The ultimate 2 days in London itinerary
Are you going to spend 2 days in London and are looking for the best way to spend 48 hours in London? Having lived in London for 9 years I never became jaded about the amazing places in London to see, but my best experiences were always those of spending a weekend in London. I adore London and have spent many happy days exploring the City.
With so much to see in London and so little time and the expense of some of London’s most iconic sites you may want to see when you’re visiting London I recommend just taking pictures but not going inside unless that is something you really feel you must experience personally.
There never will be a perfect London itinerary unless of course you win the lottery but you can take in the highlight when you’re only in London for a few days. Ultimately London is one of the best cities in the world to return to over and over again.
- The ultimate 2 days in London itinerary
- 2 days in London Itinerary – Things to see in London
- How to get around London
- Accommodation in London
- Getting to London
- Buy a London Pass
- How to spend 2 days in London
- 2 Day London Itinerary Overview – Historic sites
- Day 1: Your London Itinerary – Historic Sites
- Day 2: Your London Historic Sites Itinerary
- 2 Day London Itinerary Overview – Shopping and Vintage
- Day 1: Your shopping and vintage itinerary
- Day 2: Your shopping and vintage tour
- 2 Day London Itinerary Overview – Foodie recommendations
- Day 1: London Itinerary Overview for foodies
- Day 2: London Foodie Itinerary
- Where to stay in London for 2 days
2 days in London Itinerary – Things to see in London
Because I’m a housesitter and have spent many weeks in London I get a lot of questions from people that want to spend a weekend in London, so these London in two days itineraries focus on all the best things you can do in London in 48 hours depending on your favourite things to do.
To be honest I usually arrange my London sights visit according to the mood I’m in – do I want to see the street markets and have some amazing food? Or do I fancy visiting the historic spots in London? London is a huge city and although there is lots of public transport there is just so many sites in London to see you have to keep coming back for more.
Is 2 days enough in London? No – but it will give you a taste of the city and you can always (and should) come back. When planning your London sightseeing itinerary I always recommend a hop-on hop-off bus if you have never been to a city before. These HOHO buses will give you a good idea of the layout of a city and places you will want to come back and spend more time at.
There is lots of walking but for anyone wishing to get the most out of their things to do in London in 2 days, this guide has all the information you need to make sure you see the best of the city during your stay in London for the weekend.
How to get around London
Now a 2-day itinerary in London may not seem like a lot of time to explore but here are some of the top sites to visit around London. I know the London transit system may see complex and overwhelming but here’s everything you need to know about using the Tube system.
It’s one of the best ways to see London for 2 days and it can seem daunting but it’s really easy to use. Get yourself an Oyster travel card or you can use your debit card on buses and tubes if you don’t have the Oyster. I use my Canadian debit card on my trip to London for all the public transportation methods which gave me plenty of opportunities to see in London what was on my bucket list.
Accommodation in London
Deciding on where to stay in London can be a difficult decision London has accommodation in a huge range of styles and prices you should do your homework and decide upon the area you want to stay in and depending on the season you are truly best to book ahead and plan where you want to be based in London.
If you are planning on doing London on a budget there is a vast range of places to stay some of the best hostels are seriously budget-friendly and they give you a chance to meet up with other travellers.
Getting to London
Getting to London has never been easier or more convenient. You can fly into many different airports and take a vast array of tours and sites to see. However, if you are just dropping in for two days in London say as a layover this itinerary may be for you. But take from it what you will, these are just some of the incredible sites that London has to offer and hopefully you can pick and choose your favourites for your 2 days in London.
Buy a London Pass
I would highly recommend that you purchase your tickets for many of these sites online before you arrive in London. That way you won’t waste your 2 days in London in queues for tickets for the various sites you may want to see.
Depending on the attractions in London you want to see this may or may not be a good idea for your 2 day London Itinerary. The London Pass does include the London tourist attractions as noted below but might be a bit expensive given your limited time to visit.
Attractions Included in the London Pass
London Pass holders are currently granted free admission to over 90 iconic London museums, monuments, palaces, castles, tours, and other attractions. These include some of the most popular London attractions such as:
Tower of London
The View from the Shard
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Tower of London
Hampton Court Palace
How to spend 2 days in London
Here is my list of the top things to do in London in 2 days. I know it seems like a lot but as an example, if you visit Piccadilly Circus you are only a short walk from Trafalgar Square and Oxford Street.
Since London is such an expensive city one way to see all the sites is to take a Thames River Cruise. This way you can enjoy views from a different angle and get some fantastic photos.
London is also a foodie’s paradise and has some of the best and most unique restaurants in the world. On top of that (literally) you will find some of the most awesome rooftop bars in London for fabulous views with your cocktails.
