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Budget Friendly Itinerary for London with the London Pass | Traditional London Itinerary | Top Sights to See in London | London Sightseeing Guide | London Travel Guide | Budget-friendly London | London Budget-friendly | London on a budget | London Afternoon Tea | Sightseeing in London | Bucket List London List - California Globetrotter

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I might make a little extra spending money, at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own and these products/services have been found useful during our travels and come highly recommended to you from yours truly!

London – Europe’s largest city and one of the most famous capitals in the world. Incredibly iconic, vibrant and diverse, London is for everyone. There are a plethora of attractions, museums, historical sites, modern architectural structures, theaters, cafes, pubs and restaurants to fit everyone’s desires! For first-timer visitors to London, it can all seem a bit overwhelming trying to figure out where to begin, what should you see in London and how to cram it all in in a short amount of time without going overboard.

So I’ve put together the perfect three-day itinerary which includes many of London’s major attractions, a few lesser known spots, the kitschy hot spots and places to visit for free in London, taking you through many of London’s most popular neighborhoods including Westminster, Southwark, Kensington and Camden! For many, London will be the gateway to a life of travel!

Visiting London Soon? PIN IT FOR LATER!!

A Traditional London Itinerary with the London Pass | London Pass Attractions | Is the London Pass worth it? | Budget-friendly City Trip | How to Save Money in London | Budget Guide to London | Budget-friendly London | Free Things to do in London | What to see in London | London Travel Guide | London Budget Guide | What to do in London | Main Attractions in London | Unique Things to do in London | Afternoon Tea in London - California Globetrotter

This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSMyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article!

How to AVOID Looking Like a Tourist in Europe

Afternoon Tea at the Kensington Palace Pavilion

Afternoon Tea Etiquette – 15 Do’s & Don’ts of Afternoon Tea

Getting to London

London is home to one of Europe’s busiest airport hubs, London Heathrow, including four other main airports which are Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and London City. If you’re flying in from outside of Europe, you will most likely arrive into London Heathrow. If you’re arriving by budget airlines from within Europe, you’re more likely to arrive at the other four airports, especially Gatwick or Stansted. Upon arrival, you can easily hop aboard the train and head into London either from Gatwick to London or Standsted to London. If you plan on spending several consecutive days in London, I highly recommend NOT renting a car and driving in London. Trust me when I say, you really don’t want to drive in the capital!! The entire capital is thoroughly connected via the Underground (the Tube), the Overground and buses. 

Perhaps you’re doing a day trip to London from Paris via the EuroStar, you’ll arrive at the St. Pancras International Train Station. Or perhaps you’re even thinking of doing the trip vice versa with a day trip from London to Paris which is also highly recommended and totally feasible!

Getting around London

For first-time visitors to London, if you’re not accustomed to riding the rails, then learning to navigate the Underground can seem daunting, however, have no fear! Using the Underground is actually quite manageable with a pocket map of the Underground stations and a brain. You can purchase individual tickets for each time you use the Tube, however, it would be more beneficial to get an Oyster Card and load it with as much money you seem fit. Should you run out, you can easily top it up without fear of putting too much money on to the card. By purchasing the Oyster Card, you have access to all of London’s public transit which can both save you time and money! Save your Oyster Card should you return to London again!

Save Time & Money in London

If you’re planning a trip to London, you might as well come to terms that the city is a rather expensive place to visit, but that doesn’t mean that a visit to London should break the bank! If you’re wondering how to save money while visiting London, we chose to invest in the London Pass which upon purchase, allows free entry to over 60 of London’s top attractions saving us a ton of money we could then spend on other things! It’s well worth the investment especially if you are traveling to London for the first time! Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered for a budget trip to London hitting up all the main sights! Even if you only have one day in London, by investing in the London City Pass, you will still save money and be able to see many of London’s main attractions!

With the London Pass you have access to those 60 top attractions in London, some of which also included fast-track access bypassing those long pesky lines, a free hop-on, hop-off bus ticket, including a ‎£25 Oyster Card, additional discounts on food, tours and shopping. We spent quite a while doing the math to decide if it was really worth it, but in every scenario, the best money saving deal for London was investing in both the London Pass + Oyster Card. You can purchase the London Pass + Oyster card for either 1, 2, 3, 6 or 10 days. We opted for the 3 day pass. Keep an eye on the London Pass website prior to purchasing your passes as they might offer a special discount! We were able to take advantage of their Winter Special and receive an additional 20% off!  London on a budget can be hard, but not impossible and these money-saving tips for visiting London will definitely help cut down on costs!

