2 days in London: Itinerary for your weekend + My Best Tips


How to spend 2 Days in London: The Best Itinerary + Where to Stay

You’re planning to spend 2 days in London and you’re looking for the best things to do?

You’re at the right place!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared for you this perfectly optimized 2-day itinerary in London that will allow you to discover the must-see attractions of the city.

In addition to the best places to visit and activities for each stage of your itinerary, I will also give you all my best tips and accommodation suggestions depending on your budget.

So, what are the best places to visit in London in 2 days? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

How to avoid waiting in line (and save a lot of time!) at London’s tourist attractions

With tens of thousands of visitors flocking to London every day, the UK capital is undeniably one of the world’s top tourist destinations.

All year-round, crowds of people come to see the city’s iconic landmarks such as the Tower of London or Buckingham Palace.

You’ll quickly notice the long waiting lines in front of the city’s must-see attractions as soon as they open, and they don’t get any shorter during the day!

However, there is a good news: you can avoid this!

Yes, you actually have 2 ways to save a lot of time (and money!) during your 2 days in London.

Here they are:

1. The London Pass

If you want to save time and money during your 2-day trip to London, you best option is to buy the London Pass before you go.

You can find city passes like this one for all major European cities such as Rome, Amsterdam and Barcelona for example. They are simply the best way to get into the most famous attractions without having to queue!

The London Pass is valid for between 1 and 10 days (depending on what you choose at the time of booking), so you can use it throughout your 48 hours in London.

As it’s a digital pass, you can simply download it to your smartphone and scan it at the entrance of each attraction or activities you will do during your stay.

The London Pass works by giving you tourist credits that are deducted whenever you enter a site: for example the 2-day London Pass comes with 325 credits which corresponds to €325 in entrance fees, even though the pass costs only €101 to buy!

With the 48h London Pass, you will get:

  • Entry to London’s 80 top attractions, including: the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey and many more.
  • A trip on the hop-on hop-off tourist bus, perfect to discover the city without tiring yourself out or if you’re visiting London with kids.
  • Discounts in some souvenir shops
  • A tourist guide to the city with opening times and details of how to get to the attractions during your weekend in London.

Buying your London City Pass is quick and easy – you just need to click on the green button below:

As an alternative, there’s also the London Go City Explorer Pass. For this one, you will need to purchase a pass based on the number of attractions you want to see. So you can buy a pass for 2, 3, 4, 5 or 7 attractions.

You can book it by clicking there!

2. Fast track tickets for London’s best places to visit and activities

The second solution to skip the line at London’s best places to visit is to buy fast track tickets for each attractions or activities individually, depending on what you want to see during your 2 days in London.

To make it easier for you, I’ve listed the main tickets a bit below. I will of course mention them again through the itinerary, when talking about each point of interest.

Simply click on the orange links or the green buttons throughout this guide to book your tickets.

2 Days in London: Must-See Attractions:

One Last Tip for a Perfect 2-Day Stay in London

If you already know your travel dates (or as soon as you will have them!), you should really book your accommodation.

As London is one of the most touristic cities in the world, the hotels offering the best value for money are often fully booked months in advance.

As a seasoned traveler, I can assure you that it’s always by planning as far in advance as possible that I’ve found the best hotels or apartments deals.

You agree that it would be a shame to somewhat ruin your stay in London by ending up in a not-so-great hotel that costed you a fortune, right? 😅

So your best bet is to take 5 minutes now to have a look at traveler’s favorite hotels in London.

And if you like one of the hotels you find, book it!

It’s fast, it’s easy and most accommodation offer free cancellation. That’s the best way to protect yourself from the inconvenience of finding nothing but mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.

To check the best hotels deals in London , simply click on the green button below:

After securing your dream stay, it’s time to continue reading this guide!

2 days in London: the ultimate itinerary

It’s now time to plan your 48h itinerary in London!

For this itinerary, I assume that you’ll be spending 2 full days in London and purchased the London Pass or fast track tickets in advance. That’s the best way to save time and money during your stay!

