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Are you planning 4 days in London? With so much to see and do, it can be a lot to think about when figuring out your plans. In this blog post, I’ll help you make the most out of your limited time in London including hidden gems, must-see attractions, and insider tips to help you have a stress free trip.

Before you start planning your weekend trip, be sure to check out my post on how to travel on a budget. It’s packed with practical tips and advice to help you save money when planning your trip.

So grab a cup of tea and let’s get started!

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What to do 4 days in London

Day 1: Exploring London’s Landmarks and Afternoon Tea

An elegant afternoon tea setup with an assortment of cakes, sandwiches, and scones on a three-tiered stand at the Diamond Jubilee at Fortnum and Mason.
Traditional and Savory Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason

London is known for its iconic landmarks, and no trip to the city would be complete without a visit to some of the most famous ones.

To start your day in London, consider purchasing a hop-on-hop-off Big Bus Tour online, which allows you to redeem it at any of the stops. This tour offers audio commentary and takes you to famous landmarks. When you’re near Big Ben, you can hop off and enjoy a Thames River cruise, which is included in your Big Bus Tour ticket or can be purchased separately.

One of my favorites of a trip to London is watching the Changing of the Guard ceremony, which happens every day in the summer and every other day in the winter. If you want a guided walking tour for the ceremony, this is also included in your Big Bus Tour ticket.

After your morning exploring the city’s landmarks, indulge in a quintessentially British experience: afternoon tea. Many hotels and restaurants in London offer this traditional pastime, where you’ll enjoy a pot of tea and a selection of finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and various pastries and cakes.

During our visits to London, we were fortunate enough to experience Afternoon Tea in the Diamond Jubilee room at Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly. It’s a grand and luxurious experience, perfect if you want to experience some English traditions.

Before you indulge in your British tea experience, it’s important to understand the tradition of Afternoon Tea and the difference between Afternoon Tea and High Tea. Most of the time what you’re looking for is Afternoon Tea which originated with the upper class and consists of small sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and sweet pastries, served with a pot of tea.

High Tea, on the other hand, is a more substantial meal that originated in the working class. It was typically served later in the day, around 5-6 pm, and included more filling dishes like meat pies, quiches, and other savory items. High Tea got its name from the fact that it was served on a higher table or counter, making it easier for workers to enjoy their meal while standing up.

Knowing the difference between Afternoon Tea and High Tea is important when planning your tea experience in London, as many places offer both options. It’s also important to note that there are different types of Afternoon Tea, such as Champagne Afternoon Tea and Cream Tea, which typically includes scones with clotted cream and jam but no sandwiches or pastries.

Day 2: Discovering Hidden Gems in London and Catching a Show

A smiling man standing on The Mall, lined with Union Jack flags, in London on a sunny day.
Watching the Changing of the Guard

Visiting London’s must see landmarks is not all there is to do. You’ll want to fit in some spots that don’t often make it into guidebooks but are loved all the same.

Neal’s Yard – is located in Covent Garden. It’s a colorful and vibrant courtyard and a great place to grab a coffee or lunch and some unique shops.

Leadenhall Market – is a market dating back to the 14th century. It’s a great place to admire the stunning Victorian architecture. There’s a variety of shops and restaurants, and it’s a popular filming location for movies and TV shows.

Kyoto Garden – in Holland Park is a Japanese-style garden and traditional Japanese architecture. It’s a great place to relax and take in the beauty of nature.

Barbican Conservatory – is a hidden tropical oasis located inside the Barbican Centre. Tickets are free and released one week in advance online.

After a long day of exploring the city, what better way to unwind than by catching a show in London’s iconic West End? You can find the best deal on tickets at the TKTS booth. Here, you can score discounted tickets for shows on the day of the performance.

Day 3: Taking a Relaxing Stroll in London’s Parks and Gardens

London is a city that is constantly buzzing with activity, but sometimes, you need to take a break from the hustle and bustle and enjoy some quiet time. Luckily, there are many beautiful parks and gardens where you can take a relaxing stroll and enjoy the fact that you’re in London!

Hyde Park – It’s one of the largest parks in London, and it’s the perfect place to go for a peaceful stroll or have a picnic. You can also take a boat ride on the Serpentine, the park’s central lake, or visit the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.

Regent’s Park – is known for its stunning rose gardens, which are in full bloom during the summer months, and its boating lake. You’ll find the London Zoo here as well.

Hampstead Heath – is one of the largest green spaces in London and offers stunning views of the city skyline.

Kew Gardens – is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to some of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world. You can also visit the iconic Palm House, which has the world’s rarest and most exotic plants.

Traditional British fish and chips served with a lemon wedge, tartar sauce, and mushy peas on a ceramic plate.
Traditional Fish and Chips

Day 4: Take a Day trip from London

If you are itching to venture out of London, why not try a day trip adventure?

