2 Days in London: an Itinerary
Only have 2 days in London? It’s going to be tight but you can make it work with the help of this guide. London is a captivating city known for its pubs, royalty, museums, history, and theatre district. It’s filled with endless sights, high-end shopping, friendly locals, and lively nightlife. If you’re looking to visit Europe for the first time, London is a great place to start since most everyone speaks English. With that being said, it’s also one of the most expensive cities in Europe. That’s why I’ve created this guide so you can plan the perfect 2-day London itinerary.
When to Visit London
The weather in London can be quite tricky as it rains 106 days out of the year. The summer months are the driest but also highly visited. I would opt to visit in Springtime (mid-March-April) because the blooms add to London’s charming streets and tourism is lower. Finally, we visited the first week of November and we had a pleasant visit in regards to weather and crowds.
Things to Do In London
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Visit Big Ben
Big Ben is the epitome of London tourist attractions. It’s the Houses of Parliament’s clock tower and has recently undergone a 6-year renovation. However, Big Ben is back baby, and prettier than ever! If you’re looking for a great 360-view of this beautiful attraction head over to the south side of the Thames. Check out more information regarding Big Ben opening times.
Address: Westminster, London SW1A 0AA, United Kingdom
Tower of London & Tower Bridge
Easily our favorite part of the trip. I would plan to head to the Tower of London early to mid-morning in order to beat the crowds. Make sure to check out the crown jewels exhibit while visiting. Currently, it costs 25 pounds for an adult entrance fee. If you want early access and to cut the lines, I recommend booking a tour with Get your Guide, we did this one and loved it!
Finally, the Tower Bridge is adjacent to the Tower of London so it’s easy to walk across afterward and take in the beauty that this bridge possesses. If you want to get real fancy with your tour head to the Tower of London on a vintage bus, sipping tea. Click here for that once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Address: St Katharine’s & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB, United Kingdom
Visit Buckingham Palace
If you go to London and don’t visit Buckingham Palace you’re doing something wrong. Palace tours are only done in the summer so if you want to see the inside make sure to plan your trip for then. We went in the Fall and were able to catch the changing of the guard. Personally, it was extremely boring so we left pretty early on and opted for a photo shoot in front of this beautiful ornate gate instead.
Address: Westminster, London SW1A 1AA, United Kingdom
Visiting Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is a stunning gothic church that is full of history. It’s also been the venue for some of my favorite Royal Weddings. Did you know that Prince William and Kate Middleton were married at the Abbey in 2011? What I would have done to be at that wedding! Currently, it costs 12 pounds to enter. If you only have two days I would admire the beauty from the outside and then move on to your next spot.
Address: 20 Deans Yd, Westminster, London SW1P 3PA
Visit Trafalgar Square
This square is a bustling part of the city. It is often referred to as the heart of London. Grab a coffee and post up here to admire the art and people-watching. It’s within walking distance from Big Ben and Westminster Abbey.
Address: Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross, London WC2N 5DN, United Kingdom
The London Eye
Built for the 2000 Millenium celebration is the London Eye. It’s Europe’s largest observation wheel and it’s situated along the Thames for sweeping views of London. It takes 30 minutes to ride the wheel and costs 30 pounds per person. Click here to book your London Eye fast-track tickets before you go!
Thames River Cruise
The Thames River runs right through the heart of the city and is best experienced by a river cruise. There are tons of options to choose from for a Thames sightseeing cruise. For the safest bet, buy your tour through get my guide. Finally, they offer the most variety and have amazing cancellation policies.
Walk Around Kensington Gardens
My love for Princess Diana runs deep so a visit to her former residence, Kensington Palace, was a necessity for this London trip! The palace is surrounded by a beautiful public park with lots of greenery, a pond, and even a bronzed Peter Pan statue created in 1912. You can easily spend an hour or two roaming the gardens!
Visit Notting Hill
Notting Hill is the quintessential neighborhood in London. Charming streets filled with colorful row homes this vibrant area is filled with trendy cafes, vintage fashion, and upscale boutiques. Portobello Road, Elgin Terrace, Lancaster Road, and Colville Terrace all house the infamous colorful row homes.
