Located in western Europe, London is the capital of the United Kingdom as well as England. It is also a popular tourist town. Spending 3 days in London is like a dream vacation for many people. But time flies when you are having fun, so planning your London itinerary is important if you want to see everything on your bucket list. After all, 3 days in London is not really very long.
The first thing to note is that most of these attractions can be seen for free with the London Pass. In fact, you can get free or discounted admission to more than 90 attractions like the London Zoo, the Tower Bridge, St. Paul's Cathedral, and Westminster Abbey. And the London Pass is good for up to two years so you can use it for more than one trip.
Your 3 days in London itinerary should include what you can do in certain neighborhoods in the morning, afternoon, and evening so those 3 days in London are spent wisely. You can visit the Princess Diana Memorial in Hyde Park, the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, or the British Museum (one of the best museums in London) by Russell Square. Or check out the street art in East London.
Stroll across the Tower Bridge and get some of the best views of the city from one of the most well-known bridges on the globe. Don't miss Westminster Abbey, the Royal Church founded in 960. The facade is stunningly beautiful making Westminster Abbey one of the most photographed churches in the world.
If you are interested in shopping, Camden Town and Oxford Street are both popular shopping areas. The largest mall in Europe is Westfield Stratford City with 227 stores and 91 eateries as well as bowling, a cinema, a casino, and several game rooms.
With only 3 days in London, it can be tricky to see all of the places you want to go to and still have time to eat and sleep! Planning is the key here, so you want to make your 3 days in London itinerary and stick to it. When out and about, safely store your shopping purchases and large bags with a luggage storage spot in London. Luggage storage in London is easy to find.
London itinerary - Day 1
Morning in the Museum Quarter
Where else can you visit so many museums in one spot? In London, it would have to be in the Museum Quarter. You can find the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, and the Victoria & Albert Museum all in one block. Along Museum Lane and Exhibition Road, these fantastic learning centers are in central London by Kensington Palace.
The Natural History Museum boasts 80 million items that cover more than 4.5 billion years of history from the beginning of the solar system to computers and new technology. The most popular exhibits include Dippy the Dinosaur and Whale Hall.
Victoria & Albert Museum features over two million artworks in 145 galleries including Rembrandt, Botticelli, and Raphael. And the Science Museum is an interactive treasure trove of cool artifacts. In fact, the center has two buildings with 16 halls displaying subjects like space, medicine, math, flight, and more.
Afternoon tea at Westminster Buckingham Palace
Why not have afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace? Well, since the Royal Family live there, you cannot actually eat inside the palace unless the Queen invites you. However, you can enjoy some lunch at one of the many eateries near the Royal Palace.
Afternoon Tea at The Goring has been outside the palace for over 100 years and boasts finger sandwiches, pastries, and tea as well as a glass of champagne. Afternoon Tea at The Rubens is also just outside the gates and overlooks the Royal Mews. Afternoon Tea at both places is served from noon until 5 PM.
Then take a walk over to the Queen's Gallery at the royal residence where you can see a stunning exhibit of some of the Queen's favorite works of art. The exhibit is always changing but usually contains about 450 pieces. After, visit the garden, Wellington Arch, and the Royal Mews while you are nearby.
Evening fun with the London Eye, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey
Whether you want to see more artwork at the National Gallery, stroll through Kensington Gardens in Hyde Park, or see London from 443 feet in the air on the London Eye at the River Thames, this can all be done right there in central London.
You cannot visit London without seeing Westminster Abbey, just south of the London Eye by Westminster Bridge. Just viewing the facade of the royal church from 960 is worth the trip but you should try to see the inside if you have time.
Another one of the most famous attractions you cannot miss is Big Ben, the most well-known clock tower in the world. It is over 315 feet tall and the neogothic style is stunning to see. Grab a bite to eat at Sougtani Restaurant or Cafe Nero afterward. They are both open late.
London itinerary - Day 2
Morning mass at St. Paul's Cathedral
Whether you want to go inside or just meander through the gardens, St. Paul's Cathedral is a great place to put on your London itinerary. Head up to the Cathedral Dome for a stunning view of the London skyline or see The Crypt where the Duke of Wellington is laid to rest.
Be sure to stop in at the British Library if you can find the time. It is just a few blocks to the northwest and houses over 112.9 million books as well as films, music, and photos. Since the Postal Museum is right on the way, why not take a look at that too?
After, grab a full English Breakfast or a cup of coffee and scones from Paul Restaurant, which has been serving Londoners since 1889. Then head up to Barbican in North London to visit the London Museum. Here you can learn all about the city dating back to prehistoric times and see Lord Mayor's Coach and the famous London Wall.
