London is full of incredible attractions for tourists from around the world. 4 days in London, one of the largest cities in the world, offers an opportunity to see some of the most famous landmarks on earth. If you are traveling to London for the first time, you came to the right place. And if you are going to London on a budget, you DEFINITELY came to the right place. We are all about having an incredible time without breaking the bank! Let’s get to it.
London is an enormous and awesome tourist city. There are tons of things you can go do and see, so how will you know what to choose to do? There is just so much to sift through while you plan… Never fear! That’s why we are here.
We are going to put together an itinerary for 4 days in London that will take you to all of the incredible sites you have to see, and some you may not have thought of at first. We will see all of the awesome London landmarks and monuments, which are incredibly unique and could fill up a week on their own.
London’s landmarks and monuments are some of the best on earth. We are talking everything from castles to cathedrals, pillars to sprawling Parliament buildings! London has as much beauty and history as just about any place on this planet we call home. Here is our itinerary for 4 days in London.
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Day 1 – London’s Towers
Day 1 on our itinerary of 4 days in London is going to cover a few of the most famous structures in London. We will be doing a bit of walking on Day 1, but to be honest it is not too much, as our 4 destinations are in close proximity, at least for London’s standards.
Tower of London
On the North shore of the Thames River at the end of the Tower Bridge (more on that soon) you’ll come to the world famous Tower of London. This place has some history! After all, it was built in 1078, almost 1,000 years ago! A lot has happened in London since that time…
The Tower of London has served as everything from the royal palace to the location of London’s most gruesome executions. And now it is the current home the royal family’s Crown Jewels! However, the Tower of London is most well-known for being a prison. You can take a guided tour of the inside of the Tower, however we thought the outside was cool enough on its own (and free, remember we are doing London on a budget…)
If you do want to take a tour inside the Tower of London, our friends at Sidetracked did and they have some top notch advice:
When I first looked at the Tower of London, I thought the White Tower (the central tower built by William the Conqueror) was the only thing that could be visited, and in all honesty it seemed rather small (at least in comparison with many other European castles).
But don’t be fooled by the exterior! The inside areas of the Tower of London contain tons of walkways, as well as various buildings and exhibits that you can tour. To explore everything at a leisurely pace give yourself at least four hours. However if you’re strapped for time, you can get still get an overview of the Tower of London in about two hours.
In order to get a head start on the tour groups, school classes, and the general masses that visit the Tower of London every day, be there right at opening time (9 am Tuesday to Saturday and 10 am on Sundays and Mondays ) to avoid the bustle. This way, you’ll have about an hour or so before it gets really packed.
A lot of people think this is called the London Bridge. Fergie probably had something to do with that. The fact that you’re reading this makes you smarter than all those people. Congratulations!
There’s a reason Fergie went crazy over this one. First off, the Tower Bridge is HUGE! So much bigger in person than it looks in pictures. It fits two lanes of rush hour traffic, 2 packed sidewalks, and 2 museums! Name another bridge that can do that…
Second, Tower Bridge has our vote for the most beautiful bridge on earth. It is a freaking castle, and has been standing strong over London since the 1800s! A definite must-see on your trip through London.
We absolutely LOVE photography, and sharing pictures! These are the cameras we use on all of our adventures. The drone and GoPro help us get cool new perspectives (underwater, in the air, wide angle) and the Rebel we use on a day-to-day basis for most of our shots!
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The Shard is the tallest building in the entire United Kingdom! On Day 1 we are touring London’s famous towers, so it only fits to see The Shard today. Also, this enormous skyscraper is very near to the Tower Bridge, so it makes for a convenient stop as well! We recommend just admiring The Shard from the outside, and perhaps making a lap around the base admiring the architecture.
Day 2 – London Walking Tour
Have you ever heard of the free walking tours that are present all across Europe and many other large tourist cities? Well, if not, you’re in for a treat! These free tours make for our favorite day in any European city we visit!
Sandemans New Europe offers this free walking tour of London, which covers a ton of main attractions around London and an interesting history behind them. The tours are free, however it is customary to tip your guide, as that is how these guides get paid. For what you get, this is MORE than worth it!