Unfortunately, by purchasing the London Pass and Oyster Card together, shipping is not possible, therefore, we had to pick up our passes upon arrival the day before usage as the ticket office is only open from 10:00 – 4:30pm and we had a busy sightseeing schedule starting at 8am! We definitely didn’t want to waste any time!

Otherwise, I’ve also included a few free sights to see in London which helped to entertain us but were cheap things to do for couples, therefore, saving us even more money! Combining the London Pass with a few costless things to do in London was the best way to sightsee in London on a budget!

Day 1 London Sightseeing Itinerary: Westminster

Considering that the Changing of the Guards takes place at Buckingham Palace on Mondays, I knew that Day 1 in London would be spent around Westminster – the center of political and religious power since the 11th century! It’s here that you’ll find London’s most iconic and famous buildings including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Parliament and Big Ben!

Peggy Porschen Cakes 

But before we got into a full day of sightseeing, we enjoyed a coffee and tea at Peggy Porschen Cakes. Perhaps a bit kitschy but how could I resist the florals, the baby pinks and sweetly decorated coffees? It is after all, quite possible the cutest cafe in London and a super special place to visit in London! I know it was early, but for the sake of the photo, I had to take one for the team and try one of the delicious cupcakes as well! Sorry not sorry!

Nearby: Les Senteurs, Little Ben Clock

The Royal Mews 

While you can only visit the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace between July 21st to September 30th, you can however visit the Royal Mews which displays a collection of British royal carriages, coaches and automobiles. Recently added to the collection is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee State Coach made in Australia with all the newest technological advancements! With your ticket, you’ll receive a complimentary Video Audio Guide which you can listen to as you stroll through the Mews, meet some of the Queen’s horses and even check out the Gold State Coach, the grandest of them all which has been used at every coronation since George IV in 1821. 

Changing of the Guards & Buckingham Palace

While the ‘Guard Mounting’ occurs daily during the summer, we were still visiting during the winter, which meant that the elaborate ceremony of changing out the regiments would take place on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday which meant that with the itinerary I had planned out, Monday would be our only chance. The best tips for watching the Changing of the Guard is to either stand along the Mall, the street which is directly in front of the palace or along Spur Road as they march round the Victoria Memorial. We opted not to squeeze our way into the crowds for a view of the exchange of guards, but instead watched them parade down the Mall towards Buckingham Palace giving us an unobstructed view. 

Buckingham Palace is without a doubt the most visited palace in the UK, simply because everyone wants to catch a glimpse of the Queen. If you’re wondering how do you know if the Queen is home, the Royal Standard flag is raised. When she visits her other royal palaces, the flag is removed and replaced by the Union Jack (the British flag). The palace was originally built as a private residence by the Duke of Buckingham in the 16th century. The first monarch to occupy the palace was Queen Victoria just after her coronation in 1837. As previously mentioned, the State Rooms are only open to the public between August and September and tickets must be booked in advance as this is still the Royal Residence and administrative headquarters of the Queen when she is in London. 

Related: Royal Novels to Read Before Coming to Europe

Movies & Shows to Watch Before Visiting London:

King Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn:  The Other Boleyn Girl

Queen Elizabeth I (and Shakespeare): ElizabethElizabeth: The Golden Age

Queen Victoria:  The Young VictoriaVictoriaVictoria & Abdul

Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana:  The CrownThe QueenDiana

Churchill War Rooms 

After a brisk walk through St. James Park (more casual if the weather is nicer), escape from the unusually cold winter (“the Beast from the East”) by ducking into the Churchill War Rooms | Imperial War Rooms. Explore the underground headquarters of Winston Churchill, the UK’s most iconic political figure who navigated the uncertain waters of defeating Hitler during the Second World War. Here you can follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest Prime Ministers of the UK in his top secret bunker and learn about his legacy. 

Nearby: 10 Downing Street

Movies about Winston Churchill:

ChurchillDarkest HourInto The Storm

Westminster Abbey 

Considered to be one of the most important, impressive and historical churches in England, Westminster Abbey has been the burial place of British monarchs since the 11th century, as well as other notable British citizens such as Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Elizabeth I to name a few. The church has also been the setting for many coronations and weddings, including the widely broadcasted coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, as well as the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middelton. A visit will also include a Video Audio Guide which helps give background information on the church and major highlights, however, photography is not allowed inside. But trust me when I say, visiting is one of the coolest things to do in London!

