2 Days in London: Ultimate 2-Day Itinerary

2 Days London Itinerary

Are you going to go to London for 2 days? Are you looking to see as much as possible?

To help you prepare for your stay, I have put together an ideal itinerary for visiting London in 2 days.

I’ll start by giving you my best tips for avoiding queuing at tourist attractions. You will see, with my advice, you will save a lot of time during your weekend in London!

I then continue with a detailed program for the two days in order to optimize your visits. Everything is of course accompanied by my advice and tips to make the most of your short stay.

At the end of the article, also discover my selection of the best hotels in London according to your budget.

So, where to go and what to do in London in 2 days?

Our tips for avoiding queuing in London

With tens of thousands of visitors flocking to London every day, the capital of the United Kingdom is undoubtedly one of the most touristy cities in the world.

At any time of the year, many people want to discover the city’s emblematic monuments such as the Tower of London or Buckingham Palace.

And you will quickly see long queues forming in front of the entrance to each site as soon as it opens for the whole day!

To avoid sometimes waiting hours before visiting and optimize your visit to London in 2 days, I give you the 2 best solutions right here:

1. London Pass

If you want to save time on your 2-day trip to London, I recommend purchasing the London Pass in advance . 

This type of City Pass, which has been adopted by all major European cities such as Rome or Barcelona, ​​is really super practical for accessing the most famous sites while avoiding queues.

The London Pass is valid for a period of 1 to 10 days, so you can use it throughout your 48-hour stay in London. It’s actually an electronic pass to download to your smartphone and scan  at the entrance to each attraction or monument included.

It comes in the form of a tourist credit which is deducted at each entry to the main tourist sites: for example the 2-day London Pass at 325 credits which corresponds to €325 of entries while it only costs €101 purchase!!

In my opinion, this is the best pass to visit London in 2 days. 

Here I give you a summary of all the elements included in the 48-hour London Pass:

  • Access to London’s best attractions and popular tourist sites: Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey…
  • A hop-on hop-off tourist bus tour. Also a good plan if you have decided to visit London with your family.
  • Discounts in certain souvenir shops
  • A tourist guide to the city  with opening times and information on how to reach attractions during your weekend in London.

To buy your London city pass, it’s quick and easy, just click here.

There is also another Pass, London Go City Explorer Pass which offers passes based on the number of attractions you want to visit. There are therefore Passes for 2, 3, 4, 5 or 7 attractions.

You can reserve it by clicking here!

2. Skip the Line Tickets to London Tourist Attractions

The second solution to have quick access to all major sites is to take your skip-the-line tickets on a case-by-case basis, depending on your 2-day itinerary in London.

You will find a lot, both for historical monuments and for activities to do in London during these 2 days. To make it easier for you, I have listed a small part of it below which corresponds to the visits that I recommend in this article.

I will also give them back to you as the program progresses.

Simply click on the orange links on the names of the monuments or on the green buttons located in this guide to reserve and buy your tickets:

Final tip for a perfect 2-day stay in London

If you already know your travel dates (or as soon as you have them!), I strongly recommend that you book your accommodation.

And yes, London is quite simply one of the most touristy cities in the world and the hotels offering the best value for money are very quickly booked up.

Being used to traveling, I can guarantee you that it is always by planning as far in advance as possible that I have found the best accommodation.

It would be a shame to ruin part of your stay in London by ending up in a poor hotel that cost you a fortune, right?

So take 5 minutes now to take a look at the list of travelers’ favorite hotels in London.

And if you like a hotel, book it!

Cancellation is often free, it’s quick, easy, and it will protect you against the inconvenience of finding nothing, except mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.

Once your hotel or apartment is booked, it’s time to continue reading this guide!

Day 1: The Historic Center

2 days itinerary in London day 1

Day 1 visits:

A. Big Ben
B. Westminster Abbey
C. Buckingham Palace
D. Trafalgar Square
E. London Eye
F. Tate Britain and/or Tate Modern

A. Big Ben

Impossible to spend 2 days in London without going to see one of the city’s most important emblems : the famous Big Ben.

