1 week in London, A perfect Itinerary

Welcome to London – one of the most amazing cities in the world! There is SO much to do in London and there’s no way you can explore it all in only a few days, but a week is a really great amount of time to take in some of the main sites at a good pace, and to see a few of the less mainstream areas too.

I’ve tried to balance this itinerary with architecture, art, history, museums, parks, palaces and fun but if you have a particular interest I’ve also included options for substitutes on each day if there’s something that particularly does or doesn’t appeal. Or just pick and mix the items on it you like.

I’ve spent a LOT of time compiling this and every recommendation has had thought put in to it, so I really hope it’s helpful!

It’s also worth saying that if you’re visiting London and only have a short amount of time, you may find my two day London itinerary HERE more useful. And if you only have 4-5 days, then just pick the days you like best on this 1 week itinerary.


The Itinerary

Day 1 (City of London)

Now, I’m assuming you’ve already arrived in the capital late the previous day and have a full day. If you don’t, then I suggest making sure Day 1 is a full day because it’s probably the most site packed day of all.

AM – St Paul’s Cathedral, St Dunstan in the East, Sky Garden/Leadhenhall Market

Grab some breakfast and then start the day off at a London Icon – St Paul’s Cathedral. Be sure to spend an hour or so marvelling at the inside of one of England’s most historic buildings, before heading to a beautiful oasis in the centre of London – the stunning St Dunstan in the East. This park inside an old church is the perfect spot for a quick break, before finishing the morning off with a special lunch in Sky Garden (book ahead for a limited number of free entry tickets), for wonderful views out over London, or a more casual lunch in Leadenhall Market.

PM – Tower of London, Tower Bridge, The Shard

After lunch, head to the Tower of London. Go and see the crown jewels first then take your time in the Tower Museum and book on to a Beefeater tour, as well as visit the spot where Anne Boleyn was beheaded. Then head across Tower Bridge, stopping to take in the exhibition within the Tower if that interests you. For drinks and a special dinner with a view head to The Shard, London’s tallest building – or for a more casual and less expensive option head to Hay’s Galleria.

Views from The Shard

And if there’s a stop that doesn’t interest you, here are some alternative substitutes for the day:

  • HMS Belfast – WW2 ship which you can board to explore the museum on board
  • The Tate Modern – World famous art museum
  • The Medieval Banquet – 4 course banquet and show
  • Electric Shuffle -Retro style bar with shuffleboard games and pizza
  • The Clink Prison Museum & Restaurant – Explore and dine in an old prison
  • Jack the Ripper walking tour – leaves from Aldgate East


Day 2 (South Bank)

AM – Southwark Cathedral, Borough Market, Jubilee Walkway, London Eye, Southbank Centre

Today is a day spent exploring London’s cool South Bank, though we start the day just outside of the area with a quick visit to Southwark Cathedral, grabbing breakfast at Borough Market next door. This day is best to do on a sunny day as it’s then time to stroll along the river following the Jubilee Walkway which runs along the river, taking you past the South Bank Centre, National Theatre, lots of nice food stands, and the Grafitti Tunnel at Leake Street. All with wonderful views out across the River Thames. Finish the morning riding one of London’s most famous attractions, The London Eye for views out over the city followed by a pub lunch. Or if you’d like to save a bit of money head to the church tower of The Garden Museum for views and a tasty lunch in the café.

PM – Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Palace, Witness to the Prosecution

After lunch head to Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s home in London and book in advance on to a tour of one of the oldest buildings in London. Then to finish your day head to the Imperial War Museum to learn more about Britain’s roles in various wars, with a specific focus on WW1 and WW2. It’s a really sobering experience, but well worth it and worth at least 2-3 hours of your time, closing at 6pm just in time for a lovely riverside dinner. For the evening, head to County Hall to watch Witness to the Prosecution, a detective play set inside a real court house.

Lambeth Palace

And here are some alternative substitutes for the day if you can fit more in or something doesn’t appeal:

  • Sea Life Aquarium
  • London Dungeons – London’s gruesome past with real life actors
  • Florence Nightingale Museum
  • The Garden Museum – beautiful gardens with interesting museum
  • The Grid – Sci Fi themed cocktail escape room
  • Bounce – Cocktail bar with ping pong tables
  • iMAX Theatre – for 3D films on the biggest screen in the UK
  • Thames River Cruise

Day 3 (Westminster)

AM – St James’ Park, Buckingham Palace tour, Changing of the Guard

Now you can’t come to England and not visit The Queen! Start the day with a tour around Buckingham Palace (book ahead as they don’t run every day), before then getting ready outside for the changing of the guards at 11am. If your Day 3 falls on a day where the changing of the Guard isn’t happening, just swap days around to get this in. Finish your morning with a stroll through St James’ Park.

