Are you looking for the ultimate 5 days in London itinerary?
I am totally smitten with Great Britain’s capital city. My time there is so extraordinary I want to share my tips with you, so yours will be as well!
There are so many incredible things to do in London! From famous monuments to world-class museums and beautiful parks, London has so much to offer visitors.
Planning your trip to London last minute?
Make sure to book ahead! Hotels and tours often sell out the closer you get to your trip. Here are our top pics for London!
Top Experiences and Tours In London:
- The London Eye Entry Ticket (Save time and book in advance!)
- Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour (Skip the line.)
- Tower of London & Crown Jewels Exhibit (Likely to sell out.)
- High Tea Thames River Cruise (Book ahead to save time.)
Best London Hotels:
If this is your first time in London, congratulations! You will have so much fun!
You might think you can’t visit every location I list here. And that’s OK. After reading my suggestions, you must decide and prioritize what interests you most, and plan accordingly.
I always recommend you purchase tickets to places you want to visit beforehand. First off, it will keep you more organized.
You probably will get a discount on the price and more than likely you will get a skip-the-line perk.
Now, let’s get to London travel planning!
Table of Contents
5 Days in London: The Ultimate Itinerary
Day One: Castles, Parks, and Palaces
Stop 1: Green Park
Located in Westminster, in central London, Green Park is a lovely place to begin your 5 days in London itinerary.
It is like being in nature, in the middle of the city. You can walk along the paved pathways or meander through the grass. Walking near the trees and under their adjoining canopies is almost magical.
There are a few memorials located in the park you may wish to visit. All commemorate the soldiers who lost their lives during World War I and World War II.
Those memorials are the Memorial Gates (India, Africa, and the Caribbean,) the Canadian Memorial, and The Bomber Memorial (British).
A stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, this bit of nature in the center of the city is a refreshing way to begin your London itinerary.
Read here if you are interested in more beautiful places in London to visit.
Stop 2: Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace is home to the Royal Family. Pretty much everyone who visits London plans to stop by Buckingham Palace.
Beautifully manicured gardens along with the administrative offices of the Queen are found at the palace.
Everything about Buckingham Palace is exciting, from the ornate black and gold gates to the palace itself.
Long a symbol for British citizens, the palace is important during celebrations as well as sorrows.
Do not miss out on seeing the renowned changing of the guard. Check the palace website for when you will be spending 5 days in London to confirm the dates and times of the ceremony.
Book Here: London: The Changing of the Guard Experience
Stop 3: Hyde Park
A mere one mile from Buckingham Palace is Hyde Park. It is the largest royal park in London at 625 acres.
Created in 1536 as private hunting grounds for the elite, it was made public in 1637 and has remained popular ever since.
There is the famous speaker’s corner often used for debating and throughout the years major rock bands like the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd have given free concerts.
Add a visit to Hyde Park to your London itinerary. It is a great place for exercise along its trails. Enjoy a picnic lunch or simply a rest during your busy 5 days in London!
Stop 4: Kensington Gardens
Located on Hyde Park’s western border, Kensington Gardens is 250 acres of beautifully landscaped green space. This is one of the best things to do in the Kensington neighborhood!
There are a few monuments to note in Kensington Gardens, one being the Prince Albert Monument. It was commissioned by Queen Victoria to honor her husband upon his death.
The Diana Memorial Playground is one of the most popular monuments in London.
It is a playground to honor Princess Diana, and it is located near Kensington Palace where her apartment was.
The Peter Pan-inspired playground brings a lot of children to it and there is an accessible area as well, so all children can play. If you are traveling to London with kids, they will love this spot!
Don’t forget to see the famous Peter Pan Statue too!
There are plenty of tours in London that will include these gardens!
Stop 5: Kensington Palace
Visit where Queen Victoria was born and where young royals have lived for over three hundred years at Kensington Palace.
Located adjacent to Kensington Gardens, the State Rooms are available to tour, but the private residences and offices are not.
You will be able to see the room where Queen Victoria was born and raised until she ascended to the throne at age 18, and ruled for 63 years.
There is a Princess Diana exhibit, and you can tour royal apartments of the past where one is more exquisite than the next.
Kensington Palace is a wonderful location to add to your 5 days in London itinerary!
Stop 6: Little Venice
Venice in London? Well, kind of. The quirky residential neighborhood referred to as “Little Venice” is located where the Regent’s Canal meets the Grand Union Canal.
Where the canals cross, a small network of waterways is formed. While bustling and sometimes crowded, this area is not widely known to most tourists.
There are lots of things to do and see in London’s Little Venice. You can take a boat ride down the canals from April to November. Or walk along the waterways exploring Regent’s Park or the London Zoo.
