespeare’s Globe Theater

  • View from the Shard (360 degree panoramic views)

  • Tate Modern Art Gallery

  • HMS Belfast (historic war ship)

  • Walk across Millennium Bridge (suspended footbridge) to St. Paul’s Cathedral (can climb to the top)


Day 3

Guided tour of Westminster Abbey, which is located right next to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. This church has been the site of coronation for all British monarchs since 1066, including the reigning Queen Elizabeth II who was crowned in 1953.

It is also the final resting place of 30 kings and queens as well as well-known people like Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens and Geoffrey Chaucer.

EXPERT TIP: After your tour, you can walk along Great George Street nearby to snap a photo with one of the iconic red phone booths and Big Ben in the background.

Suggested things to do nearby:

  • Walk across Westminster Bridge (great views of Big Ben and Parliament behind you)

  • London Eye

  • London Dungeon

  • Pub Tour

  • Thames River Cruise

EXPERT TIP: Taking a Thames River Cruise at night is an enchanting way to see many of the city’s top attractions at their glittering best.


Day 4

Visit Buckingham Palace. The interior is only open to the public for about 10 weeks of the year from late July to early October, but you can admire it from the outside year round.

If you’re interested in seeing the Changing of the Guard ceremony, it currently takes place at 11:00 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays (subject to change, weather permitting) and lasts about 45 minutes.

To get a good view, I suggest arriving at least 30 minutes early and if you want one of the most coveted spots (close to gates or the steps of the Victoria Memorial), then you may need to arrive about an hour early.

Suggested things to do nearby:

  • National Gallery

  • Churchill War Rooms

  • Hyde Park (boat rentals, Princess Diana Memorial Fountain)

  • Explore Kensington Palace and its gardens


Day 5

Take a day trip to Stonehenge (combines nicely with stops at Windsor Castle and/or Bath as well). This Neolithic stone circle is an ancient temple whose first monument was believed to be built about 5000 years ago.

It takes about two and a half hours to get to Stonehenge from London and you can expect to spend about an hour and a half to two hours here.

Other popular day trip ideas:

  • Windsor Castle

  • Bath

  • Oxford

  • Cotswolds

  • Stratford-upon-Avon

  • Cambridge

  • York

  • Salisbury


Day 6

Explore the British Museum in the morning. This museum is known as the “world’s museum” because it houses artifacts from all over the world.

You can do a free “Around the World in 70 Minutes” tour that’s quite nice, and then I would suggest planning for another two or three hours of exploring on your own.

Suggested things to do nearby:

  • Lunch in Chinatown (Jen Café makes excellent fried dumplings)

  • Soho Square

  • Shopping for souvenirs at Jubilee Market

  • Checking out the quaint little shops and quirky boutiques at Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden (Instagrammer’s paradise)

  • Shopping on Oxford Street

  • Afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason

  • See a show in the West End

EXPERT TIP: A 4:30 p.m. table reservation for afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason makes for a great light dinner before catching a show in the West End.


Day 7

Free day. You could opt for another day trip today, or stay in London and choose from the activities above that you didn’t get time for or from the list of new ideas below:

  • Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio (be sure to book well in advance because it sells out early)

  • Kew Gardens (one of best botanical gardens in the world)

  • Greenwich (Prime Meridian Line)

  • Beatles tour (including the famous Abbey Road)

  • Notting Hill neighborhood

  • Shopping at Harrods department store

  • British Library

  • Sherlock Holmes Museum

  • Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

  • London Zoo

  • View from the Sky Garden

  • Jack the Ripper walking tour

  • The LEGO Store

  • M&M’s World

  • Victoria & Albert Museum

  • Camden Market

  • Museum of London


I know sifting through all of the things to do in London can feel stressful when you’re trying to do it on your own. But, it doesn't have to be that way.

You can press the easy button and work with me instead : )

With me as your travel advisor, I’ll help you create the perfect London itinerary based on YOUR interests, give you guidance on where to stay, provide you with tools for getting around the city, give you suggestions on the best places to eat, pubs, etc.

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Planning guide created by destination wedding travel agent in Rogers, MN.
Planning guide created by destination wedding travel agent in Rogers, MN.
Planning guide created by destination wedding travel agent in Rogers, MN.

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