Afternoon shopping and dining at Piccadilly Circus
In the city center at the junction of Coventry, Haymarket, Piccadilly, Shaftesbury, and Regent Street, you can find what amounts to the Times Square of London. It is located in the middle of St. James, Mayfair, Soho, and Covent Garden near Trafalgar Square and the London Transport Museum.
While you are in the area, see if you can score some tickets to a show at the Piccadilly Theatre. The 1928 art deco building is gorgeous, has three levels, and each level has a bar. It is one of the largest theaters in London and is definitely worth the walk.
You will find stores like Zavvi, Tower Records, and the Virgin Megastore to name a few. When you work up an appetite, you have plenty to choose from. The Rainforest Cafe is a special family-friendly dining spot, Angus Steakhouse has thick and juicy steaks, and Hard Rock Cafe has everything else. If you are looking for a meat-free meal, see this guide to vegetarian restaurants in London.
Evening Art in London's South Bank
Along the southern bank of Thames River by the Millennium Bridge, Tate Modern is one of the four different art galleries of Tate Gallery and boasts a large selection of modern art dating back to the early 1900s. Two of the most famous are the 1916 painting of Water Lilies by Claude Monet and the 1909 painting of Figure dans un Fauteuil by Pablo Picasso.
Besides Tate Modern, you can also visit Skylark Galleries, the Hayward Gallery, and the Bankside Gallery. Hayward is open until 7 PM and includes 11 acres of space including street food markets, eateries, and pubs along the River Thames.
These galleries should definitely be part of your 3-day London itinerary. Near the galleries, there are quite a few eateries like Sticky Mango, Nando's Stamford Street Food, Pizza Express, and Azzurro, or have a drink at a classic London pub.
London itinerary - Day 3
Morning in Covent Garden
Take a walking tour in Covent Garden where you can get a special "behind the scenes" tour of the London Film Museum, the London Transport Museum, and several of the theatres nearby. You can even get an inside look at the Royal Opera House if you take the right tour.
Another way to take a tour of Covent Garden is Huntfun. Whether you are with the family, just the kids, or a group of friends, this is something fun for all ages. The Covent Garden Treasure Hunt includes a map and GPS route where you follow the clues and answer questions along the way.
After, stroll east along the River Thames to the Tower of London where you can see the Royal Mint, also known as the Tower's Mint where it has been since 1279. It is the home of most of the coin collections you may have bought in the past and has been making coins for more than 1,100 years.
Afternoon park exploring
Of course, one of the most famous parks in London is Wimbledon Park. With 67 acres of space including tennis courts, croquet, golf, and a watersport center, Wimbledon Park Lake is a pleasurable spot to take a walk, or you can feed the birds in the bird feeding area.
Right next door, Richmond Park is much larger at over 2,300 acres and is one of the eight royal parks in London. This is a historic park from the 1600s with a plethora of flora, fauna, and activities. Make sure this is on your 3-day London itinerary.
Next to Richmond Park, Bushy Park has 1,335 acres and is another royal park. You will find sensational water gardens, rugby fields, cricket, field hockey, and fishing ponds. You will also likely see some fallow deer and other wildlife. If you want to see some more flora, the Royal Botanic Gardens just north of Richmond Park is stunning.
Evening food tour fun
Since you have probably worked up a good appetite by now, why not take a food tour? The Twilight Soho Food Tour begins at 4:30 PM and lasts about 3.5 hours. You will enjoy foods from six different places like La Bodega Negra Mexican food, gin-infused beef pie at the London Gin Club, and cured pork at Enrique Tomas to name a few.
You may also enjoy the Secret Food Tour, which is also 3.5 hours of food tasting and information. Learn more about the history of traditional cuisines as you enjoy samples of the local bites. Begin at the HMS Belfast before heading to the Southwark Cathedral for a tour before hitting the Borough Market, London Bridge, Hay's Galleria, and Tower Bridge.
The East End Food Tour is also 3.5 hours, and you get dishes like fish & chips, bacon sandwiches, and bread pudding. If you have a sweet tooth, try the Chocolate Ecstasy Food Tour. It takes about three hours, and you will visit chocolate shops all over Belgravia like Pierre Hermes and Rococo Chocolate.
Harry Potter Tours and More
You will see that 3 days in London go by fast so you may need to come back again. From the Tower of London UNESCO World Heritage Site to Piccadilly Circus to the British Museum and the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square, there is just too much to do. You may need to spend a few more days in London.
If you are a Harry Potter fan, you will love seeing the Millennium Bridge, where part of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was filmed. This is a great place for selfies. And don't forget to try some terrific London street food! First, plan your 3 days in London itinerary to help you stay on track, and don't forget your London Pass.