A blend of history, culture and adventures, London offers endless possibilities to every type of travelers. One of the world’s oldest cities, London will surely awaken your inner history buff. This 3-day suggested itinerary will lead you to London’s famous tourist attractions and will lead you to experience its creative and artistic scene. Depending on your traveling priorities, you can certainly fine tune this itinerary to suit your needs. Welcome to London!
Things to know before traveling to London:
Language – England does not have an official language. English, the de facto official language of the United Kingdom, is spoken by majority of the population. In 2011, the second-most spoken language in England is Polish. Please note, England is a melting pot of different cultures, which means that there are people who don’t speak English in places.
Currency exchange – The official currency in England is the British Pound Sterling, which is the same currency used in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks and Bureau de Change Kiosks which are located in the airports and city centers. If you plan to use your credit card in England or other parts of the United Kingdom, check with your bank if they have a “chip and pin” or “chip and signature” credit card. The United Kingdom uses the “chip and pin” for added security.
Getting around – The tube (subway) is probably the easiest and fastest way to get around London. Before your trip, make sure to download a map of the subway lines on your smart phone or secure a paper copy from all train station ticket offices. Buses are also excellent travel options as London has vast network of buses. This option provides great sightseeing opportunity while you travel around London. The No. 11 London Bus is one of the most famous bus routes because it goes through some of the most popular attractions in the city like St Paul’s Cathedral, Millennium Bridge, Tate Modern, Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace. For timetables and routes visit the official website of Transport for London.
Where to stay – There are many types of holiday accommodation in Bristol, from luxury hotels to cheaper accommodation like youth hostels and bed and breakfast. There are also plenty of apartment rentals if you prefer the comfort and convenience of having your own place with cooking facilities. If you are going to follow our suggested itinerary, we recommend accommodation options available in South Kensington or Bloomsbury to get easy access to the tubes.
Hotels to consider in London:
Detailed itinerary: Discover what London has to offer in 3 short days
Today starts your adventure in London! Check into your chosen accommodation where you will be staying for three nights. Get settled and spend the morning in your hotel to rest a little. Then, check out some of the most famous attractions of London. Then, check out some of the most famous attractions of London. The city has been hanging around for two millennia and has been the seat of British Royal Dynasties and of English Governments throughout the history. Having survived fire, invasion and plague in the past, there is now incredible wealth of things to experience, from historical attractions to vibrant city markets.
On your first day, visit the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster commonly known as Big Ben, one of London’s best known landmarks. Do not miss the Houses of Parliament, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For an excellent spot for taking photos, walk through the Westminster Bridge to the other side of the Thames. Then visit the Westminster Abbey, one of the finest examples of medieval architecture in Europe and is the main burial place for royals. And of course, one of London’s most recognizable landmark, Buckingham Palace is the London residence and principal workplace of the monarchy of the United Kingdom.
Get a full English breakfast to start your second day. A filling breakfast gives you plenty of energy, and you set out this morning for the galleries, museums and shopping streets of London. Start at Trafalgar Square, one of the most popular squares in the world and is a great avenue for people watching. Drop by the National Gallery, located on Trafalgar Square, to see some of the best artworks from Michelangelo, Vincent Willem van Gogh and Pablo Picasso. Spend the rest of the afternoon at Marble Arch and Kensington Gardens.
On day 3, do a Self Guided Harry Potter Walking Tour of London. Scheduled tour of the Harry Potter locations with itineraries to feed Harry Potter fans is quite expensive. However, this walking tour can be easily done by yourself for free. Plus, you can do this tour at your own pace and in your own time. Although this tour is aimed at fans of the boy wizard, there are still plenty of attractions for non-fans.
Start your walking tour where it all began for Harry Potter. The London Zoo’s Reptile House is featured in the movie Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and is where Harry Potter spoke in Parseltongue (ability to speak to snakes). Your next stop is the London King’s Cross railway station, the iconic railway terminus home to Platform 9 ¾. From the station, make your way to Charing Cross Road, the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron. Have a delicious lunch in Piccadilly Circus, one of the most recognizable London landmarks in the Harry Potter movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.
In the afternoon, continue your tour at the Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the location of Number 12 Grimmauld Place and Sirius Black’s family residence. Do not miss to visit Leadenhall Market, featured in Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone as Dragon Alley. Next is the Australia House, the filming location of the Gringott’s Wizarding Bank. End the day at the Millennium Bridge, the pedestrian suspension bridge featured in the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie.
Undoubtedly one of the best travel experiences in United Kingdom is a visit to the Stonehenge, one of the most famous pre-historic megaliths in the world. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986, this prehistoric megalithic monument boats complex and sophisticated architectural design. Make sure to join a guided tour to appreciate the site. You will have an opportunity to take a scenic bus ride for stunning views of Central London, Amesbury and Salisbury. You will also have enough time in the Stonehenge to marvel at the views and enjoy the cool air. If you want to get a closer look during your visit, make sure to avail a special access, which is normally sold out months before the actual visit.
Your final day in the city can be spent on last-minute shopping and seeing those London attractions that you haven’t yet had time for. You may also dedicate this day to the British Museum, which houses a vast collection of artifacts and special exhibitions. Aside from its vast array of works of art, the British Museum itself has a magnificent architecture with an equally interesting history. If you still have time, you may also visit the National Gallery, which houses large collection of historical paintings from the world’s most famous painters. Head back to your hotel, then to the airport in time to check in for your international flight, opt to continue traveling independently in England, or extend your stay in London.
Have you been to London or anywhere else in the United Kingdom? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.
Featured image: Red bus in motion and Big Ben – he icons of England in vintage, retro style (PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek / Shutterstock.com)