Looking for the perfect 4 day itinerary for London? This guide maps out your time, includes all the top sights, what order to do it in, and how to beat the crowds. Perfect for a first visit to London!
London is a city that deserves multiple visits. You could easily spend one to two weeks here and still have sights or day trips you weren’t able to fit in. I've collectively spent about 2.5 months in London and never have a hard time filling my days. Whether that be revisiting old favorites or discovering new places.
London is a thriving metropolis with all the usual attractions that you find in other major cities. There is no shortage of museums to visit, Broadway shows to attend, and an ever-changing restaurant scene to indulge in.
What makes London unique is the mix of ancient and modern. One moment you're touring an 11th-century castle and the next you're visiting 21st-century buildings like Sky Garden and The Shard.
If it’s your first visit to the UK, 4 days in London will be enough to see the top sights and get your feet wet. Like I always say, assume you will be back. Otherwise, the size of the city and the number of places you want to see will become overwhelming.
This 4-day itinerary for London includes the must-visit sights without overwhelming your schedule. And of course, there will be enough time for an afternoon tea or two!
Download this 4 day London itinerary in PDF form. Save it on your phone or print it!
This map shows everything included in this 4 day itinerary for London. Click the icon in the very top left to see a list view of each pinned location. Click the top right button to enlarge the map. Click the star to save to your own Google Maps account. To access this map once saved (after clicking the star), open Google Maps (on your phone/computer/tablet), click the menu button, go to "your places", select "maps", and you will see this map listed.
- Blue - Day 1 in London
- Purple - Day 2 in London
- Red - Day 3 in London
- Yellow - museums for extra time/those not interested in Harry Potter
Before we go into our 4 day itinerary for London, let's discuss a few things first...
Getting Around London
Before we begin our 4 day itinerary for London, let's first discuss how you will be getting around the city.
Buying an Oyster card is a MUST. This reloadable plastic card is your ticket to using the Tube (London's underground metro system). You can buy them at any Tube station at the vending machines. I usually load £20 to £40 at a time.
The Tube and your own two feet will be your primary mode of transportation.
Even though the city looks spread out and massive, which it is, the Tube is a life-saver. It’s the most convenient metro I have ever used with stops at pretty much every major sight and little to no waiting time between trains.
It might be confusing at first to figure out how to read the maps, but I promise within a few rides you’ll have the system down. Plus, Google Maps makes it easy, showing you what line to take, which entrance and exit to use, how many stops to ride, etc.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I have found there are usually Tube attendants at the station who are very friendly and more than happy to help. Locals are quick to provide guidance as well.
I usually never buy city passes like this because the math never adds up for it to make sense. Once you’ve read this post and have decided what sights you will for sure be visiting during your 4-day London itinerary, go to this website and add up if the London Pass will save you money or not.
Don’t assume every sight you’re visiting is included. There is a specific list of sights and attractions that are included on the website.
The only time the London Pass made sense for me was my first trip to London when I was jamming a lot of major tourist sights into each day.
If you like to take a slow pace and only see a few attractions a day, this pass probably isn’t for you.
Weather in London
Weather in London changes throughout the day. It can be freezing in the morning and require a light jacket, warm up in the afternoon to t-shirt weather, and then dip to chilly temperatures once the sun drops.
Dress in layers and always have an umbrella on you.
Itinerary for Day 1 in London
Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
I’m one of those people who sees those touristy Hop-On Hop-Off buses and laughs. London is really the only city where I truly believe it’s worth it to pay the price and feel like the average tourist as you board.
London is huge and if it’s your first visit you’re going to have a hard time getting the lay of the land.
Unlike smaller cities where I recommend starting your trip with a biking or walking tour, a quick London 4 day itinerary requires a bus tour. A biking or walking tour just won’t cut it and will only be able to show you a section of the city.
Check out each website and see what specials they are running and what walking tours they offer. Currently, both companies offer a free Royal Walk/Changing of the Guards tour, but I have found that these tours sometimes change.
The BigBus tour is a bigger company and has more frequent departures. TOOTBus sometimes has themed bus tours like a Christmas Tour or a Bar Bus tour where they serve drinks on the rooftop. Browse each website and see which is a better fit for you based on price, walking tours, and specialty tours.
If you want to get the basic rundown of the city and see the main sights do the red route on the BigBus London tour and the yellow route on the Original Tour.
Both companies offer handy maps and apps with color-coded routes to make things easy.
Allow 1.5 to 2.5 hours to do the main circuit.
Westminster Abbey and Big Ben
Westminster Abbey is one of the most famous sights in London. Here you will find over 1,000 years’ worth of history. It’s been the official site of royal coronations since 1066 and is the resting place for over 3,000 British politicians, famous poets, royalty, and other notable figures.
Most will remember Westminster for the royal wedding of William and Kate.
If you want to see Westminster and skip touring around and paying the admission price, attend a free Evensong service held daily (except on Wednesdays), or a service on Sunday.
