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Home » Europe » United Kingdom » England » London

WEEKEND in London – 48 Hour Guide (2024)

London is without a doubt one of the best places in the whole world to spend a weekend! It boasts some of the most iconic architecture in Europe as well as world-class theatre, sport, shopping and music. Basically there’s so much stuff going on that a single weekend in London is not enough and you’re guaranteed to return!

One bonus of spending a weekend in London is that many of the best attractions are free! So, despite the hefty exchange rate of the pound, a London weekend can be very reasonably priced.

With so many indoor activities on offer, it’s actually a fantastic city to visit year-round so don’t let the infamous British weather put you off. The museums are some of the best in the world housing global artifacts and technologically driven research. Public transport in London is also great   so you can easily get to all of London’s iconic landmarks in a single weekend!

Whether you’re a theatre-goer, a sports fan, a foodie or a raging partier, there’s lots to love about London.

weekend london travel

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Insider Tips for an AMAZING Weekend in London

London nightlife guide, london food guide, sporting events in london, weekend cultural entertainment in london- music/concerts/theatre, london weekend travel faqs.

These tips will help you enjoy London at its best and help you avoid any unnecessary headaches, struggles or concerns. In this guide, we’ll look at the best hostels in London , what to do in London and how to find the best food in London!

Know Where to Stay in London

With only a weekend to spare, you’ll want to stay somewhere in central London in order to minimize travel time. London’s a large city, and some of the best things to do in London are spread out. It is therefore worth taking a look at the various different neighborhoods and working out which one is best for travelers with little time!

Covent Garden is possibly the ideal neighborhood for first-timers in the city. It’s close to some of the top London attractions, with a great dining and cultural scene. Public transport goes everywhere from here, and you can comfortably spend the day walking around.

Another great place to stay in is Soho particularly if you’re into London’s party scene.

If you do want to save some cash while travelling in a big group, you can find many cute cottages in London ‘s outskirts areas that are close to transport links to the city center.

Our Favorite Airbnb – Private room in central location

Private room in central location

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This massive room is great for travellers who visit London for the first time. The apartment is located in central Leicester Square. There are lots of great places, cafes, and restaurants around. You’ll also get free breakfast every morning. The main bathroom is shared, however, you’ll have a private toilet. If you’ve seen enough of the city, you can enjoy the free Netflix and Amazon Prime Video on your TV.

Our Favorite Budget Hotel – The Z Hotel Shoreditch

The Z Hotel Shoreditch, London

The Z Hotel Shoreditch is our favorite budget hotel in London!

  • Quaint, boutique hotel with handcrafted beds
  • Located in the hip, heart of London
  • Great amenities and buffet breakfast available

This treasure is a quaint, lovely little hotel, reminiscent of 18th century London, set in a perfect location! The staff are great, and the beds are comfortable. The breakfasts, at a small extra cost, are incredible, and there’s unlimited coffee available to fuel your busy weekend. Basically have everything you need and more!

Our Favorite Splurge Hotel – Montcalm Royal London House

Montcalm Royal London House

Montcalm Royal London House is our favorite splurge hotel in London!

  • Spectacular views over the city, with rooftop bar
  • Restaurants, bars, spa and indoor swimming pool
  • Luxurious rooms with 24-hour room service and concierge

With large rooms and all the amenities you can dream of, this 5-star luxury hotel combines modern luxury with old-school class. It’s terrific for couples and the views over London are perfect. The staff is helpful and friendly, and the food is some of the best in the city. 

Our Favorite Hostel – Meininger London Hyde Park

Meininger London Hyde Park

Meininger London Hyde Park is our favorite hostel in London!

  • Great location with easy access to public transport
  • Vibrant, colorful and clean rooms
  • Fun, comfortable general spaces

Located right next to Hyde Park, this hostel is perfect for those looking for something well-priced and comfortable. If you are looking to meet people then get yourself a drink in the bar or lounge and make some friends! The staff are friendly and helpful, and the vibrant rooms are clean with comfortable beds.

weekend london travel

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Know How to Get Around in London

Getting around London is easy, despite the city’s size. Many of the attractions are close together, and walking between them allows you to get a real feel for the city! However,  there are also many public transport options should you need them.

You can catch the London Underground, the tram link, busses, railway, river services or the overground. With so many options, you’re able to get anywhere you want from wherever you are, fast.

Transport is quite expensive in London. It is a good idea to take some time to check if it’s going to prove cheaper to buy single tickets, or a weekend ticket, depending on your London itinerary . 

London Underground

If you’re spending most of your time walking around and occasionally catching a tram or train then single tickets are probably your best bet. If on the other hand your itinerary means you’ll be needing a lot of transport get an Oyster Card ; an Oyster card allows you to load money onto it, and use it on all of the public transport systems.

The bright red London busses are iconic and are a great way to get around and explore London . The trains are incredibly efficient, but if you try to catch one during peak hours (between 8 and 9 am, and 4 and 6 pm), you’ll be packed like sardines against impatient strangers.

London Nightlife Guide

London has some amazing nightlife options!

Despite a number of high-profile club closures, London still has some of the best nightlife in the world. Check out these awesome options for some inspiration.

Piccadilly Circus

  • Go pub-hopping until the early hours of the morning (many stay open until 4 am on weekends)
  • Guaranteed great night out with some of London’s best nightspots and a vibrant atmosphere
  • You can also go to an after dark museum, musical, or casino, for great alternatives to clubbing

Iconic enough during the night and day, Piccadilly Circus is an absolute must-see at night time! Neon lights contrast with historical buildings, and everyone is having a great time. For bar hopping, visit Irish-themed bar Waxy O’Connor’s, and Graphic, a gin palace with great DJ’s every weekend. For glitz and wild dancing, go to Cafe de Paris.

  • A historic hub of London’s famous entertainment scene throughout the ages. 
  • Bars, pubs and clubs line the street, catering to an incredibly wide variety of party styles
  • Explore some of the area’s flamboyount gay bars or circus-themed clubs, like Cirque le Soir, for something totally out of the ordinary (but don’t bring your Mother!)

Soho is certainly one of the best nightlife scenes in London, if not the world! With a rich history and a diversity of clubs to match, you are bound to have a brilliant time. Ronnie Scott’s has some of the world’s top jazz and blues musicians performing in its basement club and other great options are Swift and the gay pub Admiral Duncan.

  • Enjoy lively bohemian nightlife and night markets for something different
  • Great place to find live music, quirky bars, and some very unusual people
  • A long history of counterculture entertainment and alternative rock make for a night unlike any you’ll find elsewhere

Camden is a more offbeat but equally vibrant London nightlife destination. Leading the alternative rock & Indie scene, you’ll find great music and unique hair-styles in abundance here. For an old-school rock club experience, go to KOKO or Underworld. For a unique combination of the night market, club and casino, try out Electric Ballroom.

London Food

British food has a pretty bad reputation which is both undeserved and outdated. As you will see for yourself, London actually has one of the most diverse, cutting-edge culinary scenes in the world. Not only that, but you can find any type of cuisine in London, because it is so multi-culural and diverse. With so much to choose from at these stops, you’ll want to eat everything! And maybe you should…

Sunday UpMarket at Brick Lane

  • A very different kind of Sunday Roast, with both street vendors and classic pubs like the Old Truman Brewery to dine with
  • Great organic food options and authentic international cuisines
  • Vendors let you try tasters, so you can taste everything before you decide on one option

Be sure to arrive with an empty stomach as you’re going to want all the space you can get! Here you can find traditional ethnic foods from across the globe, and quaint craft and vintage stalls to explore while you eat. A lively market with a fun vibe, this is the perfect place for adventurous foodies.

Camden Market

  • Not only for the night-time crowd, Camden is also one of London’s best foodie scenes
  • Camden’s famous market features an eclectic mix of cuisines from around the world
  • Prices range from street food to gourmet, and you can find a taste of everything to either eat on the spot or take home. I recommend trying the Indian Paneer burger.

Truly, there is something to quench every craving and curiosity in Camden Market! Leading the race in vegan innovations is Nora and Nama, and providing delightfully meaty options to the punks and alternatives, is Roadkill. Come to Camden Market to try tonnes of food and stroll through the market, admiring the weird and wonderful wares on offer.

Bob Bob Ricard

  • Iconic Soho restaurant serving delicious British-Russian cuisine and amazing cocktails
  • Dining takes place in luxurious old-school booths with Art Deco style
  • Every booth has a ‘press for champagne’ button, which is  the absolute epitome of British class

With a dress code of ‘elegant’, uniformed staff and art-deco surrounds, this restaurant is a one of a kind foodie stop! This luxury dining experience needs to be booked well in advance  but it is well worth it. Try either their Russian specialties or local favorites, and be sure to enjoy the glamor and great atmosphere.

London’s The Rubens at the Palace Hotel

  • Iconic spot for afternoon tea , overlooking Buckingham Palace
  • A quintessential afternoon activity for those who like to live a little lavishly
  • Enjoy the best scones with clotted cream and jam in the city!

No London trip would be complete without taking time out for some afternoon tea, and the four-star hotel, The Rubens at the Palace Hotel, is one of the best places to enjoy this as it’s upper class and elegant, making for a fine afternoon affair. It’s also super romantic, if you’re travelling as a couple.

In England, Afternoon Tea is not just a term for drinking tea in the afternoon. It is usually accompanied by sandwiches, cakes, macarons, scones with clotted cream and jam, plus of course, tea. It can be a little pricey, but totally worth it – plus you actually get a ton of food, so it could count as a late lunch or early dinner.

Sporting Events in London

With famous stadiums hosting popular British sports, there’s some great choices for sport lovers. 

See a Game at Wembley Stadium

  • England’s national Football team is one of the most famous in the world – if you can, watch a match at the famous Wembley Stadium
  • The venue for many memorable events, it’s incredible just to see Wembley stadium, never mind watching a match in it
  • Wembley stages sports events and live performances every weekend with teams and performers from around the world.

There are several other football stadiums across London so be sure to pick up a ticket and come cheer on your favorite team!. You can even plan your London visit around your favorite sport and team! Just check out Wembley Stadium events .

Play Tennis at Regents Park

  • Enjoy a game or two of tennis on beautiful courts across from a London park
  • One of England’s few great pay-and-play tennis centers where you can book with minimal advance
  • Fun, great exercise and perfect for couples, families, and friends

While you can’t play at the private Wimbledon arena, Regents Park is the next best thing for tennis enthusiasts!

Play England’s most elegant and popular sport on this lovely public field. You can book a drop-in session a day in advance. And of course, equipment is available to rent or buy, if you didn’t bring your own.

(Note – In the UK tennis is largely confined to the months of May – August when the weather is fair)

Try Flying Trapeze at Gorilla Circus

  • Try something new and learn to fly trapeze in a two-hour lesson
  • It’s a great outdoor activity and an opportunity to learn something new while you take a break from the stadiums
  • Fun and great for all ages, it’ll get your blood pumping and you’ll leave with a sense of achievement

Do something a little different! You’ll find them at Kensington Gardens and Regents Park, so you’ll have great views while you fly through the air., This sport is a great way to soak up the sun if you are lucky enough to visit during the summer season.

weekend london travel

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London entertainment

Musical theatre and talent-filled plays are popular pastimes in London! Join the locals, and watch something incredible.

The O2 Academy, Brixton

  • You can find the perfect performance at one of London’s leading music venues, nightclubs, and theatres
  • Raised floor so everyone has a great view, and experiences fantastic acoustics
  • Beautiful architecture and incredible live acts every weekend make it a very worthwhile stop

For some of the best international bands and coolest gigs, book a spot at the O2 Academy! The slope of the venue accommodates everyone, and the vibe is always brilliant. The Academy caters to all music tastes, as well as comedy, so be sure to check what’s on and book in advance before your weekend in London.

Apollo Victoria Theatre

  • Beautiful old theatre with lots of character and beautiful decor
  • Lovely campy fun, with bar service to your seat if requested, binoculars provided
  • Great international acts every weekend (and during the week) – like the long-running musical Wicked

Opening as a cinema in 1930, the Apollo has a rich and interesting history in entertainment. With vibrant art-deco architecture and decor, there’s much to see without even watching a performance! But that’s not to say you shouldn’t – the musicals performed here are legendary, and there’s no better place to watch them than here.

English National Opera

  • Experience something truly grand with a visit to the opera in one of London’s oldest theatres
  • Modern versions of classic operas make them accessible to a wide audience, in English
  • Enjoy performances bringing to life stories you’ve known since childhood, with incredibly talented casts and beautiful acoustics!

For another different experience (London is full of them), watch a show at the ornate and classic London Coliseum. One of London’s most luxurious theatres, it opened in 1904 and continues to awe its audiences today. The English National Opera brings classic opera to the modern audience. Experience London at its finest!

West End Theatre

  • Enjoy a variety of musical and stage performances in several theatres in the West End.
  • Family friendly shows and matinee performances available.
  • One of the most popular attractions in this wonderful city!

For anyone wanting to see a show in London, the West End in Covent Garden district is the place to be. Covent Garden has 38 theatres, from family-friendly musicals such as The Lion King, to timeless classics like Les Miserables, or popular rock numbers such as We Will Rock You. There is a show for everyone in Covent Garden.

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11 Other Awesome Things to do in London This Weekend

There is so much more on offer in London! If you have more time, then try to squeeze in as many of these amazing attractions and landmarks as you can.

#1 – Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

When visiting London, I guess you have to see Buckingham Palace! Home to the British Queen, the palace is massive, opulent and beautiful. Be sure to come and watch the changing of the Guard at 11am to experience a long-standing, British royal tradition.

You can also explore the palace if you have more time, with either a guide or audio guide to learn more about the palace’s curious history . There’s quite a collection of artifacts and gifts from foreign dignitaries acquired over the centuries!

Arguably the most important landmark in England and a national treasure, this is a must-see.

#2 – National Gallery

National Gallery London

Whatever your preferences, visiting the National Gallery will be one of the best things you do on your weekend in London! The gallery houses England’s great collection of art from the 13th to the 19th century.

They have most of the artworks you learned about in school, and it is an absolutely magnificent experience to be able to see so many masterpieces in one day. As an added bonus, it’s also free!

You can spend hours here without getting bored marvelling at the changes in art through the centuries.

#3 – Hop on the London Eye

London Eye

This giant Ferris Wheel is Europe’s biggest, and one of England’s most popular tourist stops! Take a ride on it to see a brilliant view over London and the Thames river, or just take a photo with it.

The best way to see the city and all your favorite stops, you’ll have 30 minutes up in the air which is plenty. The surprisingly large and roomy capsule moves around, so you can get all the perfect angles from your seat, or you can walk around!

It’s open daily from 10 am to 9:30 pm. e suggest you book early as it’s an extremely popular attraction.

Just across the river, you’ll find Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. If you’re ever struggling for London weekend ideas, you’ll find plenty to do around this area.

#4 – Oxford Street

Oxford Street London

The biggest shopping street in the world, Oxford Street is a must-see when you’re spending a weekend in London! Go window-shopping, or find those brands you’ve always wanted to try on. It’s a shopaholic’s dream, but great fun for everyone.

Aside from shopping, the street is enjoyable for its beautiful architecture with a few modern buildings contrasting beautifully with the many old ones. There are also a few theatres and pubs.

Find something to snack on while you walk, and take in all the happy people and the activity. Our advice is to visit in the morning or late afternoon to avoid rush hour as it can get packed. This is one of the most popular things to do in London .

#5 – St Paul’s Cathedral

St Pauls Cathedral London

This immense, colorfully decorated cathedral is an important British site and one of the best places to visit in London . Built in 1666 after a fire destroyed its predecessor, the working Cathedral is an architectural marvel.

Visit one of the daily services, or with a tour, it’s five levels to experience the unique acoustics of the Whispering Gallery, and the panoramic views over London. The cathedral has staged many historic, state occasions, including royal weddings and the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill!

The church has a peaceful atmosphere that sets it apart from much of London. Be advised that there are a few areas you cannot explore though.

Book your full St Paul’s Cathedral tour here.

Wombats City Hostel Vienna - The Naschmarkt

The Z Hotel – Shoreditch

Located in the trendy Shorditch district, this hostel offers top-notch accommodation right in the heart of the city.

  • 24 Hour Reception
  • Laundry Facilities

#6 – Leicester Square

Leicester Square London

Laid out in 1670, the pedestrian square is a cultural hub. One of the best parts of London’s West End, there’s something great for everyone including unique restaurants, vibrant musical theatres, and family fun. Stroll through the brightly lit streets at night to get the best of Leicester Square!

There are always street performers and a great vibe.. Whether you watch a play here, have dinner at one of the charming eateries, or just walk through the streets, it’s a great place to be in central London. Do be mindful of pickpockets and keep your wits about you.

#7 – Kensington Museums: Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Victoria and Allbert Museum

London Natural History Museum

Discover scientific discoveries, classic artist pieces, and rich historical exhibitions and research at the incredible museums in Kensington. And, they are all free! For those even vaguely interested in nature, science or history, this is an amazing opportunity to learn more about life.

My personal favourite is the Natural History Museum. The most interesting exhibit you’ll find in the Natural History Museum is the dinosaurs exhibit (with real skeletons and facts galore), plus a life-size robot dinosaur! There are also exhibitions about human evolution and space exploration.

There are also lots of really cool night-time options for weekend trips, like a silent disco, murder mystery, or sleepover inside the museum! These are, of course, adults only (over 18) allowed.

Plus, for any royal lovers, Kensington Palace is just down the road, making Kensington a hot spot to visit for a weekend in London.

#8 – Take a Cruise on the Thames

Take a Cruise on the Thames

Cruising down the Thames is one of the best ways to see London’s sights! You can choose between different types of cruises, but our favorite is the hop-on-hop-off day pass from South Bank. This is simply the best way to fit it around your own schedule, allowing you to stop at any of the landmarks you see.

On the tour you’ll see Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Greenwich, Tate Modern, the London Eye, London Bridge and Tower Bridge, and for Harry Potter Fans, the Millenium Bridge. All from the water!

Enjoy lively commentary, and a relaxing sightseeing experience. Be sure to bring your camera and a raincoat.

Book Your Thames River Cruise here!

#9 – The British Museum

British Museum London

This national museum exhibits over two million years of human history and culture! It holds world-famous ancient artefacts, such as  Egyptian mummies, and the Rosetta Stone.

With so much to see here, be sure to set aside a good few hours, and definitely wear comfortable shoes. The exhibits are extensive and educational, with a wealth of antiquities from around the world.

There’s nothing like seeing it in person to bring human history to life.

#10 – Tower Bridge

London Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is one of London’s best-loved icons! The beautiful suspension bridge is a feat of Victorian engineering, with great views of London. Stroll along its pedestrian sides and marvel at the castle-like turrets.

This one is perfect for Instagram so get someone to take a photo of you at this iconic London landmark. You can also take the stairs or a lift to the top of a bridge tower where you’ll walk on glass floors and watch the action below you! You can join a tour to learn more about the bridge, or you can do it yourself.

#11 – Walk around Movie Sets in Notting Hill

Notting Hill has been the backdrop to many blockbuster movies, Bridge Jones, Love Actually, Paddington and of course, Notting Hill.

It’s also where you can pick up some sweet vintage items in the boutique stores and market stalls of Portobello road.

As you walk around Notting Hill, you are walking around the streets where the record labels live, giving birth to London rock Legends such as Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols, and Pink Floyd. Just a short distance away in St John’s Wood, you’ll find the iconic zebra crossing that became a Beatles album cover.

If you’re a fan of pop culture, you’ll love Notting Hill. Plus, you’ll get some cool shots here for your social media.

London Weekend Travel FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about visiting London. If you know where you’re going and what you’re doing, it’s a great city to explore. But it can be a bit much for people who have no game plan! So check out these helpful FAQs.

What should I pack for a weekend in London?

– A sturdy raincoat and a warm jacket . London can get chilly and rainy all year round, and when you wake up you never know how the day will end. Yes, it may be bulky but a good thing to pack for your London weekend is some protection from the elements! – Comfortable walking shoes . This may seem like an obvious one, but many people visiting the great city focus on style over comfort. However, when you’re walking around and moving between some of London’s top attractions, you’ll want your feet to feel cozy and comfortable. Ditch those blisters! – A camera! If you have one, be sure to bring your camera along with you on your London weekend. The city is so full of beautiful and historic sights, you won’t want to miss an opportunity to capture them. And there are many friendly people you can ask to take a quick photo of you and your favorite landmarks. – Check out our packing list for London for more info about how to pack.

Can I get an apartment in London for the weekend?

You certainly can!  London is an expensive city  to live in and many of its residents rent out their homes over the weekend or during the week to make rent. So if you book early (preferably a few months in advance), you can find a place in the center of the city for a good price! There are also loads of  London bed and brekies  available if that’s more your scene! Apartments often feel more private, comfortable and ‘homey’ than a hotel. So if you’re looking for a party atmosphere or new friends from around the world, definitely find a hostel or laid-back hotel. But if you’re into your personal space, then an apartment is great! For families in particular, an apartment is ideal London accommodation. You can find one with a washing machine, a proper kitchen and multiple beds. This can help minimise eating costs y and is certainly less stressful than at a hotel not specifically kitted out for children and families.

Is London safe for a weekend trip?

London is considered reasonably safe  for all genders and cultures. That ‘reasonably’ is due to its being a typical large city with the usual crime issues. Stay alert for scams aimed at tourists such as selling fake tickets to different landmarks. Always make sure your ticket is from a trusted and well-known source! Pickpockets are also quite common and usually work in very busy places. So while you’re exploring popular landmarks, make sure your belongings are safe and insight or underhand. You can comfortably walk around busy areas at night, with the same considerations around pickpockets. Violent crime is a rare concern in London and as long as you take the usual city precautions mentioned here, you’ll have a great, safe trip!

Don’t Forget Your London Travel Insurance

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

weekend london travel

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Final Thoughts on a Great Weekend in London

While more time in this great city would be excellent, even spending a weekend in London will leave you with a mind full of memories and a big smile for weeks. There are just so many cultural and historical hubs, and great fun for everyone of all interests and ages. You cannot go wrong!

Be sure to book accommodation in the city center, and work out you favorite way to get around! Like with everything else in London, you have a wealth of choice.

So, find a cheap flight to London with your friends, or plot the perfect solo trip. With our London weekend ideas, you’ll be able to fill up your time with whatever your heart desires!

(Psssst –  If you’re planning a weekend in London as part of a wider England or the United Kingdom trip, then be sure to check out our backpacking UK travel guide .)

London-Cityscape

Made it this far? You get 15% OFF to book a place to stay ! Offer valid exclusively for Broke Backpackers 😉

weekend london travel

Sophie Steinebach

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31 best things to do in London this weekend: 19 - 21 July 2024

camden festival

All products are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.

When searching for the best things to do in London each weekend, it’s hard not to end up more confused and indecisive than when you started. While it’s never a bad idea to secure a booking at one of the  best restaurants  in the capital, spend an evening in one of the latest  innovative bars  on the scene, or even explore an iconic  London attraction , we’re always on the lookout for new, exciting pop-ups, openings and events. Each week, we get the inside track on exciting things to do in  London  for the upcoming weekend to help us discover a new area of the city or explore a new address in a neighbourhood we (thought) we’d already uncovered.

31 best things to do in London this weekend

Diet Paratha x The Standard London

1. Savour South Asian flavours

The Basmaash Brothers are in town, having flown in from Los Angeles to cook up a storm to celebrate South Asian Heritage Month. Nakul and Arjun Mahendro’s style of Indian cooking has gained them fans on both sides of the pond, with their pop-up at The Standard , the latest in a line of exciting events. Tuck into tandoori chicken wings with serrano whip, and chow on grilled tofu kebabs this Saturday before returning to sample Cue Point Kitchen’s dishes next weekend.

Address: The Standard, 10 Argyle Street, London WC1H 8EG Website: standardhotels.com Dates: Basmaash Brothers, Saturday 20 July; Cue Point Kitchen, Saturday 27 July

camden festival

2. Celebrate half a century of Camden Market

Camden Market’s 50th anniversary is a summer-long affair – and everyone’s invited. Art, music and culture collide over the coming months in a series of exciting pop-ups, many of which are free to attend. Mark the start of South Asian Heritage Month this Saturday thanks to a programme of community activities before trying some of the special drinks and dishes created to mark the celebrations. Join London City Voices for a ‘Sunday Songs’ afternoon, or pencil in the family Lego workshop in association with The Toy Project next weekend.

Address: Camden Market, London Website: camdenmarket.com Dates: Events running throughout the summer

3. Sip on free Palomas

Swing by Patrón Tequila’s latest pop-up in Covent Garden for complimentary palomas this week. Catch up with friends over free, fruity cocktails between 5pm and 7pm from Wednesday to Friday, ahead of International Tequila Day on Wednesday 24 July.

Address: Covent Garden, London Website: patrontequila.com Dates: Wednesday 17 - Friday 19 July

PIRANA restaurant

4. Check out a new nightlife spot

Entertainment-led Nikkei restaurant Piraña opens this week, and it’s sure to be the West End’s hottest party hideout this summer. Strongarm Hospitality is behind the concept following the success of venues including The London Reign and Tabū (London and Mykonos), so night owls are certainly in safe hands. Tuck into Peruvian and Japanese fusion dishes and dance late into the night – or round up your fellow foodies and take over the immersive 12-seat private dining room.

Address: Piraña, 7-9 St James's Street, London SW1A 1EE Website: piranalondon.com Dates: Bookings available from Thursday 18 July

Rhythm  Taste lands in Greenwich Peninsula

5. Head to a free summer festival

Savour a taste of New Orleans and sway to jazzy hits at Design District’s Rhythm & Taste: Jazz & Food Festival this Saturday. Tuck into sweetcorn fritters and Jambalaya hot dogs, sip on cherry rum punch, and check out the weekly Greenwich Peninsula Market nearby, where artisan food traders and designers pop up alongside food stalls and bars.

Address: Greenwich Peninsula, London Website: greenwichpeninsula.co.uk Dates: Saturday 20 July

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6. See a ghoulish family-friendly show

Rosemarie Akwafo and Janet Etuk lead a stellar cast in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse’s family-friendly summer performance of Rough Magic . In Shakespearean England, we catch up with the three witches following the unfortunate events unfolding in Macbeth. A mere mortal joins Ghosts, fairies and monsters in the new show – which is where the trouble begins.

Address: Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, London SE1 9DT Website: shakespearesglobe.com Price: Tickets from £15 Dates: Saturday 20 July - Saturday 24 August

As One In The Park Festiva

7. Dance through festival season

DJ Hannah Wants, performance artist Danny Beard and Glasgow Underground founder and musician Kevin McKay take to the stage for As One in the Park Festival in Walpole Park this Sunday. Expect drag shows, live comedy, an eclectic line-up of entertainment, and a colourful celebration of the LGBTQ+ community across four stages. Final release tickets cost less than £20, while VIP tickets grant free access to the afterparty in Fire, Vauxhall.

