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Raine from Dallas asked

Itinerary Check

I’ve come up with this itinerary for a quick trip I’m taking to London. I’ve never been there so I have no idea if this is even close to right. If someone can tell me I’d appreciate it. 

Day one (Friday):

  • London Bridge
  • Tower of London
  • Walk to Leadenhall Market for lunch
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • Walk Fleet Street to Covent Garden
  • Dinner
  • See a play at night?
  • London Eye

Day two (Saturday):

  • Portobello Road Market/explore Notting Hill area
  • Kensington Palace (close at 6)
  • Lunch?
  • Westminster Abbey (closes at 3:30) (18)
  • Harrod’s
  • Dinner?

London (United Kingdom)

7 Answers
answered by
Renate from San Francisco Bay Area

Hi, Raine,

You know what might be great because of your limited time and would give you a nice overview of London? An on-off Doubledecker bus tour (for a reasonable fee, you can catch them all over London and hop on and off as you like). Sit on the upper level and listen to the tour guide. You'll see many major sites such as Buckingham PalaceBig BenParliament SquareWestminster Abbey, the London Eye, the The ShardSt Pauls, the Tower Bridge, and Tower Of London and will get a good feel for the City. It is definitely a worthwhile activity for a first-time visitor.

And, again, because your time is so limited, I might consider Evensong Services at either Westminster Abbey or St. Paul's instead of hours of sightseeing in both places. These services are free and I believe occur about 5:30pm.They are not for looking about the churches but rather for sitting in worshipful mode but they do provide a beautiful atmosphere in iconic settings and would provide a bit of rest and peace to what will undoubtedly be an otherwise pretty hectic two days.

By all means head to the West End and see a show! (This should be mandatory with every trip to London.) Check out the tkts booth in Leicester Square the same day as the show for discounted tickets. But, if you do this, there will be a queue which may take up valuable time. 

Although it is much too much for this first trip, the British Museum is an absolutely phenomenal place to go. Even if you only have time to see the Egyptian wing, try to do it.

Have a wonderful and memorable time! Just remember, this is your first trip to London, not your last, so think about obtaining an overview and enjoying a few key activities.

For a fun post on the differences between British and American-speak (and a few photos and references to some of what we've just discussed), here's a link to a blogpost I wrote a few years back:

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. London (attraction)
  2. Doubledecker (attraction)
  3. Buckingham Palace (attraction)
  4. Big Ben (attraction)
  5. Parliament Square (attraction)
  6. Westminster Abbey (attraction)
  7. London Eye (attraction)
  8. The Shard (attraction)
  9. St Pauls (attraction)
  10. Tower Bridge (attraction)
  11. Tower Of London (attraction)
  12. West End (attraction)
  13. tkts (attraction)
  14. Leicester Square (attraction)
  15. British Museum (attraction)
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answered by

Hey Raine, I would recommend you take a London Pass if you want to cover several places of attraction. It would require you to start early though but it gives you accelerated entrance in most places. 

I am not sureif you want to do the London Eye. Usually the queues are painfully long and you can get a high-rise view from elsewhere (some bar perhaps?). 

If you are going by Covent Garden Market, try Neal Street. It has some nice boutique stores you may like. And have you considered  Madame Tussauds London? Not idea if you have visited a Madame Tussauds in other cities. If not, it's quite enjoyable. 

I hear the Buckingham Palace is worth checking out too. Unfortunately, I could not enter since it was closed down for the Queen's birthday, but they do have some interesting exhibitions too. Hope this helps!

