London might be one of the most cosmopolitan Europan destinations, a place where you could never get bored. If you only have 4 days in London and are looking for an easy-breezy itinerary, you have come to the right place.
This guide will not only provide all the valuable information you need to plan your vacation but will also help you with a step-by-step itinerary for each one of your days.
From how to get from the airport (no matter where you land) to where to stay in London and how to get around, you will find it all here. Because I have visited the city so many times and couldn’t help but fall in love with it.
I’m sure you will enjoy your time here because there is simply so much to do and see on a long weekend in London.
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4 Days in London Itinerary – what to do & complete guide
How to get to the city from the airport
London is served by 4 major airports each and every one of them perfectly linked to the city. While most probably you will be landing at Heathrow Airport, you will find it easy to get to your hotel from Luton, Gatwick, or Stansted airports.
But let’s see what are your options, for each and every one of these airports.
From Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport is the largest and most important airport, and also the easiest to reach from the city center. Located in the city’s western part, Heathrow is linked to the city center by fast train or subway.
Option 1: Express Train
The Heathrow Express is a great option if you want to save time, something you might want to consider when you only have 2 days in London. It is the fastest option to get from Heathrow Airport to Paddington Station, in just 15 minutes.
The train only stops at the airport’s terminals, and at the final destination. Also, you will have more room for your luggage, since this is a special train for those traveling from the airport to the city.
Of course, this means you should expect to pay a higher price, but when you book online ahead of time, you can save up to 75%.
Option 2: Subway
The London Subway Piccadilly Line links Heathrow airport to some of the most central places in the city.
You can pay contactless with your phone, card, or Octopus, and you can change lines at various stops. The downside of using the underground is the fact that it stops at every station, making the ride much longer. On top of that, you won’t have much space for your luggage, since this is a normal subway train.
However, if you are mindful of the price and are traveling on a budget, this is the best option for you.
Option 3: Private Transfer
A third option would be the Private Transfer. This might be the most expensive option, but also the most comfortable one.
You can book the transfer in advance so you won’t have to worry about finding a taxi at the airport. Moreover, forget about navigating the complex public transportation system with heavy luggage. The car will drop you off directly at your hotel.
From Gatwick Airport
Many flights might land or depart from Gatwick Airport. The airport is located south of London, on the way towards Brighton.
Option 1 – Express Train
The easiest and fastest way to get there is by Gatwick Express, a train linking Victoria Station to Gatwick Station.
The train departs every 15 minutes and the ride takes around 30 minutes. Victoria Station is perfectly located in the city center and easily accessible by public transportation.
Option 2: By bus
Another option to get to Gatwick Airport is by coach. For prices and timetables, check out the National Express coaches website and book your ticket in advance.
They do offer time estimates, and a ride takes 1hour and 50 minutes from Victoria Station, but I would always take at least 30 minutes as a buffer, especially when traveling during peak hours.
From Stansted Airport
Stansted Airport is located in the north eastern part of London, some 40 miles away. Some of the same transportation options are available from this airport to the center of London.
Option 1: By train
The Stansted Express is the fastest way you can get to the city. The train links the airport to London Liverpool Street Station from where you can hop on the Circle Line, Hammersmith & City Line, Metropolitan Line or Central Line.
Trains run every 15 minutes and tickets can be booked for as little as 9.45 GBP one-way when bought in advance.
Option 2: By bus and coach
The cheapest option, but also the longest (approximately 2 hours), you can book your ticket for as low as 5 GBP.
From Luton Airport
Luton Airport is mostly serviced by low-cost airlines, and chances are you will be arriving here when traveling from Europe.
The airport is located north of London, around 35 miles away from Victoria Station.
The other option would be to travel from London St Pancras Station to Luton Airport by train.
While the ride will take roughly 45 minutes, you will also have to take a bus from Luton Airport Parkway to Luton Airport. Don’t worry about that, because the price of the ticket is included in the train ticket price.
How to get around London
The easiest way to get around London is by using its top notch public transportation system. Whenever you look at the city’s public transportation map, you will see it is divided into 9 zones, with fares depending on the distance you travel through.
The central part of the city is part of Zone 1, while Heathrow Airport is in Zone 6.
No matter if you use the underground or bus, you can pay by card, with your phone, or by Oyster.
If you will want to get an Oyster card, you will have to order and pay for it online, and you will have it delivered to your address.
However, if you are only spending 4 days in London, I wouldn’t go through all this hassle, since you can pay as you go with any contactless card. Depending on the zones you will be traveling through, the amount is caped every day, no matter how many rides you take.
