London 2-Day Itinerary: Your Ultimate 48-Hour Guide

London 2-Day Itinerary: Your Ultimate 48-Hour Guide

Travel to London? This city has so much to offer. Regardless of when you’re visiting, this London 2-Day Itinerary will blow your mind. 

Visiting London for 2 days? I have the perfect London 2-day itinerary for you. If this is your first trip to London, then prepare to have your mind blown away. London has so much to offer, and regardless of the time of the year, you won’t have much time to wonder about the weather. 

Is London worth visiting?

Absolutely, London is a must-visit city that offers a rich blend of history, culture, and modernity. London is the place to visit if you’re fascinated by European landmarks like the Big Ben and the Tower of London. In this metropolis, you’ll find vibrant neighbourhoods and world-class museums.  

London has plenty to offer, and each one of us will get to discover a different part of it, a part of London that speaks to you. Whether you’re into art, history, or just want to experience the buzz of a cosmopolitan city, London won’t disappoint.

London 2-Day Itinerary: Your Ultimate 48-Hour Guide

10 top things to do in London

  1. Ride the London Eye. Enjoy breathtaking views of the city skyline from this giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames.
  2. Visit the British Museum. Dive into global history and art, including the Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies.
  3. Explore Camden Market. Known for its eclectic shops, food stalls, and live music venues, Camden is a treat for the senses.
  4. Take a Thames River Cruise. Get a unique perspective of London’s landmarks, like Tower Bridge and the Houses of Parliament, from the water. Book your cruise here.
  5. Catch a West End Show. London is renowned for its theatre, so catching a performance in the West End is a must-do.
  6. Walk Through Hyde Park. Take a leisurely stroll, paddle boat, or even horseback ride in one of London’s largest and most famous parks.
  7. Visit Buckingham Palace. Witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony and, if you’re lucky, tour the opulent State Rooms during summer.
  8. Tour the Tower of London. Discover the city’s turbulent history and see the Crown Jewels at this iconic fortress.
  9. Visit the Tate Modern. Explore modern and contemporary art at this free museum housed in a former power station.
  10. Explore Shoreditch. Known for its street art and vibrant nightlife, Shoreditch is a hip area that encapsulates London’s creative spirit.

Where to stay in London?

£££Shangri-La The Shard sets the standard for luxury, occupying floors 34-52 of the iconic Shard building and offering unparalleled views of the city. The hotel has an array of sumptuous dining options, including London’s highest cocktail bar. This hotel offers a 5-star experience that perfectly combines modern sophistication with elegant oriental themes.

££ Park Plaza County Hall London offers a blend of comfort and convenience, situated in a prime South Bank location close to iconic landmarks like the London Eye and Houses of Parliament. This hotel provides excellent value for mid-budget travellers looking for both accessibility and modern comforts.

£ – Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage offers award-winning accommodation at budget-friendly rates. With quality furnishings in both dormitory and private rooms, along with free Wi-Fi in public areas, a social lounge, and convenient laundry facilities, this hostel provides an affordable yet comfortable stay for travellers keen to explore London.

London 2-Day Itinerary: Your Ultimate 48-Hour Guide

How many days in London?

The number of days you should spend in London depends on what you want to experience. 

If you’re short on time, a weekend in London or a 2-day itinerary can cover key attractions like Big Ben and the London Eye. 

For a more in-depth visit, 4 to 5 days in London allows you to explore neighbourhoods, enjoy some activity days, and even indulge in some of the best spa days in the city. 

If you have a week or more, a 7-day London itinerary or even 10 days in London provides a more comprehensive experience, giving you time for day trips and leisurely exploration.

London 2-Day Itinerary: Your Ultimate 48-Hour Guide

London 2-day itinerary 

If you’re planning a quick but memorable trip, a London 2-day itinerary offers just the right blend of must-see attractions and hidden gems. 

Whether you’re looking to tick off iconic landmarks or seeking activity days in the city, two days in London will give you a tantalising taste of what the British capital has to offer. From what to see in London in 2 days to using a 2 days travel card for convenient commuting, this guide aims to make your short stay in London unforgettable.