After you visit Westminster Abbey, walk through Parliament Square Garden and down Parliament Street to gaze at the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.
Did you know the correct name of the clock tower is actually Elizabeth Tower? Big Ben is the name of the bell inside the tower.
Churchill War Rooms
Walk 7 minutes from Big Ben, or Elizabeth Tower, to arrive at the Churchill War Rooms. Ranked as the #2 “thing to do in London” on TripAdvisor, this site will give you a glimpse into Britain’s war efforts in WWII.
Pick up the included audio guide and walk through underground rooms that were used from 1939 to 1945. Conclude your visit by learning about the life and legacy of Winston Churchill in the Churchill Museum.
Book tickets in advance otherwise you’ll be waiting in line.
Take a 15 minute metro or walk 20 minutes to Covent Garden. I recommend walking along the Thames River or via Trafalgar Square.
Once a produce market, Covent Garden is now a tourist and Instagrammable hotspot.
Browse the shopping stalls, laugh at the street performers, stop in for a quick rest at one of the many cafes, and watch the mix of locals and tourists stream by.
This area is especially fun during the holidays with fantastic decorations and a giant Christmas tree.
Seven Dials and Neals Yard
Walk 5 minutes to Seven Dials and Neals Yard. Seven Dials is an intersection of seven charming streets and worth a quick walk around.
Neals Yard is one of the quirkiest and most colorful streets in London that is missed by most tourists.
End day 1 of your 4-day London itinerary in a cozy pub. Fill up on traditional British food like fish and chips or shepherd’s pie. This area has plenty to choose from. The White Lion, The Lamb and Flag, and Crown and Anchor are some of my favorites.
Itinerary for Day 2 in London
Tower of London
A palace, fortress, and prison…the Tower of London is not to be missed during your four day London itinerary. If you’re interested in Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, or the Philippa Gregory novels highlighting the Tudor era, this will be particularly rewarding.
See where Anne Boleyn and other “threats to the throne” were beheaded. Gaze in wonder at the crown jewels…the most impressive I have ever seen.
The history and story of this complex is fascinating. Your ticket includes an hour-long tour led by a Yeoman Warder in full regalia.
These tours are worthwhile and a fun mix of entertainment and history. Book your tickets in advance for the first time slot of the morning and arrive 15 minutes early to beat the crowds.
Girl with a Dolphin Fountain
Walk 6 minutes from the Tower to one of my favorite viewpoints in London. The Girl with a Dolphin fountain offers stunning views of Tower Bridge.
Once you’ve snapped that perfect picture with Tower Bridge in the background, walk up to the bridge to admire it up close.
Walk along the water and make a stop at Coppa Club. Book online ahead to reserve one of the igloos that change theme with the season. This is a popular spot for brunch, lunch, and cocktails.
One of the newest additions to the London scene, this is a must during your London 4 day itinerary. Not only is it free, but you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the city below and spot famous landmarks in the distance.
Wander through the greenery in London’s highest public garden, find St. Paul’s in the distance on the terrace, or sip a cocktail at one of the restaurants or bars.
Book your spot in advance here.
Walk 14 minutes across London Bridge to arrive at Borough Market. This colorful and always busy market is the perfect spot for lunch.
Whether you’re craving traditional British fare like scotch eggs or fish and chips, or an international dish like spicy curry, you’ll find something to please every taste.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Walk 18 minutes or take a 15 minute tube to the fourth largest church in Europe. St. Paul’s Cathedral is an impressive sight both inside and out.
A church dedicated to Saint Paul has stood on this very spot since 604…so there’s quite a bit of history here. The church you see today features a 365-foot dome and an elaborate baroque-styled interior.
Climb up to the whispering gallery at the base of the dome. The design is perfectly rounded and will take your whisper all the way along the wall to your friend on the other side. Try it, it’s fun and you won’t be the only one whispering into the wall.
Continue climbing past the whispering gallery to the top of the dome, 528 steps, for sweeping views of the city.
Dinner at the Queens Head
Walk or take the Tube to the Piccadilly Circus stop, the Times Square of London. This is the perfect spot to grab an early meal before you hit a show.
The Queens Head is a longtime favorite for a hearty British meal. The cozy upstairs takes you back in time. Try the steak and ale pie...it's their staple dish.
Musical or Play
Finish day 2 of your London 4 day itinerary with a show. The Lion King, Frozen, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child are my favorites.
If there is a specific musical or play you’d like to see, buy tickets in advance.
If you’re looking for a deal and aren’t picky on which show you see, visit the TKTS booth in Leicester Square to get discounted same-day tickets.
Go first thing in the morning when they open; 10:00 am every day except Sunday which opens at 11:00 am. See this website for all the current musicals.
Itinerary for Day 3 in London
Changing of the Guard
4 days in London will pretty much guarantee you'll be able to partake in the Changing of the Guard. This ceremony typically takes place every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Check the dates here.