Can I just mention that if you are lucky enough to get to spend Christmas in London then you will want to check out the glorious Christmas Markets that are held all over the City. There are lots of things to spend your money on that you won’t find anywhere else and there are drinks, rides and lots of food.
London is a shopping mecca and if you have enough time you must explore the super cheap London shopping spots. These can range from the fabulous markets of London to shops like Primark on that famous part of London – Oxford Street. You may need another suitcase to bring home all your amazing buys.
2 Day London Itinerary Overview – Historic sites
Day 1: Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, National Gallery, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey,
Day 2: Kensington Palace, V&A Museum, Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral
Day 1: Your London Itinerary – Historic Sites
Piccadilly Circus & Leicester Square
This is where I would begin my London stay – Trafalgar Square and Picadilly Circus are two main items that everyone wants to see when they get to London.
Admire the Piccadilly statue of Eros, a beautiful winged archer poised with his bow, located in Piccadilly Circus. Erected at the end of the 19th century to commemorate Lord Shaftesbury’s philanthropic work, the original name of the monument was Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain.
An 8-minute walk from Picadilly Circus is the famous Leicester Square. The 1960s saw the likes of Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols, The Who and The Clash play early gigs at the legendary Cavern in the Town – now Leicester Square Theatre.
Surrounded by museums and galleries Trafalgar Square is located in central London. It is a public square built around the area that used to be known as Charing Cross. It commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar a British Naval victory that took place during the Napoleonic Wars. Nelson’s column commemorates the hero of that war Lord Nelson and it stands in the centre of the square.
The National Gallery
The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square is free to visit and has paintings from artists like Constable to Monet and has a daily tour around 11.30 am every day which is also free.
The collections are displayed in chronological order and it’s pretty easy to find some jaw-dropping art from Van Gogh’s Sunflowers to Titian’s and Rembrandts.
If you love a great museum as I do and you have kids with you on these 2 days in London you need to read Catherine’s Best Free London Museums with kids.
The Tower Of London
It’s an expensive tour that’s for sure so my top tip is to use the London Pass. For the 2 days in London Pass you are looking at £99 but it includes entry to over 80 attractions and includes the Hop on Hop Off bus, The Tower which is £30 alone, the Shard’s brilliant views and much more.
Located on the North Bank of the Thames right beside the iconic Tower Bridge the best way to see the Tower is via a guided tour.
Tickets Here: Tower of London Ticket with Crown Jewels Exhibition
Tickets Here: Tower of London Early Access with Beefeater Keys Ceremony
You can’t miss Tower Bridge which can be seen from the Tower of London. You can walk the high-level West Walkway, and take in stunning panoramic views and experience the thrill of seeing London life through the Glass Floor. Discover the historical events that led to the Bridge’s construction, how Tower Bridge was built, and how it lifts the road for river traffic as well as some of the key and quirky events from the Bridge’s history.
Built between 1886 and 1894, the Bridge has spent more than a century as London’s defining landmark, an icon of London and the United Kingdom.
The Houses Of Parliament and Big Ben
One of the most iconic of London sites everyone has to get photos of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. You must take a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben which can be a little tricky if only visiting and spending 2 days in London. Security is very tight after the terrorist activities and awful deaths and of course the historic Guy Fawkes trying to blow up the building.
You can simply tour the area by yourself and wander the squares checking out the statues of the famous and infamous. There’s also usually some kind of protest taking place which can be very interesting.
You also can get a glimpse behind the scenes at the House of Lords on an organised tour of the Houses of Parliament. The visitor route will take you through highlights such as the Robing Room, Royal Gallery, Peers’ Lobby and the chamber.
The vertical tower that houses the huge bell otherwise known as Big Ben is really named Elizabeth Tower. It chimes on the hour and has rarely ever stopped.
Visit Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is a stunning historic gothic abbey church near Big Ben. Famous the world over, Westminster Abbey has seen over 16 royal weddings, including Will and Kate’s, and is the burial location of 17 monarchs.
Additionally, it has held globally watched events, such as the funeral of Lady Diana Spencer, and is also home to the United Kingdom’s Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.
I am an absolute fiend for wanting to visit Cathedrals and ruined abbeys the European history of these sacred buildings is riveting. England is a phenomenal place to visit if you love these kinds of then Great Cathedrals of England and Ireland is a fantastic read to figure out which ones you want to see.
The London Eye
The London Eye on the South Bank officially known as the “Coca Cola London Eye” is the most amazing way to get views of London to die for. The London Eye lineups appear to be immense and you think you may be in the queue for the rest of your life or at least a good portion of the day. However, they move very quickly and within 10 minutes we had our boarding tickets and we headed to Line A. This is an absolute must-do when visiting for 2 days in London.
