Things to do in London in 4 days

Although four days will not be enough to see all the attractions of a city like London, it can be enough to see the main ones. To do this, it is important to plan your tours well and make the most of your time.

Joaquín Montaño

Joaquín Montaño

10 min read

Things to do in London in 4 days

Millennium Bridge, London | ©Anthony Delanoix

In this four-day itinerary I have included the most outstanding places to see in London, even though I know that other places that are also very interesting will have to be left out. Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Big Ben, the Tower of London and St Paul's Cathedral stand out as basic points of any visit, although the British capital is also home to some of the world's most interesting museums, street markets and streets steeped in history.

Day 1: Tour central London

London Guards| ©R Spegel
London Guards| ©R Spegel

For the first tour of London I have chosen the most emblematic places in the centre of the city. Although the distances may seem short, I recommend that you be prepared to walk for a long time, especially if you decide to visit a museum. Alternatively, take a sightseeing tour of London first to get an idea of the locations and do some initial sightseeing.

Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

There is nothing more typical to start your trip to London than watching the famous Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. Obviously, this palace is also a must-see in its own right, but if you're in the area at 11am you shouldn't miss the Changing of the Guard ceremony.

After this first stop you can walk across the beautiful St. James's Park to Whitehall and continue on to Westminster Cathedral.

Book tickets to see the Changing of the Guard in London

Westminster Cathedral

Although less famous than the nearby abbey of the same name, Westminster Cathedral is worth a brief stop. It is the most important Catholic church in England and Wales and was built on the proviso that its interior should not resemble the abbey.

Here you can see the famous St Edward's Tower, as well as the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. If you are a fan, you may be interested to know that it is the only cathedral in the world with daily sung masses.

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey| ©Zaymuel
Westminster Abbey| ©Zaymuel

One of the must-see places in London is Westminster Abbey. You should expect a full visit to take about two hours and you can get in with the London Pass or by purchasing tickets for Westminster Abbey in advance.

Westminster Abbey is the oldest church in the British capital. It is an Anglican Gothic church, although it is the same size as a cathedral. It is here that the coronations and funerals of the country's kings take place.

In addition, inside you will find the tombs of some important figures in British history, such as Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin and Geoffrey Chaucer. Likewise, the remains of the kings of England are also buried here

Book tickets for Westminster Abbey

Big Ben

The next destination, close to Westminster Abbey, is one of the icons of the city: Big Ben. Although the 14-tonne bell on the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament is actually called Big Ben, the name is used to refer to the entire tower.

This tower is neo-Gothic in style and its construction was completed in 1858. At 106 metres high, it survived the German bombardments of World War II and is today one of the main symbols of the country.

Guided tour of London

After all the above visits, it might be the best time to book one of the many guided tours in London. Not only will you be able to discover some attractions you may have missed, but it will also help you understand what you have seen so far and give you information about what you are going to visit in the following days.

The range of tours on offer is truly impressive. You can choose between walking, cycling, bus or boat tours, day or night and with the theme of your choice.

Book a guided tour of London

Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus

The atmosphere in Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus is always impressive, but it is possibly at night that both places are at their best.

Start in Trafalgar Square and see the four lions and the statue of Admiral Nelson. The rest of the route is a pleasant stroll through Piccadilly Circus, Piccadilly Street (home to the world's largest bookshop and the Ritz Hotel) and Burlinton Arcade, a beautiful gallery of traditional shops.

Looking for a way to get around central London quickly and comfortably? I definitely recommend you to take the City Sightseeing London sightseeing bus- you'll love it!

Book a seat on the London sightseeing bus

Day 2: Stroll through the parks and shopping streets

Aerial view of Hyde Park| ©Bald Boris
Aerial view of Hyde Park| ©Bald Boris

After a fairly full first day, the tour I suggest for the second day is a bit more relaxed. And part of it takes place in some of London's most impressive parks, such as Hyde Park.

Hyde Park

Starting the day with a short walk through Hyde Park until you reach its splendid lake will make the rest of the day more relaxed.

This park is the oldest in the city and has been the scene of many concerts, demonstrations, not forgetting that it was one of the places where the ancient duelists chose to settle their differences. As well as strolling along its paths, you can also hire a rowing boat to travel around the Serpentine, the park's central lake. It is inhabited by a wide variety of aquatic fauna.

If you're visiting London in the summer, it's a good idea to check out the events taking place in the park in case you're interested in attending one of them.

Book a bike tour of London's parks

Speaker's Corner and Oxford Street

Still inside Hyde Park, on the way to Marble Arch, you pass the well-known Speaker's Corner. Here anyone can make a speech, with no limits on what they can say. In fact, during the Second World War it was the only place in the city where some people defended the Germans.

Once you get to Marble Arch you can walk along some of London's most famous shopping streets, namely Oxford Street and Regent Street.

On Oxford Street you can see some of the shops that have become symbols of the city:

  • The historic Selfridge's department store.
  • Marks & Spencer.
  • House of Fraser.
  • St Christopher's Place, a small square that is somewhat hidden and, therefore, little known.

In this area you can stop for lunch or coffee, as there are many cafes and restaurants to choose from.

Book a guided tour of London

Regent Street, Carnaby Street and Soho

Walking along Regent Street in London| ©aurélien
Walking along Regent Street in London| ©aurélien

The walk continues until you reach Oxford Circus, where you turn right into Regent Street, one of the most famous streets in the city. It is home, for example, to the world's largest toy shop, Hamleys.