PM – Trafalgar Square, 10 Downing Street, Houses of Parliament tour, Westminster Abbey for Evensong

After grabbing some lunch, head on to Trafalgar Square, and then to 10 Downing Street and on to the Houses of Parliament. Again I recommend a tour to learn about the British legal system in depth, including tours in to the House of Commons and Lords. Then to end the day head to Westminster Abbey (where Kate and Wills got married, and where many English monarchs are buried) for Evensong at 5pm, a truly magical experience. Finish up with dinner – I recommend Mio for unbeatable pizzas, or Aloo Toma for the most delicious Nepalese.

And if there’s a stop that doesn’t interest you, here are some alternative substitutes for the day:

  • Churchill War Rooms – Especially if you didn’t do the IWM on Day 2
  • The National Gallery
  • Afternoon tea on a London bus – Leaves from Trafalgar Square
  • Shopping – Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols and Harrods are all close by

Day 4 (Bloomsbury & Covent Garden)

AM – Granary Square, Russell Square, The British Museum

Start your day off in the Bloomsbury District at Granary Square, grabbing an early breakfast at Dishoom (incredible Irani/Indian food) and strolling along the canal side. Then head through the lovely London streets to Russell Park, particularly pretty on a sunny day. Then if you’re going to visit one museum in London (which would be a shame, there are lots of amazing ones), make it the The British Museum. Home to the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon Marbles, Lewis Chessmen and so much more, it’s easy to spend at least 2-3 hours here.

Inside the British Museum

PM – Covent Garden, Soho, West End Show

After finishing in the British Museum, head down to Covent Garden and grab a late lunch before exploring some of the most picture perfect streets in London including Neal’s Yard. Then head to Soho and explore some of the lovely shops in the area – be sure to check out Carnaby Street and Liberty, before finishing off the day with a West End show to suit your tastes.

Neal’s Yard

And if there’s a stop that doesn’t interest you, here are some alternative substitutes for the day:

  • St Pancras Station – Including Platform 9 3/4 Harry Potter shop
  • St Pancras Old Church and Gardens
  • Charles Dickens Museum
  • Postal Museum – including riding Rail Mail
  • The Crystal Maze Experience – Interactive game based on the UK gameshow
  • London Christmas lights tour – Route HERE (time of year dependent)
  • The National Gallery
  • Harry Potter Walking Tour – leaves from The Palace Theatre
St Pancras Old Church

Day 5 (Marylebone & Kensington)

AM – The Sherlock Holmes Museum, Madame Tussauds, Marble Arch

Today is spent in the area in and around Kensington, slightly out of the main centre of London. Start the day by paying tribute to an English Hero, Sherlock Holmes, in this small museum at 221B Baker Street. After that head to world famous Madame Tussauds to take photos with all the waxworks and then finish the morning with lunch near Marble Arch.

Sherlock Holmes

PM – Hyde Park, Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, V&A Museum, Royal Albert Hall

Stroll through Hyde Park to reach Queen Victoria’s home, Kensington Palace. It’s here I recommend sampling the English tradition of Afternoon Tea, which you’ve got to do at least once whilst in the capital – plus there are always some interesting exhibits on inside the Palace too. Then head on to the V&A Museum where you can spend a few hours browsing the collection, before exploring the Royal Albert Hall, and catching a show if you’re lucky with your timing.

And if there’s a stop that doesn’t interest you, here are some alternative substitutes for the day:

  • Regent’s Park
  • Natural History Museum
  • Peggy Porschen – for Insta worthy cakes
  • Mayfair – stroll around one of the most expensive areas in London
  • Science Museum

Day 6 (Greenwich)

AM – River cruise to Greenwich, Royal Observatory, Planetarium

To start off Day 6, hop on a boat across the Greenwich. Start off the day visiting the Royal Observatory to cross the Prime Meridien line where east meets west and learn more about navigation over the years. Also head on to the Planetarium and catch a show to learn more about our solar system and beyond.