The cool thing is that the London Eye is also wheelchair accessible, and if you are mobility challenged it’s pretty easy to get on the capsules as well.
Day 2: Your London Historic Sites Itinerary
At Kensington Palace, you can explore the birthplace of Queen Victoria and home to young royals for over 300 years. Walk in the footsteps of royalty in Victoria’s re-imagined childhood rooms and the magnificent King’s State Apartments and Queen’s State Apartments.
Museums: Victoria & Albert Museum, Natural History Museum & British Museum
The V & A is free but the special exhibitions do have a cost associated with them from around £8-20. We stood outside the Museum just marvelling at the size of the building and the fact that we were finally here. The stunning Chiluly chandelier greets you and we really enjoyed the Punk Rock clothing exhibit.
At the British Museum you can explore 2 million years worth of history and explore free galleries full of artefacts from Egypt, Persia, the United Kingdom and the World.
The Natural History Museum is famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons and its exquisite architecture. This museum contains everything from the natural world from bugs to Oceans.
Buckingham Palace – Tours and the Changing of the Guard
You can’t go to Buckingham Palace and not watch the Changing of the Guard but make sure you check the times before you go and I recommend getting there early so you can find a good spot to see everything.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
If as a child you watched Mary Poppins and saw the old woman “Feed the Birds” you will know that this was filmed on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral. An adult ticket to tour St. Paul’s costs £17.00 St Paul’s is open for sightseeing from Monday to Saturday, 8.30 am to 4 pm.
Located on Ludgate Hill St. Paul’s was designed by Christopher Wren. It is dedicated to the Apostle Paul on this site which was a Christian church dating back to AD 604. The Cathedral as it stands now has been destroyed by the Great Fire of London and suffered at the hand of bombs dropped during WWII.
2 Day London Itinerary Overview – Shopping and Vintage
Day 1. Oxford Street, Camden Market, Leadenhall Market
Day 2. Kensington and Chelsea, Notting Hill, London Street Markets
Day 1: Your shopping and vintage itinerary
Oxford Street is the most famous street in London and it is an absolute mecca for the shopaholic. I strongly recommend you start out as early as the shops open it will be somewhat less busy than later in the day. Oxford street for me is hell on earth – I just don’t like shopping that much but having said that if you want to admire some incredible shops like Selfridges or John Lewis go for it.
Camden Village and Camden Market
If you cannot resist a street market head to Camden Village. Whether you’re an old punk into goth or retro – as in those 70’s style platform boots or steampunk Camden Market has it all. It’s only one of many street markets in London but it has the punkiest style for sure.
Leadenhall Market: Harry Potter Filming locations
Leadenhall Market is a covered market in the City of London, designed in 1881, with cheesemongers, butchers, florists, and some commercial retailers.
Potterheads will recognize Leadenhall Market as the area where Harry Potter and Rubeus Hagrid passed through Leadenhall Market on their way to the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley.
Diagon Alley was of course inspired by The Shambles the oldest medieval street in the World in York. You can also indulge is some adventurous High Teas from Harry Potter to Drag Queens or Shakespearean.
Day 2: Your shopping and vintage tour
Kensington and Chelsea, Notting Hill, London Street Markets
Kensington and Chelsea
Chelsea in London the home of the mega-rich, celebrities and politicians and officially known as the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea mere steps from the beautiful Hyde Park. It is one of the smallest Boroughs in the UK but it is also the most densely populated. Not only that but it contains many of London’s finest museums in a short stretch plus a myriad of other attractions to visit.
If you are a dedicated follower of fashion you are sure to have heard of the infamous Sloane Rangers. A Sloane Ranger was a young upper-class female who lived around Sloane Square and had a home in the country. Sloane Rangers were characterized by their clothing which was expensive but informal country dressing. Tweed jackets, jodhpurs, jeans, cardigans and pearls. Diana, Princess of Wales was considered the archetypal Sloane Ranger of the 1980s by The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook.
At one end of Sloane Square is the stylish King’s Road while Sloane Street runs off the square and links to Knightsbridge. This location puts it within walking distance of some of the best attractions in London, from bars and clubs to hotels and restaurants.
The main reason we wanted to visit the Notting Hill attractions was to see the Portobello Road Market. Of course, we also watched the Notting Hill movie before we went so we could see if we could find some of those Notting Hill attractions and all the best places in Notting Hill.
Visiting Notting Hill is a must when visiting London. We easily travelled to Notting Hill when housesitting in London. We took the tube to Nottinghill and when coming out of the tube station simply cross the street and then turn right at the next street and wander down you will see the Portobello Road market right away.
London Street Markets
Traditional street markets in London have been my obsession for years. I love the fact that I can go to virtually any neighbourhood and find a great market in London. From foodie street markets to vintage clothes and antique markets to your basic get your fruit and veg here street markets. London is an absolute mecca for the street market lover.
