I recently got back from the most wonderful week in London with my younger sister. Not only did I finally get to check this spectacular city off my bucket list but I was lucky enough to have family living there to show me around, and I was surprisingly blessed with good weather!
Although 1 week isn’t enough to see all that London has to offer, my sister and I had a pretty productive trip. I believe our itinerary provided us with an authentic British experience, hence here below is a suggested 7 day itinerary for all those looking to spend a week in London. I’ve also included a photo gallery at the end for you to browse 🙂
How to get around: London has an excellent public transport system. We mainly used the subway and our own two feet to get around, with an occasional bus here & there [Note: the subway closes around midnight, it’s best to take a taxi after that]
Where to stay: My sister & I stayed at our cousin’s apartment in Lancaster Gate. It was the perfect location, a quiet area not far from wherever we needed to go. It was adjacent to Hyde Park, a 5 minute walk from Oxford street and a 10 minute subway ride from the city. For those considering a hotel, The Lancaster hotel was located right across the road from the apartment.
Day 1 [Monday]
Arrive in London, go for a walk through Hyde Park.
Go shopping on Oxford Street/Regent Street.
Have dinner in Saint Christopher’s Place near Oxford Street.
Day 2 [Tuesday]
Do the Big Bus Hop on/Hop off tour to see all the main sites including Big Ben, London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Saint Paul’s Cathedral (make sure to climb to the tip of the dome for a breath-taking 360-degree view of London), Trafalgar Square, Harrods etc. [Note: You can purchase tickets for this tour at any bus stop, just look for a person wearing the uniform. Also, a free walking tour of Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guard as well as a free Thames River cruise is included with every ticket purchased]
See a musical in the evening (my choice was The Lion King)
Day 3 [Wednesday]
Take a day trip outside of London with Evan Evans Tours (highly recommended!) to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Oxford, or any other destination of your choice. Check their website for details.
Pack a picnic and have dinner at Saint James’ park.
Day 4 [Thursday]
Madame Tussauds wax museum in the morning, then do the Warner Brothers’ Harry Potter studio tour in the afternoon (Potterheads, you won’t be disappointed.)
Go out for drinks in the evening at Maddison rooftop bar in the city, followed by dinner at Burger&Lobster across the street [Note: a lobster meal here is only 20 pounds! Really good deal in my opinion considering how expensive lobster tends to be]
Day 5 [Friday]
Visit the Tower of London where the crown jewels are kept, then take a ride on the London eye.
Have lunch at Borough Markets, one of the largest and oldest food markets in London.
Visit the Victoria and Albert Museum where entry is completely free! [Note: on the last Friday of every month the museum has an evening reception complete with drinks and music]
Dinner at PING bar and restaurant.
Day 6 [Saturday]
Morning walk through Kensington Gardens & visit Kensington Palace.
Shopping at Portobello Road Market [Note: this market only opens on Saturday], then continue shopping at Westfield mall.
Dinner at Brasserie Zedel followed by an evening walk through the city.
Day 7 [Sunday]
Traditional High Tea at the Chesterfield Mayfair.
Walk through Regent’s Park by the canal then go to a pub afterwards and watch a sport match (tennis, football etc.)
Sunday Roast dinner at the Victoria Pub Paddington (Order the Shoulder of Lamb, one of the best I’ve ever had)
Please note that this itinerary is ideal for the summer months and for travelers aged 18+ who aren’t on a budget. I’ve only included dinner options on this itinerary because I assumed you will be having breakfast at the hotel. As for lunches, besides Friday at Borough market my sister & I tried a different pub each day.
Some useful tips:
– Purchase tickets online in advance to attractions such as Madame Tussauds, Lion King Musical, and Warner Bros. Tour to benefit from a discount and skip the long queues when you get there.
– Upon your arrival in London, purchase an Oyster card at the subway and fill it up for 30 pounds. This will last you a week and is very cost-efficient and convenient as it allows you to use the subway and busses at any time to get around the city.
– Download the ‘City Mapper’ app on your smartphone. This app provides you with different routes to anywhere in the city via subway, bus, taxi, or walk. It also includes the price and approximate travel time for each route.
– London is considered one of the greenest cities in the world so make the most of the parks around the city. Also, there are plenty of free things to do – for example, most of the city’s museums are free so try to do more than one.
– Always ask about family, senior, or student discounts before you purchase tickets to any attraction.
– VAT in London is 20% so if you’ll be doing a lot of shopping make sure to ask for tax-free receipts which can be exchanged for cash at the airport.
– During the summer months it doesn’t get dark in London till around 10pm so be efficient and make the most of the long days.
I hope this was helpful, any adjustments to this itinerary are welcome!