Are you looking for the ultimate 3 days in London itinerary? 3 days in London is the perfect amount of time to explore one of the grandest cities in the world. I was in Paris celebrating my daughter’s #26 birthday and we decided to head to London and continue the celebration there. I was totally and absolutely smitten with Great Britain’s capital city of London, as was my family. The best-of London was certainly crammed into my own three days there. My visit was so extraordinary that I want to show you how to have the same experience when you decide to plan your own 3 days in London itinerary!
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Getting to London has never been easier or more convenient. However, depending on where you call home on our planet, it can make for a long travel day or night.
For that simple reason, arrival day to London is not considered as Day 1 of the 3 Days In London Itinerary. On arrival day whether you arrive by plane, train, automobile or bus, I’d suggest to keep it low key. Take the rest of the day to recoup from the long travel, rest to get caught up on lost sleep, hydrate, possibly explore the neighborhood where you are staying a bit, and have a nourishing dinner.
Feel free to change up my following suggestions from day to day to make this Ultimate 3 Days In London Itinerary tailored to your specific needs during the time you are visiting London.
Consider reading these next:
The Ultimate 3 Days In London Itinerary
Day 1: Begin Your 3 Days In London Visiting Iconic British Sites
Stop1: Start At The Famous Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is a very large public square, located in the city of Westminster, in Central London. Named after a famous British naval victory there is a huge statue of the commander, Admiral Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Square. Guarding him are four lions found at the base of the statue.
There are usually lots and lots of tourists and locals alike meandering through Trafalgar Square. You want to begin your 3 days in London here to see this massive main square, use it as a meeting place, and admire the lovely architecture all around it.
Because it is located in central London, parking is very limited. So it is best to make other travel arrangements such as the Underground to get to Trafalgar Square. Also, absolutely no feeding the pigeons. It is the law!
You may also enjoy the street entertainers in Trafalgar Square, or try your hand at sidewalk chalk painting! It is quite the experience visiting Trafalgar Square.
One of the lions of Trafalgar Square looking towards the National Gallery
Stop 2: The National Gallery is Not To Be Missed For World Famous Art
Did you know that there are lots of museums in London that are FREE to get into? We were not aware of that on our first trip there. The National Gallery, located adjacent to Trafalgar Square to its north is one of those fabulous museums.
Housing the greatest collections of artwork in the entire world, the National Museum indeed should be one of the places you visit on your 3 days in London. Even if you do not consider yourself an art lover, I would suggest stopping in and walking around a bit, especially since admission is free.
You will need a map of the gallery to move about and find what kind of art or what period of time interests you. The artwork is all displayed in chronological order. You can join a free guided tour (which occurs daily at 11:30 AM), or rent audio guides for a nominal price.
Some of the more recognizable artists featured are da Vinci, Rembrandt, Cezan and van Gogh. But there is artwork displayed from all over the world. And various time periods.
We went into the Gallery on our arrival day for a short time to orient ourselves and returned a different day when we budgeted a few hours. However YOU decide how to schedule your 3 days in London, is up to you.
Stop 3: Take A Stroll Down Whitehall Street
Heading due south out of Trafalgar Square, you will be on London’s “political” street, the magnificent Whitehall. As you stroll, look for the gates of Downing Street. Britain’s Prime Minister lives at 10 Downing Street. However, there is no tour of this private residence, nor can you visit it. There is however another close by, 10 Adams Street, that has a similar front door to 10 Downing Street that you can snap souvenir pictures at. It does get a bit crowded with tourists, however, but use an abundance of patience, and you will have your turn if you so desire.
Continuing down Whitehall Street, you will see The Cenotaph, a visible and simple memorial honoring the dead from WWI and WWII.
Whitehall soon merges with Parliament Street and you will come upon Bridge Street. Look to your left to see the Westminster Bridge and the River Thames, and looking straight ahead you will see the Houses of Parliament. And finally to your right is Westminster Abbey.
