Three days in London might not seem a lot, but thanks to the city’s compact size, you’ll be amazed as to how much you can fit in. It might take a little pre-planning, but if you want to see all the big London sites, plus have a bit of time to check out the shops and a little time to relax, then you really can fit it into just three days.
We think that to make the most of your three days in London, the best way is to use a combination of travel methods. That way you’ll ensure you don’t miss out on the tourist attractions you’ll want to see, but you also get some independence as well.
So with that in mind, here’s our guide on how to see the best of London in only three days.
Day 1. See the best of London’s sights
After all, you can’t come all this way and not see the most famous landmarks the city has to offer. The best way to do this is by one of the following ways:
- Book on an organised tour. There are many companies offering these, such as Golden Tours. They offer tours that take in the best of historic and modern London. This includes a panoramic tour, entry to St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London, see the Changing of the Guard, a boat ride on the River Thames and a two-course lunch. Other tour companies offer similar such deals, such as Premium Tours who also include a ride on the London Eye.
- Use a ‘hop on hop off bus’, such as one with The Original London Sightseeing Tour. These travel around London and, as the name implies, you’re free to jump on and off where and whenever you like for as long as your pass allows you to. A day tour for an adult costs £25.50, and you can upgrade this to 48 hours or longer if required.
- As a slightly off the wall alternative, get a London Cabbie to take you around. These are the drivers of the famous London Black Cabs who have to have an enormous amount of knowledge about the city to be given a licence to drive one. Of course, this probably won’t be the cheapest way to see the city, but it will certainly give you a unique perspective of the capital.
- In the evening, take in dinner and a show. You can’t come to London and not take advantage of the wealth of great theatre shows on offer. If you’ve got a particular show in mind, then it’s best to book up in advance. But for a great deal, take a detour to the Leicester Square Theatre Ticket Booth and pick up half price bargain ticket for a top show. These are available for tickets on the day, and is run by the Society of London Theatre on behalf of the theatre industry. The best tickets get snapped up early, so the closer to opening time you can get there (Monday-Saturday 10:00hrs-19:00hrs and Sunday 11:00hrs-16:30hrs), the more selection you’ll have to choose from. For restaurant choices, you can either take advantage of a pre or post theatre menu. Many restaurants in Theatreland offer great set price menus. Open Table is an excellent website where you can book your table online, and see reviews from other diners about each restaurant.
Day 2. Explore and shop
Half the fun of exploring London is getting to grips with the transport system. So purchase an All Day Travel Card that will allow you a whole day’s worth of travel, and get out there with the locals. Be sure not to miss:
- Shopping on Oxford Street – perhaps the most famous street in Europe, if not the world!
- A museum, such as the British Museum, Natural History Museum or the Victoria and Albert Museum.
- Take traditional afternoon tea at an iconic location, such as Harrods or Fortnum and Mason.
- Dinner in China Town.
Day 3. Relaxing Day Out
Okay, so the previous two days will have been pretty full on, not to mention fairly exhausting. So today requires a little less rushing around. London has some amazing parks and open spaces, and there’s nothing more relaxing than a visit here.
- London’s biggest boating lake is The Serpentine, in Hyde Park, where you can either join in with the watery fun, or simply relax watching others expend energy.
For those who’d like to get a little further afield, there are some amazing parks on the outskirts of London (but still easy to get to using The Tube or London Buses). These include:
- Richmond Park, covering over 2,000 acres, this National Nature Reserve is home to herds of Red and Fallow Deer. It’s a wonderful place to walk, take a picnic and simply enjoy the outdoor life. Afterwards, head to the high street of Richmond Upon Thames, where you can enjoy a meal in one of the many restaurants, or do a little bit of last minute shopping on one of the upmarket boutiques.
- Alexandra Palace (or Ally Pally, as it’s affectionally know) is a beautiful park that boasts amazing views of the London skyline. You can see the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf right across to St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard – you definitely need to bring your camera. There’s also a boating lake, small pitch and putt course and a great playground for the kids.
And one last tip. Be sure to stay in a hotel with a central location. This is essential. The last thing you want is to spend too much time travelling into the centre of town.
Be aware that London’s airports (Heathrow and Gatwick) are outside the city, and take between 45 minutes to a couple of hours to get to, depending on the time of day. Staying in a hotel in an area such as Kensington, Piccadilly, Westminster, Chelsea or near Oxford Street will see you well located. Good deals can be found on websites such as Tripadvisor and Trivago.