You can take a rest at Rembrandt’s Gardens, sitting on benches among beautiful landscaping and looking out to Little Venice’s waterways.
There are a lot of other hidden gems in London to discover as well as Little Venice if you are interested!
Stop 7: Kyoto Gardens
Located about one mile from Kensington Palace is Holland Park. Within this 54-acre park, you will discover the Japanese-inspired Kyoto Gardens.
It is a very tranquil spot and certainly worth a visit during your 5 days in London.
The gardens, established in the 1990s were a gift from the people of Japan to the people of Great Britain.
Peacocks meander and there are rippling waterfalls and ponds with koi which make this garden a great place to relax.
You may be rewarded with blooming cherry blossoms if you visit Kyoto Gardens during the late spring. The park is free and open from dawn until dusk.
Book Here: Secret Gardens of London Full-Day Tour
Day Two: Visit More of London’s Iconic Sites
Stop 1: Trafalgar Square
Begin your day with breakfast in London! Then head out to see some of the best attractions in London!
Located in Central London, the famous Trafalgar Square is the best place to begin day two of your London travel plan.
Named after Admiral Lord Nelson, the commander during a famous British naval victory, this very large public square is always busy!
You will find a huge statue honoring Nelson and guarding him are four massive lions found at the bottom of the statue.
Book Here: Grand London Half-Day Bicycle Tour
Stop 2: The UK’s Smallest Police Station
Located in the southeast corner of Trafalgar Square, it is worth seeking it out as its history is quite interesting.
In days past, Londoners used Trafalgar Square as a gathering place to protest, utilizing their freedom of speech rights. This little police station was important in helping monitor the crowd’s behavior.
Narrow slits were put into the bottom of a light post in the 1920s so a police officer could observe the crowds’ activities.
Should he want to call for reinforcements, the tiny station was connected to a nearby station by telephone.
This gem, hidden in plain sight, is worth adding to your 5-day itinerary for London.
Here are some other unusual things to do in London for you to consider.
Stop 3: The Warped Window at St. Martin In The Fields Church
Also located at Trafalgar Square is St. Martin in the Fields Church. Its East Window is an extraordinary display of contemporary art with a profound message.
The current window display replaced one that was destroyed during World War II bombs.
Its austere and contemporary flair seems a bit out of place next to the opulent Baroque architecture of the church, and that is what makes it all the more striking.
High above the main altar, the Warped Window has vertical and horizontal lines that form a cross with an opening in the center that allows light to enter the inside of the church!
Stop 4: The National Gallery
Are you aware that a lot of museums have no admission fees in London? I did not know that on my first trip there either!
Located on the north end of Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery is one of the best museums in London.
Even if you do not consider yourself an art lover, I would suggest you add this museum to your London itinerary for 5 days.
When you enter, it is an excellent idea to get a map of the gallery so you can locate where the art you are most interested in is displayed.
Rembrandt, Cezanne, da Vinci, and van Gogh are but some of the artists that are featured.
Many London itineraries also include the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, and the Victoria & Albert Museum. They are all free admission as well!
Stop 5: Whitehall Street
Whitehall Street is considered London’s “political” street. It begins due south from Trafalgar Square. There will be several iconic places you will pass.
Look for the gates of Downing Street. The Prime Minister lives at 10 Downing Street, but there are no tours of this private residence. Nor can you visit it.
However, you can visit 10 Adams Street. It has a front door that looks eerily similar to 10 Downing Street. It is a great place to catch a souvenir picture.
A bit further down Whitehall Street, you will see the Cenotaph Memorial. It is a monument honoring the dead from WWI and WWII.
Soon Whitehall Street merges with Parliament Street, and you will be at Bridge Street. If you look straight ahead you will see the Houses of Parliament.
To your right is Westminster Abbey. To your left is Westminster Bridge and the River Thames. This street is one of the best walks in London!
Stop 6: Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is where all British Royalty is crowned. It is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture. It is also where Prince William married Kate Middleton.
Within the abbey are monuments and memorials bestowed to British citizens 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.
Book Here: London: Westminster Abbey Entrance Ticket
Stop 7: Houses of Parliament Building and Big Ben
One of the most well-known and most frequently visited sites in London is the Parliament Building along with its Big Ben Tower! This is a must-see on any London five-day itinerary.
The Houses of Parliament building is also referred to as Westminster Palace. Tours are offered or you can rent an audio guide for a self-tour instead.
The vertical tower that houses the huge bell we call Big Ben is really named Elizabeth Tower. It chimes on the hour and has rarely been interrupted (save during the World Wars).