Stop 4: Visit Westminster Abbey Where Royalty Is Crowned
Gothic architecture at its finest can be found at Westminster Abbey. This is where all British royal coronations occur and where Prince William married Kate Middleton. The abbey contains monuments and memorials to lots of famous British people throughout history.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located inside Henry VII’s chapel and is dedicated to the thousands of British soldiers who were killed during World War II.
Westminster Abbey should be a stop during your 3 days in London
Stop 5: Stop At The World Famous Houses Of Parliament And Big Ben Tower
Arguably one of the most iconic and frequently visited sites in London is the Parliament Building with its Big Ben tower! These are a must addition to your 3 days in London itinerary when you are planning.
Making a striking presence the Houses of Parliament, also known as the Westminster Palace, has tours available. Or you can rent an audio guide instead if you so prefer.
The vertical that houses the huge bell otherwise known as Big Ben is really named Elizabeth Tower. It chimes on the hour and has rarely ever stopped. When we visited London, Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower) was under construction and covered with scaffolding and draping. I wish you better luck and hope that the renovations will be over and you will be able to view it in all its majesty.
Get Tickets Here: Walking Westminster: Big Ben & Houses of Parliament
Big Ben and the British Houses of Parliament
Stop 6: Ride The London Eye For Epic London Views
Oh my gosh, you cannot miss seeing the London Eye. Its official name is the Coca Cola London Eye (because of who sponsors it) but the London Eye will do. Looking like a huge Ferris wheel it stands an impressive 443 feet high.
Located along the banks of the Thames River, it was built in 1999 to usher in the new millennium and is thus sometimes called The Millenium Wheel as well.
It was a bright sunny afternoon in central London the day my daughter and I rode the London Eye. From far away it is deceiving just how huge the London Eye really is. Each of its individual glass capsules holds ten to twelve passengers. And the wheel rotates slowly around taking thirty minutes to make its full rotation.
Tickets Here: London Eye: Skip-the-Line VIP Experience with Guide
And wow, what a birds-eye view! We had breath-taking vistas in whatever direction we turned. Seeing the busy Thames River below us, the iconic London landmarks around us, and out to the horizon was really spectacular.
The London Eye is very impressive, and one of the most popular paid attractions in all of Great Britain. I think it is a great stop to add to your 3 days in London list of things to do.
A great thing to do during your 3 days in London is riding the London Eye.
Day 2: Visit London’s Parks and Palaces and Museums On Day 2 Of Your 3 Days In London
Stop 1: Green Park Is A Beautiful Place In London To Take A Leisurely Stroll
I loved Green Park so much I visited it twice. It is located in central London, Westminister, to be exact. You won’t find any buildings or landscaping there, only mature trees rising up from the ground, which is what makes Green Park so attractive.
It is like being in nature, in the middle of the city. You can walk along the paved pathways, or meander along on the grass and make your own way. When you walk near the trees and walk under their adjoining canopies, it is almost magical. Especially if the sun is shining and peeking through the tree branches. There are benches to sit on and rest, possibly sip a drink or have a snack. There is even a place for skateboarding in Green Park if you want to watch others drop in!
While there are no huge buildings in Green Park, there are some memorials quietly located within its borders. The Bomber Memorial (British), The Canadian Memorial (Canadian), and the Memorial Gates (India, Africa, Caribbean) all commemorate those soldiers lost during World War I and World War II.
Green Park is one of the beautiful places in London I think you will enjoy.
The gorgeous Green Park in London
Stop 2: Buckingham Palace Is A Majestic Place To Visit
Buckingham Palace is situated adjacent to The Green Park, so you do not have far to go. Just about everyone who visits London wants to see Buckingham Palace, the London home of the English monarch, along with the administrative offices. The palace gates are ornate and the palace building itself is very important to the British people, during both jubilant and sad times.
A very fascinating thing to do is watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Did you know that it does not formally happen every day? When I visited London the changing of the guard ceremony was tops on my list of things to see. However, in my excitement, I did not bother to check the dates and times of the ceremony and when I arrived at Buckingham Palace, there was not one scheduled for that day.