Book your free walking tour ahead of time online, meet at the designated location, and you’ll be set! You will likely cover many of these Day 2 London landmarks on the free walking tour, however if you miss any, or want to double back and see them again, here are our recommendations for your Day 2 London itinerary.
Fun fact, Big Ben is actually not the name of this tower! It is the name of the big ol’ bell that sits in the top and rings every hour on the hour! Like Julie during her period when she is shouting from the living room for pickles and chocolate. I think I’d rather take the bell…
In our opinion, there is no better view of Big Ben than from across the Thames. You get a full shot of the entire building, which is actually a LOT larger than you’d imagine. Afterwards, you can walk right up close and stand under Big Ben as it announces the time to the entire city 24 times per day.
At Trafalgar Square, we especially loved the Lion Statues, which stand at each of the 4 corners of the monument. The square is always bustling with people heading back and forth to and from work, or tourists moving about. We found it to be very fun to grab a sandwich from a local restaurant and hang out and watch the world go by before us.
Fun Fact: the monument in the center of Trafalgar Square is to Admiral Nelson, the namesake of Admiral Nelson’s Rum. You HAVE to hear the story of Admiral Nelson, from Wikipedia:
Admiral Nelson was killed in the Battle of Trafalgar by a French sniper while topside his ship, Victory. Following his victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, Horatio Nelson‘s body was preserved in a cask of brandy, or rum, to allow transport back to England. Upon arrival, however, the story goes that the cask was opened and found to be empty of brandy/rum. The pickled body was removed and, upon inspection, it was discovered that the sailors had drilled a hole in the bottom of the cask and drunk all the brandy/rum.
Admiralty Arch is the ceremonial entrance to Buckingham Palace as the road going through the arch leads right to the royal gate! Many festivals, marathons, and other events are held on these grounds. It always feels like there is a celebration or event going on every weekend. The arch is huge and very impressive, and you might as well walk through it on your way to Buckingham Palace!
You will most likely be brought to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard on your walking tour. However we recommend doubling back to explore all around the palace on your own! The palace grounds and gardens are ENORMOUS, you’ll be able to explore and hang out among the beautiful sites.
Green Park and St James Park both surround Buckingham Palace. Once you have gotten your fill of seeing the beautiful palace, head for a stroll through those parks, and perhaps even have a picnic! If you have a beautiful weather day, you can spend the afternoon taking in this little slice of nature inside the booming London metropolis.
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Day 3 – St Paul’s Cathedral, Hyde Park, & the Tube
On Day 3 of our 4 days in London we are going to have a truly London experience. Time to ride the London Underground AKA the Tube! Because London is so enormous and spread out, and there are so many people, there is an underground railway system that connects the entire city in a giant spiderweb.
We are going to start today with a walk up St Paul’s Cathedral, and then head across town in the Tube to Hyde Park. In between, if you’d like, we’ll stop at one of those little red phone booths that are dotted across London.
St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral was our favorite monument in London, for three reasons. First off, from the outside St Paul’s is incredibly beautiful and stands tall above the city. The building itself is truly a site to see. However, for a small fee (remember, London on a budget!) you can climb to the top and get an unbelievable 360 degree panorama view of London! The view at the top is truly special.
The second reason we loved St Paul’s is because of the whispering gallery. About half-way up the climb to the top of the cathedral, right at the base of the dome, there is a special section called the whispering gallery.
You are not going to believe us, but you can literally stand on opposite ends of the dome and have a conversation with someone entirely in whispers. No joke. A football field away and you can hear someone whisper secrets to you, perhaps that they like your butt.
Thirdly, the history that surrounds St Paul’s is jaw-dropping. This bad boy withstood the best that World War II could throw at it! It is the centerpiece of one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century, St Paul’s Survives, shown below. The photo depicts the cathedral standing strong as an air raid carpet bombs the city surrounding it. St Paul’s withstood the attack and is a monument to the Allied victory in the war.
