Are you considering touring London in 4 days? If you’re trying to plan a trip to London, then look no further! I have created an awesome 4 days London itinerary for your first-time visit.
Capital of the UK, London is over 1500 square-kilometres in area (900 sq. ml), and home to a cosmopolitan population of over nine-million people. More than the city of New York.
Throughout its two-thousand plus years history, it has been ravaged by plagues, destroyed by fires and bombed-out. But has always risen bigger and better than before.
Now, a city for the 21st century, it has some of the most iconic landmarks in the world. Places to visit include the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace. While more modern attractions include the London Eye, the Sealife London Aquarium and the Science Museum.
It’s over two-centuries ago that the English writer Samuel Johnson famously wrote, ‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life’. For London’s city dwellers, a sentence as true today, as it was then.
Read on, for a selection of the best places and attractions to visit, when you choose to tour London in 4 days.
In this breakdown we have tried to put together attractions that are reasonably close together. London has an excellent public transport infrastructure which includes The Underground (Tube), regular buses, hop-on hop-off open-top buses, taxis, Ubers – and even rickshaws.
Everyone works at their own pace, so pick out the number of attractions you feel you can comfortably cover each day.
If you’re going to visit most of the destinations suggested in our 4 days London Itinerary, then you might want to consider purchasing the London Pass. You will save money.
London in 4 days: Day 1
When you’re up and running to explore London in 4 days, Trafalgar Square is a pretty good place to start. For many the centre of London, the square boasts Nelson’s Column, magnificent bronze lions and colourful fountains.
You will also find a café and public toilets. The square is famous as a meeting place for anything and everything that can be celebrated, especially seeing in the New Year.
Surrounding the square you will find galleries, museums and historic buildings. It is also well served by public transport with Charing Cross tube station on the square, and Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Embankment tube stations all just a short walk away.
National Gallery, London
Who doesn’t like a freebie when they’re on holiday? When you’ve finished taking all those selfies in front of Nelson’s column and the fountains, you can cross the square and visit the National Gallery.
No admission fee, just walk right in to view over 3,000 works of art from around the world.
The first pictures donated to the National Gallery came from financier John Julius Angerstein in 1823, followed in 1826 by the collection of Sir George Beaumont.
At the time they were displayed in Pall Mall, until the purpose built National Gallery was completed in 1838, on the edge of Trafalgar Square.
London has plenty of accommodation to suit all needs and budgets. You may choose one hotel or apartment to base yourselves for your 4 day stay in London. If are not sure where to stay read this post: Best areas to stay in London
St. James’s Park
One of eight royal parks in London, St. James’s Park is just a pleasant 15 minute stroll from the National Gallery, or a 10 minute tube or bus ride.
Covering an area of 57 acres, it encompasses Horse Guards Parade and the Mall. It is also surrounded by a number of attractions you would have on your to-visit list, including Whitehall, Buckingham Palace and Clarence House.
You can enjoy the flower borders with their riot of colourful plants. Watch the resident pelicans, whose ancestors were a gift from the Russian Ambassador to King Charles II almost 400 years ago, and enjoy a coffee in St. James’s Café.
You can also enjoy a lunch-break picnic in the park, while you watch the comings and goings around Buckingham Palace or the Mall.
On the west side of St James’s Park, Buckingham Palace is nothing if not impressive. At 108 metres wide, 120 metres deep and 24 metres high, it has a total of 775 rooms.
Of these, 19 are state rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms.
Being the London home of British royalty since 1837, today it is the home and administrative centre of the current monarch Queen Elizabeth II.
You can arrange your visit to coincide with the Changing of the Guard. And during the summer, book a tour of the state rooms. Although it will use up a bit more time, it is something well worth considering.
The palace is open to visitors in July and August or on Saturdays. You can prebook, or get your tickets on the door but be warned, queues can be long.
Another iconic London landmark, Westminster Abbey has seen the coronation of every British monarch since 1066.
From the palace, a stroll down Cathedral Walk and up Victoria Street will have you at the abbey in around 15 minutes, or you can get the bus; or a taxi which will take around five minutes.
The first English church to be built Romanesque style, it was completed in 1060, and consecrated in 1065.
There are over 3,000 bodies buried under the abbey, including the remains of King Henry V, and all the Tudor kings and Queens except Henry VIII. Other notable remains in the abbey are Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens and Edward the Confessor.
Now a world heritage site, Westminster Abbey is open to the public from 9:30 am until 3:30 pm, Saturday 9.00am – 1.00pm (last entry), Sunday only open for services, and also offers daily services for those who wish to attend.
