48 Hours in London: A Perfect 2 Day Itinerary

With so much to explore, 48 hours in London is barely enough time to scratch the surface. However with some careful planning it’s possible to catch a taste of what this marvelous city has to offer. London is definitely having a moment right now after being named the best city in the world for 2023, and after living in London during Covid, I definitely understand why. The blend of rich history, diverse culture, iconic landmarks, and the vibrant atmosphere, all make an unforgettable and magical city. So pull out your walking shoes, embrace the hustle, and let’s dive into a whirlwind 48 Hours in London!

visit london with kids

48 Hours in London – Day 1 

Start your first day in London by putting on some comfy walking shoes and fueling up with a traditional Full English breakfast at a local café. Eggs, bacon, sausages, baked beans, tomatoes, and toast will give you all the energy you need for a day of exploration.

visit buckingham palace

Stop 1: Buckingham Palace

Head straight to Buckingham Palace to witness the iconic Changing of the Guard ceremony at 11:00 AM (make sure to double check the schedule beforehand). Swoon over the grandeur of the palace, snap some selfies with the guards, and take a leisurely stroll down Pall Mall towards Trafalgar Square.

visit trafalgar square with 48 hours in london

Stop 2: Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square is cool because it feels like the beating heart of London, where history, culture, and people come together. Aside from the impressive architecture framing the square, Nelson’s column regally stands in the center of the square, overlooking the various cultural events and festivals. Trafalgar Square is walking distance to many other famous attractions, including The National Gallery and Covent Garden.

camden market fun to visit with 48 hours in london

Stop 3: Camden Market

Camden Market is a vibrant and eclectic spot in London, offering a unique shopping experience. It’s filled with with vintage treasures, handmade crafts, and quirky London finds. The cool bohemian atmosphere is appealing to both locals and tourists as it’s filled with diverse food stalls, live music, and street art. It’s also famous for being the place where Amy Winehouse lived and passed, and there’s a bronze statue dedicated to her located inside the market.

Stop 4: Covent Garden

Covent Garden is undeniably cool and is on everyones list to visit for the unique shops, fun street performers, delicious restaurants, proximity to the theater and endless festivals. My personal favorite part of Covent Garden is Neal’s Yard, a colorful and vibrant courtyard tucked away from the bustling streets. Grab a quick bite from one of the trendy restaurants here, or enjoy an afternoon tea in a quaint cafe.

neals yard in covent garden is incredible when you visit london

Stop 5: Take in a West End Show

London’s West End is filled with world-class theatre and you can catch everything from the big iconic musicals to thought provoking dramas. Whether you’re a theater buff or a newbie wanting to see what all the fuss is about, the West End has it all. Enjoy an unforgettable evening of glitz, glamor, entertainment and cultural enrichment.

Stop 6: Chinatown

After your show, head to the vibrant neighborhood of Chinatown (look for the red lanterns), famous for the bustling nightlife and diverse restaurant scene. In addition to traditional Chinese food, Chinatown offers an eclectic mix of restaurants that stay open late into the night, making it a perfect spot for a post-show meal.

48 Hours in London – Day 2 

Stop 1: Notting Hill and Portobello Road Market

Notting Hill and Portobello Road Market offer a cool and vibrant atmosphere with picturesque streets, eclectic vintage treasures, and trendy boutiques. Stroll through the colorful streets, grab fresh pastries and juice at one of the many trendy cafes, and soak in the live street performers. Don’t miss the famous Portobello Road Market if you like to dig for antiques, vintage fashion, and unique trinkets.

Portobello market and notting hill vintage shopping

Stop 2: The British Museum

Explore the grand halls of human history at The British Museum, an impressive building that is filled with artifacts from around the world. You can check out things like the Rosetta Stone, Egyptian mummies, Moai statues from Easter Island, and other ancient pieces that the Brits “acquired” from other countries. But hey, at least admission is free when you book online through their website, so you can check out these “borrowed” treasures guilt-free!

visit the British Museum in London

Stop 3: Enjoy a Pub Lunch

London pubs are a way to enjoy traditional food and beer, and soak in the banter and atmosphere that makes them a beloved part of London’s unique social scene. I strongly recommend trying traditional British fish and chips washed down with a delish Marston’s Pedigree.

Walk off your pub lunch by strolling along the Thames River Embankment, taking in the sight of famous landmarks like The Shard, Westminster Bridge and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

48 hours in london you must visit the tower bridge

Stop 4: Tower of London and Tower Bridge

The Tower of London and Tower Bridge are two iconic landmarks that have the undeniable cool factor. Tower Bridge is an engineering marvel that will amaze you if you’re lucky enough to catch it open to let a tall ship pass underneath. These two landmarks epitomize London’s rich history and are must-visit destinations for anyone with 48 hours in London.

Stop 5: London Eye

As the sun starts to set and you begin to feel weary, end your whirlwind 48 hours in London with a ride on the iconic London Eye. The London Eye offers a bird’s-eye view of the entire city and you’ll be able to point out the places you’ve visited. As you slowly rotate above the city lights, reflect on the incredible 48 hours in London you’ve spent in this magical city.

london eye

Although there is still SO much more to see after 48 hours in London, hopefully you’ll have created your list of places you’d like to explore on your next visit. With its blend of history, culture, and tradition, London leaves a mark on all who visit and you leave with a promise to return for more exciting adventures.

Where would you head to first with 48 hours in London?

Let me know by leaving a comment below and joining me on Instagram and Twitter!

About The Author


I’m a travel and health writer, digital and brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two active boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising teenage boys, family life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

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