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Covent Garden Market (attraction)
  2. Neal Street (attraction)
  3. Madame Tussauds London (attraction)
  4. Buckingham Palace (attraction)
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answered first by
Courtney from Los Angeles

On paper your itinerary is definitely doable, meaning you can get to all the places on your list in the frame of a day, but I’m afraid you might end up a bit frustrated by the scope of some of the places you’re trying to see, not to mention the cost. For example, the Tower Of LondonTower of London is one of my all-time most favorite parts of London, but there is so much to see there that I, personally, would be incredibly annoyed by having to just see a part of it (which, unfortunately, is what you’d have to do to keep this schedule). Also, a ticket to the Tower runs about 20 pounds (about 30-ish bucks) and it seems like a shame to pay that much and not see everything. 

So, I’d say it’s up to you—if you don’t mind just getting an idea of what each place is and don’t mind spending the money, go for it, you can definitely get it all done. But…if you’re like me and you don’t want to rush, here’s what I’d do:

On day one—I’d either cut out the Tower (which pains me to say), or see the Tower and then plan to possibly re-vamp your schedule (maybe take out either St Pauls or Covent Garden). By the way, if you do end up walking Fleet Street (which isn’t a terribly pretty walk, incidentally), try to grab a bite at  Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. It’s the oldest pub in London and it’s incredible. You can practically feel the ghosts! Great food, too. 

For dinner, I would check out Rules Restaurant. It’s the oldest restaurant in London and while touristy (I saw some fanny packs when I was there), it’s a blast. Looks exactly like what you would think the oldest restaurant in London would look like. 

For Day Two, I think you’ve got the same problem. The  portobello marketscan take a while to go through, plus it’s such great people-watching that it seems a shame to rush it. Depending on whether or not you hit St. Paul’s the day before, you might want to think about cutting out Westminster Abbey. It closes at 3:30 and charges 18 pounds admission. If you do try to hit everything, I’d flip the Abbey with Kensington since that at least closes at 6. Kensington also has a couple of great places to grab a bite to eat. Their main restaurant, The Orangery, is actually pretty reasonable and gorgeous. 

For dinner, you might want to consider just eating at Harrods. None of the restaurants there are cheap, but then neither are many of the restaurants in London. They’re all really beautiful and it’ll certainly save you time which you’ll need!


Comments (3)

Courtney - these are great suggestions! We will be there for a week in Nov. What are your top 3 favorite things to see? I will be with my 11 year old daughter.

Hi, Kari, I think it probably depends on what the 11-year-old is into but if I had to say I would go for the food stalls at Harrod's, maybe Camden Market or Ledenhall (where they filmed Harry Potter) and maybe something like the "rubbing centre" at St. Martin in the Fields where you can do brass rubbings. Here's the link if you need it: If none of these seems right let me know and I'll give you other suggestions. Would love to know how it goes! C

I second Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. Dickens and Johnson were regulars (and Kipling?) I might stay away from the kidney pie, though.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tower Of London (attraction)
  2. St Pauls (attraction)
  3. Covent Garden (attraction)
  4. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese (restaurant)
  5. Rules Restaurant (restaurant)
  6. portobello markets (attraction)
  7. Westminster Abbey (attraction)
  8. Harrods (attraction)
comments (3)
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answered by
Dabs from Chicago

If you get a really early start on Friday you could do all that you have mentioned.  Budget 3-4 hours for the Tower, visit the Crown Jewels 1st before the lines start, double back and do the beefeater tour which takes about an hour.  We walked to Leadenhall Market from there, not far at all.  From Leadenhall to Saint Paul's Cathedral is also walkable but I'd probably take a bus from St. Paul's to Covent Garden if your time is starting to run short.

Kensington Palace really wouldn't be on my list for a short visit, they seem to change it every time I go and the last time (April 2014) was the most disappointing.  The visit to Westminster Abbey is not cheap but it is worth the money IF you aren't rushing to try to get somewhere else.  Do the verger tour, an extra 3£ I think, it allows access to parts of the Abbey that you can't see as part of the general public.  I would visit this before St. Paul's, it has incredible history.  As much as I enjoy Portobello Road, you might also consider Camden Market as an alternative.  A lot of Portobello Road is antiques although there is also tourist stuff, food, clothing, etc.