London’s most famous square, Piccadilly Circus, is reminiscent of Times Square in New York City. The streets are filled with large neon signs, shops, clubs, and restaurants galore. There are endless things to do in Piccadilly Circus!
Address: Piccadilly Circus, London, UK
Other things to do in London if you can add them to your London itinerary:
- National History Museum
- Hyde Park
- Convent Garden
- Harry Potter filming locations walking tour
- Royal Albert Hall
Hotels in London
There are many different areas of London so inevitably there are many hotel options that are well worth your stay. A few of our favorites:
Conrad St. James ($$) – Luxury hotel in St. James down the block from the Abbey. We really enjoyed our stay here. It was conveniently located across from the tube. You can’t beat the customer service either – the concierge was really on top of their game!
The Ampersand Hotel ($$) – The Ampersand is surrounded by some of London’s most famous districts, from Knightsbridge and Mayfair to Hyde Park and Chelsea — all within walking distance – which makes this a premier place to stay!
Hotel 41 ($$$) — A stone’s throw from Buckingham palace this 41-room hotel (hence the name) is beaming with old-world charm. The exclusive private member’s feel of this hotel will make you feel as if you’re the only one staying in this 5-star!
The Langham London Hotel ($$$) — A true London Icon, the Langham London Hotel has been serving guests since 1865. It’s located on one of the most popular streets in London (Regent Street) and has an award-winning spa to relax in when visiting London.
2 Days in London: Restaurants + Bars in London
Timmy Green in Victoria ($$) — Beautiful unique atmosphere. Make sure to order the buttermilk blueberry pancakes for a delicious brunch.
Sketch Tea Room ($$$) — The most Instagram-worthy place you’ll ever go filled with pink art deco decor. Make sure to order the sketch-rich tea for an afternoon adult pick-me-up! (PC: The Sunday Chapter)
Dandelyan bar ($$$) – Named “World’s Best Cocktail Bar” at the 2017 spirit awards in NOLA. This neighborhood vibe bar is incredibly glamorous and with imaginative cocktail creations. Order the Guardians of the Genome cocktail and thank me later!
Churchill Arms ($$) – You can’t go to London and not visit the Churchill Arms pub – it’s iconic. With an annual flower bill of 25,000 pounds a year, be prepared to be blown away by the exterior!
Peggy Porschen Cakes ($) – This spot is Instagram famous and is known for its delicious cakes and bakery goods. Get here early to experience the freshly baked goods!
Getting Around London
London is a busy city so it can be hard to get around. Here are some tips to ease your mind so you can focus on sightseeing!
- The Tube ($) — The easiest/most cost-effective way to get around the city is also referred to as The Underground. The map is easy to follow and the locals are very kind if you need to ask for directions. If you’re going to be in London for a couple of days, your best bet is to buy a visitor oyster travel card to get the most bang for your buck.
- Taxis ($$$) — London’s “black cabs” are very quintessential to London. But can be very expensive. Plan to spend a pretty penny – er, pound – if you opt for the Taxi life (most accept credit cards).
- Hop on hop off bus ($$) — Super touristy but instead of schlepping all around the city on the tube or taxis, this is the best way to get the most of your time. It goes all around the city and stops at all the main attractions.
- The Heathrow Express ($) — The best way to get into the city of London is from the airport. It takes only 15 minutes from the airport to Paddington Station (a major tube hub) and can get you anywhere in London with a quick transfer. I would only advise against this if you have a lot of luggage.
Shopping in London
- Harrod’s ($$$) — Home to London’s most luxurious shopping. Founded in 1894 and owned by the state of Qatar, this department store is the largest in Europe covering 1.1 million square feet across 7 floors. You have to swing by Shoe Heaven (yes it’s literally called that) containing 17 high-end shoe boutiques that will make you want to drop your entire year’s salary in one swipe.
- Carnaby Street ($$) — In the heart of London’s West End is this unique shopping & dining area which covers 14 streets and has over 100 shops and 60 restaurants. It was the birthplace of the fashion and cultural revolution in the ’60s and is commonly known as the “Capital of Cool”. Don’t miss a visit to Kingly Court – an open-air restaurant hub with tons of great eats to choose from!
I hope you enjoyed this “How to Spend 2 days in London” guide and it helped you make the most of your time in this gorgeous city! Don’t forget to check out more of my European travel guides!
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