Palace of Westminster
Just a three minute walk from the abbey, the Palace of Westminster sits on the north bank of the River Thames, and is the home of the British parliament made up of the House of Commons, and the House of Lords.
Built in 1016, the original Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire in 1834, and work on rebuilding the palace as you see it today in Gothic Revival style, was completed in 1860.
King Henry VIII was the last monarch to reside in the palace, although the building is still owned by the crown.
Of all Britain’s landmarks, Big Ben is probably the most famous. The tower that houses the clock and the bell, was renamed the Elizabeth tower in 2012, in honour of the Queen’s jubilee, having previously been called the Victoria tower, after Queen Victoria.
When the new Westminster Palace was being built, it was decided a new tower and clock were needed. Built in the early 1850s, the bell first pealed out across London in 1859 and has done, with a few exceptions, ever since.
From Big Ben, a meander across Westminster Bridge and along the banks of the Thames past the Sealife Centre, will get you to the London Eye in around 10 minutes.
From the day it first started turning, the Millennium Wheel, or London Eye as it has universally become known, has been one of London’s most popular tourist attractions.
Built to see in the new millennium, construction of the Eye was completed in 1999, and it carried its first fare-paying passengers on the 9th March 2000.
At 135m diameter, it is still the largest cantilevered Ferris wheel in the world, and has won 85 awards from national and international tourist organisations.
The wheel has 32 pods. Travelling at a leisurely .5 mph, your trip takes around 30 minutes, and awards you some stunning views of the city and the River Thames, so be sure to take your camera.
After your trip on the London Eye, walking across Waterloo Bridge will have you in one of London’s trendiest areas in just 15 minutes.
After trading for over 500 years, Covent Garden, London’s primary wholesale fruit and vegetable market, closed its doors in 1974, and work began to turn it into one of the city’s biggest tourist areas and night-time venues.
Now a daytime and night-time magnet for London’s young, affluent fashionistas, fine diners and theatre goers, Covent Garden has something for everyone. It is home to the world’s latest designer labels, lifestyle brands and fashion lines.
You can enjoy an early breakfast, an evening of fine dining, or grab a burger to go, as you make your way to one of the many theatres in London’s West End. Daytime or night-time, a visit to Covent Garden should be on everyone’s itinerary.
Let’s continue with this 4 days London itinerary. After lunch in Covent Garden, a 10 minute stroll along Shaftesbury Avenue will see you in Piccadilly Circus.
Constructed in 1819, Piccadilly Circus is a large road junction and open space. The ‘circus’ in this case comes from the Latin meaning circle, and has spokes to take you down Regent Street, Piccadilly, Shaftesbury Avenue, The Haymarket, Coventry Street and Glasshouse Street.
Famous for its massive video displays, much like New York, the Memorial Fountain and the Statue of Eros, (which is actually the statue of Anteros), Piccadilly Circus is a popular visitor attraction, and a great place to grab a bite and watch London hustle and bustle its way through the day.
Oxford Street, Europe’s busiest shopping street with over 300 shops is just a short walk, or three-minute tube ride from Piccadilly Circus. Walking, take the Regent Street exit off the Circus and you will stroll through into Oxford Street.
Since 2020, Oxford Street has been wholly pedestrianised, allowing its 500,000 daily visitors a better shopping and browsing experience. Stretching for over 1.5 miles, it includes 90 flagship stores, luxury hotels, and hundreds of restaurants and cafes within a five minute walk.
A shopaholic’s paradise, you will find all the major high street brands such as Primark, Gap, X and River Island, as well as famous department stores like John Lewis and Partners, House of Fraser, Selfridges and Marks and Spencer.
Why not make a day of it with afternoon tea in Scott & Banter or The Cumberland Hotel? Or dine Italian at Alto By San Carlo in Selfridges, or Japanese, at Aqua Kyoto in Regent Street. In Oxford Street there is something for everyone.
If you still have the energy, a short walk down Regent Street and Great Marlborough Street will find you in Soho. At just over a mile square in area, it is London’s equivalent of De Wallen, Amsterdam’s red light district, and just as popular with tourists.
Over the last four decades, much has been done to drive the sex trade out of the area, with a certain amount of success.
Strolling through the narrow cobbled streets, you will still find the odd sex shop, massage parlour, or blue movie cinema standing alongside designer outlets and independent fashion boutiques with their quirky names. Check out Carnaby Street and Broadway.
