Guest post by Dakota Murphey
London is a vast city with so many incredible parts to explore that it’s tempting to cram in too much in too little time. This is why the luxury of 3 days in London can give you enough hours to enjoy the lion’s share of what this amazing capital has to offer.
Whether you’re there to see iconic landmarks, learn about the Royal Family or meander through historic streets en route to theatres, museums and galleries, London has many diverse neighbourhoods to discover. However, rather than a whistle-stop tour that leaves you wishing you had more time, this article explains why London warrants a three-day visit with ideas on how to plan your itinerary.
Day 1: Royal Heritage
On your first day, if you’re a fan of all things Royal, why not start at Buckingham Palace to watch the Changing of the Guard? This is the formal ceremony in which sentries perform centuries-old ceremonial guard duties. When you’re finished soaking up the pageantry, walk down the Mall for classic views of Admiralty Arch before heading to Westminster Abbey and the architectural highlight and political hub of the Houses of Parliament.
In the afternoon, you could head to the Tower of London to admire the historic castle, a splendid gateway that guarded the capital for over 1,000 years. See the Royal Family’s priceless Crown Jewels at the historic Tower Bridge and take in the scenic views of the Thames before making your way to Kensington Palace, the most famous of royal residences in the heart of the capital.
Stay at: Kingsley Apartment to live like royalty and explore this area.
Royal Parks for a Grand Retreat
London might be a busy city but it has numerous famous green spaces like Kew Gardens, as well as attractive parks and landscaped green spaces. Continuing with the regal theme, there is a long list of Royal Parks to relax in and explore on any one of your three-day trips. Other enclosed parks are neatly tucked away in some of the capital’s wealthiest enclaves, such as Mayfair and Marylebone.
A visit to London is impossible without admiring its lovely greenery and its parks are a welcome retreat away from the crowds. Meanwhile, pretty rows of Georgian townhouses line ornate garden squares with period buildings shadowed by the capital’s striking skyscrapers and tower blocks.
Stay at: Austen House for Georgian elegance in central London.
Day 2: Iconic Landmarks
On day two, you might be keen to tick off London’s most well-known landmarks and popular sights. With time being of the essence, head straight to find Big Ben and pause for a photo before visiting the city’s famed government buildings nearby. Cross Westminster Bridge for a ride on the London Eye, a giant Ferris wheel along the Thames and enjoy a daring lift to the top for panoramic 360-degree views above the city.
Further down the river, you’ll see the imposing dome of St Paul’s Cathedral and can opt to take an informative riverboat cruise on the Thames to find out more about the buildings and areas lining London’s famous stretch of water.
In this area, look out for innovative architecture like The Shard or explore the fascinating London Bridge that reflects the city’s inspired and constant evolution. For views of the city’s skyline, travel to Primrose Hill just north of the city. A signpost at the top of this hill is there to help visitors identify London’s most iconic buildings in the distance. Regents Park housing London Zoo is great for little ones and is only a short walk from here.
Stay at: Apartment Garrison to explore London’s top attractions.
London’s Blend of Old and New
A city of contrasts, London is a beautiful blend of history and modernity. Along wealthy avenues of charming period properties, look out for any buildings commemorated with iconic blue plaques bearing inscriptions of their famous residents. This perfect fusion of preserving the city’s rich past while progressing is what gives London its own energy and unique personality.
In recent years, former industrial zones have now been wonderfully rejuvenated with new leases of life. from Camden Lock’s paint-splattered warehouses that overflow with artisan stalls and indie shops. King’s Cross and Battersea Power Station have had dramatic redevelopments in the last few years and exemplify London’s clash of old meeting new.
Stay at: Sky House where classic meets contemporary.
Day 3: Museums, Art and Culture
When it comes to the last of your 3 days in London, you might like to experience a slice of the city’s vibrant cultural scene. With 100 museums to choose from across the capital, a good place to begin is the British Museum in Russell Square, and home to an incredible cultural selection of artefacts, including the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon Sculptures and Egyptian mummies. Then, head to the Science Museum for dinosaurs and a huge whale exhibit. Next, the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square houses iconic art from the 13th century onward. In addition, other notable London galleries include the National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern and the Serpentine.
Then explore some of London’s most charming and lively neighbourhoods like Kensington, Mayfair, Soho and Covent Garden for some drama, comedy and street entertainment. Refuel at an old English pub before capping your night at a spectacular West End theatre show. With musicals like Abba Voyage, Frozen and Wicked, iconic plays, or some traditional Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre, there are countless world-class productions to choose from.
Stay at: Onyx Apartment for a taste of luxury in Mayfair.
Shop Until it’s Time for Food
No visit to London would be complete without indulging in retail therapy and taking time to enjoy the dynamic food scene when you’re all shopped out. From fish and chips and pub grub to fine dining at celebrity chef restaurants – it’s all delicious! When you need a little break, relax at one of London’s many cafés and focus on some serious people-watching.
Shopping in London wouldn’t be right without dropping into Oxford Street. It’s one of Europe’s busiest areas, the streets are jam-packed with people looking for major brands and high street shops. Venture down side streets to discover charming speciality boutiques and bespoke designers. If you are more high-end, head to Knightsbridge to browse for luxury treats in Harrods’ or at nearby Harvey Nichols. London’s markets are also legendary.
At the end of a long day, no visit to London can happen without a traditional English afternoon tea. Book in at The Savoy or Claridges for some dainty finger sandwiches, indulgent cakes and scones.
Stay at: Cloud Apartment to be close to culture.
So there you have our guide to spending 3 days in London, the illustrious capital of the UK. With endless sights in London, spending three days here allows you time to fall in love with this captivating capital of contrasts at a more relaxed pace. And, if you didn’t cover as much ground as you hoped to, there’s always the next time! But for now, check out the full portfolio of UK homes that we host on Oliver’s Travels. For any added extras or advice on making the most of your trip, our friendly concierge team are on hand – your personal travel genie!