Tickets Can Be Found Here: London: Changing of the Guard & Buckingham Palace Tour
Tickets Can Be Found Here: Buckingham Palace: The State Rooms Entrance Ticket
Do not make the same mistake as me when visiting your beautiful places in London. Check online before you schedule your visit to Buckingham Palace to verify the changing of the guards is really happening that day.
When the royal family is on summer holiday, Buckingham Palace is open for tours. So, depending on when you plan your 3 days in London, you may have the opportunity to tour Buckingham Palace!
Where To Stay Near Buckingham Palace
Addordable: Best Western, Buckingham Palace Road
Upscale: The Rubens At The Palace
Stop 3: Stop At Fashionable Hyde Park To Rest. Or Not.
Located in central London not far from Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park is one of the truly beautiful and iconic places in London. With 350 acres, it offers lots of quiet places to unwind and relax. Or you may want to join the walkers, runners or cyclists and have a go at some exercise.
Depending on the time of year you visit London, Hyde Park rose garden is a great place to head to for true beauty. You may choose to have refreshments at one of the two bars and cafes within the park for refreshments. They provide the ideal setting to relax and unwind, amidst the beauty of the park.
There are some moving monuments you may wish to visit, including the 7 July Memorial, Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial and the Holocaust Memorial. Each hauntingly beautiful in their own way.
Speaker’s Corner is an internationally well known and popular venue within the beauty of Hyde Park. Free speech is encouraged there but with the rise of the internet, it is not quite as popular as it once was. However, it is still an interesting location to investigate.
Where To Stay Near Hyde Park:
Midrange: Hilton London Hyde Park
London as seen from Hyde Park
Stop 4: Visit Lovely Kensington Where The Royals Live
The Royal Borough of Kensington is an upscale and chic neighborhood in London with beautiful Victorian buildings and worldwide embassies. The crown jewel of the area is, of course, the Kensington Palace. It is the home of England’s royal family.
Tickets here: Kensington Palace Sightseeing Entrance Tickets
Did you know you can tour parts of Kensington Palace? There are several tours you can choose from, including multimedia presentations and exhibits of dresses various royals wore in the past.
The upscale Borough of Kensington where the Royals live
Stop 5: Kensington Gardens Are Not To Be Missed
Located adjacent to Kensington Palace (and once part of Hyde Park) is 250+ acres of green space and one of London’s 8 royal parks, Kensington Gardens. It is a mixture of old and new to discover and explore.
Look for the Albert Monument. It is one of the most ornate monuments in London. It commemorates the death of Prince Albert.
One of the most visited of all London monuments is the Diana Memorial Playground. Located near where her apartment was in Kensington Palace, it is a very popular playground. Here children can use their imaginations at the Peter Pan-inspired playground. There is a magical boat, and sculptures and a trail to explore.
There is even a special area for physically challenged children to play and have fun in.
Where To Stay Near Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens:
Affordable: Central Royale London Hyde Park
The very ornate Prince Albert Monument located in Kensington Gardens
Stop 6: See Some Dinosaurs At The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum has free admission and certainly worth considering stopping in for a visit during your 3 days in London. This is a great family museum. There IS an animatronic T-Rex and who would not want to see that? How about a skeleton of a huge whale?
The museum is laid out in zones, each a different color. So you are able to view a map of the museum and select exactly which zone is of interest to you and your family.
Even if you do not regularly visit museums when you travel, this one is worth the visit.
Stop 7: See Every Aspect Of Science And Technology At The Science Museum
There is free admission to the Science Museum, and it is located adjacent to the Natural History Museum. Consisting of 7 floors of all things science and technology, the Science Museum has hands-on exhibitions on every level. Mathematics, Energy, Flight, the Industrial Revolution each have their own dedicated wings.
Children would love the Wonderlab, located on Level 3, as it has almost 50 interactive scientific and techy exhibits.
Stop 8: Stop At The V & A Museum For Art And Fashion
Located within walking distance of the Natural History and Science Museums, the Victoria & Albert Museum is recognized worldwide for its extensive collections. You will see stunning exhibits of decorative art, jewelry, silverware, glass, books, furniture and photographs from all over the world.
