Today I want to bring you my itinerary for 5 days in London. This is a great amount of time to see the highlights of the city, get an overview of what London has to offer visitors, and take a day trip. From the main attractions to the spots locals love, London has a lot to entertain you. Read on for the official A Lady in London itinerary.

5 Days in London

5 Days in London

One of the best things about being a professional travel blogger is that I get to help people plan their trips. Whether it’s through my blog posts or my travel planning services, I strive to ensure my readers and followers have a great experience in London or abroad.

People often ask me how to spend 5 days in London, so today I want to share my itinerary. From sightseeing to local areas and beloved places to eat, drink, and shop, it has a range of things to do in the city.

I’ve created a number of London itineraries, and I hope you’ll find this one as helpful as you’ve found the rest. You can also take a look at my 1-day, 2-day, 3-day, 4-day, 6-day, 7-day, 8-day, and 10-day itineraries for additional inspiration.

Big Ben

I’ve even created itineraries for 36 hours, 48 hours, and a weekend in London.

The good news is that there’s no right or wrong way to spend your time in the UK capital. You can adjust my 5-day London itinerary to fit your interests and travel style. Whatever you do, you’ll get a good overview of what the UK capital has to offer.

You can use my London travel guide and my list of 51 things to do in London in a year to fill in any gaps and find seasonal events and activities going on when you’ll be visiting as well.

Covent Garden Piazza

Where to Stay in London

When it comes to where to stay in London, you have plenty of choice. Whether you want to book a hotel or rent a flat, the city has a wide range of places for every taste, style, and budget.

Given how big London is and how widespread the attractions are, choosing somewhere in or near the city center is a good idea. You can check out my blog posts about the best area to stay in London, the best hotels for your style, and quirky hotels for ideas.

You can also find deals and book accommodation in London here. With so many places to choose from, you’re bound to find somewhere you love.

Bloomsbury Hotel

How to Pack for 5 Days in London

Once you’ve decided when to visit the city, you have to pack for London. Depending what time of year you visit, that will mean different things.

I’ve written packing lists for spring, summer, autumn, and winter that can help you decide what to wear in London. I’ve even published a general list of things to bring all year.

If you’re flying to the city, you can take a look at my long-haul packing list and my guide to how to pack with just a carry-on for more help (I was interviewed by The New York Times about the latter).

Girl in Covent Garden

Day 1 in London

Once here, you can start the first of your 5 days in London with good coffee and food. Whether you choose one of the best coffee shops in London or one of the top places for breakfast, you’ll set yourself up well for the day.

Once you’ve taken care of your appetite, you’ll be ready for a fun day of exploring the UK capital. My favorite place to kick off a trip to London is Westminster.

Westminster Abbey and Big Ben

I recommend beginning with Buckingham Palace. This famous royal residence in London draws visitors from all over the world, and it’s a must on any first-time London itinerary.

If you want to, you can time your visit to coincide with the formal Changing the Guard ceremony (it happens several days a week). If not, you can admire the monarch’s London home from outside the big gates.

If your visit happens to take place during the annual seasonal opening, you can also take a tour of Buckingham Palace. You’ll be able to walk through the state rooms, explore the gardens, and see the special exhibition. You can book tickets here.

Buckingham Palace is a London Landmark

After visiting the palace you can meander through St James’s Park and out to Horse Guards Parade and Whitehall.

From there it’s a short walk to Parliament Square in Westminster. This place is home to some of the city’s most important landmarks, including Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower).

You’ll also see Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. If you have time, you can tour the abbey and parliament. You can book tickets here.

Houses of Parliament, London

If you want to, you can take my free self-guided Westminster walk to discover the area beyond the obvious attractions. The route will show you the quiet lanes and hidden spaces locals love.

When you’re done exploring Westminster, you can walk across the Thames and explore the South Bank. This is a great spot to walk around, browse the markets, and soak up the scene along the waterfront.

You can also ride the London Eye while you’re here. It has some of the best views in the city. You can book tickets here (you’ll need to book well in advance, as it sells out).

London Eye

The South Bank is famous for its street performers, festivals, pop-ups, food trucks, and other entertainment, so it’s a good idea to take some time to wander around and see what’s on while you’re visiting.

