When I sat down to plan how I was going to spend 4 days in London, I knew I had my work cut out for me. After all – when you think of European countries with must-see architecture and landmarks, London is definitely one of the first that comes to mind.
Let’s start with the facts: London has a LOT of tourist attractions. A LOT of must-see architecture. And a LOT of famous locations. Numerous scenes from Harry Potter and Game of Thrones were filmed here, and let’s not forget Abbey Road and Kings Cross Station. The downside? All these things aren’t exactly close to each other.
Figuring out how to spend 4 days in London in order to do all the sightseeing required a LOT of Google maps and strategic planning. To save you the time and trouble, I’m sharing my entire itinerary with you here!
It’s important to know that the culture in London is a lot different than you might expect. For cultural tips, where to stay, and how to get around, check out my other post – London Travel Tips (For Your First Visit!).
This blog post is part of a series of 3 destination posts that encompasses my 2022 Eurotrip to Paris, London, and Madrid. I planned all 3 destinations for me and my friend Kelly, who accompanied me on this journey!
To view the Paris post, click here
To view the Madrid post, click here
London Tours and Attractions from Get Your Guide
I have some of these tours linked in individual sections below. To browse all London tours from Get Your Guide, click this link:
Website Disclaimer: I visited London in July 2022. Although everything is accurate as of the publication of this post, it is important to keep in mind that prices, attractions, and other things may change with time.
4 Days in London: The Itinerary
Table of Contents
Day 1 – Tower Bridge, King’s Cross Station, St. Pancras Hotel, Authentic British Pubs
Day 2 – House of Parliament/Big Ben, The London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Afternoon Tea, Jack the Ripper Tour, The Shard
Day 3 – Oxford + Warner Bros Studios Day Trip, The Chocolate Cocktail Club
Day 4 – Abbey Rd, Piccadilly Circus/SoHo, Selfridges & Co, British Pub Crawl
4 Days in London – The Itinerary
Day 1: Travel Day – Tower Bridge, King’s Cross Station, St. Pancras Hotel, & Authentic British Pubs
Our flight landed in London from Paris at around 10:30am the morning of our arrival. By time we got to our hotel, it was around noon, so we set off to find lunch and do some exploring.
- FYI: It should be noted that two of the attractions in this section, Tower Bridge and King’s Cross Station, are a bit far from each other. However, doing them both in the same day was the best way to fit these 2 things into the itinerary overall.
1. Tower Bridge
Like I previously mentioned, the aesthetic of London is NYC meets medieval times. The construction of Tower Bridge definitely falls into the medieval times category. It is massive, gorgeous, and unlike any bridge I’ve ever seen. You can even purchase tickets to tour the bridge and walk across the glass at the top!
The road that spans Tower Bridge also opens up in a drawbridge-type fashion to allow boats and other vessels to pass through the Thames River.
- Fun Fact: Tower Bridge is NOT considered a drawbridge due to the mechanism by which the roads are pulled up. Tower Bridge is actually a “bascule bridge,” because it doesn’t require ropes or chains for the roads to come up the way a true drawbridge would.
Tower Bridge is one of London’s most iconic and recognizable landmarks. It is built near the Tower of London, which is a historic castle that you are also able to tour. You can purchase tickets to go inside the Tower of London and see the crown jewels, walk through the different towers, see the fortress, and more.
2. King’s Cross Station (For The Harry Potter Fans!)
From Tower Bridge, we decided to go to King’s Cross Station and St. Pancras Hotel. These locations were a must-see for us (for 2 very important reasons!), but they were also a good bit out of the way from some of the other tourist things we wanted to do. In terms of time, it made the most sense to fit them in on our travel day.
If you are a Harry Potter fan, you’ve definitely heard of King’s Cross station.
The train station made famous in the series for Platform 93/4, which Harry crosses to board the Hogwarts Express, actually does exist. Well…kind of.
In between Platforms 9 & 10, they have a trolley half hidden in the wall, as if it were crossing through into the wizarding world. Right next to the trolley is a Harry Potter store. You are allowed to get your photo taken with the trolley, which the Harry Potter employees help facilitate. You are even allowed to pick out which color scarf you want for your respective House (and if you don’t know your House, you can take this quiz on Wizarding World – previously known as Pottermore – to find out!).
- Fun fact: I am a Slytherin, and we’re not all bad 😉
- (Another) Fun Fact: the Harry Potter scenes were actually filmed between Platforms 4 & 5, but they placed the trolley in its rightful theatrical place for photos.