Probably though, like us, you may want to visit this lovely museum to see The Fashion Collection. It is located on the first level and houses the largest collection in the world of fashion spanning from the late 18th century until the present time.
As at most of the museums in London, admission to the Victoria & Albert Museum is free. I highly recommend not skipping this one.
Inside of the lovely Victoria and Albert Museum
Day 3: Start Your Day With World Class Shopping
Stop 1: On Your 3 Days In London Begin Today At Iconic Picadilly Circus
Picadilly Circus reminded me of Time’s Square in New York City. It is almost as if it has a life of its own! There are trendy shops and those electronic billboards we all recognize from Time’s Square. Picadilly Circus can be your starting point for a morning or afternoon full of shopping.
Stop 2: Slightly Risque Always Trendy SoHo
To the north of Picadilly Square is SoHo, recognized as the epicenter of late-night London. Here you will find some of London’s best restaurants, cafes, and theatres. Plan to spend some time here getting your shopping on!
Stop 3: Head To Popular Leicester Square To Be Dazzled
Along the way from SoHo, as you head towards Leicester Square, you will run into Chinatown. For sinfully authentic Chinese food, with an abundant amount of restaurants to choose from, this is the place to go.
Leicester Square is pedestrian-friendly and located in London’s popular and trendy West End. There are shops galore to fit into any budget. Same goes with cafes, pubs, and restaurants. If you are looking for family fun or date night ideas you are sure to find things to do in Leicester Square.
If you are a Broadway lover or like musicals or dramatic performances the West End of London is where you want to head for theatre productions. Do not be like us though, we assumed we could simply visit any theatre in London and purchase tickets for any show we wanted. My daughter and I really wanted to see the musical Wicked, one of our favorites.
And while it is possible to purchase tickets at the venue once you are in London, we found only the most expensive tickets, in the worst seats, were available. It was a great but disappointing learning experience for us. Please do not make this mistake. If you want to add a theatre production to your 3 days in London, purchase your tickets at home before you leave.
Some of the shops and restaurants in Leicester Square
Stop 4: Covent Garden Is A Stylish Shopping, Dining & Theatre Destination
Located in London’s trendy West End, Covent Garden is an upscale shopping area with a rich history. It used to be a fruit and garden market. Far from that nowadays, there is much to see and much to do here during your 3 days in London.
Frequented by locals and tourists alike, you can have high tea in one of the many stylish shops, or simply buy some tea. Restaurants abound along with numerous fashionable shops. Live entertainment is provided by street actors on the weekends.
When I travel I like to purchase hand made souvenirs made by the locals of the city I am visiting. On the weekends, Covent Garden has stalls of items hand made by the locals, or in the EU. I enjoyed perusing this aspect of Covent Garden and appreciated that they offered it.
Bustling and trendy Covent Garden
Many people are not even aware of Neal’s Yard. A stylish little courtyard adjacent to Covent Garden, Neal’s Yard is one of the beautiful places in London to stop and take a picture or two. Until recently, it was full of garbage. Now it has been renovated into the popular location it is today. It is worth the visit during your 3 days in London to see the flowers and ivy-covered walls of the colorful shops. And the buildings.
Pretty and colorful Neal’s Yard
Stop 5: No trip to London would be complete without shopping at iconic Harrods
Harrods is the most famous department store in the world. and the largest in all of Europe. Synonymous with luxury and impeccable service, Harrods should be a consideration during your 3 days in London. Consisting of 330 departments and having 23 restaurants in its iconic store, visiting Harrod’s is an experience!
And yes, I did purchase myself a Harrods souvenir!
The iconic Harrods illuminated at night.
Stop 6: Enjoy Beautiful Views of London At Sky Garden
Sky Garden is an unbelievable gem in London. It is a very exceptional public space that is three stories tall and offers 360-degrees of uninterrupted and stunning views of London.
