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If it’s your first time visiting London, you’ll likely be thinking about following a pre-planned itinerary for your first few days here. I highly recommend doing so, for the following reasons.

1. It saves you days of research time

When I was going to Vietnam a couple of years ago, I can’t even tell you how much time I spent planning my itinerary… DAYS is not an exaggeration, and I only ended up planning one thing to do for each day of my two week trip!

If you don’t have that kind of time (or that just sounds like your worst nightmare) getting a pre-made itinerary like my 3-Day London Itinerary is an option for you, and will eliminate all of that time you would have had to spend researching attractions and food spots, finding ones you think you’d like, and then figuring out how to piece them together based on how close together they are.

2. Allows you some flexibility

Having a pre-planned itinerary might sounds quite restricting, but if you’re following a detailed one like my 3-Day London Itinerary, you’ll actually have quite a bit of flexibility built in. Because you’ll have multiple options for sights to see and where to eat, you can choose which suits your fancy at the moment, and can accommodate for unplanned closures and the like.

3. Provides you with local knowledge

I definitely can’t say this for the majority of “London Itineraries” that you find online because they’re often written by people who visited London for, like, a week, and then put together an “itinerary” on their blog.

If you can follow an itinerary that’s based off of knowledge from someone who actually lives in London and knows it well, you’ll be better off, as you’ll have access to “on the ground” information that will be really helpful as you’re exploring. My 3-Day London Itinerary even has public toilets marked off on the digital map… I consider myself a public toilet expert, gross but true 😉

Also, only locals will know things like that just around the corner from Leicester Square, London’s most touristy (and yeck) square, is a hidden rooftop restaurant and bar with amazing views of the London Eye and the London skyline, and it’s not even that pricy of a spot.

If you’re keen to find little hidden gems like that for your London trip, have a watch of the below guide…

4. Reduces time wasted on transportation

London is a huuuuuuuuuge city and especially if you’re looking to go off the beaten path, you could end up spending a couple of hours a day on public transportation if you aren’t familiar with the distance between each of London’s neighbourhoods.

By following an itinerary that has been designed to limit the need for public transportation, or even not need it at all, you’ll spend less time being squashed on the tube and more time exploring above-ground.

Also if you need help with public transportation, here are the top things you need to know before you hop on the underground or a bus…

5. Prevents you from getting lost

If you’re following an itinerary with a digital map on your phone, it will be hard to get super lost. Even if you veer off the general track of the itinerary, you can whip out your phone and get walking directions back to the spot you want to be in.

My 3-Day London Itinerary includes a digital map for your phone.

6. Reduces clashing when traveling as a group

If there’s a few of you traveling together, you’re bound to have different tastes, possibly be different ages, and have a bucket-full of recommendations that you’ve all brought to the table and want to check out. It’s quite time consuming, and possibly stressful, to sift through everyone’s ideas of what they’d like to do, and put together a cohesive itinerary that everyone will agree on.

Instead, with a little flexibility from everyone in the group, it’s easier to just say “let’s follow this itinerary” and stick to it. You’ll find that less choice is more, and that choosing what to do from a very curated list that’s already taken into account travel time will be a lifesaver.

7. Ensures you’ll make the most of your time

Even the type of travelers who like to go with the flow and not overplan usually worry about not making the most out of their trip. It makes sense– you’ve likely spent a lot of money to get to London, so you want to make sure you experience as many of the best bits as possible.

Following a pre-planned itinerary can help you do that, but also in the most efficient way (if it was made with efficiency in mind.)

Read this next: How to prepare for your first three days in London

8. Reduces overwhelm

London has hundreds of tourist attractions, thousands of restaurants, and covers 1,572, or 606 sq. miles…WOAH. If you’ve not planned out what you want to do and see before you arrive, you might hop off the plane and immediately be incredibly overwhelmed.

Less choice is always easier to handle, and will reduce that overwhelm, and a detailed itinerary like my 3-day one will do that just that.