Address: Walpole Park, Mattock Lane, London W5 5EQ Website: skiddle.com Dates: Sunday 21 July

Pasta Festival

8. Get your pasta fix

Italophiles, rejoice – London’s first and only pasta festival is back. Secure a spot at Emilia’s Crafted Pasta in Canary Wharf this Sunday, where the outdoor terrace and riverside bank are transformed into the tastiest summer festival site in town. Join pasta masterclasses, let little ones loose on kid’s activities, and bop along to live music from the Party Professors and various DJ sets throughout the day.

Address: Emilia's Crafted Pasta, 12 George Street, Wood Wharf, London E14 9QG Website: emiliaspasta.com Price: Free Dates: Sunday 21 July; 12pm - 7pm

Holy Carrot in notting hill

9. Secure a table at the new Holy Carrot

Holy Carrot has a brand-new site in the leafy suburbs of Notting Hill , much to the delight of the original’s devoted following. The new 50-cover restaurant and cocktail bar on 156 Portobello Road sees a ground-floor dining room flow into a space designed for sipping fruity concoctions, plus a 12-cover terrace. Daniel Watkins’ plant-first menu is focused on ‘fire and ferments’, so expect creative dishes using the freshest ingredients. Menu highlights include turnip schnitzel, grilled watermelon with cucumber and seaweed, and crispy oyster mushrooms in a buffalo butter sauce.

Address: Holy Carrot, 156 Portobello Road, London W11 2EB Website: holycarrot.co.uk Dates: Open from Tuesday 16 July

10. Feast at London's largest Italian hideout

Indulge in Italy’s most delicious fare at this weekend’s Taste of Eataly Festival. Tickets include tokens to spend at stalls and bars dotted around the sprawling haven as suppliers deck their stalls in all manner of treats. Pick up pizza slices, nibble on olives, and slurp on classic pasta dishes washed down with Italian wines, cocktails, and bubbles.

Address: Eataly London, 135 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3YD Website: eataly.co.uk Price: Tickets from £25 Dates: Friday 19 - Sunday 21 July

There's certainly no shortage of new restaurant openings in the capital right now. However London's most discerning of...

11. Tuck in at a supper club

There's certainly no shortage of new restaurant openings in the capital right now. However, London's most discerning of foodies often crave something with a little more community feel from time to time. Look no further than the city's supper club scene . Food markets and event spaces fill up every week with hungry Londoners as chefs take residence in kitchens to cook up a storm. Sign up to all the relevant newsletters to stay in the loop – these events sell out at breakneck speed.

Borough Market

12. Savour street food favourites

For every Michelin-starred hotspot in London, there are a dozen delicious street food stalls selling their wares. After days of exploring London’s attractions or visiting the latest exciting pop-up, head to Seven Dials Market for slices of pepperoni drizzled in honey from Bad Boy Pizza Society or indulgent burgers from Truffle. Alternatively, explore all Camden Market offers, or pick up picnic treats from Borough Market and lounge by the river. Other honourable street food menus from our team include Juma Kitchen, Duck Frites, and Gyoza Guys.

Midlands Grand roast

13. Rate London's roast dinners

The French have haute cuisine; the Japanese embrace Omakase – in London, it’s all about the battle of the Sunday roast . Securing a coveted spot in one of the city’s best restaurants for a hearty plateful is one of our favourite pastimes. Head to The Midland Grand Dining Room in King's Cross for an opulent dining experience, tuck into truffle cauliflower cheese at The Laundry in Brixton or unwind over a glass of red at Hicce Hart Islington. Roasts aren't just for winter, so head to one of London's leafy boroughs, such as Richmond or Hampstead, for a meaty feast al-fresco after a sunny stroll through a local park.

JOIA Rooftop Summer

14. Reach for the rooftops

Rejoice – it's rooftop bar season once again. South of the river, eye up the glitzy Battersea Power Station development from all angles at Joia Rooftop Bar , where live entertainment and events are flavoured by Portuguese tipples and smokey flavours. Heading East? Boundary Shoreditch is an oasis far from the hustle and bustle on the streets below, and an ideal hideout for crisp glasses of rosé and tasty sharing plates.

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15. Sample London's lastest cocktails

Competition on London's cocktail bar scene is fierce, as beloved speakeasies compete with a constant flurry of new openings. Unique concoctions are a surefire way to keep clientele engaged. Soma , the sleek subterranean bar below Soho's Indian restaurant Kricket, is one spot for a special tipple or two. New takes include ‘Peas’, a sweet and tangy muddle of Santa Teresa 1796 Rum, Disaronno Velvet, garden peas yoghurt and mint, and ‘Shallot’, made with Hapusa Gin and pickled shallot.

In true Traveller style one of our favourite hobbies is exploring the hot new hotels opening their doors in the capital....

16. Have a nose around London’s new hotels

In true Traveller style, one of our favourite hobbies is exploring the hot new hotels opening their doors in the capital. Best of all, there’s no need to stump up the eye-watering fee for a dazzling suite. The Peninsula is home to myriad bars and restaurants, from Cantonese restaurant Canton Blue to Brooklands, the Modern British hideout with fabulous views. The BoTree is now open on Marylebone Lane: step inside for supper at the brasserie or enjoy a mixologist-led evening at the teal-marble bar, which curves across the space, while trying out the bar menu curated by chef Stefano.

It may be party season up and down the land but theres one that is never short on RSVPs  and its a kaleidoscopic...

17. Go ABBA-crazy

It may be party season up and down the land, but there’s one that is never short on RSVPs – and it’s a kaleidoscopic extravaganza featuring all the ABBA classics. Mamma Mia! The Party sees the sell-out West End tale given a new lease of life, performed in a Greek courtyard complete with a pyrotechnic water fountain and restaurant tables that performers must navigate. While the four-course dinner is truly delicious, the focus is the immersive show, which works its way around the taverna between courses. It’s an unforgettable evening of napkin-waving, feet-stomping and, of course, lots of singing. Elsewhere, ABBA Voyage continues its run thanks to unprecedented popularity; see life-like avatars perform all the greatest hits at what could be one of the best parties in the city.

Pasta cooking class

18. Cook up a storm

Cooking classes are ideal for groups of friends or a date night idea, and there’s always something special sizzling away in London. Pasta Evangelists’ Pasta Academy is best for hungry Italophiles, where passionate chefs instruct clueless cooks on the dos and don’ts of homemade pasta making. Many events have a theme, so check the website and decide whether you want to learn the Roman methods, try a taste of Tuscany , or see how Puglia does it. For something a little more in-depth, head to Sauce by The Langham , where leading chefs such as Michel Roux Jr. lead the way – cocktail masterclasses and kid-friendly courses are also regularly held.

Cas Frango outdoor seating

19. Dine al-fresco

Dining in the city's prettiest outdoor restaurants is one of our favourite pastimes come spring and summer. Savour intense Portuguese flavours on one of Casa do Frango 's terraces from Picadilly to Victoria or dream of La Dolce Vita over pizza and arancini at Daroco Soho following the launch of their heated terrace. Other honourable mentions for London's prettiest outdoor dining spots include Petersham Nurseries Café in Richmond, Seabird in Southwark, and The Orangery in Kensington, which has just opened following an extensive renovation.

First there was yoga then came acupuncture reiki breathwork cryotherapy and the Headspace app. But now busy Londoners...

20. Get zen at a sound bath

First, there was yoga, then came acupuncture, reiki, breathwork, cryotherapy and the Headspace app. But now, busy Londoners are seeking respite from city life over sound baths . The different frequencies emitted by gongs, chimes and Tibetan bowls work to soothe the mind and heal the body, stimulating the brainwave frequencies associated with total relaxation and switching on the nervous system's repair mode. Clementina Jackson

Red and Fallow deer in summer season. Summer time in Richmond Park city of London

21. Pick a park for an adventure

The best way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city is to embark on a stroll through one of the many parks , commons, and other green spaces London has to offer. Head for the southwest and amble through Wimbledon Common, picking up iced coffees and sweet treats at the Windmill Cafe; extend the walk into Richmond Park and the leafy suburbs of Richmond-upon-Thames if time permits. North of the river, head for Hampstead Heath and the swimming ponds, or scout out pretty views and planetariums in Greenwich Park before an al fresco lunch in one of the historic pubs nearby.

KOKO club london

22. Let loose in a live music venue

London’s live music scene is one of the most eclectic in Europe, and there’s always a superstar act or up-and-coming performer to be found. Soho ’s notorious music venues, such as Ronnie Scott's and 100 Wardour Street , host musicians and singers that span endless genres, while Camden’s pubs hosted artists, including Adele and Amy Winehouse, before their names became known worldwide. Check out the recently renovated Koko Camden for evenings of live music and late nights of dancing, or discover something new at a Sofar Sounds gig – where rising stars take to the stage in unique venues announced just before the event.

The Connaught Patisserie

23. Treat yourself to something sweet

We Londoners like a sweet treat, so it’s a good thing there are so many bakeries in the capital to choose from. There’s nothing better than picking up freshly-baked almond croissants from Pophams on a Sunday or popping into Fabrique for brunch -ready sourdough. Bakery-mania is evolving, though, and the most exquisite bites can be found in patisseries such as The Connaught Patisserie by Nicolas Rouzaud and Maison Bertaux . Lastly, a moment for doughnuts – cast your eyes on the designer desserts at Donutelier and consider yourself a convert.

If being locked in a room with a ticking clock and dozens of clues is your idea of fun youre in luck in London. The...

24. Try and escape

If being locked in a room with a ticking clock and dozens of clues is your idea of fun, you’re in luck in London. The escape room craze continues, and there are many places to chase an adrenaline fix. See gory scenarios from the SAW movies played out by live actors under flickering lights and the gaze of Jigsaw at Saw: Escape Experience – make it out alive and sip themed cocktails in the cosy cocktail bar. Control Room B in Battersea Power Station is another fun adventure: solve mind-bending puzzles, decipher cryptic clues and unveil the mysteries that lie in wait.

Shaftesbury Avenue illuminated at night

25. Get theatrical

Think of London, and any culture vulture’s mind instantly wanders to the theatrical opportunities across the West End. Bop to ABBA classics at Mamma Mia! , or get all the family involved at Matilda: The Musical . Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it in one of the historic theatres – and sometimes for less than you’d expect. Fully-grown thespians, check out TodayTix for discounted last-minute tickets to the classics and fringe shows.

Tower of London

26. Buff up on your London history

London’s history dates back more than 2,000 years, and there are London attractions detailing everything the capital’s ancient riverbanks have witnessed. Uncover gruesome details of how prisoners were treated in the Clink Prison close to London Bridge , or take a tour of the Tower of London , guided by a beefeater, as they surprise and delight with fascinating nuggets of the royal residence’s history. Go even further back in time at the London Mithraeum – the ancient Roman temple dedicated to the god Mithras, found under the Bloomberg headquarters.

Whether youre an early riser or a night owl theres always a unique way to get sweaty in the capital. Start the day by...

27. Sweat it out

Whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, there’s always a unique way to get sweaty in the capital. Start the day by stretching towards the sunrise at Sky Garden , where yoga and pilates sessions occur throughout the summer. Joining the likes of Boom Cycle and SoulCycle recently is the Psycle site in Victoria, complete with a 50-bike ride studio and state-of-the-art barre and yoga space.

No were not talking about the bookstores everyone knows and has on their high streets  but no judgment for picking up...

28. Build up the book collection

No, we’re not talking about the bookstores everyone knows and has on their high streets – but no judgment for picking up those holiday reads on the go. London is full of charming independent bookstores worth exploring on those drizzly summer afternoons. Gay's The Word on Marchmont Street is the UK's oldest LGBTQ+ bookshop, set up in January 1979 by gay socialists as a community space that funnelled all profits back into the business. Alternatively, hodophiles feel most at home in Stanfords , the world’s largest map and travel book retailer in Covent Garden .

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29. Check out an exhibition

There's no shortage of captivating exhibitions in London right now. Whether you're into fine art, contemporary design or history, the capital's galleries have something for everyone. Hello Brain! at The Francis Crick Institute explains the mind-bending complexity of the brain, and runs until December, while Tropical Modernism: Architecture and Independence is a fascinating showcase at the V&A South Kensington. For something more under-the-radar, gallery hop around arty East London neighbourhoods, stopping off for a street food fill along the way.

Claridge's

30. Unwind at a spa

While we're a fan of spa weekends, nothing beats a visit to one of the capital's most sumptuous spas . Restore your glow with a facial at Claridge's Spa, do some lengths in one of the city's best pools (Bulgari Hotel London to Dorchester Collection's 45 Park Lane among them) or ease aching muscles at one of the more affordable spots across the city.

Punting on the river Stour West Gate Canterbury Kent UK

31. Escape (for a few hours)

One of the best things about living in London is how easy it is to explore nearby cities and coastal towns. Hop on a train from one of London's largest rail hubs such as Paddington or King's Cross St Pancras and you'll be picnicking on a sandy stretch or licking ice creams in a nature reserve in no time. Our favourite spring and summer hideouts include the historic city of Canterbury, the lush plains of the New Forest, and the seaside revelry along Brighton and Hove's coast. For more inspiration, see our guide to the best day trips from London .

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3 Days in London: The Perfect Weekend Itinerary

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London Weekend Itinerary

Londoners will tell you that their city is the best city in the world. They’re not wrong because, in many ways, London is the center of the world (or the center of the UK, at least). The sense of pride in the United Kingdom’s capital is visible at every turn, and you’re guaranteed to be swept up with Union Jack fever as you watch the Changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace.

Delve into the often brutal past of the Tower of London, explore the regal and religious history of Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral, and then spend hours perusing the exhibits of the British Museum. And once you’ve visited all the traditional London sights, that’s when the fun really begins. Spend your evenings watching musicals and stage plays in the West End, or head over to Camden Town for a night of gigs, live music, and craft beers. 

There’s so much to do in the United Kingdom’s capital. From the iconic chimes of Big Ben to the lofty heights of The Shard, a few days is never enough to explore the sights of London. This is a city that you can return to time and time again and still barely scrape the surface, but our 3-day London itinerary will set you up to see the best sights if it’s your first time in the city! 

If you’re still deciding where to stay then make sure to check out our article on the  best boutique hotels in London !

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).

How to Spend a Weekend in London, England

London weekend itinerary – day 1 .

3 Days in London Weekend Itinerary: Hyde Park

Your weekend in London begins leisurely, with a surprisingly serene stroll through the greenery of Hyde Park. This is one of several “Royal Parks” in London, and the area was originally set aside as a hunting reserve by Henry VIII back in the 16th century. This is also your chance to take in a little fresh air before your day really begins because from here on in it’s going to be non-stop!

3 Days in London Itinerary: Hyde Park

Day 1 of your 3 days in London will see you visiting some of London’s most iconic landmarks, with your itinerary centered around royal sights like Buckingham Palace and Westminster, where the Houses of Parliament are found. Before that, though, walk through Hyde Park and visit the Serpentine, an impressive area of open water that’s popular among swimmers. 

Kensington Gardens

London 3 Day Itinerary Weekend Guide: Kensington Gardens

From here, you can head on over to Kensington Gardens, another royal parkland that’s adjacent to Hyde Park. Within Kensington Gardens you’ll find Kensington Palace, a royal residence that dates back to the 17th century. 

3 Days in London Weekend Itinerary: Kensington Gardens

The palace was commissioned by King William III and Mary II in the late 17th century, and it remains the current residence of many of the royal family (including William and Kate, the Prince and Princess of Wales). If you’re here early, then you’ll have time for a quick tour of the stately rooms, but you’ll need to be ready to move on at 11:00 am for the first big event of the day.

Wellington Arch

Weekend in London: Wellington Arch

You’ll need to hurry on over to Wellington Arch, which marks the entrance and exit to Hyde Park in the southeastern corner. This will bring you to Buckingham Palace, where you should be right on time to watch the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at 11:30 am (double check this time on the Changing of the Guard website , as it can sometimes change). 

Buckingham Palace

Weekend in London 3 Days Itinerary: Buckingham Palace

Full of pageantry and pomp, this colorful tradition sees the King’s soldiers marching along the Mall before ceremonially taking over duties from the old guard stationed at Buckingham Palace. Once the ceremony is over, take in the view of Buckingham Palace from the front gates. This is the King’s official residence, and unfortunately, you can’t go inside. If the Royal Standard is flying, though, this means the King is home!

Westminster

Weekend in London: Westminster

Turn around, walk down The Mall, then through St James Park until you reach Westminster. Now you’ll see more famous landmarks, as this is the location of Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament. 

Westminster Abbey

3 Days in London Itinerary: Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is where all of England’s monarchs have been crowned since 1066, while the Houses of Parliament is where the government debates and passes its laws. You’ll have time to take a tour of one or the other, so choose wisely.

London 3 Day Itinerary Weekend Guide: Westminster Abbey

Before or after the tour, you should take the opportunity for a traditional London lunch on your first day in the city. Westminster is home to a plethora of traditional pubs, many of which have been serving patrons for centuries. 

British Fish and Chips

3 Days in London Weekend Itinerary: British Fish and Chips

We recommend a pit stop at the Two Chairmen , which has been serving ales and pies for over 200 years. Alternatively, pop into the Laughing Halibut , where you’ll find Westminster’s finest servings of traditional British fish and chips.

Churchill War Rooms

Weekend in London 3 Days Itinerary: Churchill War Rooms

After lunch, you’ll be going underground, but not where you might be expecting. Hidden away below Westminster is the Churchill War Rooms , a unique attraction that’s preserved the subterranean shelters where the British government operated during the Second World War.

3 Days in London Itinerary: Churchill War Rooms

Venture underground, and you can explore the tunnels and bunkers where Winston Churchill made pivotal decisions that saved Britain from defeat by the armies of Nazi Germany. 

River Thames

Weekend in London 3 Days Itinerary: River Thames

Emerge again into the sunlight, and walk down toward the banks of the River Thames. Here you’ll find Westminster Bridge, while on the other side of the river is the London Eye .

London 3 Day Itinerary Weekend Guide: River Thames

Rising to a height of 135 meters (443 feet), this is Europe’s tallest revolving observation wheel, and you’ll love the panoramic views awaiting you as your glass pod ever so slowly makes its revolution. 

London Dungeon

3 Days in London Itinerary: London Dungeon

By now, we’re sure you’re going to be exhausted. But if you’re up for one more attraction, then you can journey inside the London Dungeon , where a theatrical, gory, and very dramatic look at medieval torture awaits you (it’s like a medieval Disneyland!). 

Trafalgar Square

3 Days in London Weekend Itinerary: Trafalgar Square

If that’s not for you, then cross back over the River Thames and head on over to Trafalgar Square. Here you’ll find the Trafalgar Square Lions and Nelson’s Column, as well as the National Gallery . 

Weekend in London: Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square is within walking distance of Covent Garden and Leicester Square , both of which are teeming with bars and restaurants.

Leicester Square (with Flat Iron and The Petersham)

3 Days in London Itinerary: Leicester Square

This evening, we recommend visiting Flat Iron , a restaurant known for its steaks; The Frenchie , for high-end Parisian fare in a London setting; or The Petersham , for elegant Italian-inspired dishes prepared using seasonal ingredients from the British countryside. 

3 Days in London Weekend Itinerary: Flat Iron

London Weekend Itinerary – Day 2 

Your 3-day London vacation continues with an action-packed itinerary merging history with contemporary culture. You’ll be looking forward to a great day of sightseeing, eating, and cultural events as you explore Tower Hamlets, the City of London, and Southwark.

Tower of London

3 Days in London Itinerary: Tower of London

The day begins at the Tower of London , which you’ll find overlooking the River Thames in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. This mighty fortress sits on Tower Hill, and we recommend taking a tour (led by the famous “Beefeaters” who guard the tower) to learn more about the bloody and barbarous history that’s occurred within its walls. 

3 Days in London Weekend Itinerary: Tower of London

The Tower of London’s original keep (the White Tower) was built on the orders of William the Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066. Over the next centuries, the Tower of London became not just a symbol of royal authority but a place where traitors would meet a grizzly end. The Tower of London is home to the royal Crown Jewels, which you can see in all their glory in the “Jewell House.”

Tower Bridge

3 Days in London Itinerary: Tower Bridge

From the Tower of London, you’ll now walk over Tower Bridge, which you’ll instantly recognize as one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Built in the late 19th century, the bridge is not only elegantly ornate but a marvelous example of Victorian engineering.

Weekend in London 3 Days Itinerary: Tower Bridge

You can see more by booking tickets to the upper walkways, where you’ll have spectacular views across the Thames and get an insider look at the Victorian engine rooms that raise and lower the bridge for passing boats. 

3 Days in London Weekend Itinerary: The Shard

You’ll then follow Queen’s Walk along the Southbank of the River Thames, passing the domineering form of HMS Belfast (an old navy destroyer turned museum that’s moored in the Thames) before turning inland to visit The Shard . Take the elevator to the top floor of this monstrously tall skyscraper, where you’ll have incredible vistas from the observation deck of London’s tallest building.

Borough Market

Weekend in London 3 Days Itinerary: Borough Market

We expect you’re getting peckish. Good, because your next stop is Borough Market . Located in Southwark, the market has been in action for a thousand years.

3 Days in London Itinerary: Borough Market

There’s no letting up today, and you’ll be spoiled for choice as you browse through the food stalls. Fish and chips, mac and cheese, Sri Lankan curries, and Malaysian laksa – you name it, you’ll find it at Borough Market. 

Monument to the Great Fire of London

3 Days in London Weekend Itinerary: Monument to the Great Fire of London

Suitably replenished, cross over London Bridge to get back to the other side of the River Thames. Now you’re in the historical City of London, a one-square-mile area that was originally built up by the Romans. 

Weekend in London 3 Days Itinerary: Monument to the Great Fire of London

Leadenhall Market

Weekend in London: Leadenhall Market

There’s much to see this afternoon, including the Monument to the Great Fire of London , the overgrown ruins of St Dunstan in the East, the beautiful indoor greenery of “Sky Garden,” and the majestic architecture of Leadenhall Market (the inspiration for Harry Potter ‘s Diagon Alley).

St Paul’s Cathedral

Weekend in London 3 Days Itinerary: St Paul's Cathedral

Finally, make your way to St Paul’s Cathedral , where you can take a tour of London’s most important religious building. 

Weekend in London: St Paul's Cathedral

Go back to your hotel and freshen up, then catch the Tube over to Camden Town, where you can spend an evening touring through pubs and listening to live music. There are some great, casual restaurants to kick things off, including The Cheese Bar and Burger and Beyond . 

London Weekend Itinerary – Day 3

Homemade jalapeño cornbread.

3 Days in London Itinerary: Homemade Jalapeno Cornbread

Your 3-day trip to London ends with another jam-packed itinerary. Day 3 is all about the museums, and you’ll want to start with a big, big breakfast at the Brompton Food Market , where the homemade jalapeño cornbread is almost as great as the breakfast burrito. 

Natural History Museum

Weekend in London 3 Days Itinerary: Natural History Museum

The Brompton Food Market is just a short stroll away from the Natural History Museum , which will be your first sightseeing stop of the day. The museum is home to one of the finest collections of natural history in the world, and with a history dating back to the 1700s, you can find a wealth of specimens collected by famous naturalists, including Charles Darwin.

3 Days in London Weekend Itinerary: Natural History Museum

It’s estimated that there are some 80 million items in the care of the Natural History Museum, so you’ve no chance of seeing them all even in a lifetime! You will see a comprehensive selection of exhibits displayed across the galleries, which are divided into five sections based on zoology, botany, entomology, mineralogy, and paleontology. This means there will be animals, plants, bugs, minerals, and dinosaurs. 

The Natural History Museum is located on Exhibition Road, which you’ll find is also home to two other excellent London museums. Once you’ve had your fair fill of dinosaur fossils and meteorites, you can visit either the Science Museum or the Victoria and Albert Museum . 

Science Museum

3 Days in London Itinerary: Science Museum

The Science Museum needs very little introduction. It’s dedicated to all things scientific, and with an impressive array of hands-on exhibitions to get stuck into, it’s a great place to take kids. The Victoria and Albert Museum is a little different. The “V&A” dates back to 1853, and it’s dedicated to art and design. 

Victoria and Albert Museum

3 Days in London Weekend Itinerary: Victoria and Albert Museum

This broad remit means that the museum is home to upwards of 2 million items collected from different communities, eras, and locations across the world. You’ll find Roman sculptures, African art, and ancient jewelry. You’ll also find galleries dedicated to photography, textiles, and furniture. It’s this diversity that really makes the Victoria and Albert Museum fascinating.

Weekend in London: Harrods

Next, walk over to nearby Knightsbridge, where you can enjoy a very classy lunch break at Harrods . This is London’s iconic department store, and it’s where the rich and famous shop for everything from groceries to winter clothing.

Weekend in London 3 Days Itinerary: Harrods

The food court at Harrods is superb (if pricey), and you can enjoy a spot of caviar and a glass of champagne to fortify you for the afternoon.

The British Museum

3 Days in London Itinerary: The British Museum

Jump on the London Underground and make your way over to Russell Square, where your next stop of the day is The British Museum . This is one of the world’s most famous museums, with an extensive collection numbering upwards of 8 million objects. The museum was founded in 1753, making it one of the oldest museums in the world. 

The British Museum is extensive. It attempts to tell the story of human history, tracing it back thousands of years to the dawn of civilization. You’ll see archeological finds dating back to the ancient Sumerians, including the world’s first examples of a written alphabet. 

London 3 Day Itinerary Weekend Guide: The British Museum

There are ancient Egyptian mummies and sarcophagi, Greek statues and Roman mosaics, and Viking armor and medieval weapons. It’s worth taking a short tour if you don’t want to miss bucket list exhibits like the Rosetta Stone and Elgin Marbles. 

Somerset House

3 Days in London Weekend Itinerary: Somerset House

From the British Museum, you can wander south toward the Strand, where you’ll see fantastic works of architecture, including Somerset House and the Savoy .

Weekend in London: Savoy

Then it’s just a short stroll to Covent Garden , where you’ll find boutique shops and street performers in one of London’s loveliest districts.

Book a Room at The Savoy

Covent Garden

3 Days in London Itinerary: Covent Garden

Then look out for famous streets like St Martin’s Lane and Shaftesbury Avenue as you make your way to Chinatown for a taste of the city’s multicultural makeup.

Soon enough, you’ll have reached Leicester Square, the glitzy, glamorous location where movies premiere and stars are born. Head to the box office, where you can pick up last-minute tickets for whichever West End shows are on special that night. With your evening sorted, It’s time for a pre-show dinner.

London 3 Day Itinerary Weekend Guide: Covent Garden

You’re in the right place because the West End is a veritable smorgasbord of restaurants. One of our favorites is Dishoom , a unique Indian-inspired restaurant offering a taste of Mumbai in London. Other options include The Garden at Corinthia, Scully St James’s , or St Martin’s House .

What to do if you have more than 3 days in London

We can’t stress this enough, but in 72 hours, you’ll just be scratching the surface of what there is to do and see in London. If you’ve got longer to spend, then perfect, because there’s much more to see in and around the capital:

Take a Harry Potter Studio Tour:

Weekend in London: Harry Potter Studio Tour

If you’re a huge Harry Potter fan, then you have to make the pilgrimage to the Warner Bros Studios in Hertfordshire. The on-set filming locations and props have been masterfully preserved, offering one of the greatest cinema experiences in the UK. Join an organized tour from London, which includes transport to and from the studios. 

