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London: The Perfect 4 Day Itinerary

Updated: Feb 20

We recently spent one week in the UK - four days in London and three days in Edinburgh. Follow along for a complete list of everything we did, what we ate, the sites we loved, and the tips we learned.

Day 1

Checked into our hotel in Mayfair

Strolled through Hyde Park

Toured Kensington Palace and Gardens

Took Afternoon Tea at the Palace Tea Room

Dinner at a local pub

Learned how to navigate the Underground

Visited the Tower Bridge

Toured the Tower of London

Took the Thames Walk to Millennium Bridge

Checked out the art of Tate Modern

Walked through St. James Park

Saw the sites of Westminster - Horse Guard Parade, Big Ben, Westminster Abby, Parliament Square, and Trafalgar Square

Bustronome Dinner Experience

Enjoyed a guided tour of Westminster Abby

Learned about Churchill in the War Rooms

Took in the views of London from the London Eye

Experienced the art of the National Gallery

Dinner in the West End

Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theater.

Experienced the Changing of the Guard

Rode a Hop On and Off Bus Tour

Lunched in Borough Market

Shopped at Harrods

Saw the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum

Caught a late night flight to Edinburgh

Traveling from the United States, we landed in London after an overnight flight. A little bit tired and in need of a cup of coffee and a refresh, our first stop was at our hotel in Mayfair. Our accommodations were the Chesterfield in Mayfair. The hotel was lovely and quintessentially British. The staff greeted us as soon as our taxi pulled up to the front door with open doors, hot coffee served on silver trays, and incredible service. In addition to the top notch service, the hotel was lovely and charming, the area perfectly situated to see all the sites, easy access to the underground, and was very walkable to pubs, shops, and parks.

After a quick refresh, we were ready to see the sites. There is no better way to start a trip in London than with a palace and tea. So we did just that! We had tickets to tour Kensington Palace and reservations for the Afternoon Tea at the Palace. We decided to walk from Mayfair to Kensington through Hyde Park. The weather was lovely and the park was packed!

We arrived in time for our reservations at Kensington Palace Royal High Tea. Together with a guide, we strolled the Kensington Gardens learning about the history and importance of tea to the British. Then we sipped tea, nibbled on tiny sandwiches, scones, and cakes, and enjoyed the outdoor patio of the Orangery of Kensington Palace.

Following our tea, we had tickets to a self-guided tour of Kensington Palace. To guarantee entrance to Kensington Palace, tickets should be purchased online ahead of time. On the day of our tour, the tickets were sold out and many people were turned away. As ticket holders, we had a timed entry with the queue forming 15 minutes prior to entry. The admission ticket includes access to all public areas of the palace and gardens. Our time in the palace ended in the gift shop & cafe. The cafe is a great spot to grab a takeaway sandwich, scones, a cup of tea, and even a glass of wine or a beer. Both indoor and outdoor tables in the courtyard provided plenty of seating options. At the conclusion of our tour, we enjoyed an afternoon cocktail and the beautiful weather from a bench in the outdoor garden.

This two hour experience was perfect for us. However, a more a VIP experience is also an option. The VIP Kensington Palace and Gardens Royal Tea Crown Experience combines a guided tour with the afternoon tea.

We returned to Mayfair through Hyde Park. This time we took the route marked as "The Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Walk" allowing us to see many of the famous sites - the swans in the Serpentine, the Italian Gardens, the Prince Albert Memorial, and Royal Albert Hall. Along the way, the park provides plenty of opportunities to purchase drinks, ice cream, or snacks as well as formal seating areas and plenty of green grass for more informal seating. While deck chairs are also available for purchase (£1.50 for 1 hour up to £7 for all-day usage) the majority of people we saw were sitting directly on the grass. The park is easy to navigate with large maps easily accessed throughout. It was a great way to spend our first afternoon in London.

We returned to Mayfair for dinner. From our accommodations, we were able to walk to a neighborhood pub and quickly find a table where we enjoyed traditional pub fare and cold beers. No reservation were necessary. Cheers to a successful first day in London!

Know Before You Go:

Before leaving the States

  • Have the City Mapper App on your phone. This app was so helpful navigating the various transportation options (including walking). The app was easy to use and quickly mapped out the best route for us. Even allowing us to pick which type of transportation we planned to use - bus, taxi, underground, bike, walking, etc.

  •  While reservations in local pubs aren't a must, I do recommend planning ahead on the weekends. Also, it is customary to leave a 15% tip for meals in restaurants, unless a service charge has been added. It is not necessary to tip for drinks in pubs.

  • You should plan to tip black cabs and licensed mini cabs as well as the porter at your hotel. Our hotel allowed us to add a % to our final bill for all hotel staff.

  • Don't forget to pack a Type G power adapter

  • Plan ahead! Many of our tours required tickets to be purchased prior to arrival.

  • Pack and dress in layers. Although the forecast didn't predict it, it was un-seasonably warm when we were visiting. We experienced temperatures in the 80s in October. I am so glad we had layers as many of the buildings were very warm!

  • Don't forget to also pack an umbrella and a small backpack or tote. We noticed many Londoners were wearing backpacks or carrying totes. We used a tote to carry our water bottles, an umbrella, and any purchases made throughout our day. It wasn't a problem entering any of the public spaces.

  • Download the Great British Public ToiletMap 

  • Take full advantage of my love of travel and planning skills, connect with me here to book your travel and/or free quote for my planning services.

Is London Safe?

Yes! London is generally a safe city - even at night. You will likely not find yourself alone as the city is always bustling. Public transport runs 24 hours a day.

When traveling in any city, we always recommend taking the typical city precautions – don’t walk alone at night, stay in well-lit locations, ensure valuables are stored out of sight, be aware of your surroundings, keep your bags/purses close to your body, and be aware of pick pockets in large crowds.


We stayed at the Chesterfield in Mayfair. It was perfect! The service was top notch, the hotel was quaint, charming and very clean. The location was walkable to pubs, shops, the park, as well as close to the underground.

Getting Around:

There are many ways to get around in London. I highly recommend having the City Mapper App on your phone. This app was so helpful navigating the various transportation options (including walking). The app was easy to use and quickly mapped out the best route for us. Even allowing us to pick which type of transportation we planned to use - bus, taxi, underground, bike, walking, etc.

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