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London Itinerary - 3 Days in London for First Timers

Only have three days in London or just looking for a streamlined list of fun things to do in London during your upcoming trip? Follow our 3 Days in London Itinerary to see all the major highlights and experience the essential top attractions in London, England. This itinerary includes:

  • Coca-Cola London Eye
  • Big Bus London Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
  • Planet Hollywood & Piccadilly Circus
  • Trafalgar Square, National Gallery, & National Portrait Gallery
  • St. Paul's Cathedral
  • Wembley Stadium Tour
  • Photo Opp at Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, & Parliament
  • Hyde Park & the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain

Spending less time in London? Check out our one day in London or weekend in London 2 day itinerary for other fun ways to plan your trip.

Save on Attraction Admission

Many of the popular attractions in this itinerary are available on the London Explorer Pass. Visit the available attractions outlined here and save up to 35% off combined admission vs. paying at the gate. Remember, this 3 days in London itinerary is just one of many ways to experience the area. The London Explorer Pass gives you the flexibility to create your own itinerary, so you can choose over a dozen top attractions and create a vacation tailored to your interests.

Day 1

Stop #1 - Coca-Cola London Eye

Image of City, Metropolis, Urban, Building, Housing, Cityscape, Person, House, Adult, Male, Man, Handbag, Head to the Coca-Cola London Eye right at 10:00 am to beat some of the crowds and take advantage of prime daytime lighting for your photos of and from one of London's top landmarks. Take the 30-minute spin around the eye to get 360-degree panoramic views from your observation pod. At its highest point, you'll be 443-meters above ground with one of the best views of the city of London. Each observation pod features interactive touch screens with detailed maps and historic information to give context to the sights you'll see from your pod. You'll be able to identify stand-out buildings, historic sites, parks, and more as you look out around you. Your admission to the London Eye includes admission to the Coca-Cola London Eye 4D Experience, too, a fun, multi-sensory city experience. Some of the sights you'll see include: Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Parliament, Royal Albert Hall, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, the British Museum, St. Paul's Cathedral, Tower of London, the Shard, the River Thames, and more. Getting In: Coco-Cola London Eye tickets are available as an option on the London Explorer Pass.

Stop #2 - Big Bus London Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Image of Adult, Female, Person, Woman, Clock Tower, Tower, Male, Man, Microphone, Glasses, This hop-on hop-off bus tour is the easiest way to get acquainted with London and see all the top attractions and London landmarks--the perfect way to start out your short stay in London. Hop-on or off at your leisure at any of the 50+ stops along the way (such as the ones outlined in this 3 Days in London Itinerary) or stay on the bus for the full tour loop. After riding the Coca-Cola London Eye, hop on the Underground and head to Victoria Station to get your Big Bus London tickets. You'll start your sightseeing tour at stop # 27 of the red or blue line: "VICTORIA STATION" to start your tour. Awarded a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor in 2013, 2014, and 2015, their informative guides will make you feel like you experienced all the highlights of London with their comprehensive commentary and extensive list of stops along the way. Be sure to bring your camera! To pickup your Big Bus London tickets, simply present your London Explorer Pass at any of the three bus stop locations below:

  • Piccadilly – between Green Park underground station and The Ritz Hotel
  • Victoria Station – on the forecourt in front of the railway station
  • Baker Street – at the Big Bus kiosk between the exit of Baker Street underground and Madame Tussauds

Getting In: Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus London tickets are available as an option on the London Explorer Pass.

Stop #3 - Lunch at Planet Hollywood & Piccadilly Circus

Image of Burger, Food, Food Presentation, Hop-off your bus tour at stop #8: "PICCADILLY CIRCUS - Stop G, Regent Street" Take a break and enjoy a fun lunch with a dose of Hollywood culture at Planet Hollywood. Dining in London can be expensive so take advantage of this on your London Explorer Pass to save a little cash, plus, you'll get to check off another Planet Hollywood location. After lunch, head to Piccadilly Circus for some sightseeing and shopping on the famous Regent Street where you can pop into Harrod's department store, a famous London landmark in itself. Getting In: Meal at Planet Hollywood Restaurant is available as an option on the London Explorer Pass.

Stop #4 - Trafalgar Square, The National Gallery, & National Portrait Gallery

Image of City, Fountain, Water, Person, Urban, Handbag, Nature, Outdoors, Scenery, By Diliff (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
Walk around Trafalgar Square and get a photo with the famous lion statues guarding the base of Nelson's Column. Next, take advantage of the free admission at both The National Gallery, one of the largest art museums in the world with famous paintings from the 13th to 19th centuries, and The National Portrait Gallery, which houses over 200,000 portraits of historic figures from the 16th century to present day. Hop back on the Big Bus London tour at stop #10: "TRAFALGAR SQUARE - Stop Z, by the National Gallery" to and continue riding to complete your bus loop for the day.