The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (Elizabethan Tower) 

Although not part of the London Pass, you can visit the Houses of Parliament and take a tour. However, for the moment I was satisfied with once again only visiting the outside, which currently is covered in scaffolding for renovations. Even Big Ben has been temporarily silenced. If you are a UK resident, you have the ability to contact a local MP or a Member of the House of Lords to request a free tour, however, for non-UK residents, there are other ways to visit the Houses of Parliament, such as booking a guided or audio tour

Westminster Bridge, Queen’s Walk and the London Eye to Embankment Station 

After you have strolled around Parliament Square and checked out Westminster Abbey, walk across Westminster Bridge over the River Thames for a fantastic view of the House of Parliament. From the bridge, you’ll also have a wonderful view of the London Eye, Europe’s tallest observation wheel with large enclosed glass pods which was installed to celebrate the Millennium. Although not part of the London Pass, a one-hour ride on the London Eye is a great way to enjoy some fabulous views over the London. 

Once over the bridge, if you have some extra time, stroll along the Queen’s Walk, a promenade along the South Bank of the River Thames for a romantic stroll lined with elaborate street lamps. 

Nearby: The London Dungeon

Trafalagar Square and the National Gallery or the National Portrait Gallery (optional) 

While still walking along the Queen’s Walk, you’ll pass a carousel before crossing the River Thames again via the Golden Jubilee Bridge and walk towards Trafalagar Square, a popular public square in central London. The square is home to Nelson’s Column – a monument commemorating Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalagar in 1805. It’s here that you’ll also find two of London’s most popular museums, the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. Not being much of a museum fan, we opted to continue on to Piccadilly Circus.

Nearby: The Sherlock Holmes Pub

Piccadilly Circus 

A famous road junction in London which is dominated by neon advertising billboards which first went up in 1910, changing the elegant space into a popular hang out spot surrounding the statue of Anteros, which is often referred to as a “miniature Times Square”. From here, you can reach Regent Street, a major shopping street in London, as well as the West End Theaters where you can watch some of London’s best plays! Here, the word ‘circus’ means circle, not an actual circus!

If you’re headed to London this summer and are looking for accommodation in London, here are some summer deals to help you save up to 15% off!

Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason 

When it comes to afternoon tea in London, Fortnum and Mason is classified as a British institution known for catering to the Queen of England and epitomizing the sophistication of a traditional afternoon tea! Located near Piccadilly Square, with over 100 different blends of tea including the Royal Blend made for King Edward VII being among the top ranking since 1902! 

Located on the fourth floor, High tea is served in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 2012. Tables are spaciously spread out, servers are exquisitely dressed and well-educated about the variety of blends and ready to teach newbies like myself.

As a belated birthday gift from my family, we spent the remainder of our afternoon enjoying delicate sandwiches, scones with either strawberry jam or lemon curd and clotted cream only to be topped off with decadent patisseries. And if we thought that wasn’t enough, we were able to chose a cake from the Cake Carriage only to be given yet anooother birthday cake. And the best part? It’s all replenishable and served on their iconic turquoise and gold china set!

After our delightful afternoon tea, we perused the lower three floors of shops, stocking up on my now favorite tea!

Related: Where to Take Afternoon Tea Around the World

Nearby: The Ritz, Hard Rock Cafe, Green Park

Now you can hop on the Piccadilly Line to Covent Garden.

Covent Garden 

Visiting Covent Garden was always on my list as many Audrey Hepburn fans would know the area as being where Professor Henry Higgins discovers Eliza Doolittle with a thick Cockney accent and makes a bet with Colonel Hugh Pickering that he could teach any person to speak in a way that he could pass them off as a duke or duchess at an embassy ball. While you won’t find anything that screams ‘My Fair Lady’ at Covent Garden, you will however find elegant buildings that now house stylish shops, restaurants, cafes and bars which was an earlier decaying streets and warehouses until the 1970s. 

We sat down at Laduree, a Parisian patisserie cafe in the center of Covent Garden which had tables outside enjoying a warm sunny spring day after a long wind known as “The Beast from the East”. To be honest, we ate here the next day, but since it’s located within the Westminster zone, I’ve added it in. Otherwise we would have been doubly dopped up on sugar! Nonetheless, I enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate and a Rose & Raspberry Saint Honore which was absolutely to die for! 

When we were satisfied, we meandered around until we came upon Neal’s Yard, a small alley in Covent Garden between Shorts Gardens and Monmouth Street which opens to a pleasantly vibrant and cozy courtyard often featured all over Instagram! 

Day 2 London Sightseeing Itinerary: The City and Southwark

While today a good portion of this area is dominated by glossy office buildings, the City is actually the oldest part of London and is home to some of the most iconic sights in London such as Tower Bridge and Tower of London. Much of this area was consumed by the Great Fire of 1666 and Sir Christopher Wren rebuilt much of it, including St. Paul’s Cathedral. 

