Things to do in London in 5 days

por Postcards from IvI

If you want to know what to do in London in 5 days, in this post I’ll give you a complete itinerary so you can make the most of your time in the city.

*This post contains affiliate links.

London is a very expansive city with plenty of activities and places to explore. That’s why it’s essential to organize your days and make the most of your time in this city. 5 days in London seems like the perfect amount of time for a first visit. This timeframe will allow you to visit some of the most significant attractions.

At the end of the itinerary, you’ll find a map outlining each day’s route, which you can download and save on your phone for when you’re in London.

if it’s your first time in London make sure you read this 20 tips for visiting London for the first time


Things to do in London in 5 days – Complete itinerary

DAY 1 of London in 5 days: Westminster

Piccadilly Circus – Trafalgar Square – St James Park – Buckingham Palace – Westminster Palace – Big Ben – Westminster Abbey – London Eye

  • Piccadilly Circus

Start your first day in London at Piccadilly Circus, one of the most central points of the city, filled with neon signs, shops, and crowds at all hours. This area is home to many theaters and restaurants.


  • Trafalgar Square

Head to Trafalgar Square, London’s most-known square. This is the point where many protests and celebrations take place. In the center of the square you will see the imposing Nelson column, with almost 50 meters height.

Around Trafalgar square there are some important buildings like the National Gallery, which contains a collection of more than 2300 paintings. As in other London museums, admission to the National Gallery is completely free. If you are interested in art, a visit to the National Gallery is a must.

Right next to the National Gallery is the National Portrait Gallery, which has a collection exclusively of portraits of historically important and famous British figures. Admission is also free.


  • St James Park

On your way to the next stop, you’ll pass through St James’s Park, a beautiful park with lush greenery and lakes.

  • Buckingham Palace

You will arrive at Buckingham Palace to witness the famous Changing of the Guard ceremony, which takes place at 11 AM. This ceremony is very interesting but also very touristy, so you’ll need to arrive a bit early as it gets crowded. To know exactly which day it will take place, I recommend checking the official website for the schedule.

Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the British monarchy


  • Westminster Palace & Big Ben

Qué hacer en Londres en 4 días, itinerario completoThe next stop is the Palace of Westminster, one of the most iconic buildings in London. Inside, you’ll find the two chambers of the United Kingdom Parliament: the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Although we all really know it as Big Ben. The tower’s actual name is Elizabeth Tower, and Big Ben is the name of the clock bell. It’s undoubtedly one of the most emblematic places in the city, and you can’t miss passing through this area.


  • Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is a Gothic church where the coronations and burials of British monarchs take place. It is also where Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton got married in 2011.

The Abbey is beautiful both outside and inside. Its facade has an incredible amount of details to admire. The entry to visit Westminster Abbey is included in the London Pass.


  • London Eye

Cross to the other side of the River Thames and end your first day in London riding the London Eye, the highest wheel in Europe with a 135 meters height. It is best to get the ticket online in advance and avoid the long lines.

>> Book the London Eye tickets here

 


DAY 2 of London in 5 days: The city & South Bank

St Paul’s Cathedral – Millenium Bridge – Tate Modern – Borough Market – Tower Bridge – Tower of London – Sky Garden

This second day will focus on the southern part of the River Thames and the area known as the City of London, which is essentially the city’s financial district.

  • St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral, one of London’s most important icons. The building, with its imposing dome, was built between 1676 and 1710. If you have time you can enter the Cathedral. The entrance is included in the London Pass and you can also buy the online ticket in advance.


  • Millennium Bridge

Millenium Bridge is a pedestrian suspension bridge that crosses the River Thames. It is one of the many Harry Potter locations in London, from “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” where the death eaters destroy the bridge.


  • Tate Modern

On the other side of the River Thames to Tate Modern, one of the most important art museums in the world. Tate Modern is one of my favorite museums in London, not only because of its collection, but because its terrace which offers a beautiful view of the city. Admission to the museum is free.


  • Borough Market

Keep walking until you reach Borough Market, one of the largest and oldest markets in London. Here you’ll find plenty of stalls to grab a bite to eat. Just remember that the market is closed on Sundays.

Very close to Borough Market is The Shard, the tallest building in the United Kingdom. The Shard’s observation platform, The View from The Shard, offers panoramic 360-degree views of the city.


  • Tower Bridge

The next stop on the second day in London is Tower Bridge, one of the most recognisable landmarks in London. It is a bascule bridge, meaning it has a lifting system to allow the passage of boats.

Additionally, inside the bridge is the The Tower Bridge exhibition , which gives you access to the walkways located above the bridge.


  • Tower of London

The Tower of London is one of the oldest buildings in the city and is where some of the executions of renowned characters such as Ana Bolena took place. Today the Tower is a museum with a very entertaining tour and also the place where the crown jewels are kept.

To learn more read: Visiting the Tower of London.

The entrance to the Tower of London is included in the London Pass. The visit will take you about 2 or 3 hours so I recommend that you get there as soon as it opens (9 AM from Monday to Saturday and 10 AM on Sundays).


  • Sky Garden

End the day by visiting the Sky Garden, the tallest public garden in London which offers one of the best views in the city. Admission is free, but you must book your ticket in advance through the Sky Garden website.


DAY 3 of London in 5 days: Notting Hill & Kensington

Notting Hill – Kensington Gardens – Hyde Park – Albert Memorial – Royal Albert Hall – Natural History Museum – Victoria & Albert Museum – Harrods

Today involves a lot of walking, so put on the most comfortable footwear you have to explore London.

  • Notting Hill

Start your third day in London by taking the tube to Notting Hill, one of the most picturesque neighborhoods in London where all the houses are painted in pastel colors. You surely remember Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant who participated in the film that made this neighborhood so famous.