Famous throughout the world, this immense clock tower, 106 meters high, is part of the Palace of Westminster, also known as the “Houses of Parliament”.

Contrary to what most people think, “Big Ben” is not the name given to the tower but that given to the bell located inside and which rings every hour.

The tower itself is called the Clock Tower and it has at its top, on each side, 4 clocks, each 7 meters in diameter.

You will find the Clock Tower on the banks of the Thames in the historic center of London. You can also admire the Houses of Parliament and their Gothic architecture.

Tips for your London itinerary:

If you dreamed of being able to climb to the top of the Clock Tower during your 2-day trip to London, unfortunately that won’t be possible. ..unless you have English nationality!

Yes, only British people are allowed to go there upon official request and having reserved several months in advance.

Big Ben, on the program for these 2 days in London!
Big Ben, on the program for these 2 days in London!

B. Westminster Abbey

A few steps from Big Ben, you can visit Westminster Abbey, one of the city’s great historic monuments .

This abbey was the coronation place of multiple British sovereigns whose tombs you can see inside (including that of Mary Stuart).

I also advise you to opt for an audio guide to enjoy a truly interesting visit. Several circuits to choose from are offered, including a 30-minute visit, a one-hour visit and another fun route for children.

To avoid waiting 2 hours to visit Westminster Abbey, don’t forget to take the London Pass or a fast-access ticket.

Tips for your London itinerary:

Regarding the day’s program, I advise you to be at the abbey at opening (9:30 a.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. Saturday, closed Sunday).

2-hour guided tours are also offered by clicking here!

C. Buckingham Palace

Second essential stop of your 2-day visit to London: Buckingham Palace, residence of the Queen of England.

The palace is located just a few steps from Big Ben and I advise you to get there around 10/10:30 a.m. to be able to watch the changing of the royal guard.

This spectacular and solemn ceremony to the rhythm of the fanfare takes place every two days (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday).

The parade starts at 11 a.m. but it is best to arrive a little before to get a good seat as the event attracts crowds of tourists every day.

In the event of heavy rain, the handover ceremony does not take place. You can check online via this calendar if it is maintained or canceled.

Tips for your London itinerary:

Visiting the interior of Buckingham Palace is only permitted for 2 months per year, generally in August and September. It is therefore essential to book in advance because places are sold out:

Take advantage of your weekend in London to watch the changing of the guard
Take advantage of your weekend in London to watch the changing of the guard

D. Trafalgar Square / National Gallery Museum

Continue this 2-day London tour by now heading to Trafalgar Square, one of the most famous and lively squares in London.

Trafalgar Square and its 4 famous black lion statues are just a 15-20 minute walk from Buckingham Palace (pass through Saint Jame’s Park, a pretty flowered green space just opposite the palace).

In Trafalgar Square, you can stroll, rest, have a bite to eat and watch street performances.

After this short break, head to the National Gallery which overlooks the square. This art museum is one of the most beautiful museums in London.

Founded in 1824 and renowned throughout the world, it exhibits an impressive collection of authentic European works, notably painted by Picasso, Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Monet, Cézanne and Rembrandt. Like all national museums in England, entry is free for all.

Several tour routes are possible with an audio guide, including a route suitable for children which lasts approximately 1 hour.

Timetables can be found on the official website.

The National Gallery in London
The National Gallery in London

E. London Eye

After this cultural visit, I suggest you return to the historic center for the fourth stage of your 2-day stay in London: the London Eye.

From Trafalguar Square you can get there in 10-15 minutes on foot or by bus.

The London Eye is in fact the largest Ferris wheel in Europe and you have probably already seen it in the morning since it is located right next to Big Ben on the banks of the Thames.

A ride in this giant wheel will allow you to enjoy an exceptional panoramic view of the entire city at an altitude of more than 130 meters.

You need to reserve your places in advance for this activity. Just click here.

To save money, you can also book this combo ticket: London Eye + Thames River Cruise + Hop-on Hop-off Bus.