Weekend in London 3 Days Itinerary: Harry Potter Studio Tour

Marvel at Windsor Castle:

3 Days in London Itinerary: Windsor Castle

You’ve seen Buckingham Palace, so now it’s time to visit Windsor Castle . Located in Windsor, on the outskirts of London, this magnificent royal castle is almost a thousand years old. It’s also one of the royal family’s official residences. 

3 Days in London Weekend Itinerary: Windsor Castle

Take a River Thames Cruise:

Weekend in London 3 Days Itinerary: River Thames Cruise

Take a sightseeing cruise along the mighty River Thames as you enjoy the city’s magnificent skyline from the water. If you’re in a romantic mood, you could even treat your partner to an evening dinner cruise.

Weekend in London: River Thames Cruise

Explore Greenwich:

3 Days in London Itinerary: Greenwich

One of London’s most fascinating districts is Greenwich, which you’ll find by following the Thames west. Visit markets, landscaped royal parks, the Cutty Sark, and see the Meridian Line, where Greenwich Meantime officially begins. 

See the Deer at Richmond Park:

London 3 Day Itinerary Weekend Guide: Richmond Park

London’s largest royal park is located in the London Borough of Richmond, where you’ll find a vast herd of deer roaming through woods and fields. It’s a beautiful place where you can escape the city, and also closely situated to Hampton Court Palace , the famous residence of King Henry VIII. 

3 Days in London Weekend Itinerary: Richmond Park

Getting around London

Getting Around London, England: The Perfect Weekend Itinerary

London is one of the largest cities in the world. With an urban area that sprawls across much of southeast England , it’s easy to get lost if you’ve never been to the city before. Luckily, though, London has one of the best connected public transport systems in the world, so with a little planning, it’s also easy to get around. 

We’ve tried to ensure that our London itinerary below is planned for minimal transit times between sights, and you’ll be able to walk between many of the attractions each day, or you’ll be just a few stops away on the “Tube” (officially, it’s called the London Underground). Grab yourself a Tube map as soon as you land because you’ll be using London’s iconic metro system a lot during your stay.

London has several airports you could find yourself flying into. The major transit hub is London Heathrow Airport, where many international flights arrive and depart. London Heathrow Airport is connected by bus to London Victoria station or by train and tube to major train stations, including London Paddington, which is the terminus of the rapid Heathrow Express service. 

London Gatwick Airport is further out but also serves many international flights. The Gatwick Express takes you from the airport direct to London Victoria Station.

Within London, public transport is integrated and divided into different zones. You can tap on and off with a credit or debit card when you’re using the bus, underground or overground rail network. 

This keeps things simple, and you’ll be charged at the end of a day based on how many journeys you’ve made and which zones you’ve crossed (a cap is put in place, so you’ll never pay more than the cost of a “day ticket” no matter how much you travel that day). Alternatively, you can purchase tickets using the machines or ticket booths available at stations.

There are also several other public transport lines, including several ferries, a cable car that crosses the River Thames (Emirates Skyline), and the Docklands Light Rail, a driverless train that heads to places like Canary Wharf and the London Excel Arena. The latest addition to the expansive public transport network is the recently opened Elizabeth Line, a cross-city underground line named in honor of the recently deceased Queen. 

Driving in London isn’t recommended, not least because of the traffic, but because of the congestion charges you’ll need to pay. Ride-hailing apps like Uber and Bolt work everywhere, while the famous London taxis (Black Cabs) should be ridden at least once during your stay, even if they are expensive! 

We hope you enjoy your weekend trip to London! Should we add something else to our 3-day London itinerary? Let us know in the comments.

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London Weekend Itinerary

Richard is an award-winning travel writer based in Southwest England who’s addicted to traveling off the beaten track. He’s traveled to 75 countries and counting in search of intriguing stories, unusual destinations, and cultural curiosities. Richard loves traveling the long way round over land and sea, and you’ll find him visiting quirky micronations and breakaway territories as often as he’s found lounging on a beach (which is a lot). When he’s not writing for BBC Travel, National Geographic, or Lonely Planet, you can find Richard writing for the Wandering Wheatleys or updating his off-beat travel blog, Travel Tramp.

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Greta's Travels

London 2-Day Itinerary: 25+ Epic Things To Do In London In 2 Days

Posted on Last updated: April 21, 2024

Having lived in London for 9 years I never thought I’d write about it in my blog from a travellers point of view.

But despite considering myself a Londoner I’m not actually a local, and I enjoy a touristy sightseeing day in London as much as anyone.

I get a lot of questions from people that want to visit London in a weekend, so this London 2-day itinerary focuses on all the best things you can do in London in 2 days.

It’s a packed itinerary with lots of walking, but for anyone wishing to maximise their time in the British capital, this guide has all the information you need to make the most of your 2 days in London.

So without further ado, let’s dive in and plan the perfect two days in London!

  • 1.1 Oxford Street
  • 1.2 Piccadilly Circus
  • 1.3 Leicester Square 
  • 1.4 Covent Garden
  • 1.5 Trafalgar Square
  • 1.6 Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament & Big Ben
  • 1.7 London Eye
  • 1.8 Borough Market
  • 1.9 The Shard
  • 1.10 Tower Bridge
  • 1.11 Tower of London
  • 1.12 Sky Garden
  • 2.1 Portobello Market
  • 2.2 Notting Hill
  • 2.3 Hyde Park
  • 2.4 South Kensington & the museums
  • 2.5 Harrods
  • 2.6 Buckingham Palace
  • 3.1 Shoreditch
  • 3.2 Camden Town & Market
  • 3.3 Chinatown
  • 3.5 Afternoon tea bus tour
  • 3.6 British Museum
  • 3.7 Go for a showboat dinner cruise
  • 3.8 See a musical!
  • 3.9 Regents Park
  • 3.10 St Pauls Cathedral
  • 3.11 Do a Harry Potter walking tour
  • 3.12 Visit the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios
  • 4.1 What to pack for two days in London
  • 4.2.1 Budget accommodation
  • 4.2.2 Mid-range accommodation
  • 4.2.3 Luxury accommodation
  • 4.3.1 Street food
  • 4.3.2 Eat on the go
  • 4.3.3 Chain restaurants
  • 4.3.4 Fancy or Michelin-starred restaurants
  • 4.4 Do you need travel insurance for 2 days in London?
  • 4.5 How to get into London
  • 4.6 How to get around London

Reflections of St Paul's Cathedral at One New Change in London, UK

Reflections of St Paul’s Cathedral at One New Change in London, UK

Essentials to book before you read on!

Best tours in London

River Thames Sightseeing Cruise

Magical London: Harry Potter Walking Tour

Classic Afternoon Tea Bus Tour

Best hotels in London

Budget: Wombat’s City Hostel London

Mid-range: Hilton London Angel Islington

Luxury: St Pancras Renaissance Hotel

Get 5% off your travel insurance here!

London 2 day itineary: Day 1

Oxford street.

We’re starting day one of our  2-day London itinerary at the famous Oxford Street. You want to start your day here fairly early because as time goes on it will get considerably busier.

By considerably busier I mean basically hell on earth for anyone that hates crowds like me.

So get there nice and sharp in the morning and you’ll be able to do some high street shopping without having to queue hours for a changing room.

Red buses in Oxford Street, London

Red buses in Oxford Street, London

Piccadilly Circus

From Oxford Street you can walk to Oxford Circus, down Regent Street and to the popular Piccadilly Circus. This is London’s equivalent of Times Square in New York.

With the big bright advertising billboards, multiple road crossings, street buskers and crowds it’s quite the sight.

An alternative road you can take is the colourful Carnaby Street, it’s just parallel to Regent Street and while it’s always busy, it’s completely pedestrian so it’s a bit more pleasant to walk along.

Exploring Regent Street in London, UK

Exploring Regent Street in London, UK

Leicester Square 

From Piccadilly Circus it’s a very short walk over to Leicester Square. Leicester Square is that place you always see on TV when they do movie premieres in London.

There are a number of very cool cinemas here but if you’re only in London for 2 days, you probably don’t want to spend a couple hours of your time locked up in a dark room.

There are loads of quick takeaway food places in Leicester Square but they will most likely be over priced and not that great.

Covent Garden

Covent Garden is a short 5-minute walk away from Leicester Square and one of the most famous spots in London.

The central covered area of Covent Garden, known as the Apple Market, is full of cool shops, bars and restaurants, and also a few touristy but quirky market stalls.

The Apple Market in Covent Garden at Christmas

The Apple Market in Covent Garden at Christmas

Trafalgar Square

After Covent Garden you can walk down to Trafalgar Square where you can visit the National Gallery. Entry to museums in London is generally always free, you only pay for the exhibitions that are on at that specific time.

If like me you’re not a museum person (I’ll admit I’ve only been inside the National Gallery once) Trafalgar Square is still a nice and famous spot of London that you can admire, and from there walk on to your next stop.

Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament & Big Ben

From Trafalgar Square it’s a short walk down to the river, where you will see two of the most iconic London sights.

Big Ben is under restructuring works at the moment, but you can still visit Westminster Abby and the Houses of Parliament.

Click here to purchase your entrance to Westminster Abbey!

The most photographed phone box in London, UK

The iconic red phone box, red bus and Big Ben in the background (even if he’s under construction)

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, a must see in your London 2 day itinerary

The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben under reconstruction works

Just across the river you will see the London Eye, it’s hard to miss. In 9 years of living in London I have only been up the London Eye once, but I can say it’s really something.

Yes it’s super touristy, but the view is incredible. You get amazing 360 views over the Thames River, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben on one side, and St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and the Shard on the other.

It’s one of the most famous attractions in London, so the queue can get huge. I 100% recommend purchasing tickets online beforehand , so that you can skip the queue.

After all, if you only have two days in London, you don’t want to waste them queuing around!

Click here to purchase your London Eye Fast Track ticket!

View over Westminster from the London Eye

View over Westminster from the London Eye

Borough Market

After seeing the London Eye I suggest walking all along the river to Borough Market.

You could also take the tube from Waterloo to London Bridge, which would save you some time, but the walk along South Bank is one of the most beautiful spots in London in my opinion.

Especially if you’re visiting London in summer or on a sunny day, walking along the Thames and seeing the skyline of London is pretty epic.

You will see some main landmarks along this walk including the Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe and Millennium Bridge.

Millennium Bridge, one of the must see spots if you have only 2 days in London

Millennium Bridge in London, with St Paul’s Cathedral in the background

Borough Market is a great place to try some of London’s famous street food. There are tons of different stalls that sell food from all over the world.

It’s the perfect place to stop for a quick lunch on the go without wasting hours sitting down at a restaurant and waiting to be served.

One of the fresh fruit and vegetables stalls at Borough Market, London

One of the fresh fruit and vegetables stalls at Borough Market, London

Just next to Borough Market is the Shard, a skyscraper with 95 floors and one of the best views over London.

There is a viewing platform on the 70 th floor, the tickets cost between 24 GBP and 32 GBP depending on how far in advance you book them.

However, there are a couple bars in the Shard just a couple floors below that you can access for free.

Cocktails are around 15 – 20 GBP which is expensive, but considering you’re at the highest bar in London, it could be much worst.

I’d recommend going to the bar instead of the viewing platform since you end up paying a similar price, but at least you get a drink while you enjoy the view.

If a cocktail doesn’t fit your travel plans, book your ticket to The Shard viewing deck here!

The view over London from the Shard

The view over London from the Shard

Tower Bridge

From the Shard it’s a short walk across More London Place to reach Tower Bridge.

If you’re visiting in summer they usually have a Mexican food truck down next to the river with sun bed chairs, and they often have shows on in The Scoop (the round theatre-like area along the river).

From along the river you can walk right up to Tower Bridge and then you’ll see a set of stairs that you have to walk up to cross the river.

Prime sunset spot over Tower Bridge and the Thames

Prime sunset spot over Tower Bridge and the Thames

Tower of London

This is where I admit that I haven’t actually visited the Tower of London yet.

I’ve walked past the Tower of London numerous times, been on river cruises that set off from Tower Pier (a lot of university student clubs do that), even been ice skating at the Tower of London, but I’ve never been inside.

If you want to see the Crown Jewels and learn more about the Tower of London you will have to go inside, however if you’re happy with just seeing it walking around it is enough.

Click here to book a visit to the Tower of London & Crown Jewels Exhibition!

Tower Bridge and the Tower of London at golden hour

Tower Bridge and the Tower of London at golden hour

You’re probably thinking these are quite a lot of things to do in one day so don’t worry, we have arrived at the last stop of this London itinerary.

From Tower of London it’s less than a 10-minute walk to Sky Garden. Similarly to the Shard Sky Garden also has epic views over London, just from the opposite side of the river.

Access is always free but if you visit during the day you have to book a ticket beforehand with specific time slot, after 6PM you can visit on a free walk-in basis but there is a fairly strict smart casual dress code.

Drinks are fairly pricey at the bars in Sky Garden but once again, considering the venue it could be much worst.

I recommend trying to get here for sunset since watching the sun go down over London, turning everything golden, and then the skyline slowly lighting up is pretty magical.

View over the rooftops of London from Sky Garden

View over the roofs of London from Sky Garden

I’ve embedded below a map of this walking itinerary, or you can click here to open it in Google Maps. As you can see this big long list of things to do only adds up to about two hours of walking time.

Obviously it depends on how long you decide to spend in every location.

Whether you want to go on a crazy shopping spree on Oxford Street or spend hours inside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, but roughly speaking the above itinerary can be done in one day and would make for a perfect start to your 2 days in London.

London 2 day itinerary: Day 2

I hope you’re not knackered by yesterday’s activities, because you have another full day of excitement awaits!

Portobello Market

For your second day in London we’re moving away a bit from the hustle and bustle of central London and starting our day in Portobello.

Portobello is a lovely area of London with cute colourful houses and a popular market.  The market and shops in Portobello sell all sorts of cool vintage things but also the standard street food and touristy souvenirs.

The coloured houses of Portobello Road, London

The coloured houses of Portobello Road, London

Notting Hill

Portobello is just around the corner from the beautiful white houses of Notting Hill.

There isn’t one specific spot that you must see; it’s just a beautiful area of London that you can walk around for a bit and admire the Victorian architecture of these  beautiful London streets .

If you want, you can also join a guided walking tour of Notting Hill . It’s a great way to make sure you see all the prettiest spots, with a local guide teaching you about the history of the area.

Click here to book your Notting Hill walking tour!

The beautiful white houses of Notting Hill, London

The beautiful white houses of Notting Hill, London

After Notting Hill you will arrive at Hyde Park, London’s most famous and biggest park (in central London anyway). If you’re visiting in summer or on a sunny day you will find crowds of Londoners basking in the sun.

Even in winter it’s a very peaceful area and you can enjoy the beauty of it walking around Kensington Palace and the Serpentine.

Click here to book your visit to Kensington Palace in Hyde Park

South Kensington & the museums

Just make sure that you’re crossing the park in the right direction so that when you pop out on the other side you’re right next to South Kensington and all the museums.

Walk past the Royal Albert Hall (a pretty stunning building in itself) and you’ll reach the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

They’re all very different in style and seeing all the exhibitions inside all of the museums would take days.

The Royal Albert Hall, London

The Royal Albert Hall, London

Unfortunately you only have 2 days in London but its still worth popping inside one or two of the museums depending on your interests. I’m a personal fan of the Natural History Museum and their dinosaur display.

Entry to the permanent exhibitions is free anyway you can just go in and wander around for a bit without feeling like you have to see everything in one go since you paid a ticket for it (or is that just me?)

If you’re visiting London at Christmas they always put up a beautiful ice rink at the Natural History Museum where you can try ice-skating.

The Natural History Museum in London from outside

The Natural History Museum in London from outside

Once you’re done exploring the museums it’s time to walk on to the famous Harrods.

Harrods is a huge department store founded in 1824 where they sell all sorts of things. One thing to note is that Harrods is very expensive.

While I wouldn’t recommend buying anything there I still think it’s a pretty cool place to see and wander around for a bit, especially if it’s your first time in London and you only have two days.

Buckingham Palace

From Harrods you can walk through Green Park and arrive at Buckingham Palace in less than 20 minutes. Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the royal family.

If you time your visit right you might also be able to see the change of the guard outside the Buckingham Palace gates.

You can also visit the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace . If you’re interested in history and the Royal Family, it’s a very fun and interesting visit!

Book your visit to Buckingham Palace here!

Buckingham Palace in London - a must see if you only have 2 days in London

My first and last trip to Buckingham Palace in 7 years of living in London

That’s all the walking I’ve got in store for you today, wasn’t that bad was it? I’ve included the map with walking itinerary below or click here to see it on Google Maps.

It’s around 1.5 hours of walking but depending on how long you want to spend inside the museums or shopping inside Harrods, it can take up the whole day.

Cool things to do in London not included in this London 2 day itinerary 

As I previously mentioned the British capital is pretty huge and seeing all of London in two days isn’t very realistic.

There are some areas of London that I personally love but haven’t included in my London 2-day itinerary since they’re not considered the main tourist attractions and landmarks.

However, if for example you want to see some markets and aren’t interested in museums you can skip South Kensington and visit the quirky Shoreditch or Camden instead.

Most of these areas are very popular in evenings so you can always visit them after the itineraries I wrote above.

Shoreditch is the hipster and artsy area of London. There are tons of cool bars, restaurants, pubs, clubs and shops all over the neighbourhood.

It’s a cool area to wander around during the day to explore the vintage and design shops and colourful graffiti, but it’s especially popular in evenings. The nightlife in Shoreditch never disappoints.

A very Shoreditch donut shop with colourful graffiti facade

A very Shoreditch donut shop with colourful graffiti facade

Camden Town & Market

Camden was the hipster and edgy area of London before Shoreditch become popular.

There’s a big market with lots of street food, clothes, jewellery, vintage things, home decor, souvenirs and pretty much anything you can think of being sold there.

It used to be the rebel punk area (to give you a better idea, Amy Winehouse used to live in Camden) and even today there are still tons of tattoo and piercing parlours.

It’s become a bit more touristy and less edgy in recent years but is still a cool area to walk around.

The market is closed in evenings but there are loads of bars, pubs and clubs and there is a lively nightlife so you can always visit Camden in evenings.

Camden Market in London, UK

Camden Market in London, UK

Chinatown in London is actually just next to Leicester Square, but I chose not to include it in my London 2-day itinerary as it takes time to explore it properly and it wouldn’t have fit in the day 1 schedule.

Also the best part of Chinatown is the food so I recommend going around dinnertime to try one of the many Chinese restaurants.

Exploring Chinatown in London

Exploring Chinatown in London

Soho is another neighbourhood very close to Chinatown and Leicester Square that I chose not to cover in your day 1 itinerary.

It’s a vibrant and very cool area to explore but you can do so in the evening, discovering all the cool dining and nightlife options.

Afternoon tea bus tour

Afternoon tea is a very British tradition consisting of savoury sandwiches, cakes, scones and obviously, lots of tea.

There are loads of places that do very good afternoon teas in London but inevitably will take up a large chunk of your day (if you’re a fast eater like me, you might not love afternoon tea, it’s one of those things you’re supposed to take slow and enjoy the experience…)

If you only have two days in London a good solution is doing an afternoon tea bus tour . This allows you to enjoy the experience while also touring around London and seeing all the main tourist highlights.

Click here to book your spot on a B Bakery afternoon tea bus tour!

Getting ready for our afternoon tea bus tour in London

Getting ready for our afternoon tea bus tour in London

Our afternoon tea selection on the B Bakery bus tour

Our afternoon tea selection on the B Bakery bus tour

British Museum

The British Museum didn’t feature on my essential London 2-day itinerary since it’s not quite along the walking routes I’d planned out.

However it’s not too far don’t worry, it’s in central London less than a 10-minute walk away from Oxford Street. Entry is free and there are loads of cool things you can see like Rosetta’s stone and more.

Go for a showboat dinner cruise

If you want to spend a bit of a different evening enjoying good food and touring around London, you should definitely do a dinner showboat cruise .

As you might have guessed from the name, this is a cruise along the Thames where you will be served dinner as live music and singing takes place.

We enjoyed a lovely 4-course dinner while admiring the view over main sights of London, such as the London Eye, St Paul’s, Tower Bridge and Greenwich.

It combines good food with sightseeing and live music, the perfect evening out in London!

Click here to book your showboat dinner cruise!

Enjoying my 4-course meal during the showboat dinner cruise

Enjoying my 4-course meal during the showboat dinner cruise

See a musical!

The West End of London is famous for its theatres and musicals. If you have the time I would highly recommend trying to squeeze in watching a show in your London 2-day itinerary.

Over the past 7 years I’ve been to see The Lion King, Aladdin, Wicked, Billy Elliot and The Phantom of the Opera and they were all pretty amazing. There are tons of shows I still haven’t seen myself!

Regents Park

Regents Park is smaller than Hyde Park and a bit more of a local hangout spot. On one of the park you will find Primrose Hill, where all the Londoners go hang out and have picnics on sunny summer days.

View over Regents Park and the London skyline from Primrose Hill

View over Regents Park and the London skyline from Primrose Hill

St Pauls Cathedral

St Pauls Cathedral should have probably featured much higher on my list of things to see in London in two days, however I chose not to include it before since you will be seeing plenty of it even without actually visiting it.

As you walk along the river and from all the viewpoints you will be able to see the dome of St Pauls towering over the roofs of London.

If you have time you can go see the inside of the cathedral but if not, no harm done (in 7 years I don’t think I’ve ever been inside myself)

Click here to book a fast track ticket to St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral in London, UK

St Paul’s Cathedral in London, UK

Do a Harry Potter walking tour

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you have to do this. I didn’t list it in my main 2-day London itinerary because I realise not everyone is as Harry Potter obsessed as I am, but it’s definitely worth doing.

It will allow you to not only see all the Harry Potter filming locations in London , but you’ll also learn some fun facts about the movies. It will go past some of the main London landmarks, so you will still see a lot of London.

If you follow my guide, you can easily visit all the filming spots alone, but I personally think it’s more fun to do a guided tour . Sharing the experience with other Potter-heads will make it all the more fun!

Click here to book your Harry Potter walking tour!

Platform 9 and 3/4 in London King's Cross station

Platform 9 and 3/4 in London King’s Cross station

Visit the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios

This is another activity that is definitely worth mentioning, but given not everyone is a Harry Potter fan, I didn’t want to include it in my main London 2-day itinerary.

Whether you’re a family with children, or a group of millennials who grew up reading the books and watching the Harry Potter movies, the Harry Potter studio tour is great fun.

Even though it spoils the magic a little bit, seeing how the movies are made is really interesting. Plus you can stock up on butter beer, chocolate frogs and fun Harry Potter gadgets!

It’s outside London and planning your transfer there can be a bit complicated, which is why I recommend booking this tour , since it includes both entrance to the studios and transfer there.

Click here to purchase your Harry Potter Warner Bros Tour with Transfer from London!

Me in 2015 visiting the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios

Me in 2015 visiting the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios

Logistical tips for your weekend in London

What to pack for two days in london.

Not that there is a shortage of shops in London where you can buy things if you were to forget anything, however there are a couple essentials things that you might want to bring with you for your two days in London.

Umbrella : Yes, laugh as much as you want, but the stereotypes of the British capital are unfortunately largely true. It rains a lot here.

You don’t want to be caught out in the rain so it’s just easier to always carry one of those tiny foldable umbrellas with you.

Power bank : After all if you’re going to be walking around all day, you won’t have time to sit down and charge your phone!

Also you will need your phone to check Google Maps and that you’re headed in the right direction, or what time things close.

Comfortable walking shoes : My London 2-day itinerary has a lot of walking involved, so you wan to make sure you to do so in comfortable trainers to avoid having painful feet at the end of the day.

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London, UK

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London, UK

Where to stay in London

Despite living in London over the years I’ve stayed in a number of hotels throughout London, whether with family when they came to visit (and couldn’t fit in my tiny student halls room) or more recently with blog collaborations and I can recommend some hotels in London for every budget.

However more than a specific hotel I can suggest areas of London where you can stay .

If you only have two days in London you will want to stay very central or you will waste time travelling around, if you go a bit further out make sure to be within 5 minutes walking distance to a tube station.

Personally I would recommend staying either in Camden, Angel or even more central around Holborn and Bank.

Click here to see the latest prices and availability for accommodation in London!

Leadenhall Market in London, UK

Leadenhall Market in London, UK

Budget accommodation

There are tons of hostels in London. I’ve never personally stayed in one but have heard great things of Wombats .

There are also loads of hotel chains with numerous properties around London like Holiday Inn or the Travelodge that are more affordable than independent hotels.

The more central ones are a bit more expensive but usually still offer good value for money.

Mid-range accommodation

Just like there are budget chain hostels and hotels, there are also a number of mid-range chains you can go for like Hilton or Marriott spread all over London.

My parents stayed at the Hilton in Angel back when I used to live in the area and loved it, Angel is also a great area to stay as its a bit outside the tourist chaos of London but still within easy reach of all the main attractions.

These options are a bit fancier than the previous budget suggestions but at more reasonable prices than the luxury properties in London.

Luxury accommodation

I spent one night at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel  for a blog collaboration and that was the fanciest place I have slept at in London.

The property is beautiful, the service excellent and the location perfect as base to explore London, especially if you only have 2 days in London.

I also spent an afternoon at Cheval Three Quays where a friend of mine was staying and can highly recommend it, the apartments are new, have a great view of the Thames and are in a great location to explore London.

The Grand Staircase of the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London, UK

The Grand Staircase of the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London, UK

Where to eat in London

When I first moved to London from Italy everybody told me how the food in London was shit. Having lived here for 7 years now I can strongly disagree with that.

For Italian standards sure there is a lot of junk food out there (I’m looking at you Pizza Hut and your pizzas with burgers in the crust) but there are also a lot of amazing dining options for every budget.

London is a very international city and that’s reflected in the variety of cuisines you can find.

Since you’re only in London for two days I wouldn’t waste too much time sitting in restaurants, but there are cool and cheap dining options on the go.

Street food

The street food in London is awesome.

There are famous street food markets like Borough Market and Camden Market but you will also find street food trucks here and there all over London, especially in the busy touristy spots.

The prices vary massively depending on the cuisine, how big a portion you get, where in London it is and lots of other factors, but I’ve had meals from street food trucks in London for anywhere between 3 GBP and 10 GBP.

The halloumi fries at Camden Market, London

The halloumi fries at Camden Market, London

Eat on the go

If you don’t want to eat street food but you also don’t want to sit down at a restaurant there are tons of places you can eat on the go in London.

All the Pret A Manger, Eat, Wasabi, Itsu, LEON, Pod, Starbucks and other chains you see around serve food fresh and ready to go.

The scotch egg and sweet potato fries of Borough Market, London

The scotch egg and sweet potato fries of Borough Market, London

Chain restaurants

If you want to sit down for a proper meal without spending a fortune, worry not, there are thousands of restaurants all over London, both independent and chains.

As a tourist it can be a bit hit and miss going to an independent boutique hotel, as you can’t know if they’re good or not.

While they’re less authentic, with chain restaurants you’re always sure that a certain standard will be met. The ones of ethnic cuisines are also easier to eat at as the flavours are adapted for Western tastes.