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Crown Jewels (attraction)
  2. Leadenhall Market (attraction)
  3. Saint Paul's Cathedral (attraction)
  4. Covent Garden (attraction)
  5. Westminster Abbey (attraction)
  6. Camden Market (attraction)
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answered by
Alyssa from United States

Sounds like a great itinerary!  The only thing you may want to see is Windsor Castle Although it is a bit outside of the city, it is absolutely worth it.  It is in a beautiful town with lots of adorable shops and great food, like the West Cornwall Pasty Co..

Comments (1)

Jus to point out, the Windsor Castle indicated on the map is not THE Windsor Castle (unless you meant a pub)!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Windsor Castle (attraction)
  2. West Cornwall Pasty Co. (restaurant)
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top answer by
Alex from London

Hi Raine, 

You seem to have a nice grip on what to see and do but I would suggest a few tweeks to get the most of food and sightseeing, among the locals.  I assume you are okay with walking? Remember that you can always pop in a bus or tube but do make sure to have an oyster card with money in it (or a day/weekend pass) which you can get at most tube (that's the underground) stations.  You can use to see what tubes and busses work best for you.

Okay so here goes:

Day 1 (Friday):

0hr start:Tower Of London start here because  it is conveniently located at an 'edge' and next to its own tube stop.  I think it has been mentioned that the Tower is HUGE and quite costly to enter so it is up to you and your interests to decide how long to spend here.  If for nothing else, you can walk around the monument by the Thames and take some great fotos (30mins)

All Hallows By The Tower is one of the oldest churches in London and located next to the Tower.  It is really cool to visit (briefly) because of all the ancient relics it contains and also because the crypt reveals an old Roman road running through it.

Tower Bridge cross the bridge on foot over to the south bank and then walk west to Potters Fields Park and the The Scoop at More London where the Mayor's Office is located. Keep following the riverwalk past the HMS Belfast and through the Hay's Galleria

2.5hr: Borough Market for lunch alongside all the local office workers and visitors (this is by far London's prefered market and you get the real vibe of street food and produce stalls -- Leadenhall is less market, more shops). Once you have your food in hand, take a seat in the yard or grass of Southwark Cathedral where you can eat your lunch. If  you like coffee, try a brew from local favourites Monmouth Coffee Company (they have a shop adjacent  to Borough Market).

3.5hr: Continue on in the southbank riverwalk toward Blackfriar's rail bridge, on the Bankside, past the Globe Theatre, to the Tate Modern Gardens. You might prefer to skip the modern art museum but the building is super cool to look at -- an old power station. Cross the pedestrian Millennium Bridge towards St Paul's Cathedral for tthe best views of the river and the church.

4hrs: If you have the patience and stamina, climb the cathedral dome for spectabular views over London (my favourite). Then, instead of Fleet Street, walk down towards the river through Blackfriars (see if you can find the Apothecary Hall, a traditional guildhall from Medieval tradition) and continue on onn the Embankment Pier

5hrs: Turn back up towards The Strand through the Temple Courts (you can walk in, don't mind the gates) and stop at the Temple Church on your way. You will then arrive at The Old Bailey, in the Strand

6hrs: As suggested before, the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a great histoic pub to stop at (last renovated in 1667 ;). It is a short walk back on Fleet Street.  

6.5hrs Continue on to Covent Garden where you can easily find a dinner option.  I would also suggest that you make a quick stop at Trafalgar Square which is essentially the heart of London and about 5mins walk from Covent Garden.

If you like, catch a play or musical.  In terms of visiting the London Eye, do book advanced tickets to avoid a long waiting queue (maybe best to do on day 2 after Westminster)  If I may suggest alternatives to getting good city views, perhaps you would consider the The Shardviewing platform (also book) which is in London Bridge, across from Borough Market.  Or, if you are keen to see a bit of the financial centre, why not have breakfast the the Duck&Waffle in the Heron Tower, before you start your tour?  The views from the restaurant are spectacular and cover the City (financial heart) which will be buzzing on a Friday morning.