In Notting Hill you can visit the Portobello Market. Saturday is the best day to visit it since it is when most shops are open. On Sundays the market is closed.


  • Kensington Gardens & Hyde Park

From Notting Hill, you can walk to Kensington Gardens. Here you’ll find Kensington Palace, the royal residence where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge currently reside. It was Princess Diana’s residence until her death, so you’ll see many memorials in the area.

Kensington Gardens are right next to Hyde Park, so you can take a stroll through London’s largest park.


  • Albert Memorial & Royal Albert Hall

After strolling through Hyde Park, head back towards the Kensington area and pass by the Albert Memorial, a monument in memory of Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Queen Victoria’s husband.

Very close by is also the famous Royal Albert Hall, a concert hall inaugurated in 1871 where musical performances take place daily. If you’re interested in taking a guided tour inside, admission is included with the London Pass.


  • Natural History Museum

The following stop is one of the best free museums in London. The Natural History Museum is located in Victorian style building on the outside and Romanesque on the inside, with characteristics similar to a church. It has a collection related to natural sciences, highlighting its important collection of dinosaur skeletons.


  • Victoria & Albert Museum

Next you will find the Victoria & Albert Museum, an art and design museum where you will find collections of art, design, architecture, jewelry, relics, clothing and all kinds of objects from many cultures around the world.

Also in Kensington is the a science and technology museum, ideal to visit with children.


  • Harrods

After visiting some of the museums continue walking towards Knightsbridge neighborhood where you will find the famous Harrods store. This store is historical, it was founded in 1834 and started as a small store. Today Harrods is a 90,000 m² store and sells everything you can think of.

Even if you are not going to buy anything, I recommend you visit the stores. You can also have a classic English tea in the restaurant located inside the store: The Harrods Tea Rooms.


DAY 4 of London in 5 days: Soho & British Museum

Soho – Covent Garden – British Museum – Oxford Street

  • Soho

Start the day by walking through Soho, one of the busiest neighborhoods in London where shops and restaurants abound. Here is London’s Chinatown and Carnaby Street, a pedestrian street full of fashion shops. In each season they have a different decoration on the street so I love stopping by to see it.


  • Covent Garden
Itinerario de 5 días en Londres

Covent Garden in christmas

Continue walking to the Covent Garden area, a super lively neighborhood with shops and restaurants. There is the famous Covent Garden Market, which is a must-see in London.


  • British Museum

Itinerario de 5 días en Londres

On the afternoon visit the famous British Museum. The museum is really huge! Some of the most interesting collections to see are: Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and the Far East.

Beyond the works on display, the building itself is beautiful and worth a visit. At the centre of the British Museum is the Great Court, designed by British architect Norman Foster. Entry to the British Museum is free. The visit will take you around 3 hours.


  • Oxford Circus & Bond Street

After the British Museum there are several options depending on the time you have. I recommend going to the Oxford Circus and Bond Street area, full of shops and bars. You can end the day having dinner at Mercato Mayfair, a market with different gastronomic offers whose peculiarity is that the building is an old church.

Another option is to see a play in the West End area.


DAY 5 of London in 5 days: north of London

Abbey Road – Primrose Hill – Camden – King’s Cross – St Pancras

  • Abbey Road

Itinerario de 5 días en LondresStart the last day of this 5-day London itinerary on the famous Abbey Road, where the Beatles had their photo taken for their album. There is also the Abbey Road studio and a small shop where you can get a souvenir.


  • Primrose Hill

Itinerario de 5 días en LondresContinue walking towards Primrose Hill, a hill at the northern end of Regent’s Park that has some very nice views of the city. If you travel in summer it is the perfect place to sit and rest and have a picnic.​


  • Camden Town

Itinerario de 5 días en LondresThe next stop is Camden, a neighborhood famous for its street and alternative markets. Camden Town is seen as the alternative rock capital of the UK. It is a very particular and fun place. There are many restaurants and bars in Camden.


  • King’s Cross Station

Itinerario de 5 días en LondresFrom Camden you can walk (20 minutes) to King’s Cross train station. The building is incredible and worth a visit.

Also, for Harry Potter fans, King’s Cross is home to the famous Platform 9 3/4. You can line up to take a photo on the wall with the platform number and the cart full of suitcases and the cage for the owl.

Right next to King’s Cross is St Pancras station, from where many trains leave to other countries in Europe. Its Gothic façade also appears in the Harry Potter films.

And this 5-day tour of London ends here. Make sure to read my guide with tips for visiting London for the first time.


Map with 5 days in London itinerary


How to save money in London activities

London has many free things to do. However paid attractions in London aren’t cheap at all, that’s why there are two tourist cards that allow you to save some money. Depending on what activities you are interested in doing, this passes will be convenient for you.

  • London Pass: The card allows you to enter more than 80 attractions in the city. It can be purchased with a duration of 1, 2, 3, 6 or 10 days.
  • Explorer Pass: I love using Go City when I travel. The Explorer Pass is sold according to the number of attractions you want to visit. You can choose between 2, 3, 5, 6, or 7 credits package and you’ll have 60 days to use it.

For more info about the passes read: London Pass vs Explorer Pass: which is better for you?


Where to stay in London

As you will see there are many neighborhoods where you can stay in London. If it is your first time in the city and you want to be close to everything, I recommend you look for accommodation in the Soho area, Bloomsbury or Covent Garden. Here are some recommended hotels:

For a more detailed guide read: Where to stay in London: best areas and hotels


Other London posts that you might like:

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read more about it here.

Things to do in London in 5 days Things to do in London in 5 days Things to do in London in 5 days

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