Some of my personal favourites are Wagamama, GBK, Wahaca, Franco Manca, Rosa’s Thai, Nando’s and Pho.

Our choice of starters of Lima Floral

Starters at Lima Floral, a Peruvian chain restaurant in London

Fancy or Michelin-starred restaurants

If you want to go fancy, London can do fancy very well. London has 70 Michelin starred restaurants (and there many more fancy and delicious restaurants that don’t have Michelin stars) that you can try.

I was a student in London  so I can’t say I have much experience with these, so you might want to check out this guide by Secret London instead.

Enjoying the sunset at the London Eye

Enjoying the sunset at the London Eye

Do you need travel insurance for 2 days in London?

After my personal experience spending two nights in a private hospital in Tenerife, and having to pay for it out of pocket (it wasn’t cheap), I always recommend getting travel insurance.

You might not end up needing it, but for a small fee you can travel without worries. Personally, I suggest getting your travel insurance with  Heymondo .

Heymondo offers tailor made travel insurance, providing the best value for money for your specific trip. You can also buy it once you’re already abroad and have forgotten about it before flying (which, if you’re anything like me, is quite likely).

Besides the usual cancellation, medical expenses, luggage coverage and general travel insurance services, Heymondo also has a 24/7 doctor chat and instant assistance through their app.

As a Greta’s Travels reader, you get 5% off your Heymondo travel insurance !

Click here to get your 5% off Heymondo travel insurance!

Blonde girl in a grey jumpsuit standing next to a red phone box with London Eye behind her

Exploring Westminster in London

How to get into London

First things first, how do you get into London?

London has six major airports, and depending on where in the city you’re staying, it can be quite the journey getting to your accommodation from the airport.

If you’re flying internationally from a long-haul destination you would usually arrive at Heathrow, whilst if you’re flying from a European destination with a low-cost airline you would usually arrive at Luton, Gatwick or Stansted.

From all of these major London airports you can catch a train that will take you directly into Central London, usually at either Victoria Station, St Pancras Station or Liverpool Street depending on the airport.

However if you’re not a train person, you can also check out these coach transfers:

Bus Transfer from Gatwick Airport

Bus Transfer from Stansted Airport

Bus Transfer from Luton Airport

PRIVATE Transfer from Heathrow Airport – this is preferable if you’re a family travelling with children and don’t want to wait for trains or buses!

If you’re a family or group, getting a private transfer won’t be much more expensive than the train, and it will save you time. If you only have two days in London, you don’t want to waste time getting into the city!

Golden hour over the London Eye and Westminster in London, UK

Golden hour over the London Eye and Westminster in London, UK

If you want to save money I recommend getting the normal train service as opposed to the express airport ones.

For example Gatwick Airport has the Gatwick Express that takes you into Victoria station in half an hour for around 20 GBP.

Instead if you get the normal Southern trains service this usually stops at London Bridge, City Thameslink, Farringdon and then St Pancras International and only costs around 10 GBP.

I prefer this option because it saves me money and time, since even if the train is a bit slower it does more stops in central London where you can get off and be ready to see the city without having to take public transport from Victoria.

Similarly the Heathrow Express costs around 20 GBP and takes you to Paddington, which is pretty far from all the main attractions.

If you get the Piccadilly line you will pay around 6 GBP and it takes you straight into central London. To find the most convenient train I always check online on the Trainline .

| READ MORE: THE ULTIMATE LONDON BUCKET LIST |

Enjoying the sunset over the rooftops of London and St Paul's Cathedral from Madisons Rooftop Bar

Enjoying the sunset over the rooftops of London and St Paul’s Cathedral from Madisons Rooftop Bar

How to get around London

Ok so you’ve arrived in London, how do you actually move around this huge city? You might think me crazy but the best way to get around London is actually walking!

All the main attractions in central London are fairly close to each other, and walking from one to the other actually allows you to see the beautiful architecture around and take in the London atmosphere.

Transport for London actually put together a map with the walking times between tube stations in London (tube – that’s what Londoners call the underground system here).

Admittedly some are pretty far but look at the centre of zone 1, some stops are only 3 minutes away from each other!

| READ MORE: THE MOST BEAUTIFUL & PHOTOGENIC PLACES IN LONDON |

London tube map that shows the walking times between stations, image by TfL

London tube map that shows the walking times between stations, image by TfL

If you don’t want to walk London has a very efficient public transport system. Both the tube and buses run super regularly and cover pretty much every corner of central London.

You can get an Oyster travel card or if you have a contactless credit or debit card you can tap that to get on buses and in the tube.

Per journey you pay 1.50 GBP for the bus or from 2.40 GBP upwards for the tube depending what zone you travel to.

TfL put a daily cap in place at 7 GBP, which means after three tube journeys you’re not paying anymore for additional trips.

You can also find black cabs and ubers everywhere in London but I personally only take them in evenings if I’m going home late.

Getting in a car in central London during the day basically means wasting your whole day given the traffic situation. Ubers are also generally cheaper than black cabs.

Sunset with a view over Tower Bridge and the Shard in London, UK

Sunset with a view over Tower Bridge and the Shard in London, UK

Final thoughts on my London in 2 days itinerary

Have you been to London before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!

Conscious this London 2-day itinerary turned into a pretty huge guide so if you have any questions, just let me know, happy to help if I can.

Having lived in London for 9 years I consider myself a Londoner, I hope this post will help you plan your two days in London and that you’ll love this city as much as I do.

Looking for more UK travel tips? Check out these guides:

  • Weekend getaway to Bath
  • The ultimate Brighton weekend itinerary
  • Best things to do in Stratford Upon Avon according to a local

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Photo of the view over London from Sky Garden with text overlay saying

36 Hours in London

By Desiree Ibekwe Updated Dec. 22, 2022

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To the casual observer, London may present itself as a capital wedded to traditional and, at times, perplexing institutions, particularly over the past year, from the rotating cast of prime ministers to the choreographed schedule of mourning following Queen Elizabeth II’s death. In actuality, London is a complex knot of old and new. It is also an almost insurmountable task to try conquering the city in one weekend. This itinerary — which traverses an 1800s wine bar loved by a new generation, a night out in South London’s Caribbean heart, centuries of British art under one roof and riverside strolls — is here to help you unlock some of the city’s sprawling, youthful and diverse nature.

Recommendations

  • Tate Britain is a museum in Millbank that charts centuries of art created in Britain.
  • E Pellici is a 122-year-old traditional “caff” in East London.
  • Gay’s the Word , established in 1979, is considered the oldest L.G.B.T.Q. bookstore in London.
  • Brick Lane Vintage Market is a subterranean thrifter’s bazaar, selling vintage and independently made clothing and accessories.
  • Gordon’s Wine Bar , established in 1890 and thought to be London’s oldest wine bar, is situated next to Victoria Embankment Gardens.
  • Cafe TPT and Four Seasons are beloved restaurants in Chinatown, in the city’s West End, known for their roast meats.
  • Speedboat Bar is a new Thai-Chinese fusion restaurant and bar in Chinatown.
  • Fish, Wings and Tings is a South London restaurant serving Caribbean cuisine in Brixton Village market.
  • Negril is a small Caribbean restaurant on Brixton Hill.
  • The Old Queens Head is a pub in Islington, in North London, serving a hearty Sunday roast.
  • The Quality Chop House is a modern British restaurant in Farringdon, in Central London, with an impressive Sunday set menu.
  • Hootananny is a music venue in Brixton with diverse live acts and D.J. sets.
  • Skoob Books and Judd Books are secondhand bookstores with buckets of charm in Bloomsbury.
  • London Review Bookshop is a store connected to the literary magazine London Review of Books with a much-loved cafe.
  • Spitalfields Market in East London is home to independent sellers, food stalls, restaurants and boutiques.
  • Rajmahal Sweets is a cornucopia of treats on Brick Lane where you can get everything from jalebi and Turkish delight to bhajis and pakoras.
  • Atika is a vintage store that spans two floors off Brick Lane; it also sells independent art.
  • Jen’s Plants and Florist is a small, Black-owned plant store off Brick Lane.
  • Queen’s Walk is a walking route that stretches along the South Bank of the River Thames. Highlights on the walk include Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and the Southbank Center.
  • Regent’s Canal is a scenic waterway that stretches for almost nine miles.
  • London’s Tube network is the best way to navigate the city. Many lines run a 24-hour service called the “ Night Tube ” on Fridays and Saturdays. You can also hail a black cab in most areas, or order a car with ride-hailing apps like Uber and Bolt.
  • London’s outpost of The Standard is sleek and stylish with a perfect location — it’s a two-minute walk from King’s Cross Station and a short train ride into Central London. A double room hovers around £349 a night, or about $425.
  • For those after amazing views of the Thames, Sea Containers on the South Bank is an excellent option. A double room starts at £261 a night.
  • The Zetter Townhouse , a 13-room Georgian townhouse in Clerkenwell, is full of charm and eccentric decor. Rooms here start from £249 a night.
  • For those on a budget, rooms at the trendy Mama Shelter in Shoreditch start at around £100 a night, while Assembly in Covent Garden puts you at the center of the city without breaking the bank (rooms start at £100).
  • Shoreditch in East London can be ridiculously hip, but it is a perfect, slightly off-the-beaten-track location for short-term rentals. Marylebone is also a good option for those who want to be closer to the center of town.

weekend london travel

Have a weekend to explore a destination? We’ve got the perfect travel itinerary.

Colorado Springs: ​​Colorado’s second-largest city, which brims with outdoor activities , is enticing visitors with a new museum and revamped hotels.

Minneapolis: Springtime is best for exploring this Midwestern city’s lakeside trails, robust arts scene and top-notch restaurants .

Maui: The beauty and hospitality of this Hawaiian island, still recovering from last year’s wildfires, remain as vibrant as ever .

Toronto: Savor the diversity of this lakefront city through its hidden bars, small-but-fascinating museums and vibrant restaurants .

Cape Town: Take a food and storytelling tour, cruise one of the world’s most beautiful coastal drives and see contemporary African art in this city with stunning views in every direction .

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A girl in red with tower bridge in background

Weekend In London: An Epic 3 Days In London Itinerary

January 16, 2024 //  by  Follow Me Away //   Leave a Comment

Are you looking for how to spend 3 days in London? If so, I have you covered with this epic itinerary!

Let me be your London trip planner and take the guesswork out of how to spend 3 days in London! I love spending weekends in London and think it is the perfect amount of time to explore all the city has to offer. From world-class museums, attractions, and landmarks to high-tea and public parks, there is so much to see in this city!

You might be asking what a weekend in London will cost. That depends on your personal preference. But, unlike in other major cities in Europe, many of the museums are free of charge to enter!

I have a guide for everything you need to know about planning a trip to London and the best times to visit! I love visiting during the holiday period when everything is decorated [go in November to avoid crowds], and find late [or very early] summer another period I enjoy when the weather is warm and there are fewer crowds!

A girl in red hat and pink dress standing along the Thames overlooking the Tower Bridge at Sunset

3 Day Weekend In London Itinerary 

It is my experience that most flights from the US arrive early in the morning in London; for day 1 of your three days, they will start on arrival! Be sure to pack comfy walking shoes, as your first day will be jam-packed with exploring the best of London.

Stop 1 Tower of London and Tower Bridge 9:00 am

On your first day in London, stop 1 will be the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. Located outside the burn area of the Great Fire of London, this 9th-century castle, built by William the Conqueror, was spared from devastation. Explore over 1000 years of history, see crown jewels, and walk back in history.!

Next, walk across the iconic Tower Bridge. Book tickets to travel back in time as you explore the inside of the bridge. Explore the Victorian engine rooms, or climb 42 meters above ground on a glass walkway where you can take in views of the city! I suggest this for first-time visitors!

Insider Tip: To get amazing views of the Tower Bridge, you will want to head to London Bridge to catch the best views!

Here are multiple tours that I personally suggest! Each is different, so look at which matches your interest!

Click here to book : London: Tower of London and Tower Bridge Early-Access Tour

Click here to book :  London: Tower of London and Crown Jewels Exhibition Ticket

Click here to book: London: Tower Bridge Entry Ticket

weekend london travel

Stop 2:  Leadenhall Market, 10:30 am 

With 3 days in London, you have to visit a market! The Leadenhall Market dates back to 1321 and is part of Roman London! Here, you will find shops and restaurants. Even if you are not hungry, stop in to view this historical building!

I like to grab a pasty at French bakery Aux Merveilleux de Fred and coffee at Danish coffee spot Hagen to keep me going until lunch. There are tons of options to choose from!

weekend london travel

Stop 3: Sky Garden 11:00 am

Perfect for year-round visits, as it is indoor with floor-to-ceiling windows on the 42nd floor with views over central London. It feels as if you are in a botanical garden in the sky, one of the best free things to do in London for 3 days!

Insider tip: You MUST reserve your entry in advance! The window opens shortly before you are set to visit, so make sure to do this in advance of your trip! It is free but you MUST reserve in advance!

The view off the rooftop of the Sky Garden with views over central London is one of the free things to do in 3 days in London

Stop 4: St. Paul Cathedral 12 pm

Jump on the Central Line at Bank Station and ride 3 minutes to St. Paul, where your next stop is St. Paul Cathedral. As this is a place of worship, visitors must pay to go inside. I like viewing the church from outside on my walk along the Thames. You can visit indoors, as well as the dome for views of the city.

The white exterior of St. Paul cathedral

Stop 5: Millenium Bridge 12:15 pm

From St Paul’s Cathedral, walk down Peter’s Hill towards the glass Millennium Bridge. Here you will be crossing the Thames, where you can also get a view of Tower Bridge.

Insider tip: This was a Harry Potter filming location!

Walk high above the city on the Millenium bridge connecting st. paul cathedral to the tate modern musum

Stop 6: Shakespeare Globe 12:30 pm

For theater lovers looking for what to do with 3 days in London, make sure you visit Shakespeare Globe Theatre. You will get to see how plays were performed in open-air spaces during Shakespeare’s times.

This realistic reconstructed Elizabethan playhouse was originally built in 1599 and destroyed by the great fire of London in 1666. This “new” theater opened in 1997, and during summer plays are performed here!

Click here to See More : Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Guided Tour & Experience

the Shakespeare globe is a must-see on 3 days in London the wood and white exterior is a replica of playhouse

Stop 7 Borough Market – Lunch 1:30 pm

On your first afternoon in London, you must grab lunch in the Borough Market! Taste all the iconic British dishes, along with other culinary treats! For those who are overwhelmed, take a tour that will guide you on all the best foods in the market!

This central London market is open every day but Monday from 10 am to 5 pm . Built in the 1700s this market has a rich history of passageways and cobblestone streets that transformed into a foodie destination with over 1000 vendors.

Some favorite vendor choices:

  • Brindisa – chorizo roll
  • Gujarati Rasoi   – Vegetarian Indian
  • Kappacasein – grilled raclette (cheese)
  • Ginger Pig – sausage roll
  • Black Pig – sandwiches
  • Padella – pasta
  • Arabica – Middle Eastern food
  • Bao Borogh – bao buns
  • Mallow – 100 % plant-based
  • Wright Oyster House – oysters

Click here to Boo k : London: Borough Market Flavors of London Food Tour

Click here to Book: London: Borough Market Foodie Walking Tour with Tastings

the lively borough market where you can find tons of people trying differnt foods

Stop 8: Tate Modern 3 pm

The Tate Modern is just a 15-minute walk from Borough Market! The first museum on your 3-day weekend in London itinerary is the Tate Modern. Did I mention the best part? The museum is free (please note that paid admission is required for special exhibits)! This art gallery is home to one of the largest collections of modern and contemporary art post-1900s worldwide.

The museum is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm. See works from Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Marcel Duchamp, Jackson Pollock, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, and David Hockney.

  • Don’t miss the viewing platform on the rooftop
  • I love to grab a cup of tea during wintertime in the Tate Caffe
  • Popular Yayoi Kusama:  Infinity Mirror Room only runs until April 2024 (£10)

Click here to book : London: Tate Modern Official Guided Tour with Art Expert

The exterior of the Tate Modern a free museum in London from across the Thames river

Stop 9: National Gallery 4:30 pm

From the Tate Modern, walk across Millenium Bridge to Blackfriars underground and take the District line to the Embarkment. It is then a 10-minute walk to the National Gallery, open until 6 pm. Just so you know, admission is free, but timed tickets are required!

I love a quick visit to this museum to see works of art by my favorite artist Monet. Also featured are Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Jan van Eyck,  and the over 2600 paintings in the collection!

For those who want to try a high tea, why not book a National Gallery Guided Tour and Afternoon Tea ! 

Click here to book : London: National Gallery Self-Guided Audio Tour in English

Click here to Book: London: National Gallery Guided Tour and Afternoon Tea

Click here to Book : London: Explore the National Gallery with an Art Expert

The exterior of the National Gallery with reflecting pond at sunset.

Stop 10: Trafalgar Square 5:30

Trafalgar Square is one of the public squares in central London you must see on your 3 days in London. Museums and shops surround this buzzing area and are also home to Nelson’s Column statue and a fountain!

Named in 1830, the public square has been a gathering place for Londoners and visitors alike. It was transformed into a pedestrian area in 2003.

Trafalgar square with its statues and fountains is a pedestrian-only area in London

Stop 11: Covent Garden and Dinner 6 pm

You will always find me exploring Covent Garden, especially on a London long weekend itinerary!  This area is comprised of 17 cross streets, a historic piazza, a Royal Opera House, Apple Market, and home to tons of shopping and restaurants. You can’t miss Neal’s Yard and Neal’s Street one of the prettiest streets with cafes.

I find the history so interesting; it was the first urban planned area of London and after the Great Fire of 1666 it was opened as London’s largest market! It was not until the 1980s that it was saved from demolition and renovated as Europe’s first shopping center.

I suggest wandering around for a bit before stopping at a restaurant that catches your eye. After if you are not too tired, grab a cocktail at a bar. This area comes alive after dark.

the colorful homes in Neals Yard of Coveent Garden are brick and brightly colored windows with ivy a must-see on your 3 days in London

Day 2 

On Day 2 of your 3 days in London weekend trip, you will explore the iconic sights, and attractions such as the London Eye, parks, museums, high tea, a boat ride on the Thames, and a play! This is another packed day to make the most of your trip!

Stop 1: Big Ben 9 am 

After breakfast, the first stop on day 2 of your 3 days in London itinerary is Big Ben. While Big Ben is the name of the bell inside the clock tower, this iconic London landmark is part of the House of Parliament.

Those interested in going inside Big Ben (climbing 334 spiral steps) must book their tickets several months in advance on the UK Parliament website! I always just marvel at the architecture from the grassy area below! It just reopened in 2023 after a 3-year renovation period!

The iconic clocktower known as BIg Ben and the Parliament building with the river and a red London bus passing by

Stop 2: West Minister Abbey 9:30 am

West Minister Abbey is the royal church of London and a must of things to see in London in 3 days built in 1066, it has been the home of British royal coronations and weddings! 

I find the Gothic architecture stunning, and always marvel at the coronation chair the oldest piece of furniture in the entire country! Please remember this is a place of worship so dress appropriately and be respectful!

Click here to book :  London: Westminster Abbey, Big Ben & Buckingham Palace Tour

Click here to book :  London: Westminster Abbey Entrance Ticket

The Gothic Architecture of West Minister Abby

Stop 3: Changing of the guard 10:00 am

You can’t come to London and not catch the changing of the guards. My favorite “hidden gem” spot to see the changing of the guard is off of Whitehall at the Royal Horse Guards . Stand to the left or right-hand side of the building to be just steps away from the changing of the guard. 

I highly recommend putting this stop on your itinerary for London in 3 days, as it is truly amazing the watch!

  • Remember, do not get too close or touch the horses or guards!
  • January to April, and August to December the changing of the guard happens on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday at 10:45 am.
  • During Summer (May to July) happens daily at 10:45 am
  • Book a tour to take the guesswork out of seeing Changing of Guard

Click here to book : London: Westminster and Changing of the Guard Tour

The British guards in the iconic red and black dress with hats at the changing of the guard ceremony

Stop 4: London Eye 11:30 am

On Day 2, of your London trip itinerary will bring you to the iconic London Eye. This attraction showcased an aerial view of London from one of the tallest observation wheels in the world! There is a reason there is always a line, and why it needs to be on your 3 days in London itinerary. While expensive, I very much enjoy going especially when visiting London with friends who have never been!

On a clear day, you can see 360-degree views of the city including famous landmarks like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Tower Bridge. 

  • Book the FAST TRACK option to skip waiting in line!
  • I always like to book the second time to cut down on time spent in line ( visit 11 am to 5:45 pm daily) 

Click here to book : London: The London Eye Entry Ticket 

Click here to book: London: London Eye and Madame Tussauds Combo Ticket

The iconic London Eye towering over the city of London

Stop 5:  Churchill War Room 12 pm

As a history lover, the Churchill War Rooms is one of my favorite London museums. A visit here will allow you to step back in time to WWII, which housed the underground command center of the British government. 

  • Included in your London Pass, book your tickets in ADVANCE
  • Open daily from 9:30 am to 6 pm
  • Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 9 am taking a special behind-the-scenes secret room tour (I learned SO MUCH!)

Click here to book : London: Walking Tour and Churchill War Rooms Entry

Inside the churchill war rooms the map room was instrumental in WWii

Stop 6: Lunch 1 pm

I suggest eating a light lunch, as later on you enjoy high tea. I like to pop into Tesco for a grab-and-go meal deal to enjoy while walking through the park.(Check out our guide to London Grocery stores ) But, if you want to sit down and enjoy a meal head to the Two Chairmen pub . The food and service here is excellent. Try the steak and ale pie, vintage cheddar mac, or fish and chips with peas!

Fish and Chips with mushy peas a London lunch staple

Stop 7: St. James Park 1:15 pm

One of my favorite things about central London is the parks! If traveling during summer, or spring, why not have a picnic in the park? Strolling in the gorgeous parks is one of my favorite activities on short London trips!

St. James ranks as one of my favorites as it leads to Buckingham Palace. This stunning park has manicured shrubs, gardens, ponds, and more! For those traveling with children, there is an amazing playground here. Even during winter , it is magical.

One of the largest parks in London St James has grassy areas, gardens, pond and more

Stop 8: Buckingham Palace 1:45 pm

Buckingham Palace is on EVERY London bucket list and needs to be on yours. Most visitors only ever take pictures from outside the gate with the guards, but, I highly recommend you book tickets to see the INSIDE of Buckingham Palace.

  • Book tickets to see the Royal State Room – see the royal collection of artwork
  • Check the official Buckingham Palace website for tour options

Buckingham palace in the summertime with the flower gardens and cotton candy sky

Stop 9: High Tea at the Drawing Room 3:30 pm

One of the first things I do when planning a trip to London is book my high-tea reservation. I am already salivating thinking about the scones and clotted cream. The place I return to trip after trip is high tea in the Drawing room at Rocco Forte Hotel.

I love grabbing tea in the wood-paneled room with a fireplace and mural ceiling make the perfect backdrop to enjoy traditional tea service. While high tea is pricy, I think it is worth the splurge! I suggest choosing the seasonal tea made only for tea service! You can choose from a traditional, plant-based base or children’s tea menu, and add on a glass of champagne!

Other Amazing Places to Enjoy High-Tea I recommend during an afternoon in London:

  • The iconic Ritz hotel
  •  Langham and Savoy hotels also have delicious traditional high tea
  • For family-friendly themed tea I suggest Science Tea at the Ampersand Hotel
  • Shakespeare theme high tea at the Globe Theatre

High tea service with gold tiered trays with flowered tea cups and. silver pots with scones is one of the things to do in 3 days in London

Stop 10: Uber Boat by Thames Clipper 5:30 pm

I think one of the unique vantage points to see any city is from the water. If looking at what to do with 3 days in London, why not take a trip down the Thames River ( included with a London Pass)? 

  • The boat leaves every 10-20 minutes from 10 am to 6 pm
  • 19 piers to board from
  • Admire iconic London sights from the water
  • Climate-controlled cabins and outdoor seating 

Click here to book : London: Uber Boat by Thames Clippers Single River Ticket

a boat in the Thames River sailing towards Tower Bridge

Stop 10: Show in West End + Drinks 6:30 pm

One of my favorite ways to spend an evening out on a weekend getaway to London is by seeing a play in the West End. Tons of shows are performed, and I have seen everything from Mamma Mia, Wicked, Book of Mormon, Hamilton, Phantom of the Opera, and Les Miserables. If it is in your budget, and you love theater, go see a play in London!

If you are looking to save money, there is a TKTS discount ticket booth in Leicester Square for same-day show tickets!

After the show, I like to grab drinks to cap off the night . Some of my favorite bars are below! The perfect ending for night two of your 3-day itinerary for London!

  • Connaught Bar – the old fashion here is perfect
  • Elementary – walk-in only with communal table perfect for Solo travelers
  • A Bar with Shapes for name
  • Swift – one of the few you can make reservations at

The London West End at night , town in buzzing

My favorite way to spend a Sunday ( Day 3 of your weekend trip to London) is by starting in Nottinghill for a leisurely breakfast and stroll! Then hit a pub for Sunday Roast and visit a museum or two!

Stop 1: Notting Hill 8:30 am

I find Notting Hill to be one of the prettiest areas of London, perfect for a Sunday morning stroll. You can not go wrong with any of the local spots, depending on what you are in the mood for! I especially find the coffee in this area to be amazing!

After breakfast, stroll along and see the colorful homes in Notting Hill one of the most Instagrammble spots in London , or head to Portobello Road Market. For book lovers, pop into the numerous bookstores ( I love to browse and bring home a book each trip).

a girl in a pink skirt standing in front of the colorful homes in nottinghil

Stop 2: Hop-on hop-off tour 10 am

After spending 3 days in London, your feet are sure to need a break. I love the option of taking a hop-on-hop-off bus tour (included with your London Pass). On this tour, sit back, relax, and listen to the audio guide’s history tour of the city.  

The bus stops at over 36 attractions throughout London on 3 different routes. I love this option, as you can hop off at any stop that piques your interest, or explore a new area or part of London that looks cool!

  • The Red Route tour is every 10 minutes from 8:30 am to 4 pm and takes 150 minutes
  • The Green Route is every 20 minutes from 8:55 am to 3:55 pm and takes 35 minutes
  • The Blue Route runs every 20 minutes from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm and takes 1 hour

Click here to book : London: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing-Tour

Click here to book : London: Tootbus London Discovery Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

Jump on red hop on hop off bs tour in London with iconic red phone booth and opera building

Stop 3: Pub for Sunday Roast 12:30 pm

Eating Sunday Roast at an English Pub is a must on any London itinerary for 3 days! It is a hearty traditional British meal of roasted meat with potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, and vegetables! A must-try in my book, and it pairs very well with a pint! 

Stop by any pub that looks good, or is on a best-of list, and cozy up for some traditional British food. If it is your first time in London, I would spend a few minutes researching some pubs you want to visit!

The perfect way to spend your last afternoon on your 3 days in London!