No matter how many days in London you have, you need to take the iconic walk across the Westminster Bridge and photograph Big Ben and the Parliament Building.
Stop 8: The London Eye
Located within walking distance from the Parliament Building and on the banks of the River Thames, the Coca-Cola London Eye stands a stunning 443 feet high.
Built in 1999 to usher in a new millennium, it is alternatively referred to as the Millennium Wheel.
Once aboard the London Eye, the huge wheel rotates very slowly around. One revolution takes thirty minutes. The views of the River Thames and surrounding London views are outstanding.
This is a great attraction to add to your 5 days in London itinerary!
Book Here: The London Eye Entry Ticket
Book Here: The London Eye Champagne Experience
Day 3: Out And About in London
Stop 1: The Royal Exchange
The Royal Exchange Building is located in the financial district, the heart of London. It is trapezoidal in shape.
Twice, it has been consumed and destroyed by fires. The current building was designed and built in the 1840s.
A shopping and dining destination, the Royal Exchange is a worthy addition to your 5 days in London, England, itinerary. Its chic shops and excellent dining will lure you to this historic location!
Book Here: London: Historic City Walking Tour
Stop 2: Leadenhall Market
Located very close to the Royal Exchange Building, the Leadenhall Market is a covered market.
Its elegant roof painted maroon, cream, and green, coupled with its cobbled streets, make this market a splendid place to add to your 5 days in London, England, itinerary.
It is a popular tourist destination in the city, so you will not be alone! It is one of the top markets in London!
What makes Leadenhall Market so appealing is that it has been used in many movies. Harry Potter fans will recognize it from the first movie. There is even a marathon road race that is run through it.
The market sells fresh foods and flowers and this may be the perfect place to pick up some brunch in London as your afternoon progresses.
Stop 3: The Tower Of London
One of London’s most popular attractions is the Tower of London. Famous executions took place here and it is busy and crowded most of the time.
I suggest adding it to your London travel itinerary. Consider purchasing your tickets online in advance.
The Tower of London’s famous welcome tour is led by the Yeoman Warders, more famously known as Beefeaters.
Located on the north bank of the Thames River, you can also rent audio headsets which will permit you to take a self-guided tour at your own pace.
Make sure to take notice of the Jewel House to view the Crown Jewels and the Medieval Palace. Also, the execution site where many famous historical people were slain. Look for Ravel Tower too.
The Tower of London is so interesting, and I do not believe you need to be a history aficionado to enjoy visiting there on your UK itinerary.
Stop 4: The Tower Bridge
Over 40,000 tourists and Londonites cross the River Thames using the Tower Bridge. It is a mechanical masterpiece.
You can learn the history of this iconic bridge inside the Tower Bridge Rooms that tell the stories of the heroes who were responsible for building and running the original bridge.
Originally the bridge was raised and lowered over 20 times a day, powered by steam. That took 80 men. The bridge switched from steam to electricity in the late 1970s.
You can see panoramic vistas of London from the Glass Floor Walkway, 140 feet high above the Thames!
The glass walkway is 36 feet long and almost 6 feet wide. Not only can you see outside and around, but you can see below you to the street below!
The Tower Bridge Rooms are wheelchair accessible.
As is with all popular London attractions, please secure your tickets beforehand online.
Book Here: London: Tower Bridge Entry Ticket
Stop 5: Saint Dunstan-In-The-East Church
Next, visit a beautiful parish church that is very close by. St. Dunstan-in-The-East church is located on St. Dunstan’s Hill between London Bridge and the Tower of London.
Destroyed during WWII, this Roman Catholic/Church of England parish church was renovated in 1967.
There is a fountain and lovely landscaping there that adds to the ambiance of this Gothic parish church and its grounds. Sometimes weddings and services are held out on the grounds.
If you need a respite, or a quiet moment away from the noises of London, visiting Saint Dunstan-in-the-East parish church is a wonderful thing to do during your 5 days in London.
Stop 6: Sky Garden
Less than one mile away is the Sky Garden. It is an extraordinary public space, three stories tall. It offers uninterrupted panoramic views of London.
And, best of all, this attraction is FREE. However, you need to sign up for tickets online and in advance. A limited number of tickets are issued for each day, so please make sure you sign up early.
While you certainly can drop by and try your luck for available tickets, the line is usually long. And there is no guarantee you will be admitted inside.
When you do gain entry, you will see meticulously manicured botanical gardens on all three levels at Sky Garden. But the biggest draw is the 360* panoramic views of London surrounding you!
You will find several upscale restaurants for your dining pleasure and two bars for any celebratory cocktail you may want to have!
