What to visit on a long weekend in London

London is truly an astonishing city! There is so much to do in all of London’s neighborhoods. However, with so many options, narrowing down just a few things to do on a long weekend in London can be difficult. After all, you want to get the most out of your time in the city by seeing as much as you can.

One of the finest things about London is how persistently it changes. Eccentric markets, new pop-ups, cool sporting events, and new places to fill a grumbling tummy are just a few examples. Ultimately, this makes deciding what to do on a weekend in London is a difficult task.

There is so much to see, do, and explore in such a large and diverse city, but there is rarely enough time to do it all. That’s why we’ve put together a list of top things to do in London on a weekend. We are here to assist you with our 4-day London itinerary created by experts.

The Best 4 Days Weekend London Itinerary

The intention is to see as much of the city as possible during your stay. Obviously, this is just a suggestion. You can cut out something you don’t regret missing from the itinerary if it appears to be too much for you. I’ll go over everything in detail below, and then you can tailor the list accordingly.

Day 1: London’s Iconic Landmarks and Vistas
Day 2: History and Culture of London
Day 3: Museums, Parks, and Shopping in London
Day 4: Unusual London and Untapped Treasures

Day 1: London’s Iconic Landmarks and Vistas

London Eye - London
London Eye – London

London Eye

Now is the time to get to know the city you’ll be enjoying for the next four days. There aren’t many better ways to do so than to look down from above. The London Eye provides an excellent opportunity to do so. A 135 meter Observation Wheel, which is one of the world’s largest of its kind.

The wheel, which is located on the South Bank of the River Thames, is one of the most recognizable objects in the London skyline. Not only that, but it offers incomparable perspectives of this fine city, which can stretch up to 25 miles on a clear day.

Big Ben & The Houses of Parliament
Big Ben & The Houses of Parliament – London

Big Ben & The Houses of Parliament

While crossing the Thames at Westminster Bridge, take a leisurely stroll along the river. The bridge is a tourist attraction in and of itself, offering a spectacular view of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

You’ll also find the bridge to be quite scenic depending on the time of day. Not only are there tourists and locals, but there are also street artists. However, be cautious of crooks in these parts, who often involve some sort of game. If something appears to be too good to be true, it most likely is.

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament are viewed as London’s cultural icons. From the outside, both are usually admired, but if you’re passionate about politics, you can attend a dialogue at the Houses of Parliament. A reservation is mandatory in advance, but it’s one of London’s free attractions.

St James's park - London
St James’s park – London

St James Park

There are many coffee shops and restaurants close to the Abbey, but if it’s a nice day, I recommend picking up something to take with you and having a picnic in adjacent St James Park. This area, one of London’s eight royal parks, is unbelievably scenic and a great place to get away from it all.

You can stroll past Downing Street, the British Prime Minister’s residence, on your way to the park. You can’t walk down the street, but you can wave to Boris through the gate. To trick your friends, go to 10 Adam Street, which is 800 meters away, and look for a door that looks very similar. The iconic door has become a tourist hotspot for souvenir photos!

Buckingam Palace - London
Buckingam Palace – London

Buckingham Palace

A leisurely stroll through St James Park’s parks and biodiversity will lead you to Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of the United Kingdom’s Royal Family. While the Royal Palace is open to the public year-round, it is only open to the public from July to October. It’s also a fairly pricey spectacle, so unless you’re a Royal Family fan, I believe it’s enough to appreciate from the outside.

The changing of the guards is a highlight for most voyagers. The Queen’s Guard hands over authority for guarding Buckingham Palace to the New Guard at this parade, which is open to the public. The guards, dressed in traditional red tunics and wearing bearskin hats, are national symbols, which is why many people consider the ceremony to be a must-do in London.

Trafalgar Square - London
Trafalgar Square – London

Piccadilly Circus & Trafalgar Square

Make your way to Piccadilly Circus from Buckingham Palace and take a stroll down the popular street lined with fancy hotels and designer shops. You’ll eventually arrive at Piccadilly Circus, London’s answer to Times Square. It’s a wonderful atmosphere, even if it’s a little flat when compared to the NYC hub. It’s the ideal spot for an Instagram selfie, with all things legendary to London like underground signs, red phone boxes, and red double-decker buses.

Trafalgar Square is just an 8-minute walk from Piccadilly Circus. A vibrant public square that is frequently the focal point for marches, demonstrations, and festivals. You’ll always find something to keep you entertained, whether it’s local performance artists and artists or something on a much bigger scale, no matter when you visit. Otherwise, take in the sights of the square’s landmarks and fountains. Finally, pay a visit to the magnificent National Gallery, which is open to the public and is free to enter.

Covent Garden - London
Covent Garden – London

Covent Garden & China Town

Make your way to Covent Garden to finish your day with a pre-dinner drink or two at one of the many bars and pubs there. To be honest, it makes no difference which one you pick. If you want to stay for dinner, there are many great restaurants in the area. Otherwise, it is recommended to stroll through Chinatown, which has some of the best Chinese food outside of China.