If you have any questions or need help planning your trip once you’ve read the article, just get in touch with me via the comments section.

So, what should you see during your 2 days in London?

Day 1 of this London itinerary – The historic centre

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Itinerary: 2 days in London – Day 1

Day 1 tourist attractions:

A. Big Ben
B. Westminster Abbey
C. Buckingham Palace
D. Trafalgar Square
E. London Eye
F. Tate Britain and/or Tate Modern

A. Big Ben

You can’t spend 2 days in London without seeing one of the city’s most iconic landmarks: the famous Big Ben.

Known around the world, this 106-metre tall clock tower forms part of the Palace of Westminster, perhaps better known as the Houses of Parliament.

Contrary to what most people think, Big Ben is not the name of the tower. It’s instead the name of the bell inside the tower, which chimes every hour.

The tower itself is called the Elizabeth Tower. There are 4 clocks at the top, one on each face, and each measuring 7 metres in diameter.

The Clock Tower is located on the banks of the Thames in the historic centre of London. Personally, I really liked the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben’s Neo-Gothic architecture!

Voyage Tips - Advice

Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to go to the top of the Elizabeth Tower during your 2 days in London, for 2 reasons:

  • You need to be a UK Resident
  • You need to submit an official request several months in advance.

But that’s ok, Big Ben looks amazing from the outside too!

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Big Ben, a must-see during your 2 days in London!

B. Westminster Abbey

Very close to Big Ben, you can visit Westminster Abbey, one of the city’s major historical landmarks.

Several British monarchs were crowned here and you can see some of their tombs inside the abbey (including that of Mary, Queen of Scots).

To learn more about the Abbey, you should really take the audio guide that’s available at the entrance. You can then choose one of the several itineraries suggested, including the short 30 minutes visit, the classic 1 hour tour or even a “fun version”, made with children in mind.

If you don’t want to queue for 2 hours to see Westminster Abbey, don’t forget to get the London Pass or fast track tickets by clicking on the green button below:

Voyage Tips - Advice

Ideally, you should get to the abbey for when it opens (9.30 am on weekdays, 9.00 am on Saturday – closed on Sundays).

You can also book a 2-hour guided tour by clicking here!

C. Buckingham Palace

Your 2-day itinerary in London will now take you to Buckingham Palace, the Queen of England’s residence.

The Palace is very close to Big Ben, and you should get there for around 10.30 in the morning if you want to see the Changing of the Guard.

This spectacular and solemn ceremony following the rhythm of the band, takes place every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

The parade starts at 11.00 am, but you should really get there a bit before to get a good spot: the event attracts a crowd of tourists every day!

The Changing of the Guard ceremony doesn’t take place in heavy rain. You can check on this online calendar whether it’s going ahead or has been cancelled.

Voyage Tips - Advice

Visiting inside Buckingham Palace is permitted only during 2 months of the year, generally August and September.

You really need to book in advance, as tickets are being sold out very quickly!

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Attend the changing of the guard during your weekend in London

D. Trafalgar Square/the National Gallery

Let’s continue your 2-day tour of London by heading to Trafalgar Square, one of the best known squares in London.

Trafalgar Square, with its 4 statues of black lions, is just a 15-20-minute walk from Buckingham Palace. To get there, you should walk through St James’s Park, a lovely green space with wonderful flowerbeds situated just opposite the Palace.

Once you get to Trafalgar Square, you can take a walk around, rest for a while, get a bite to eat and watch the street performers.

Following this short break, you should visit the National Gallery which overlooks the square. This museum of art is one of the most beautiful museums in London!

Founded in 1824, the gallery has gained a global reputation and houses and impressive collection of authentic European works, in particular paintings by Picasso, da Vinci, Van Gogh, Monet, Cézanne and Rembrandt.

And just like all national museums in England, entrance is free for everyone.

There are several options to see the museum with an audio guide, including a 1-hour tour designed with children in mind.

Opening times can be found on the official website.

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The National Gallery – London

E. London Eye

Following this cultural break, you should go back to the historical centre and head to the London Eye.

