Things to do in London in 3 days

London is a magical place full of details worth knowing. Three days is short, but long enough to boast that you have seen the city.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

8 min read

Things to do in London in 3 days

View of London from The Shard | ©Jaanus Jagomägi

Many people enjoy taking the City Sightseeing tour bus to get a good overview of a city before heading out to explore on their own. If this is you, I recommend doing it on your first day in London to get a good orientation. Likewise, I will be guiding you step by step to visit London in 3 days in the best possible way. Let's get started!

Day 1: Explore Westminster

Houses of Parliament and Big Bem| ©Berit
Houses of Parliament and Big Bem| ©Berit

I recommend that you start your trip to London in Westminster, as it is the geographical, cultural and political center of the city - Westminster is actually its own city within London! Here you will find some of London's most iconic buildings, such as Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey.

Today's route is walkable, but you can also get around by public transport, cab or a tour bus.

Parliament Square

Let's start our itinerary in Parliament Square, which is a well-known public square in Westminster that is easy to get to by public transport and is also a stop on all major London tour buses.

Around the square you will also find statues of several famous people such as Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Robert Peel and Gandhi.

This popular square is surrounded by famous buildings such as Westminster Abbey, St. Margaret's Church, the UK Supreme Court and the Palace of Westminster.

Book a seat on the City Sightseeing Bus

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is one of the most famous and impressive churches in England. It dates back to 1245 and was built mostly in the Gothic style.

Inside the church are tombs and monuments commemorating several of the most prominent Britons of the last 1,000 years, including kings, scientists, aristocrats and artists.

If you plan to visit Westminster Abbey, be sure to leave extra time to get in and see everything, as it is a very special place.

Book tickets for Westminster Abbey

Churchill War Rooms

The Churchill War Rooms are made up of two connected museums:

  • The Cabinet War Rooms, which allow visitors to explore the huge secret subway World War 2 bunker.
  • The Churchill Museum, which is a large room dedicated to the life of Winston Churchill, from his early years until his death in 1965, with a focus related to his long political career.

Buy the London Explorer Pass

St. James's Park

St. James's Park is one of London' s finest parks and is known for some famous residents: pelicans.

There is a cafe located inside the park if you need a break for tea, coffee or a light lunch.

Buy the London Pass

Buckingham Palace

Exterior of Buckingham Palace| ©Craige McGonigle
Exterior of Buckingham Palace| ©Craige McGonigle

Buckingham Palace is the most famous palace in the United Kingdom, dating back to 1703 and is the main London residence of the sovereign of the United Kingdom.

If you want to access its interior, you can book tickets for Buckingham Palace to visit the State Rooms, the Throne Rooms and the Royal Picture Gallery.

Book tickets for Buckingham Palace

Changing of the Guard Ceremony

If you wish to see the Changing of the Guard ceremony, please note that it takes place at 11am, so you will have to skip the morning visit to Westminster Abbey or the Churchill War Rooms to get to Buckingham Palace on time. Your choice!

Also, please note that it takes place every day in June and July, but only Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays the rest of the year and lasts about 45 minutes.

Book a tour that includes the changing of the guard

Piccadilly Circus

Now I recommend you head to Piccadilly Circus, a famous circular road junction known for its neon signs and advertising.

Here you will find the legendary Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain.

Book a guided tour of London

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square is one of London' s most popular public squares and is home to Nelson's Column (a monument to Admiral Horatio Nelson) and London's famous stone lion statues.

The square also has street performers and contemporary art to enjoy and take a break.

Book a guided tour of London


Now I recommend walking down Whitehall, the street that runs south from Trafalgar Square, towards Parliament Square, the place where you started your day.

Whitehall Street is named after Whitehall Palace, a large medieval royal palace complex that remained here until it was destroyed by fire in 1698.

By the way, I remind you that if you want to take this tour faster and comfortably seated, you can book a seat on the City Sightseeing sightseeing bus.

Book a seat on the City Sightseeing bus

Westminster Bridge

Now I recommend walking across Parliament Square towards Westminster Bridge, which dates back to 1862 and from which you will have a fantastic view of the Houses of Parliament and the River Thames.

You can then take a stroll along the Thames or, even better, end the day with a Thames cruise with dinner and live music.

Book a Thames Dinner Cruise

Day 2: City of London

The Tower of London| ©Ray in Manila
The Tower of London| ©Ray in Manila

For the second day I recommend exploring the City of London, home to much of the city's financial and banking services, and also the oldest part of the city. Tower of London

Tower of London

The Tower of London was first built by William the Conqueror in 1078 as a royal castle and defense tower. Then, over the centuries, it served many purposes, including a fortress, a prison and an armory.