Day 2: History and Culture of London

Tower of London
Tower of London

Tower of London

The Tower of London is one of the most historically significant structures in the United Kingdom. Consequently, it’s a must-see on every London itinerary. It’s difficult to know where to begin when it comes to the tower’s gripping history. The fortress is best known today for protecting the Crown Jewels, but it has also housed a variety of institutions in the past, including the Royal Mint, a prison, and even a zoo.

The Shard - London
The Shard – London

The Shard

Now, make your way to The Shard through the wondrous Tower Bridge. The Shard, one of London’s latest skyscrapers, is one of the city’s most iconic skyscrapers. The 95-story building, which is designed to look like a shard of glass, houses some of London’s most opulent offices, cafes, and hotels, as well as the city’s highest vantage point.

Borough Market - London
Borough Market – London

Borough Market

Borough Market will be on the list of your favorite of London’s several food markets, particularly during the summer months. It is not obvious if it’s because it’s one of London’s oldest or because of its industrial setting underneath the railway arches, but it has a wonderful vibe!

Borough Market’s only drawback is that it gets really crowded. Not to mention the vast number of stalls selling a diverse range of cuisines. Following is the list of markets that one must check out:

  1. Lebanese: Nana Fanny’s
  2. Indian: Horn Ok Please
  3. Meat Lovers: Hobbs Roast Meat
  4. Bakery Good: Bread Ahead
Saint Dunstan in the East
Saint Dunstan in the East

Saint Dunstan in the East

Your next destination is a bit of a secret gem in London, but it’s always been a great spot to get away from the crowds. Following a WWII assault, what used to be a Church of England Parish Church is now in ruins. The ruins have been turned into a sequestered public garden, with a wide selection of plants winding their way around the ruins, creating an enchanting environment.

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral

St Pauls Cathedral

One of London’s popular tourist attractions is St Paul’s Cathedral. A historically important structure, it is a must-see on any London itinerary. For over 1400 years, the cathedral has been an important part of British history. After being mostly ruined in London’s Great Fire, it has since hosted several high-profile events, such as the Duke of Wellington’s and Winston Churchill’s funerals, as well as Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding.

For a long time, the cathedral was the highest building in London. Its dome stands out against the city skyline. That’s not all; there’s still a multitude of things to explore throughout St Paul’s. You can take a guided tour of the cathedral floor and crypt, ascend its three galleries, and enjoy panoramic views from the top of the dome if you buy a ticket to go inside.

The British Museum
The British Museum

The British Museum

It’s no surprise that London is home to a plethora of museums, and your final destination of the day is one of the most well-known. People have been to the British Museum many times, as have most London museums. It is, without a doubt, a favourite London activity. Not only are most museums free to join, but tourists still learn or discover something new when they visit them.


Day 3: Museums, Parks, and Shopping in London

National History Museum
National History Museum

National History Museum

You will now spend the morning visiting several of London’s most popular museums. Remember that the majority of museums in London are free, so you’re in for a value morning!

London’s National History Museum, widely regarded as the greatest of its kind in the world, never fails to amaze. You’ll be surrounded by the massive skeletons of dinosaurs and other extinct animals.

Science Museum - London
Science Museum – London

Science Museum

To be fair, the National History Museum could easily keep you occupied for the whole morning. However, if time permits, visit the Science Museum, which is just around the corner. This museum, as its name indicates, gathers accounts of revolutionary scientific accomplishments over time. The interactive exhibits, which are built to both teach and entertain, would appeal to both young children and adults.

Harrods
Harrods

Tea at Harrods

You’ll be hungry after a morning spent exploring through two of London’s most primary museums. You can eat inside the museums, but the food is overrated and lacking in quality. Several excellent restaurants, including Honest Burgers and Pierino, are located near the museums. Harrods is just a 15-minute walk away if a Traditional Afternoon Tea is on your London bucket list.

Hyde Park
Hyde Park

Hyde Park

If all of the above sounds a little too fancy or extravagant, grab a light snack from a restaurant or store and travel to nearby Hyde Park. In London, Hyde Park is comparable to Central Park in New York. Meadows, lakes, flower gardens, and old trees abound in this sprawling open area. So, if the weather is good, this is probably the most enjoyable selection.

Oxford Street - London
Oxford Street – London

Oxford Street & Covent Garden

Everyone knows that London is indeed one of the world’s fashion capitals, so if you want to jazz up your wardrobe, this is the place to go. Your eyes will bulge when you exit Hyde Park through Marble Arch and see the hundreds of designer shops that line Oxford Street. You also don’t have to be rich to make money. Topshop, River Island, and even Primark have flagship stores here, making it one of the most reasonable high street brands in the UK.

West End Show

You can’t spend four days in London without seeing a West End show. The Lion King, Wicked, Mama Mia, Chicago, and Les Misérables are the most famous shows.

