I know what it’s like to have only a weekend to spend in a city like London. Within those 48 hours, you’ll want to cramp in every London tourist attraction and sight you’ve read about in your Lonely Planet’s guidebook. But as a Londoner, I think this will only make you miss out on really experiencing the beauty of London.
It’s much better to select a few places to discover or things to do in London on your weekend visit. That way, you don’t end up being another tourist in the long line waiting to go up the London Eye (or Coca-Cola London Eye as it is correctly named).
Here's how to spend a weekend in London: 2-day London itinerary!
I find it unpleasant when I visit a new city and waste valuable time figuring out and trekking from one end of the city to another, just to visit an attraction site. In this post, I have included sites that are within walking distance of each other. This way, you get to maximize your precious 48 hours in London.
This two-day itinerary is filled with both touristy spectacular stuff and regular things Londoners over a weekend in London.
Breakfast at Borough Market
Hit up Borough Market to grab a slice of London’s rich history and breakfast on the go. The market, which has been serving Londoners for around 1000 years, offers some of the best organic British-sourced produces along with regional specialities from around the world.
A shot of Monmouth espresso with its toasted almond nuts fragrance will keep you going for the day and breakfast from Maria’s Market Cafe (which has been opened since 1961), will hold you over till lunch.
Borough Market is one sight you must visit in London
You’ll be spoilt for breakfast choice at Borough Market.
Walk along the South Bank
The Southbank, considered as London’s cultural district, runs along the south of the Thames River and stretches from Westminster to London Bridge.
The Southbank is always bustling with activities. From people celebrating an international food festival to Art exhibitions and installation, there’s always something for you to enjoy along the river.
If none of that’s to your taste, you could just grab a pint or a cold glass of wine, sit and watch as the duck boat and Thames clipper go up and down the river.
Visit St. Pauls Cathedral
Head across the Millennium Bridge to view one of the UK’s most iconic churches: St Paul’s Cathedral. The church really does stand out like a beacon in London. The sheer magnificence of the domed roof built in the English Baroque style, will have you marvelling for hours.
After braving the endless sets of winding stairs in the cathedral, you’ll arrive at the perfect spot for a sweeping view over London, great for watching the hustle and bustle of London spread out below you. This is a sight that people travel far and wide to do see in London.
You’ll need to pay for an entry admission to the Cathedral floor, the crypt, and the three galleries in the dome. The admission covers multimedia guides and guided tours.
Photography is not allowed inside the Cathedral, but it is permitted- without tripods- on the external galleries.
St.Paul Cathedral is one sight you must visit in London
Go to the theatre in London
You can’t visit London without seeing a show at the West End. You can pick up cheap tickets if you’re willing to sit in the stalls or go on the standby list. You can easily pick up tickets from different outlets around London. I definitely would recommend seeing ‘Wicked’ at the Apollo Theatre or ‘The Lion King’ at Lyceum Theatre if you’re into musicals.
End your night with drinks in central London
A day out in London is not complete without drinks in Soho or you could top off your night with a view over the city from one of the many rooftop bars like Aqua Spirit on Regent Street.
Early morning walking tour
Taking a walking tour on a Sunday morning is way better than on a Saturday or weekday as the City is a lot quieter and shops don’t open for business until 12 pm (although you’re allowed to browse from 11 pm). There’ll be fewer tourists and commuters on the streets, so you’ll be able to cover more ground without fighting to get through large crowds. I suggest booking the free SANDEMANs walking tour of London which is two and a half hours and starts at 10:00 am. It will leave you enough time to still enjoy the rest of the day. This is one of the many free things to do in London.
Brunch at Duck & Waffle (or any other hipster place like the Dishoon, Breakfast Club, Hotbox Shoreditch, Caravan)
Sundays are for brunching.
After all that walking, you’ll need to sit down and satisfy your appetite. Head over to Duck and Waffles, where you’ll not only tuck into fluffy, syrup-drizzled waffles topped off with a crispy duck, but you’ll also get a great view over London.
Londoners know how to brunch. It’s like a national pastime
Shoreditch street art
Wander around Shoreditch and be filled with wonder. You’ll quickly realise that this once derelict and rundown neighbourhood is now the heart of London’s hipster neighbourhood, filled with colourful street art, endless cocktail bars, and trendy coffee shops where you can pay upwards of £5 for coffee.
Don’t worry, it’s the artisan, organic-ethnically sourced-pesticide free-prayed over by Buddhist monk kinda coffee, and that’s why you’ll pay £5 for it. Shoreditch is renowned for its street art and a street art tour is an activity I highly recommend to do in London.
You can also check out the 24-hour bakery Brick Lane Beigel. Try their classic salt beef beigel with mustard and pickles, but hold the mustard if you can’t handle spicy or peppery food.
Dinner at the sky garden
End your day with dinner from either the Sky Garden or the Shard and enjoy a view of the city awash with golden sunset light. The Shard is the highest observation deck in the city but I find it quite expensive for what it is at £35. I suggest visiting the Sky Garden where you get a 360-degree view over London without the price tag.
In such a vibrant and buzzing city as London, I could give you endless suggestions on things to do for a weekend in London, but I find that jam-packed itinerary often overwhelming and you never get to do everything on the list. With these few highly recommended suggestions, however, you’ll be able to enjoy the best this city has to offer without feeling like you missed out on anything.
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