Day 1: Historic London & The West End

8:00 am: Breakfast at Café near Your Accommodation

Cost: Around £10-15 per person.

Start your day with a traditional English breakfast to fuel up for a busy day.

London 2-Day Itinerary: Your Ultimate 48-Hour Guide

9:45 am: Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

Cost: Free for the Changing of the Guard; around £25 for State Rooms (only open in summer).

How to get there: Take the Tube to Victoria Station and walk for about 5-7 minutes.

When: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from 10.45 am and lasts around 45 minutes

Watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony and soak in the grandeur of the British monarchy.

The Changing of the Guard is one of the most famous ceremonies in the United Kingdom, showcasing British pageantry at its best. This event takes place outside Buckingham Palace and involves the new guard exchanging duties with the old guard, a tradition that dates back to 1660. The ceremony usually lasts for about 45 minutes.

To get a good viewing spot, get there at least 45 minutes to an hour before the ceremony starts. That’s why I said to get there at 9.45 am, although the ceremony starts at 10.45 am. The best places to watch are usually along the Buckingham Palace railings or the steps of the nearby Queen Victoria Memorial.

London 2-Day Itinerary: Your Ultimate 48-Hour Guide

12:00 am: Westminster Abbey

Cost: £27 (Adult tickets)

How to get there: A 15-minute walk from Buckingham Palace.

Tips for visiting: Purchase your tickets online to skip the queue for purchasing tickets at the entrance. Buy tickets online here

Explore this iconic church where British monarchs have been crowned, married, and buried.

Westminster Abbey is one of the most iconic religious buildings in the United Kingdom, steeped in over a thousand years of history. 

Located near the Houses of Parliament in central London, it’s the coronation church for British monarchs and has hosted many royal ceremonies, weddings, and funerals. 

The Gothic-style architecture is a sight to behold, featuring intricate carvings, stunning stained glass windows, and an ornate interior that houses the tombs and memorials of many British luminaries.

 A visit to Westminster Abbey provides a fascinating glimpse into British history and culture.

1:00 pm: Lunch at Pret A Manger near Westminster

Cost: Around £15 per person.

Grab a quick, healthy lunch., because you’re trying to make the most out of this 2-day London itinerary. 

London 2-Day Itinerary: Your Ultimate 48-Hour Guide

2:30 pm: London Eye

Cost: Around £25-30 per person.

How to get there: Walk along the South Bank for about 10 minutes from Westminster.

Tips for visiting: Tickets can be purchased in advance online or on-site. To save time and make sure you have a spot at your desired time, purchase online tickets in advance. 

The London Eye, also known as the Millennium Wheel, is one of the most iconic landmarks in London. 

Situated on the South Bank of the River Thames, it offers spectacular views of the city’s skyline, including sights like Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and the Shard. 

The giant Ferris wheel was erected in 1999 to celebrate the new millennium and quickly became one of the most popular tourist attractions in London.

The structure stands 443 feet (135 meters) tall and has 32 sealed and air-conditioned capsules, each capable of holding up to 25 people. A complete rotation takes about 30 minutes, providing ample time to soak in the vistas and take photographs. For those interested in a luxurious experience, private capsules and champagne options are available.

The London Eye is also known for its nighttime experience, when the wheel is illuminated, offering a romantic and captivating view of the city lights. 

4:00 pm: Tate Modern

Cost: Free (special exhibitions may have an admission fee).

How to get there: Walk 15-20 minutes along the South Bank.

Tate Modern is one of the UK’s leading art institutions, focusing primarily on modern and contemporary art from the 20th century to the present day. 

Located on the South Bank of the River Thames in London, the museum is housed in a converted power station, giving it a unique industrial feel that complements the art inside. Its collections feature works from renowned artists like Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Jackson Pollock, among many others.

The museum is divided into several thematic galleries, each designed to explore a specific concept, movement, or time period. 

In addition to its permanent collection, Tate Modern also hosts rotating temporary exhibitions, workshops, and events, attracting art enthusiasts from all over the world.

7:00 pm: Dinner at Covent Garden

Cost: Around £20-35 per person.

