In this article we have combined walking routes and tips so you know what to see in London in 5 days . In 5 days in London you will be able to see the best attractions, the most famous monuments and the most authentic corners of London.
Although it may seem like a lot of work to organize a 5-day trip in London, below you will see that we have included all the details so that you do not have to do it yourself.
The famous Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Hyde Park, Oxford Circus, Covent Garden… the list is almost endless. You should definitely visit a flea market, so if you are going to be here on a Saturday you can take a route through Notting Hill or any day of the week you can visit Camden Town.
What will you find in this article?
- Routes to see London in 5 days
- Day 1: Most important points of the city
- Day 2: Get to know the charms of the London city
- Day 3: Highlights of the City of London
- Day 4: Enjoy your penultimate day in London
- Day 5: How to spend your last day in London?
Routes to see London in 5 days
If you are going to visit London in five days, the truth is that you will have time to enter many of the city’s attractions, such as the Tower of London, St Paul’s, go up the London Eye, take a cruise on the Thames…
A piece of advice if you are thinking about what to see in London in 5 days would be to use the tourist bus the first day in London, since it is a good way to start the trip and get a bit of a place in the city, also with the tourist bus they give you a free cruise by the Thames that is worth it. More information: Tourist Bus with free cruise .
Another tip: check out the London Pass as it allows you to enter over 55 attractions at reduced prices and without having to buy all the tickets separately.
Day 1: Most important points of the city
You are going to visit London in 5 days but for the first two days, we advise you to follow the advice we have written for the first two days in our article What to see in London in 3 days . There you can find detailed maps, and you have routes to visit Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, London Eye, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly circus, Oxford Street, Soho, Covent Garden and other typical places.
Changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace
Our 5-day adventure in London begins and of course, one of the first things we recommend is to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. It starts at 11 in the morning and always attracts many tourists. The best thing would be to arrive at the gate of Buckingham Palace around 10.30 am if you want to have a good place to see it.
The changing of the guard is one of the most famous things in London. It is a spectacular parade that can be seen for free. As it is not every day of the year, we have prepared our own calendar that we update as the dates come out: Calendar of the Changing of the Guard .
Located on the north bank of the River Thames, almost in front of the London Eye, we will find the British Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, London’s famous clock. Here you can stop for a while and take some quite interesting photos from both banks of the river. One piece of advice, when you cross Westminster Bridge as we propose on our route, you can take the perfect photo, since on one side you have Big Ben and on the other side is the London Eye.
If it is your first time in London then, without a doubt, going up the London Eye becomes something you should add to your list.
The prices to go on the London Eye are £28 for an adult ticket and £23 for a child ticket (3 to 15 years old). If you take children under 3 years old they do not pay entrance.
There is a “Fast-track” ticket to go up the London Eye. With it you can enter without having to wait in the endless queue that forms. This fast-track ticket to the London Eye is priced at £38 for adults and £33 for children aged 3-15, and must be purchased online in advance.
This is the well-known square in central London where you will see the famous statue of Admiral Nelson and the four lions. Without a doubt, it is one of the key points if you are going to visit London in 5 days. Various free events and celebrations are held here throughout the year, and this is where the largest Christmas tree in London is put up during the month of December. Here you can also visit the museum with free admission National Gallery .
From Trafalgar we can walk a few minutes through the streets of Pall Mall and Haymarket to Piccadilly Circus , the famous square of London’s giant screens. When you are in Piccadilly Street we recommend you take a look at “Waterstones”, the largest bookstore in Europe. If you walk down that same street in the opposite direction to Piccadilly then you will arrive at the Ritz Hotel and the Fortnum and Mason store that you cannot miss in your London plan in 5 days .
The First Day in London Route ends at the Burlington Arcade. It is a commercial gallery with somewhat special stores both for its history and decoration and for its exclusive prices. It joins Piccadilly street with Bond Street and it is one of the first shopping arcades in London from the 19th century, where today we can still find “lifelong” shops.