Stonehenge – One of the most popular day trips from London is a visit to the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge.

Oxford – This historic university town is just an hour from London by train. It’s one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious universities, which produced famous alumni such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, and Stephen Hawking. There are many great pubs, restaurants, and shops as well.

Bath – Located in the southwest of England, Bath is famous for its Roman Baths and Georgian architecture. You can visit the Roman Baths and the Jane Austen Centre.

Brighton – This seaside town is just an hour away from London by train and offers a famous pier, quirky boutiques, and a laid-back vibe.

Cambridge – Another historic university town, Cambridge is an hour away from London by train. You can explore the famous colleges, go punting on the River Cam, and enjoy the beautiful parks and gardens.

Windsor – Home to Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, this is a short train ride from London. You can explore the castle, take a stroll along the Thames, and enjoy the quaint shops and cafes.

Historic gothic architecture of Oxford college buildings with a green lawn in the foreground."
Day trip to Oxford

Is it worth going to London for 4 days?

Whether or not 4 days is enough time to see London depends on your travel plans and interests. You’ll have enough time to see the famous landmarks, explore some of the hidden gems, sample the local cuisine, and even catch a show in the West End.

However, to make the most of your limited time, I recommend purchasing a Go City London pass. This pass offers several sightseeing options at a discounted price and can simplify your planning process.

And my favorite and most convenient way to see a new city is by purchasing a Big Bus tour ticket which includes a cruise on the River Thames. The bus and river tour tickets can also be included in a Go City London pass.

View of the London Eye behind the Millennium Dawn city cruise boat on the River Thames, with overcast skies.
Thames River cruise included in our tour passes

Should you spend more time in London or Paris?

The iconic Big Ben in London with a red double-decker bus displaying 'Not in Service' passing by in the foreground.
The Big Ben or rather Elizabeth Tower, Big Ben is actually the bell not the tower

Deciding between London and Paris can be a tough call as both cities have a lot to offer and are worth exploring for several days.

If you’re interested in history, theater, and a diverse cultural scene, London may be the better choice. If you’re looking for a romantic atmosphere, incredible food, and stunning architecture, Paris might be the way to go. While London has a lot to offer, its weather can be a downer so at least be prepared for that. Paris has more months of nicer weather.

Ultimately, the choice between London and Paris boils down to you and what you have your heart set on seeing during your visit. Personally, I find Londoners to be friendly and helpful when it comes to navigating the city, which can make for a more enjoyable travel experience. But the beauty of Paris is truly unlike anything else in the world. The Eiffel Tower is breathtaking and the city has an irresistible charm and elegance.

Regardless of which city you choose, I’m sure you’ll have an incredible adventure and create memories that will last a lifetime. So, there’s no need to worry – you really can’t go wrong with either choice! Check out my other posts on London and Paris to help you decide.

Tips For Visiting London Especially for First Timers

Pavement with 'LOOK RIGHT' painted in white, with tactile paving at a pedestrian crossing in London.

If you’re planning a trip to London for the first time, it’s natural to feel both excited and overwhelmed at the prospect of exploring this amazing city. Here are some tips to help the first time visitors to London make the most of their trip:

Plan ahead – London is a large and bustling city, so it’s important to plan in advance. Research the attractions you want to see and map out your route to make the most of your time. Purchasing a Go City, Big Bus Tour or Tiquets websites can help you plan your itinerary and maximize your stay.

Invest in a travel pass – London has an extensive public transportation system, including buses and the famous Tube. Consider buying an Oyster card or a travel pass to save money and make getting around the city easier.

Pack for the weather – London weather can be unpredictable. One day it’s sunny and then the next it’s cloudy and rainy. In the summer you are more likely to see the sun, but no matter what the forecast is, be prepared for rain, wind, and chilly temperatures. Pack layers that are easy to remove, a raincoat, and comfortable shoes.

Mind the gap – If you’re taking the Tube, be sure to pay attention to the “mind the gap” warning when boarding and exiting trains. The gaps between the platform and the train can be quite large.

Check out the culinary scene – London has a vibrant and diverse food scene catering to all tastes and budgets. You’ll definitely want to try traditional British fare like fish and chips or a Sunday roast at a local gastro pub but don’t overlook the international culinary scene. London’s Indian food scene, for example, is considered some of the best outside of India (Chutney Mary is a favorite). From trendy street food markets to high-end Michelin-starred restaurants, London has it all.

Take a walking tour – London is a great city for walking, and there are many guided walking tours available to help you explore the city’s neighborhoods and landmarks.

Let’s spend 4 days in London!

London is a city that offers endless possibilities for exploration and discovery, no matter how long you stay. From discovering hidden gems and catching a show in the West End to taking a relaxing stroll in one of the city’s beautiful parks, there’s no shortage of activities to fill your 4 days in London.

Be sure to take a look at my other post about a girls trip to London if you enjoyed this one!

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