That is how we preferred to travel during our trip since it was both easy and affordable. For example, if you travel through Zones 1 and 2, you will pay a maximum of 7.7 GBP every day. You can check out all the fares here.
The London Pass is great for those that want to take a hop-on-hop-off bus for a day but also plan on visiting some popular tourist attractions. You can choose a pass for 1, 2, or up to 10 days, and you will enjoy access to more than 80 of London’s top attractions, tours, and museums (most of which you will find on this itinerary as well).
If, however, you don’t want to see lots of places that include admissions tickets and you want to use the hop-on-hop-off bus, you can book your trip separately here.
When is the best time to visit London?
While I love traveling through all seasons, and I have been to London in spring, summer, and fall, there are certain times I prefer best.
Of course, London before Christmas is charming and unforgettable, but I would always choose to visit during spring or summer.
Temperatures never get too high, there are less chances of rain, and the city’s parks are in bloom.
Where to stay in London for 4 days
Choosing the best area to stay in London can be challenging, especially when you will be in town only for 4 days. Of course, you will want to stay close to the most important tourist attractions, without breaking the bank.
On the other hand, you will want to have good connections to the airport and/or the train station. If these are all things you are looking for, then you should look for accommodation in and around Shoreditch, Covent Garden, or anywhere in Central London.
While I am very used to traveling around Italy or Greece, where hotels are relatively affordable and often times have breakfast included, London is a whole different story. When traveling on a budget, expect to pay around 100 EUR for a night, without breakfast included.
Here are a few hotel recommendations worth looking into for your 4 days in London.
ibis London City – Shoreditch
The hotel is perfectly positioned in the heart of London, close to the most important tourist attractions. Moreover, the price is affordable and you will be 1 minute away from the underground, and 10 minutes away from the famous Tower Bridge. Previous guests have appreciated how comfortable and clean the rooms are.
citizenM London Shoreditch
A modern hotel with a colorful interior design, located close to the city center. Self-check-in and check-out are done on a smart pad in the hotel hall, and rooms are not too big but comfortable enough.
The Z Hotel Trafalgar
You cannot stay more central than this, you will be able to walk almost anywhere, thus it might be worth spending extra and skipping public transportation. Guests have liked the modern facilities and the hotel’s location.
This is your ultimate luxury hotel option. With an Instagrammable rooftop offering one of the most amazing London skyline views, this hotel has a luxurious interior design and is set in the perfect location. On top of that, after a long they in the city you can pamper yourself at the hotel’s SPA or with a Michelin star dinner.
Your 4 days in London Itinerary – Day 1
Because you have more time to spare, your itinerary won’t be so packed. For this first day, you can mostly walk from one place to the other.
Start your day at the Kensington Palace and Gardens
Kensington Palace has been one of the royal residences in London since the 17th century.
Currently, it is the official London residence of William and Kate, among other members of the Royal Family.
Although it is one of the key tourist attractions today, there were calls for the palace to be demolished in the late 19th century. Queen Victoria eventually saved it, adamant that the place of her birth shouldn’t be destroyed during her lifetime.
You can walk through the King’s State Apartments, the Queen’s State Apartments, and the Gardens. There are also exhibitions, and if you haven’t had your coffee yet, you should try The Orangery cafe.
Tickets are covered by the London Pass, or you can book separately a 90-minute sightseeing tour.
Go for a walk in Hyde Park
Opened to the public in 1637, Hyde Park is one of the four Royal Parks of London, forming a chain with Saint James’s Park, Kensington Gardens, and Green Park past the entrance to Buckingham Palace.
Despite its relaxing atmosphere, the place was the scene of several famous duels, often involving members of the nobility.
For the last 150 years, Hyde Park has hosted the Speakers’ Corner, witnessing fiery speeches on many topics from religious reform to women’s rights advocates and anti-war militants.
In recent decades, the park was the venue for several large-scale free rock concerts featuring legendary groups like Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, and Queen.
See the changing of the guard at the Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace is one of the royal residences and the administrative center of the British monarch. It plays a significant role during state occasions and major events.
One of the world-famous attractions of today is the changing of the guard. If you have time, it is worth watching it, but please don’t stand in the way—the guards are not allowed to stop or go around gawking tourists, and they’ll march over you, irrespective of your age or gender. There was a fuss about a guard trampling over a child during our last visit, so watch your steps.
Step inside the Westminster Abbey
Probably the most notable religious building in the United Kingdom, Westminster Abbey is a large, mainly Gothic, church.
Since the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066, every English and British monarch has been coronated in the building. That’s one thousand years’ worth of kings and queens.