From Trafalgar Square, it’s a 10-15 minute walk or bus ride away.

You will have already seen the London Eye (the biggest Ferris wheel in Europe) during the morning, as it’s located close to Big Ben, on the opposite bank of the Thames.

Take a ride on this huge Ferris wheel and enjoy incredible panoramic views over the whole city from an altitude of 130 metres!

You must book your tickets to the London Eye in advance by clicking on the green button below:

To save money, you can also get this combined ticket: London Eye + Thames Cruise + Hop-on Hop-off Bus.

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Take a ride on the London Eye

F. Tate Britain and/or Tate Modern

After admiring London from the sky, you can end the day with a visit to 1 or 2 of the best Museums of the city, The Tate Britain and the Tate Modern Museums

As entry to the UK’s national museums is free of charge, it would be a shame to miss out during your 2 days London!

1) The Tate Britain, located on the north bank of the Thames, is dedicated to classical British art. In particular, you can see works by Turner, Hogarth and William Blake there.

2) The Tate Modern, dedicated to modern art, is situated on the south bank.

A river bus operates between the two museums every 30 minutes, so it’s quite easy to visit them one after the other without wasting any time!

The opening hours can be found on the official website.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you want to see London by night, you can swap the Tate museums with the ride on the London Eye.

Once you leave the National Gallery, head for the Thames and Embankment Pier. The river bus will take you to Millbank Pier in front of the entrance to the Tate Britain.

For the Tate Modern, alight at Bankside Pier.

Then take the river bus in the opposite direction to reach the London Eye.

Day 2 of your weekend in London: Things to see and do (option 1)

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2 Days in London: Day 2 itinerary

Day 2 tourist attractions:

A. St Paul’s Cathedral
B. The City
C. The Tower of London
D. Tower Bridge
E. The Shard

A. St Paul’s Paul’s Cathedral

For your second day in London, you will explore The City of London district.

London’s business district includes a few well known historical landmarks.

You will start the morning with a visit to St Paul’s Cathedral. This baroque cathedral was built in the 17th century to replace the old church that had been ravaged by fire in 1666.

It’s really a must see during your two-day itinerary of London!

During your visit to St Paul’s Cathedral, you will have to chance to see:

  • The magnificent nave
  • The mysterious Whispering Gallery and its astonishing acoustics
  • The Stone Gallery
  • The Golden Gallery
  • The crypt
  • Superb panoramic views over the area from the 85-metre high dome.

Entry to St Paul’s is included in the London Pass.

If you don’t have the pass, you can book your fast track tickets here:

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St Paul’s Cathedral, a great visit for your 48h in London!

B. The City of London

You should continue the morning by exploring the area on foot.

The City of London district, also known as London’s business district is the geographical centre of London.

Simply take a stroll, wander around, admire the building, the streets, and soak up the atmosphere of this financial district.

You shouldn’t miss the icon of this district, the atypical “Gherkin” skyscraper (some people like to call it “the suppository” instead!)

You should also visit the Sky Garden, the highest public garden in the city featuring an incredible 360° panoramic view. It’s free of charge to get to the top, but you must book your places in advance on this website.

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The Gherkin – The City – London

C. The Tower of London

In the City of London district, you can also find the famous Tower of London.

Located on the banks of the Thames, a 15-minute walk from The Gherkin, this historic fortress dates back to 1066 and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It has served as a royal residence, a prison, and a place of execution.

Nowadays, the Tower of London is a museum that focuses in particular on the macabre history of medieval London. For example, you can visit the former torture chamber and hear stories of execution told by guides in period costume.

Despite the theme, it’s a fun and unusual tour that kids really enjoy.

Inside the Tower of London, you can also see The Crown Jewels. Everyday, a crowd of curious visitors come here to admire them through the security glass.

Of course, don’t forget to get your fast track tickets in advance, to avoid the endless queue!

You can visit the Tower of London with your London Pass or you can buy your skip the line tickets by clicking here:

Voyage Tips - Advice

A guided visit is included in the price of the ticket. Tours leave from the main entrance every 30 minutes.