I strongly recommend booking a tour if it’s your first time. Fun London Tours does a wonderful job at explaining what you’re seeing, the history behind the ceremony, and getting you to the correct spots to watch each segment. It’s a moving ceremony.
If you do like most tourists do and watch from Buckingham Palace, you're actually missing most of the ceremony.
Plan on ending around 11:15. Once you finish watching the Changing of the Guard, stroll through Buckingham Palace Gardens and continue walking down The Mall. This is a lovely walk and will take you to Trafalgar Square…a picturesque hotspot that offers some great views of the city around you.
If you have to swap dates because day 3 falls on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday, swap this with the Tower of London on day 2 and do the Tower today.
Harry Potter London
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, visiting the Warner Bros Studio Tour London to see the Making of Harry Potter is an obvious activity whether you have 4 days in London or 2.
Even if you aren’t a big HP fan and just appeasing someone else in your group, it still makes for a fun visit.
Plan on carving 3 to 4 hours out of your day for this visit. Take your time and wander the sets used in the Harry Potter films. See the props and costumes, visit the back lot with the Night Bus and Privet Drive, and sample a butterbeer.
I recommend taking the bus, see information here, to get to the studio. Buy tickets in advance as days sell out quickly.
If you’re a muggle who could care less about Harry Potter, use this afternoon to visit one of the many spectacular museums. The British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, National Gallery, and British Library are the most popular options.
Walking or Bike Tour
Book a walking or bike tour to spend the rest of your afternoon/evening exploring London. There are so many different areas to explore and plenty of themes to choose from.
Join a Jack the Ripper or ghost tour for a spooky take on London, make friends on a pub crawl tour, or burn some calories on a bike tour.
This 3.5 hour bike tour focuses on the top sights around London like Covent Garden, Buckingham Palace, Westminster, St. Paul's Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, and more. Those wanting a bit more greenery will love this 4 hour London Royal Parks Bike Tour.
These are some great tours with specific interests in mind:
- Original Harry Potter Locations Tour - London
- Small-Group Tour: Historical Pub Walking Tour of London
- London Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours
- The Jack The Ripper Walking Tour in London
- Ghost, Ghouls and Gallows Walking Tour with Boat Ride
- Hidden London Walking Tour
I left day 3 pretty open so you could easily flip flop the Making of Harry Potter (or a museum visit) with your walking or biking tour depending on available tour times.
If the weather is nice during your 4 days in London, consider a trip to Hyde Park. This is a great way to end your day before dinner.
Hyde Park and Kensington Park are actually connected and filled with statues, monuments, biking and jogging trails, ponds, and gardens.
If the weather is warm, you’ll see swan boats being paddled in the water, children playing in the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, and rentable lawn chairs filled with locals and tourists enjoying some sun.
Dreadful weather? Tick off another museum on your list. Choose from The British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, National Gallery, and British Library.
End your day with a late afternoon tea. It’s traditional to take tea around 3:00 pm but when you only have 4 days in London your afternoons will be filled. I prefer to replace my dinner with a late afternoon tea for several reasons.
Firstly, afternoon tea isn’t cheap. The hefty price tag doesn't seem nearly as bad when it replaces dinner. Secondly, it’s less crowded later in the day.
Many places like Fortnum and Mason, the Ritz London, Claridge's, and my personal favorite, Rosewood London, serve afternoon tea until 5:30 pm or even as late as 7:00 pm.
Itinerary for Day 4 in London
A four day London itinerary leaves just enough time for a day trip outside the city. There are so many spectacular day trips that have a completely different look and feel from London. Many day trips are easily accessible by train or tour company.
If you want to fit a lot into one day, consider booking a bus tour. A few trips ago I did the Small Group Stonehenge, Bath and Secret Place Tour from London and can't recommend it enough. It was a VERY filled day with lots of driving but TOTALLY worth it. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Other tour options that include Bath and Stonehenge:
- Small Group Cotswolds Village, Stonehenge and Bath Tour from London (same company as the tour I did).
- Small-Group Day Trip to Bath, Lacock and Stonehenge from London
- PRIVATE TOUR OPTION: Stonehenge & Bath Private Day Tour from London
These above tours are with companies I like/have used before and combine worthwhile stops that would be hard to do on your own/without a car.
Decide what city or sight is most important to you and if you want to navigate on your own or book a guided tour.
If adding a day trip sounds exhausting, the first 3 days of this London 4 day itinerary can easily be stretched into 4, or even 5 days.
I fit a lot into the first 3 days and it’s a pretty quick pace. This option would also allow time for several museums, an additional Broadway show or performance, and time to shop/wander/eat.
I hope this itinerary jumpstarts your planning on how to spend 4 days in London. After collectively spending about 2.5 months here, I've been able to visit all the top sights multiple times. This is how I would recommend mapping out your time if you're a first-time visitor. I've made sure the best attractions and experiences are included in this itinerary without overwhelming your days.