How to get there: From Tate Modern, you can walk for 30 minutes to get to Covent Garden. Or you can get the tube from Southwark, on the Jubilee Line, and travel one stop to Waterloo.

Description: Savor diverse food options in this lively district.

Covent Garden is a bustling area in the heart of London known for its vibrant atmosphere, eclectic shops, and lively street performances. 

It’s a focal point for both tourists and locals, offering a diverse array of attractions ranging from upscale boutiques and international brand stores to unique market stalls. The central square, often buzzing with musicians, magicians, and other street performers, is a great place to soak in the city’s energy.

The area is also rich in cultural offerings, with the Royal Opera House being one of its crown jewels. 

For theatre enthusiasts, Covent Garden is a dream come true, located within walking distance of many of London’s famous West End theatres. 

Additionally, the area is a food lover’s paradise, featuring numerous cafes, restaurants, and pubs that serve everything from gourmet meals to traditional British fare.

8:30 pm: West End Show

Cost: Varies widely, expect around £50-100 per ticket.

How to get there: Covent Garden is within walking distance of many West End theatres.

The West End of London is renowned globally for its high-quality theatre productions, often likened to Broadway in New York City. 

The district is home to numerous historic theatres that have been in operation for many years, such as the Royal Opera House, the Lyceum, and the Palace Theatre. These venues frequently host a range of shows, from classic Shakespearean plays to modern musicals and cutting-edge dramas.

One of the key attractions of West End shows is the calibre of talent involved, both on and off-stage. 

It’s not uncommon to see world-famous actors gracing the West End stages, and the production values are often top-notch, featuring elaborate sets, costumes, and special effects. The musical scores are usually performed by live orchestras, adding to the richness of the experience.

Tickets for West End shows can range from affordable to quite pricey, depending on the popularity of the show and where you choose to sit. It’s advisable to book in advance, especially for highly popular shows, although some theatres do offer last-minute tickets at discounted rates.

As of 2023, these are some of the most popular West End shows:

  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • Les Misérables
  • A Strange Loop
  • Hamilton
  • The Lion King
  • Matilda The Musical (at the Cambridge Theatre in the West End)
London 2-Day Itinerary: Your Ultimate 48-Hour Guide

Day 2: Modern London & Shopping

8:00 am: Breakfast at café/Hotel

Cost: Around £10-15 per person.

Have a quick bite near your hotel before the second day of activities in London.

London 2-Day Itinerary: Your Ultimate 48-Hour Guide

9:30 am: Tower of London

Cost: £33.60 (Adult tickets) This includes The Crown Jewels, The White Tower, Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, Battlements, Medieval Palace, Bloody Tower, Torture at the Tower exhibition, Fusiliers Museum and Royal Mint exhibition.

How to get there: Take the Tube to Tower Hill station.

Description: Discover British history, including the Crown Jewels.

The Tower of London is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks in London, with a history that stretches back over a millennium. 

Originally built by William the Conqueror in 1066 as a demonstration of power, the Tower has served various roles over the years, including a royal residence, a prison, and even a zoo. 

Today, it’s best known as the home of the Crown Jewels, a dazzling collection of gems, crowns, and other royal regalia.

The complex consists of multiple buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. 

Visitors can explore the White Tower, which is the oldest part of the complex, and see its line-up of medieval weaponry and armour. 

The Bloody Tower is another notorious building named for the grisly tales of imprisonment and execution that took place within its walls. Historical figures such as Anne Boleyn and Guy Fawkes were held captive here.

Guided tours are often led by Yeoman Warders, also known as Beefeaters, who share captivating stories and legends associated with the Tower. 

TIP: Attend the Ceremony of the Keys in the evening at the Tower of London. 

The Ceremony of the Keys, is a 700-year-old tradition that secures the main gates of the Tower each night. It is said to be the oldest military ceremony in the world. This is an extremely popular attraction and must be booked well in advance, at least a couple of weeks before your visit. Book a spot online here

London 2-Day Itinerary: Your Ultimate 48-Hour Guide

11:30 am: Tower Bridge

Cost: £12.30 for adults. Book online here

How to get there: 5-minute walk from the Tower of London.