PM – National Maritime Museum, Cutty Sark, North Greenwich cable car, O2

After lunch, pay a visit to the National Maritime Museum to delve deeper in to England’s naval history, and then step aboard the Cutty Sark – an old tea clipper which used to sail to China. You can even have afternoon tea on board if you’d like to. Then to finish off the day, head to the North Greenwich cable car over to the O2 for dinner, before heading back to your hotel.

View from the O2 Cable Car at sunset

And if there’s a stop that doesn’t interest you, here are some alternative substitutes for the day:

  • Greenwich Park
  • Up at the O2 Climb – Harness up and climb the O2 dome for great views
  • DLR and Docklands – Old London docks area, now a cool area of town with nice bars and views

Day 7

With a week in London it would be a shame not to see a bit more of England so it’s time for a day trip. Now, I’m assuming you’re departing on Day 8, but if you’re not – you may want to switch days 5 and 7 around so you have a full day for the day trip, and then the day you depart do as much as you can from Day 5. And if there’s a day in London that doesn’t massively appeal, just do another day trip instead.

Option 1. Windsor Castle

If you like the Royals, visiting Windsor Castle is a must as it’s one of the Queen’s main residences. You can explore the grounds, chapel and certain areas inside the Castle for a really special royal day out.

View of the Castle

Option 2. Cambridge

Take an hour long direct train from King’s Cross to Cambridge to explore the historic University, go punting on the River Cam and maybe even visit a picture perfect English cottage or two.

Option 3. Oxford

Another short train journey away, Oxford is known as the city of dreaming spires. With a day in the city, you can visit the University, plus visit The Radcliffe Camera and see inside one of the most incredible libraries in the world.

And if these don’t appeal, here are some other ideas for day trips from London.

  • Highgate Cemetery – a unique gothic Victorian cemetery, home to Karl Marx
  • Bletchley Park – visit the WW2 codebreakers and learn about their role in the war
  • Salisbury and Stonehenge – World famous ancient site
  • The Cotswolds – beautiful area of typical English countryside
  • Brighton – for a beach trip in the summer


Where to stay in London

There are literally hundreds of options of where to stay in London, and really as long as you’re fairly central it doesn’t matter too much. The average cost of a hotel room in London (at time of writing in 2022) is £172, but you can find places for much less if you don’t mind staying somewhere basic.

For me personally, I enjoy travelling to hotels which are in themselves part of the experience, but appreciate that isn’t everyone’s choice. If you’re like me, then I can recommend a few lovely ‘experience’ hotels in the capital which are worth it if you want to splash a bit on accommodation, even if for just 1 or 2 nights of your stay.

Treehouse Hotel – this is closest to the things in Day 4 of the itinerary and provides a lovely sustainable hotel option. The modern design and views out over London from the tub bath are what makes this hotel stand out.

Treehouse Bath

Sea Containers – this is closest to things in Day 2 of the itinerary and puts you central to the cool Southbank area of London. The balcony out over the Thames and wonderful spa are what make this hotel special.

Sea Containers Balcony Views

The Megaro (review coming soon) – this is closest to day 4’s activities and is great if you love design and architecture. The unique rooms are beautiful and full of colour – you won’t find a more bold design choice than Megaro.

Megaro Design

So what do you think? I’ve spent a long time compiling this guide and really hope you like some of my ideas if you’re planning a stay in the capital. And if you are using this guide to plan, just drop me any questions you might have in the comments below. It will also be constantly updated as I write more detailed posts on individual items, and experience new things in London so save it for the future as well if you’re planning on visiting one day. Thanks for reading – stay safe and happy travelling!

42 Comments

  1. Wow!!! London looks AMAZING & your itinerary is outstanding, dear Hannah 🙂 It’s very well presented with broad appeal to accommodate diverse interests, as well as convenient options for visitors of varying stays. Thanks for sharing, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant post, great balance of things to do, see and experience. Very helpful to have the attractions listed in a geographically manageable way. I’ve often plotted 2/3 things I’d like to do in London and then google mapped it to discover they don’t compliment each other at all… unless I want to sacrifice a lot of time to travel.

