Weekend in London: 3-day itinerary

No matter how many times you visit, a weekend in London is always an adventure. Whether you want a glimpse of London’s historic past, want to immerse yourself in the city's incredible food scene or want to get lost in an amazing theatre show, here are some ideas on how to make the most of a three-day break in one of the world’s most exciting cities.

Day 1

Morning 

Get a feel for the city by exploring London’s main sights. You can do this on foot – central London is very walkable – or try a hop-on hop-off bus tour. Don’t miss the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Marble Arch. Green Park is a great place to enjoy an ice cream and a little peace and quiet before hitting the shops on Oxford Street, seeing an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts or strolling through the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square. 

Afternoon 

Enjoy a lunchtime picnic in Hyde Park or, if you’re looking for things to do when it rains, try one of the many free museums. The Natural History Museum in South Kensington and the Museum of London are great for all ages, and both have cafés. The London Transport Museum is another winner and its Covent Garden location is also perfect if you want to enjoy some of the area’s talented street performers or grab tickets for a performance at the world-famous Royal Opera House. After lunch, take a walk around Mayfair and Belgravia. Mayfair is home to Bond Street and Burlington Arcade, both absolute must-sees, even if all you intend to do is window shop. Belgravia is where you’ll find some of the tall, elegant stucco-fronted houses for which London is so well-known. 

Evening 

Finish your day in Soho. This ever-popular neighbourhood has restaurants for all palates and pockets: try Andrew Edmunds for intimate dining or Yauatcha for some of the city’s best Chinese cooking. And, after you've eaten, what about enjoying some jazz at Ronnie Scott’s, a film at the Curzon, a cocktail at a rooftop bar or a pint at the French House pub, the one-time favourite watering hole of both Charles de Gaulle and Dylan Thomas? 

Day 2

Morning 

If your second day falls on a Sunday, get up early and head out to Bethnal Green for the Columbia Road Flower Market before walking back towards the city to Spitalfields. Spitalfields Market is open every day of the week and, as well as great shopping, has several options for breakfast or brunch, including The Breakfast Club and The Diner. Once you’ve eaten, walk south through Whitechapel and towards Tower Bridge. Don’t forget to allow at least a couple of hours if you want to visit the Tower of London. 

Afternoon 

Continue west along the South Bank to HMS Belfast, a decommissioned Royal Navy warship that’s now a museum, and then on to Southwark Cathedral. The cathedral has a small café but Borough Market is by far the best place to seek out a late lunch. Alternatively, if you’re more thirsty than hungry, press on a little further to the Anchor Bankside pub. After lunch, walk on to Shakespeare’s reconstructed Globe Theatre. You'll need to pre-book if you want a guided tour of the interior or if you want to watch a performance. Standing tickets are cheap but seated ones are best enjoyed with the aid of a cushion. Alternatively, a little further along the South Bank, the London Dungeon and London Aquarium are two attractions that are especially popular with younger children. Check out our guide for more things to do with kids in London

Evening 

As evening falls, there’s nowhere better to be than on the South Bank. If you’re a skater, check out the Southbank Skate Space with its bright graffiti, while the nearby Southbank Centre and Royal Festival Hall both host all kinds of performances – everything from poetry to comedy and music. At weekends, you’ll also find one of London’s best street food markets just behind the main Southbank Centre building. Finish the evening with a pre-booked ride on the lastminute.com London Eye to see the city lit up at night. 

Day 3

Morning 

Begin your third day with a walk through Hampstead Heath. If you’re a swimmer, you could even try out one of the swimming ponds. On a fine day, don’t miss heading up to the Parliament Hill viewpoint. As London’s highest point, it affords fantastic views across the city, with St Paul's Cathedral and the Shard just two of the sights to spot on the skyline. 

Afternoon 

Squeeze in a visit to Kenwood House, on the edge of Hampstead Heath. It has a grand interior and an art collection that includes a Rembrandt self-portrait. Afterwards, enjoy lunch in its café and perhaps a late-afternoon walk through its landscaped gardens. 

Evening 

Follow the Regents Canal towpath from Primrose Hill to Camden Market. Open until late every day of the week, this longstanding and lively market is a great place to soak up London life. Browse its shops for your perfect souvenir and grab a bite to eat from one of the cafés or food stalls before seeing a show at the nearby Camden Roundhouse. 

You could also be interested in

Find your perfect destination

Sign up to our newsletter

We'll send you exclusive offers and sneak peeks of our best deals,
plus travel tips and the latest advice on where you can go.