48 Hours in London: A whirlwind tour of the city’s highlights

London is a city that has something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, art, food, or theater, you’ll find it all in this vibrant metropolis. If you’re only in London for 48 hours, you’ll want to make the most of your time. This itinerary will take you to some of the city’s most popular attractions, as well as a few hidden gems.

Where to Stay in London

With so many neighborhoods to choose from, it can be tough to decide where to stay in London. If you’re looking for a central location, consider staying in Westminster, Soho, or Covent Garden. These areas are all within walking distance of many of the city’s most popular attractions.

Day 1 in London

  • Start your day with a delicious breakfast at one of London’s many cafes.
  • Head to Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guard ceremony (if you’re lucky enough to be there on the right day).
  • Take a stroll through St. James’s Park and Horse Guards Parade to get to Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament.
  • If you have time, take a tour of Westminster Abbey or the Houses of Parliament.
  • Cross the Thames River to the South Bank and take a ride on the London Eye for stunning panoramic views of the city.
  • Explore Borough Market, a great place to grab some lunch and do some souvenir shopping.
  • Make your way to the City of London to see St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Royal Exchange, and Leadenhall Market.
  • Enjoy a pre-theater dinner in the West End before catching a show or a musical.

Day 2 in London

  • Start your day with a visit to the Tower of London, a historic castle that was once a royal palace and prison.
  • Take a walk across Tower Bridge, a stunning feat of Victorian engineering.
  • Relax and unwind with a traditional afternoon tea at one of London’s many hotels.

Beyond the Itinerary

This itinerary is just a starting point, of course. There are endless things to see and do in London. If you have more time, here are a few other ideas:

  • Visit one of London’s many museums, such as the British Museum, the National Gallery, or the Tate Modern.
  • Explore one of London’s many neighborhoods, such as Camden Town, Notting Hill, or Greenwich.
  • Take a day trip to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, or Oxford.

Final Thoughts

London is a city that will stay with you long after you leave. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and endless attractions, it’s no wonder that London is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.


In the present day I wish to share my itinerary for 48 hours in London with you. 2 days within the UK capital is sufficient time to get a really feel for the town’s highlights and provide you with a superb overview of what there’s to do and see. From the main points of interest to the native areas and iconic landmarks, London has no scarcity of the way for guests to spend their time. Learn on for my itinerary. I’ve included a map, too.

48 hours in London

48 Hours in London

When individuals ask me find out how to spend 48 hours in London, I’ve rather a lot to inform them. You’ll be nicely conscious of that if you happen to’ve seen my London journey information. I’ve lived right here for a few years, and I do know the town nicely.

The wonderful thing about spending 2 days in London is that you just’ll have sufficient time to see the highlights of the UK capital. Regardless of if you happen to’re spending a weekend in London or if you happen to’re visiting mid-week, there are plenty of methods to spend your time.

Whether or not you wish to examine the landmarks off your London journey bucket record, go to the large points of interest, eat, drink, store, or uncover the town’s wealthy historical past, you’ll discover no scarcity of issues to do and see when you’re right here.

Tower Bridge with spring flowersTower Bridge with spring flowers

My 48-hour London itinerary covers a variety of actions and sights. It’s simply the factor for first-time guests and people who haven’t traveled to London shortly.

The information gives you a strong introduction to the most effective components of the town and make you wish to come again and discover extra of London in your subsequent journey.

The interactive map I’ve included on the finish gives you a good suggestion of the place issues are in relation to at least one one other, too. You should use it to plan your timings and routes.

View of the City of London from Tower BridgeView of the City of London from Tower Bridge

The place to Keep in London

In relation to the place to base your self in London, there are many choices. Whether or not you wish to keep in a resort, an residence, or one other kind of lodging, there’s a number of totally different lodging in London to select from.

Given the town is big, I like to recommend selecting a spot to remain that’s in or close to the middle. You’ll be able to check out my weblog posts about the most effective space to remain in London, the most effective resorts on your model, and quirky resorts in London for extra concepts.

You may also discover offers and e-book lodging in London right here. With so many good choices for each style and price range, you’re certain to discover a place that matches your journey model.

London Hotel LobbyLondon Hotel Lobby

Arrival in London

When you’ve arrived and settled into your lodging in London, you’ll be able to head out to spend a day and night out within the metropolis.

