A couple walk past Tower Bridge in London in April
Ian Packham

One week in London: your ultimate itinerary

London isn’t just a list of landmarks to tick off but a living entity which has been constantly evolving for over 2000 years. Hugely diverse in origin, Londoners shop, work and worship amidst world-beating attractions.

Spend enough time in the capital, and you’ll realize that behind their frosty exterior most of London’s nine million people are also a friendly – if modest – bunch worth taking the time to get to know properly.

A week in London it is then! Plan it well and a London 7 day itinerary can provide you with a view of the British capital it’s not possible to get with a two or three day visit. As Samuel Johnson once said, when you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life.

Your first day in London

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With your camera battery fully charged and SD cards empty, ease yourself into the next 7 days in London at Piccadilly Circus. At the junction between the thoroughfare simply known as Piccadilly and Regent Street, it’s a spot that has spun with black cabs, red double decker buses and advertising hoardings for decades, with the Statue of Eros acting as the starting point for countless romances.

Piccadilly has its fair share of famous storefronts should you want to start the souvenir shopping early, with Fortnum & Mason as evocative of time in London as afternoon tea at The Ritz a few doors down.

Spend the rest of the day taking in the views of Buckingham Palace from the roof of Wellington Arch – once home to London’s smallest police station – and admiring the collections of Apsley House. Also known as No 1 London, it was the home of the Duke of Wellington, victor over Napoleon.

A day by the river

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The views at the Tower of London extend back close to 1000 years. A fortification built by William the Conqueror around 1066 which became a prison to Anne Boleyn, Guy Fawkes and The Kray twins, the tower is now best known for its ravens, yeomen wardens (beefeaters) and crown jewels. Together they provide an unforgettable morning of heritage, wit and bling.

Cross the Thames by Tower Bridge to reach the south side of the river. Opening on average three times a day, with a week in London you can afford to hang around the area for a while just in case, perhaps taking in HMS Belfast at the same time. With nine decks to explore, it’s one of the most detailed displays of life in the navy during peace and war time you’ll encounter.

End the day looking down on London from The View from The Shard. Western Europe’s tallest building, The Shard’s observation floors stand 250 meters above the riverside, providing panoramas capable of transporting you 40 miles in any direction. The bar makes an extra-special spot from which to enjoy London’s sunsets too.

The rainy day

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The weather in London is fickle enough that you could experience a rainy day at any time of year. But don’t worry, there’s plenty indoors that will keep you busy without them feeling like second-rate options.

The Natural History Museum, Science Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum are located side by side in Kensington, though with such extensive collections you’re better off sticking to the one that interests you most. Whilst the first two museums are relatively self-explanatory, the Victoria and Albert Museum name doesn’t give much away. Funded by the profits of Hyde Park’s 1851 Great Exhibition, it concentrates on the decorative arts, from ceramics to tapestries and jewelry.

The site of performances throughout the year, the Royal Albert Hall really comes into its own in August and September, when it welcomes the Proms. But even when there’s no scheduled performance you can still take in its main auditorium with a behind the scenes tour.

Span a millennium in a day

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For a trip beneath the world’s oceans without the price tag to match, start the fourth day of your London week itinerary at SEA LIFE Center London Aquarium. As well as a coral reef and a shark tunnel, visitors are able to watch the antics of a small colony of penguins.

Just outside, the steady rotation of the London Eye has become an irresistible part of anyone’s London experience. The world’s first cantilever Ferris wheel – supported on just one side – its location means it provides some of the clearest views of the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey beyond.

With origins predating the Norman Conquest of 1066, the abbey has witnessed some of the most important events in British history, from the coronation of over 40 kings and queens, to royal marriages, memorials to national treasures and the burial of the unknown soldier at the end of the First World War. Royal brides continue to place their bouquet on its black marble surface in honor of the fallen.

Spend a day at Kew

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The list of public green spaces that were once the private property of the British monarch extends to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. A cherished part of west London, the gardens have gained international recognition through their UNESCO World Heritage status and continuing work to save botany’s rarest plants from extinction.

Nor does it matter when you plan to visit London, since Kew provides all-year color and interest. Spring sees tulips, daffodils and cherry blossom take centerstage, before the summer months present its follies – including a ten story Chinese pagoda – in all their glory.

Fall sees Kew’s 14,000 trees from around the world turn stunning shades of sunset whilst even the winter isn’t lacking in attractions thanks to its multiple glasshouses and February orchid festival. So slip on a good pair of walking shoes and discover for yourself what Kew is all about!

A day in the City of London

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Begin Day 6 of your odyssey at the northern end of London Bridge. Once the only crossing over the Thames in the city, the current version dates from the 1960s and is a little underwhelming compared to London’s other crossings – but does have clear views towards Tower Bridge and The Shard.

Head north from the city of London into the City of London – which has its own police force and ancient ways though not much over two kilometers square – for one of London’s quirkier attractions – The Monument.

Located on an easy-to-miss side street, it commemorates the Great Fire of 1666, reputed to have started in Pudding Lane opposite. The ‘new’ St Paul’s Cathedral rose from the ashes of the fire. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, its sightlines are protected by law and its interior considered one of architecture's greatest achievements.

End your day in and around the Museum of London, which tells the story of the capital from the time of the mammoths to the latest archeological discoveries.

A day of live performances

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Make sure you haven’t missed anything by spending the morning enjoying the commentary and day ticket opportunities of a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour through the heart of the capital.

Follow this up with a matinee performance at one of the West End’s top theaters, where dramas, musicals and comedies switch between coming from and going to New York’s Broadway and attract big names in television and cinema to their stages.

On a bright summer night the open-air amphitheater forming Regent’s Park Theater ensures each show is unique, whilst an afternoon at ZSL London Zoo provides another type of entertainment. Its 750 species, from aardvarks to zebra, never fail to charm.

A week in London with Go City

Capture the essence of the living and breathing British capital with one week in London. Its range of attractions are extensive, but that doesn’t mean you have to watch your bank balance drain. Travel with Go City to take advantage of massive savings on admission to many top attractions!

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