3. St. Pancras Hotel (For the Spice Girls Fans!)
Right next to King’s Cross station is St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, an absolutely huge, gorgeous hotel that is 100% worth seeing. In fact, it is so stunningly beautiful that the King’s Cross exterior shots were filmed here for the Harry Potter movies, instead of at the actual train station.
Aside from Harry Potter, the main reason I wanted to visit this hotel is because the Spice Girls filmed the video for “Wannabe” on the steps inside. You are able to go in and take your photo on these steps and, well, spice up your life.
If you grew up in the 90’s, you know what a huge deal this is. I spent countless hours singing and dancing to the music video for this song when it came on TV, and now I was standing on the actual steps it was filmed on. Wild.
When you come in the main hotel entrance, you can find the steps by going off to your left out of the main room once you leave the entryway. If you’re unsure, one of the hotel employees will be able to show you.
…and for the record, my favorite Spice Girl is Posh Spice!
4. And Finally…Hit Up an Authentic British Pub
We ended our travel day/first day by trying fish & chips at an authentic British pub. But how do you know which pubs are authentic?
From a local: “the corner pubs are the most authentic.” Traditional pubs will typically have a painted wooden sign outside with the pub name in fancy old English script. We took this advice, found a corner pub bestowed with an old yet authentic looking sign, and had the best fish & chips of our life. The pub we found was called The Marquis Cornwallis, but I’m sure any authentic pub can give you incredible London food!
It is worth mentioning that there is a certain “etiquette” when it comes to ordering a beer at an English pub, and unfortunately, Kelly and I learned this the hard way. To save yourself the embarrassment, read the “Pub Etiquette” section of my other London post.
Day 2: Full Day – House of Parliament & Big Ben, The London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Afternoon Tea, Jack the Ripper Tour & The Shard
If you just read that and thought, “phew, that’s a lot!” …well, you’re right. I tend to take the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” approach when I’m on vacation. If you find that this is too much for you to fit in one day, my suggestion would be to move either the Jack the Ripper tour and/or the Shard to Day 4 of this post.
1. House of Parliament/Big Ben
Seeing the House of Parliament and Big Ben is, of course, a must do when you go to London. Big Ben is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world, and was every bit as beautiful in person as I imagined it would be.
Big Ben is attached to the House of Parliament, the oldest royal palace in London. The architecture, not to mention the gold on the outside, is absolutely stunning. To arrive here by Tube, you will exit at the Westminster tube station – but be warned, this station, not to mention entire area, is crowded. Watch for pickpockets!
2. Ride The London Eye
From Big Ben, you can walk across the Westminster Bridge to the London Eye. Not only is the bridge itself beautiful, but you will be able to get some stunning photos from the bridge as well!
The London Eye is a huge ferris wheel with massive pods that you are able to ride to get top-notch views of the city. You can book tickets in advance, or you can also book when you get there (but tickets will be more expensive). They also have a skip-the-line option (but, let’s be honest, there will still be a line. It might just move faster if you choose that ticket).
You will be able to get views of the House of Parliament/Big Ben, The Shard, different palaces, the Thames River, and more. This is a super relaxing activity and a perfect way to rest your feet after all that walking!
3. Tour Westminster Abbey
After riding the London Eye, you will have roughly a 13 minute walk to Westminster Abbey. I had every intention of touring Westminster Abbey, but unfortunately did not get to. The day I was there, they were having an event and you weren’t able to go inside. However, Westminster Abbey is going to be one building that I absolutely recommend you tour. I have been told by numerous people that it is a must-do, and judging by photos of the inside, they aren’t wrong.
You can choose any of these activities from Get Your Guide to tour Westminster Abbey:
4. Admire Buckingham Palace
From Westminster Abbey, it is about a 15 minute walk to Buckingham Palace. You are able to tour the palace as well, but there are more restrictions. Buckingham Palace only has tours in the summer months, and since the royals still live and work there, it is limited on what all you get to see.
You are able to watch the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday at 10:45am. If this is on your bucket list, you may want to restructure this part of the itinerary and come earlier in the day before you see Big Ben/House of Parliament.
- If you desire to see this, you can book this Buckingham Palace with Changing of the Guards ticket from Get Your Guide here!
5. Trafalgar Square and Afternoon Tea
From Buckingham Palace, it’s about an 18 minute walk to Trafalgar Square. This is a lively square with a picturesque fountain that is surrounded by restaurants and pubs, statues, and historic buildings. By now, you must be exhausted, so this is also a great place to stop for some afternoon tea, a popular British tradition.