Why not enjoy a meal on your way to the theatre? International is the name of the game in Soho and you can indulge in real Spanish tapas, quality French cuisine, gourmet Asian dim sum or Japanese sushi in the many and varied restaurants.
Not only is a great place for dinner, here you will also find a ton of Cocktail bars, all sorts of pubs, clubs and nightlife entertainment
A visit to Soho really should be on the itinerary, even if it’s just to soak up the unique cosmopolitan atmosphere of the area.
London in 4 days: Day 2
Tower of London
Originally built by William the Conqueror circa the 1070s, the Tower of London was enlarged by Henry III during his reign (1216-72), and by Edward I (1272-1307).
The Tower has survived a chequered existence. At one time a palace, a fortress, and a bloody prison where monarchs would imprison their rivals, it is one of London’s most visited attractions.
Today you can view the Crown Jewels. Explore the White Tower, the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, the Bloody Tower and the Medieval Palace. You will see the ravens, and be escorted by a Beefeater.
You can learn of the blood curdling history of the Tower, and visit the Torture at the Tower exhibition, the Royal Mint exhibition and browse the Fusiliers Museum.
Buy tickets in advance online, skip the long line and head straight for the ticket exchange counter. The queue for buying tickets at the gate can get extremely long!
Walking alongside the River Thames, you can reach Tower Bridge in less than 10 minutes.
Opened in 1894, the bascule (seesaw) bridge was originally powered by steam, which lifted the two halves of the roadway up to allow large river traffic through. It wasn’t until 1976, that the old steam system was finally replaced with modern electric driven hydraulics.
If you have an interest in bridge building and old machinery, or just a healthy curiosity, you can visit the bridge’s engine room on the southern side of Tower Bridge where the old steam system has been rebuilt.
Leaving Tower Bridge, a short 5 minute walk along Tower Bridge Road will get you to HMS Belfast.
Launched in 1938, this light cruiser served on the Atlantic convoys, and saw action on D-Day during the Second World War. She was also active during the Korean war of the 1950s, before being retired after 25 years’ service.
There is something menacingly attractive about a grey warship bristling with armaments that makes you want to find out more. Where did the crew sleep? Where did the officers live? What was it like at action stations?
All this and more you can find out on a visit to HMS Belfast. Tour her nine decks, learn the history, and get involved in the interactive displays.
If you’ve used up just about every square foot of commercial and residential space in town, the only way is up. From HMS Belfast, a six minute walk down Tooley Street will bring you to the Shard. At 309 metres high, the tallest building in Europe.
The building was officially inaugurated in 2012, and the first tenants began moving in during 2013. The architect’s vision of a city in the sky is not far short of the mark. The Shard has 26 floors of office space and 13 floors of residential apartments.
The 5-star Shangri-La Hotel covers 19 floors. There are three floors of restaurants, and the building has a public viewing platform at the top.
You can book into the hotel, enjoy a meal or drink in one of the restaurants, or get the lift up to the viewing platform, although there is a charge to visit just the platform.
Leaving the Shard, a five minute stroll down St Thomas Street (A200) will get you to Borough Market.
Run as a Charitable Trust, the market has, in one form or other, been feeding the population of London since the 12th century, and is the city’s oldest food market.
Located in Borough High Street, the market trades as a wholesale fruit and veg market from 2 am to 8 am seven days a week. However, at 10 am it becomes a retail market selling specialist and sustainable products sourced locally and internationally.
If you want organically grown salads, particular cheeses or specialist honeys you’ll find them at Borough Market.
With its historic buildings built in the 1850’s, old-style pubs and olde world shop fronts, Borough Market is worth a visit in its own right.
Southwark Cathedral – Golden Hind
From Borough Market, a three minute stroll down Stoney Street will bring you to Southwark Cathedral. To give it its full title, The Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie.
As a place of worship, the area is thought to date back to the 7th century when it was a nunnery, although the first documented link to anything ecclesiastical appears in the Doomsday Book of 1086. The church was declared a cathedral in 1905.
Next to the cathedral, the Golden Hind is a true replica of the Golden Hind built in 1575/76, and the ship used by Sir Francis Drake when he sailed around the world in 1577.
The ship you see today was faithfully reproduced from the original plans by Appledore Shipyard in Devon, and launched in 1973. Like its namesake, it too has circumnavigated the world, in fact the equivalent of five times.