The incredible view from the bottom and the top, the whispering gallery, and the history. St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the best London landmarks without-a-doubt. Make sure this is on your 4 days in London itinerary!
Little Red Phone Booth
You have to take a picture at one of the little red phone booths, right?? Did you even go to London if you don’t get one of these photos? You should be able to find these dotted all across London, on each of our 4 days. Make time and stop to see one!
Now, you’ll have to ride the London Underground to Hyde Park. If you haven’t taken the Tube yet, make sure to enjoy it! The Tube is a truly British experience that you have to have at least once on your trip to London.
One of our favorite London travel tips is to hang out in the city’s many parks. Our favorite of all of them was Hyde Park. Pack a picnic and make a full afternoon out of it! Kick your feet up and relax in the middle of one of the biggest and most beautiful parks in the entire United Kingdom.
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You need clothes to travel. Heck, maybe you don’t. We don’t judge. If you want to hop around the world in your birthday suit then go right ahead! But if you want to cover up, here are a few of our favorite clothing items we love, and we think you’ll love too!
At Hyde Park there will be dogs running around, people enjoying the weather, bikers pedaling by. This place is awesome because it doesn’t feel as though you are in a big city, even though you are in one of the largest on earth!
Day 4 – Bopping Around London
Our favorite activity in London was really to just walk around! Might seem kinda stupid, but it really was a hoot! One of our EXTREMELY helpful London tips is to check out these London Apps. These apps can help streamline you trip and will make sure you can find everything you need!
Day 4 does involve quite a bit of walking around town. Of course, if you want to get off your feet, you can always head to the London Underground for a ride!
If you are a big fan of The Beatles then you simply have to visit Abbey Road. First off, you can take a walk across the street where the Beatles took their iconic cover shot. You can also take a look at the studio where all the magic took place!
Camden Market is a shopping market full of incredible foods, art, and clothes for you to peruse. At Camden Market, bartering is a MUST! First off, bartering can be kind of a fun activity, and you can work on your negotiating tactics.
Secondly, you’ll be able to score a better deal on an awesome souvenir! If you are going to buy a gift for someone special or get something to remind you of your London experience, Camden Market is the place to do it. Especially if you are doing London on a budget, as Camden Market is much more affordable than other London shopping centers.
See a Broadway Show
London is second only to New York in terms of the Theater scene, and some would say it has New York beat. When you see a show in London you see some of the most talented acting and artistry you will see anywhere.
Take a look online ahead of time to see what shows are playing, and think about what you may be interested in. However, our recommendation is to not buy your tickets ahead of time, as you may be able to get them cheaper in person.
London Theater Tips from 10 Best:
Half-price ticket booths are on every street corner in West End. Among all, the most reputable stand is called TKTS which is located on the southside of Leicester Square. Run by Society of London Theater, the independent ticket stand offers a variety of half-price tickets for shows on the same day. It’s a great place to snap up last-minute deals. While making the purchase, make sure you check the face-value of the ticket (some sellers would add considerable amount of commission on top of it) and ask about whether or not the seat has a restricted view.
You are going to have to eat in London! And that is a good thing, since London is home to a few authentic plates that will leave your mouth watering! Here are the three things you absolutely have to try in London:
- English Breakfast – Zach ordered this every. single. day. Here’s what makes up your typical English Breakfast: Grilled tomatoes, sausages, beans, mushrooms, bacon, eggs, (bangers), black pudding, and toast. It is heaven on a plate, and will fuel you up for a full day exploring the city.
- Fish and Chips – An Absolute must in London. Fried cod caught straight from the ocean with a hearty helping of french fries on the side. Our favorite spot for fish and chips was Poppies.
- Beer – Beer and London go together like peanut butter & jelly, peas & carrots, and Forrest & Jenny. You don’t get one without the other. There are over 3,500 pubs within the city limits, and no I did not make that up. Google it and see for yourself.
We had so much fun doing our thing all over London, and you will too! Are you traveling to London for the first time, or have you been there before? Do you have London travel tips of your own? We would love to hear from you! If you are looking for any advice at all, or have some to share, let us know in the comments or on our About Us page!
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