A Sunday Roast has roast meat, puff pastry, and potatoes with a sauce

Stop 4: Option A Cable Car 2:00 pm

I recently took the train out to Canary Wharf/ O2 Arena to take the IFS Cloud Cable Car and it was a highlight of my itinerary for London! You have two options, either catch the cable car from North Greenwich or the Royal Victoria side of the river. There is also an option for a round-trip, although I thought one-way was plenty! We used our oyster cards to purchase tickets.

As the cable car ascends into the air, you will get gorgeous views of the O2 Arena, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and London skyline! I did this during the day but I think sunset would also be perfect!

For those who are looking for something more adventurous why not try the Dare Skywalk at Tottenham Stadium? This is something unique to those looking at what to do for a weekend in London! Where you will suit up and climb the roof for an urban adventure over London! I can’t wait to try this on my next trip.

Click here to book : London: Uber Boat by Thames Clippers and Cable Car Ticket

Click here to book: London: Take on the Skywalk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

The cable car above the 02 area in the docklands area of london

Stop 4 : Option B Historic Pubs Walking Tour 2 pm

For those who are not interested in taking a Cable Car or adventure on a Stadium roof, why not add a Historic pub walking tour to your list of things to do in London over a weekend? 

This tour starts at 2 pm and explores the best pubs in Central London on this 2-mile walk that lasts 3 hours!

Click here to book : London: Historic Pubs of Central London Walking Tour

Click here to book : London: Royal Historic Pubs Walking Tour

A traditional English pub with dark blue and gold along with green shrubs

Stop 5: Old Royal Naval College 4 pm

Across the River from Canary Wharf you will find the Old Royal Navy College open daily until 5 pm. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is included for those with the London Pass. 

My favorite part of this museum is that you can’t miss the magnificent painted hall. Designed in the 18th century this Baroque hall features over 200 images on the ceiling and walls depicting English royalty. It recently reopened in 2019 after a years-long conservation project!

Click here to book : London: Painted Hall and Tour of Old Royal Naval College

the stunning painted hall in the Old Royal Naval college has over 200 paintings on walls and ceiling

Stop 6: Dinner in Chinatown 5:30 pm

On the last stop of your 3-day Weekend London trip, you will head to the Chinatown neighborhood. You will know you have arrived when you pass under one of the 4 ornate gates. This vibrant neighborhood is the perfect spot to wander and find dinner! 

After dinner, I love to get dessert and try the pineapple buns, custard pastries, and ice cream or bubble tea!

  • Dumpling Legend – for dumplings and dim sum
  • Cafe TPT – Street food in a restaurant setting
  • Good Fried Chicken – grab-and-go popcorn chicken
  • Four Seasons – roast duck and crispy pork

One of the 4 ornate Gates that let you know you are entering Chinatown

Where To Stay on your London itinerary 

Check out my complete guide to where to stay in London for more options! 

Kimpton Fitzroy London

I find the Kimpton Fitzroy to be one of the most architecturally stunning hotels in London. Located in Bloomsbury, this hotel is within walking distance of Covent Garden. The stunning mosaic tile floors and fresco-painted walls of the common areas are in contrast to the rooms which are white and calming. Grab a drink or enjoy tea at the lobby bar Fitz. A great centrally located hotel for your London weekend trip!

the bedroom at the Kimpton Fitzroy bedrrom with calming colors and pops of artwork

NoMad London

For those looking at where to stay in London and want a luxurious stay, the NoMad Hotel in London. Located in Covent Garden is another hotel I keep returning to. The rooms feature wood floors, plush bedding, custom artwork, and ample space! The hotel has a restaurant inside a glass atrium, a lobby bar, and a restaurant. I love relaxing in the library after a day of exploring London.

A bedroom with claw foot bathrub and art work at the Nomad London

The Hoxton, Southwak

One of my favorite boutique hotel brands in London is the Hoxton. There are 4 locations in London however, this one is South of the Thames River in Blackfriars and is within walking distance of almost all the major attractions. The hotel is bright and lively with plants located throughout the lobby. The rooms are have concrete ceilings and very cozy! Each comes with free coffee, water, and tea! Plus there is a rooftop restaurant and the lobby bar serves up amazing cocktails.

The bedroom at Kimpton with large windows and table and warm and inviting large space

Where to Eat During Your 3 Days in London

Dishroom .

I strongly believe that some of the best food in London is Indian, and my favorite is Dishroom. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They also have a vegan menu!

I love ordering the dish room chicken tikka, vegetable samosas, the house chat, and the jackfruit biryani with a side of garlic naan. They also serve delicious cocktails!

Hobson’s Fish and Chips

Every London travel itinerary should include eating the best fish and chips, a London staple.  This family-run restaurant sources fish directly from the Billingsgate fish market, and potatoes grown in the UK. And for all my gluten-free travellers they have a delicious gluten-free batter. Plus, if you are Vegan my best friend said the banana blossom vegan fish was quite tasty!

I always opt for the Haddock over cod, and add on an order of mushy peas.

There is a reason Padella is on every best restaurant list. The pasta at this Borough Market staple. The dishes are “tasting” size, so I always suggest ordering several and sharing. Try dishes like tagliarini with dried chilis and garlic, fettuccine with mascarpone and lemon, agnolotti with pumpkin and sage butte, and pappardelle with dexter beef ragu.

Beware the restaurant does not take reservations and is quite small but the wait is worth it! A must-eat with 3 nights in London for dinner.

an Indian sampler platter with a variety of dishes with naan bread and other dishes

Getting To And Around London 

London is a very easy city to navigate once you understand public transportation. If traveling to London by air, there are 6 major airports, however, the two most popular for international flights are London Heathrow ( LHR) and Gatwick ( LGW) . For those traveling from other European cities, Luton (LTN), London City (LCY), and Stansted (STN)  are other popular airports.

While London St Pancras is the Eurostar terminal for those arriving by train from Paris and Brussels.

Now, for getting around London, I highly suggest taking public transportation . 

  • You can use your credit card to tap for lower fares throughout the tube ( underground – look for the red and white circle).
  •  London is broken into zones 1 to 6, with central London as zones 1-2. There are rush hour peak fares in the morning and evenings. 
  • The overground ( orange circle)
  • Train service from Gatwick ( regular train and Gatwick Express), same with Heathrow (underground or Heathrow Express)
  • Bus (cheapest option at under $2 ride)
  • Iconic London Black taxi ( MUST do once!) and Uber
  • Walking is very easy 

Look for the red circle underground sign like the one under Big Ben

Insider Tips For Your First Trip To London 

Oyster Card

For those traveling to London for a weekend, invest in an Oyster Card. It will save you so much money on metro rides, plus they cap the daily rides at just over £8! And for those with children, kids under 11 ride free with an Adult! The card does cost £5 to activate but you will save more than that in just one day!

One of my favorite free things to do in London is the Sky Garden! You MUST book your tickets 3 weeks in advance! You will be awarded a stunning view over London and it won’t cost you anything!

  Look the opposite way when crossing streets

Remember, in London, they drive on the opposite side of the road, which means when you cross the street you will need to look the opposite way (don’t worry they have reminders on the street for you!) 

Pack an umbrella

I always make sure to pack a little travel umbrella when traveling to London! Take it from me there is nothing worse than being caught in a rainstorm, or your hotel not having enough umbrellas. Be prepared so you can make the most of your weekend in London.

a rainy day in London with people holding umbrellas

London Pass

Many travelers overlook what I think is one of the biggest money and time savers, the London Pass. Choose from 1, 2, 3…day pass!  If you buy The London Pass it gives you advanced reservations to over 80 attractions, hop-on hop-off bus tours, guided walking tours, Thames Clipper boat rides, museums, and more on your 3 days in London itinerary!  I think the ability to skip lines and have advanced reservations makes purchasing the London Pass a no-brainer!

I opt to add the London Pass with an Oyster card when purchasing!

Visit Markets for Lunch

One of my top tips is to visit one of the many markets in London for Lunch. A few of my favorites are Borough, Maltby, Mercato, Camden, and Pop Brixton. Especially if traveling with friends, or family everyone can find exactly what they want to eat, or you can do as I do and sample a variety of dishes!

Take advantage of Free Museums

If you are looking to travel to London on a budget, visit the over 20 free museums in London . Choose from museums such as the British Museum and Library, Science Museum, Natural History Museum ( try the high tea here if traveling with kids), Museum of London ( one of my favorites), National Gallery, Tate Modern, and More!

Visiting the free museum in London can be a huge money saver for those on a tighter budget!

Check the Exchange Rate

I remember a time not too long ago when exchanging US Dollars for British Pounds you were losing 40% of your money. I always like to check exchange rates so that I can budget accordingly and know what things cost!

An assortment of British sterling pound bills

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Local Adventurer » Travel Adventures in Las Vegas + World Wide

How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in London Itinerary

  • England / Europe / In the City / London

Visiting London for the first time? Here’s the perfect 2-3 day weekend in London itinerary.

London has been calling us (from their red phone booths) for some time now. So, we packed our bags to check out one UK’s oldest cities for a long weekend. From Big Ben to Westminster Abbey, London’s historical attractions are endless, and there is always something to see, do, and eat.

the perfect weekend in london itinerary

A big thank you to Go City London for sponsoring this post. All opinions are always our own. This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure  for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Last Updated: March 29, 2024

− − Content Menu

  • Best Things to Do in London

More Things to Do in London

  • Map of the Best Things to Do
  • What to Eat in London
  • Where to Stay

Essential Tips

Planning checklist, 11 best things to do in london for your first visit.

With the Go City London Pass , we had the opportunity to check out a few popular attractions, as well as some other points of interest that were recommended to us by the Go City team.

We organized our days based on area. Here are a few things you shouldn’t miss when visiting London.

london for the weekend

Weekend in London itinerary Day 1

For our 3 day weekend in London, we picked what to do each day based on what was nearby in each area.

1. Take a Picture with Big Ben

London SW1A 0AA, UK, map

Speaking of icons, everyone knows what Big Ben is, even if you’ve never been to London. Even though it’s currently closed for renovations and restorations, you can still stop by and snap a quick photo with Big Ben. The Houses of Parliament , a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is attached to the clock tower. It is currently still open for tours.

It’s a 10-minute walk from Westminster Abbey if you want to knock out a couple of places simultaneously.

Local Tip: Best photo spot is under Westminster Bridge, which leads right up to Big Ben. Arrive before sunrise to avoid the crowds.

famous clock in london + the best weekend in london itinerary

2. Westminster Abbey →

Dean’s Yard, London SW1P 3PA, UK, map

Westminster Abbey was our favorite attraction, hands down. It is steeped in centuries of history and has significantly shaped the British monarchy, religion, and culture. It has been the site of numerous royal weddings, coronations, and burials, including that of British monarchs and other notable figures throughout history.

We enjoyed the self-guided audio tour, which provides visitors with detailed information about the site’s history, architecture, and notable features. Check out key areas, such as the Poets’ Corner, the Coronation Chair, and the Royal Tombs.

Local Tip: Entry is free if you’re attending Sunday service, but they do not provide tours during this time.

westminster abbey tours

3. Buckingham Palace →

London SW1A 1AA, UK, map

It’s a longer stroll to Buckingham Palace from Westminster Abbey, but you can walk through Hyde Park on the way. Buckingham Palace attracts millions of visitors annually and holds endless cultural and symbolic importance. It’s a must-visit destination for tourists from around the world. Check out the Changing of the Guard ceremony and admire the architectural splendor.

To get the best picture of Buckingham Palace, you can head to the Victoria Memorial, located in front of the palace. It offers a great vantage point for capturing the grandeur of the palace’s façade.

Local Tip: The Changing of the Guard ceremony typically occurs daily during the summer months (April to July) and on alternate days for the rest of the year. Be sure to check the official website for the most up-to-date schedule. The ceremony usually starts at around 11:00 AM and lasts approximately 45 minutes. Arrive early to secure a good viewing spot!

buckingham palace changing of the guard

4. Kensington Palace

Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX, UK, map

Glimmering golden gates, opulent State Rooms, and stories of Queen Victoria’s birthplace are just a few things you can’t miss at Kensington Palace. Don’t miss your chance to visit the historic King’s State Apartments and the Queen’s State Apartments.

They’ve been meticulously restored to their former glory, providing a glimpse into the luxurious lifestyles of past monarchs. The historic Sunken Garden, where Diana, the Princess of Wales Memorial Statue stands, also can’t be missed.

Pro Tip: Get there early to avoid huge crowds, especially on weekend days. We made reservations to tour the palace when it opened.

visit kensington palace

Weekend in London itinerary Day 2

We started day 2 of our long weekend in London at Tower Bridge. After the bridge, we checked out the Tower of London at one end of the bridge and Borough Market at the other end. Finally, we ended the day with a Thames River Cruise.

5. Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP, UK, map

We relished the hike up the 206 steps and the magnificent views of the River Thames. Tower Bridge is such an iconic symbol of London. Once you reach the top, walk across the glass floor walkways where you can capture great photos of London’s skyline and learn about the engineers who designed the historic structure.

Naturally, we wanted to get some shots with the bridge. Here are a couple of our favorite photo spots:

  • The Queens Walk is the most popular place to take photos with the Tower Bridge as your backdrop.
  • More London Riverside –  this metropolitan area gets crowded, so go early morning if you don’t want anyone else in your photos.

Local Tip: Plan to visit the Tower of London since it’s nearby.

tower bridge london + the perfect weekend in london itinerary

6. Tower of London →

London EC3N 4AB, UK, map

See the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London , a 900-year-old castle and fortress. It was pretty neat to see the crowns, scepters, orbs, and other regalia used in royal ceremonies by the monarchs.

Pro Tip: Consider joining one of the Yeoman Warder guided tours, which your admission includes. Their knowledgeable guides share fascinating stories about the Tower’s history.

tower of london visit

7. Borough Market

London SE1 9AL, UK, map

Where all of your gastronomic dreams become a reality, from farm-fresh produce to yummy street food, your taste buds will rejoice after eating through one of London’s oldest markets. We loved the freshly shucked oysters at Richard Haward Oysters and the piping hot paella from Bomba. I wanted to carry an entire cheese wheel from Kappacasein.

Local Tip: Most food stalls are outdoors, so dress accordingly.

See More: 25 Best Markets in the World to Put On Your Bucket List

borough market in london + best weekend in london itinerary

8. Thames River Cruise →

Westminster Pier, London SW1A 2JH, United Kingdom, map

Embark on a Thames River Cruise with City Cruises of London and immerse yourself in the beauty and history of the city from a unique perspective. We loved the panoramic views of London’s renowned landmarks, such as Tower Bridge and the iconic Big Ben. Throughout the cruise, knowledgeable guides provide fun facts and stories about the landmarks you pass along the way.

City Cruises offers a variety of cruise options to suit your preferences. If you have more time, consider partaking in an afternoon tea or romantic dinner cruise.

Pro Tip: Try to secure a seat on the open-air deck for the best photo opps and unobstructed views.

See More: What You Need To Know Before Your First Douro River Cruise

city cruises london

Weekend in London itinerary Day 3

Because it is a trek to get out to Watford, you want to plan for a pickup and transportation. You will spend half the day here. We returned to London, did some shopping, and ended the long day with delicious food and desserts in London’s Chinatown.

9. Warner Brothers Studio Tour →

Studio Tour Dr, Leavesden, Watford WD25 7LR, United Kingdom, map

The Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour offers an enchanting and immersive experience for fans of the Wizarding World. Step onto actual film sets and see behind-the-scenes secrets on how they created the iconic film series. The detailed costumes, original film sets, and interactive exhibits utterly blew us away.

Their food court serves up film favorites (think Butter Beer, Hogwarts-themed burgers, and chocolate frogs) and afternoon tea. Check out the very extensive shop where you can purchase a customized wand on your way out. You’ll easily spend half a day here!

Pro Tip: Be sure to book early in advance since they only sell a limited number of tickets daily. Don’t forget to schedule ample time for travel as it’s not in Central London.

london warner bros harry potter tour

10. Check Out Iconic Shopping

87-135 Brompton Rd, London SW1X 7XL, UK, map

London is renowned for its quintessential shopping streets that offer a wide range of fashion, luxury brands, department stores, and unique boutiques. Here are some of the most famous shopping streets in London:

  • Oxford Street: Located in the heart of London, Oxford Street is one of the busiest shopping streets in the world. It stretches over a mile and is home to numerous flagship stores.
  • Regent Street: Just a short walk from Oxford Street, Regent Street is known for its historic architecture and a mix of upscale boutiques and department stores.
  • Bond Street: Bond Street is synonymous with luxury shopping in London. This exclusive street is home to high-end fashion boutiques, prestigious jewelry stores, and renowned art galleries.
  • Harrods on Brompton Road: Slow clap A London shopping icon. Even if you’re just window shopping at this historic department store, we recommend buying a delicious pastry from one of their many cafes.

Local Tip: Take advantage of the famous Christmas light displays that decorate these streets during the holidays.

best shopping areas in london

11. Eat Around Chinatown

Gerrard Pl, London W1D 5QJ, UK, map

I would move to London’s Chinatown for the food! Luckily (or not), our hotel was just a couple of metro stops away from Chinatown, and we ate there every day of our trip.

Be sure to get authentic soup dumplings from Dumplings’ Legend, fresh pineapple buns from The Eight, and Peking duck from The Duck and Rice. Wash everything down with a cold bubble tea at my all-time boba shop, Happy Lemon.

Local Tip: Venture beyond the main streets and explore the side alleys, shops, and hidden gems. These lesser-known restaurants provide a unique dining experience away from the crowds and serve authentic Chinese food.

chinatown gate london

Map of the Best Things to Do in London

If we planned for more time, I wish we got to visit neighborhoods like Notting Hill and Cambridge as well as these things to do in London.

  • Have Traditional Afternoon Tea
  • British Museum
  • Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
  • The London Eye
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • The Beatles Museum (Liverpool)
  • The Seven Stars, London’s Oldest Pub

london eye champagne experience + best weekend in london itinerary

Best Places to Eat in London

Here are a few places we tried and loved:

  • Dishoom (Various Locations) $$ – At dinner, a limited number of reservations are available for parties of six or more guests. You’ll most likely be waiting in a long line, so prepare in advance. If you’re lucky, they’ll serve you some of their famous chai while you wait. Haidilao Hot Pot $$ – Josh isn’t the biggest fan of hot pot, but he claims Haidilao is the best he’s ever had. We don’t have a location at home, so this place was beyond our expectations. They also provide snacks and drinks in the waiting area. Come hungry.
  • Cafe TPT $$ – Known for authentic Hong Kong street food such as beef ho fun and minced pork hot pot. If you’re feeling adventurous, we recommend the lemongrass soft-shell crab.  
  • Evelyn’s Table $$ – A Michelin-star restaurant led by Head Chef James Goodyear. Think intimate tasting menu with 18th-century pub vibes.  

best places to eat in chinatown london

Best Places to Stay in London

  • Book what you want to do in advance. Because London is such a popular destination for so many, we missed out on some things, like Afternoon Tea, because they were already fully booked.
  • You don’t have to tip here, like most countries outside the US, but if you feel inclined, you can round up to the nearest Pound or tip 10-12% of your bill total.
  • Purchase the London Pass for the metro system, bus, and more. You can also use your tap to pay international credit card and pay as you go, but it will cap off at around £8 per day. See more details here . 
  • Always wear layers , pack an umbrella or raincoat, and wear comfy shoes. You’ll be walking plenty. London is known for its rainy and cloudy weather.
  • The UK uses a type G plug for most appliances, so bring a universal adapter for your electronics.
  • Be mindful of the traffic flow as drivers in the UK drive on the left side. Exercise caution and pay attention to the signs at crosswalks and bus stops.
  • Pickpockets are common in London, especially in crowded areas, tourist spots, and on public transportation. Check your surroundings and avoid distractions like using your phone excessively or wearing headphones that might limit your awareness.
  • Get a Go City London Pass to check out multiple attractions. The pass gives you access to over 90 popular attractions, including several on our list, at a fraction of the cost.
  • Get comprehensive insurance for your trip.
  • Download these helpful language apps .
  • Find a great deal on London hotels .
  • Arrange a rental car for your trip.
  • Book a tour for your visit.
  • Get airport lounge access .
  • Buy a travel charger to keep your devices charged.
  • Get a new backpack for your trip.
  • Buy a London travel guide .
  • Pack the appropriate shoes for your trip.
  • Don’t forget your in-flight essentials .
  • Get a London Pass to save money on attractions.

Which of these things to do in London are on your travel bucket list? Anything else you would add to a weekend in London itinerary?

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things to see in london england + the perfect weekend in london itinerary

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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes ” – M. Proust

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Josh + Macy

Josh and Macy are creative southern kids who love exploring local and international cultures. They’ve long believed that traveling is about getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things. They are currently based out of Atlanta.

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How to spend a perfect weekend in London

Jun 14, 2019 • 2 min read

The London Eye is lit up red, the Thames is at low tide, and in the background, the Palace of Westminster is lit up against a moody sky

River Thames and the London skyline at night Tony C French / Getty Images

London has a ridiculous number of sights, activities and events to enjoy. You can’t possibly cram it all in to a short visit, so it's best not to try. Instead, take it one neighbourhood at a time. If you just have a weekend to spend in this fantastic city, follow Lonely Planet’s guide to making it perfect.

The London Eye is lit up red, the Thames is at low tide and in the background, the Palace of Westminster is lit up against a moody sky

Start your day in Trafalgar Sq , gaze upwards at Nelson standing on his column and downwards along Whitehall to the Houses of Parliament , then head straight to the National Gallery , which holds a huge collection of European art. Pause for lunch at Portrait on the top floor of the gallery.

Stroll down towards the Thames, crossing at Hungerford Bridge, before taking a ride on the London Eye (book ahead online). Walk the South Bank  – home to Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre and the National Theatre – enjoying the buskers performing along the riverside and the skateboarders practising under Queen Elizabeth Hall. Tate Modern , a former power station, is home to a huge modern art collection. The views of the city from the 10th floor are spectacular, particularly of the Millennium Bridge across to St Paul’s Cathedral .

Take a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe or head straight for drinks and dinner in Borough Market near London Bridge. Try Arabica Bar & Kitchen for modern Middle Eastern sharing dishes, or join the people waiting patiently for a seat at popular pasta restaurant Padella .

The Square Mile is the finance centre of London, and also home to the Tower of London . Meet the ravens and have a chat with the Beefeaters before going in to the Jewel House to admire the spectacular Crown Jewels. When you’re done with the Tower, take a moment to admire the icon that is Tower Bridge , either from the riverside or on a visit that takes you up to a glass floor, 42m above the Thames. Stop for a pub lunch at The Ship .

The central hall of the British Museum in London is a large round white space flooded with light from the glass ceiling

Back to the West End we go, either on the tube or by bus, allowing you to see more of the city. Go to the British Museum and follow the object trails or hire an audio guide to help you get the most out of this collection of world treasures and culture.

Stop by the Museum Tavern for a well-earned drink. An evening in Soho, Chinatown or Leicester Sq beckons. Here you can find any kind of food, drink or entertainment to suit your mood. If it’s theatre you’re after, try your luck for last-minute tickets at the booths in Leicester Sq.

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27 Best Things to Do in London

27 Best Things to Do in London From Vintage Markets to Art Museums

London: the city that has anything and everything you could possibly want in a vibrant, world-class capital. Your only real problem is working out what you can miss. With over 170 museums, 3,000 parks, 3,500 pubs and an ever-changing number of restaurants, there’s almost too much to see, do and eat—even for a life-long Londoner.

Truly, the city is too large, and too rich in options, for you to get to it all in one visit; you'll have to make some hard choices. Which incredible food or clothing-market to browse? Tate Modern or the British Museum? Where should you pick for a perfect, full-English breakfast? Where's the best afternoon tea ? How do you pick from all the abundant pubs ? And don't get us started here on the best restaurants . Thankfully, our locally led list of the best things to do in London is here to help you decide—just don’t try to do it all in one day.

Read our complete London travel guide here .

This gallery has been updated with new information since its original publish date.

Tower of London with river in front

Tower of London Arrow

Built by William the Conqueror in 1066, this uncompromising slab of a building has been many things—including the site where Henry VIII ordered the execution of two of his wives. Now the Tower is most famous as the home of the Crown Jewels. Come, take a tour from one of the Beefeaters (offered every half hour), and gawp at the sparkling and the frightening alike.

A garden.

Kew Gardens Arrow

A spectacular 500 acre garden in west London, Kew boasts one of the biggest and most diverse botanical collections in the whole world. There’s been a botanic garden here since the 18th century when it was a royal palace; today it’s not only a UNESCO World Heritage site with over a whopping 50,000 plants, it’s also just a really lovely place to visit. You can spend a whole day gently wandering along the winding paths through the lawns, trees, lake, Japanese garden, rhododendron dell, rose garden and kid’s play area, as well as popping in and out of the grand glasshouses. It’s a calming and tranquil place (as long as you avoid the playground on a school holiday) but you can also learn plenty about plants along the way.

Tate Modern interior

Tate Modern Arrow

This former oil-fired power station sits smugly in the center of the South Bank, knowing that you’re interested in what’s going on inside. It’s filled to the rafters with paintings and sculptures by the likes of Picasso, Dali, Warhol, and Rothko, all set off perfectly by that gritty industrial interior. It’s rare that any exhibition at Tate Modern is awaited with anything less than bated breath, whether they’re the paid shows across the mid-levels of the institution or the vast and clever commissions to take over the massive space that is the Turbine Hall. You’re pretty much bound to be blown away. 

People walking in front of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London

Shakespeare’s Globe Arrow

In London, every building and street has history. And Shakespeare's Globe, although a reconstruction of the original Globe Theatre—where many of William Shakespeare's plays were first staged and which burned down in 1613 during a performance of 'Henry VIII'—is no exception. The theater was rebuilt not far from its original site, using construction methods and materials as close to the original as possible, and to watch a performance here is to step back in time with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

All Our Stories flags by designer Bethany Williams in Coal Drops Yard King's Cross

Coal Drops Yard Arrow

Ever since the Eurostar undersea rail link between Paris and London rolled into Kings Cross St. Pancras station, the formerly down-and-out neighborhood of Kings Cross has experienced a total transformation. Abandoned railway land with disused gas tanks now has been turned into new offices, shopping areas, fountains, apartments, green spaces, and more. There are posh supermarkets in converted train sheds, the coveted Central St. Martins London School of Art and Fashion, artisan restaurants like Hicce, and trendy ice cream shops like Ruby Violet. Granary Square, north of the station and surrounded by restored warehouses, has a 1,000-jet fountain that's great for kids, as well as canal-side, amphitheater-style seating. There’s also the gorgeous revamped Camley Street Natural Park, which is packed with stunning wildflowers and urban biodiversity. Google is building their London headquarters here, an office complex that is supposed to be so state-of-the-art it will reinvent everything we know about workplaces. Add starchitect Thomas Heatherwick's stunningly designed Coal Drops Yard, former coal sheds that are now a super desirable luxury shopping and eating indoor and outdoor destination space, and you no doubt want to hang out at this development in what was once a dark and dusty neighborhood.

