One of the top tourist destinations in the world, London is famous for its old cathedrals and Victorian houses. This city features many world-famous attractions such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, and more. Apart from being home to beautiful gardens, museums, and buildings, London also has a vibrant nightlife and is a shopping paradise for most visitors. There is no shortage of things to do here, so visitors can easily spend a few days exploring this city. However, if you are planning to spend just a weekend in London, then here is everything you need to know.
Are 2 Days Enough In London?
Let’s be clear, two days are not sufficient to cover all the marvelous places and activities that this city has to offer. In this short duration, you will be able to touch only the surface of this city. However, worry not. If you cannot afford to spend more time in London, then this weekend London itinerary will be perfect for you.
In this itinerary, we have included all the major sights in London including Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, etc. that you must not miss. As a bonus, we have also included a few offbeat attractions and experiences that you should check out in London.
Weekend in London - Detailed Itinerary
Saturday in London
Start your weekend in London by visiting the famous Buckingham Palace and watching the Changing of the Guard ceremony here. In this ceremony, the Queen’s Guard transfer the responsibility of protecting Buckingham Palace and St. James’ Palace to the New Guard. This ceremony takes place almost daily during the summer season and on select days in the winter season. In this tradition, guards march in their uniform to the music and complete the transition. Later, you can enjoy a few quick strolls in St. James’ Park before heading to the other attractions in London.
Local Traveler's Tip
Check the schedule before visiting Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guard ceremony as the day and time can change or it can get canceled at times.
Next, make your way to Leicester Square which is a famous attraction in London and is often shown on the TV. This place features many cool cinemas where you can catch a movie and several takeaway food places to enjoy a quick bite.
Piccadilly Circus is also a short walk from here which is considered London’s Times Square. You will notice the big bright billboards, street buskers, several road crossings, etc. that make this a lively place to visit in London.
From Leicester Square, Covent Garden is just a 5-minute walk. It is one of the most popular places to visit in London, especially the centrally located Apple Market which features several cool restaurants, shops, bars, and more.
Local Traveler's Tip
Avoid taking a tube to cover these attractions as walking from Leicester Square to Covent Garden and Piccadilly Circus would be quicker than taking the tube.
GRAB A BITE TO EAT!
Ave Mario - After you are done exploring Leicester Square, Covent Garden, etc., you can head for a delicious meal at Ave Mario. Covent Garden is full of amazing restaurants and cafés and Ave Mario is one of the top restaurants to try here. They have a unique decor inspired by Tuscany and serve dishes from the same region as well. A few top dishes to try here are pillowy pizzas, creamy truffle burrata, and more.
In the afternoon, you can head to the famous attractions in London - Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament.
Dating back to 1245, Westminster Abbey is one of the most stunning gothic buildings in the UK. It was used as a coronation site since 1066 and is home to the graves of many famous monarchs and literary figures.
Across the Westminster Abbey stands the Houses of Parliament. It is the seat of the British government and also has stunning gothic architecture. If you love gothic buildings with historical significance, then you must visit these attractions in London.
Local Traveler's Tip
Westminster Abbey is not open to visitors on Sunday but you can join the service.
Enjoy the sunset view in London from the iconic London Eye at a height of 443 feet. It is the second-highest observation point in the city and offers amazing panoramic views of the city.
There are 32 fully sealed capsules that visitors can board to enjoy the view. From this point, you can see as far as Windsor Castle and many nearby attractions such as Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, and so on.
Local Traveler's Tip
London Eye is crowded in the evening so visitors are recommended to buy skip-the-line tickets in advance.
Enjoy the views from a bar at The Shard and have a nice meal
If you wish to end your first day in London on a high note, there is no better place to visit than The Shard. This is a skyscraper with 95 floors and is the highest observation point in the city.
Although there is a viewing platform on the 70th floor that has an entry fee, you can enjoy the views from The Shard for free by hanging out at one of the bars on the lower floors. This way, you will pay the same amount as the entrance fee to the Viewing Platform but you can also enjoy a drink with your view.