Day 4: Unusual London and Untapped Treasures

Leake Street at Waterloo Vaults
Leake Street at Waterloo Vaults

Leake Street at Waterloo Vaults

Alright, today is the final day of our London Itinerary, and we’re going to focus on offbeat London. We’ll visit some of London’s more unusual neighborhoods, secret treasures, and unconventional cultures. London’s landmarks are well-known around the world, and with valid reason. But it’s the quirky side of the city that makes it special. However, if you want to spice up the day with a day trip or another activity, there are a few choices further down the list.

The Waterloo Vaults on Leake Street are our first stop. The Vaults, a maze of old railway arches under Waterloo Station, is host to all sorts of strange and interesting things. When the tunnels are packed with theatre, comedy, music, and other unforgettable activities throughout the evening, this place really comes alive. However, with just four days to spend in London, it is not possible to experience it all, so we’ll just be exploring the Leake Street tunnel this time.

The Banksy Tunnel, also recognized as the Leake Street Tunnel, is one of the few places in London where graffiti is not only allowed, but promoted. Consequently, there is a myriad of artwork by different artists, some of which is excellent, while others are not. Nevertheless, visiting this London secret gem’s exclusive underground edge is well worth the trip.

Leadenhall Market in the City of London
Leadenhall Market in the City of London

Leadenhall Market

Now travel to Leadenhall Market which is our next destination. This is the venue that influenced Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter films, so any Harry Potter fan should include it on their London itinerary. Every time you walk through Leadenhall, you’ll wish a wand shop appeared out of nowhere, and you can finally be the witch you’ve always wanted to be. But no such luck so far.

If you’re a Harry Potter fan or not, the ornate Victorian marketplace, which houses many designer shops, restaurants, and London pubs, is sure to impress.

Shoreditch
Shoreditch

Shoreditch

Our next stop is just a 15-minute walk away, and along the way, keep an eye out for the famed Gherkin skyscraper. You’ll finally arrive in Shoreditch, one of London’s most fashionable and thriving neighborhoods. It’s one of my amazing locations in the city because of its amazing street art, eclectic culinary and nightlife scenes, vintage markets, and contagious hipster vibe.

Camden Town
Camden Town

Camden

If you can drag yourself away from the buzz of Shoreditch, a suggestion is to board the Northern Line at Old Street Station and head to Camden Town. Even though you’ll adore Shoreditch, if one had to choose a favourite London place, it would have to be Camden. It is not sure why, but you’ll get the feeling that the vibe is a little less pretentious. You’ll have some of the most memorable experiences.

Alternatives to the London Itinerary

It would be impractical to see what London has to offer in just four days. And, while I believe the above London Itinerary is the best way to spend time in the city, I understand that our interests may differ. With that in mind, here are some other must-do activities in and around London.

Thames River Cruise
Thames River Cruise

Thames River Cruise

On the water, you can escape the masses and enjoy the scenery without a worry in the world, which is simply one of the best places to explore this fast-paced city.

There are many Thames Cruise packages to choose from, depending on your budget. Some cruises include a one-hour sightseeing tour, others allow you to hop on and off, and a few even provide romantic dinner or afternoon tea cruises.

Brighton Pier
Brighton Pier

Brighton

Brighton is a popular seaside resort in the United Kingdom. People come from all over the world to enjoy the stunning views, rich heritage, and irresistible bohemian rhythms throughout the year. Brighton, is only 1.5 hours from London. The famous pier, complete with amusement park rides and arcade games, the sprawling pebble stone beach, and the aroma of fish and chips will make unforgettable memories.

Stonehenge
Stonehenge

Stonehenge

If you are a history buff, you would not want to miss Stonehenge. Stonehenge, a prehistoric ruin and UNESCO World Heritage Site, remains one of history’s greatest mysteries.

The 5000-year-old monument is remarkable, consisting of a series of monumental stones arranged in what appears to be a strategic circle. Since the early medieval era, experts have puzzled about why and how the stones ended up there.

Stonehenge is located in Wiltshire, about 2 hours west of London, and getting there on your own may be difficult. Therefore, it is best to go on a guided tour.

Budget for 4 Days in London

You can expect to double or even triple the budget if you plan on paying for all of the major attractions, dining at trendy restaurants, and living in posh hotels. The following is a description of a standard regular London budget:

  • Dorm Bed in a Hostel: $25-40
  • Budget Private Room: $60-75
  • Premium Hotel Room: $100-300
  • Local Restaurant Meal: $20-30
  • Pub Grub: $10-20
  • Public Transport Pass: $16
  • Pint of Beer: $7-10
  • Tower of London: $28

Best Time To Visit London

There is no right or wrong time to visit London because the atmosphere is amazing all year. If you’re looking for dry days to go sightseeing, the months of May to September are your best bet. Though, given that this is London, you can always expect rain.

The hottest months are July and August, but it’s also high season, so expect higher airfares and hotel prices. However, there is a lot more going on in the summer, such as festivities and seasonal food markets. When the sun shines, Londoners love to party, so you can expect a great atmosphere in the city.

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