Leadenhall Market 

One of London’s oldest markets, Leadenhall Market (free) is a covered market which dates back to the 14th century. Today it houses many retailers who are generally open between 10-6pm and a few restaurants but is recently most famous for having been used as some scenes of Diagon Alley as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. To be more precise, the ambiguous door to an optician’s shop in Bulls Head passage was used as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron. Not being an über Harry Potter fan, I focused more on the stunning architecture! Nerd alert!

Tower of London 

It’s best to get to the Tower of London early before it gets too crowded, and even by 9am, the first tour of the Tower of London led by a Yeomen Warder (Beefeater) was already 40-50 strong. With your London Pass, you have the option of using the fast track and beating the crowds. The castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site that has been here since William the Conqueror built a fortress here in 1066 to guard London. In its long history, it has served as a fortress, a royal residence, an armory, a prison, Royal Mint, a site of execution and even houses the Crown Jewels. While here, you’ll learn about the superstition of the black crows, the Beefeaters who live and work at the castle, drool over the Royal Crown Jewels and visit the White Tower. If you’re looking for free things to do in London, then consider doing the Ceremony of Keys at the Tower of London which has taken place every evening at 9:52pm for the last 700 years to lock up the castle. Tickets must be purchased in advance!

Interesting Fact: If you want to become a Yeoman, you must first serve 22 years in the Armed Forces as well as be awarded the medal for ‘Long Service and Good Conduct’. No easy feat!

Tower Bridge Exhibition 

Often mistakenly referred to as London Bridge by tourists, the iconic Tower Bridge is not the bridge most Americans might think was the one that Robert P. McCulloch had intended to buy and have relocated to Lake Havasu, Arizona. Tower Bridge was opened in 1894 and soon became a symbol of London. If you’re interested in learning more about the bridge, how it was built and how the lifting mechanism works in order to allow ships to pass through, then I recommend visiting the Tower Bridge Exhibition, although in terms of time, it’s much more exciting from the outside. Again, you have the option to use the fast track to enter.

Nearby: The Dickens Inn, The Coppa Club, The HMS Belfast

The Shard 

For stunning views over London and the River Thames winding its way through the city, then head to The Shard, Western Europe’s tallest building ascending to a height of 800 feet (244m). On a clear day, The Shard offers views stretching up to 40 miles and is today one of London’s top attractions. It’s recommended that you visit between 10am-12pm or after 4pm to avoid long line as well as booking your visit in advance, however, we had no issues visiting on our previous trip to London. The View from the Shard offers unparalleled views. The view at night from The Shard is even more spectacular!

Related: 15 Things to Do When You Travel

Nearby: The George Inn, The Founder’s Arms,

Lunch at The Barrow Boy & Banker 

Being in England requires enjoying as much traditional British cuisine as possible and than means visiting pubs! At The Barrow Boy & Banker, you can enjoy traditional ales and award-winning pies! No, not dessert pies, meat pies as in Steak and Ale Pies! Known as an Ale and Pie House, you simply can’t get better than this and we loved it so much on our previous visit to London, we went back again! The restaurant was originally the first branch of the National Westminster Bank and still features many of the original characteristics today!

Borough Market 

Just around the corner from The Barrow Boy and Banker is Borough Market, so if you’re looking for something quick cheap eats in London instead of a sit down meal, hold your hunger! What originally began as a wholesale fruit and vegetable market is now a full-blown market offering everything and anything! Almost every country is represented here from American Cheesecake, to Spanish Paella, Parisian macaroons, Turkish patisseries, German sausages and even Israeli humus served with warm flatbread. Borough Market is often considered to be one of the best places to eat in London. If you have extra time, then I highly recommend doing a London Food Tour for Borough Market!

Shakespeare’s Globe (optional)

Just a short walk away and you’ll come to Shakespeare’s Globe theater which is only a realistic reconstruction of an Elizabethan theater close to the site of the original Globe where many of Shakespeare’s play were first performed. This particular theater was only opened in 1997 as the original was built in 1599, destroyed by a fire in 1613 only to be rebuilt and eventually demolished in 1644. The project to recreate the theater was the brainchild of Sam Wanamaker, an American actor and director. Today, visitors to the theater can visit the exhibition, take a guided tour of the theater and watch a performance. Not far, you’ll stumble upon a wall mural of William Shakespeare.

Movies about Shakespeare:

Shakespeare In Love

The Millenium Bridge 

Passing the Tate Modern, a collection of modern art in a converted Power station, you can either choose to peruse the museum if you’re an art lover or continue on towards St. Paul’s Cathedral. Opting for the latter, we walked over the Millennium Bridge, a steel suspension pedestrian bridge crossing the River Thames once again. For Harry Potter nerds, the bridge was featured in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, collapsing after an attack by the Death Eaters.