Day 2: Get to know the charms of the London city
We start the second day of our trip plan to see London in 5 days. Today we will visit emblematic places of the city that have been part of the life of Londoners for hundreds of years.
The lung of the city. Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are located next to each other, offering an oasis of nature in central London with a total of 253 hectares of gardens and lakes . Hyde Park was founded in 1536 as a private hunting ground for Henry VIII. It belonged to Hyde’s mansion and was finally opened to the public in 1637.
We consider that being able to walk through Hyde Park on a summer day is a real luxury for those of us who live in London. You can walk the park from one end to the other in about 2 or 3 hours, if you walk at a good pace and without stopping every time the squirrels come to see if you have food! – If you visit it in Spring or Summer, another idea is to rent a deckchair with views of the Serpentine Lake and spend an hour or take the opportunity to eat something… or leave the kids playing in the park so that later you can sleep more peacefully in the hotel! (Parent Council).
Time to continue with our route and continue discovering what to see in London in 5 days. We cross the central street of Hyde Park heading north to reach the Marble Arch monument. From there we connect with Oxford Street , the most famous shopping street in London. If you have a “shopper” soul as they say around here, then it’s going to be your downfall!.
From the luxurious Selfridges to the largest Primark in London, there is something here for all tastes and pockets. There are stores like Zara, Coast, Top Shop, Marks and Spencer, Debenhams, H&M, Pandora, Swatch, Disney store… to name a few. Opposite Bond Street tube station, on the north side of Oxford Street you can see a small narrow alleyway and a sign indicating St Christopher’s Place . It is not a very large square but it is very charming and it is one of our secret corners of London that we would recommend you to visit. This corner is great to have a coffee or eat something healthy and fast.
We continue walking until we reach Oxford Circus , the intersection of Oxford St. and Regent St. Here we turn right to go down Regent, another very famous shopping street in London. We have a specific guide to this street in case you want to know more: Regent Street. Here is the Hamleys store , the most famous toy store in London. You will also pass by numerous clothing and accessory stores and one of the most popular Apple stores in London.
If you continue down Regent Street and up to Great Marlborough Street, there you can turn left, right on the corner of the Liberty department store. From there, the next street to the right takes you to Carnaby Street , a commercial area of London’s Soho that you have to visit 100%.
From the Carnaby St. area you can do two things. Go back out to Regent St. to go down to Piccadilly Circus or wander behind to get to Soho. If you choose to go to Piccadilly Circus, this is the square of the giant screens and surely where more scenes of movies and series have been shot in London. From here, the route continues through some of the streets of London’s Soho , to reach Chinatown and Leicester Square .
From Leicester Square we continue walking towards the Seven Dials area and discover Neal’s Yard , the most colorful corner of London. From here we will arrive at one of our favorite squares in London, Covent Garden. Without a doubt, it is a very special place and you will like it. Here you will find the London Transport Museum in one of the corners of the square , a place that we recommend if you are going to spend more than three days in London with children .
Day 3: London City Highlights
You can spend the third of your 5 days in London visiting some of London’s most historic buildings and areas. Below we have included some of them so that you can get an idea of what would give you time to visit during this third day.
Tower of London
We have created a walking route that allows you to see the Tower of London , the Tower Bridge of London , Borough Market , and also the banks of the Thames from where you can take some very good photos if the weather is good. From there it is easy to get to the Millennium Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral . Actually this is what I would recommend you to do on your third day, and you can dedicate the whole day to it if you want to enter some of the attractions that are on the way (Tower of London, HMS Belfast, St Paul’s Cathedral…) and you can even keep walking to the London Eye. Although we have been living in London for many years, today we continue to walk here very frequently because we love it.
Possibly the most photographed point in London every day. The Tower Bridge in London . Not only can you enjoy seeing it from any of the banks of the River Thames, but you can also cross it on foot. Even if you have time you can also visit its interior exhibition that is open to the public: the Tower Bridge Exhibition .