Tower Bridge is one of London’s most iconic landmarks, easily recognised by its two imposing towers and panoramic glass walkways. 

Completed in 1894, the bridge was an engineering marvel of its time, featuring a unique bascule (drawbridge) mechanism that allows the bridge to lift for passing ships. 

The Victorian Gothic design serves both aesthetic and practical purposes, blending seamlessly with the nearby Tower of London while housing the machinery required for the bridge’s operation.

Visitors can explore the Tower Bridge Exhibition, which offers a deep dive into the history and engineering behind this masterpiece. 

The glass-floored walkways provide breathtaking views of the River Thames, the Tower of London, and the modern London skyline. It’s a popular spot for photography, so you’ll definitely want to bring your camera. 

The exhibition also includes access to the Victorian Engine Rooms, where you can see the original steam engines that once powered the lifting mechanism.

For those interested in the technical aspects, the exhibition features interactive displays and videos explaining the intricacies of the bridge’s design and operation. 

Scheduled bridge lifts, where the bascules are raised, are an impressive sight and a popular event to witness; the schedule is available on the Tower Bridge website.

1:00 pm: Lunch at Borough Market

Cost: £10-20 per person.

How to get there: A 15-minute walk from Tower Bridge. 

When:  Monday to Saturday

Borough Market is one of London’s oldest and most renowned food markets, located in the Southwark area, not far from London Bridge. 

With a history that dates back to the 13th century, this bustling marketplace has evolved into a foodie’s paradise, offering a vast array of fresh produce, artisanal foods, and international cuisines. From fresh fruits and vegetables to exotic spices, handmade pasta, and gourmet cheeses, there’s something to satiate every palate.

The market is particularly known for its high-quality, locally sourced goods. 

Many of London’s top chefs and restaurateurs source their ingredients from Borough Market’s stalls. It’s not just a place to shop for groceries; you can also enjoy a wide range of ready-to-eat foods, from savoury pies and sandwiches to sweet treats and international street food. It’s an ideal spot for lunch or a casual snack while exploring London.

3:00 pm: Camden Market

Cost: Free

How to get there: Take the Tube to Camden Town station.

When: Generally open seven days a week, although individual stall hours can vary. Weekends are the busiest times.

Camden Market is one of London’s most vibrant and eclectic shopping destinations, drawing tourists and locals alike to its bustling stalls and shops. 

Located in the Camden Town neighbourhood, the market is known for its alternative culture, offering everything from vintage clothing and handmade jewellery to vinyl records and unique artworks. 

Originally started as a small arts and crafts fair in the 1970s, the market has grown exponentially and now consists of several interconnected markets, including Camden Lock Market, Stables Market, and Buck Street Market.

What sets Camden Market apart is its atmosphere. It’s a feast for the senses, with colourful displays, diverse food stalls, and live music often filling the air. 

Street performers and artists frequently showcase their talents, adding to the lively, bohemian vibe. The area around the market is also filled with tattoo parlours, piercing shops, and alternative fashion stores, reflecting the market’s countercultural roots.

Food is a big draw at Camden Market. With more than 100 food stalls offering a range of international cuisines, you’re sure to find something that tickles your taste buds. From gourmet burgers and vegan delights to Asian street food and Middle Eastern dishes, the culinary options are endless.

5:30 pm: Piccadilly Circus and Surrounding Squares

Cost: Free

How to get there: Tube to Charing Cross. Then walk to Trafalgar Square, then Leicester Square and then Piccadilly Circus.

Walking through these squares offers not just a glimpse into London’s landmarks but also its culture, as you’ll experience everything from high art to street performances. 

Trafalgar Square

Dominated by Nelson’s Column and flanked by the National Gallery, this square is not just a tourist spot but also a venue for political demonstrations, community gatherings, and public celebrations like New Year’s Eve. 

The large fountains and lion statues offer great photo ops, and the steps leading up to the National Gallery provide an excellent vantage point for taking in the whole area.

Leicester Square

This square is London’s entertainment epicentre, with cinemas that have hosted countless film premieres, as well as theatres and clubs. 

