London is one of the most iconic cities in the world. Can you do it in two days? Yes. Here is an amazing 2 days in London itinerary that you will absolutely love.
London is one of the most visited cities in the world. London has a unique history and a lot of sites to see. I was able to explore the city and spend a few weeks there through travel hacking.
I condensed most of the great things that were the most memorable into a 2 day experience to ensure you have the best visit possible.
When you only have two days in London you need to an awesome itinerary to see as much as you can in a short time.
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2 days in London itinerary: where to stay
London is a huge city connected by the “tube” or underground subway. You’ll want to stay in a central location near a tube stop so you can get around London fast.
These are the top three neighborhoods to stay in London.
The Shoreditch neighborhood is up-and-coming with trendy restaurants and hipster-style coffee shops. Shoreditch is a great place to stay if you want to live like a local and try out trendy spots.
Right in the center of London, Covent Garden is the ideal spot to stay. From Covent Garden you are just a short walk from most of the major attractions, excellent restaurants, and theater.
Located in west London, Kensington is the place to stay for families and upscale people. Kensington is one of the wealthiest areas which means clean, quiet streets, steps from Hyde Park, great shopping and ample cabs. Kensington is a little harder to get around from, but the neighborhood is quaint.
Here is a guide to exploring London’s east end.
When to visit London
The best time to visit London is in late summer and early fall. Of course, London during the holidays is wonderful, but if you only have a couple days it is easier to walk outside when the temperature is warmer.
London weather is testy. In the summer it can get to be blazing hot. The winter and spring seasons are chilly, with a lot of rain. But don’t let the rain get you down. London was built for the rain so buy an umbrella, pack a scarf, and get out exploring.
See Related: Ultimate Packing Checklist for London
What to do before you go
Before you go to London make an itinerary and purchase all of your tickets in advance. We like to use City Pass because it has all the best places for a lower cost.
Also, make sure to get your London Eye tickets. We recommend the champagne toast evening slot for a sunset view and a glass of bubbly.
2 days in London itinerary: day one
For the first day, we are going to hit all the iconic spots. We start out west and move east, stopping at sites along the way.
9:00am wake up and grab a quick coffee and pastry to go. We have a lot of walking to do today so strap up your sneakers and get cruising.
9:30am Buckingham Palace. Buckingham Palace is home to the British Monarchy. The Queen isn’t always here, however. You can tell if she is home if the Queen’s flag is soaring.
You can purchase tickets in advance (book right here) to tour the palace if you’d like. With so much to see in two days, we are just going to check out the front gates. You can also watch the changing of the guards.
From Buckingham Palace, you can walk through the parks to get to Westminister. Our favorite path is through St. James Park. The trees are huge, the animals are friendly, and the views are gorgeous.
The park is also very quiet, which is a nice change from the busy streets we are about to encounter.
Stop at this bridge and snap a few photos. If it’s nice out, take a seat and people watch. Then keep heading towards the river.
See Related: 11 Top Nicknames for London
10:30 Westminster, Westminster Abbey & Big Ben.
All three of these landmarks are right next to each other which makes it easy to see all three. Start with Westminster Abbey. You can attend a service, or simply walk inside and take in the views.
Cross the street and go to Westminster. Westminster is home to the British Parliament. This building is absolutely stunning. Westminster was built in 1016 and has been vigorously restored over the years. If you want to go inside we recommend getting tickets before your trip to tour it.
SECRET TIP: this tour is only 2 hours and it will take you through Westminster and Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards. For under $50 this is the best deal you can get! Book here to reserve your spot.
Attached to Westminster is Big Ben. Probably the most iconic structure in all of London, Big Ben was built in the mid-1800s and recently renamed to “Elizabeth Tower” to commemorate the Queen’s diamond jubilee. Check out these other fun facts about London to learn more.
Take some photos and enjoy the scenery. If you have a little time, go and walk down along the river for a moment. You can still see Big Ben, but there are less people around.
Across the river you can take some great photos of Westminster and Big Ben. Walk across the bridge if you’d like some great instagram-worthy shots. Don’t worry about the London Eye yet. We’ll stop there later.
11:30 Downing Street & Trafalgar Square
The British Prime Minister lives at the iconic #10 Downing Street. This simple street is lined with stark-white buildings and high security. You can only spend a minute or two here, just to say you saw it, but it’s on the way to lunch so pop by to say hello to the PM.
Keep walking on this road and you’ll pass through Trafalgar Square and see the National Gallery. The gallery is free to visit, if you want to pop in quick then continue walking to get lunch.
12:00pm Lunch in Neil’s Yard
Continue walking north for lunch. Neil’s Yard is a hidden pocket of London with brightly colored buildings, greenery, and great food. Pop into homeslice for some excellent pizza.
Want something a bit more exotic? Check out these spots on where to get bao in London.
See Related: Best Castles in London
1:00pm Tube ride to St. Paul’s
Our next stop is St. Paul’s. You can walk there, but the tube is probably faster. Hop on over and check out the enormous cathedral in the heart of London. St. Paul’s is impressive – the cathedral is one of the world’s largest.
2:00pm Millenium Bridge & Shakespeare’s Globe
From St. Paul’s, head down to the river to walk across the Millennium Bridge. This bridge became famous in the Harry Potter films, and is walked by thousands every day. If you are a Harry Potter fan, here are the best Harry Potter things to do in London.