If you have a love for the performing arts, Shakespeare and the theatre, then a 10 minute stroll from the Golden Hind, along Clink Street and Bankside, will bring you to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
The third Globe Theatre was opened in 1997. The first Globe was built in 1599, and burnt down in 1613. The second was built in 1614 and demolished in 1644. Just 750 feet from the site of the original theatre, the third Globe has been faithfully constructed in as much original detail as possible.
The theatre performs both Shakespeare’s original works with a twist and new plays, and you can take in a show, or enjoy a guided tour.
If you have a love of modern art, then the Tate Modern is the place to head for. From Shakespeare’s Globe, head back to Bankside then towards Cardinal Cap Alley, before heading for Holland Street, the walk should take around five minutes.
A converted power station, the Tate Modern opened in 2000, has attracted over 40 million visitors and is in London’s top three visitor attractions.
Exhibiting modern art from around the world, in 2009 the institution was expanded, this time converting the power station’s old fuel tanks to provide more gallery space.
The Tate exhibits the UK’s collection of British art, an international collection of contemporary and modern art and various special exhibitions.
Entry to the main galleries is free, with a charge being made for some of the standalone exhibitions. The Tate also has a small café with views of the river where you can get a range of sandwiches, snacks and drinks to eat in or take-away.
A short stroll from the Tate along Hopton Street will bring you to The Millennium bridge, the first new bridge to span the Thames in over a century and a definite must do during your 4 days London itinerary.
As might be concluded from the name, it was designed to commemorate the new millennium and opened to the public in June 2000, two months behind schedule.
It also closed again two days later, when the number of people using it caused the bridge to start swaying. After fitting hydraulic dampers to absorb the sway, the bridge re-opened on the 27th February 2002, forever to be known, by Londoners at least, as The Wobbly Bridge.
Crossing the Wobbly Bridge today, you will also find over 400 interesting works of street art on the walkway. Painted by London street artist Ben Wilson (the chewing gum man), his canvases are the trodden down chewing gum spat out by others using the bridge.
The bridge has two river supports, and stretches 1066 feet across the River Thames.
London in 4 days: Day 3
Halfway through your exploration of London in 4 days and we start off at the British Museum. Located in Great Russell Street, the British Museum first opened its doors in January 1759.
As the centuries progressed and the British Empire expanded, so too did the collections, and the museum was continuously expanded and upgraded in order to display the growing number of artifacts.
Today the museum covers over 800,000 square feet in 94 different galleries, and has over eight million objects on display. It also has a large coffee lounge where you can get everything from sandwiches, savouries and cakes to full meals.
Entry to the museum is free except for any collections on loan. You can book a tour here.
St Paul’s Cathedral
You can walk from The British Museum to St Paul’s Cathedral in around 30 minutes, but most visitors choose to use the bus or tube. Both take around 15 minutes to complete the journey.
A cathedral has overlooked the city for over 1400 years. The current building is at least the fourth, the previous one having been destroyed in the Great Fire of London.
Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, planning and construction of St Paul’s Cathedral began in 1675 and was completed in1710.
Located on Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London, the imposing structure is a mix of Neoclassical, Gothic, and Baroque architecture and a grade 1 listed building. The cathedral is also the mother church of the Diocese of London.
The City, or the Square Mile as it is often referred to, is a separate area within the city of London.
Settled by the Romans over 2,000 years ago and named Londinium, it is the original settlement that went on to expand into what is now called London or Greater London.
At just over one square mile in area The City stretches from the Tower of London, to Liverpool Street in the east and Chancery Lane in the west.
It has its own offices as well, including its own mayor (the Lord Mayor of London), its own council and its own police force, the City of London police.
You may well have spent time in The City without realising it, when visiting nearby attractions, but other places of interest include The Monument, constructed as a monument to the 1666 Great Fire of London, the Old Bailey courthouse, Guildhall, the Bank of England and the Barbican Centre for the performing arts.
Wherever you are in The City, you’re not far from Leadenhall Market. Worthy of a mention in its own right, Leadenhall has been a market as far back as the 14th century.
Today, with its cobbled streets, impressive architecture and prestigious heritage, it is a modern, progressive open and covered retail market area, with independent boutiques, specialist shops, wine bars, craft ale pubs and fine-dining restaurants.
From Leadenhall Market to Sky Garden is a short three minute walk. Situated at 20, Fenchurch Street, Sky Garden is London’s highest public gardens, taking up three floors of the building.
Housed in a massive glass bubble, it provides an amazing 360°vista of London’s skyline.