Southbank London ferris wheel

South Bank Arrow

The South Bank is one of the London’s best bits. Generally located between the Westminster and London bridges, it offers about two-miles of excellent, largely state-funded arts and entertainment venues alongside breezy, traffic-free views of a succession of city landmarks (Big Ben, St. Paul's, the Tower of London) that lie on the north bank. No wonder it attracts over 14 million people per year. If you have limited time in the capital, South Bank is great because it has everything, including a selection of good restaurants and street food offerings.

Victoria  Albert Museum London

Victoria and Albert Museum Arrow

South Kensington’s V&A is one of the world’s largest art and design museums, and it's arguably London’s most glamorous. (Just the building itself is well worth the visit: a glorious red-brick palace filled with sculptural details, extravagant tiling, and frescos.) The collection is helpfully broken down into topics—fashion, theatre, furniture, architecture—and all are comprehensive, usually spanning several hundred (if not thousand) years. Don’t expect to tackle more than one or two galleries per visit, and do check out the seasonal exhibition. The collection is helpfully broken down into topics such as fashion, jewelry, theater and performance, furniture, architecture, ceramics etc and all are comprehensive, usually spanning several hundred (if not thousand) years. Don’t expect to tackle more than one or two galleries per visit.

An interior of a cafe.

E Pellicci Arrow

Chances are there will be a queue for this beloved British ‘greasy spoon’ cafe. The Pellicci family has been feeding east Londoners since 1900 and still make some of the best fry ups in town. Stepping inside is like entering a time warp: there’s beautiful ornate art deco wooden paneling, stained glass windows, formica tables and a huge steaming tea urn. In fact, it’s such an icon that English heritage has awarded it grade-II listed status. It’s lively, chaotic, and always great fun. Whatever food you choose, always order a cup of strong "builder’s" tea. There’s coffee, milkshakes, beer, wine, and even limoncello on the menu but nothing goes better with a breakfast than a perfectly brewed cuppa.

Sir John Soanes Museum London Exhibit

Sir John Soane's Museum Arrow

This is, without a doubt, the city’s most atmospheric museum, packed to the rafters with hundreds of interesting and impressive artworks and artifacts. The collection is pretty much whatever took Sir John Soane's eye, positioned in the place it looked best—so don’t go looking for order. Instead, go curious, as the walls give way to secret rooms the unobservant might miss. It's not the unknown it once was though, so unless you go first thing in the morning you'll probably have to wait in line.

Columbia Road Flower Market london

Columbia Road Flower Market Arrow

Weekly on Sundays, Columbia Road in East London's hip Shoreditch/Hackney neighborhood, transforms into a multicolored frenzy of stalls and flowers. This otherwise unassuming East End street is transformed into a swath of magnificent plant life, the air fragrant with blooms and the shouts of historic London's famous Cockney stallholders. It's as eccentric as it gets around here. You'll hear rushed deals and offers for a 'tenner' or 'fiver' (ten or five pounds) and because everything is so fresh, it's all gotta be gone by 2 p.m. 

An interior of a museum.

Dennis Severs' House Arrow

Fancy a trip back through time? Just around the corner from buzzy Spitalfields Market, there’s a beautiful old four story house in Spitalfields that is essentially a wonderful time warp. Eccentric American Dennis Severs bought the crumbling derelict building in 1979 and turned the whole thing into an amazing work of art, evocatively recreating the home life of different generations of a Huguenot family living from 1724 to 1919 (and living there himself at the same time!). Severs died in 1999 but the house is perfectly preserved and is one of the most incredible museums in London. This is quite a niche museum: one for history fans, interior enthusiasts and those into theatrical spaces, but truly anyone visiting will be instantly immersed into the bewitching experience. There’s only a small number of people allowed in at one time and everyone is respectfully tip-toeing around peering into chamber pots and studying the ghostly paintings.

Fortnum  Mason Tea London

Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason Arrow

This historic spot for afternoon tea has been an upper crust British favorite since it began importing leaves from Asia in 1707. It's no wonder the beloved tearoom was reopened in 2012 by the Queen after a sensitive refit. The room retains a fittingly regal affect, decorated in the store’s trademark eau de nil (take that, Tiffany). There’s often a pianist tinkling away in the corner of the airy elegant room in the afternoon. The tea itself will leave even the most discerning of tea snobs with their mouths open. There are 50 different blends and tea sommeliers to help you chose which one is for you.

An elevated view looking westwards of the London Skyline with St Paul's Cathedral at dusk

St. Paul's Cathedral Arrow

One of the most famous cathedrals in the world, St. Paul's (finished in 1708) is the masterpiece of architect Sir Christopher Wren, and its towering dome is probably second on the definitive list of symbols of London after Big Ben. It's awe-inspiring, magical yet somber and reflective, a place for prayer whether you're religious or not. 

Gallery view of David Hockney The Arrival of Spring Normandy 2020

Royal Academy of Arts Arrow

The Royal Academy of Arts, or the R.A., as it's more fondly known, has been around for 250 years run by artists, and is home to an incredible collection of global art. The R.A.'s collection is vast, including sculpture, drawing, painting and architecture. There are numerous classic works on show as well as themed exhibitions from the collection, and varied and regular temporary shows that sell out quickly. Annually there is the annual Summer Exhibition featuring plenty of new work from up and coming R.A. students and alumni, and major icons in the art world; it's well worth seeing. You can come for a short visit and still get plenty out of the R.A.—the buildings themselves are worth checking out alone if you like seeing 19th-century and modern 21st-century architecture blended together.

An exterior of a department store.

Liberty London Arrow

This is truly one of the most beautiful shops in London. A Grade II-listed boutique department store with an iconic mock-tudor façade constructed from the timbers of two ships, it’s well worth a visit for the shop itself. Founded by Arthur Lasenby Liberty in 1875 who wanted an emporium to show off the treasures from his travels, today the wood-paneled light-filled atriums and cozy side rooms are stuffed full of goodies, new and old. It’s atmospheric, eclectic and unlike any other department store we’ve ever visited. A visit to the store must include a peruse of the impressive fabric department: the rolls and rolls of colorful, intricate and fabulous prints that will make you wish you’d paid more attention in home economics. If sewing isn’t your thing, you can get ready-made bags, cushions, bedding and even chess boards adorned with the delicate Liberty patterns.

The Shard london

The Shard Arrow

Western Europe's tallest building at 309.6 metres, or 1,016 feet, high, The Shard houses London's first Shangri-la hotel , private apartments, offices and three high-end restaurants—Aqua Shard, Hutong and Oblix. All good reasons to visit of course but arguably the main one is the viewing gallery aka The View. Located on floors 68-72 and 244 meters above London, you have an unobstructed 360-degree, 40-mile view across the city.

Adam ChanlerBerat in “Amlie A New Musical” at Center Theatre GroupAhmanson Theatre.

West End Theatreland Arrow

London's answer to New York's Broadway cuts across a swathe of the West End of the city in Covent Garden, Soho, and Picadilly.  From Shakespeare to contemporary comedies and dramas like Hamilton, as well as countless famous musicals of old and many new, London's West End has it all. Who doesn't want to feel again the infectious glee of musical theatre choreography and the sweating happiness of curtain calls. With the shows coming back after a long closure due to coronavirus, the Criterion Theater is offering a wonderfully quirky musical version of Amelie—the popular French movie of the same name—for more affordable prices than the big-name shows.

The National Gallery London Museum

National Gallery Arrow

Set in London’s busiest open space, Trafalgar Square, this is the grandmother of galleries with more than 2,300 paintings spanning the 13th to the 19th centuries: Heavyweights include Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Velazquez's Rokeby Venus, and Constable’s six-foot long The Hay Wain . It gets packed at weekends, but its so large that you can usually find a quiet corner. You can download an audio tour covering the museum's highlights, but you can also curate your own by selecting the paintings you want to see before you arrive. The seasonal exhibitions are the only ones you’ll pay for, and as you'd expect, most are spectacular ranging from Lucian Freud to Titian.

Borough Market London

Borough Market Arrow

The food hound's favorite London market (and the city's most atmospheric) occupies a sprawling site near London Bridge, both in a large covered area and spreading into the smaller maze of streets that surround it. Records show there’s been a market here since 1276 when it apparently caused traffic jams on London Bridge. What’s on offer? Gourmet goodies run the gamut and you’d be hard pressed not to find something you can’t get enough of and simply spend all day stuffing your face.

Highgate Cemetery london

Highgate Cemetery Arrow

A graveyard is always a somber place, but Highgate is also a celebratory one. You’ll recognize parts of it if you’ve seen Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Dracula,’ and you'll find the final resting place of writers like George Eliot and Douglas Adams, science pioneers like Michael Faraday and pop culture icons like George Michael (although his grave isn't named as such;  his Panayiotou family plot is in the West Cemetery next to Lucien Freud). And believe it or not, for somewhere with so many legendary men and women buried in it, Highgate Cemetery is one of the least visited of London’s landmarks. But those who come do it for both the ghostly mystery of the place itself, as well as the celebrity dead.

British Museum London

British Museum Arrow

You could spend several lifetimes in the British Museum, Britain’s largest museum, without running out of artifacts to ponder. The collection is one of the largest in the world, arranged by location (Ancient Egypt, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Greece and Rome), and the list of big hitters includes the Rosetta Stone and other finds from Ancient Egypt, Asia and the Middle East. Come early on a weekday for a less crowded experience, pick one gallery and stick to it, or go for a guided “eye-opener” tour.

Views of Kenwood House at Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Heath Arrow

Forget the perfect lawns of London's Royal Parks, Hampstead Heath, the vast and, in places wonderfully overgrown, tract of countryside just north of the rock ‘n’ roll neighborhood of Camden Town is the wild heart of the city and an undisputed highlight, so much so it's said to have inspired CS Lewis’s Narnia. The Heath covers 791 acres of woodland, playing fields, swimming ponds and meadows of tall grass perfect both for picnickers and couples in search of privacy. It’s truly beautiful.

This image may contain Human Person Wheel Machine Transportation Vehicle Motorcycle Footwear Shoe and Clothing

Portobello Market Arrow

Running through the center of the ever-fashionable Notting Hill neighborhood in West London, Portobello Road is know for everything from sixties models, photographers, artists and rockstars to rows of antiques stalls, hip pubs and Hugh Grant, but what we’re talking about is Portobello Market when the street is closed off Friday to Sunday and packed with people from far and wide. It’s that famous. Portobello is actually several markets rolled into one: There are antique and bric-a-brac shops, loads of food stalls and further up next to the Portebello Green arcade, emerging designers and vintage clothing shops.

The Serpentine Bridge connecting Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

Hyde Park Arrow

Hyde Park is big. At one and a half miles long and a mile or so wide, it's one of London's largest Royal Parks, originally appropriated from the monks at Westminster Abbey by Henry VIII to hunt deer, but now the sort of space where anything goes. Think gangs of roller-bladers on the paths, mad swimmers and chill boaters in the Serpentine Lake, rowdy protestors at Speaker’s Corner and kids aplenty riding horses and tipping their toes into the Diana Memorial Fountain.

tayyabs curry london

Tayyabs Arrow

Most nights you’ll be waiting for at least half an hour before entering this famous, BYOB Punjabi diner in Whitechapel. Tayyabs is loud (and no one’s on a romantic date) but what you’re there for are the sizzling plates of meat. The main attraction is the lamb chops, served up spicy and marinated in a kadai masala with coriander, sliced onions, and chillies, and everything must be paired with freshly baked rotis, parathas, and naans. It’s a great spot for meat eaters and large groups looking for an affordable way to dine on exceptional Punjabi food.

General View of Churchill's Bedroom at Churchill War Rooms.

Churchill War Rooms Arrow

This underground lair, just around the corner from 10 Downing Street, is where Churchill spent endless hours plotting Allied victory during the Second World War. Come for the Map Room, which looks exactly as it did when the members of the War Cabinet abandoned it at the end of the war, and the Transatlantic Telephone Room, where Churchill had secret conversations with U.S. officials. Entry is currently timed so you won't be crowded, and there are some pandemic restrictions still in place in terms of social distancing, but it's easy to get around and see everything. The audio guide comes with your ticket and provides an extra insight into the operations that went on during the war, including sounds and speeches of the time. The museum is also fully wheelchair accessible.

The neon light facade at London jazz institution Ronnie Scott's

Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club Arrow

Nightlife institutions are institutions for a reason. And Ronnie Scott's, Soho’s premier jazz venue on Frith Street, never, ever disappoints. One rule: book your ticket in advance. Ronnie's is a concert venue, generally hosts two sittings a night—everyone from Nina Simone to Pharaoh Sanders has played here—and gigs get booked out quickly by tourists, aficionados and fellow musicians. You can, however, usually get into Ronnie’s Bar, a smaller more dance oriented venue upstairs, without advance notice, as well as into the 'late late' shows. The place itself is everything a jazz venue should be: dark, loud and enticing, romantic even, and so very Soho—you’ll probably feel like drinking whisky but Champagne always goes down better. When the music ends, and you fall out buzzing into the street, finish up with a bite at the legendary late-night favorite Bar Italia across the road. It’s just what's done.

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Chelsea Townhouse

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The Travel Hack

How to plan a perfect weekend in London

By: Author Monica

Categories Travel Tips , UK

How to plan a perfect weekend in London

London is one of my favourite places in the world for a city break. There’s just so much to do and with each visit you can discover a different side to the city that you didn’t even know existed.

But with so much to do in London it can be difficult to plan a weekend there. How do you squeeze so much into a 2 day trip? London is also HUGE so if you’re not careful you could spend a lot of your time travelling across the city from one place to the next.

I recently spent 2 days in London and many of you commented on how much I managed to do in such a short trip. To be honest, I couldn’t believe how much Elle and I managed to squeeze in too! Being familiar with the city obviously helped but I was also really organized with our itinerary. I have some tips up my sleeve to help you plan the perfect weekend in London and make the most out of a short break there.

The Travel Hack at Southbank Skatepark

#1 List everything you want to do

I’d recommend dividing your list into three:

  • Traditional and iconic things
  • Unusual and quirky things
  • Places you want to eat

(There are some ideas for things to see, do and eat further down)

#2. Plot all of these activities into Google Maps

Drop a pin on the locations of all the things you’d like to do. This will make it easier to see which activities you can group together so you spend less time and money travelling.

#3. Book a centrally located hotel

I know you can get bargain hotels and bigger Airbnb properties when you stay further out of the city, but when you’re short on time you don’t want to be too far away.

You’ll end up spending a lot of time and money travelling in and out of the city. And the further outside of London you are, the slower the trains are and the less frequently they run.

If you’re visiting London for a week then I’d definitely recommend staying a little further out but when you only have a weekend I’d stay central.

#4. Take the tube

Many first-time visitors avoid the tube because they find it confusing and too busy. But once you’ve got your head around it the tube is the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to navigate London.

If you have a contactless debit card you can use that to get through the gates – making it even easier!

#5. Or use Uber

For the few occasions where a taxi would be better than the tube use Uber rather than a black cab. Black cabs are ridiculously overpriced and notorious for taking tourists on ‘detours’ around London that will result in an even heftier fee.

I know you shouldn’t tar all black cab drivers with the same brush but, you know, be careful!

Top Tip: You can use Elle’s Uber promo code to get £10 for new customers: gxf9o

Elle Croft in Ldonon

Things to see, do and eat in London

Traditional and iconic things to do in london.

London is the best city in the world for traditional and iconic things to do but lot of these attractions can be very expensive so look out for money saving offers. Great Northern and Thameslink trains currently have a 2 for 1 spring offer with 2 for 1 tickets on most of the main attractions like the London Eye, the Tower of London, London Bridge etc.

Visit the Natural History Museum

Arguably one of the best museums in the world, the Natural History Museum is a labyrinth of natural exhibitions. And the best thing is, entry is free! There are special exhibitions on that you do need to pay for but you don’t need to pay to see the majority of attractions.

Top Tip: Get there early or late in the afternoon! The doors open at 10am and queues will be snaking around the garden by 9.30am – especially during weekends and school holidays.

Ride the London Eye

It’s a real touristy things to do but it’s also fun to see London from a different perspective.

Top Tip: This is only worth it if you have nice weather otherwise it’s all grey skies and murky views.

Visit Buckingham Palace

It’s unlikely you’re going to spot Queen Liz but you will have the chance to see some the incredible State Rooms inside the palace.

St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s is my favourite building in London – make sure you admire it from the inside and out.

Go shopping in Covent Garden

For cute boutiques, designer stores and cool bars, Covent Garden is the place to be.

Have a picnic in Hyde Park

When the sun comes out Londoners flock to the city’s green spaces with a football and a picnic. Hyde Park is one of the city’s most famous and beautiful parks and there’s a great atmosphere in the summer.

Have afternoon tea

There are so many options for afternoon tea in London. Hotels, cafes and restaurants pull out all the stops for this British tradition of tea, cakes, scones and miniature sandwiches. Hotels are usually the best option for the fanciest afternoon teas and cake shops often have a cheaper alternative. Some will be traditional, some are themed and some are boozy but they all include lashings of cake and bottomless teapots. Check out Poppy Loves for some afternoon tea inspiration.

Elle Croft at Duck and Waffle

Unusual and quirky things to do in London

Secret cinema.

If you’re lucky enough to be in London when Secret Cinema is on then you can’t miss the chance to experience one of the most unique experiences of your life. Secret Cinema is where you don’t just watch a film, you become part of it. Actors immerse you in the film as you dive into a giant film set where the lines between fiction and reality are blurred.

Tickets for Secret Cinema are expensive but I can promise you it’s worth every single penny.

Outdoor Cinemas

London has a great selection of outdoor cinema screenings. Some are in iconic locations like Trafalgar Square or Somerset House and others are more intimate in small parks. My local park in Wimbledon used to host one in the rose garden and it was gorgeous.

Take a blanket and a comfy cushion or deck chair to stay warm and comfy throughout the film.

Check out Time Out for a lot of the outdoor cinema listings.

The trend for live escape rooms has spread to London and clueQuest offers a range of exciting and challenging games. There are currently three games and you can play the game in teams of two-five. If you ever dreamt of going on an escape room game show then you can’t miss this!

Take a look at my clueQuest review .

Curious London has a great selection of unusual things to do in London. There are loads of awesome things suggested in the under £25 section!

Where to eat and drink in London

Suggesting places to eat and drink in London is a near impossible task as there are so many options and restaurants come and go so quickly.

Pop-ups – Try a pop-up restaurant for something quirky and unusual. TimeOut London is a great place to keep up to date with the latest openings.

Markets – There are lots of markets where you’ll be blown away by the choice of food and drink. Borough Market is one of the biggest and most famous and many foodie markets are seasonal.

Fancy meals – If you’re looking for something fancy then check out Angie Silver’s blog, Silverspoon London . Angie reviews some of London’s best restaurants so she’s a great resource!

Spotted by Locals App – I mention this app a lot because it’s a great way to find local recommendations for restaurants and bars. I find that Googling something like ‘best bars in London’ will bring up a list of tourist traps so local recommendations are always the best.

How to plan the perfect weekend in London

Do you have any more suggestions for planning a perfect weekend in London?

If you’d like some more ideas for a short getaway, check out our 52 weekend away ideas.

Wednesday 12th of February 2020

Reading your article in 2020 and still helpful. Thanks for the great content.

Sajjan Dharel

Friday 22nd of March 2019

I have got offer from my friend for 2 weeks visit to London at the end of 2019. Definitely, I will be looking for these places.Thanks for your help.

Monday 5th of September 2016

Where did that wonderful looking food (waffle/meat/cheese dish) come from? I'm in London for a while and it looks so good I'd love to try it!

TheTravelHack

Wednesday 7th of September 2016

That's from Duck and Waffle - I 100% recommend a visit, it's amazing! There's more info here - https://thetravelhack.com/uk/londons-best-restaurants-with-a-view/ and here - https://thetravelhack.com/uk/a-perfect-2-days-in-london/

London's best restaurants with a view

Tuesday 23rd of August 2016

[…] around sunset or sunrise? Monica and Elle went for breakfast and the views were incredible. See here for more pics and their […]

George baker

Tuesday 31st of May 2016

Never seen such a detailed post on traveling in London anywhere. Super detailed. And best of luck traveling with your baby.

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Padstow, best weekend breaks

The best weekend trips from London

We're having a heatwave and there's never been a better time to plan your next break from the city

Ellie Walker-Arnott

London's teeming with stuff to do, but its endless array of museums, parks and attractions can lose their allure for even the most imaginative city dweller. So when that wanderlust hits (and you don't fancy booking a flight to Porto) here's where to go for an easy weekend away, full of the UK's best  restaurants , museums, shops, stunning scenery and hotels.

When you want to get out of London without any faff, look no further than these gorgeous getaways – from cosy rural retreats to proper city breaks.

This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click  here .

RECOMMENDED: Stay nearer to home with  17 dreamy day trips close to London , or check out the very best  walks near London.

Been there, done that? Think again, my friend.

Great weekend getaways from London

1.  edinburgh.

Edinburgh

The Fringe in August is of course when the city comes into its own, but Edinburgh’s brimming with things to do and see during the other 11 months of the year. Climbing Arthur’s Seat is obligatory, as is trekking to Edinburgh Castle – then an evening picnic on the Meadows before hitting the dancefloor at small but legendary venue Sneaky Pete’s. Come bedtime, Rabble has gorgeous mid-century ‘rough-luxe’ rooms in the heart of the New Town, with a top-notch restaurant downstairs. While we’re on the subject of food: pop-up-turned-bricks-and-mortar-venture Ting Thai Caravan is well worth a visit to feast on street food to a soundtrack of, say, The Stooges. Still got itchy feet? Glasgow’s less than an hour away by train.

Get there  One hour and 20 minutes by plane; four hours 20 minutes by train from London King’s Cross; around eight hours by car.

2.  The Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales

It’s probably the UK’s most famous national park, and for good reason – the Dales has staggering good looks and drama in spades. A weekend gives you plenty of time to roam the vast Bolton Abbey Estate near Skipton and be wowed by the Ribblehead viaduct and the natural amphitheatre of Malham Cove (see if you can spot the pair of resident falcons). The Dales are heaven if you live to stuff yourself silly – it’s well worth touring the Wensleydale Creamery, home of the famous cheese, and nosing around Theakston’s brewery. Speaking of pints, The Black Bull near Sedbergh is in a class of its own, with a fantastic, modern kitchen. It's also an inn, so you can kill two birds with one stone and rest your head here after enjoying their finest food and drink. 

Get there: two hours 15 minutes by train from London King’s Cross to Leeds; around three hours 30 minutes by car.

3.  The Peak District

The Peak District

The Lake District’s slightly gentler cousin has loads to recommend it: pretty market towns like Bakewell (home of the tart!), miles of undulating hills and stately Chatsworth, home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. If the weather’s fine you could spend a whole weekend exploring the Peak District National Park on foot or on two wheels (bikes can be found at Blackwell Mill Cycle Hire), stopping off at the likes of the Devonshire Arms at Beeley for real ale and venison pie. After all that yomping about you’ll want a comfy spot to lay your head, and The Peacock at Rowsley, a historic country house near Bakewell, the plush four-poster beds will do the job nicely.

Get there two and a half hours by train from London St Pancras; around three hours by car.

4.  Padstow

Padstow

This pretty-as-a-picture port really is the cream of Cornish. It’s synonymous with everyone’s favourite seafood chef, Rick Stein – get to his fish-and-chip shop early to beat the queue. Or for a slightly less-trodden path, head to Prawn on the Lawn for the best shellfish you can stuff your mouth with. Mosey around the independent galleries and boutiques, before taking the Black Tor Ferry over the water to Rock for a pint at The Mariners, now co-run by chef Paul Ainsworth. Hire bikes and cycle the 18-mile Camel Trail to Bodmin, sign up for a lesson at Waves Surf School, or just take a kite for a spin on the beach. All that sea air means you’ll sleep like a log – book one of Georgian townhouse St Petroc’s cool, contemporary rooms, or a luxe tipi at Cornish Tipi Holidays if you have a car.

Get there  three hours 43 minutes by train from London Paddington to Bodmin Parkway, and a bus; around five hours 30 minutes by car. 

5.  The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds

Think of the English countryside and chances are you think of the Cotswolds: 750-odd ridiculously green and pleasant square miles straddling Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire. Each county has its own unique charm, but for a textbook weekend stick to Gloucestershire, land of Jilly Cooper, honey-coloured stone cottages and retired rock stars. Immerse yourself in nature: go leaf-peeping at Westonbirt Arboretum, take a clay pigeon-shooting lesson at the Cotswold Clay Club and coo over grazing cattle as you drive into Minchinhampton. Push the boat out with a stay at The Wild Rabbit in Kingham – a Pinterest board come to life – and don’t miss The Wheatsheaf Inn’s superlative Sunday roast.

Get there:  one hour 30 minutes by train from London Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh; around two hours 30 minutes by car.

6.  The Gower Peninsula

The Gower Peninsula

It’s official: this south-westerly chunk of Wales is one of the UK’s best-looking spots (in 1956 it became the first area to be hailed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). It’s very close to Swansea but much of its coastline feels pleasingly remote – beaches like pebbly Pwll Du, for instance, are only accessible by foot. Explore ruined Pennard Castle and Three Cliffs Bay, and if the waves are beckoning you sign up for a lesson at Progress Surf School near Llangennith. For a meal to remember, The Beach House at Oxwich Bay has a Michelin star and stunning seafood, while Surfside Cafe on Caswell Bay has been hailed as one of Britain’s best beachfront eateries. Come bedtime, head for award-winning barn conversion Slade Barn, which has beautiful Scandi-style interiors and a surfing beach a five-minute walk away.

Get there four hours by car. 

7.  Winchester

Winchester

It’s always had the looks, but Winchester never used to have that much in the way of personality. Suddenly, though, this handsome cathedral city has become Hampshire’s coolest corner. The food’s fantastic, for starters: you can breakfast on cruffins at Hoxton Bakehouse, settle in for craft brews and tacos at Overdraft, then tuck into a chilli beef burrito pie while flipping through a vintage comic at Piecaramba. Winchester’s the perfect base to explore the rest of Hampshire from, too: nose around Jane Austen’s house in Chawton and join a tour at Hambledon, the UK’s oldest vineyard. Accommodation-wise, you’ll get the VIP treatment at Hotel du Vin – or try gorgeous boutique B&B Hannah’s.

Get there  one hour by train from London Waterloo; one hour 45 minutes by car.

8.  Bristol

Bristol

The West Country’s undisputed foodie capital, Bristol’s got it all. From cheesecake at Hart’s Bakery to modern British plates in a shipping container at Box-E, you could easily spend 48 hours here doing nothing but eating. And then there are the sourdough toasties with a side of Gallic charm at Bar Buvette and Poco’s internationally influenced tapas (don’t miss the merguez with buttered kale at brunch). Make time to visit the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the gorgeously restored lido and Stokes Croft’s street art – and don’t forget to sip some legendary Exhibition cider in The Coronation Tap (it’s so strong it only comes in halves). Bed down in former merchant’s house Number Thirty Eight, or at the utterly lush Bristol Harbour Hotel.

Get there  one hour and 38 minutes by train from London Paddington or if you’re watching your wallet National Express coaches run from Victoria for just £3.90 one way; around 2 hours 30 minutes by car. 