Getting afternoon tea is one of those cultural must-do’s when you come to London, even if you’re someone who, like me, hates hot tea. /shrug
After seeing Trafalgar Square, we decided on a restaurant called The Admiralty that served afternoon tea with a small scone. You could also get lunch here if you wanted, along with your tea.
A lot of places will advertise that they do afternoon tea on their signs outside, so no matter where you are, it’s easy to get your tea fix. I wouldn’t go out of your way to plan for this!
6. Jack the Ripper Tour
Who doesn’t love a good serial killer tour? A local guide takes you through the streets in a (rather sketchy) part of London and shows you where Jack the Ripper killed his victims, along with teaching you about the history of the city during the late 1800’s.
I booked this tour through the official website, and would absolutely recommend it. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgable, funny, and very entertaining. We also saw parts of London that we would never have gone to on our own through this tour.
- Pro Tip: If one serial killer experience is not enough for you, they also have the Jack the Ripper Museum in London as well!
7. The Shard – View From the Top
The Shard is the tallest building in the UK and one of the most recognizable buildings in London. It is unique in that it houses a variety of different things, from offices to hotel rooms to a public viewing gallery and more. There are also 7 different restaurants and bars to choose from.
We ended our night by having drinks from Aqua Shard – a bar on the 31st floor of the building. From here, we were able to unwind from our long day with breathtaking views of the city!
- Pro Tip: Make a reservation, just in case!
Day 3: Full Day – Oxford + Warner Bros Studios Day Trip, and The Chocolate Cocktail Club
1. Oxford + Warner Bros Studios – The Making of Harry Potter
I booked a day trip for us through Get Your Guide to visit Oxford, England, as well as tour Warner Bros. Studios – The Making of Harry Potter. You are able to see the sets, props, costumes, and more that were used when filming all 8 Harry Potter movies. You can book JUST the studio tour if you want, but Get Your Guide also has an option where you spend the morning exploring Oxford and then go to Warner Bros Studios after.
Overall, I 10/10 recommend doing the Warner Bros Studio tour with the Oxford add-on if you can. If you are a Harry Potter fan, this will be life-changing. At the end of our Eurotrip, Kelly and I both agreed it was our favorite thing that we did the entire 2 weeks we were in Europe.
2. The Chocolate Cocktail Club
In a country that is essentially known for its beer and pubs, finding out that there was a bar dedicated to chocolate cocktails in London was a dream. I chose to make a reservation here after coming back from the Oxford/Harry Potter tour because it sounded like the perfect way to relax after a long day…and it was.
The Chocolate Cocktail Club has an extensive drink menu dedicated to (what else?) chocolate themed cocktails. You are able to buy a ticket (in the form of a reservation) that includes one free drink of your choice. You are able to choose between 3 different cocktails, including their signature cocktail, the Chocotini.
They also have a food menu that includes small bites to go along with your drinks. We got the charcuterie board and it was amazing!
You are also able to get your afternoon tea fix here! The Chocolate Cocktail Club offers a selection of sandwiches, scones, and cakes that are deliciously paired with hot chocolate, tea, or coffee. You can also get a Chocotini cocktail or Prosecco for an up-charge.
If there are any chocolate haters in your group, they have a completely separate menu of regular drinks including wine, beer, gin, and soft drinks.
Day 4: Last Full Day – Abbey Road, Piccadilly Circus/SoHo, Selfridges & Co., and a Pub Crawl
1. Walk the Abbey Road Crosswalk
Even if you aren’t a Beatles fan, getting your photo taken in the iconic Abbey Road crosswalk is, in my opinion, a must-do when you go to London. After all – it’s not every day that you have the opportunity to walk in the literal footsteps of the most influential band of all time!
Abbey Road is a bit out of the way from the rest of the tourist attractions we were going to do, which is why we decided to save this for our last day. However, finding the right crosswalk can be a bit confusing.
How to Find The Abbey Road Crosswalk
When searching for the location, it is important to type in “The Beatles crosswalk” into your Google maps, and NOT “Abbey Road.” Typing in “Abbey Road” will take you near a crosswalk, but it is NOT the correct one.
Want to know the worst part? If you type in “Abbey Road,” Google maps will label it as “Road seen on the iconic Beatles album.” (See photo below on the left). This is wrong!!
