London Trip Itinerary: An Overly Ambitious Bucket List for 6 Days in London
The biggest problem with the United Kingdom’s capital, is there’s soooo much to see and do. Pretty much everyone has a London bucket list of some description, although they vary by size and taste.
I lived in the city for two years and feel like I barely scratched the surface of what London has to offer. My bucket list remains miles long. What does that say about the place? (Or more likely, my can-do attitude which can be seriously lacking some days).
Regardless, here is a London trip itinerary, which covers almost a week spent in the city.
This list is pretty ambitious, but you should be able to tick off most of these activities within a week, or less if you really hustle. And a week really is a good length of time to spend in the city… you simply won’t be doing it justice, otherwise.
And remember, it isn’t only London that’s full of neat things to do! Here are some other hidden gems around the UK.
TIP: Consider grabbing a London pass, which will give you free entry to more than 30 attractions. Depending on what activities you plan on doing, this could save you a heck-tonne of cash. Passes are available for one, to three days.
DAY ONE OPTIONS
Your first day should be all about getting acquainted with the city. I am of the opinion that this is best done either from the air, or by water.
Lucky, London has both options available.
Do a Cruise Down the River Thames
This has to be one of the nicest ways to see London, particularly if you luck out and get a day with brilliant sunshine.
I… didn’t. I took this particularly cruise during a thunderstorm. I got severely rained upon. Yet, on the upside, I had the whole upper deck to myself and walked away with some pretty amazing photographs of the deluge.
There are four piers from which to embark upon the boat. Westminster, London Eye, Tower and Greenwich pier.
I highly recommend starting at Greenwich. It’s a nice place in itself to explore (more on that later) and far less people get on the boat here than at the other piers.
The City Cruises boats are also the best to catch. There’s a catamaran which traverses the length of the Thames, but it’s more for commuters – plus it doesn’t have an outside top deck to sit upon.
Ticket prices start at £10.25. Click here for ticket prices and availability.
Check out London from Above
Or, you can alternatively ogle this immense city from a bird’s-eye view.
You have a few options for this:
London’s tallest and pointiest building is located in the city’s south, right near Tower Bridge. Visitors can travel up to the 72nd floor and take in a 360 degree view of the city, which is best done at either sunrise or sunset for fairly obvious reasons.
You’re better off booking tickets in advance, online. It’ll save you around six quid, over the at-the-door prices.
Tip: You can take in this view for free, if you head to Aqua Shard, the bar on the 31st floor. Well, almost for free as I suppose you have to buy an exorbitantly priced drink. Still. Better than naught.
Or alternatively – why not try a yoga class in The Shard?
If you’re on a bit of budget or simply don’t like spending money, the nearby Sky Garden located in the building known colloquially as the “Walkie Talkie” is gloriously free. Yep. Zero pounds for entry. Pretty neat, huh?
On the upside, you can hang out there as long as you like and marvel at the indoor gardens to boot.
I rep this activity so hard, mostly because I find the Walkie Talkie hideously ugly. It’s nice to gaze upon the city of London, without having to look at its ugly mug.
Duck and Waffle
For something a little different, head to Duck and Waffle – a website with both an interesting menu and delightful views.
You can order the eponymous duck and waffle dish, or many other strange food items off the menu. I highly recommend the pig’s ears.
The best thing about Duck and Waffle is that you can go essentially any time of the day or night, as it’s open 24/7. I went at around 11:00pm at night with a couple of pals and it was loads of fun.
Visit the Tate Modern
You can’t go to London and not take advantage of its many wonderful and more importantly FREE museums and gallery.
The Tate Modern is one of the best, or so is the actual Tate as well. It’s hard to pick a favourite, but I personally like the area the Tate Modern is in better.
Tip: Try to time your visit for late at night, if you’re in the city on a Friday or Saturday. The gallery closes at ten.
DAY TWO OPTIONS
So you’ve seen the city itself from multiple angles – now it’s time to dive into London’s rich and diverse history!
Visit the Tower of London
Let’s start by heading to the Tower of London, which has been knocking about since the 11th century. You can learn a bit about its past as a prison, fortress and palace, as well as check out the Crown Jewels for yourself.
Entry tickets are priced at £26.80. Skip the line by pre-booking tickets online.
Tower Bridge is funnily enough only a stone’s throw away from the Tower of London, so you may as well head there next.
Just walking across the bridge itself is nice, but you can also check out the exhibit which tells of its history and gaze upon London from the tower’s top.
St Paul’s Cathedral
Stroll alongside the Thames until you reach St Paul’s Cathedral.
The original structure burnt to the ground during the Great Fire of London in 1666, but the replacement building is pretty darn nice.
Entry to the cathedral is around £16. Buy tickets online here.
Natural History Museum
From here, hop on the Tube and head to the Natural History Museum.
This is probably my favourite museum (besides the Horniman in south London), because I have a weird obsession with taxidermy.
As with all of the big museums in London, entry is FREE.
If you’re there in the wintertime, you can skate on the ice rink that’s set up outside. That’s actually more fun than the museum, believe it or not.
See a West End Show
And why not end the night with a West End Show? It’s touristy AF, but hey – that’s for a reason.
Some of my favourite seemingly-never-ending shows include The Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia and Les Misérables.
I also flipping loved Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, although it’s quite difficult to get tickets to. There is the Friday Forty, where 40 tickets are released at 1pm on Fridays at a discounted price. Try your luck – you never know.
Tip: You can buy heavily discounted tickets to most shows either on the day, or 30 days in advance using Today Tix.