Once at the top, you can walk along the glass walkways, where you will get amazing views of the bridge and the city of London.
An area to take a walk, take very interesting photos of London and surely the best area to stop to eat or have a coffee if you are in the area. In Southbank there is a mixture of museums, restaurants, historical places… and if you visit London in Summer you will be able to see a food market and a lot of activities for children as well as outdoor exhibitions.
The most famous of the Southbank is of course the London Eye, the Sea Life London Aquarium and of course, if you keep walking leaving the London Eye behind you, then you will reach the Tate Modern and the Shakespeare Globe Theatre.
ST. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral is open Monday to Saturday from 8.30am to 4.30pm. The last entrance is at 4 pm.
In order to visit the Cathedral of San Pablo and visit all the areas, it is necessary to pay an entrance fee and enter during visiting hours. You can go up to the famous Gallery of Sighs and the dome from where you will have great views of the city. There are free audio guides that I recommend you use since you are going to find out many details that are difficult to see. It is available in several languages. The visit lasts about 1.5 – 2 hours.
Optional: Visit HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast is the only surviving warship from World War II, converted into a very interesting museum ship. You can walk all the corridors of it, cabins and even go down (carefully) to the engine room.
The HMS is open from 10 am to 5 pm (Nov – February) / 6 pm (March – October) every day of the year, except December 24, 25 and 26. – The nearest tube stop is London Bridge (zone 1 of the Northern line). From London Bridge you will see signs telling you where Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast are, and as soon as you reach the river you will see it.
You have to pay admission to visit the ship. Prices are: Adults £14.25, under 15s £7.25 and free admission for under 5s.
Day 4: Enjoy your penultimate day in London
We arrived at the penultimate day of our 5 days in London. During the fourth day we recommend you to visit areas of London that are not as central as the ones we have mentioned before but that are very interesting from a tourist point of view.
The neighborhood of Greenwich is located on the south bank of the River Thames, it is famous for its maritime history and for being the location of the zero meridian observatory, known to most as the Greenwich Meridian.
Some of the things we recommend seeing in Greenwich are:
- Greenwich neighborhood: You will think that you are visiting a typical English town, with many independent shops and cafes, as well as many British restaurants and pubs. It also has one of the most frequented markets by Londoners, Greenwich Market , which has more than 200 years of history.
- Cutty Sark: The last clipper type sailing ship that transported tea between England and China in the s. XIX. To enter it is necessary to pay admission
- Old Royal Naval College: The Royal Naval College was once Greenwich Palace which was destroyed during the English Civil War, and later demolished. After being demolished it was rebuilt to be the hospital for retired seamen, and was designed by Christopher Wren (Same as St. Pauls Cathedral). The hospital closed in 1869 and the building became the Royal Naval College, where the training of the Royal Navy took place. Today we can visit the “Painted Hall” and the chapel for free, both very well signposted, they are not to be missed!
- National Maritime Museum: Recommended if you like history or if you are fond of nautical activities. This is where we can find out about Greenwich’s maritime history.
- The Queens House: It is a mansion of the s. XIV, which is now part of the national maritime museum and can be visited for free. In its day it was part of Greenwich Palace.
- Greenwich Observatory and Planetarium: The best known point in the neighborhood. Known as the “prime meridian” or “Greenwich meridian.” It is the imaginary line that joins the north pole and the south pole and from which the lengths are measured. The Greenwich Observatory is located on top of the hill in Greenwich Park.
- Greenwich Park: An imposing park with views of the city of London and where you can have a good time if you travel with children.
River Thames Cruise
If you have time left over and you have not already done so with the cruise that includes the Tourist Bus, then one option is the cruise on the Thames. It will allow you to see London from a unique perspective, since from the famous river that crosses the center of London you can see most of the most famous buildings or places in the city: Big Ben and the houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Shakespeare’s Globe, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge (the famous Tower Bridge), the Tower of London, London City Hall, the Shard… and many more!