If you’re headed to London this summer and are looking for accommodation in London, here are some summer deals to help you save up to 15% off!

St. Paul’s Cathedral 

Considered to be the most important church in London and a symbol of strength and defiance, St. Paul’s Cathedral is an Anglican church designed by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of 1666. Designed in the English Baroque style, he had full reign on the lavish designs, layout and interior and is the only church in England with a domed cupola. The Cathedral, though heavily damaged during the Blitz in the Second World War, it stood tall giving hope to the people. Churchill had given orders to protect the church at all costs! Today, a visit will include a Video Audio Guide which will provide more insight into the history of the church, one of London’s top sights!

For over 300 years, the church has dominated the London skyline and is actually one of the tallest churches in the world. If you have more time, then I highly recommend trekking up the 528 steps to the top to the Golden Gallery where more stunning views over London awaits you. This is preferable during warmer months! When you’re done, stumble down the road to the nearest pub until your legs regain strength and stop shaking!

The Cathedral has played a vital role in many key events including the state funeral of Winston Churchill, the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana as well as the Jubilee celebrations of both Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. 

As a popular tourist destination, it gets quite busy, but luckily with the London Pass you can use the fast track to zoom through. 

For alternative things to do in London, a friend of mine recommended that we check out One New World, a rooftop bar not far from St. Paul’s Cathedral that actually has some pretty damn amazing views of the cathedral, but sadly, we didn’t have the time and already had plans to visit yet another bar with panoramic views of London!

The Sky Garden

Catching the last slot to visit The Sky Garden, yet another glassy skycraper dominating the London skyline, on the opposite side of the River Thames from The Shard, offers yet another breathtaking view over London. Tickets to visit for free are available only one week in advance and go quickly. However, should you be interested in visiting later, book a table reservation at one of several restaurants. Nicknamed “the Walkie-Talkie” because of it’s distinct shape, the upper portion is famous for its enlarged glass dome dedicated to three storeys of beautifully manicured gardens which includes an exclusive social space, observation desk and open air terrace.  Having already gone up The Shard in 2014, we chose to meet a friend here and catch up!

Dinner at The Ship

If you’re looking for a great place to eat near The Sky Garden, you can enjoy a traditional British meal at The Ship, a historic pub with a unique character. Upon arrival, you’ll find many suits and ties hanging around drinking their 5 o’clock beer before heading home, chatting with friends and coworkers. Head upstairs though and you’ll enjoy a peacefully quiet and quaint restaurant. I enjoyed a traditional Bangers and Mash (sausages and mashed potatoes) and a stout while my husband enjoyed a traditional Cottage pie and ale. 

Day 3 London Sightseeing: Little Venice & Camden Market, Kensington 

Day 3 was a complete change of plans for us. We had intended to go to Windsor Castle or Hampton Court Palace but opted instead to check out some parts of London which would be new for us. Plus, we had plans to meet a fellow blogger friend for breakfast!

Breakfast at The Waterside Cafe, Little Venice

Having never been to Little Venice, blogger friend Vlad from Eff It, I’m on Holiday and I decided to have our first meet up for breakfast in Little Venice, a three-way junction of canals in London lined with colorfully painted long houseboats surrounded by a path of trees, though rather bleak during our visit. Just a short distance from Paddington Station, we hopped aboard The Waterside Cafe and sat down at one of the tables to enjoy a simple, but tasty English Breakfast. After a few introductions and catching up, we strolled around Little Venice enjoying the rather pleasant day we were having, the first of our time in London. Between March and September, you can take a Canal Waterbus between Little Venice and Camden Market with the London Water Bus.

Camden Market 

Perhaps my guide book is a bit outdated as there is hardly a blurp about Camden Market in it which goes to show how over the last 10-15 years, the area has really exploded on to many tourists’ travel itineraries. Camden Market isn’t just one market, but instead a conglomeration of several markets all within walking distance from one another. While strolling through the area, you’ll find that there is something for everyone here from steampunk, rock, Gothic, for ladies and gents and so much more. It’s a place where all kinds of people gather in harmony and is considered to be one of the unique places to visit in London. There are craft food stalls, clothing shops, crafts, arts, souvenirs all lined one after the other as well as entertainment areas, restaurants, bars and dance clubs. You’ll even find several pieces of street art in Camden Market. Open daily and free to peruse and discover unique foods, though probably still best to avoid at night. 