9. Helps you get acquainted with the city

The first few days of being in London has a bit of a learning curve to it. You’ll be figuring out how to use the transportation system, and picking up cultural differences to your home country, in the least. Following a pre-planned itinerary will take out the guesswork out of “where do I go? What do I see?” as you’re getting to know how everything in London works. It’s kind of like learning on the job!

10. It’s like getting the answers to the test ahead of time

Any good, locally-made, detailed London itinerary will essentially be like getting handed the answers to a big test you’re about to take. There’s no extra work to be done, you just read through it, add a guidance map to your phone, and get going. Simple.

My 3-Day London Itinerary does everything I talked about in this article, and includes a 60+ page PDF guide detailing your options for the itinerary, as well as local knowledge like where to find free public toilets and what dish to order at a certain restaurant. It also includes an interactive digital map that you add to your phone that you can follow each day, step by step, making it super simple to follow.

More tips for your London trip:

5 Common Mistakes Tourists Make in Their First Three Days in London

5 Reasons Not to Use a Free London Itinerary

How to Prepare for your First 3 Days in London

Jessica Dante

Jess is the founder of Love and London, an online travel guide that helps London tourists to visit London like they live there. She's been featured in Refinery29, Forbes, BBC Radio 2, HuffPost, and more. Jess is also a sustainable and ethical travel advocate.


  • Emil Neu says:

    Hi Jess. Came across your site while planning my 2nd trip to London. I planned my 1st trip 3 years ago and my wife was impressed with the fun, yet aggressive, itinerary. After watching your videos, I am wondering something- why do you not inform your viewers about memberships in things like the Historic Royal Palaces (www.HRP.ORG.UK)? With this membership, you are entitled to enter any of the many properties (Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace) whenever you want all year long, as opposed to buying a single day ticket? This can not only save people money, but it allows for flexibility in itineraries. If it rains one day, reschedule. If it’s too crowded, go back another day. If you want to go to lunch and return, no problem. In my opinion, a membership in the HRP is a must for anyone visiting London. And a family membership makes it even more affordable. Not informing people of this wonderful thing in not doing anyone justice.
    Another tip you may want to offer people, perhaps, is to visit the websites of the attractions to find hidden gems they offer. In researching my last trip, I found at Windsor Castle that we could take a tour of the Round Castle, something not offered in over a decade and also the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. Both of these, of course, took planning due to the requirement to purchase tickets (free for the Ceremony) for a specific day and time. But for me, not a problem.
    I planned out an 8 day trip to London with specific dates in mind: Windsor Castle, Ceremony of the Keys, NFL game (Oakland Raiders) on Sunday. Knowing these days, I planned the rest of the trip and it went flawlessly. We went to Buckingham Palace, Kensington, Hampton Court, Windsor, Tower, Banqueting House and, Westminster Abbey, smaller things like the Churchill Bunker, Madame Tussaud, Abbey Road and more.
    Flew in from San Francisco, stayed in South Kensington, ordered Oyster Cards and all tickets and memberships online.
    We loved London and are coming back in October (for another NFL Oakland Raiders game). This time, I am planning a day trip to Paris. We are very excited.
    Thank you for your advise, tips and recommendations.
    Emil Neu

  • deborah says:

    Hi Jess,
    I have looked over most of your videos and think you are great! I’m sure you put a lot of time and work into each one. There is SO MUCH to see and do in London, no doubt you can’t hit it all. My husband and I have been over several times, it is our favorite place to visit. Mainly because it’s so different from where we live in Colorado. Our lifestyle is pretty laid back here, so running around London is just plain fun for us. For anyone reading this, we like to plan two things a day. If we don’t get to the second one, thats fine. It leaves something for the next day, or the next trip. We love finding a new cafe and re-eatting the calories we just burned running around. :-/
    I will be bringing a few high school friends over this Oct., who have never been before. So I get to play tour guide. We will have a week to see the high spots. Should be fun to share our fav’s with them.
    Keep up the good work. 🙂 P.S. I am insanely jealous you get to live in London…… ;-}

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