If the word “itinerary” scares you, I get it! As someone who considers myself a very “relaxed” traveler, in some cases it scares me too. But having an itinerary can help you experience London efficiently, making the most of your time without wearing you out and making you spend a lot of money unnecessarily. These are the common concerns people usually have when it comes to following an itinerary, and here’s how to address them so you can make sure you fully maximise your visit to London.
There’s no flexibility
Personally, when I travel, I couldn’t think of anything worse than a linear plan for each of my days, that can’t be deviated from without making the rest of the day harder to achieve. I do like some things tentatively planned, but I’m very much a go with the flow, see how the day takes us kinda traveler.
If you’re the same way, an itinerary can feel restrictive. I wanted the opposite of that, and to accommodate for people like me, when I made the 3-Day London Itinerary. It’s flexible in many senses, some of which I’ll talk about in a bit, but it’s designed to be broken up into multiple days if needed, and to be able to skip sections or areas if you want to, without being super confused as to how to proceed with the rest of the day.
The flexibility aspect is also important so that if there’s an unplanned closure, a tube strike, or something else that us unexpected, you can easily adjust your day as needed, with the Digital Map being a big help with that.
You still have to spend time researching where to eat along the route
Many times, itineraries only plot out the attractions you’ll visit in a day, but they don’t recommend where to get breakfast, lunch or dinner along the route. So you’re stuck having to take time to research good food spots that will be near to where you’ll be, otherwise you could get stuck at a lame, overpriced restaurant just because you were too hangry to put some effort into finding a good spot while on the go.
I personally don’t want you to have to do that if you get my 3-Day London Itinerary, so I’ve included loads of recommendations for where to eat along the route, for all three meals.
It won’t account for your tastes, budget or desired travel pace
If you’ve got a pre-planned itinerary filled with museums and you hate museums, then said itinerary will TOTALLY not work for you… maybe that’s what you’re afraid of. I would be! Typically when I travel, I don’t hit up the most famous attractions, or visit things like art museums. There’s nothing wrong with them, it’s just not my taste, I don’t really enjoy strolling around most art museums, or encountering crowds, and would rather spend my time doing something else (mainly, eating.)
So when I made the 3-Day London Itinerary, I kept this in mind so that people with varying tastes, wallet sizes, and travel styles could still use it. The suggestions in the itinerary have something for just about everyone, no matter what kind of traveler you are.
The only caveat is if you have VERY specific tastes or ideas for what you want to do, for example, if you want to see multiple Harry Potter attractions.
You still have to figure out transportation throughout the day
Sometimes, itineraries you find online don’t take into account travel time between each sight or food spot. This means that getting everything on the itinerary done in one day is either unrealistic, or it just involves a lot of time on public transportation… something that I personally hate doing as a Londoner, and if you’re on vacation here, you probably don’t want to be doing that either!
The best way to experience London each day is to explore a condensed area, so that you can walk to just about everything if you want, or can hop on a bus for a minimal amount of time when needed.
You won’t get “off the beaten path”
This is a super valid concern because most stuff you find online doesn’t help you experience London like a local. If that’s the kind of trip you’re after, you’ll want to find an itinerary to follow that is written by someone who knows London really well and has purposefully created the plan to include those “hidden gems”, or if you’re making your own itinerary, you want to find recommendations that come from locals.
For example, here are some hidden gems that I think you should definitely hit up when you have at least three days in London…
The 3-Day Itinerary is a mix of both the most popular attractions and local things to do, see and eat. If you want to stay away from ALL of the city’s most famous attractions, then this isn’t for you, but if you want a really good mix of them with “off the beaten path” spots, it will work.
I hope this helped you with some of your reservations with using an itinerary. Make your own, find a GOOD one online, or follow my 3-Day London Itinerary, for a better London experience (trust me!)
This article is part of my 3 Days in London series, here are some more tips to help you with your first few days in London.