What to do in London – 4 days
I recently went to London and stayed for 4 days. To be honest I was caught by surprise by how expensive & how big London is. I wished I had prepared a little better but I think I made most out of the 4 days I was there. Here are some tips that will make your life easy!
- Choose a good location hotel & read reviews of the hotel you are booking! I noticed that the hotel booking websites are very attractive but most of the hotels inside London are small, dirty & in very noisy locations. This sounds like most cities I know, but if you manage to find a good hotel in a quiet area & accessible to the tube, you are all set. It doesn’t need to be walking distance to what you want to see, because like i mentioned before, London in HUGE! if you’re there longer than 2 days, it’s most likely that your destinations of interests are far apart.
- Get an oyster card at the airport & top it with at least 80 – 100 pounds (this will be enough for 4 days). Avoid taxis & Uber (unless you don’t have any other choice) because the tube is very fast, efficient & easy to use. Trains are often late in the U.K though so always leave 10-20 mins before your actual time.
- Use google maps or city mapper to navigate the city & to check tube/train/bus times & destinations/numbers.
- If flying from Southwest Germany like me, Luxembourg airport always has good deals & is so much easier & stress-free to fly out of compared to Frankfurt. I drove & packed my car there.
Things to do:
- If you like group activities, I highly recommend a free Strawberry London city tour or food tour on day 1. The tour is “pay what you like”, or tip at the end, but if you did not enjoy it, you are not required to pay. Doing a tour on the first day helps you get your bearings in a new city & the tour guides are extremely helpful in giving you tips on where to eat or things to do in the city.
- The shard restaurant for breakfast & watch the sunrise if it is a good day. You have to book it a few days in advance.
- Changing of the guard & Buckingham Palace. I saw a lot of Londoners say that this wasn’t a must-do for a tourist but I highly disagree! This bit was my favorite thing to watch because I had never looked it up before and didn’t know what it entailed. Having a tour guide made it even more fun because he was giving us history about Buckingham palace & the Cavalry. Very interesting.
- Westminister abbey & big ben area. Walk down from Buckingham palace thru Trafalgar square & towards Westminster abbey.
- Tate Modern – I could have easily spent a whole day in here going from room to room admiring the art!
- River Thames, London Bridge, Tower Bridge & London eye. You can also opt to take a cruise on the river during the day or at night & the see the city from a different view.
- Parks. If you need a day to slow down, go to Parliament hill in Hampstead heath. Hampstead village is on the opposite side & there are coffee shops & restaurants to grab a bite in. We spent half a day here people-watching in the park & later had a late breakfast in Hampstead village.
- Other parks – Kensington gardens & Hyde park. They are right next to each other & are perfect spots inside the city to just relax as you walk around & feed the birds. There are swans, ducks, pigeons, & a multitude of other birds flying about as people feed them.
- In the evening or even late afternoon, go to the west end & watch a show. Shows are much cheaper here, and if you purchase same-day tickets, it can be even cheaper (like 20pounds to see wicked!)
- Walk through markets window shopping and eating very good food. My favorites were Borough Market & Camden Market. If you are in the Thames river/Tate modern area, you can easily walk to Borough Market. I also bought some really good tea here to bring home.
- SHOREDITCH! – This neighborhood is very hip & trendy but also has some of the best curry in London. If I hadn’t been flying back home, I would have bought so many things here. There is a large Indian/Pakistani population that settled here in the 1950’s, so brick lane has a whole assortment of Indian food to choose from & it’s so much cheaper & better here. If I go back to London, I may just spend 4 days here walking down the streets looking at street art, eating, shopping at Boxpark (this areas version of Camden Market) & window shopping. It is also a good area to book a hotel in.
- Outside London: Harry Potter studio (I heard this is great & I will definitely look into it next time since I grew up a Harry Potter fan). Bath, Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Costwolds. The latter you can book a trip that combines all of them in 12-14 hours or plan your own travel by car or train at your own pace.
There are so many other things I left out, because it is impossible to enjoy everything in London in 4 days, but these are my highlights after my first visit!