On the other side of the river is a rebuilt version of Shakespeare’s Globe theater. You can still see shows here today.
3:00pm River walk to Tower bridge
Tower bridge is probably the second-most iconic site in London after Big Ben. The bridge is far east from everything else, so take your time to stroll along the river and take in the sights. Or, grab a taxi to get there fast.
There are also a number of pubs along the river. Stop in for a London Pride or a local pint to feel refreshed.
Our favorite stopover spot is Boro Bistro. This french restaurant is cozy and quaint with a modern vibe. The tables are mis-matched and lined with funky cushions and blankets.
Check the weekly schedule for Tower Bridge and see the bridge rise. The city posts the times that the bridge will rise up to let in large boats.
At Tower Bridge, you can walk across and head back over to the north side of the river. The Tower of London is on the northside of the river, next to the bridge. Here, you can view the crown jewels. Get your tickets in advance here if you want to see this exhibit.
5:00pm pre-dinner sightseeing at the London Eye
Now it is time to head back over to the London Eye. Take a taxi or the tube to get there. Book your tickets in advance here to secure your spot. You already have your tickets, so join the line and get ready for some views!
The crazy part about the London eye is seeing the other pods going around.
7:30pm dinner time!
London has some of the best restaurants in the world if you know where to look. Skip the pub food and try one of the trendy spots. Here are our top suggestions:
Dishoom: a modern Indian kitchen with the best okra fries and paneer in town. Make a reservation or go at an odd time. The wait can be very long. If you wait, just grab a drink at the bar.
St. John Bread & Wine: my favorite restaurant in London, St. John makes a limited amount of what their local farmers bring in each day. They pride themselves on using every part of the animal to make exquisite dishes. Get a big bottle of wine, some good friends, and settle in for a remarkable meal.
Polpo: fresh Italian food with a modern twist. Polpo has fantastic pastas and seafood that could impress an Italian in-law.
Sketch: a Michelin star restaurant with all the Instagram vibes. This restaurant is top on our list to visit.
Hotbox: great rotisserie chicken, bone marrow, and comfort food. Hotbox is great for dinner, and brunch.
Nighttime in London
London has a big nightlife. Around Piccadilly Circus, you can find loads of pubs, clubs, and everything in-between. Just pick a neighborhood, find a pub, and post up. The locals are friendly and the beer is fantastic.
2 days in London Itinerary: Day Two
Day one was packed with sightseeing. For day two we are going to focus on what London is like as a local.
Morning: Head over to Shoreditch and Spitalfields market. These neighborhoods are very local and have excellent spots to pop in for a flat white and quiche before continuing on with your day.
Spitalfields Market had dozens of shops from upscale Chanel to local merchants selling discount scarves. Spend a bit of your morning sampling from the shops and finding hidden treasures. Here is a guide on what you need to know about Old Spitalfields Market.
Head north to Shoreditch to check out all the new hipster spots. It’s definitely one of the most Instagrammable places in London.
Next, wander back to the center of the city. Back over by Covent Garden and Leicester Square (pronounced LESTER). Check out the last-minute theater tickets so you can watch a show for cheap.
Mid-day: Stop by Harrods. A London staple, Harrods has everything you require. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, just ask. Their staff will scour the globe to find even the rarest item – just for a price.
Afternoon: before you go you must have afternoon tea at The Ivy, Chelsea Garden (reservation required). Just look at this spread:
There are multiple Ivy’s across London, so make sure you go to the right one. The Ivy Covent Garden is more for dinner, whereas Chelsea Garden has the most wonderful patio to enjoy your afternoon tea.
Evening: For your last night we suggest a rooftop bar that overlooks the city. These are our favorites rooftops and restaurants with city views.
The Culpeper, Spitalfields: excellent bar bites, great cocktails, excellent music, and a quaint patio. The views? Excellent. All the newest skyscrapers and high rises glisten during sunset and into the nighttime.
Aqua Kyoto: right off Oxford street with views of Regent Street, Aqua Kyoto boasts great cocktails and an upbeat vibe. More of a “clubbing” vibe at night, this is a great spot to go with a group.
Sushi Samba: a bit fancy, Sushi Samba has excellent sushi and cocktails. This is an excellent place for a small group of friends or a date. Sushi Samba definitely has one of the best views you could ask for.
Coq d’Argent: a giant green rooftop with drinks and apps and a fantastic view.
Duck & Waffle: not a rooftop, but on the top floor. Duck & Waffle is a great dinner spot for cold, rainy nights or nights that you’d rather spend inside. The view is unbelievable, a full view of all of London. You can’t go wrong. We’ve never had the food here, but we hear great things.
If you have time, you can consider a quick day trip to Richmond or Notting Hill. London is a massive city with a lot to see but has a lot to offer outside of the central downtown as well.
See Related: Scott’s Cheap Flights Review
2 days in London itinerary
This itinerary is sure to get you to all the best spots in London. And to some of the best restaurants. When you’re walking around London make sure to walk down random alleys, pop into local pubs, and chat with the locals.
We hope you enjoy your trip and found some good gems in this itinerary.
What do you think about our 2 days in London itinerary? Let us know what you think!