If you’re spending only three days in London, or if you’re just feeling overwhelmed when trying to plan your first few days here, I’ll tell you some of the top things to do.
Visit the London classics
I think even visitors that want to get off the beaten path in London will likely want to pass by a few of the city’s most iconic buildings and sights. This includes the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, and many more. It’s pretty cool to be able to see these famous sights in real life. Of course, if you’re keen, you can get tickets to go inside and experience them up close.
If you have a list of these classic London attractions that you definitely want to get tickets for, make sure you check to see if the London Pass or the London Explorer Pass will save you money. My two articles about the passes will help you figure out if that’s the case:
Go for afternoon tea
I love afternoon tea! England is the birthplace of it, so I definitely think you should work it into your itinerary for your first three days in London. You’d usually have afternoon tea between 12 and 3pm-ish, and DON’T have lunch because it will definitely fill you up.
Afternoon tea consists of, well, your choice of tea of course, but a traditional one also includes three tiers of treats, like finger sandwiches, pretty little sweet treats, and warm, delicious scones with jam and cream. Watch the video below to find out more about afternoon tea and how it works.
I’ve included some options for getting afternoon tea, including the spot in the photo above, during your first three days in London in my 3-Day London Itinerary.
Check out a museum
If you’re into museums, London’s has plenty of them, and most are completely FREE to visit. If you like modern art, head to the Tate Modern. Or if you prefer pieces that are a bit older, visit the National Gallery.
In terms of museums that aren’t just art, there’s the Churchill War Rooms, which is always popular with history buffs. Of course, it doesn’t stop there, there are many museum options depending on what you like. There’s even a cartoon museum!
While many of London’s museums are free, if you’re keen on visiting a few of the ones that do cost money (like the Churchill War Rooms), see if they are included in either the London Pass or the London Explorer Pass. Again, as mentioned before, you could save a nice little chunk of cash if they are.
For travelers who like to see smaller, more unique museums, here are a bunch that you should definitely visit but most likely have never heard of…
Browse London’s markets
London’s food markets are sooooooo good. The most famous is Borough Market, which has been in London for over 400 years and still is a great place to visit. Another option is Old Spitalfields Market, which has not only delicious and affordable food, but also antiques, clothing, accessories, and other trinkets that make for nice souvenirs.
A favourite of Londoners is Maltby Street Market, because of its really good food options, and because it’s nearby the Bermondsey Beer Mile, making it a fun day full of eating a drinking around the Bermondsey area (one that not many tourists venture to!)
Borough Market, Spitalfields Market, and Maltby Street Market are all included in the 3-Day London Itinerary.
Go to London’s best viewpoints
The London skyline is gorgeous and iconic, so seeing it from above is a pretty special thing to do. Some of the highest and most famous points in the city include The London Eye and The Shard, which is the tallest building in the EU. For a free option, although not as high, try the viewing platform at the Tate Modern, a free contemporary art gallery, or visit the Sky Garden, shown above.
Visiting at least one sky-high viewpoint is worth it if you’re in London for three days minimum.
Roam London’s parks
When you arrive to London, I think you’ll be quite surprised at how green the city. Londoners enjoy the parks here even when the weather isn’t very nice, so you should do the same, don’t wait for a sunny, perfect day.
London visitors usually love St. James’s Park and Hyde Park, but there’s also Victoria Tower Gardens, which most people completely miss but it’s a good spot for a rest or for some photos next to the River Thames.
If you do pop over to Hyde Park, grab a Boris Bike (the city’s bike rental scheme) and cycle around the park. You’ll see way more of it than if you were exploring on foot.
BTW, a favourite of Londoners that visitors rarely make it to (such a shame!) is Victoria Park, which for many years has been voted the best park in London by locals.
Here’s my video guide to what to do while you’re there.
Go shopping in London
If you want to pick up some things to help you remember your visit to London, you’ll definitely be able to find something great in this city. Visit We Built This City on Carnaby Street for funky souvenirs made by local artists, or visit one of the city’s famous department stores, my favourites being Fortnum and Mason and Selfridge’s, which is on London’s busy shopping street, Oxford Street. Those places are really great starts for your London souvenir hunt.
If you’re into vintage, Shoreditch is the area you want to visit. Go during the week and you’ll find tons of shops with vintage and secondhand items for sale, or if you go on a weekend, you’ll see the area teeming with pop up vintage fairs and markets.
For some of the city’s coolest shops that you should totally visit but probably never heard of, watch this video.
Now, if you’re feeling overwhelmed when planning your London trip, and just don’t really have the time to spend hours planning the perfect itinerary, then check out my 3-Day London Itinerary. It’s a flexible, non-overwhelming plan for your first three days in London, it combines some of the top things to do and see in the city, along with local-approved recommendations for food, drinks and hidden gems to check out. Everything mentioned in this article is incorporated into the itinerary. You’ll cover tons in just 72 hours.
More tips for your first 3 days in London:
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