London Eye
Take a ride on the Ferris wheel at the London Eye

F. Tate Britain and/or Tate Modern

After having admired London from above, I suggest a new cultural getaway to calmly end this first day.

The British national museums are free so it would be a shame to miss them during your 2-day trip to London!

The Tate Britain and the Tate Modern Museums are two of the city’s most important art museums and they are located in the same area:

1) The Tate Britain is located almost opposite the London Eye, on the North Bank, and is dedicated to classic British art. You can see works by Turner, Hogarth and William Blake in particular.

2) The Tate Modern is dedicated to modern art and is located on the South Bank.

river shuttle connects the two museums every 30 minutes and therefore allows you to visit them one after the other without wasting time.

For opening hours, they can be found on the official website.

Tips for your London itinerary:

If you want to admire the city of London at night, I advise you to alternate the Tate museums with the Ferris wheel tour. 

After your visit to the National Gallery, head to the River Thames and the Embankment Pier. The river shuttle will take you to Milbank Pier in front of the Tate Britain entrance.

For the Tate Modern, stop at Bankside Pier.

Then take the shuttle in the opposite direction to reach the London Eye. With a little luck, you’ll be there right at sunset!

Day 2: Option 1

2 day itinerary in London day 2
2 day itinerary in London day 2

Day 2 visits:

A. St. Paul’s Cathedral
B. The City
C. The Tower of London
D. Tower Bridge
E. The Shard

A. Saint-Paul Cathedral

Let’s go for this second day in London, which I suggest you spend in the City district.

London’s business district also has some unmissable historical monuments.

To start the morning, I have planned a visit to Saint-Paul Cathedral for you . This baroque cathedral was built in the 17th century to replace the old church ravaged by the fire of 1666.

It is one of the historical monuments not to be missed during your two-day itinerary in London.

During your visit to Saint-Paul Cathedral, you will have the opportunity to see:

  • The magnificent nave
  • The mysterious gallery of whispers and its astonishing acoustics
  • La Stone Gallery
  • La Golden Gallery
  • The crypt
  • A superb panoramic view of the district, 85 meters above sea level from the dome.

Access to Saint-Paul is included in the London Pass.

Otherwise, skip-the-line tickets can be reserved here.

Saint Paul's Cathedral, London 2 days itinerary
Saint Paul’s Cathedral, to see in 48 hours in London!

B. The City

I suggest you continue the morning with a short tour of the neighborhood on foot.

The City is also the geographical center of London with lots of things to see. It is therefore an opportunity to take a pleasant walk to admire the buildings, the streets, meet the English business women/men and enjoy the atmosphere.

You will of course not be able to miss the emblem of the district: the “Gherkins”, this atypical skyscraper in the shape of a pickle (or a suppository? ^^)

I also advise you to go through the Sky Garden to discover, at the top of the highest public garden in the city, an exceptional 360° panorama. The ascent is free but you must reserve your places in advance on this site.

The Gherkin, in the City, London
The Gherkin, in the City, London

C. The Tower of London

During your day in the City district, you can’t miss the famous Tower of London.

It is located on the banks of the Thames, about fifteen minutes on foot from the “Gherkin”.

This historic tower dates back to 1066 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was sometimes a royal residence, sometimes a prison and a place of execution.

The visit is very interesting and especially focused on the macabre history of medieval London. For example, you can visit the old torture chamber and have execution stories told to you by guides in period costume.

It’s a fun and atypical visit that children really enjoy.

The crown jewels are also on display in the tower and attract crowds of curious people every day who come to admire them through the protective glass. I also advise you during the visit to take a walk in the very beautiful outdoor gardens.

And of course, take your skip-the-line tickets to avoid an endless queue! You can visit the Tower of London with your London Pass or buy your tickets separately by clicking here.

Tips for your London itinerary:

Enjoy a guided tour included in the ticket price. They start every 30 minutes at the main entrance.