Day two (Saturday):

0hr Start: Notting Hill is great on a late saturday morning. Enjoy a nice late breakfast/brunch and stroll through boutiques, street market stalls and antique shops. Make sure to explore both Westbourne Grove and Portobello Rd.

2hrs: Kensignton Palace in Hyde Park Apartments. I would be weary of time spent in the Palace when you are time limited although the Orangerie and Sunken Gardens are lovely. Don't miss a chance to walk through Hyde Park as well.  From the Palace you can begin a 1hr stroll that will take you through Hyde Park and Green lanes park, then into The Mall where you can see Buckingham Palace the Queen's Official Residence, and into St James's Park Lake, before arriving at Westminster.

4hrs: Visit Westminster Abbey

5hrs: IF you are keen on the London Eye, then cross Westminster Bridge, just by the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, and walk towards the Royal Festival Hall. The Eye is just there in the Jubillee Gardens, 10mins from Parliament.  You can loop back up to Trafalgar Square via Waterloo Bridge and continue on from there.

7hrs: If you are keen on shopping you can indeed go to Harrods. However, I would suggest that you walk from Westminster to Trafalgar Square which will take 10mins, and then up Haymarket to Piccadilly Circus. Once there, check out the shops on Regent Street, Carnaby Stand Oxford Street finally ending in Selfridges (another of the city's famous department stores).

I tried to include all the places you had mentioned but in a way that makes the walking easier with no backtracking. I also included guide times but these are only as accurate as the ammount of time you decide to spend in each stop. Hope this is hellpful.

Comments (3)

Awesome answer!!!


These were fabulous suggestions and I think I shall include many of these ideas in my London itinerary next month!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tower Of London (attraction)
  2. All Hallows By The Tower (attraction)
  3. Tower Bridge (attraction)
  4. Potters Fields Park (attraction)
  5. The Scoop at More London (attraction)
  6. HMS Belfast (attraction)
  7. Hay's Galleria (attraction)
  8. Borough Market (attraction)
  9. Southwark Cathedral (attraction)
  10. Monmouth Coffee Company (attraction)
  11. Bankside (neighborhood)
  12. Globe Theatre (attraction)
  13. Tate Modern Gardens (attraction)
  14. Millennium Bridge (attraction)
  15. St Paul's Cathedral (attraction)
  16. Blackfriars (neighborhood)
  17. Apothecary Hall (attraction)
  18. Embankment Pier (attraction)
  19. The Strand (attraction)
  20. Temple Church (attraction)
  21. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese (restaurant)
  22. Trafalgar Square (attraction)
  23. The Shard (attraction)
  24. Heron Tower (attraction)
  25. Notting Hill (neighborhood)
  26. Kensignton Palace (attraction)
  27. Hyde Park Apartments (hotel)
  28. Green lanes park (attraction)
  29. The Mall (attraction)
  30. Buckingham Palace (attraction)
  31. St James's Park Lake (attraction)
  32. Westminster (attraction)
  33. Westminster Abbey (attraction)
  34. Royal Festival Hall (attraction)
  35. Trafalgar Square (attraction)
  36. Haymarket (attraction)
  37. Piccadilly Circus (attraction)
  38. Regent Street (attraction)
  39. Carnaby St (attraction)
  40. Oxford Street (attraction)
  41. Selfridges (attraction)
comments (3)
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answered by
Laura from Buenos Aires

If you have only two days I wouldn't visit the London Tower, it's nice but it takes precious time. I'd rather make a quick visit to the British Museum

I say yes to all your other options. Notting Hill is beautiful, Soho is great, the South Bank also. 

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. British Museum (attraction)
  2. Notting Hill (neighborhood)
  3. Soho (neighborhood)
  4. South Bank (neighborhood)
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