When you’re done, you can walk along the river to Tate Modern and Borough Market. They’re two more of the city’s most beloved landmarks.

Tate Modern is a world-class art museum. It offers free entry, so it’s easy to go inside for as much (or as little) time as you want to. There are great views from the upper floors, too.

View from Tate Modern

Borough Market is just the spot to find culinary inspiration and get something to eat for lunch. It’s fun to wander around and soak up the colors and scents of the stalls while you browse.

After lunch, get on the tube and ride it to Covent Garden. When you arrive, you can walk through the famous piazza to see what’s on in the markets and shops.

Afterwards you can explore the area around Neal’s Yard, Seven Dials, Mercer Walk and St Martin’s Courtyard. There are lots of shops to duck into and bright colors to inspire the senses here.

Neal's Yard, London

While you’re in the area, you can make your way through Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, and Piccadilly Circus to get to Regent Street and Piccadilly. There’s great shopping here, including famous department stores like Fortnum & Mason.

When evening comes, there are lots of places you can find dinner in Soho, Covent Garden, or Mayfair. These areas have a range of options for eating. You can see my recommendations for restaurants in London and pubs if you need help finding a place to go.

Mayfair pub

After dinner you can take an open-top bus tour to get more of an overview of London. It’s an easy way to discover what the UK capital has to offer in a short amount of time. You can book tickets here.

Day 2 in London

You can start the second morning of your itinerary for 5 days in London with breakfast or coffee in Bloomsbury. From Lamb’s Conduit Street to Store Street, there are good local spots here.

After eating you can walk over to the British Museum. This behemoth is a treasure trove of antiquities from all across the globe, and morning is an ideal time to visit because there can be fewer crowds.

British Museum, Bloomsbury, London

The British Museum is cavernous enough to take up a whole day of sightseeing in London, so make sure to stick to the rooms you’re most interested in.

There’s free entry, though, so you can stay for as long as you like. The Rosetta Stone and Egyptian rooms are musts for most first-time visitors.

When you’re done seeing the parts of the collection you’re excited about, you can make your way over to the museum’s famous Great Court for a light lunch in the cafe or restaurant.

British Museum

Alternatively, Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia has fun places to eat. It’s in easy walking distance of the British Museum. In fact, it’s one of the best places to eat near London’s top attractions.

Whatever you do for lunch, you can continue the second of your 5 days in London by hopping on the tube and taking it to South Kensington. You have two choices here: head to a museum or go shopping.

If you choose the former, there are three major museums here. I recommend choosing one. They all offer free entry, so you can stay for as little or as long as you want to.

Natural History Museum in London

I love the V&A for its world-class art and design (not to mention its amazing cafe), the Natural History Museum for its stunning architecture and larger-than-life displays, and the Science Museum for its stimulating exhibits.

If you don’t want to go to a museum, there’s lots of great shopping in and around South Kensington. You can check out the boutiques on Fulham Road and Brompton Road, or walk down to the King’s Road in Chelsea.

You can also go to famous department stores like Harrods and Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge while you’re here. Harrods Food Halls are amazing.


You can even walk down Sloane Street and head over to Belgravia if you have time. Elizabeth Street is famous for its floral facades, and it’s worth a special trip to see them.

After going shopping or exploring a museum, head up to Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. The formal garden by Kensington Palace is one of my favorite green spaces in the city, and with 5 days in London, walking through its vine arches is a must.

The Serpentine water feature in Hyde Park is always fun to wander around, and the Diana Memorial Fountain is worth seeing, too.

Hyde Park Bridge, London

When you get to Hyde Park Corner, you’ll likely be ready to rest your legs. There’s no better way to do it than by settling in for afternoon tea.

There are lots of great offerings near Hyde Park, so you’ll have no problem finding one that appeals (just make sure to book well in advance).

From The Dorchester to The Lanesborough, The Berkeley to the Mandarin Oriental, the Jumeirah Carlton Tower to Claridge’s, The Halkin to The Goring, The Ritz, Brown’s, and Fortnum & Mason, this part of London has a lot of options for afternoon tea.