Nearby: Regent’s Park, The Sherlock Holmes Museum, Abbey Road, The British Library, Madame Tussauds London

From here we hopped back on the Tube from Camden Town taking the Northern line towards King’s Cross / St. Pancras

Harry Potter Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross / St. Pancras

Having visited Platform 9 ¾ back in 2007 with a friend, I thought it was time for an updated photo with the trolley from Harry Potter disappearing between platform 9 and 10. However, upon arrival at King’s Cross, there was a ridiculously LONG, organized line of like-minded Harry Potter fans waiting in line to take the same picture. Not having the desire nor the patience to wait in line for a photo I technically already had, we peaced out of there ASAP! 

From King’s Cross take the Victoria line to Oxford Circus switching to the Central line to Queensway to visit Kensington Palace.

Kensington Palace 

Though Kensington Palace was once the principal residence of the royal family from the 1690s to the 1760s before George III moved the official residence to Buckingham Palace, it has had its fair share of influential woman who have walked its grand hallways. The historic royal palace is commonly associated with both Queen Victoria, who spent most of her unhappy childhood here before receiving the news that she was Queen, as well as being the official residence of Prince Charles, Princess Diana and their two sons, Prince William and Harry before Princess Diana’s untimely death. You might wonder who lives at Kensington Palace today and be excited to learn that the young royals, Prince William and Kate Middleton (The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge) and their two children (a third on the way!) live here, as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in the Kensington Palace Nottingham Cottage.

A Traditional London Itinerary with the London Pass | How to Save Money in London | Budget Guide to London | Things to do in London | What to see in London | London Travel Guide | London Budget Guide | What to do in London | Main Attractions in London | Things to do in London | Unique Things to do in London | Afternoon Tea in London - California Globetrotter

If you’re looking for a traditional English experience in London, look no further than an afternoon tea. Why not book a decadent afternoon tea at Kensington Palace’s Pavilion, and enjoy this very English tradition at the only royal palace in London to offer such an experience.

A Traditional London Itinerary with the London Pass | How to Save Money in London | Budget Guide to London | Things to do in London | What to see in London | London Travel Guide | London Budget Guide | What to do in London | Main Attractions in London | Things to do in London | Unique Things to do in London | Afternoon Tea in London - California Globetrotter

While a good portion of Kensington Palace is the official private residence of the young royals, the State Rooms are open to the public. There are several self-guided walking tours based on a variety of themes or people. Either you can stroll through the King’s Apartments, Queen Victoria’s rooms or learn about the fashion icon and humanitarian, Princess Diana and royal fashion. Through Diana: Her Fashion Story you can learn about her life as a royal princess, her duties and how she used fashion to make a statement, becoming the world’s most photographed woman before she was killed in a tragic car accident in Paris in 1997. Checking out Diana’s fabulous gowns was really one of the top things to do in London when you’ve grown up admiring such an inspirational woman!

Kensington Palace is quite a popular tourist spot in London and if you don’t have the London Pass, then I highly suggest booking your tickets in advance. If you have more time or if the weather is ideal, then I suggest walking around the Kensington Gardens or other tops sights in London like Notting Hill. 

Nearby:Notting Hill, The National History Museum, Harrods, Victoria and Albert Museum, Royal Albert Hall, Hyde Park

Notting Hill, call it what you like – Instagrammable or Instagram porn, this multi-color neighborhood in London is one of the best neighborhoods to visit in London. Littered with vintage cars and shops, artsy coffee shops and pastel colored townhouses, this affluent quarter of town is as pretty as they come! Walking around Notting Hill is one of the best free things to do in London!

One of the best coffee shops in Notting Hill is Farm Girl Notting Hill, offering a Rose Latte and a Lavender Latte, both of which were obligatory to try!

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The Churchill Arms – Fuller’s Pub and Restaurant 

If you’re looking for one of London’s most famous watering holes, then consider a short walk from Kensington Palace to The Churchill Arms, decked out in seasonal flowers on the outer facade and dripping with Churchill memorabilia on every inch of wall space on the interior. The best is at Christmas, when The Churchill Arms decorates its outer facade with a plethora of Christmas trees! Built in 1750, today it’s one of the most recognizable pubs in London and totally insta-worthy! Probably also considered to be one of the most unusual places we’ve ever eaten as well! Though it serves traditional ales, it might come as a surprise that you’ll find traditional Thai cuisine here! 

If you’re headed to London this summer and are looking for accommodation in London, here are some summer deals to help you save up to 15% off!

Though at the time of writing this, I  wasn’t an affiliate of the London Pass, I do highly recommend investing in a pass for each person! It is a hefty investment, but consider that if you if you visit enough attractions, it will make it worth your while! Not only did the London Pass save money in London, but it also saved us time as we had the option to use the fast-track and zoom through long waiting lines! What we discovered was that to make the card worth your money, you had to visit at least 2-3 attractions per day.