9.  Oxford

Oxford

Those dreamy spires are just the start of Oxford’s charms. As well as being an ancient university city with history in every brick, it’s a young, thriving cultural hub with plenty of great places to eat and drink (The Varsity Club's where it's at if you're after cool rooftop vibes). Tick off the Ashmolean and the Pitt Rivers Museum, then wander through Port Meadow and the University Parks, stopping off for burgers at The Rickety Press. Shop till you drop in the Covered Market, make like Inspector Morse with a pint of Wychwood Hobgoblin at The White Horse on Broad Street (one of the show’s filming locations), then turn in at boutique B&B The Glove House in Woodstock – or bunk up in the Artist Residence, a sweetly chic pub with rooms just outside the city.

Get there  one hour by train from London Paddington; one hour 30 minutes by car. 

10.  North Norfolk

North Norfolk

With its vast skies and meandering waterways, North Norfolk has an eerie beauty all of its own. Start off with a visit to see the seals at Blakeney Point (the pups arrive in the winter), then head to Cromer, where you can tuck into the famous crab at The Jetty, stroll down the pier and stock up on local preserves at the farm shop. Make time to chuff along the North Norfolk Railway from Sheringham to Holt, and see if you can book a tour of Voewood House, an arts-and-crafts masterpiece. After all that fresh air, bed down at The Chequers Inn in Thornham, a gastropub with luxe rooms in a building that dates back to 1499. Or for a splurge, head inland to The Gunton Arms, a plush inn set in a deer park with a magnificently meaty menu.

Get there: three hours 30 minutes by train from London Liverpool Street to Cromer, with changes; around three hours by car.

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NEWS... BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT

21 brilliant things to do in London this weekend 6 – 7 July

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Relaxing in Greenwich Park overlooking London

We’re now officially in July, and what a busy time it is!

Americans are partying for 4th of July, Brits are gearing up for the General Election, Wimbledon is in full swing and it’s all kicked off in the Euros .

See our picks below for places to get in on the action, or skip it all and simple visit an amazing new restaurant , enjoy the sun at a rooftop bar and enjoy…at long last, summer in London .

Read on for a whole range of recommendations for 6 and 7 July, handpicked as always by The Slice .

Welcome to the Slice

The Slice is your weekly guide to what’s happening in  London , so if you’re looking for restaurant reviews,  drinks  deals or just a great new exhibition to visit on a rainy Saturday in the capital, we’ve got you covered.

Click here for this week’s edit of the best things to do in town – and if you want get the next edition before anyone else, sign up  here !

1. Book now to watch Wimbledon on the big screen

Wimbledon

London’s iconic summer staple tennis tournament is back! If you’re wondering where you can watch the matches (hopefully in the glorious sunlight), we’ve got you covered:

FREE  King’s Cross:  Everyman  – watch from the iconic canal-side green-steps

Chelsea:  Bluebird Chelsea  – expect  giant tennis ball  decorations

FREE  Battersea:  Power Station Park  as part of The Wimbledon Experience

FREE   Vauxhall:  Metropolis London  

Mayfair:  Langan’s Brasserie  – make sure to grab their new ‘Sidecourt Sour’ cocktail 

FREE  Canary Wharf:  Summer screens  – you can also catch other live sports and free film screenings here too 

FREE  Waterloo:  The Refinery Bankside  – one of the largest screens in the capital 

FREE  Paddington:  Merchant Square  – from 11am every day with al fresco cocktails available

2. Go all out for the 4th of July

Oblix at The Shard

Oyster bar, bakery and grill Darby’s , from Chef Robin Gill, is marking US Independence Day with a special celebration – think proper American whiskey courtesy of WhistlePig, New Orleans-style big brass bands, and delicious BBQ dishes cooked over the smoker.

Or for a very British twist, Oblix at The Shard are offering a new Night Brunch and a new American-inspired afternoon tea . This is one tea that won’t end up in the harbour!

If you’re a history buff, celebrate America’s Independence than at the home of one of the Founding Fathers. Book one of the immersive tours at Benjamin Franklin’s Westminster home and discover what life was like for an American in London just before revolution! 

3. Pull an election all-nighter

Back in Blighty, we’ve also got something big happening on 4 July. Watch the votes roll in at one of London’s best Indian restaurants from 6pm tomorrow until 11am on Friday, as The Cinnamon Club in Westminster opens its doors for a general election all-nighter.

There’ll be plenty of food and drink on offer in front of a big screen so you can watch the nation decide on its next government. Book your table for free here .

Best places to eat

4. challenge yourself to a whole lot of lobster.

Burger & Lobster

Burger & Lobster is dropping a limited edition feast next week featuring two Atlantic lobsters, four claws, half a pound of prawns and bottomless fries. The lobsters can be grilled, steamed or, for maximum social video potential, fried. Pair with a glass of Taittinger Brut – a light, crisp champagne at a very reasonable £12.50 a glass – for a truly indulgent feast. Guaranteed you won’t go home hungry. 

From £47.50 per person for four. Various locations. Available until 12 August. Book here . 

5. Spend the whole week discovering your favourite fizz

It’s nearly Cava Discovery week where over 30 wine shops, wine bars, tapas bars and posh hotels across London will be running events and promotions to get us all excited over Cava.

From tasting flights to paired menus, happy hour offers and promotions on Cava purchases, be prepared to be well and truly Cava’d out by Sunday 14 July.

Three pop-ups of note are the Seafood Festival at Pizarro on the 9th, with six courses matched to six Cavas, a Japanese pairing lunch at Kioko by Endo on the 10th and a Cava discovery tasting with tapas at wine merchants Philglas & Swigott on the 11th.

Full details of partners, how to participate and events here .

6. Pick up free (dough) balls in Wimbledon

Pizza Express Dough Balls tube Wimbledon

To celebrate Wimbledon’s return, Pizza Express in Wimbledon Village will be giving away free tennis ball tube-inspired Dough Balls Doppio tubes to passers-by on their way to the tennis between 9-14 July.

Share a pic of yourself with the Dough Balls, tag the restaurant, and you’ll be entered into a £100 PizzaExpress gift card too!

7.Catch free fish and chips at Market Place Vauxhall

And on that note – who doesn’t love a classic British fish and chips? Wicked Fish at Market Place Vauxhall is giving away 100 free portions of gluten-free fish & chips on Monday 8 July.

Get yours from 11am – they are first come first serve. 

8. Try the world’s best pizza – in Chiswick

Margarita pizza at Napoli On The Road

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Europe’s best pizza would be found in Italy, somewhere like Rome or Naples. Luckily for us, it happens to be right here in London.

Napoli On The Road, which has restaurants in Chiswick and Richmond, was recently crowned the best pizzeria in Europe in the 50 Top Pizza Awards 2024. If that wasn’t enough, owner Michele Pascarella, a chef from Naples who has been making pizza since he was 11 years old, was crowned the best pizza chef in the world at the most recent World 50 Top Pizza Awards. And the pizza really is that good – read our full review of Napoli On The Road here .

Pizzas from £11.95. 9A Devonshire Rd, Chiswick; 12 Red Lion St, Richmond. Book here .

9. Scoop up these ice creams for Ice Cream Month

Anita

The mercury is creeping up again this weekend – what perfect timing to kick off Ice Cream Month! Need some inspo for where to get the perfect scoop?

From humble beginnings in a small Mediterranean kitchen almost 20 years ago, Mama Anita’s traditional gelato is now world famous. The flavours are 100% handmade and there are over 150 different kinds of frozen yoghurt, sorbets and more to try. Pop over to our TikTok channel for our full verdict.

Love a weird flavour combo? So does Anya Hindmarch. Her wacky pop-up parlour, Ice Cream Project , is back for its third summer with bizarre serves including Heinz Beanz, Branston Piccalilli and Perello Olive. We can’t decide whether we love it or not – tell us what you think!

Soho’s Pastaio are beating the heat by inviting East London legends Soft n Swirly to churn out their cherry soft serve this weekend, in a cone or as a special sundae. They’ll also £1 from each soft serve sold to London LGBTQ+ Community Centre.  Sweet!

10. Build your own cheese box at Grape & Fig

Tis the season for picky bits, and there’s no better place than London’s first build-your-own charcuterie board pop-up. Located just off Oxford Street and founded by sisters Toria and Catherine, this is the grazing bar of your dreams.

Start with an empty box, and then fill it with your choice of nuts, cheese, fruits, crackers and more. They even pack it for you so it’s beautifully presented (see below!) – perfect for snapping some gorgeous pics. Now that’s what we call girl dinner!

@theslicelondon Grazing boxes? Yes please! 😍🧀 Grape & Fig is London’s first grazing box company with the cutest little build-your-own cheeseboxes, and we’re so here for it ✨ #fyp #cheesebox #grapeandfig #regentstreet #piccadillycircus #charcuterie #grazingbox #londonfoodie #londonfood #viral #foryoupage ♬ This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) – Natalie Cole

11. Taste TA-KO’s delicious tacos

TA-KO

By Courtney Pochin

Stoke Newington is a trek for those south of the river, but trust me, TA-KO is worth the journey. Order the veggie tacos – sublime char siu jackfruit is just like eating pulled pork, but my favourite had crispy cauliflower with black bean and tamarind ragu, avocado and pepper mayo, it has  such  a good crunch. Delicious drinks, game-changing food, and everything is gluten-free. 

Ta-kos from £5.  8 Stoke Newington High St.  Book  here .

12. Try Ladurée gorgeous new cafe

Ladurée are best known for their very pretty macaron shops – but their newest concept is this gorgeously stylish cafe in Notting Hill.

In addition to their signature macarons you’ll also be able to order a coffee with a macaron on top, the Latte Plaisir Sucre. Or if you fancy something cooler, their soft serve is a fab option too! Warning – it’s very sweet.

@theslicelondon Maison Laduree have launched a lovely new cafe in Nottinghill! Londoners can finally sit down & enjoy their signature treats with a hot drink in hand 🍬🫖☕️. #laduree #nottinghill #londoncafe #ladureecafe ♬ Zuzulakate (feat. Joeboy) – Mr Eazi

13. Class up your burger game with truffle burgers

Supra Burger are the newest burger kids on the block, launching five new burgers at rotisserie chicken restaurant Cocotte in Queen’s Park. Are they yummy? Yes.

The Truffle Burger comes top for us (see the full selection  here ), with the perfect amount of that fragrant fungus (unlike the fries – totally overpowering).

The burgers were packed with flavour and a generous fistful of toppings, but the smash patties are on the oiler side. Fear not if you’re here for chicken, the crispy tenders are worth adding on.

From £11.50. 79 Salusbury Road, Queen’s Park.  Find out more  here .

@theslicelondon Truffle burger anyone? 🙋‍♀️🍔 Supra Burger, nestled in North West London are the newest kids on the burger block 👌 #fyp #viral #londonburger #londonfood ♬ Cool Kids (our sped up version) – Echosmith

Where to go for a drink

14. enjoy the sun at a rooftop bar.

Florattica

From terraces on top of skyscrapers to  vibey rooftop restaurants , London is full of high up perches to get soak up the sunshine and incredible views with a glass in hand.

We’ve rounded up some of our favourite central London suntraps  here .

15. Dance the night away at Little Violet Door

Following on from its house party siblings the Little Scarlet, Yellow, Blue and Orange Doors across London, The Little Violet Door has now opened in Carnaby. Expect kitchen discos, late night cocktails and good vibes all night long.

Book your table here .

16. Roll up to a cool photo exhibition

From July 5-6, The Museum of Youth Culture and Palace videographer Jack Brookes are teaming up to present a free Polaroid exhibition, Trigger Happy , at Covent Garden’s Meanwhile Studio that captures the hidden magic in unplanned moments in one of London’s skateboard communities.

Walk in or book a slot here .

17. Enjoy all the fun of the fair

Buntings and ribbons decorations at park

It’s summer fete season! There are plenty of fun, family-friendly events popping up all over city this weekend: Audley Nightingale Place in Clapham will host artisanal craft stalls and BBQ on Saturday 5 July, Kidbrooke’s Cator Park will be the scene of a vibrant Carnival (complete with costume-making!), and Parsons Green’s annual fair is returning on 6 July with over 100 stalls, a petting zoo, circus workshop and more!

18. Get theatrical with some al-fresco Shakespeare

The non-profit touring theatre company Shakespeare in the Squares is performing the play  All’s Well That Ends Well in various London garden squares until Friday 12 July.

Get your tickets here from £15. 

19. Find the perfect place to cheer your team on at the Euros

Football fans at The Piano Works

Drinks on ice, flags at the ready, national anthem nailed. The knockout stages of EURO 2024 is kicking off this Saturday, and incase you haven’t chosen where you’re going to be yet, we’ve compiled a list of the best pub gardens and big screens to watch the matches over the next few weeks.

Check out our handy guide right  here .

20. See some of London’s most iconic artworks at a new exhibition

Piet Mondrian painting

Sotheby’s Bond Street is hosting a very special collection of extraordinary works from artists with links to London. London: An Artistic Crossroads features a dozen masterpieces from regional museums by international artists connected to and influenced by the city.

Works by Lucian Freud, a familiar face to many Londoners until his death in 2011, Piet Mondrian, Francis Bacon and Frank Auerbach will be united in celebration of London’s role in the artistic journeys of so many.

Find out more here .

21. Take the kids out to Babylon Park

Babylon Park

Ideal summer holiday fun particularly on a rainy day (which, let’s face it, we can probably expect more of them), for children and those looking for nostalgia. Spread over two floors, there are things for children of all ages, including a roller coaster and retro games. The unlimited pass is worth paying for, if it’s available.

8 Castlehaven Road, Camden. Book here .

See you next week!

MORE : Hungry for summer food and drink inspiration? Here are 10 delicious tips

MORE : The Counter Soho restaurant review: ‘legendary Mediterranean dishes in a chic setting’

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18 Best Weekend Trips from London

by Sharyn McCullum | Last updated Dec 25, 2023 | London and UK Live Work and Play

Tudor style building in Chester. An old English style of building and wonderful to visit on a London weekend getaway.

Are you after suggestions for some great weekend trips from London? Then you are in luck as there are some pretty amazing places to visit outside of London. If you are living and working in London or even visiting for a few days, you may feel like getting out of London on a weekend escape. There are so many wonderful destinations to visit in Britain . Whether you are looking for somewhere to discover solo, on a romantic weekend or travelling with the family, there are plenty of London weekend getaways. And to help you decide where to go on your London weekend escape, here are 18 of the best London weekend getaways to enjoy. Where will you go on your weekend trip from London?

Table of Contents

18 of the Best Weekend Getaways from London

The following weekend getaways near London are in no particular order. So scroll through until you find one of the short breaks from London, which is just perfect for you!

Southampton

Favourite weekend getaway from London of Jenni from Cruise Mummy . 

Southampton Bargate Is An Old Sandstone Building With Turrets. A Great Place To Visit On A London Getaway.

Bargate, Southampton

Southampton is a fantastic place to spend a weekend away from London. Located on the South Coast of England, it’s easy to get to and from London via train or car. Southampton is the main cruise port for the UK. If you’re taking a cruise then I recommend you spend a couple of days here before or after your cruise to make the most of your time in this wonderful city.

Southampton is a historic maritime city. It has a great mix of old and new, with lots to see and do during your weekend away from London. Take a walk along the city’s walls before visiting the historical sights of the Old Town. Then head to the waterfront to take a look at the cruise ships that are in port.

If you like shopping then the Westquay shopping centre is well worth a visit. You’ll find some great places to eat there as well. If you visit in the summertime, then Mayflower Park is the best place to stop and enjoy a picnic with a view of the ocean. There’s also a lovely playground here so it’s a great place to visit if you have kids.

For a night out, head to Ocean Village. Here you’ll find the city’s tallest buildings, mooring for luxury yachts and lots of places to eat and drink, many of which have outside terraces.

Click here to check out where to stay in Southampton .

Yorkshire Dales

Favourite London weekend getaway of Ada of Beyond the Yellow Brick Road: A Travel Blog

Fountains Abbey In Yorkshire Is An Abbey In Disrepair. Visit To See The Massive Remains Of Windows and Structure. It Must Have Been Magnificent. Visit It On A Day Trip From London.

Fountains Abbey in the Yorkshire Dale s

While you can’t catch the Hogwarts Express at London’s King’s Cross Station , a less than three-hour train ride from the station gets you to Leeds. The doorstep of an equally magical English destination, the Yorkshire Dales. Despite its close proximity to London, you’re officially in the “north” of England here. This hilly region of England known for its heather covered moors has a rural vibe all its own, making it the perfect London getaway.  

During your visit, be sure to hit up little hillside hamlets like Haworth – the hometown of the Bronte sisters. For a larger town experience, visit the ancient spa town of Harrogate. Don’t forget to stock up on cakes from Bettys Café Tea Rooms as well as toffee from Farrah’s of Harrogate before departing. Not to worry, a visit to Yorkshire isn’t just about sweet stuff. You can stretch your legs on the over 1600 miles of hiking trails crisscrossing the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Take a ramble through the stunning ruins of Fountains Abbey. This 12 th century Cistercian abbey is located outside of Ripon is an absolute Yorkshire Dales must.

Although not officially in the Yorkshire Dales, consider a visit to the city that gives the region its name, York. Known for its spectacular minster, this cathedral town is one of the oldest cities in England. The Shambles, a twisting medieval street, is said to have inspired Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter series.  

Click here to book some accommodation options in Leeds so you can explore the Yorkshire Dales on your London weekend escape .

Best getaway from London by Annie of Into the Bold

There Are Many Old Castle Looking Buildings In Brighton, The Seaside Town In England. Only One Hour From London By Train It Is A Great Place to Visit For The Day Or To Have A Weekend Getaway.

Brighton Pavillion

The nearest seaside resort to London is Brighton, making it the perfect place to get away for a day or weekend from the city. The town is full of vibrant street art and an off-beat energy! From King George IV’s Oriental palace, the Royal Pavilion, to the narrow alleys of the Lanes, I loved exploring this quirky spot.

The Royal Pavilion is the most popular attraction in Brighton. You can tour the interior for a look into the life of George IV and his eclectic taste. The Brighton Dome, once George IV’s stables, has been turned into a major arts venue. You can catch a show at Brighton’s Theatre Royal, where many plays show before making their way to London’s West End.

The Brighton Palace Pier is one of my personal favourites, offering amusements for kids of all ages! Visit the Paradox Place House of Illusions allows you to be part of the interactive illusions. Then stop at the Brighton Toy and Model Museum to wonder at the world of fun they’ve created!

Wandering the narrow alleys of the Lanes, the oldest part of the city, is one of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon! It is sure to delight you with some of the best shopping and dining you can find. There are plenty of cafes, pubs, bars, and restaurants to choose from. Whether you want a day trip or weekend away from London of relaxation or entertainment, Brighton has something for everyone.

Book your accommodation for your weekend stay in Brighton here .

Seven Sisters

A favourite London escape of Pauline of UK Everyday

Seven Sisters Or The White Cliffs Of Dover Are Often The Last Thing You See When Sailing Away From England To Europe. The Cliffs Are White Because Of The Chalk. They Are A Must See When In England And Can Be Reached Easily On A Day Trip From London Or A Weekend Getaway.

Seven Sisters White Cliffs

There are plenty of places to see white cliffs in England . However, Seven Sisters was always my favourite place to visit when I lived in London. Seven different hills form stunning scenery in the south coast of the UK. Also, it is a popular filming location well known from the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie.

  The cliffs are slowly being eroded so don’t miss out the opportunity to see this natural beauty. Particularly between Eastbourn and Cuckmere Haven beach. You can get there in just 2 hours 20 minutes from London so it is a great spot for a one day trip or London weekend getaway.

Leave your car at Seven Sisters Car Park and walk by the Cuckmere River. Next to Cuckmere Haven beach you will see dramatic cliffs. It is easy and definitely worth it climbing Seven Sisters cliffs, because the views are breathtaking.

  Infinite views of white chalk cliffs and green hills will offer you unforgettable experience. Hiking over Seven Sisters cliffs is a wonderful way to spend a day. If you would like to spend a weekend there, it is located only 15 minutes drive from Eastbourne where you can find some good accomodations.

Book your accommodation here in Eastbourne to see the fabulous Seven Sisters .

Favourite weekend escape from London of Kenny of Knycx Journeying

Edinburgh Castle Is A Large Castle Sitting On Top Of A Large Rocky Mountain In Edinburgh. Edinburgh Is A Great London Weekend Getaway.

Overlooking Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle

Venerable, dramatic Edinburgh is a historic, cultured and cosmopolitan city , regularly topping polls as the most desirable place to live in the UK. It takes about 4.5 hours by train from London and it’s a perfect location for a short getaway and a change of scenery.

The Waverley Station is at the heart of Edinburgh that straddles the Princes Street Gardens. Along with its beauty, Edinburgh is blessed by its brevity, a wonderfully compact city built for navigation on foot. Medieval Old Town of Edinburgh is packed with key landmarks with a deep connection to the Scottish past. These include the Royal Scottish Academy, Scottish National Gallery, the Writers’ Museum, and the Edinburgh Castle.  

Among Edinburgh’s many museums, the exciting National Museum of Scotland houses ten thousand of Scotland’s most precious artifacts. Don’t forget to check out the business district on Holyrood Road, and New Street, just off the Royal Mile. Calton Hill is the best spot offering a view overlooking the city. The National Monument of Scotland is a Greek-style unfinished monument dedicated to the Scottish soldiers and sailors who died fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. It was considered a disgrace because of the incompletion of the build due to lack of funding.

In August, more than a million visitors flock to the city for the Edinburgh Festival. On a less elevated theme, the city’s vast array of distinctive pubs, allied to its brewing and distilling traditions, make it an unrivalled drinking city. All great reasons making Edinburgh a wonderful place for a London getaway. Get a full list of things to do and see in Edinburgh here and where to stay in Edinburgh here .

South Downs, Hampshire

A favourite spot of Annabel of Smudged Postcard for a London getaway

The Moon Valley Trail In Hampshire Is A Lush Valley With Many Walking Trails To Enjoy. Hampshire Is Close To London So You Could Visit For A Day Or Turn Your Visit Into A Weekend London Getaway.

Mean Valley Trail, South Downs, Hampshire

A brilliant destination for escaping the big smoke and just a short journey from London is the South Downs in Hampshire . This national park stretches across several counties in southern England. In Hampshire there are wonderful hills to climb, far reaching views and stunning scenery.

If you’re looking for a weekend away from London, there are several charming villages in the South Downs and plenty of excellent gastropubs to dine in. There is an excellent walk – or cycle route – along a former railway line called the Meon Valley Trail. This route takes walkers and cyclists through some of the most enjoyable countryside in the region. Passing charming villages on route with plenty of great places to stop for lunch. The Shoe Inn at Exton is a good choice – ensure you book ahead.  The trail is 10 miles long running between the villages of West Meon and Wickham.

The South Downs is brilliant at any time of year but the scenery is particularly special in spring. This is when the woodlands are filled with bluebells, and in autumn when the changing colours are particularly vivid.

By road, the South Downs National Park is under an hour away from London. If travelling by train, the medieval city of Winchester on the edge of the Downs is an hour from London Waterloo. From there it’s worth hiring a car for the weekend in order to explore the region fully. Check out this full list of accommodation available for your weekend escape in Winchester .

Jurassic Coast

Favourite weekend getaway from London of Stefanie of Open Road Odysseys

Durdle Door Is Found On The Jurassic Coast In England, Named So Because Some Of The Rocks Look Like Dinosaur. The Jurassic Coast Is A Great Day Trip From London Or You Could Extend Your Stay to A London Weekend Getaway.

Durdle Door, Jurassic Coast

Less than 3 hours from London is the beautiful Jurassic Coast. Stretching 95 miles from Exmouth to Swanage, this breathtaking region is the only natural World Heritage Site in England.

The Jurassic Coast is a hiker’s paradise. The South West Coast Path traverses nearly every section of the coastline, allowing hikers of every skill level to enjoy the stunning views and landscapes. Some of the most popular landmarks include Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, Chesil Beach, and Old Harry Rocks.

There’s more to do here than just hiking. Fossil hunting is a popular activity, and the best places to search are Charmouth and Lyme Regis, although you can find fossils anywhere along the coast. There are also the ruins of Corfe Castle to wander, and a ride on the Swanage Railway is a unique and fun way to spend a day.

And don’t be discouraged by bad weather. There are lots of museums to explore on a rainy day, such as the Etches Collection and Dorset County Museum. There’s also an aquarium in Lyme Regis, and the Beer Quarry Caves is a fun place to explore.

No matter your interests, there is something for everyone along the Jurassic Coast. Whether you’re on a weekend road trip or just visiting for the day, I guarantee you’ll want to come back for more! Click here to check out accommodation where in to stay in Exmouth, near the Jurassic Coast .

Favourite weekend escape near London of Joanna of The World in My Pocket

Windsor Castle Stands Proudly In Windsor. One Of The Queen's Homes It Is Very Squarish With Turrets And Is Surrounded By Spectacular Gardens. Make A Day Trip Of It Or Spend The Weekend.

Windsor Castle with its beautiful gardens

Home to one of the royal residences of the Queen of the United Kingdom, Windsor makes a perfect day trip from London. As well as experiencing the English countryside, the main attraction in Windsor is the mighty Windsor Castle, which is open to the public, even when the Queen is home. It is highly recommended to book tickets to the castle ahead of time, as currently they are timed. Plan to spend between two and three hours visiting the Castle and the State Apartments, which display many of the Royal collections, including Henry VIII’s armour garniture for the field and tilt.

Another nice thing to do on a day trip to Windsor is walk the mile. This is a long path that connects the castle with the Copper Horse Statue, in Windsor Great Park. The path is actually three miles long. It passes through the deer park, which is home to around 500 red deer. You don’t have to search too long for deer, as they are used to people and roam relatively closely to the path.

Windsor is a lovely town on the shores of River Thames. After you finished exploring the town’s cobbled streets, jump on a boat for a short cruise, to see the castle from a different perspective. For somewhere to stay during your weekend in Windsor, check out these accommodation options .

A favourite weekend escape from London by Coralie from Grey Globetrotters

Victoria Gate Shopping Centre In Leeds Is A Spectacular Shopping Centre. Walk Along A Black And White Floor With Fabulous Shops. Everyone Loves Shopping On A London Weekend Getaway.

Shop till you drop at Victoria Gate

The vibrant city of Leeds in West Yorkshire is an exciting place for a day trip from London. And it’s only 2 hours away by train. Whether you’re looking for impressive historical sights, fabulous food, top-quality shopping, or to discover miles and miles of glorious Yorkshire countryside on its doorstep, Leeds has something to delight every visitor.

Moments away from the train station, you’ll find the beautiful Victorian Corn Exchange. It is packed with quirky independent shops and eateries. Then there’s the bustling historic Leeds City Markets, home of the original Marks & Spencer “penny bazaar” store. In complete contrast, Victoria Leeds is where you’ll find top stores like Harvey Nichols and John Lewis and luxury brands. There’s also the gorgeous shopping arcades in the historic Victoria Quarter, filled with high-end boutiques to browse.

