London Itinerary: The Perfect 5 Days

by Cristina on July 16, 2012

by Cristina | July 16th, 2012  

London is an incredible city, filled with sights to explore, museums to visit and things to do. While you can capture the essence of the city during a 3-day stay, 5 days in London gives you a chance to get to know the city better and even plan a day trip out of London.

However, London has never been a cheap destination to visit. In order to save money on your trip to London , it’s best to plan your visit during the low-season. March is a good choice , but so is November. It’s when you can find low airfares and you won’t pay a fortune for accommodation, either. Plus, the sights aren’t that crowded. However, if you visit London during the summer, you can also attend outdoor festivals or plan day trips easier (as a tour).

>>read about the Free things to do in London

Itinerary assumptions:

  • You stay in a hotel in Central London . You can also choose a hostel for your stay.
  • You use the tube to cover large distances. The day travelcards are excellent but the Oyster Card is a better choice if you stay 5 days or longer.
  • You use a map of the city (which also has an integrated tube map).

Day 1

The first day you arrive in London is best for getting to know the area you stay in. Walk around, with a map in hand, and see where the closest underground stations are, what important sights are located near-by and …how many pubs you can check out in the area. London is known to not make it easy on you to finding free wi-fi , so unless the hotel/hostel doesn’t offer a free connecting, then a pub might be the perfect option.

Alternatively, you can choose a free walking tour of London , which departs from Hyde Park Corner and takes 2.5 hours. Since the tour ends of the Parliament, you can continue to explore the area.

If you didn’t choose the tour, you can continue the day with exploring some of the most important sights of London. Take the tube to the Parliament. When you exit the station, Big Ben is to your right. Take photos and enjoy the area. Then cross the bridge and head to London Eye .

Some say it’s a bit over-rated but some love it (as I did). Before the ride itself there’s a 4D experience worth your time (and is included in the price). On a clear day, you can see a lot of London from the wheel. On a foggy day…you still can see some sights.

You might want to make your way to Piccadilly Circus , too. And maybe do some window shopping on Oxford Street. Have dinner in Soho before going back to the hotel/hostel.

Day 2

Start the day with the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace . Arrive early (15 min before the event) and look for a good location. Even during the off-season, there are a lot of travelers watching this lovely event. Please remember that during August to April, the changing of the guards takes place every second day; during the rest of the year, it takes place daily.

Then, you can walk along the Mall and make your way to Trafalgar Square . Visit the National Gallery if you are into arts, then walk towards Westminster Abby, passing by the Horse Guards.

Day 3

Get on the tube and head to Tower of London. You’ll exit exactly opposite the castle. Taking photos from this angle means you’ll have either poles or wires in your shots, as well. Cross the street and enjoy the magnificent sight. You can visit the Crown Jewels, too.

Then, walk along the Thames until you get to Tower Bridge . You can visit it inside, too. And of course, you have to cross it by foot.

Get on the tube again and head to British Museum. You can easily spend ½ day here taking in the magnificent treasures of humanity.

>>read about the Best Exhibits at British Museum

End the day with a visit to Harrods, the most famous department store in London.

Day 4

Start your day in Kensington Gardens . Enjoy the green , vast space and walk towards Hyde Park. You can easily spend ½ day here.

Go back to the Kensington Gardens and cross the street to get to the many restaurants and souvenir shops in the Bayswater area (close to Bayswater tube station). You can pick up £1 coffee mugs and £5 t-shirts, along with £1 fridge magnets. This is the best place to be if you are looking for some ethnic food, too.

Alternatively, you can plan a day trip to Stonehenge. Catch a bus to Amesbury. There’s one departing at 2:10 p.m. and the ticket costs £16.50 one way. The bus back to London is at 6:20 p.m., which leaves you about 2 hours to visit the area (as the travel time by bus is 2h 40 min each way). Or you can book a tour to Stonehenge. And if that’s not what you like, you can always rent a car and drive there.

Day 5

You’ll be spending the fifth day around Kensington area, too. Head to the Natural History Museum and then to the Science Museum . If you still have time, you might want to check out Victoria & Albert Museum , too.

These museums can easily take up ½ day to an entire day, depending on what you are passionate about seeing.

Alternatively, you can spend the fifth day outside Central London. The Royal Botanic Gardens and the Windsor Palace are easy to get to by tube and are located within 30 min of Central London.

All photos by Cristina Puscas and may not be used without permission.


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