Browns Hotel Afternoon Tea Table

When evening comes, continue your 5-day London itinerary by walking or taking the tube to the West End to see a show. There are plenty of plays, musicals, and comedy acts you can get tickets for on any given night in London.

The city has a world-class theater scene, so whether you’re up for going to a musical in Soho or a drama in Covent Garden, there’s always something exciting on.

If you’re hungry after the show, you can take advantage of the late opening hours of many of the restaurants in the West End.

Soho, London at night

If you’re in the mood for nightlife, there’s no shortage of places you can find it in this part of London. My favorite spot is Cahoots, a travel-themed bar in Kingly Court.

Other fun places include Ronnie Scott’s jazz club, the pubs dotted throughout the West End, and bars like Mr Fogg’s Tavern in Covent Garden.

Day 3 in London

On the third of your 5 days in London, I recommend taking a day trip. There are a lot of places around the UK capital that are worth a special visit, and they’re easy to get to by train, car, or on a guided tour.

Broadway Tower, Cotswolds

If you’re a fan of the English countryside, I recommend taking a day trip to the Cotswolds. You can go independently with or without a car, or on a guided day tour. You can see options and book a tour here.

There’s no shortage of charming towns and villages in the Cotswolds to visit. My favorites include Painswick, Bibury, Upper Slaughter, and Castle Combe.

If the seaside is your thing, Brighton, Hastings, and Deal are my top picks. They all have great beaches and lots of shops and restaurants to enjoy. They’re easy day trips from London by train, too.

Brighton Beach View

If you want to see famous university cities, look no further than Oxford and Cambridge. These are some of the most popular places to go on a day out from London.

And if cathedral cities are your thing, my top picks are Canterbury in Kent, Norwich in Norfolk, York in Yorkshire, St Albans in Hertfordshire, and Ely in Cambridgeshire. They all have amazing churches and great city centers.

If you’re into history, Winchester, Bath, Canterbury and Dover, Lewes, and Amersham are great. Amersham is so close you can even take the tube to get there.

Canterbury Cathedral, England

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can take a day trip to Paris from London. There are other day trips from London to Europe that make for exciting adventures, too. From Brussels to Lille and Amsterdam, you have plenty of options.

If you’re looking for seasonal trips, you can check out my guides to spring, summer, autumn, and winter day trips from London for ideas.

Day 4 in London

Start the next morning of your 5-day London itinerary at the Tower of London. Dating back to the 11th century, this place awes visitors with its history.

Tower of London

Getting here early will allow you to avoid the big crowds later in the day. I recommend taking a guided tour with an early-access ticket so you can meet a Beefeater and see the Crown Jewels without the huge lines.

You’ll also be able to tour the White Tower and visit the other heritage landmarks within the walls. You can book your tickets here.

Tower Bridge, London

After touring the Tower of London, you can go for a light lunch at a place like White Mulberries in St Katharine Docks. This unique marina by Tower Bridge is a fun place to enjoy a quick meal on a big day of sightseeing.

After lunch it’s a short walk over to Tower Bridge. This inspiring feat of Victorian engineering is one of the most eye-catching London landmarks. You can walk across it, then head up to the top on a self-guided tour if you want to. You can book tickets here.

When you leave Tower Bridge, you can walk over to the City of London. There’s lots to see in this part of the UK capital.

St Pauls Cathedral, London

From the towering dome of St Paul’s Cathedral to contemporary viewing platforms like the Sky Garden and Horizon 22, this part of the UK capital contains a lot of architectural variety.

My self-guided walk in the City of London can help if you want to hit the highlights. It will show you everything from the major landmarks to the hidden lanes.

From the City you can walk or take a bus or the tube to Spitalfields. You can browse the stalls at Old Spitalfields Market, wander down Brick Lane, and check out what’s on around the Old Truman Brewery.

Old Spitalfields Market

After shopping and exploring, you can walk up to Shoreditch for the evening. Here you’ll be able to take in the East End’s trendy hub.

From Shoreditch High Street and Great Eastern Street to Redchurch Street and Rivington Street, there’s always something new to discover in this hipster neighborhood.