The tower of London
The tower of London

D. Tower Bridge

You will certainly have seen it when heading towards the Tower of London: Tower Bridge is located just opposite, above the Thames.

This is also a must for a 2-day visit to London. Aesthetic and imposing, Tower Bridge is another iconic London monument known throughout the world.

It is recognizable at first glance thanks to its two Gothic towers and its turquoise blue frames. This bridge built in the 19th century to connect the North and South banks of London was at the time the most sophisticated weighbridge in the world.

You can admire it from the bank but you can also cross it and even climb one of the towers to visit the old engine room.

At the upper decks, a glass walkway gives the impression of flying above the river (not recommended for people sensitive to heights!).

The visit to Tower Bridge is included in the London Pass.

And if you just want to purchase a skip-the-line ticket for this attraction, just click here.

Tips for your London itinerary:

The charming little port of Saint Katharine’s Docks is located just at the foot of Tower Bridge. If you have time, I highly recommend taking a tour and why not dining in one of the restaurants with a direct view of the Thames.

Tower Bridge, London
Tower Bridge, London

E. The Shard

Your 2-day London itinerary is already almost over. I suggest you end it on an original note by climbing to the top of the Shard at a height of more than 300 meters.

It is London’s newest (and tallest) monument, inaugurated in 2012 and opened to the public in 2013. It is located a 10-minute walk from Tower Bridge.

It houses offices and luxury apartments but also represents the highest observation platform in Western Europe. Visitors are invited to climb to the top for one of the most spectacular views in all of London.

Multimedia exhibitions on London’s history are also presented in the building.

To reserve your places, click here.

Day 2: Places of interest to visit (Option 2)

There are so many things to see in London that I have to offer you an alternative for this second day. A 2-day stay in London is indeed a fairly short period of time for which you have to make choices.

You can therefore choose one or the other of these 2 courses according to your desires and preferences.

2 days itinerary in London day 2 – Alternative

Day 2 visits:

A. Notting Hill
B. The Natural History Museum
C. Hyde Park
D. Oxford Street
E. Soho / Piccadilly Circus / Covent Garden

A. Notting Hill

Notting Hill is an unmissable chic neighborhood located in West London.

It is a peaceful and elegant area where you can take a romantic stroll and explore the Portobello Road market for a morning.

To not miss anything in the neighborhood, I advise you to book this guided tour.

Notting hill
Notting hill

B. The natural history museum

The National Museum of Natural History in London is one of the city’s finest and largest museumsIt is also the most visited natural history museum in Europe.

It is so big and rich that you can’t see it all in one go unless you spend the whole day there. I advise you to stay there for a maximum of 2 hours to give yourself time for the rest.

C. Hyde Park

Hyde Park is the largest green space in London and one of the most beautiful city parks in the world. It’s time to have a picnic and/or take a walk in the fresh air.

In winter, the Christmas market and the Winter Wonderland funfair are located there.

In summer, several concerts and festivals are organized there.

D. Oxford Street

At the northeast exit of Hyde Park begins Oxford Street, London’s main shopping street for shopping and window shopping.

Oxford street, London
Oxford street, London

E. Soho / Piccadilly circus / Covent Garden

Soho is London’s liveliest area and the perfect place to party. There is an impressive concentration of pubs, theaters, restaurants, cinemas and nightclubs.

It is in Soho that you can see the best London musicals. They are very popular so remember to reserve your places in advance:

During your nighttime stroll in Soho, you will inevitably come across Piccadilly Circus and its giant advertising screens.

Covent Garden , another highly touristy London district that is very lively in the evening , is also located on the route.

Tips for your London itinerary:

If you are looking for an original experience to do in Soho, I particularly recommend choosing a Harry Potter-themed guided tour.

Departing from Soho, your guide will take you to the cult locations of the films including Diagon Alley, Gringotts, Platform 9 3/4, Knockdown Alley and much more. It’s really well done and the guide is super nice!

To book your Harry Potter guided tour here.

The Soho district of London
The Soho district of London

Accommodation in London

And there you have it, you now have all the keys to knowing how to visit London in 2 days!