Later, you can even enjoy a nice meal at the bar here while looking out at London city.
Sunday in London
On day 2 of your London trip, you can begin with a visit to the Tower of London. Located on the banks of the River Thames, this historic castle is approximately 900 years old and features around 23,000 artifacts from the British empire.
Tour the White Castle, the first castle to be built by William the Conqueror, where you can find artifacts from the Royal Armouries.
From the Tower of London, Tower Bridge is a short walk where you can enjoy some delicious Mexican food while relaxing on a sunbed chair. This neo-Gothic bridge plays an important role in allowing ships to pass through the city since 1894.
You can enjoy a walk on the bridge and cross River Thames while enjoying the surrounding views.
Local Traveler's Tip
The Tower of London becomes quite crowded during public holidays and the evenings. So, it is recommended to plan a visit in the morning or on a weekday.
Next, head to the famous Tate Museum of Modern Art. Here, you can find a diverse collection of artworks from talented artists such as Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko, and more. You can also attend the temporary exhibitions at this museum by paying the entrance fee for those.
From Tate Modern, you can walk across Millenium Bridge to reach St. Paul’s Cathedral. This famous cathedral has been built and rebuilt five times, especially after the Great Fire of London, and is one of the most striking buildings in the city.
It was designed by the famous architect Christopher Wren in the 17th and 18th centuries and its dome is a world-famous architectural marvel. Tourists can enjoy a visit inside St. Paul’s Cathedral to admire the interiors of this gorgeous church.
Local Traveler's Tip
Visit the cathedral early in the morning when it is quiet to enjoy the unique acoustics here.
GRAB A BITE TO EAT @ BOROUGH MARKET
Located on Southwark Street and Borough High Street, Borough Market is officially the oldest food market in London. From English cheese to specialty fruits, you can buy it all around here. After exploring the market for a few hours, you can find a nice restaurant here for a scrumptious meal. BOB’s Lobster Wine Bar & Kitchen is an exceptional place to try seafood in Borough Market. Their signature dishes that you must try are lobster mac n cheese, tuna tacos, shrimp, and more.
Your weekend in London is almost over but there are still a few places that you can squeeze in through the schedule.
Before you head to Kensington Palace, make a stop at Royal Albert Hall. This concert hall was built by Queen Victoria in memory of her husband and has featured performances from world-renowned artists. From rock concerts to award ceremonies, all kinds of events are held at this hall.
After a short tour of the Royal Albert Hall, proceed to the Kensington Palace which is the official residence of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Take a tour of the majestic King’s State Apartments and Queen’s State Apartments before spending quality time in the Kensington Garden.
Local Traveler's Tip
The Kensington Palace closes at 6 PM so plan your visit accordingly.
Your last stop on the weekend in London itinerary is the Sky Garden. This place also offers stunning views of London city and is completely free to visit. There are many bars where you can enjoy a drink and a meal and end your London trip on a high note.
Local Traveler's Tip
If you visit Sky Garden during the day, you need to book a ticket. After 6 PM, entry is free here.
Of course, a trip to Sky Garden is incomplete without a meal at Darwin Brasserie. Located on the 36th floor, this restaurant in Sky Garden offers you not only amazing food with cocktails but a stunning view of London city as well.
With its high-end cuisine, luxurious ambiance, and magical views, this is the perfect place to end your trip to London.
First Time In London?
Is this your first time visiting London? Well, we have you covered!
For your first time in London, there are a few important things that you must keep in your mind. While booking your flight tickets, getting a visa, etc. are all important tasks, you cannot forget to plan your daily activities in London. From where to stay to how to travel in London, there are lots of things to research and plan.
This is why we have listed below a few tips and things to know before you begin booking your trip to London.