Even if you have rainy weather in London for 5 days, you can enjoy the greenery here.
Stop 7. The Shard
Next, you will cross the River Thames and head south to the building that looks like a piece of glass, the Shard.
It just may be the most stunning modern building in London, and it is one of the tallest buildings in Europe.
There is quite a discussion about which location has the better London views, the Shard or the Sky Garden.
I will not try to influence you. You should visit both during your 5 days in London and decide for yourself!
The Shard houses offices, businesses, a five-star hotel, restaurants, and The View From The Shard observation towers.
This posh experience does not come cheap as there is admission charged to get into the building. However, there is nothing quite like the London skyline from over 800 feet in the air!
Purchase beforehand online if you can. And do not be late. Tickets are dated and timed. Security is very strict but once inside you can stay as long as you wish.
Day 4: Head Out Of Central London To Greenwich
Stop 1: The Greenwich Meridian at the Royal Conservatory
There are so many great things to do in Greenwich!
At the Greenwich Meridian, you can be in the same place but at different times. Very cool indeed, but what does that even mean?
The Greenwich Meridian is the actual line of the earth that separates east from west.
This is the same way that the Equator differentiates the North from the South. It is an imaginary line that marks zero degrees longitude.
It is significant because the Greenwich Meridian is the starting point of every time zone in the world!
The Greenwich Meridian is located at the London Royal Conservatory in Greenwich Park. It is a really interesting experience to add to your London five-day itinerary.
Stop 2: The Tulip Stairs
A few miles away from the Greenwich Meridian is the Queen’s Palace, also in Greenwich. When you visit the Queen’s Palace it is like visiting the past. Admission is free.
The spectacular blue ornate Tulip Stairs are an architectural masterpiece. From the seventeenth century, the Tulip Stairs have the distinction of being the first self-supporting spiral staircase built in Great Britain.
Visiting the Queen’s Palace is something to consider if you are a fan of architecture.
Stop 3: The Greenwich Foot Tunnel
A very unusual experience in London is walking under the River Thames.
The Greenwich Foot Tunnel was originally completed in 1902 and renovated in 2012. Its purpose was to replace the unreliable ferry service that transported people to and from their work.
Today entrances on both sides of the River Thames have glass domes and spiral staircases making climbing into and out of it more manageable.
The domes also make it easier to locate since it is one of the coolest hidden gems in London.
Stop 4: The Line Sculpture Trail
What is the Line? It is London’s first contemporary art walk.
Opened in 2015, it runs from Greenwich Peninsula (The O2) to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (North Greenwich to Stratford.) The Line Sculpture Hike is three miles as the crow flies.
It meanders along the London waterways of the River Thames, so that adds distance. Set up as an outdoor urban exhibition space, modern and contemporary art is displayed for all to view.
It is possible to hike, bike, or walk the entire trail.
Enjoying the Line is free. However, two areas have fees: the first is a cable car that takes you over the Thames River for a birds-eye view. Secondly, a DLR railway station.
There are lots of restaurants, pubs, and cafes along the Line Sculpture Trail. It is a great place for a bite to eat during your 5 days in London.
Stop 5: The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College
Still in Greenwich, the sumptuous Painted Hall is London’s take on the Sistine Chapel!
Recently renovated to the tune of eleven million US dollars, this magnificent attraction just recently reopened. It was originally painted by James Thornhill 300 years ago or so.
Free for children, there is an admission fee for adults. There are cushioned reclining seats for your pleasure to admire the stunning Baroque-inspired ceiling. You can rent audio guides as well.
There is a gift shop and cafe as well for your convenience.
Stop 6: Eltham Palace
Less than five miles away you will find Eltham Palace. The mixture of medieval and Art Deco influences will delight the senses.
Eltham Palace was once a medieval palace but was renovated by eccentric millionaires into an Art Deco mansion.
Located in Greenwich in southeast London, Eltham Palace was the childhood home of Henry VIII.
Walking through the halls of the house you will get a glimpse of the indulgent lifestyle of Stephen and Virginia Courtauld.
After touring the castle, you can explore the nineteen acres of beautifully manicured gardens. They consistently win awards.
The Art Deco and medieval influences have both been carried out into the garden decor. You can even see London’s oldest working bridge over the castle’s moat.
Day 5: Explore London’s World Class Shopping Destinations
Stop 1: Picadilly Circus
Picadilly Circus is just like Times Square in New York City. You will find jumbo flashing billboards advertising the latest trends.
There are also many cool shops. It is a popular attraction, just like Times Square. This is a happening area and one of the top things to do in London with teens!
Picadilly Circus is a great place to start day five, of your 5-day itinerary for London!
