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Posted 13 Sep, 2022 | No comments
Posted in: Things To Do, Travel Blogs, UK

A weekend in London should be on everyone’s bucket list as Britain’s capital is packed full of interesting things to do. From cultural and historical sites, to world-class shopping, restaurants, and more. In this London 2 day itinerary, you’ll find out how best to spend your time in London.  

Enjoy walking around some of London’s most iconic landmarks and discover the city’s many parks and green spaces, some with spectacular views of the London skyline.

After you’ve finished feeding your senses, be sure to feed yourself at any number of London eateries.

Whether you’re craving traditional fish and chips, or you’d rather sample something from one of the many other cuisines represented, you’re sure to stay satisfied on a trip to this vibrant city.

I’ve lost count of the number of weekends I’ve spent in London, but I can certainly tell you all about the best spots to visit, from the top bars and restaurants, to some of the city’s hidden gems. So, let’s get stuck in and discover what to do in London in two days. 

Weekend In London (Suggested Itinerary)

Below I’ve broken up the ideal weekend in London itinerary and also included an interactive map and some tips to make the most of a short visit to England’s Capital.

Day 1 in London

The best way to start your weekend in London is to dive into a decent breakfast. Many of the major London attractions are within walking distance, but those steps can soon add up so starting off with a full belly is the way to go.

Many people take the tube, (subway), short distances, but it can be quite pleasant to walk one or two stops between stations; consider getting off early and walking between instead. You’ll be glad you did as you’ll be sure to see some interesting places along the way. 

Photo of people walking in the street of London

Morning

Start your day in historic Westminster, where many of London’s top attractions can be seen in close proximity. But first, breakfast…

There’s nothing quite like a “full English” to set you up for the day, and the Regency Cafe is the perfect place to get your fix. The nearest tube is Pimlico, (on the Victoria line), which is less than five minutes away on foot. 

At just £6.00, ($7.25), for an English breakfast of bacon, egg, sausage, beans, toast, and tea, you’d be hard pushed to find cheaper anywhere in the UK. Veggie options are also available on the menu.

The location of the Regency Cafe is just a five-minute walk to Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey.

You can wander around one of the most iconic parts of London on your own, but to really get a feel for the place, and learn some of the history, consider taking a walking tour.

The above tour is perfect as there’s a morning option from 10:00am – 1:00pm, meaning you can finish your breakfast at leisure before being shown over 20 of London’s most famous and historical landmarks by a real Londoner.

If you fancy doing the tour a little later, there are also options to begin at 1:00pm or 3:00pm. The cost is £16.00 per person.

Should you want to head off on your own, you can also wander down to the River Thames, Westminster Bridge, Buckingham Palace, and St James Park, as they’re all within easy walking distance.

The Tate Britain is just a few steps from the Regency and is a great attraction for art lovers. For the James Bond fans amongst you, it’s just a short walk to the MI5 building on the river bank, (shh, it’s a secret), but for obvious reasons, you can’t go in. 

Afternoon

For lunch, head to the foodie heaven that is Borough Market by jumping on the Circle line at Westminster, and travelling six stops to Monument tube. If you’re feeling energetic, it can be walked in under an hour, and most of the route is along the banks of the Thames.

If you’re not feeling peckish just yet I highly recommend climbing the 311 steps to the top of the Monument for panoramic views across the London skyline.

cheap weekend in London

This 62-metre, (202 ft), tower was erected in 1677 to commemorate the great fire of London, and has been attracting visitors for centuries. 

From Monument, walk south onto London Bridge and cross the Thames to Borough. It’s just a quick trot past St Mary’s Church to the market, where you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to lunch options – I personally recommend the venison burger.

There are plenty of sit-down cafes within the market offering a range of cuisines, but if you want to lunch like a local, pick up something from one of the stalls and sit in the churchyard next door, (this is what I usually do), or wander down to the river.

After lunch, you’re well placed for some of London’s most popular attractions around London Bridge. Fans of the macabre can pay a visit to the London Dungeon and learn all about the city’s dark past. This great combo deal for the Dungeon and London Eye will save you money on these top London attractions. 

You won’t fail to notice the Shard towering above London Bridge station like a giant piece of glass. The Shard contains a selection of bars and restaurants within, as well as a viewing platform on the 72nd floor, offering unparalleled views of the city.

Evening

London really starts to come alive after the sun goes down and one of the best places to spend the evening is in the West End. Here you’ll find everything from shows to shopping, and some of the best restaurants in the city. 

From London Bridge station take the Northern Line five stops to Kings Cross. Here you’ll need to change for the Piccadilly Line for Covent Garden, three stops away.

You won’t have a problem finding somewhere for dinner in Covent Garden as it’s renowned for its foodie scene. From fine dining to street snacks, there’s something to suit every taste and budget.

For first-time visitors, I recommend Rock and Sole Plaice, as no trip to Britain’s capital is complete without sampling our national dish of fish and chips. This is arguably the best place in London – they’ve been making traditional battered fish and chips for over 145 years! 