London Travel Restrictions
Given the current situation around the world, it is important to read up on the latest travel restrictions before you visit London. As of now, there are minimal restrictions in London. Visitors don’t need to wear masks anymore and do not need a compulsory RTPCR to visit the city as well. However, these rules keep changing so check out the blog post below to keep a track of the latest rules and regulations.
Traveling in the time of a pandemic is more uncertain which is why getting travel insurance has become very important now. Make sure to select the right travel insurance as it will help you recover from any losses or unexpected emergencies that might arise when traveling.
COVID Travel Restrictions
Where To Stay In London
One of the most important things to consider when planning a trip to London is where will you be staying in the city. Since London is a big city with 20 boroughs, you must choose the right area for your budget and interests.
If you are looking for a good area to stay in and budget is not a concern, then West End is a great place to consider. There are several attractions to check out here along with many restaurants and bars.
For sightseeing purposes, Westminster is one of the best places to stay in London. You are not only well-connected with public transportation but also have many attractions to explore such as Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, The Houses of Parliament, and so on.
For a trip with family, the best area to stay in is Kensington. Many free museums are within walking distance and the borough is well-connected with public transportation.
Packing For London
When you are packing for London, do keep in mind the weather and activities that you would be indulging in. Always carry a raincoat or an umbrella as it can rain anytime in the city. Apart from that, pack the general necessities such as photo ID, wallet or fanny pack, travel adaptor, reusable bottle, and more. If you are planning a visit in winter, then keep a jacket or a sweater as well. Most importantly, pack clothes that cover your knees and shoulders if you will be visiting a lot of churches.
Travel Packing Checklist
Getting Around In London
With 20 boroughs, London is a big city to cover on a weekend trip. Thankfully, they have a well-connected public transportation network that allows people to cover different neighborhoods with great ease.
There are multiple transport options to choose from including tubes, buses, trams, railway services, cable cars, and more. The cheapest way to travel around London is by using the tube, underground railway, or buses. Visitors can use the Oyster card to explore all these places.
For tourists, the riverboat and the red double-decker buses are also a good way to explore the city. A taxi cab is comfortable but traffic is a nightmare in London so, the best way to go around will be by using a bus or the metro.
Public Transportation in London 101
Safety Tips For A Weekend in London
- Book the Attraction Tickets in Advance - There are many popular attractions in London and the best way to visit them without standing in long queues is by booking your tickets in advance.
- Be Careful while crossing streets - Pay attention to the sidewalks and streets as you walk around as this will help you follow the traffic rules and avoid any unwanted fines.
- Always carry an umbrella - London has erratic weather so it is recommended to pack for all weather and always keep an umbrella on you when exploring the city.
- Walking is faster than a tube - Although the tube system in London is extensive and a life-saver, in a few cases it will be quicker to walk between two attractions rather than taking a tube.
- Pack a G-type plug - London uses a G-type plug so make sure you carry a G-type plug converter to charge your gadgets. You can also buy a universal adaptor that can be used around the world. Buy it from your country as it can become expensive to find one in London.
- Free museum days - A few museums in London such as National History Museum, British Museum, Science Museum, etc. are free to visit.
- Don’t leave your luggage unattended - When you are exploring the city, don’t leave your baggage unattended as anyone can pick it up and leave.
- Keep your valuables close to you - Items such as your wallet, mobile phones, passport, etc. should always be kept close or stored in a locker.
- Avoid walking alone at night - Most importantly, when you are exploring London at night, use a cab. Avoid walking at night and if you do, stay on the well-lit roads.
Have An Extra Day In London?
If you have an extra day in London, then you can choose to spend it in the city or the countryside. The country is filled with beautiful destinations and many of these amazing places are simply a day away from London. From visiting the ancient Stonehenge to strolling through the historical streets of Oxford, you can easily plan a day trip from London to make your trip even more memorable here. A few popular day trips to consider from London are Bath, Stonehenge, Windsor, Leads, and more.