You can begin within the West Finish, the place you’ll have the ability to discover Soho and Covent Backyard. They’re two of essentially the most thrilling locations in central London, and you are able to do every thing from eat to buy right here. You are able to do my free self-guided stroll if you’d like course.

For those who’re hungry, there are many spots to eat and drink within the space. You’ll be able to see my suggestions for eating places in London if you happen to need assistance discovering a spot to have dinner.

Mayfair restaurant tables in LondonMayfair restaurant tables in London

Trafalgar Sq. and Piccadilly Circus are all the time thrilling within the night, too. They give the impression of being notably eye-catching when the lights brighten up the sky.

If you wish to, it’s also possible to take an open-top bus tour afterwards to get an outline of the town. It’s a good way to get a really feel for what London has to supply in a brief period of time. You’ll be able to e-book tickets right here.

For those who’re up for persevering with your night time in model, take the Piccadilly line of the London Underground to South Kensington. You’ll be able to try the nightlife scene round Walton Avenue and the King’s Highway in Chelsea.

Piccadilly Circus Tube Station, LondonPiccadilly Circus Tube Station, London

Day 1 in London

The subsequent morning you’ll be able to proceed your itinerary for 48 hours in London with espresso and a superb breakfast.

Whether or not you head to probably the greatest espresso outlets in London or one of many high locations for breakfast, there are many spots to start out your day on a scrumptious word.

Caffeinated and satiated, you’ll be able to head over to Buckingham Palace. It’s what attracts many guests to the town, and it’s a should on any London itinerary.

Guards at Buckingham PalaceGuards at Buckingham Palace

You’ll be able to time your go to to observe the Altering the Guard ceremony (it occurs a number of days every week), or simply admire the monarch’s London residence from exterior the large gates.

For those who’re right here in the course of the seasonal opening, it’s also possible to take a tour of Buckingham Palace. It’s a good way to see the state rooms and personal gardens when you’re visiting. You’ll be able to e-book tickets right here (you’ll wish to e-book nicely prematurely).

From the palace you’ll be able to stroll by means of St James’s Park and Horse Guards Parade to get to Westminster. This space is dwelling to a number of the metropolis’s most recognizable landmarks, and it’s what many individuals consider after they hear the phrase “London”.

Westminster Abbey and Big BenWestminster Abbey and Big Ben

As soon as in Parliament Sq., you’ll be surrounded by icons like Westminster Abbey, Large Ben (Elizabeth Tower), and the Homes of Parliament. If wish to, you’ll be able to tour the abbey and parliament. You’ll be able to e-book tickets right here.

When you’ve got time and inclination, it’s also possible to take my free self-guided Westminster stroll to see extra of the world past the points of interest. It should take you round to a number of the facet streets and hidden areas locals love on this a part of London.

From Westminster, you’ll be able to cross the Thames to get to the South Financial institution. This common space is the right place to absorb the views from the London Eye or simply wander alongside the river.

South Bank, LondonSouth Bank, London

You’ll be able to e-book London Eye tickets right here. It’s value it to see the spectacular panoramas from the highest of the Ferris wheel. You’ll wish to e-book forward of time, because it typically sells out nicely prematurely.

There are all the time pop-ups, road performers, and different leisure on the South Financial institution, so it’s enjoyable to walk by the river and see what’s on.

If you wish to, you’ll be able to take a river cruise from Westminster Pier to see the town from the Thames. You’ll go by a number of London landmarks as you go. If that appeals, you’ll be able to e-book tickets right here.

London Eye from a Thames cruise boatLondon Eye from a Thames cruise boat

From the South Financial institution it’s a scenic stroll to Bankside to get to Tate Trendy and Borough Market. They’re two extra of the town’s hottest locations.

The museum is world-class, and the truth that it’s free means it’s straightforward to go to for as lengthy or little as you wish to. There are beautiful views from the highest of the Blavatnik Constructing, too.

Simply down the river from the museum, Borough Market is the best spot to seize one thing scrumptious for lunch. It’s enjoyable to wander round and absorb the colours and smells of the stalls as you hunt down the right meal.

Paella at Borough MarketPaella at Borough Market

From Borough Market you’ll be able to cross London Bridge to get into the Metropolis of London. Be certain to maintain an eye fixed out for the views of Tower Bridge on the best way.

From the long-lasting dome of St Paul’s Cathedral to the beautiful Guildhall, the Royal Change, and the magical inside of Leadenhall Market (you may acknowledge it as a filming location for the Harry Potter motion pictures), there’s rather a lot to like right here.