    I’ve recently found out I am staying in Wiltshire for another year or so with the husbands work, so some more London trips are on the cards. Your post has me a bit excited to get planning!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much Helen for your kind comments…..I’m so glad to hear these ideas might be helpful for you 🙂 I agree on the geography as I’ve done the exact same way too many times on visits to the capital. Wiltshire is such a beautiful base from which to explore the South of England – I hope you have some amazing trips to London this year 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Leighton, I appreciate your kind comments. It took me ages to write and to actually do all the things on the itinerary too (over many years of course)!! Thanks for reading and have a great day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely words John. I’m the same, I see itineraries which try to do everything I’ve put in 2 days in 1 day and it’s just not possible unless you just want to run past everything and not go in! Ooo yes the Jack the Ripper Tour is actually quite scary and definitely just horrendous to think it was real….but the mystery of who he was is very intriguing. My post on that tour will come some day soon 🙂 Thanks for reading, have a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, where was this itinerary when I was in London?? I reserved my accommodation for five nights, but ended up having only two full days in town, as I also spent time on day trips to other parts of the region. Not to forget I was horrible at planning and rushed everything…should’ve had this guide to refer to instead!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw I’m so glad you like the itinerary Rebecca, and maybe one day if you ever visit London again hopefully my guide can help 🙂 2 days is definitely not enough to really experience the city, though I’m sure you still saw lots of great things.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Enjoyed reading your post and looking at your photos. Brought back memories of when we were last in London back in 2008. Would love to visit again but not sure when that will happen. (It’s a long way from Melbourne, Australia!) Another alternative we enjoyed visiting was the Museum of London, which deals with the history of London itself. We also love going to the theatre every time we visit. Cheers, Mark

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mark, I’m so glad I could bring back some nice memories for you. Yes it’s definitely a long way from Melbourne that’s for sure, not an easy weekend break 🙂 I haven’t been to the Museum of London yet but it’s on my list, so thank you for mentioning that – I’ll have to try and add it in to the itinerary one day!!! Thanks again for reading, have a great day.

      Like

  5. Really enjoyed reading this post and looking at your photos Hannah. Brought back memories of when we were in London last, back in 2008. Would like to visit again but not sure when that can happen for us. (it’s a long way from Melbourne, Australia!) Inwould also recommend the Museum of London as an alternative. It deals with the history of London itself. We also love going to the theatre when in London. Cheers, Mark

    Like

  6. Now this seems like an itinerary that I would enjoy with lots of options to scale up or down. It’s very comprehensive and filled with a variety of different sights and activities. This makes me want to return to London now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much, I’m so glad you think it looks useful and interesting. There is loads to do in London and I’m glad to be able to showcase a few parts of it. I spent a long time thinking about what to include and writing a (hopefully) useful guide, so thank you so much for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. St Pauls Cathedral was one of the first sights my mom explored when she visited my brother in the UK – and she still can’t stop talking about how beautiful it was!
    I would love to see the Tower Bridge and the views from The Shard … oh, and a cruise on the River Thames and afternoon tea on a London bus – now, that sounds like something from a storybook! Oh my, pub lunches, the colourful Neal’s Yard, Madame Tussauds, Hyde Park and that amazing library in Oxford … I will need more than just a week to see all of these amazing places!!
    I can see that you have put a lot of effort into this post – well done on being such a great ambassador for your lovely city!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is a special place, that’s for sure -well worth the entrance fee.
      There is honestly so much to see and do in London and England as a whole that you could probably spend a year here and still not see everything (and probably be bankrupt as it’s not exactly cheap haha!).
      Thanks so much for reading and your lovely comments – I definitely spent hours on this one as I wanted to get it right and to help people planning a visit 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Meg, I really appreciate it 🙂 I literally spent hours on it, and collated a life time of experiences in London to put it together as best and thoughtfully as I could. I really hope it helps a few people to plan their trips and make the most out of their time in my wonderful capital city 🙂 Thanks for reading x

      Liked by 1 person

  8. These are great suggestions for the London newbie and the experienced London traveler. I’ve seen many of the thing you mentioned but still found several that I haven’t experienced. Witness to the Prosecution seems really fun. I’ll have to remember that for next time we’re up The Smoke.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much for your kind comments, I spent ages trying to compile something useful for everyone. If you get a chance, Witness to the Prosecution is well worth it, it’s a great evening out. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m so pleased it’s brought back some nice memories and perhaps inspired some new ones. There’s so much to see and do in London, I think even working there I only just manage to scratch the surface 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I can’t believe I missed this post when you first published it! It is abslutely fantastic! I went to London a couple of times but it was such a long time ago that I can only remember some tiny things, and my latest trip was hectic to say the least so I can’t wait to just go back and follow your itinerary! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to leightontravels Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s