Stop #5 - St. Paul's Cathedral

Image of Church, Person, Adult, Male, Man, Landmark, St. Paul Cathedral, Hop-off your bus tour at stop # 16: "ST PAULS" St. Paul's Cathedral is one of the most iconic architectural landmarks in England and one of London's most visited attractions. With admission, you'll get access to the Cathedral floor, the crypt where tombs and memorials of many famous Britons are, and the three galleries in the dome where you can view lots of famous works of art and get sweeping views of the city. Plan to attend one of the four daily 90-minute guided tours (subject to availability) for a comprehensive, expert-led tour of the Cathedral. Or, go on a self-paced tour with one of the touch screen multimedia tablet guides provided, available in 9 languages. Hop-back on the bus at the same stop you exited and continue your guided bus tour of London. Getting In: St.Paul's Cathedral tickets are available as an option on the London Explorer Pass.

Day 2

Stop #1 - Wembley Stadium Tour

Image of Head, Person, Face, Happy, Triumphant, Boy, Child, Male, Teen, No trip to London, or Europe, is complete without an authentic football experience. There's such a strong culture surrounding the sport it's almost palpable, and definitely part of the complete London experience. Go on a guided tour of the iconic Wembley Stadium, home to the England national football team and home to the annual FA Cup Final. Your guide will walk you through some of the most historic and memorable moments in football history and you'll get to experience the stadium (without the crowds) and see areas not open to the general public, including the Player's Tunnel, Royal Box where you can hold a replica of the FA Cup, England changing rooms, press conference rooms, and more. Getting In: Wembley Stadium Tour tickets are available as an option on the London Explorer Pass.

Stop #2 - the London Designer Outlet

After your tour of the Wembley Stadium, head over to the London Designer Outlet right nearby for some prime London shopping and dining options. Grab a quick lunch at one of the popular restaurants to before hitting the shops (we love Handmade Burger Co, wagamama, or, Pret for a quick bite). You can get all of your London shopping in at this one-stop destination. The outlet has tons of name brand shops, including H&M, Jack Wills, L.K. Bennett London, Nike, Oakley, The North Face, and more.

Day 3

Stop #1 - Photo Opp at Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, & Parliament

Start your day in the middle of the iconic Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and Parliament and check them off your list. Try to re-create the classic tourist photo shot featuring one of the red London phone booths with Big Ben in the background (bonus points if you get a double decker bus in the frame, too). Westminster Abbey: this large, striking Gothic church has served as the official coronation location for monarchs since the coronation of William the Conqueror in the 11th century and hosted numerous other events such as William and Kate's royal wedding and Princess Diana's funeral. Inside you can find the burial sites and memorials for lots of famous historic figures, including Charles Darwin. Big Ben: actually the nickname of the bell inside the tower (the clock and tower is officially known as Elizabeth Tower), is one of the most iconic structures in London, often representing the city of London in films, TV, and more. Houses of Parliament: also known as Westminster Palace, is the meeting place for the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom. Please note: admission to these attractions is not included with the London Explorer Pass.

Stop #2 - Indian Curry for Lunch at Gymkhana

Lunch at Gymkhana will prove why London is famous for having some of the best Indian food in the world. Plates are made for sharing so adventurous choices are encouraged, they're known for their creative, contemporary takes on classic Indian cuisine.

Stop #3 - Buckingham Palace

Image of Housing, House, Car, Person, Mansion, Palace, Buckingham Palace, Landmark, By Diliff (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
Walk off lunch by heading to Buckingham Palace to see if Her Majesty the Queen is home. If you see the Royal Standard flag, not the Union Jack flag, flying above Buckingham Palace, that means that the HM the Queen is home. If you see the Union Flag, it means she is away. Take a classic tourist picture with one of the guards outside of the palace and see if you can make one of them laugh! Please note: admission to tour Buckingham Palace is not included with the London Explorer Pass.

Stop #4 - Hyde Park & Princess Diana Memorial Fountain

Image of Grass, Nature, Outdoors, Park, Person, Sliding, Adult, Male, Man, Shoe, [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Take a stroll beyond Buckingham Palace towards the famous Hyde Park where you can walk along The Serpentine water feature and visit the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.

Let's Recap

Whether you're looking for the most comprehensive 3 days in London itinerary or want to experience a smaller selection of top attractions at your leisure throughout the whole week, this popular 3 Days in London Itinerary covers some of the most iconic and fun London attractions, ensuring you get in all of the top landmarks. From sightseeing tours to museums and top restaurants, you'll be able to enjoy it all, even with a limited amount of time for sightseeing! With the recent drop of the British pound attraction admission, hotels, and more are now likely more affordable for Americans and the US dollar. Check out our budget friendly post for visiting London with tips and more. Remember, with a London Explorer Pass you can save up to 35% off combined admission to many of these attractions vs paying separately at the gates.

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