DAY THREE OPTIONS
I dunno about you, but I reckon it’s time for a day trip. Let’s get out of the heart of the city and head west, to see the delightful village of Richmond.
Day Trip to Richmond
And what should we do once we get there? Well, there are a few options.
Check out the park
Richmond Park is the largest of all the royal parks, so big that it’s hard to imagine that you’re still fairly close to the city.
If you time it right, you might even see deer hopping around, which makes for a pretty special experience.
Have lunch at a pub
Richmond is also home to some pretty cosy and very British-esque pubs. Grab some grub or have a pint and soak up the local ambience.
Visit Hampton Court Palace
If you like palaces, Richmond is home to one of the best – Hampton Court.
Known for housing the infamous Henry VIII, you can wander around the gardens, check out the massive maze and view the works in the Cumberland Art Gallery.
Check out admission prices and availability here.
DAY FOUR OPTIONS
Back in the city for day four, it’s time to brave the part that’s most popular with tourists – Westminster.
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
When you think of London, one of the icons that readily comes to mind is probably the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament, known colloquially as Big Ben.
Except that’s not entirely correct – Big Ben is actually the name of the bell encased in Elizabeth Tower.
You can tour the Houses of Parliament, alongside Churchill’s secret war rooms.
Check out prices and availability here.
From there, you can go on to view magnificent Westminster Abbey.
The Abbey is beautiful inside and out, but at least on the inside you get a nice, up close look at the gorgeous stained glass windows.
Onto more icons of London! Buck’s Palace is worth an ogle once – if you’re lucky you might be able to spot one of the royals through the gates.
The London Eye
I feel rather ambivalent about the London Eye – yeah, it offers a good view, but I think you get more value for money via the Shard or Sky Garden.
However, I suppose it’s worth doing once. Be sure to book online in advance, as the line to buy a ticket on the day is generally really upsetting.
This seems like an awfully British thing to do, although it’s something that’s more for tourists (you have no idea how many Brits I’ve met who’ve never had afternoon tea).
However, it is generally a little bit fancy and a lot of fun.
I’m a little bit obsessed with the practice of afternoon tea and so have tried out several across the city – you can read a review of my experiences here.
DAY FIVE OPTIONS
With the icons of London behind you, it’s time to enjoy a more alternative side to the city, whilst learning some of the city’s darker history.
Continuing to take advantage of these free museum admissions, let’s head to the gorgeous British Museum.
Make sure you get there early, as the crowds can be phenomenally painful to get through. I stood near the Rosetta Stone, yet I can’t actually say I really saw it over the throngs of people.
London is home to some truly beautiful cemetery’s and Highgate might be one of the best.
The graveyard is divided into two sections – the East and the West.
You can stroll around the East, but the West can only be seen as part of a guided tour, which enable you to stroll up the Egyptian Avenue, through a pair of giant obelisks to the Circle of Lebanon cedar tree, which is older than the cemetery itself.
The West tour is priced at £12. You can pay £8 to tour the East, or simply pay the £4 entry fee (if you book a tour in the West side, the East entry is included in the ticket price).
Murder Mile Walk
Jack the Ripper tours are quite popular in London, but there are actually plenty of other psychotic killers to learn about. One limit yourself to just the one?!
The Murder Mile Walk takes you through the streets of Soho, covering some of the area’s most infamous murder cases, such as the Soho Strangler and the Kindly Killer Dennis Nilsen (and Jack the Ripper still gets a mention!).
A place on the tour will set you back £15.
DAY SIX OPTIONS
Your last day in London will take you to one of my favourite corners of the city – beautiful Greenwich.
Let’s start with the Cutty Sark, just a casual giant ship sitting on land, by water’s edge.
The ship has been converted into a museum and you can climb aboard to explore its deck.
Tickets cost £13.50. Click here for availbility.
The Royal Observatory and Prime Meridian
From there, head up the path to the Royal Observatory where you can see the world-famous meridian line in the flesh. You can then line up to straddle the line, effectively standing where East meets West.
The Line’s path is determined by the location of an historic telescope, the Airy Transit Circle, which ensconced at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.
Peter Harrison Planetarium
From there, onto one of my favourite sights – the Planetarium.
It’s mega cool due to the screening of shows which take you on a tour of the stars, galaxies and universe. Ideal for any astronomy nutter, like myself.
National Maritime Museum
Greenwich is very nautically themed and it is here that you can check out the National Maritime Museum to learn about Britain’s history on the seven seas.
Entry is… you guessed it. FREE!
Stroll around the shops
It helps that the town centre of Greenwich is quite gorgeous. There are plenty of boutique shops to poke around in and often markets to explore.
I considered it sacrilegious to journey out to this corner of London without stopping for a pie with a side of jellied eels at Goddard’s. Oh man, so good.
Where to Stay
When I’m in London, I generally stay at Grange City Hotel, which is right near Tower Bridge.
If your budget is slightly less, try Premier Inn Tower Bridge or the Bermondsey Square Hotel, which are in the same area and achieve a nice balance of being near famous landmarks and areas that are popular with locals.
Click here to compare prices of accommodation in London.
It sounds like a lot, but believe me – this itinerary is barely scratching the surface of what London has to offer.
However, I believe it’s a good introduction, guaranteeing you see most of the best known sights, with a few other delights thrown in for funsies.
Coming soon – a list of alternative things to do in the UK’s capital. In the meantime, check out these articles:
19 Awesome Things to Do in South East London
How to Avoid Looking Like a Tourist in London
Taking a Cruise Down the River Thames
What NOT to Do When Visiting the United Kingdom
11 Weirdly Fun Ideas for Date Night in London
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