You’ll be in the right place for a fun night out, too. East London is one of the city’s best nightlife areas, and there’s no shortage of restaurants, pubs, speakeasies, bars, and pop-ups to go to.

Hackney Wick Bar in East London

If you have energy for going out after dinner, there are great bars and clubs in and around this part of the city. They’re exciting places to end the fourth night of your trip to London.

Whether you choose to go to Hackney, Bethnal Green, Hackney Wick, or another cool area in the East End, you’re sure to have a great time.

Day 5 in London

On the last of your 5 days in London, you can explore one of the city’s beloved local neighborhoods.

Colorful Houses in Notting Hill

Whether you like a village atmosphere, a big park, riverfront scenery, or fascinating history, there’s a place for you. I’ve listed some of my favorites below to give you ideas.

You can read about additional under-the-radar places in the city in the famous book Secret London – An Unusual Guide. You can get it on Amazon here.


Hampstead is my favorite London neighborhood. I spent years living here and I still go back all the time. Up in north London, it’s easily accessible by tube and there’s enough to see and do here for a full day.

Street in Hampstead, North London

Hampstead is for you if you love the idea of an English village conveniently located in London. The side streets are full of pretty houses and the neighborhood has one of the city’s biggest and wildest parks.

You can start your day in Hampstead with coffee or breakfast on Hampstead High Street. There are great cafes on Flask Walk and Perrin’s Court, too.

After breakfast you can shop. There are lots of boutiques on the high street and Heath Street. You can find everything from home goods to clothing and accessories here.

Hampstead High Street in London

When you’re done shopping, you can meander around the area. Church Row, Flask Walk, Holly Walk, and Mansfield Place are local favorites, but it’s hard to go wrong in Hampstead.

My free self-guided Hampstead walk has a route and map that will show you the best places.

When you’re hungry for lunch, head to the Holly Bush. It’s my favorite pub in London. Tucked away on a curving side street, it has a warren of rooms that will transport you back in time.

Holly Bush, Hampstead pub

When you’re finished with lunch, head to Hampstead Heath for a walk with sweeping views of London from Parliament Hill. Kenwood House, a stately home in London, is fun to explore as well.

In the late afternoon you can head to South End Green to shop at Daunt Books and have a drink at one of the many pubs with beer gardens.

When you’re done exploring the area, you can head back up to Hampstead High Street for dinner at a local restaurant. Whether you choose a classic Italian spot like Villa Bianca or a beloved Japanese place like Jin Kichi, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

Romantic restaurant in Hampstead, London

Notting Hill

Another option is to spend the last of your 5 days in London exploring Notting Hill. This area is known for its vibrant colors, buzzing market, fun shops, and hidden mews.

If that appeals, you can start your day in Notting Hill with a walk through the famous Portobello Road Market (it’s busiest on Saturdays, so try to go then and get there early).

When you’re done walking around the market, you can have lunch there or at one of the area’s many restaurants and cafes. From casual places to upscale ones, there’s a variety around Portobello Road and Westbourne Grove.

Biscuiteers Notting Hill

In the afternoon you can explore the area’s side streets and hidden mews. My free self-guided Notting Hill walk is a great way to do it, as it will take you around to the best of them.

When evening comes, you can have dinner at one of the neighborhood’s beloved pubs and check out the nightlife scene. There are lots of places to go out here, and it’s a fun neighborhood to enjoy a meal and drinks at the end of a big day.


Greenwich is another of the loveliest London neighborhoods. If you like history, it’s a great place to spend the last day of your 5-day London itinerary.

Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London

Located in the southeast of the city, Greenwich is best reached by boat from central London. The ride is one of the highlights of spending a day here, and it’s fun to take in the views of London from the Thames. You can book tickets here.

Greenwich is ideal for history lovers and stargazers. It has more museums per square foot than seemingly any other part of the UK capital, and it’s home to the Royal Observatory of Greenwich Mean Time fame.

This area is the perfect place to add to your itinerary for 5 days in London if you love digging into the past, staring at the night sky, or enjoying good views.

View from Greenwich Park, London

The shopping is great, too. Whether you’re into high street shops or historic covered markets, Greenwich has something for you.