The unmissable Royal Armouries Museum, with its eight storeys ”Wall of Steel”, contains the UK’s national collection of arms and armour. Still, suppose you prefer something more quirky. In that case, the Thackray Museum of Medicine takes you on the story of medicine through the grimy streets of Victorian Leeds. Fancy watching pretty gruesome operations in the 19th-century operating theatre! Kids love it! Alternatively, hop on a bus and head for the best-preserved Cistercian monastery in Britain – 12th century Kirkstall Abbey. Or perhaps spend the day exploring  Harewood House. Then head back to the city for a curry or a drink in the bars of Boar Lane, before checking into your pre-booked Leeds accommodation – check out accommodation options here .

A favourite weekend spot away from London of Milijana of World Travel Connecto r

Arundel Castle Is a great Place To Visit On A London Day Trip or Weekend Getaway.

Arundel Castle – waiting to be explored

Want to visit one of the loveliest places in England with one the most incredible castles in England on a day trip from London? Check out Arundel and Arundel Castle in the West Sussex.  

Picturesque Arundel on the River Arun is one of the prettiest places in England. Beautiful Arundel is famous for its Georgian buildings and Arundel Caste. The streets of this charming Sussex town are not full only of history but of fun sites as well. Arundel has plenty of classy restaurants, cozy pubs, lovely cafes, independent boutiques, art galleries, and antique markets to make Arundel a perfect day trip from London. If you want to learn about the history of Arundel, join an Arundel historic walking tour and visit Arundel Museum. Hire a motorboat at the Arundel Boatyard and cruise the river if you feel somewhat romantic. And, if you want to eat some of the best foods in Britain , reserve your table at The Parsons Table, a Michelin-star restaurant in Arundel.  

But the landmark of Arundel and a must-visit in Arundel is medieval Arundel Castle. The castle is one of the most magnificent Victorian buildings in England.  

The majestic Arundel castle was a filming location for several films and series, among which Doctor Who (Silver Nemesis), The Young Victoria, The Madness of King George and Wonder Woman are probably best known.

Arundel Castle is a private manor and the seat of the Duke of Norfolk for the past 900 years. One part of the castle is open to the public. So, when in Arundel, don’t miss out on visiting this magnificent castle.  

Arundel is only about 2 hours away from London. Remember, Arundel is one of the best weekend trips from London to treat yourself! Click here to check out where to stay in Arundel.

A favourite weekend escape to another capital city from London of Cath of Wales with Kids

The Cardiff Millennium Centre Looks Like A Massive Arena From The Outside. Cardiff Is The Capital Of Wales And Is A Good Weekend Getaway City To Visit From London.

Wales Millennium Centre

Cardiff is the Welsh capital and is a vibrant city that is easily visited from London, be it for a day trip or weekend. Just 2 hours by train from London Paddington and less than 3 hours from Central London by car, it’s ideal for a short getaway. Day trips can be done if you take an early morning train and leave Cardiff in the evening.

Cardiff has lots to offer visitors including Cardiff Castle, the National Museum, Cardiff Bay and St Fagans on the outskirts. The Castle is located in the centre of the city and visitors can see inside the Castle Apartments, wonder at the Norman Keep and discover the secrets hidden in the battlements. It might be a bit noisy and frightening at first but worth going inside them. Prepare to be amazed.

Just behind the castle is Bute Park, a lovely park that is a quiet haven in the middle of a bustling city. It is especially lovely in autumn when the leaves are crunching under your feet. And for those who haven’t gotten their fill of history in the castle, the National Museum is located just across the road.

For those who love retail therapy, the entire high street in the city centre is pedestrianised and filled with all the high street shops you could need. St David’s and St David’s 2 shopping centres have even more opportunities for shopping. Music to my ears.

Foodies should head to Mill Lane, Trinity Street or the Hayes. There are also plenty of restaurants in Cardiff Bay where you will find the Senedd Building (Welsh Parliament), the Wales Millennium Centre and the Norwegian Church, all very photo-worthy buildings.

For those staying for the weekend, St Fagans, the Welsh Museum of History is a must. Visitors can step back in time and imagine life in Wales centuries ago through the various buildings on-site that have been transported brick-by-brick. Buildings date back almost one thousand years.

Cardiff is a city that I have visited many times, both while living in South Wales and while in Portugal and it never fails to bring a smile to my face. Whether it is shopping, getting my fill of history or seeing friends, a visit to the city never disappoints. Click here to see accommodation options in Cardiff for your weekend getaway .

One of the best weekend getaways from London of Natasha of Planes, Trains and Karcz

York Minster Stands Proudly In The City Of York. It Dominates The Skyline. Visit For A Weekend Getaway Or Day Trip From London.

Get the best views of York from the top of the York Minster

York, located in northeast England, is a breathtaking city brimming with gothic architecture, a lively pub scene and eclectic shops. Being a four hour train ride away from the heart of London, York makes for a perfect weekend getaway. You experience the same lively buzz of the big city, but with its own unique and cultural spin.

Begin your visit to York with a walk upon its signature stone walls, of which there’s over 3.5km of preserved circuit to cover. This serves as a great way to first orient yourself with the layout of the city. From there, take a stroll down the most picturesque street in Britain, The Shambles. It can only be described as real-life Diagon Alley (for all you Harry Potter fans out there!). It features tall, slouching timber-framed buildings dating back as early as the 1300’s. And don’t forget to pop into one of York’s many pubs. York literally has more pubs than there are days per yea r , so there’ll be no shortage to stop in at and have a pint!

Lastly, my absolute favourite stop…the York Minster. No visit to York would be complete without a climb up the renowned York Minster. It provides none other than the town’s best view. Even seeing as far as Scotland on a clear day! Needless to say, regardless of how you spend your time in York, you’re bound to be met with jaw dropping beauty and historical significance around every corner. Click here to get a full list of York accommodation options .

The Cotswolds

Favourite weekend spot of Shireen of The Happy Days Travels

The Cotswolds Are Known For Their Quaint Villages Of Old Houses Lining The Streets. The Cotswolds Are A Great Place To Visit For A Day Trip Or Weekend Getaway.

One of the beautiful villages in the Cotswolds to visit

A beautiful area of the South-Central English countryside is a cluster of villages, rolling hills and canals that make up The Cotswolds. Just 2 hours from London, making it an ideal day trip from London. In 1966 it was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and covers 787 square miles of land.

The Cotswolds is a special place to visit. It’s full of the quintessential English houses, classic British pubs and honesty boxes where you can purchase books, and locally-produced honey, jam and chocolate. Many TV shows and movies have used The Cotswolds as filming locations. Bridget Jones’s Diary and Harry Potter to name a couple. It can get overwhelming deciding which places to go so research the best villages in The Cotswolds and plan your route for your day trip or weekend away from London.

Some of the top things to do include trying Cotswold Cheese and visiting Arlington Row said to be the prettiest street in England and which is featured on the British passport. Also visiting Blenheim Palace to see where Winston Churchill was born. And maybe having a spa day in the Roman baths in the city Bath.

When looking for somewhere to stay in The Cotswolds consider the largest town in the area, Cirencester. Click here to check out accommodation options in Cirencester .

Favourite weekend escape from London of Sinead of York with Kids

Durham Cathedral Is A Spectacular Cathedral In The Centre Of Durham Town. With Spires And Build From Many Bricks It Stands Over The Town. Durham, In The North Of England Makes A Great Weekend Getaway From London.

Durham Cathedral

The historic city of Durham is often overlooked in favour of other UK cities or simply passed by on a trip from London to Edinburgh. But the city is a great destination for a day or weekend trip from London. Durham can be reached by train from London in approximately 3 ½ hours. This may sound like a long journey but, once you leave London, it is a scenic journey through the English countryside and the time will pass quickly. Plus, Durham’s rail station is a short ten-minute walk from the city centre so you will not need to use public transport during your visit.  

Start your day in Durham at the UNESCO World Heritage cathedral which towers over the city. The 12th century cathedral is an interesting mix of Romanesque and Norman architectural styles and is worth visiting just for its stained glass. The cathedral holds the relics of two saints and its cloisters featured as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies. Climb the north west tower for a fantastic view of the city. On the cathedral quadrant, Palace Green, you can visit Palace Green Library, the Durham Museum and Heritage Centre or, by a pre-arranged tour, Durham Castle.  

Once the history part of your trip is over, wander Durham’s cobbled pedestrianised lanes which are lined with cafes and independent shops. Browse the market stalls in the indoor Victorian market or explore St. Nicholas Church and the Victorian town hall. Take a break from the city with a tranquil walk along the River Wear. Durham is a lively, charming city and unlike other UK destinations it rarely feels overrun with tourists. Click here to check out accommodation options for your visit to Durham .

Weekend from London favourite spot by Cristina of My Little World of Travelling

The Town Of Lincoln In England Has Many Cobbled Streets And Old Sandstone Buildings Lining The Cobbled Streets. It's A Great Place To Step Back In Time While On A London Getaway.

Explore cobbled streets with old brick buildings

Lincoln, located in Lincolnshire (East Midlands), is a perfect city to visit for a day or short weekend away from London. This charming city has many things to offer – from outstanding historic buildings and museums to cosy afternoon tea rooms and unique local independent shops.

Lincoln Castle is an unmissable attraction. Here you can find one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, an international document of high importance that represents liberty and freedom. Walking on the castle walls is also a great experience as you get breathtaking views of the city.

Another historic building that is worth visiting is Lincoln Cathedral. Not only does it have impressive architecture on the outside, but on the inside too. Its stained-glass windows are to admire. You cannot miss is the rooftop tour in which you can enjoy incredible views of the city and discover some secret spots inside the cathedral.

Last but not least, wandering around the town centre is an experience. Steep Hill is the most famous street in Lincoln where you will find many quaint tea rooms like Bunty’s Tea Room. I spent two days in Lincoln , and I had a great time. Before visiting Lincoln, I hadn’t heard much about it, but I am very glad I visit it because it is a true gem destination.”

Click here to book your accommodation in Lincoln .

Favourite London weekend escape of Izzy of The Gap Decaders

Norwich Is A City Built Along A River. Enjoy The City From The Water Or The Land When On A London Day Trip or Weekend Getaway.

River Wensum winds through Norwich

Norwich in Norfolk is the perfect destination for a short break from London. Just a few hours from London it’s surrounded by gentle Norfolk countryside and with the unique Norfolk Broads on the doorstep, Norwich is the perfect place for a quintessentially British break.

The only city in Norfolk, Norwich is the most complete medieval city in the United Kingdom today. Home to historic architecture, cobbled streets, ancient buildings, half-timbered houses and twisting medieval lanes. And don’t forget the pretty winding River Wensum that flows through the city centre. Norwich is a feast of history and architecture.

Alongside the flourishing growing food scene, the city has a strong focus on culture, the arts and literature. Plus has a lively independent shopping scene. Spend a weekend in Norwich exploring the rich history, enjoying top class dining and soaking up the atmosphere of this lively and welcoming city.

Within a few miles of the city are the vast beaches of the glorious North Norfolk Coast, perfect for a Sunday morning stroll. And the lazy rivers of the Norfolk Broads, ideal for a boating adventure. If that feels like too much hard work, find one of Norfolk’s excellent country inns . Where you can settle in for a glass of something chilled over a fine lunch of locally sourced ingredients.

Contributed by Sydney of A World in Reach

Stonehenge Is A Circular Stone Structure Standing In The Middle Of A Field. It's Not To Be Missed On A Day Trip from London Or Weekend Getaway.

Standing tall in a field on its own – Stonehenge

Stonehenge is on the bucket list of many travellers, and it can easily be visited on a day trip from London. It is a prehistoric monument full of mystery and the questions surrounding its existence have captivated travellers for ages. Believed to have been built during the Bronze Age, there are dozens of theories to the purpose of the stone circle.

The monument is located in Wiltshire, just 1 hour and 45 minutes away from London by car or 2 hours and 15 minutes by public transport. When you arrive at the Stonehenge Visitor Centre, take some time to explore the exhibitions. They detail the history of Stonehenge and what life was like during the years of its construction. After learning a bit about the monument’s history, hop on the complimentary shuttle bus to the Stone Circle. Before leaving, stop back in the visitor’s centre to find answers to questions you might have after viewing the stones or enjoy a lunch at the Stonehenge café. You could even have a picnic if you’d like!

To get to Stonehenge from London on public transportation, take the South Western Railway from Waterloo Station to Salisbury. From there, purchase a ticket on the Stonehenge Tour Bus to take you directly to the visitor centre. If you’re short on time, consider taking a guided tour of Stonehenge from London – you could even add in stops at Bath or Windsor Castle!

There is no accommodation at Stonehenge itself, so you will need to stay in one of the nearby towns – perhaps Salisbury – click here for accommodation options .

Favourite weekend getaway from London of Victoria of Guide Your Travel

Brighton Is A Seaside Town In England. The Beaches Have Small Stones Rather Than Sand. It Is Still A Great Place For A Day Trip Or London Weekend Getaway.

A day at the beach

Brighton is the perfect weekend getaway from London. It’s easy to reach, not too far away and has lots of things to do and see. By train, it takes just over an hour to get to the little beach town from London and the trip is easy and convenient. Brighton is especially beautiful during the summer when you can relax on the beach and maybe even go for a swim if the weather is nice. A walk along Brighton Pier is absolutely mandatory and especially fun in the early evening.

There are food stalls and rides to try so make sure you plan to spend some time here. The Lanes are another great place to stop by. Grab lunch or sit in a little cafe and watch people pass you by. This is one of the oldest parts of Brighton and also one of the most beautiful. If you’re looking for more shopping opportunities you should head to North Laine. This is a great place to shop for clothes or really anything you might need. Finally, the Royal Pavilion is a beautiful photo location and one of the most popular places in Brighton.

Click here for Brighton accommodation options .

When to take a Weekend Getaway from London

In my opinion, anytime is a good time to go on a weekend getaway from London. What are you waiting for?

How to Take your Weekend Getaway

Having a car is a great way to get around the UK. If you don’t have one you can easily rent one. Check out these hire car options through DiscoverCars . Having a car makes any day or weekend getaway easy as you can go where you want, when you want. However, the train and bus systems in the UK are extensive. They literally will take you to wherever you need to go.

Where will you stay on your London Weekend Getaway

If you are extending your day trip from London to be a weekend getaway, or a little longer, you will require accommodation for night. Lucky the UK has plenty of hostels , hotels and B&Bs at your service. It is preferable to book in advance to ensure you have somewhere to stay.

London Staycation

I hope these suggestions of London weekend getaways have inspired you to getaway yourself. But if you can’t get out of London, consider a London Staycation . There are plenty of hotels in the centre of London where you could pamper yourself overnight or for longer. Why not enjoy a show at theatre in the   West End or simply walk around and enjoy everything London has to offer. And don’t forget to stop into a nice cafe for a cuppa! I’d love to hear about your favourite London day or weekend getaway in the comments following.

Castles, beaches and old Tudor style buildings are some of the things to see on a Weekend trip from London.

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weekend london travel

Sharyn McCullum – Travel Writer / Blogger, Remote On-line Worker, sometime Digital Nomad and Travel, Live and Work Abroad Expert. Is a chocoholic, coffee connoisseur and lover of ’80s music. Been travelling all her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. Lived in London 4 years on a working holiday. Has holidayed in Hawaii over 15 times and currently calls Melbourne, Australia home. Is inspiring others to get the live work play travel lifestyle with this blog. Read more about Sharyn here.

18 Comments

Jenn

Brighton and the Seven Sisters would be my first choices for a day trip from London – those cliffs are breathtaking, even in a photo!

Sharyn McCullum

Yes, Brighton, the Seven Sisters and the Jurassic Coast are top of my list too.

Digitaldaybook

Edinburgh, the Cotswold, London and all are long overdue on my travel list

I hope you can get to them soon.

Denise

The Cotswolds looks so enchanting! I need to make sure I hit it next time!

Renee

Seven Sisters – oh my! What incredible landscape. That would be where I would head to first.

There are some incredible places to see in the UK – The Seven Sisters being one of them.

Travelling Tam

A lot of these definitely need longer than a weekend let alone a day ut some good and varied suggestions of places to visit in the UK! York, the Cotswolds and the Yorkshire Dales are some of my favourites!

Yvonne

I am supposed to visit London this summer and I will have time for a day trip. These suggestions are really helpful. Windsor and Stonehenge look especially interesting.

Farrah

The Jurassic Coast is so pretty! I’m all about hiking so I’d love to go there someday. The Cotswolds would be really cool to check out as well!

I’m super impressed with the Jurassic Coast myself. I lived in the UK for 4 years and never heard of it, so I am looking forward to getting back there to see it for myself.

lisa

I literally didn’t even know some of these places existed! Definitely going to carve out time on my next trip to london to leave the city and explore!

Lorraine Caputo

It’s amazing how many places are so close to London — even ones in Wales and Scotland! Ah, some day I hope to explore that corner of the world!

Absolutely – the UK is quite small compared to some countries and you are right, weekend trips to Wales and Scotland, even Ireland can be done.

Elizabeth

I love the UK! I can’t wait until I can travel there again. I have been to a few places on your list, but so many more to visit. I have never heard of Lincoln, but it does sound like a charming place to visit. I love towns or small cities where you can just wander around.

Jade from NamastetoNihao

I LOVE THIS GREAT LIST! We’ve only been to London once for a 8 hour layover and made the BEST out of it. Now I know there’s more to London and all the day trips! Thank you!

Taylor

I’d love to visit the white cliffs! I’ve never been over to that part of England.

Kelly

I never knew how many picturesque and fun places there were to explore near London! I’d love to try a few of these weekend trips from London some day. Thanks for sharing!

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weekend london travel

M25 closure, Wimbledon and England’s Euros final could lead to travel chaos this weekend

D rivers have been warned of chaos on the roads this weekend, as football and tennis fans flock to watch sports fixtures amid M25 closures.

With the Wimbledon men’s final hitting the tournament’s last tennis balls on Sunday morning and the anticipated Euros football final featuring the England squad at 8pm, it’s a big weekend for sport.

The AA has advised sports fans travelling by car to plan alternative routes which avoid “the affected closed section of the M25” if they want to catch kick-off, the first serve and avoid traffic.

A planned closure of the M25 section between Junction 10 and Junction 11 means the stretch of road will be shut in both directions from 9pm Friday 12 July to 6am Monday 15 July.

Travel to London sports screenings, Gatwick and Heathrow airports and major ports including Hull, Dover and Folkestone will therefore be impacted by a 10-mile diversion using the A3, A240 and A245.

The journey to family attractions such as Thorpe Park and Legoland may also face lengthy delays due to the planned motorway closures.

This will be the third of five weekend closures of the M25 – which encircles London – as part of a £317 million project to improve Junction 10.

Chris Wood from The AA said: “With many football fans changing their plans following England’s victory over Holland, it’s likely to be incredibly busy in and around London, particularly the M25 Junctions 10 to 11 as well as major ports. We advise drivers to plan their journey accordingly, avoiding the west side of the M25 if possible, and to check the ferry and tunnel operator’s websites for updates before setting off.

Wood also told drivers to check their oil and coolant levels, tyres and fuel before setting off on the planned diversion and packing “plenty of cold drinks and snacks for passengers”.

Those making the last-minute journey to Berlin ahead of England’s appearance in the UEFA Euro 2024 finals should also be cautious if travelling by car after direct flights from London to the German capital completely sold out before Sunday evening.

“Our advice to drivers making a last-minute trip to Germany without tickets for the game is to make sure they have all the correct documentation and to check for parking and fan zone updates local to the area they’re heading to, as travel and visitor restrictions are highly likely to be in place,” Wood added.

According to Simon Calder, travel correspondent of The Independent, a Eurostar train from London to Brussels connecting to German Rail Brussels-Cologne-Berlin on Saturday could be the best alternative travel path for England football fans to reach the pitch.

For more travel news and advice listen to Simon Calder’s podcast .

The Independent is the world’s most free-thinking news brand, providing global news, commentary and analysis for the independently-minded. We have grown a huge, global readership of independently minded individuals, who value our trusted voice and commitment to positive change. Our mission, making change happen, has never been as important as it is today.

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weekend london travel

  • City breaks

Three unusual ways you can travel to Berlin for the Euros final after airlines’ extra flights sell out in just hours

  • Ryan Gray , Travel Reporter
  • Published : 16:59, 12 Jul 2024
  • Updated : 16:59, 12 Jul 2024
  • Published : Invalid Date,

ENGLAND'S victory over the Netherlands on Wednesday evening means that fans from all over the country are now trying to work out ways in which they can reach Berlin for the final on Sunday night.

Extra flights were laid on for those desperate to reach the German capital, but they quickly sold out, despite some seats being £600-a-pop.

England fans have been trying to find routes to Berlin from the UK

British Airways  put on two more flights from London to Berlin over the weekend after  thousands of fans tried to book a trip to Germany  in the wake of Ollie Watkins ' winning strike against the Dutch.

However, tickets for both were gone within hours, leaving others searching for alternative routes.

The Mail reports that a flight from Manchester is still an option, but that ticket prices have surged from £187 to £622, a 233 per cent increase.

Still, it could be seen as a price worth paying for anyone hopeful of seeing England claim their first trophy since Bobby Moore lifted the Jules Rimet back in 1966 after the Three Lions' only World Cup win.

Read More on Euro 2024

weekend london travel

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Pubs to open late for Euro 2024 final  - is your local extending opening hours?

Flights to alternative cities in Germany appear to no longer be an option either, with people even taking a chance on a last minute trip to Memmingen, a six-and-a-half-hour train journey away from Berlin.

Ryanair 's flights from London Stansted to the south German city are all sold out on the Friday and Saturday, while one landing on the Sunday arrives too late to get people to the ground in time.

One option available to supporters is a flight to Eindhoven in the Netherlands, with Ryanair offering routes out on Saturday, from £126.99.

From there, it's at least a £97, six-and-a-half-hour train, with up to three changes, depending on which route fans end up booking.

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An alternative route to Prague is another option, but plenty seem to have cottoned on to that, with flights now as much as £626 return from the UK.

From there, a four-hour train is still required, at the cost of around £44 each way.

With kick off at 9pm on Sunday, there's still more than enough time for anyone keen to make the trip to get there in time.

A lot of people are looking into trains as well, with ticket purchases to Berlin via booking site Trainline surging by as much as 825 per cent on Wednesday alone.

A train from London to Paris can be booked from £187, leaving on Saturday and from there, a nine-hour journey can be booked for £179 one way.

For anyone put off by the unreliability of public transport , there is always the drastic option of driving from England to Berlin, which is doable in around 14 hours from London, according to Google Maps.

weekend london travel

With two people taking turns, the drive might not be quite so painful, but it would at least incur a ferry fee from Dover to Calais of around £98, although some routes are closer to the £198 mark.

Petrol costs, according to the Fleet News fuel cost calculator, would be around £100 each way.

There are still ways for England fans to make it to Berlin this weekend, as long as they plan well and have the spare cash to pay inflated rates for planes or trains.

However, for those who don't think it's worth the hassle, there's always a simple walk to the local pub .

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Meanwhile, these are the pubs and outdoor areas in London screening the match this Sunday.

And this is how to secure a pub table for the final.

The drive from London to Berlin takes 14 hours altogether

  • Travel advice

M25 closure: Everything you need to know as works shut motorway between Junction 10 and 11 in Surrey

The M25 will close in both directions once again in Surrey to allow engineers to work on one of the country's busiest and most dangerous motorway junctions. Motorists are warned not to use satnavs if they have to travel this weekend.

Friday 12 July 2024 16:20, UK

The diversion takes drivers through A roads. Pic: PA

A chunk of the M25 will once again be closed this weekend as part of £317m works on one of the UK's busiest and most dangerous motorway junctions.

Engineers are constructing a new bridge near Junction 10 in Surrey in a bid to cut congestion and improve safety.

This weekend's closure is the third so far this year, impacting a stretch through which up to 6,000 vehicles pass in each direction between 9am and 10pm on weekends.

Holidaymakers are warned to plan ahead, while the Euros final, festivals and a potential upturn in the weather could result in more cars taking to the road than usual.

Here's what you need to know about the latest closure.

Where is the closure and what's the diversion?

A 10-mile diversion will be set up to replace the route between Junctions 10 and 11, which will be shut from 9pm on Friday 12 July until 6am on Monday 15 July.

From Junction 10 to 11 the route will be:

Northbound on the A3 to Painshill Junction, A245 towards Woking and then the A320 to M25 Junction 11.

From Junction 11 to 10 it looks like:

South on the A320 towards Woking, A245 towards Byfleet and Painshill junction, then southbound on the A3 to Junction 10.

A map showing the M25 closure and the diversion route

How bad could it be?

The first closure was in March , followed by another in May, which both went "well", according to National Highways senior project manager Jonathan Wade.

This weekend's diversion matches the one set up in March, when traffic was not as bad as feared, despite some congestion stretching across two miles at one point.

Amanda Boote, of Woking Borough Council, said at the time: "It's actually been a lot better than we expected, it's not gridlocked in the way that we thought it would be."

But with England playing in the Euros final on Sunday, many may head to screenings in central London or watch at a friend's house.

The closure could also disrupt journeys to Dover by England fans embarking on cross-Channel trips before driving to Berlin for the match.

There's also the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Wireless and British Summer Time, while families may head to Thorpe Park.

weekend london travel

And with slightly improved conditions forecast, the AA's Chris Wood warns it's likely to be "incredibly busy in and around London, particularly the M25 junctions 10 to 11".

"We advise drivers to plan their journey accordingly, avoiding the west side of the M25 if possible, but if not to expect delays and stick to the detour routes," he added.

And there's one key bit of advice all drivers are urged to heed.

Ignore your satnavs

The diversion sticks to A roads, but National Highways is concerned satnavs could direct drivers to minor roads after leaving the M25.

This would cause congestion in residential areas.

These fears were not realised during the first two closures, with motorists mostly sticking to the diverted route.

A section of the M25 is closed while a bridge is demolished. Pic: PA

"We would urge all drivers to follow the official diversion route as this is the best chance of reaching your destination in good time," Mr Wade said.

"Please ignore your satnavs and follow our diversion route instead."

Airport warnings

It's especially important for holidaymakers to plan ahead if they're taking off from Heathrow or Gatwick, the country's two busiest airports.

The RAC is advising people to travel "earlier than usual" if their journeys will be affected by the closure.

RAC breakdown spokeswoman Alice Simpson said: "We're asking holidaymakers to ensure they plan ahead, which means checking their route before they set off, leaving even earlier than usual and, importantly, making sure their vehicles are road ready by checking the oil, coolant and tyres to give themselves the best chance of avoiding a breakdown."

What's all this for?

Shutting the motorway this weekend will enable the construction of a new bridge south of Junction 10.

Concrete beams for a bridge at Junction 10 being installed in May. Pic: PA

The project, which is due to be completed in summer 2025, will increase the number of lanes at Junction 10 by four.

Will the diversion take me through a ULEZ zone?

No, if motorists stick to the diverted route they will not go through any part of the ULEZ area.

The last closure, in May, did take drivers through a section of the ULEZ, but nobody was penalised as long as they stuck to the official route.

Read more: Drivers 'choosing to ignore' official diversion route Drink driver took photo of speedometer before killing baby

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When are the next closures?

There will be two more weekends of closures, which will take place later this year.

Those dates will be announced in due course, National Highways said.

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