How many markets in London? London currently has 162 markets, including traditional street markets, street food markets that specialize in takeaway foods, specialist markets for goods such as books, antiques or clothes, and farmers’ and specialist food markets.
2 Day London Itinerary Overview – Foodie recommendations
Day 1. famous London Food Halls, Chinatown, Leather Lane,
Day 2. The Shard, Covent Garden Market, Drury Lane, Borough Market
If you are a total foodie like me you need to take time in your 2 days in London to take a food tour. Now it can be a struggle to figure out which one you want but I suggest reading 10 of the best London Food Tours by Lucy. The article describes tours from Billingsgate Fish Market to fancy afternoon teas a must for any foodie.
If you fancy a superb Afternoon Tea you will be spoiled for choice there are all kinds of themed Afternoon Teas from tea on a bus to Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter at various locations around the city.
Day 1: London Itinerary Overview for foodies
Famous London Food Halls
Food Halls in London are a foodie’s dream come true. A cross between a farmer’s market and a gourmet store these great British Food Halls serve up everything from fresh fruit and veg to champagne and oysters. Known for its quirky foods, London’s Food Halls are a cut above the usual grocers.
Fortnum & Mason’s is reputed to be the best store in the world, so much so that this is where the King of England shops. The store is known for its incredible hampers that are taken everywhere with the rich and famous.
At Harrods you may get to spot the rich and famous shopping in Harrods but my favourite part was Harrod’s Food Halls. Full of fabulous prepared meals, fancy pastries and gorgeous chocolate who could resist picking up a snack or two?
I love Chinatown London I mean who can fault a place that has great people watching and some of the most interesting South Asian food outside of South Asia? Chinatown is also where I appeased my appetite for dim sum and sushi that I had so missed in Ireland.
All I can say about Leather Lane is that this is the place for funky street art and some of the best street food in the City.
Day 2: London Foodie Itinerary
You absolutely can’t miss Covent Garden in the West End. Historically a fruit and veg market these days has become so much more. Grab some lunch at a fancy restaurant or a simple little local caff. You can buy some great designer fashion, listen to amazing musicians, or watch the street performers on weekends.
Don’t miss Neal’s Yard a totally instagrammable location adjacent to Covent Garden. Lots of colour, flowers and ivy abound in this iconic little yard. Originally named after a 17th-century developer, Thomas Neale. In 1976 the derelict warehouse was bought by a radical activist and entrepreneur who started the Whole Food Warehouse.
If you aren’t careful you could spend your whole 2 days in London right here at Covent Garden market.
Drury Lane and the Westend Theatre District
You can’t head to Covent Garden Market and miss the Westend Theatre District right next door. The term “Drury Lane” is often used to refer to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, which has in different incarnations been located in Drury Lane since the 17th century. By the way, Drury Lane is a short walk from either Piccadilly Station or Trafalgar Square.
The Shard, also referred to as the Shard of Glass, Shard London Bridge and formerly London Bridge Tower. It’s an expensive site and there are three different types of tickets: a standard ticket costs 32£. a premium ticket costs 42£ and includes fast track entry and a panoramic guide booklet. a VIP ticket cost 52£ and includes fast track entry, a panoramic guide booklet, a glass of Champagne or a soft drink and a souvenir digital photograph.
One of my favourite places for dining is Borough Market which has been around for 1000 years. Borough Market features everything from cheese and deli vendors to fresh flower and artisan chocolate stands to global cuisine.
Where to stay in London for 2 days
Looking for the best places to stay in London, then you need to read Sydney’s article on her blog A World in Reach.
So there you have it a perfect 2 days in London seeing all the major sites. There is so much more to see than you could possibly take in in 2 days in London but guaranteed you will come back – you won’t be able to help yourself London is addictive. Hidden gems of London, getaways from London
If you are planning to spend 2 days in London, you are in for a treat! This vibrant city has so much to offer that it can be overwhelming to choose what to do in such a short amount of time. Remember to take some time in London to take a stroll along the River Thames and enjoy the stunning views of the city’s skyline.
Or perhaps take a walking tour and don’t miss out on the world-class museums and galleries, such as the British Museum and the Tate Modern. Indulge in the city’s diverse cuisine or traditional English foods and desserts by trying out local dishes in one of the many bustling food markets.
To truly experience London’s culture, catch a show in the West End or explore the trendy neighborhoods of Notting Hill and Camden. End your two days with a visit to one of the beautiful parks, like Hyde Park or Regents Park, where you can relax and take in the beauty of nature amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. Two days may not be enough to fully immerse yourself in London, but it will certainly give you a taste of this cosmopolitan hub.
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