If that all sounds good, you can start your day in Greenwich with the aforementioned boat ride. It will drop you off right in the heart of Maritime Greenwich.

From the waterfront you can take in the Cutty Sark, a 19th-century British clipper ship. You can tour it if you want to, or just peer into it from the glass outside.

Cutty Sark in London

From the Cutty Sark you can head to the National Maritime Museum. This place is packed with all things British history, and its wealth of treasures and interactive exhibits makes it fun for visitors of all ages. It offers free entry, so you can stay for as long as you want to.

Afterwards you can duck into the chapel of the Old Royal Naval College to see the amazing painted ceiling. This place has been used as a filming location for many movies and TV shows, so you might recognize it.

The same goes for the buildings that make up the Old Royal Naval College. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, they’re not only beautiful to see, but also popular filming sites.

Old Royal Naval College

From the Old Royal Naval College it’s a short walk to the 17th-century Queen’s House. It’s a stunning example of Palladian architecture, and there’s a beautiful spiral staircase inside. It offers free entry, too, so it’s easy to pop in and explore for a bit.

From the Queen’s House you can walk to lunch at the historic covered market in Greenwich. This place has a range of stalls selling all kinds of prepared foods, so you’re sure to find something that appeals. There are sweet treats, too.

After lunch, you can stroll into Greenwich Park and up the hill to the Royal Observatory. This place is fun to explore, especially if you’re interested in all things astronomy.

Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London

It’s exciting to stand with one foot on either side of the Prime Meridian and soak up the spectacular views of London from the crest of the hill in Greenwich Park.

When you’re done soaking up the views, you can head back down into Greenwich and explore the side streets with their colorful doors. There are lots of pretty lanes around here, and they’re worth discovering.

If you want to see the best of the area, my free self-guided Greenwich walk will lead you to all the places I mentioned above (and more!).

Pub in Greenwich, London

When it’s time for dinner, you have plenty of options. Greenwich has fun pubs, including the famous Trafalgar Tavern. You can watch the waves splash against the outer walls here when it’s high tide on the Thames.

After dinner you can end your day with a boat trip back into central London. It’s a fun way to see the sights at night.


In the southwest, Richmond is a third London neighborhood that’s worth a trip. It’s easy to get to by tube or train from central London, and it makes a good destination for the last day of your 5-day London itinerary.

Boats on the Thames in Richmond

Home to a beautiful riverfront area, a park filled with deer, and cute shops and restaurants, Richmond is for you if you enjoy being outdoors and you want to feel like a local in London.

You can start your day out in Richmond with breakfast or coffee at one of the area’s cafes. Whether you choose a familiar chain or an independent number, there are lots of good options.

When you’re done fueling up, you can explore the area’s side streets. The lanes, walks, and courts that radiate from the high street are full of little surprises (not to mention Ted Lasso filming locations).

Richmond street in London

Richmond Green is picturesque, too. If you’re lucky, you might see a local cricket match going on while you’re exploring. If you need some direction, my free self-guided Richmond walk is just the thing.

When you’re done, you can shop on the high street. There are all kinds of recognizable names and fun boutiques on and around the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare.

After shopping, head to lunch at a riverside pub. They’re ideal places to soak up the sun and watch the boats go by on the water.

Richmond pub

You can take a walk along the Thames after lunch. Whether you want a short stroll or a longer one, the Thames Path will give you options. You can even walk all the way to Ham House, a National Trust property in London. It’s worth touring if you like history.

After your walk you can head up the hill to Richmond Park. Like Hampstead Heath, it’s one of the city’s biggest and most beautiful green spaces.

Richmond Park is famous for its deer, too, so make sure to have your camera ready as you’re exploring. They’re amazing to see up close.

Richmond Park lake

If you want some direction, you can see routes for free self-guided walks on my blog post about park walks in London.

When the sun starts to go down, you can head back into the neighborhood for dinner at one of the restaurants or pubs near the high street, then hop on the tube or a train back to central London.

5 Days in London

I hope you’ve enjoyed this 5-day London itinerary and that it’s given you good ideas for things to do in the UK capital. There’s a lot to see and do here, and I’m sure you’ll leave wanting to come back and explore more.

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5 Days in London

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