Furthermore, there are 3300 people buried in the abbey church, primarily people of historical significance: monarchs, prime ministers, military leaders, poets, scientists, and actors. For this reason, the place is colloquially known as “Britain’s Valhalla,” after the hall of heroes of Norse mythology.
Lastly, the church witnessed no less than sixteen royal weddings. The earliest ceremony was in 1100 when King Henry I wed Matilda of Scotland, while the most recent one was in 2011 when Prince William married Kate Middleton.
If you want to step inside and marvel at the beauty of this famous London attraction, I suggest you should book your ticket in advance. There are usually huge lines and you will want to save time especially when you only have 2 days in London.
Tickets are covered by the London Pass.
See the city’s skyline from the London Eye
Every movie shot in London over the last two decades features a large white wheel sitting on the bank of the Thames. That’s the London Eye or the Millenium Wheel.
It used to offer the highest public viewing point in London until it was superseded by the Shard, a 72-stories tall skyscraper. Even so, it is still worth the ride.
I still think this is an experience worth having when in London, and the living proof is the huge waiting line you always see in front of its ticket booth.
Book your skip-the-line ticket in advance and forget about wasting precious time waiting in line. Moreover, you can also choose from various combo options, that would allow you to do more while saving money.
The National Gallery and Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is a public plaza in central London. The site has been a significant landmark since the 1200s, the initial Charing Cross being the ground zero from which distances were measured.
The square is named after the site of Admiral Nelson’s famous victory over Napoleon’s fleet. Nelson’s statue sits atop a tall column guarded by four lions.
The National Gallery is an art musem in Trafalgar Square, Central London, housing an extensive collection of paintings. The collection belongs to the government on behalf of the British public. Consequently, visiting the main exhibition is free of charge.
Your 4 days in London Itinerary – Day 2
On your second day in London, I suggest you go outside of the city and explore some authentic british countryside. However, you can switch this day with the next one on this itinerary, if you would like to spend 2 consecutive days in the city.
Stepping outside of the city will acquaint you to a whole different side of Great Britain, one you certainly don’t want to miss.
There are several day trips to choose from or you can always rent a car or hop on the train.
If you are considering the option of renting a car, my go-to car rental company is always Discover Cars. It is a great aggregator that will help you find and book the best option for renting a car during your trip, helping you save up to 70% on your car rental. They have a pretty good cancellation policy that would give you options in case your flight or travel plans change. You will most probably need a car to get to most of these places, especially if you want to keep a schedule. Get your best offers here!
Before you book your car, remember they drive on the left side. Also, ask your hotel if they provide parking spaces because it might get challenging to find a parking space, or it will be expensive.
For your day, you can choose to head to the seaside to the South of London, explore a UNESCO World Herritage city, dive into the charming Cotswolds, or head over to some castles and impressive historical ruins. There are so many options to choose from, and I bet you will find it difficult to stick to only one destination.
Spend one day in Bath by following this guide, and discover the city’s long history, charming city center, and the old Roman Baths. It is easy to get there by train, making it the perfect destination for a day trip outside of London.
If you are into the charming shabby chic style villages, you might want to head over to the Cotswolds. Less than 2 hours outside of London, these area of Great Britain might be one of the most beautiful places you will see. Getting there by public transportation could be challenging, but there are plenty of tour options to choose from.
If you would rather go to the seaside, Brighton is a good option with great train connections departing from Victoria Station throughout the day.
Haven’t we all been seduced by the crazy adventures of Harry Potter? If you are like me, you will love to go on a day trip to the Harry Potter Studio and discover this incredible world. On top of that, you will get to admire the grounds of Oxford University on a walking tour. See more here!
Castle and history lovers will love a full day trip to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Oxford.
With such a plethora of day trips options it would be a pity not to allow yourself to explore other places outside of London.
Your 4 days in London Itinerary – Day 3
Start your day with a coffee with a view at the Sky Garden
Boasting some of the best views in London, the Sky Garden is exactly what its name tells you: a small garden located between floors 34 and 37 in a tall business building.
Here, you can admire the 360-degree view of London and its skyline, enjoy a coffee with a snack, or even have a delicious meal at one of the restaurants. Once you had your coffee, take a stroll through the lush garden, snap a picture on the deck, and take your time admiring the city from above.
There is no time limit and the entrance is free, however you will have to book your free ticket online here.
Walk over to the Tower Bridge
Everybody knows the highly ornate suspension bridge in London, the one with the two towers on it, right?
One American tycoon liked it so much that he desired to buy it and ship it back to the US. So when the English planned to dismantle the London Bridge in 1968, Robert McCulloch eagerly bought it. To his great surprise, when they reassembled his new acquisition in Lake Havasu City in the US, the bridge looked very different than he imagined it. Why? Because the bridge with the beautiful towers is called the Tower Bridge, while the American gentleman acquired the London Bridge—two different things.