From Regent Street you reach Carnaby Street, where London's Soho begins. This area is undoubtedly one of the trendiest areas of the capital and is home to the most important theatres, some of the best shops and hundreds of bars and restaurants.

If you have time, it's also a good idea to wander around neighbouring Chinatown for a while before heading to Leicester Square, where the city's film premieres usually take place.

Book a guided tour of London

Covent Garden

Continuing the walk, you'll come to a square that's full of magic thanks to its old apple market and street performers: Covent Garden.

If you're travelling with children, this square is home to a museum that they tend to love: the London Transport Museum.

Finally, if you're a musical lover, this is the perfect area to catch one of London's best musicals.

Book your tickets for London musicals

Day 3: Visit the Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral and museums in London

Tower of London| ©BigStock
Tower of London| ©BigStock

When you travel to a new city you usually need a couple of days to familiarise yourself with it and learn about things like the best way to take the London Underground or what to do at night in London.

With this prior knowledge, the third day's tour is possibly the most comprehensive of the tours and includes visits such as the Tower of London and St Paul's Cathedral.

Tower of London

You start the day by crossing the Tower of London Bridge, one of the most photographed sights in the city.

On the other side of the bridge is the Tower of London, a fortress that holds horrifying stories inside. To begin with, for more than 900 years this tower was a prison where all those accused of offending the Crown were imprisoned. Some died there due to torture or poor prison conditions, while others were executed but not before being tortured.

You can buy tickets to the Tower of London and admire the Crown Jewels exhibition. It also houses a chapel, some rooms used by the royal family and the White Tower, the best known of the complex.

Buy your ticket to the Tower of London

St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral is 110 metres high and its dimensions make it the second largest cathedral in the world, only surpassed by St Peter's Basilica in Rome. This temple has witnessed numerous historic events, such as the funeral of Winston Churchill or the wedding of Lady Di and Prince Charles.

The cathedral has a cross-shaped plan that stands out for its marvellous decoration. This is especially striking in the ceilings, which are covered with frescoes. Inside, it is worth climbing the dome and visiting the crypt.

To get the most out of this visit it is essential to buy a ticket to St Paul's Cathedral, which includes a multimedia guide at no extra cost.

Buy your ticket to St Paul's Cathedral

Tate Modern

Tate Modern Museum in London| ©Eric Titcombe
Tate Modern Museum in London| ©Eric Titcombe

At one end of the bridge is the Tate Modern, a must-see for contemporary art lovers. The museum building alone is worth a visit, as it used to be the Bankside Power Station.

In the museum, which is free to enter, you'll be able to enjoy works by renowned artists such as Picasso, Warhol, Salvador Dalí and Monet, among others.

Continuing on your way to the Natural History Museum, you can take a slight detour to see the views from The Shard, a splendid skyscraper with an impressive observation deck inside. A visit to The Shard observation deck is also a must.

Buy your ticket to The Shard viewing platform

Natural History Museum

For the last visit of the day I recommend you choose one of the museums you haven't visited yet. Among the most interesting are the following:

Book your ticket for Madame Tussauds Museum

London Night Tour

To finish the day and make the most of your time, it may be the best time to take a night tour of London and see the monuments illuminated.

Book a night tour of London

Day 4: Marvel at Harry Potter Studios

Visiting the Dursley House Tour| ©Bill Bartlett
Visiting the Dursley House Tour| ©Bill Bartlett

On the last day of the trip, with the tiredness having set in, it might be the best time to take a couple of leisurely visits and finish with a look around the famous Harrod's department store.

Harry Potter Studios

One of the fastest growing activities in recent years has been related to the Harry Potter books and films.

As well as tours of the Harry Potter locations featured in the books, many can't resist the temptation to spend a morning visiting the Harry Potter Park

You can find out how to get to Harry Potter Studios in this article and how to get tickets to Harry Potter Studios in this article. With all this information, all that's left for you to do is head over to see the sets and sets from the films, as well as the costumes worn by the main characters and some of the magical objects that appeared in the films. There are also a few surprises in store for you on your visit.

Buy your ticket for Harry Potter Park

London Eye

After spending most of the day visiting the Harry Potter Studios, head back to Westminster Bridge to head to the London Eye (the Millennium Wheel), a spectacular 135-metre high Ferris wheel. On the way between the two, I recommend stopping on the bridge to take a photo of both London icons.

My advice is to book your tickets for the London Eye in advance, as the queues are endless. The London Eye has 32 glass cabins weighing 10 tons each. The capacity is 25 people. The spinning of the wheel is quite slow and takes about 30 minutes.

Note that it doesn't matter if it's at night, as the London Eye is also open at night. At these times, the views of the city are, if possible, even more spectacular.

For dinner you can choose from some of the restaurants around the London Eye or, better still, take a culinary tour of London to say goodbye to the city as it deserves.

Buy your ticket to the London Eye

Use the sightseeing bus to get around more conveniently

London Sightseeing Bus| ©Hellotickets
London Sightseeing Bus| ©Hellotickets

One of the options you have when visiting many of London's attractions is to use a London sightseeing bus. The British capital has several types, but my advice is to choose one that allows you to get on and off wherever you want and has a ticket that is valid for a long enough period of time.

Book a seat on the London Sightseeing Bus

Consider getting a London Tourist Card

London Pass| ©ba7raini
London Pass| ©ba7raini

As is well known, London is not exactly known for being a cheap city. One of the best ways to save money is to buy a tourist pass, which also saves you time in the queues.

Before you decide on one, you can take a look at this article on the best London tourist cards, their features and what they include.

Buy your London Tourist Card