A traditional British buttered fish and chips on weekend in London

After dark head to Piccadilly Circus to see the famous illuminations. If you’re feeling full, then you can jump on the tube, (two stops on the Piccadilly line). However walking only takes ten minutes and you’ll pass through another London landmark, Trafalgar Square, which is buzzing at night.

Finally, finish up the night in trendy Soho, one of London’s best night spots. You can take a tour of Soho’s bars, but I can also recommend Garlic and Shots which is my favourite Soho hangout.

If you’re interested in whiskey, don’t miss this trip which takes you to 5 pubs with a Scotsman.

☞ SEE ALSO: 15 Best Food Tours in London (+ Drinks)

Day 2 in London

You’ll want another great breakfast to set you up for day two of your weekend in London. But on day two we dispense with the greasy spoon and opt instead for something a little more cultured – perfect if you’re looking at spending a romantic weekend in London.

Morning

Start the day with a little bit of class at the Wolseley in London’s plush Mayfair district. Their legendary eggs benedict won’t break the bank at just £9.75, which considering the area, is pretty good!

Breakfast is served in sumptuous surroundings from 8:00am on weekends, and from 7:00am Monday – Friday. The Wolseley really knows how to make breakfast, and the menu also has a great selection of croissants, cereals, fruits, and cooked breakfasts.

2 day london tour

If you want to stick to a British theme, then you can’t go wrong with the grilled kippers, (herring).

After breakfast, stretch your legs at London’s famous royal Hyde Park. It’s just a short walk along Piccadilly and past the Ritz. Upon entering the park you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve left the city behind and entered rural England as it’s bursting with greenery.

Take a stroll around the Serpentine Lake, and if the weather is good enough and you’re feeling brave, you can even jump in for a cooling swim. There are plenty of things to see and do in the park from Speakers’ Corner, to the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, Kensington Gardens, and more.

There are cafes and restaurants around the lake, including the Serpentine Bar and Grill, so you can pop in for a coffee or snack and enjoy one of the city’s more peaceful spots.

The Natural History Museum is a short walk from Hyde Park and is one of London’s most well-loved attractions. This incredible collection of natural wonders is free to enter, so if you’re looking for a cheap weekend in London, hitting the city’s museums is a great option.

Afternoon

Anyone spending two days in London should be sure to check out Camden; one of the city’s most vibrant areas. From Hyde Park Corner you can jump on the Piccadilly line and jump three stops to Leicester Square. Change here for the Northern line and stay on for six stops to Camden Town.

You also have the option to visit Camden by canal boat along the Regent’s Canal. This excellent tour sets sail from Little Venice and finishes up right next to the market at Camden lock. 

A busy weekend in Camden market.

For lunch, I recommend trying one of the many interesting eateries around the station. Here you’ll find a huge range of cuisines from African and Middle Eastern, to European, and more. My personal favourite spot for a light lunch is King of Falafel directly opposite the tube station.

After lunch head to the famous Camden Lock Market and have a look around the stalls selling everything from arts and crafts, to local produce, clothes, and jewellery.

Be sure to try out one of the unique ice creams from Chin Chin Labs; a London institution, and sit on the canal to enjoy your sweet treat.

Camden is home to some of London’s most famous pubs. I recommend checking out the Hawley Arms which used to be Amy Winehouse’s local. They have a nice rooftop terrace overlooking Camden – perfect for people-watching on a lazy Sunday afternoon. 

Evening

To top off your 2 days in London, head to hip Shoreditch, one of the city’s most up-and-coming areas. You can take the tube, but it will involve several changes, so I recommend taking a taxi or Uber to make things easier, (the price will be around £25.00).

For dinner, Dishoom is a great option and you can sample another of Britain’s most loved cuisines, curry, (though they have a wide and varied menu). Dishoom serves Indian food with an Iranian twist in a trendy Parsi-themed cafe that’s hugely popular with locals and tourists alike.

unique experiences in london for couples

Spend the evening discovering Shoreditch’s vast selection of quirky bars. From speakeasies to gin palaces, and everything in between, this is the place to see and be on any given evening.

For cocktails, pop into the retro Callooh Callay with its unique “JubJub Room” bathed in a soft, purple light. Check out SINK where you can play a range of games like ping pong or beer pong whilst sipping your drink beneath some pretty awesome street art.

If you really want to experience Shoreditch’s legendary nightlife, then check out this Shoreditch pub crawl. You’ll hit some of the trendiest bars, pubs and clubs in town. This great experience is just £20 and includes free entry to five establishments, plus five free shots. 

How I Chose This Weekend in London Itinerary

As a UK native and someone who lived very close to London for my entire life, I have done countless weekends in London myself, and I’ve also taken friends, family, and visitors into the city for a 2-day trip.

Some of the things to do in London just won’t fit into a two-day itinerary, and others don’t make sense because they’re too far away.

So after spending countless weekends in London, I came up with this perfect itinerary for 2 days in the city. I chose a variety of activities and things you can see easily, that are all in close enough proximity to each other that you won’t be spending your entire time on public transport or in a taxi.

I then narrowed down dozens of things to do in London to choose the best ones that can easily be conquered in a quick weekend trip.