London Pass Savings | A Traditional London Itinerary with the London Pass - California Globetrotter


If you’re interested in visiting London and are looking for more information, I highly recommend using the Lonely Planet England Travel Guide! I’ve recently converted to LP’s more thoroughly detailed travel guides which I find way more useful, but I am still a big fan of DK Travel Guides!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I might make a little extra spending money, at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own and these products/services have been found useful during our travels and come highly recommended to you from yours truly!

Day Trips from London:

Beyond London: Reasons to Visit York

5 Quick Things to do in Bath

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Replies to A Traditional London Itinerary with the London Pass

  1. I haven’t been to London in years – and I’m definitely due to go again soon. I would definitely have to go to Peggy Porschen Cakes – it looks so cute. I like your itinerary since I’m not up to date on current London. Would definitely look into the City Pass and using your guide. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Such a great post. London is one of the best cities in the world, we try and visit once or twice a year. Seems like you can save a fortune with the London Pass too! We went to Little Venice last year and I didn’t even know this area of London existed. #Citytripping

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post and your pictures are beautiful as always, but I can’t get over Peggy Porschen and how cute it looks!

  4. Absolutely wonderful post. You have managed to capture the essence of London and with both old and new captured well. Loved reading the post. So want to do touring of London.

  5. This is incredibly useful! I am flying to London next week and still needs to put together a solid plan. I have some ideas but nothing concrete. We are going to do a tour on our first full day there to get a good overview of the city. I visited a long time ago and my husband has not been. I am really excited about this trip and this post full of ideas help me a lot.

  6. When we visited London on a whirlwind trip, I wish that we could have spent more time in Southwark. I would have liked to drop in The Barrow Boy & Banker for their and steak and ale pies. You seemed to have covered eveything in this post, I am pinning this for my next visit.

  7. I’m always fascinated to read posts about London written by people who’ve visited it from outside of the UK. It’s really interesting to see what they’ve chosen to feature. London is such a fabulous city and you’ve got a great selection of well-known and lesser known places to visit here. The Royal Mews is one of our family favourites and I just love walking around the different areas of London. You can see so many of the sights. Fabulous share for #FarawayFiles

  8. I think you know my views on London by now, I love it. We didn’t get to have tea at Fortnum and Mason’s when I went to London with my American friends which was annoying. I did not want to book ahead and have it dictate our whole day. We only got to look.
    These passes are great, but I find you really have to be up and out to eat your money’s worth. Well Done you for making it work!!!

  9. Wow, you did some fantastic things in three days – and you still managed to sniff out lots of stops for cake!
    There’s still plenty on that list I’ve not seen which just goes to show London is huge!

  10. I’ve been to london many many times and I gotta say that’s a really great itinerary to see all the important things. Can’t wait to revisit in June! #FarawayFiles

  11. I love the London Pass, great way to make the attractions more affordable. Last time I had one, we ended up using it for a gin factory!

  12. You really covered everything I tell first-time visitors! And now I don’t need to send them a boring email, I’ll just send them a link to this post. 🙂 I like that you structured it around a London Pass. My husband and I bought them for our very first visit in 2014, and I thought it was well worth the cost, especially if you plan to use the public transportation and are here during high tourist seasons. You also included a few lesser advertised places that some tourists might not see, which is great. I bet this post was lot of work, especially with all the links included. (I love the movie recs, too.) Well done!! ! #FarawayFiles

  13. Aww reading this post makes me a little sad, I miss London so much! I’ve been there so many times but it might be fun to use the London Pass someday and return to all the touristy spots 🙂 Looks like you had a great time!

  14. It’s no secret that I love London so of course I love to read about it too! It’s so fun “seeing” a favorite place from another person’s point of view! The London Pass does seem like a good idea, I’m not sure why we haven’t looked further into it… There’s always next time! And there will be a next time! We loved the Royal Mews it’s so lovely to see all those carriages up close isn’t it? #farawayfiles

  15. You really packed in the activities in this fabulous city! I think you hit all the highlights! Plus some! I’ve pinned this for future travel planning. We may return to London next year (I hope). My favorites are the Tower of London and the Churchill War Rooms. We went on a walking tour of Westminster Abbey so the guide explained what we were seeing inside and who is buried where, which was fascinating. We stayed right near Peggy Porschen cakes and never went in. So we must go back, right?!

