London: Without a doubt, one of the greatest cities in the world. However, if you’ve never visited this mesmerizing metropolis before, it can feel a little overwhelming. I mean, with so many different areas to see and an abundance of things to do, how are you supposed to know what to prioritize? Luckily, I’ve been to London too many times already, so I’ve done a lot of groundwork. Whether this is your first, second, or eleventh time, this itinerary is perfect for any tourist trying to capture the essence of the British capital in just four short days.
Day One: Marylebone
Fashionistas rejoice! If you want to skip the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street after seeing what it has to offer, Marylebone High Street is one of the top spots in London for independent boutiques and elegant restaurants. Situated in a chic residential area, it has a charming village feel with a few tourist attractions thrown in for good measure. Here you can find Madame Tussauds, the Georgian mansion that’s home to the Wallace Collection of art, and the Sherlock Holmes museum all within walking distance. Take a leisurely look around while marveling at the astounding architecture and you’re sure to love Marylebone’s classy vibes.
Here are the places that you might like to check out if you are around this area:
- Wallace Collection- this is an art collection museum. They also have afternoon tea at their restaurant. So if you are in the mood for tea on your first day, this will not disappoint. And did I mention that it's a free museum?
- Sherlock Holmes- whether you are a fan of the famous detective or not, this can be the highlight of your day.
- Selfridges- this department store has all the latest collection of your favorite designers. This where you will find this instafamous restaurant covered with Wisteria, Aubain Selfridges. They also have afternoon tea and you would definitely enjoy the ambiance.
The entertainment hub of Central London since 1670, Leicester Square is an area filled with theatres, bars, restaurants, and stores galore—and that’s not all. If you time it right, you might be able to spot a celebrity or two given that Leicester Square is home to more than 52 movie premieres each year.
Take a short walk south and you’ll end up in picturesque Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster. In addition to soaking up the views of Nelson’s Column at its very center, you can also check out The National Gallery which is free to enter and hosts over 2,300 paintings.
In fact, the whole area of Westminster is great for wandering around as it features iconic points of interest like Covent Garden, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and more.
You can follow the exact itinerary below if you're down to walk around the area and see all the attractions in a day.
- Buckingham Palace- changing of guards starts around 10:30. But you might want to come here by 10 am so you can secure a nice spot. It is also 10 min walk to Westminster Cathedral
- Westminster Cathedral- from here you can walk 11 min to the Westminster Abbey
- Westminster Abbey- opens at 9; I would say this one is worth touring and is only 2 min walk from the Palace of Westminster
- Palace of Westminster
- Big Ben- the famous clock tower is still under construction until 2020 but it's good to take a quick look at the iconic clock. It is a 13 min short walk to Trafalgar Square
- Trafalgar Square
- Leicester Square- it's one of the liveliest areas in London. There's a lot of restaurants and is a close walk to the Covent Garden.
Day Three: Windsor Castle
If you would like to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this is a good day trip.
The oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, Windsor Castle is located in the English county of Berkshire. This royal residence was first built in the 11th century after William the Conqueror led the Norman invasion of England. Breathtaking in architecture and sheer size (13 acres), Windsor Castle was recently put on the map as the place where HRH Prince Harry married American actress Meghan Markle.
Never miss the Fudge Kitchen near the castle. They typically have a fudge making experience or you can just get fudge for you to take home.
Day Four: Leadenhall Market
Harry Potter fans, pay attention: Leadenhall Market is a captivating covered market in the City of London where Diagon Alley scenes were filmed in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. You can easily lose a morning perusing the cool stalls, stores, restaurants, and pubs under this beautiful Victorian roof.
If you set off on foot, you’ll find the Tower of London nearby along with the pedestrian-only Millennium Bridge, which links St Paul’s Cathedral on the north bank of the Thames with Shakespeare’s Globe in Southwark. Here you can take some great photos of the scenic river surroundings, including the Tower Bridge.
- National Gallery
- St Paul’s Cathedral
- Millennium Bridge
- Leadenhall Market
- Sky Garden
- Tower of London
- Tower Bridge
I usually start my day early so I can make the most out of it when I travel. If you have extra time either in the morning or afternoon, you can squeeze in a quick trip to see Abbey Road where the famous walking photo of the Beatles album was taken. Their studio is also on the same street. It is better to go early in the morning or late afternoon to be able to get a nice photo since this location is usually filled with tourists.
One of my favorite neighborhoods in the UK is Notting Hill. If you'd like to walk around the chic neighborhood and adore the colorful homes, you can take St. John's Station and change to circle line and take Edgewater Road to Notting Hill Gate. You will also find the lovely street of Portobello road where you can find good antique stores.