In this four-day itinerary I have included the most important sights to see in London, even though I know you will have to leave out others that are also very interesting. Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Big Ben, the Tower of London and St Paul's Cathedral are the highlights of any visit.
The British capital is also home to some of the world's most interesting museums, street markets and streets steeped in history. Of course, any tour must take into account the personal tastes of the visitor, so you should always be flexible so that you can change one place for another if you wish.
Day 1: Getting to know Central London visiting Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey
For the first tour of London I have chosen the most emblematic places in the centre of the city. Although the distances seem to be short, I recommend that you be prepared to walk for a long time, especially if you decide to visit a museum. Another possibility is to book a sightseeing tour of London first to get an idea of the locations and make the first visits.
Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
There is nothing more typical to start your trip to London than seeing the famous Buckingham Palace Changing of the Guard. 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 cross the beautiful St. James's Park to reach Whitehall and continue on to 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 condition that its interior would not resemble Westminster 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.
One of London's must-see sights is Westminster Abbey. You should expect a full visit to take about two hours and you can get in with a 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. This is where the coronations and funerals of the country's kings take place.
Inside you will also find the tombs of some important figures in British history, such as Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin and Geoffrey Chaucer. The remains of the kings of England also lie here.
The next destination, close to Westminster Abbey, is one of the city's icons: 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.
The 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 overlooked, but it will help you understand what you've seen so far and give you information about what you'll be visiting in the days ahead.
The range of tours on offer is truly impressive. You can choose between walking, cycling, bus or boat tours, by day or by night and with the theme of your choice.
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 its four lions and the statue of Admiral Nelson. The rest of the walk is a pleasant stroll through Piccadilly Circus, Piccadilly Street (home to the world's largest bookshop and the Ritz Hotel) and Burlinton Arcade, a pretty arcade of traditional shops and boutiques.
Day 2: Wander the parks and shopping streets of Oxford Street, Carnaby Street, Soho and Covent Garden
Starting the day with a short walk through Hyde Park to its splendid lake will make the rest of the day more relaxing.
This park is the oldest in the city and has been the scene of many concerts and demonstrations, not forgetting that it was one of the places where 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.
Speaker's Corner and Oxford Street
Still inside Hyde Park, on the road leading to Marble Arch, you pass the well-known Speaker's Corner. Here anyone can make a speech, and there are no limits to 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, such as the historic Selfridge's department store, Marks & Spencer and House of Fraser.
One of the most interesting corners of this street is 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 cafés and restaurants to choose from.
Regent Street, Carnaby Street and Soho
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.
Another highlight of the neighbourhood is Soho Square, a square built in 1681. For a long time, this square was home to some of London's most distinguished citizens, as it was considered one of the most elegant places to live. A number of historic houses can still be seen here today.
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.
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.
Day 3: the most comprehensive tour, with the Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral and two of the city's most renowned museums.
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 places in the city. If you have time to spare, you can visit the exhibition inside, although it is not really essential.
On the other side of the bridge is the Tower of London, a fortress that holds horrible 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 because of torture or poor prison conditions, while others were executed but not before being tortured as well.
The Tower of London was where many famous people ended their days after falling from grace. The most prominent were Anne Boleyn, Thomas More and Queen Jane Grey.
Today you can buy tickets to the Tower of London and admire the exhibition with the Crown Jewels. It also houses a chapel, some rooms used by the royal family and the White Tower, the best known of the complex.
Finally, you cannot visit this tower without learning about the legend of the crows, its most famous inhabitants. According to this legend, if the ravens were to disappear, both the Tower and the kingdom itself would collapse. For this reason, a worker called Ravenmaster is dedicated exclusively to look after these birds and prevent them from escaping.
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 many 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 up to the dome and visiting the crypt.
To get the most out of this visit, it is essential to take advantage of the free audio guide available at the entrance.
When you have finished admiring the temple, look for Peter's Hill to get from there to the Millennium Bridge, the most modern bridge in the city.
At one end of this bridge is the Tate Modern, a must-see for lovers of contemporary art. 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. The Shard's restaurant is also worth a visit.
Natural History Museum
For the last visit of the day I recommend you choose one of the museums you have not yet visited. Among the most interesting are the Natural History Museum, the one dedicated to the history of war or the Victoria and Albert Museum. It all depends on your tastes and interests and if you prefer other subjects you will also find a museum dedicated to Sherlock Holmes and the fabulous wax figures of the Madame Tussauds museum.
London Night Tour
To finish the day and make the most of the time, it may be the best time to take a night tour of London and see its monuments illuminated.
Day 4: Harry Potter Studios
On the last day of the trip, with the tiredness already accumulated, it may be the best time to make a couple of leisurely visits and finish with a look at the famous Harrod's department store.
Harry Potter Studios
One of the activities that has grown the most in recent years is related to the Harry Potter books and films.
In addition to tours of the Harry Potter locations featured in these works, many can't resist the temptation to spend a morning visiting the Warner Bros. Harry Potter studios.
See 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 used in 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.
After spending most of the day visiting the Harry Potter studios, you return to Westminster Bridge to go 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.
If you have tickets for the London Eye, as the queues are endless, you can go up to see the views of London from the London Eye. 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, moreover, 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, return to the centre to say goodbye to the city as it deserves.
Use the sightseeing bus for more convenient travel
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.
Consider taking out a Tourist Card
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 allows you to save time in the queues.
Before you decide on one, you can take a look at this article about the best London tourist passes, their features and what they include.