Stop 2: SoHo
SoHo is located to the north of Picadilly Square. It is well-known as London’s late-night epicenter.
Here you will find some of London/s finest restaurants, bars, and theatres. You will find the best shopping here!
You might want to consider exploring some of the trendy bars in Shoreditch as well!
Stop 3: Leicester Square
You will run into Chinatown as you wander from SoHo to Leicester Square. If you are looking for the finest authentic Chinese food with plenty of restaurants to choose from, this is the place to be!
Leicester Square is a pedestrian-friendly street in London’s popular and fashionable West End. There is a myriad of shops to fit anyone’s budget.
The same applies to clubs, restaurants, and bars. If you are looking for something to do for date night or to do with the family, you will certainly find options in Leicester Square.
If you are a Broadway lover, like musicals or dramatic performances, London’s West End is where you want to be for live theatre performances.
You want to research online what will be playing when you are spending your 5 days in London as venues and popular shows sell out quickly.
Seeing a show is easily one of the best things to do in London for couples!
Book Here: Central London Bar Crawl and Nightlife Tour
Stop 4: Covent Garden
Covent Garden is less than a mile from Leicester Square. In London’s fashionable West End as well, it is a more upscale shopping experience with a rich history.
And there are so many cool things to do in Covent Garden!
Covent Garden used to be a fruit and garden market, but nowadays it has much to offer. It is a must-see during your 5 days in London.
There are lots of yummy restaurants in Covent Garden where you can grab a bite to eat!
Covent Garden has stalls of items hand-made by locals or those residing in the European Union, mostly on the weekends. I appreciate this and look there often for gifts and souvenirs.
There is also live entertainment out on the streets on the weekends. There are many clubs and bars in Covent Garden.
Stop by for afternoon tea in London in one of the upscale restaurants or shop at the trendy shops. Just do not miss putting Covent Garden on your London itinerary.
Stop 5: Neal’s Yard
Most travelers do not even know about Neal’s Yard. It is a beautiful little street adjacent to Covent Garden. It is one of the hidden gems in London, and you will want to stop and take a look at it!
Not long ago, this area was a haven for garbage. However, it has been cleaned up and renovated and has become a very popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
You will want to pop into the world-famous Neal’s Yard Remedies. It offers organic skin and body care items. There are also independent shops and fashionable boutiques.
There are also plenty of chic eateries and pubs to awaken your taste buds.
If you are curious, there are many clubs and bars in Camden Town to explore!
Stop 6: The Silver Vaults
Located one mile from Covent Garden, the London Silver Vaults have been in business since the late 1880s. Unbelievably, all forty of the shops have been owned by the same families for the past forty years!
Also unbelievable, the vaults have never been broken into. This subterranean location even withstood a direct bombing during World War II without sustaining any damage.
A stop to shop at the London Silber Vaults will truly be a memorable experience. Consider adding it to your London itinerary.
Stop 7: Harrods
Just about everyone has heard of the most famous department store in the world, Harrods.
It is the largest department store in Europe and is known for its superb service and luxurious shopping experience. The main location in London has 330 departments and 23 restaurants.
Simply visiting Harrod’s is an exciting experience. But you do not need to purchase anything expensive.
Grab a bite for lunch or a drink and take a rest from all your shopping today. I headed to the all-things-Harrods department and purchased myself a souvenir shopping bag!
If you visit London at Christmas, a visit to Harrods is a must! It is one of the most popular things to do in London with kids.
Packing Tips For Your 5 Days In London
This unisex RFID-blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors.
This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips.
My daughter gifted me with this FugeTek Selfie Stick and Tripod for my birthday. It has Bloothtooth connectivity so it is very easy to use.
These Bagail packing cubes are the exact ones I use whenever I travel.
Travel Locks are an important consideration.
This world traveler adapter kit can charge several devices at the same time
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.
The replaceable carbon filter ensures fresh drinking water.
This collapsible silicone foldable water bottle would work well for you.
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.
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.
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.:
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.
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Quick Tips For Your 5 Days In London
UPDATED: Stay vigilant!
Please do not have any preconceptions about who can violate you by stealing your possessions. Stay vigilant and alert.
Remember to always stay hydrated. Bring a nondisposable refillable water container and refill it often!
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 when seeking out secret places in London.
Tickets purchased online, in advance, are mostly always discounted, and many times come with a “skip the line” perk.
I hope these suggestions will maximize your planning making your London five day itinerary as organized and effortless as possible.
I hope you can plan the best itinerary for London in 5 days! It is not hard with so much to see and do!
Next, read up on the best day trips from London!