Tips for a Weekend Trip to London

Here are a few tips to make your trip to London even more enjoyable.

1. Get Around London on Foot

Save money and experience more by walking instead of taking the tube or a taxi. You’ll find that many stations are close together and the distances are not drastic. 

2. Go Contactless

In days gone by visitors needed an Oyster card to save money on transport, but the advent of contactless payment cards means you can enjoy the same rates as locals by tapping your bank card in and out whilst traveling. 

3. Check out London for Free

Many of London’s top museums are free. If you’re looking for a cheap weekend in London then add places such as the British Museum, Natural History Museum, and the National gallery to your itinerary.  Make sure to have a look at this list of 25 free things to do in London.

4. Choose Cheaper Neighbourhoods

For cheaper accommodation stay in East London rather than the central tourist areas. Places like Stratford are great and within easy reach of the city. Have a look at our guide to the best areas to stay in London to help you choose.

5. Have a Picnic

Save money on expensive restaurants by buying food in supermarkets or at market stalls and eating in one of London’s many beautiful and free entry parks. 

How to Get to London

There are a few ways to get to the city. Here are the most popular.

London has excellent connections to the rest of Europe and beyond with three major airports all within easy reach. Plus, the Eurostar makes getting to central London from mainland Europe a piece of cake. 

cool experiences in london

By Air 

Europe’s largest budget airline Ryanair has a base at London Stansted Airport with direct flights from over 100 cities. Getting to central London from Stansted is easy with a direct shuttle train taking just 50 minutes, and multiple hourly buses taking around 90 minutes.

If you’re coming from further afield, you’ll likely fly into Heathrow or Gatwick, both of which are reachable from the city within an hour by shuttle bus or train. 

By Train 

It takes just 2 hours and 17 minutes to reach London from Paris via the Eurostar. What’s more, the train terminates at St Pancras Station, (next to Kings Cross), so you’ll arrive in central London without the need for transfers.

There are also direct train services to many of the UK’s major cities such as Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow. 

By Bus 

If coming from the continent, Flixbus has services to London from many destinations including France, Germany, Italy and Spain. For domestic routes, National Express has buses to London’s Victoria Coach Station from cities across the country. 

By Car

London is easily reachable from cities across the UK by car, however be aware that there’s a congestion charge for driving in central London and parking can be hard to find, (and expensive). With this in mind, it’s probably better to travel into London using public transport. 

Where to Stay With 2 Days in London

It’s no secret that Britain’s capital is an expensive city. However, there are certainly budget accommodation options available for those staying for two days in London.

Some of the best neighbourhoods to stay in London include Shoreditch, Islington, and the area around Waterloo Station. Areas around the West End, such as Covent Garden, are excellent choices as there are so many nearby attractions, but this will come at a premium. 

Hotels

Budget: The W14 Hotel 

Mid-range: Ibis Shoreditch

Luxury: NYX Hotel

Apartments

Budget: Brick Lane Shoreditch Studio

Mid-range: Luxurious Studio – Excellent Location

Luxury: Loft in Mayfair

If you’re stuck and are having a hard time choosing where to stay, have a look at our list of the top 10 Airbnbs in London.

FAQs About a Weekend Getaway in London

Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about spending a weekend in London.

Is Two Days in London Enough Time?

Two days is the perfect amount of time to see some of London’s top attractions and the unique experiences that the city has to offer. With many of the famous landmarks in close proximity and a fantastic infrastructure, there’s no excuse not to see as much as possible. 

With just a weekend getaway, you won’t be able to go on any day trips from London. But, there’s plenty to see within the city itself during your two day stay.

How Can I Spend a Weekend in London?

A weekend in London can be spent in almost any way you can imagine. From dining on mouth-watering food and visiting iconic sites, to exploring the many interesting boroughs that make up this great city. 

Getting around the city is simple with transport such as the tube, buses, night buses, taxis, water taxis, and more. Don’t miss some of the top London attractions like Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, and Soho. This experience covers all of the highlights.

All you need is your passport, a few pounds, and a sense of adventure to enjoy a weekend getaway in London.

Is London Worth Visiting?

London is definitely a city worth visiting, (20 million people per year can’t be wrong). With a history dating back thousands of years and experiences like museums and world-class dining waiting for you, incredible architecture to see, and friendly locals to meet, London really should be on the bucket list of every traveller.

Enjoy Your Weekend Trip to London

Now you’re all set for the perfect weekend in London. You’ll see iconic landmarks, world-class museums, and dine in some of the city’s favourite establishments. You’ll cross the Thames, explore quirky markets, and sample London’s banging nightlife.

With so much to do, and so many things to see, I absolutely love spending the weekend in London, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it just as much as I do.

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Written by

Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. In 2015 he moved to China to teach English where he lived for over six years. He has lived and taught in the cities of Harbin, Luoyang, Sanya, and spent a few months in Hong Kong, before returning to England in 2022. He has visited over 60 countries to date and usually opts for overland travel (yes, even between the UK and China). Steve has travelled extensively across China, and Central Asia. Having lived much of his life within a 50-mile radius of London, the city is his second home and he knows it like the back of his hand.

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