When you’ve got time, you are able to do my self-guided Metropolis of London stroll to see the highlights. You may also head as much as the Sky Backyard or Horizon 22 if you wish to soak up a number of the finest views in London. Simply be sure that to e-book free tickets prematurely.

Taxi in the City of LondonTaxi in the City of London

For those who want a relaxation alongside the best way, you’ll be able to cease at one of many historic pubs within the space. Locations like Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese have been round because the 1600s, and so they’re stuffed with environment.

As night approaches, you’ll be able to proceed your 48 hours in London by strolling or taking the tube to the West Finish to have an early dinner and catch a present.

There are many nice eating places that supply pre-theater dinners within the space. I’ve dined in all places from Frenchie to Spring and Guidelines, and so they’re all scrumptious. If you’d like one thing fast and informal, Seven Dials Market is simply the place.

Harry Potter Theater, LondonHarry Potter Theater, London

Afterwards there’s no scarcity of performs and musicals you’ll be able to see on any given night time in London.

Town’s theater scene is world-renowned, so whether or not you’re up for seeing a musical in Soho or a drama in Covent Backyard, there’s one thing you’ll get pleasure from. If theater isn’t your factor, there are comedy exhibits and reside music, too.

For those who’re within the temper for nightlife later, there are many enjoyable bars within the space. My favourite is Cahoots, a travel-themed bar in Kingly Court docket. It’s the right place to finish your day in London.

Kingly Court, LondonKingly Court, London

Day 2 in London

I like to recommend beginning the second morning of your itinerary for 48 hours in London with a visit to the Tower of London. This place awes guests with its abundance of architectural historical past.

Getting right here early will help you keep away from the large crowds later within the day. I counsel taking a guided tour with an early-access ticket so you’ll be able to meet a Beefeater and see the Crown Jewels with out the lengthy traces.

You’ll additionally have the ability to tour the White Tower and go to the opposite heritage landmarks inside its partitions. You’ll be able to e-book your tickets right here.

Tower of LondonTower of London

After the Tower of London, you’ll be able to have a lightweight lunch at a spot like White Mulberries in St Katharine Docks. This distinctive marina by Tower Bridge is a good place to have an informal meal on a day of sightseeing.

After lunch you’ll be able to stroll over to Tower Bridge. This spectacular feat of Victorian engineering is among the most eye-catching landmarks in London. You’ll be able to stroll throughout it, then head as much as the highest on a self-guided tour if you wish to. You’ll be able to e-book tickets right here.

Whenever you’re accomplished exploring, you’ll be able to take the tube from Tower Hill to Hyde Park Nook to stroll round Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. You’ll be able to see every thing from the Serpentine lake to the formal backyard by Kensington Palace when you’re right here.

Boat on the Serpentine in Hyde Park, LondonBoat on the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London

After strolling across the parks and gardens, you’ll be able to relaxation your ft. There’s no higher approach to do it than by indulging in afternoon tea in London.

There are many good choices within the space, so it’s by no means exhausting to discover a place. Simply be sure that to order forward of time, as the most effective ones e-book up nicely prematurely.

From The Lanesborough to The Dorchester, The Berkeley to the Mandarin Oriental, the Jumeirah Carlton Tower to Claridge’s, The Goring to The Halkin, The Ritz, Brown’s, and Fortnum & Mason, this space is filled with afternoon tea choices.

Afternoon Tea at Browns Hotel in Mayfair, LondonAfternoon Tea at Browns Hotel in Mayfair, London

This scrumptious custom is a good way to indulge your candy tooth and cap off your journey to London.

48 Hours in London

I hope you’ve loved my itinerary for 48 hours in London. If you’d like further concepts, there’s much more about issues to do within the metropolis within the fashionable e-book London, Block by Block: An Illustrated Information to the Better of England’s Capital. You may get it right here.

I’ve revealed various different London itineraries, too. You’ll be able to check out my 1-day, 2-day, 36-hour, 3-day, 4-day, 5-day, 6-day, 7-day, 1 week, 8-day, and 10-day itineraries for extra inspiration.

London Itinerary Map

As promised, I’ve created an interactive Google map of my 48-hour London itinerary. You’ll be able to see it right here. For those who click on on the pins you’ll discover my related weblog posts about every place. I hope it helps you intend a fantastic journey to the town!

View of The Shard, LondonView of The Shard, London

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