What you want to see is the roads coming together to form a triangular shape, and the red location marker is ACTUALLY on a crosswalk. (See photo on the right). You will also know you are at the right location because there will be groups of people waiting to take their iconic photo.
2. Explore Piccadilly Circus
From Abbey Rd, it is about a 30 minute Tube ride to Piccadilly Circus and SoHo.
- GETTING HERE: Walk to the ST. JOHN’S WOOD station and get on the JUBILEE line towards STRATFORD on Platform 2.
- Exit at the GREEN PARK station.
- Walk ~12 minutes.
Piccadilly Circus is a popular tourist destination and the most famous square in the West End of London. It serves as a junction that connects 6 very busy streets, and is one of the notable Harry Potter filming locations. There are giant, “Times Square” looking screens showing advertisements on the buildings, and the whole area is buzzing with people.
- For the Harry Potter fans, the scene where Harry, Ron, and Hermione escape the Death Eaters at Bill and Fleur’s wedding from Part 1 of the Deathly Hallows was filmed here!
This is a really fun area to walk around and explore. The architecture is beautiful, there are great restaurants, and the Eros Fountain is a sight to behold. I did not get a good photo of it, but it is a large fountain with essentially what looks like a statue of Cupid on top. I later learned that in Roman mythology, Cupid is equivalent to Eros, the Greek god of carnal love! In fact, this is where the word “erotic” comes from.
- Fun Fact: Even though the fountain is called Eros Fountain, the “cupid” on top is actually supposed to be Anteros, Eros’s brother!
3. Walk Through the Colorful Streets of SoHo
SoHo is a lively, fun neighborhood with tons of bars, restaurants, and shops within walking distance from Piccadilly Circus. Kelly and I stumbled upon SoHo as we were exploring Piccadilly Circus, so I grouped them together for the sake of this post.
In SoHo amidst the restaurants and shops, there are neon string lights hanging from the buildings that adds to the already “this is the place to be!” vibe once it gets dark. If you haven’t already guessed, this was my favorite neighborhood.
SoHo shopping suggestion: astrid & miyu
In SoHo, they have a store called Astrid & Miyu where you can hop on the welded jewelry trend and get a bracelet permanently welded onto your wrist. The chains are made from high quality metal, and they also have charms you can choose from. I thought it would be the perfect way for me to always remember my 2022 Eurotrip, so I opted to get a rose gold bracelet with a matching rose gold charm.
- Astrid & Miyu accepts walk-ins, but due to this being a popular trend, it’s best to make an appointment.
- I actually first learned about this trend (and got my first bracelet!) in Nashville, which you can read about in my Nashville blog post.
SoHo Pub suggestion: shakespeare’s Head
We also stumbled upon this pub called Shakespeare’s Head, which was founded by 2 men who were distant relatives of William Shakespeare. It’s a very picturesque, traditional Old English pub with a good beer selection. Located in the heart of SoHo, it’s a great place to grab a pint and people watch!
3. Walk Through Selfridges & Co.
- Pro Tip: If you aren’t much of a shopper, Selfridge’s isn’t a must-do. If you are, you should definitely walk through it!
Selfridges is with out a doubt the largest, boujee-est department store I have ever set foot in. It is located in a massive building right near SoHo. Think of every upscale department store you have ever frequented and multiply it by 50, then add wine, food, chocolates, charcuterie, and even flowers and plants.
Yes, it is expensive. But if you are in the mood to treat yo’self, or even just want somewhere to walk around and admire all the pretty things, Selfridge’s is the way to go. If you aren’t much of a shopper, you will probably be overwhelmed. If you are a shopper, this will likely be your paradise.
4. And Finally…Do a Pub Crawl
If you read my Paris Itinerary Post, you knew this was coming. Kelly and I did a “crawl” in every city that we visited, and the crawl was based around the drink that was most popular in that particular city. In London, doing a pub crawl around SoHo was the perfect way to end our last day.
I would tell you all the pubs that we went to, but if I’m being honest, I don’t remember them all. The London beer will do that to you.
But here’s the thing – you really can’t go wrong. There are hundreds upon hundreds of pubs, and they will all give you your beer fix. I tended to navigate towards the corner pubs that were painted black with colorful flowers on the outside, because, well…aesthetics. If you don’t know what I’m talking about yet, you will. They’re everywhere.
- Pro Tip: don’t forget that the bar etiquette in London is somewhat different than in the United States. In order to be prepared, and for other tips that I didn’t know (but wish I would have), check out my other London post: London Travel Tips (For Your First Visit!)