While this attraction is free, you do have to sign up for tickets in advance online. A limited number of tickets are issued for each day, and there is lag time online, so make sure to sign up early. You can try your luck without tickets, but the line is long for admittance and there is no guarantee you can get inside at all.
If you do make it inside, you will find scrupulously manicured and tended to botanical gardens on all three stories at Sky Garden. And of course, the absolute finest views of London all the way around! There are three upscale restaurants to dine at and two bars for cocktails.
This is one gorgeous place to add to your 3 days in London itinerary.
Stop 7: The Tower Of London Is Where Famous Executions Took Place
One of the most popular tourist destinations, the iconic Tower of London is crowded just about all the time. As with all the popular London attractions you will visit during your 3 days in London, it is prudent to purchase your admission tickets online well beforehand.
Tickets Here: Tower of London Ticket with Crown Jewels Exhibition
Tickets Here: Tower of London Small Group Tour with a Beefeater
Located on the north bank of the River Thames, the Tower of London legendary introductory tour is led by the Yeoman Warders (AKA ‘Beefeaters’). Self-guided audio headsets are available for a small additional fee. Afterward, you will have time to wander around at your own speed.
Look for the Medieval Palace, and the Jewel House to see the Crown Jewels. You will be able to view the execution site of many famous historical figures and even Raven Tower. You do not have to be a history buff to enjoy touring the Tower of London during your 3 days in London.
Stop 8: Kick Things Up A Notch At The Shard
Arguably one of the most stunning buildings in London is the Shard. Named because it looks like a shard of glass, it is the tallest building in Europe. It houses offices, businesses, a five-star hotel, restaurants, and The View From The Shard observation towers.
This upscale experience will not come cheap, but I say there could possibly be nothing equal to viewing London and all she has to offer you during your 3 days in London from 802 feet high up in the air! You must purchase tickets online in advance, and they are dated and timed. Do not risk being late. Once inside you are free to stay as long as you desire.
Security is strict and you will enter through airport-style scanners. A small price to pay for such a big adventure, don’t you agree?
The Shard alongside the Tower Bridge on the River Thames in London. Epic sights to see during your 3 days in London!
Packing Tips For Your 3 Days In London
Using these useful packing will enhance your ultimate 3 days in London itinerary!
If you are in need of new luggage, this expandable soft side spinner luggage is affordable and comes in lots of colors. If you like hard sided better, then you may favor this hard-sided luggage set better. Both sets come with TSA locks and 8 wheels per piece.
Hydration is so important. You want to remain hydrated to support your immune system which in turn will be stronger to fight off any germs you will encounter during your travels. You will want to bring your own refillable water bottle with you. I never leave home on a trip without my Bobble filtration bottle. the 18.5-ounce size is perfect for travel and it fits nicely in the pocket of a backpack or your purse. Also when filled with water, it is not too heavy to carry. And the charcoal filter ensures fresh clean water whenever you fill the Bobble. You can find filter replacements here.
Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium. Then this set of collapsible silicone foldable water bottles would work well for you. Would not take up much space in your suitcase at all.
You will want a backpack or daypack with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc.. This foldable water-resistant backpack would be great. It is very affordable and is available in many color options for you to choose from. The fact that it folds down into a zippered pouch will make it easy to pack.
Perhaps you need a more substantial backpack for your international travel. This antitheft backpack has a charging port, is water resistant and can comfortably carry up to a 15.6″ laptop.
You will be walking more than usual during your 3 days in London itinerary. A sturdy and comfortable walking shoes are a must-have. These waterproof all season shoes are extremely affordable and yet fashionable. Mostly everyone is familiar with the Skechers brand, and these Air Run high fashion sneakers come in a lot of colors to match your outfits and are still affordable.
If you are visiting London in warmer weather, maybe you want a pair of sandals to wear to dinner or to the local cafe, I highly recommend these Vionics adjustable strap orthotic sandals. I have several pairs of Vionics that I bring with me *everywhere* I travel. They are very comfortable and have orthotic footbeds that cradle and support your feet.
A concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring during your 3days in London. Please refer to my explanation below about how my family was robbed during our last trip to Paris. This unisex RFID blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind.