I still have one question left to address: where are you going to stay?

It is true that getting along cheap in London is not easy. Due to intensive tourism, hotels do not hesitate to charge high prices, and this is even more valid for those located in the center of London.

My advice is therefore to book your accommodation in London as early as possible and benefit from the best prices.

Here is a small selection of the best hotels to spend the nights during your 2 days in London:

  • The Chamberlain: Located close to Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and the banks of the River Thames. This hotel in the purest British style offers pleasant and comfortable double rooms from €120 per night, breakfast at €12. The pluses: a smartphone made available, the excellent location, the welcoming staff and the comfort of the bedding. It is our favorite for its performance / price ratio! 
  • Hotel Indigo London – Kensington: This hotel is located in the Kensington and Chelsea district, a stone’s throw from a tube station. Well-equipped, quiet and warm double room from €200, breakfast at €19. Most: the calm of the neighborhood, cozy atmosphere, smiling and efficient staff.
  • Haymarket Hotel, Firmdale Hotels: 5* hotel located in London’s theater district, minutes walk from St James Park and 15 minutes from Buckingham Palace. Super comfortable double room, very spacious and quiet from 390€ per night, breakfast at 20€. Most: the perfect location, the charming staff, the excellent bedding. A must for a romantic stay in London!
  • The Soho Hotel, Firmdale Hotels: Luxury hotel located in the heart of London, 5 minutes from Oxford Street or Soho and only 10 minutes from Piccadilly Circus. Ultra spacious double room, design and beautifully decorated from 500€ per night, breakfast at 29€. Most: the perfect geographical location, the magnificent rooms, the sumptuous breakfast. This is our recommendation for a luxury stay in London! 

For those who prefer inexpensive hotels in London, I recommend the “Z Hotel” chain. They are in quite a few different areas of London and prices start at €60 per night.

This is the right plan for cheap accommodation in London!

Click on the links in orange to access information and prices:

Tips for your London itinerary:

This selection does not suit you? Are these hotels no longer available for your travel dates?

I advise you to consult our detailed article including other hotels and hostels, classified by neighborhood and by budget: The best hotels to stay in London.  

Piccadilly Circus in the evening
Piccadilly Circus in the evening

Visit London in 2 days with the family

If your children accompany you during your 2 days in London, here are some ideas to make the stay as pleasant as possible for the whole family:

  • Reduce the time spent in museums and focus on walks in parks (weather permitting!). Please note that most museums in London offer fun tours and activities for children.
  • The Tower of London is one of the visits that children enjoy the most!
  • The London Natural History Museum will amaze them (but a 2-hour visit may be a little long for the little ones).
  • Attend a musical with your family in the Soho district for a memorable evening.
  • Choose to travel in the famous red double-decker buses that children love. You can book this hop-on hop-off double-decker bus tour by clicking here!

Tips for your London itinerary:

For the first day, a visit to the Tate Britain and Tate Modern museums may not be suitable for younger people who might get bored.

You can replace this visit with that of the Madame Tussauds museum (a sort of London Grévin museum but much more fun!) or with a walk in Regent’s Park for example.

More things to do and see in London in 2 days

If you have followed our 2-day London tour program and still have time to discover other places, you need to read my complete tourist guide.

You’ll find plenty of ideas to round off your two-day London vacation in style.

To read it, just click here: What to do in London? The ultimate guide!

It may even make you want to extend your stay in London! Why not spend 3 or 4 days there?

Map of your 2-day London itinerary

To help you visualize your itineraries during these 2 days in London, I have made you a map listing the places to visit day by day. You can view the map legend by clicking the button at the top left with a small arrow. You will then be able to view the routes for each day.

Need help planning your 2-day London itinerary? Don’t hesitate to ask me your questions in the comments.

Are you going to London? Read also

Camille L.

Passionate about foreign languages, cooking and writing. I wish to share with you the places, the meetings and the gastronomic discoveries which gave relief to my travels.

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