Consequently, be careful what you are bargaining for when in Britain.
Tickets are covered by the London Pass or
Visit the Tower of London and see the Crown Jewels
Another example of British quirky naming habits is the Tower of London. While it is in London indeed, it is not a tower but a castle encircled by medieval stone walls and all.
It was used as a prison during the middle ages, so, unsurprisingly, it was associated with torture and execution for most of its existence. Some of the prisoners were kept there for years or even decades, slowly withering away in the damp and dark dungeon.
The Tower was also the host of the royal menagerie as early as the 12th century. Kings kept wild animals there, including lions and leopards. By the 18th century, the medieval zoo was opened to the public but with a grizzly twist. The admittance fee was either three half-pence or a cat or dog to be fed to the lions. Not precisely a child-friendly petting zoo.
Today, the Tower of London is an important tourist attraction, and one can gawk at the opulent Crown Jewels—if you are into bling-bling, it is a must-see destination.
Tickets are covered by the London Pass or
Go on a cruise on the Thames River
Why not see the city from the water, on a Thames River Cruise? There are so many options to choose from, but since you are at the Tower of London, only a few steps away you will find one of the main piers.
The best option is to book a Hop-on-Hop-off Boat and take it from Tower Pier towards Greenwich Pier. Afterwards, head back all the way to Westminster Pier. You will get to do the whole trip and see from the water all the important attractions.
Head to China Town for dinner
After we lived in East Asia for over two years, London’s China Town became one of our favorite places. If you are intoAsian cuisine, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity of seeing this European piece of Asia.
Chinese hot pot, Cantonese shrimp wonton, Taiwanese shao mai—you can find it all, and I can assure you it is as authentic as it gets. In addition to Chinese places, there are plenty of Vietnamese, Japanese, and Thai restaurants in the area. Be ready for a unique culinary experience.
Finish off your day with a West End show
If you travel by undeground you will see countless adverts for the most popular West End shows taking place at the moment. If you are into musicals, why not dress up and have a night out?
Check out here the latest shows, and book your ticket in advance!
Your 4 days in London Itinerary – Day 4
Today will be more laid-back and you will get to explore charming neighborhoods and beautiful parks.
Start your day with a coffee in Notting Hill and some shopping at Portobello Market
I absolutely love exploring this area and allowing myself to get lost on these streets packed with colorful buildings, posh cafes, and quirky stores.
Always taking me back to the “Notting Hill” movie with Julia Robers and Hugh Grant, on these streets you will find plenty of small shops as the little book store in the movie. Come here prepared to search for vintage clothing, taste food from all over the world at the Portobello Market, or sit back and relax with a single origin coffee.
This is also one of the most Instagrammable areas in London, and where you will find some of the most Instagram worthy cafes as well.
Go for a stroll in Holland Park
Considered one of the poshest and most expensive areas to stay in London, Holland Park will make you feel like you are in a small forest, in the middle of the city.
Come here especially if you are traveling during spring because the Japanese Garden is one of the most stunning places in town. They even have a peakock that will charm you with its vibrant colors.
While you might not feel like you are in Venice, but rather in Amsterdam maybe, this area is still worth visiting. With its canals, wooden boats, and waterways, come here to discover less touristic cafes, cosy pubs or charming restaurants.
Simply stroll along the canals or take a boat and go on a Regent’s Canal Waterbus Boat Trip to Camden.
Eat your heart out at the Borough Market
Cross over to the Southern banks and discover one of the largest and oldest food markets in London, with a market on the site dating back to at least the 12th century.
With plenty of food stalls and always some kind of event going on, you won’t be dissapointed by your visit to the Borough Market.
See the sunset from the Shard
Climb to the 72nd floor of one of the city’s most iconic landmarks and admire a 360-degree view over London at sunset.
The perfect day to end your day and your 4 days in London.
Other things worth doing in London
Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour – an original tour with thousands of reviews and happy customers. Pack some comfortable walking shoes and be ready to discover the magical world of Harry Potter hidden in the streets of London. See more here!
Afternoon Tea Bus with Panoramic Tour of London – You cannot come to London and not have the posh afternoon tea experience. And while you could head to one of the fancier hotels in town, I suggest you choose to see the city while enjoying traditional sweet and savory treats. See more here!
Jack The Ripper Walking Tour – as night falls, follow the footsteps of one of the most famous serial killers in history. If you are a fan of true crime series you should not miss this walking tour. See more here!