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The Tower of London

D. Tower Bridge

You will for sure have seen it on your way to the Tower of London: the Tower Bridge is right next to it, straddling the Thames.

The Tower Bridge is another iconic landmark of the city, a must-see of your 2-day itinerary in London that is both aesthetically pleasing and impressive-looking. You will recognize it at first glance thanks to its two Gothic towers and turquoise blue ironwork.

This bridge, built in the 19th century to connect the north and south banks of London, was the most sophisticated bascule bridge in the world at that time.

You can admire it from the bank, walk across it, and even go up one of the towers to visit the old engine rooms.

And on the highest level, the glass walkway will make you feel like you’re floating above the river!

Entry to Tower Bridge is included in the London Pass.

Voyage Tips - Advice

The charming small marina of St Katharine Docks is right at the foot of Tower Bridge.

If you have the time, you really should take look around here, and why not enjoy dinner in one of the restaurants with a direct view over the Thames.

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The Tower Bridge, in London

E. The Shard

You’re already almost at the end of your 2-day stay in London.

To end your city trip in London in style, you should go to the top of The Shard at over 300 metres high.

The shard, the tallest skyscraper in London, is only a 10-minute walk from Tower Bridge. The building, inaugurated in 2012 and opened to the public in 2013 is home to offices and luxury apartments. It’s also the highest viewing platform in western Europe!

Visitors can go up to the top to enjoy one of the most spectacular views over the city of London.

In addition to the view, you can also learn more about the history of London thanks to the multimedia displays installed there.

You need to book your tickets to the Shard here:

Day 2 in London: attractions to visit (option 2)

There are so many things to see in London that I am going to to suggest you a 2nd option for the second day.

2 days in London is quite short, so you’ll have to choose what you wanna visit and pick one of these 2 itineraries depending on your preferences.

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Itinerary: 2 days in London – Option 2

Day 2 tourist attractions:

A. Notting Hill
B. The Natural History Museum
C. Hyde Park
D. Oxford Street
E. Soho/Piccadilly Circus/Covent Garden

A. Notting Hill

Notting Hill is the fashionable district you should visit in west London.

This quiet and elegant area is perfect for a romantic stroll and to spend a part of the morning exploring Portobello Road Market.

If you want to be certain you don’t miss anything, you should book this guided tour:

notting hill
Notting hill

B. The Natural History Museum

London’s Natural History Museum is one of the city’s most beautiful and largest museums. It’s also the most visited natural history museum in Europe!

It’s so big and full of wonders that you can’t see it all in one visit, unless you spend the whole day there.

In my opinion, you should spend a maximum of 2 hours at the museum, so you have enough time left for the rest of the itinerary.

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Natural History Museum, a great family visit in London

C. Hyde Park

Hyde Park is London’s biggest green space and one of the most beautiful city parks in the world, so why not enjoy a picnic and/or a walk in the fresh air?

In winter, it’s home to the Christmas Market and the Winter Wonderland fair.

In summer, several concerts and festivals are held here.

D. Oxford Street

The north-east exit of Hyde Park marks the start of Oxford Street, London’s main shopping street and the perfect place to do a bit of shopping and window-shopping!

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Oxford street, London

E. Soho/Piccadilly Circus/Covent Garden

Soho is the most vibrant area of London and the perfect place for partying.

It’s home to an impressive concentration of pubs, theatres, restaurants, cinemas and clubs.

And it’s in Soho that you can attend the best musicals in London, but tickets are in big demand so don’t forget to book your tickets in advance:

As you stroll through Soho at night, you will inevitably come across Piccadilly Circus and its huge advertising screens.

You will also see Covent Garden, another lively area of London that attracts many tourists.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you’re looking for an original experience in Soho, you really should opt for the Harry Potter-themed guided tour.

Departing from Soho, your guide will take you to the cult locations from the films including Diagon Alley, Gringotts, platform 9 3/4, Knockturn Alley and much more besides. It’s a really good tour and the guide is amazing!