The gardens are landscaped with drought-resistant plants from the Mediterranean and South Africa, and include such species as Red Hot Poker, Bird of Paradise and African Lily alongside fragrant herbs. It also houses a Brasserie, seafood grill, and the Sky Pod bar.
London in 4 days: Day 4
Are you finding all the rushing about is getting too much trying to get to as many attractions as possible during your 4 days London itinerary? Take some time out and head for Hyde Park.
Although you can visit Speakers Corner in Hyde Park any day of the week, if you want to listen to the orators on their soapboxes, you’ll need to visit on a Sunday between 11 am and 5 pm. Speakers Corner is situated at the Marble Arch entrance to Hyde Park.
Although the first time public speaking occurred in Hyde Park was back in 1855, it wasn’t until 1872, after further demonstrations, that the ‘freedom to speak freely’ was granted.
You will likely find a number of speakers, all standing on their soap boxes, shouting and gesticulating about their own particular issues and trying to convince those who listen to join the cause. It makes for an interesting, and at times amusing, way to pass an hour or two.
Steeped in history, the park was set up by Henry VIII in 1536 as a private hunting ground. A century later, in 1637, it was opened to the public and has been ever since.
Covering 350 acres, the park has nearly 5,000 trees, flower beds and gardens, a lake (the Serpentine), and a meadow.
With facilities for a range of team games, tennis courts and a large children’s playground, it is the ideal place for the kids to release all that pent up energy. There are bridleways for the horse riders, cycle paths, and boating and swimming in the Serpentine.
The park also has two restaurants on the edge of the lake where you can enjoy a three course meal, or buy a coffee to go. You will also find the Serpentine Bridge, the Achilles Statue, the Joy of Life Fountain and the Diana Memorial Fountain.
If you want to get from Speakers Corner to Kensington Palace you can enjoy a stroll across the park, the walk will take around 20 – 30 minutes. Or catch the tube from Hyde Park tube station to Kensington Palace, the journey takes around 5 minutes.
Another design by Sir Christopher Wren, Kensington Palace was completed in 1605. Known then as Nottingham House, it was picked by William III and Mary II as their country retreat. It was also the birthplace and childhood home of Queen Victoria.
Today, Kensington Palace is the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
To get to Notting Hill from Kensington Palace, walk to Queensway tube station (6 min) then take a 10 minute tube ride, getting off at Holland Park.
Although Notting Hill is most famous for its annual carnival held the last weekend of August, it has a lot going for it in its own right.
For a start, the beautiful Victorian terrace properties around Portobello Road, Westbourne Grove and Clarendon Road painted in a range of attractive pastel colours.
The Portobello Market is itself a big visitor attraction. Billed as the world’s largest antique market with over 1000 stalls, you can buy everything from cracked porcelain to retro-fashion to stamps, bric-a-brac and junk, so choose carefully.
Street art also has moved up a notch since arriving in Notting Hill. Visit the Graffic Gallery of street art. Here you will find pieces from the world’s most renowned street artists, including Banksy.
Another interesting stop is the Museum of Brands. The story of advertising through the years and the psychology behind it. For that down time, you will find plenty of chic cafes and pubs to take the weight off.
Natural History Museum
To get to the Natural History Museum from Notting Hill you can catch a bus from Kensington Sheffield Terrace to Cromwell Road, South Kensington, the journey takes around 10 minutes. Or the tube from Notting Hill Gate station to South Kensington, which takes around six minutes.
Established in 1881, the museum holds a massive collection of earth and life specimens totalling over eighty million items from different areas and times in natural history.
Located on Exhibition Road, it is one of three popular museums located there, the other two being the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum. All are free to visit.
A walk from the Natural History Museum to Harrods will take around 15 minutes, with the bus taking about the same amount of time. A cab ride will take around 5 minutes.
Probably the most famous department store in the world, Harrods has been emptying the pockets of the rich and famous since 1849.Established by Charles Henry Harrod, as a one room grocery store, within 30 years it had expanded to become an increasingly popular department store.
Today, the epitome of luxury shopping, it is owned by the Qatar Investment Authority and has over one million square feet of retail space split into 300 departments and is one of Europe’s largest department stores.
The store boasts over 5,000 different brands and has a motto in Latin over the door stating ‘All Things For All People, Everywhere’.
So there we have it. One of the big bonuses of London’s excellent transport network is none of your favourite attractions are too far away. Allowing you to mix and match your days (and evenings) to avoid premature burnout when exploring London in 4 days.