The small park in the centre is a nice place to sit and people-watch, and you’ll often find half-price theatre ticket booths around the square.

Piccadilly Circus

Known for its iconic LED advertising board and the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, this bustling square is often considered the Times Square of London. 

It’s a hub of activity where shopping, dining, and entertainment come together. Street performers frequently put on shows, adding to the lively atmosphere.

London 2-Day Itinerary: Your Ultimate 48-Hour Guide

7:30 pm: Dinner at Soho

Cost: Around £20-40 per person.

How to get there: Walk about 7 minutes to reach Soho.

Dining in Soho, one of London’s most vibrant neighbourhoods, offers a culinary tour around the globe within just a few bustling streets. 

Known for its rich history and cultural diversity, Soho boasts a wide variety of eateries, from traditional British pubs and Italian trattorias to Asian fusion restaurants and contemporary vegan spots.

TIP: If you love pizza, then Pizza Pilgrims is a must-try. 

The atmosphere in Soho comes alive in the evening, making dinner here a uniquely energetic experience. Whether you’re after the dim lighting and intimate settings of a romantic date night or the bustling environment of a communal table, Soho has the perfect setting for you. 

Live music, quirky décor, and exceptional service are just a few of the extra touches you may encounter.

The area is also famous for its foodie culture, attracting both top chefs and new culinary talents. From gourmet experiences to casual bites, the dining options here range widely in terms of price but are consistently high in quality. 

London 2-Day Itinerary: Your Ultimate 48-Hour Guide

Practical London travel tips

Navigating through London can be both exciting and overwhelming, especially for first-time visitors. Here are some practical travel tips to make your London experience smoother and more enjoyable.

London public transport

In London, public transport is made up of buses, trains, and the Underground, also known as the Tube. You can pay for rides using a contactless card, an Oyster card, or by buying a paper ticket. 

Buses have flat-rate fares, while Tube and train costs depend on how far you go. Check the maps and signs for routes, and always remember to tap in and out with your card when using the Tube or train.

The easiest way to use public transport in London is by tapping a contactless credit or debit card on the yellow card readers when you enter and exit the Tube, or train, or when you board a bus. This way, you don’t need to worry about buying tickets or topping up an Oyster card; the system automatically calculates the cheapest fare for all your journeys in a day.

London sightseeing tips

When it comes to sightseeing in London, a bit of planning can go a long way to make the most of your trip. 

One effective strategy is to build your itinerary around specific areas or clusters of attractions. For instance, I have created this specific itinerary for 2 days in London to cover major landmarks. On Day 1, I focused on the Westminster area to knock out Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey. 

If you’re on a weekend in London, you can use my 2-day itinerary for London, as it includes must-visit spots like the London Eye, Tate Modern, and Covent Garden, which are relatively close to each other. This way, you can minimise commute times and maximise your experience days in London.

If you’re travelling with kids, consider some of these ideas for families with kids for days out in London by visiting spots like the London Sea Life Aquarium or taking activity days in the numerous parks and playgrounds.

London 2-Day Itinerary: Your Ultimate 48-Hour Guide

London weather tips

London is infamous for its sudden rain showers and changeable conditions, often on the same day! It’s a good idea always to carry an umbrella, even if the sky looks clear in the morning. 

Having a small, portable umbrella in your bag can be a lifesaver when you’re out and about.

Wearing layers is another smart approach. Mornings can be cool, afternoons warm, and evenings chilly again. A light jacket or cardigan that you can easily put on or take off will help you adapt to the varying temperatures without having to go back to your hotel for a wardrobe change.

Footwear is also an important consideration. Comfortable, water-resistant shoes are recommended, especially if you’re planning to do a lot of walking to explore attractions like the Tower of London, Tate Modern, or Covent Garden.

By staying weather-prepared, you’ll be more comfortable and better able to enjoy all the activities you’ve lined up, whether it’s a 2-day London trip or a more leisurely exploration.

Iulia Vasile

Iulia is a travel expert, blogger, engineer, freelance copywriter, and a curiosity-driven personality. She sees travel as the ultimate tool for self-improvement and personal growth, and that's the main topic of her blog,

View stories

Tell me what you think!