To book your Harry Potter guided tour, simply click on the button below:

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Soho district, in London

Where to stay in London

So there you are, you have everything you need to get the best out of your 2 days in London!

There’s just one last thing to address: where to stay in London?

To be honest, it’s really not easy to find budget accommodation in London. As you’d expect in a city that attracts so many tourists, the hotels have no hesitation in charging high prices, especially the ones in central London.

As good deals vanish pretty quickly, you should book your accommodation in London as early as possible to get the best prices.

Here’s my selection of the best hotels for your 2 days in London:

  • The Chamberlain: Close to Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and the banks of the Thames. This British-style hotel offers cosy, comfortable double rooms from 120€ per night, breakfast 12€. Strong points: a smartphone is made available, excellent locations, the welcoming staff and the comfortable bed linen. It’s my favourite for its excellent value for money!
  • Hotel Indigo London – Kensington: This hotel is in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and very close to a tube station. Well-equipped, quiet and warm double room from 200€, breakfast from 19€. Strong points: the quiet area, cosy ambience cosy, the smiling and efficient staff.
  • Haymarket Hotel, Firmdale Hotels: 5* hotel close to London’s “theatreland”, minutes on foot from St James Park and 15 minutes from Buckingham Palace. Really comfortable, spacious and quiet double room from 390€ per night, breakfast 20€. Strong points: perfect location, charming staff and excellent bed linen. The best choice for a romantic stay in London!
  • The Soho Hotel, Firmdale Hotels: A luxury hotel right in the heart of London, 5 minutes from Oxford Street and Soho, and just 10 minutes from Piccadilly Circus. Really spacious designer and magnificently decorated double room from 500€ per night, breakfast 29€. Strong points: the perfect geographical location, magnificent bedrooms, the sumptuous breakfast. The best hotel in London for a luxury stay!

If you’d prefer a London hotel that isn’t too expensive, you should check out the “Z Hotel” chain. You can find them in lots of different areas of London, and prices start of 60€ per night. They’re the best bet for budget accommodation in London.

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Piccadilly Circus by night

London in 2 days with kids

If you’re going to visit London in 2 days with your family, here are a few suggestions to make the most of your stay:

  • Spend a bit less time in the museums and more in the parks instead (if the weather permits!). But also remember that most of London’s museums offer fun tours and activities for kids.
  • The Tower of London is one of the attractions kids love the most!
  • The Natural History Museum in London will amaze them (although a 2-hour visit might be a bit too long for very young children).
  • Get tickets for a musical in Soho for a memorable family evening.
  • Take the famous red double-decker buses to get around: kids love them. You need to book the double-decker hop-on hop-off bus tour by clicking here!
Voyage Tips - Advice

The Tate Britain and Tate Modern museum visits on the first day may not be very interesting for younger children.

Instead, you should maybe go to Madame Tussauds wax museum or take a walk in Regent’s Park, for example.

Other places to visit during your 2 days in London

If you’ve done everything I am talking about in this itinerary for 2 days in London and still have time to explore more, you should read my guide of London.

It’s packed with ideas for an amazing two-day trip to London!

You can read it here: The 20 Best Things to do in London

It might even make you want to stay longer in London, so why not spend 3 or 4 days in the city?

Map of your 2-day itinerary in London

To help you visualize your daily itineraries during your 2 days in London, I have created this map with all the places to visit day by day. You can view the map’s legend by clicking on the top left button, the one with a little arrow.

You can thus see the suggested itineraries for each day.

2 days in London: flight prices

As always, you should book your plane tickets as early as possible to get the best prices.

To check the rates and schedules for flights to London, you can use our flight comparator, in partnership with Skyscanner:

You need help to plan your 2-day trip to London? Don’t hesitate to ask me in the comment section located below!

Book your trip now and save money!

You’re traveling to England? These articles will help you !

Discover all my articles about London: All my articles to help you plan your trip to England are listed there.

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Best places to visit in London in 2 days
Best places to visit in London in 2 days

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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