If you have a pouch already that does not come with the RFID protection, these RFID sleeves would be a solution. This configuration comes with enough passport and credit card sleeves that the entire family would be protected. They are slim too, so they will easily fit into your pouch or wallet.
Bring a lightweight scarf or shawl. Scarves and shawls are very popular in Europe and London is no exception. Both men and women wear scarves, both decoratively and as a layering piece to keep warm. This cotton unisex lightweight scarf is versatile and can be worn in any season. And here’s another option to consider: this lightweight sunscreen shawl scarf would do double duty to protect you from the British sun should you visit London in the warmer seasons as well as being a fashion accessory layering piece.
We all need to protect our eyes from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays. These unisex polarized sunglasses come in a lot of lens colors and frame designs and are extremely affordable too.
If you are fond of the aviator-style of sunglasses these polarized aviators may interest you.
Don’t forget to bring along a universal power adapter on your 3 days in London, this worldwide power plug is a great example and will charge your phone at the end of your busy days. And this world traveler adapter kit can charge several devices at the same time. This is what you will need when there are several people traveling in your group, or if you bring several electronic devices on your trip that require charging at the same time.
If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone (like we did!) you will definitely want to consider an external charging battery. This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips. It can be used on a variety of phones, not just an iPhone like I have. And wow is it fast! I like that it holds its charging capabilities for several uses so I do not have to worry about it while out and about, and if I forget to recharge it at night, it will still be good to go the next day.
Buckingham Palace at sunset.
Quick Tips For Your 3 Days In London
Here are some quick tips and tricks which hopefully will enhance your 3 days in London and make it less stressful and more enjoyable.
UPDATED: Stay vigilant! During our last trip to Paris, our family of four was robbed 3 times. We discussed at great length how we had to remain vigilant to protect ourselves against pickpocketers. However, we were not successful. My daughter had her brand new Olympus camera stolen in the broad daylight in a McDonald’s Restaurant in the Montmartre District of Paris while we were having afternoon refreshments.
My thief was caught red-handed with her arm up to her elbow inside of my backpack. Lucky for me my daughter apprehended her, and I was carrying my passport and credit cards on my body. She wore better clothes, better shoes and more trendy sunglasses than I did. She did not “fit” our idea of what a pickpocketer was. (I still do not understand how she could unzip my backpack while I was wearing it, without me knowing or feeling it.)
Finally, Terrence had his backpacked unzipped while on the very crowded Paris subway. The burglar had his hand inside an outer pocket but was foiled by a Good Samaritan seated nearby.
Please do not have any preconceptions of who can violate you by stealing your possessions. Stay vigilant and alert. Hope you have more success than we did.
Remember to always stay hydrated. Bring a nondisposable refillable water container and refill it often! Not only will you hedge the odds against getting sick, but you will also be saving a lot of water bottles from being sent to the British landfills.
Call your credit card company for two reasons: 1) to notify the bank that you will be out of the country and give them your exact travel dates. 2) to check to see if the bank charges foreign transaction fees every time you are out of the country and use your card. If it does, inquire about applying for a credit card that does NOT charge such fees.
When using an ATM in London, England, make sure it is in your bank’s network, so you do not incur a transaction fee every time you use a British ATM to withdraw money. Also, consider withdrawing larger amounts of money, fewer times, to limit the transaction fees by your bank.
Whenever you can, purchase advanced tickets to London attractions whenever possible during your 3 days in London. Tickets purchased online, in advance, are mostly always discounted, and many times come with a “skip the line” perk. You will have more time to spend at the attraction since you will not be waiting in the entrance line. Also, you can better pace yourself during your busy days.
3 days in London is ample time for you to visit many of her most iconic monuments and attractions. Using this Ultimate 3 days in London itinerary will maximize your planning ensuring you see the most during your time in London. Please feel free to rearrange my suggestions to suit your own schedule.
Have you ever been to London? Share one highlight that was your favorite thing to do, or place to visit. What would be your top attraction recommendation?