There are two types of tours available that we must take into account to choose well:
- Circular Tour: It takes about 45 minutes in total and you can get on and off from the same point on Westminster Pier.
- Hop-On Hop-Off Tour: You can hop on and off as many times as you like throughout the day. I would recommend that you ride in the London Eye or Big Ben area, from there go to Greenwich , see that area a bit and then return to Tower Bridge and see the Tower of London area. Afterwards you can always take the boat again to return to the Westminster area.
Visit Canary Wharf
Located to the southeast of the British capital, it is the neighborhood of skyscrapers and modern architecture. The imposing buildings in this area are already an important part of the London skyline.
Canary Wharf is located in zone 2 of London and the nearest tube or DLR (docklands light rail) stop is Canary Wharf, which has a direct connection to Tower Hill and Bank tube stations. See map of the London Underground network .
Day 5: How to spend your last day in London?
Well, we have almost finished the plan to see London in 5 days and although the end of the trip is near, this fifth day you are going to see some very special corners of London.
Combine Little Venice and Camden Town
There is a route that will allow us to discover an oasis of tranquility without leaving London. This is the famous area of Little Venice. From here a suggestion is to walk along Regent’s Canal until you reach Camden Lock.
We recommend that you first read our article on Little Venice .
- Start of the route: Paddington Underground Station , London Zone 1 . It is also possible to start this route from the Warwick Avenue underground station ( London zone 2 ) if it suits you better.
- Paddington station is very large, and you will see that it has many exits. Follow the signs to exit onto the ‘Grand Union Canal’ as this will take you straight out into the Little Venice area of London.
- As you exit the Grand Union Canal exit, turn left to continue walking along the canal side walk. You will come across numerous boats that are restaurants/cafes as well as the Paddington Bear statue .
- You will pass through an area of restaurants and cafes on your left.
- Following the promenade next to the canal, you will pass in front of the Waterside Canal Boat Cafe .
- We cross the blue bridge, and from here we can go down Clifton Villas street to discover a secret corner, Clifton Nurseries , and maybe have a coffee in its cafe.
- From here, we go back down to Regent’s Canal and can walk along it until we reach Camden Lock. This walk is very pleasant, and you will pass through an area of boats that are private residences, and even have their own little piece of garden along the canal, so it is a very picturesque landscape.
- You will pass through Regent’s Park and the London Zoo , and you will also find a floating Chinese restaurant.
- There is a small section where it is necessary to turn aside to follow the course of the channel, but it is very simple and very well signposted.
- To finish the route: Camden Lock. Perfect for strolling around Camden Town and its famous flea market for a while.
Visit a typical London street market
During your 5-day visit to London, you must include a visit to at least one of London’s famous markets in your plan .
Each one is different and has its particularities, so they will all have their charm. In our guide with the best markets in London we leave you all the schedules, how to get there, etc. Best flea markets in London .
Knightsbridge and Harrod’s Department Store
It’s time to visit one of the paradises for lovers of shops. Harrods department store. They are located at 87 – 135 Brompton Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL. See map . The nearest tube stop to Harrods is Knightbridge, which is in London transport zone 1.
Harrods is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 9pm and Sunday from 11.30am to 6pm . Harrods is usually open during UK bank holidays , the only day of the year that it is usually closed is Christmas Day .
You can visit some of the most outstanding museums (Natrual History Museum, Science Museum…)
Since you will be in the Knightsbirdge area, a good option is to visit one of the museums in the area, as the best in London are here. Most of the museums in London can be visited for free, so sometimes the only problem that arises is that sometimes we have to choose which one or which ones we want to see, since we usually lack time to see them all…
If you visit London with children then we recommend adding at least one of them to your plan to see London in 5 days. They are usually very interactive and with interesting workshops designed for the little ones.
Some usually charge admission to enter temporary exhibitions. You should bear in mind that most of the museums close around 6 in the afternoon, so it is advisable to go in the morning, although there are some museums that close later on some days.