A long weekend in London: what to visit

Londra vista del Big Ben e bus rosso

London is more accessible than you might think. A weekend will never be enough to visit the British capital, vast and full of museums and monuments, but a long weekend in London will allow you to discover all the emblematic places without haste.

If you plan to visit London for three days and you are afraid of forgetting some unmissable places or monuments, keep reading this article: you will find, day by day, the itinerary to follow with all the monuments, museums and parks to see.

Day 1: Westminster, Buckingham Palace and the parks

It is Friday morning and you just arrived at Victoria train station, one of the most central stations in the capital. Here starts your long weekend in London. Before venturing to the first stop, follow the signs inside the station until you get to the Victoria underground station. Here you can request the Visitor Oyster Card, a rechargeable and very practical card to quickly access the London Underground.

Now that you are in possession of the card you can go to the first stop, the area of Westminster. Here you will find some of the most famous monuments in the city: the House of Parliament (home of the English parliament), Big Ben (one of the most famous clocks in the world), Westminster Abbey and Westminster Bridge. Visiting the abbey is not free, but buying the London Pass online before departure you can access without having to buy a ticket on the spot.

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Cross the bridge to get to the other side of the river. On your left is the famous London Eye, the big London wheel. The London Pass includes also the access to the London Eye. The ride lasts thirty minutes and plus a little queue, you will be moving to the next stage in about 1 hour.

Once the tour is complete, return to Westminster and head west to the Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s residence. The famous palace is surrounded by beautiful green spaces, including St. James Park and Green Park, perfect for resting and having some food. Buckingham Palace is also famous for the change of guard ceremony, an event that happens every day at 11:30 in the morning.

Londra Buckingham Palace

Traveling north through Green Park you will arrive to Piccadilly and from here to the famous Piccadilly Circus, a crossroads famous for its large and bright advertising screens.

You are very close to Trafalgar Square, which you can easily reach on foot or by taking the Bakerloo underground. Behind Horatio Nelson, whose statue is located in the center of the square, you will find the National Gallery Museum, an art museum founded in 1824 hosting thousands of works made since the 17th century. Entry is free and I recommend that you spend a couple of hours discovering this place.

An article entirely dedicated to London, its activities and its history

Once dinner is over, before returning to your hotel, it is worth visiting Leicester Square, a London square famous for cinemas: this is where the premières take place. Right next to the square you will find Chinatown, the Chinese district of London, especially beautiful at night. You can then return to Leicester Square, where you will take the underground to go to the hotel.

Day 2: St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London and Soho

Let’s start the second day of the weekend in London with a dip in history: we are in St. Paul’s Cathedral, an Anglican cathedral completed in 1711. I highly recommend you to visit it: the London Pass allows you to enter for free and to avoid the queues. Once the visit is over, head south and cross the Millennium Bridge across the Thames. You are now in front of the Tate Modern, a museum of contemporary art built inside an old power station. Entrance is free and I recommend to spend a couple of hours to visit the museum.

Move to east and you will find the Shakespeare’s Globe: this is the reconstruction of the theater where the company of Shakespeare played, destroyed by a fire in 1613. The cost of the visit, even in this case, is included in the London Pass. Continuing east you will reach the Borough Market, one of the most famous markets in the world, with a huge choice of national and international products. This place is ideal to visit during lunchtime.

It’s time to continue your walk along the river towards east: a few steps from the market you will notice the London Bridge, and continuing along the Thames for another ten minutes on foot you will reach the famous Tower Bridge; the movable bridge is one of the main symbols of London and connects 2 boroughs, Southwark and Tower Hamlets.

Londra Tower Bridge

Cross the river to reach the Tower of London, built starting in 1066. The tower, considered a World Heritage Site, can be visited today (it is included in the London Pass).

For dinner I suggest visit Soho, a very busy neighborhood day and night. To go to Soho from the Tower of London, take the District Line or Circle Line until Tower Hill stop and change at Embankment Station to take the Bakerloo Line to Piccadilly Circus, then continue on foot north. Alternatively, you can walk west from the tower via the City, London’s business district.

Day three: Museums and shopping

It is the last day of your weekend in London, and we want to dedicate it to culture and shopping before the imminent departure. The South Kensington neighborhood, located to the west, is perfect to start the day. It houses three famous museums: the National History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Like so many other museums in England, they are free to enter. Although it is not possible to visit all three museums in detail, I strongly invite you to dedicate the morning to this neighborhood full of history and culture.

London Victoria Albert Museum

Spend the afternoon doing some shopping, end the weekend by treating yourself and buying souvenirs before leaving the beautiful city of London.

From South Kensington underground station, take the Circle Line or District Line and change at Victoria Station to take the Victoria Line to Oxford Circus. Here you will find yourself exactly at the intersection of Oxford Street and Regent Street, the two great London shopping streets. Again, I invite you to spend the whole afternoon in this area full of shops and stores, always crowded and full of life. If you have time to dine before departure, the area is full not only of fast food restaurants, but also of pubs and restaurants hidden in the side streets between Oxford and Regent Street.

Have you been to London before? What did you like most? Write a comment below!

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