It is definitely one of the most popular attractions in the British capital, so I recommend being there close to opening time and buying your Tower of London tickets in advance.

By the way, if you have the London pass you don't need to buy tickets for the Tower of London, as you can get in for free.

Buy tickets for the Tower of London

Sky Garden

If you like beautiful views, I recommend a stop at Sky Garden, the highest public garden in London.

Although Sky Garden is technically a public garden and can be visited for free, I recommend you reserve a space in advance, as it is often fully booked, and it's not always possible to get the best views without an appointment.

Then you can also walk to St. Paul's Cathedral (about a 15-minute walk) or take the London Underground from The Monument stop to St. Paul's Cathedral stop.

Buy the London Pass

St. Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral| ©Loco Steve
St Paul's Cathedral| ©Loco Steve

St Paul's Cathedral dates back to 1697, after the previous cathedral was badly destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666.

The cathedral's dome is a recognizable feature of the London skyline and the church has long been seen as a symbol of the spirit of the British people, especially during World War II.

The church can be visited and when you purchase your ticket to St. Paul's Cathedral you will have a self-guided tour included.

Buy tickets for St. Paul's Cathedral

Shakespeare Globe

Now I recommend you head across the Millennium Bridge, a steel pedestrian suspension bridgeto see Shakespeare's Globe.

The reconstruction of The Globe was the dream project of American actor and director Sam Wanamaker.

If you want to see inside the theater, you can visit the museum exhibit and understand how it was built.

Book a seat on the City Sightseeing Bus

Borough Market

Borough Market is the best known and one of the oldest markets in the UK and is believed to have been in operation since 1014!

Today, the market is full of fresh produce, including meat and fish, baked goods, cheeses, flowers, wines, spices and other foods.

There are also cafes, demonstration kitchens and restaurants that are part of the market, as well as many food stalls selling ready-to-eat food, including sandwiches and all kinds of street food.

The market is usually open daily, until 17:00 or 18:00 PM, although it closes at 14:00 on Sundays.

Book a guided tour of London

The Shard

The Shard skyscraper houses several restaurants, a hotel, offices, stores and a viewing gallery. It was completed in 2012 and is currently the tallest building in Western Europe at 309 meters tall with 87 floors.

The views from the Shard are free for those with a London Pass, but you can also buy tickets for The Shard online, thanks to which you can go up to the 72nd floor.

Another way to enjoy the views is to head to the GŎNG Bar on the 21st floor, and while it's not as high as the observation deck, it still offers panoramic views of the city for the price of a cocktail. This is a great place to enjoy a drink before or after dinner.

Book tickets for The Shard

Day 3: Kensington

Exterior of Kensington Palace| ©Steve Cadman
Exterior of Kensington Palace| ©Steve Cadman

For your last day, I suggest exploring a neighborhood like Kensington in the morning and then head to Windsor Castle in the afternoon.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace is a grand 17th century house that was first used as a royal residence by King William II and Queen Mary II.

Despite being a working royal palace, tourists can visit many of the palace's rooms throughout the year. There is much to see here and you can easily spend several hours wandering through the maze of rooms.

I recommend visiting the palace on a weekday rather than a weekend and booking tickets for Kensington Palace in advance to avoid queues.

Book tickets for Kensington Palace

Kensington Gardens

After visiting the palace, I recommend spending some time exploring the surrounding area of Kensington Gardens. It is a beautiful green space highly recommended for a stroll.

Probably the most striking feature of the park is the Albert Memorial, a giant monument to Prince Albert who died of typhoid fever in 1861, leaving his wife, Queen Victoria, very affected.

Book tickets for Kensington Palace

Afternoon tea at Kensington

Drinking Tea| ©CocinaViajera
Drinking Tea| ©CocinaViajera

The tradition of afternoon tea originated in the aristocratic homes of England in the 19th century, and there's no better place to have afternoon tea than in London.

You'll have plenty of options in London: from casual coffee shops where you can get a cuppa and a scone (typical UK scone), to luxury hotels offering an incredible tea experience and even aboard a sightseeing bus that tours the city of London.

Book your place on a tea bus in London

Victoria & Albert Museum

The Victoria & Albert Museum, often referred to as the V&A, is one of the world's leading art and design museums.

Admission to see the permanent collection at the V&A is free.

Some temporary exhibitions are also free, but there is usually a fee to enter the main ones, unless you have a London Pass.

Buy the London Pass

Last Night in the West End

The West End is one of the world's most renowned venues, along with Broadway in New York, for professional theater.

The neighborhood is home to more than 30 theaters offering a wide variety of musicals and plays, from rock concerts to opera, movies and comedy shows.

Buy tickets for any of the musicals in London and put the finishing touch to your stay in the British capital.

Buy tickets for London musicals