  16. Wow, you really fit a lot in! It’s great to include all the classics as well as some unexpected spots in this wonderful itinerary. I had tea at Fortnum and Mason as well, and their scones were to die for! I’d love to get back to London to follow your tips–Camden Market, Kensington Palace, Little Venice. The movie suggestions are the cherry on top! #TheWeeklyPostcard

  17. That’s a great itinerary, you really got to see a lot of London. I have been to Fortnam and Masons to shop but need to go back there for tea. I also want to try some of the other restaurants that you mentioned. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  18. Your beautiful pictures reminded me how beautiful London is. I used the London Pass last time I was in London and found it very useful. This is a great itinerary which makes me want to go to London again, especially since I didn’t get to visit the Kensington Palace last time I was there. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  19. We recently visited London and were able to get to a number of the places you mentioned. The next time we go, we will likely spend more time exploring attractions, so the London Pass sounds like the way to go!

  20. This is such a great and useful post! I never used a City Pass, when I visited London. I wish I knew better, I would’ve saved a lot of money. I’ll remember for next time. Beautiful photos and a great itinerary! You added quite a few spots to my next trip.

  21. When using the London Pass, check carefully to make sure that the sites they list as accepting the pass actually do. We used the card in June 2016 and were disgusted to find out that even though they listed St Paul’s Cathedral as something they covered, when we got to the church, they refused to grant us access based on the London Pass. We had to purchase tickets to enter the Cathedral. It does t take many experiences like that to eat up any savings the London Pass could provide. On the plus side, it was nice being able to fast track past ticket lines at several locations.

  22. I really enjoyed my last visit to London, particularly coming across Leadenhall Market, but I know there’s so much I missed. Judging by this post, quite a bit actually!

  23. Really great post – i lived in London on and off years ago but have visited regularly since. It’s such a vibrant city with so much to see and do! I could have some of those afternoon teas right now!!! Yummy!

  24. Oooh, you packed in a lot! Great itinerary – I reckon you have really hit all the high points, and not a bad saving with the card either. You’ve reminded me of a few places I never did get to when I was living in London too!

  25. Hi Lolo, Looks like you had a great trip and some good weather! Yes, if you want to see the 9 3/4 platform, you have to get there early or arrive at unsociable hours as otherwise there is almost always at least a 30 minute wait if you want a photo (at least its organized I suppose!). We have spent loads of time in London but have never visited Peggy Porschen Cakes – will have to considering stopping there on our next trip as it looks amazing in your photo 😉 #TheWeeklyPostcard

  26. Your itinerary is just perfect! I lived in London for a short while during my business studies. It´s so funny, but back then I found London too stressful and wanted to go back home to Spain asap…lol… And now, looking back to everything I’ve experienced there, I feel it´s indeed such an iconic and diverse city! I´m dreaming to visit it again one day! #TheWeeklyPostcard

  27. This is great. I was planning to go to London next week and this post is superb. I have never used the London pass, so that’s something I will look into. Also, 3 of the places you mentioned are on my list – Neal’s Yard, Peggy Porschen and Harry Potter platform at King’s Cross. I always love visiting London. #feetdotravel

  28. There is so much to see & do in London it is incredible, you could visit for 2 weeks & just touch the tip of the iceberg. I have a particular affinity with the City of London & St Paul’s Cathedral, as I worked just next to it for 24 years. #farawayfiles

  29. Ohh awesome, thanks for sharing this itinerary and saving tips for visiting London. I haven’t been in London yet, but I would really like to visit it once. Will definitely come back prior to visiting London.

  30. What a great 3-day itinerary with the London Pass. I wish this was available when I went to London. You are correct, for me, it was overwhelming to plan my trip which was a long time ago. I would love to see Kensington Palace. Great photos. Thanks for sharing! #feetdotravel

  31. What a great itinerary and it covers a lot. We’ve been to London a few times and there are some great places I am adding here for our next trip. I definitely need to go to Peggy Porschen Cakes. How cute! We loved Laduree (like the ones in Paris too). Love the photos and how thorough you always are with your tips.

  32. The London Pass is a great idea for travelling around the capital, and making the most of your time there. It’s great for UK residents as well as people from overseas so really good tip here! Even though I have visited many places in London, there are always more new and exciting attractions popping up … like the Harry Potter Platform! Pinned #feetdotravel

  33. Love this! There’s so much to do in London that it can be a little overwhelming, especially with just three days. This really helps, as does the London Pass. The Sky Garden is tops on our wish list, aside from all of the Must See sites. Pinning this one for later! #TheWeeklyPostcard

  34. I used to live in London so this brings back memories. It’s incredible how much one can pack in one day, most of which took me a year to explore haha! I never made it to Peggy Porschen Cakes though! I love the pastels and hope to visit next time I’m in town.

  35. I really, really enjoyed the Churchill War Rooms. I think they are such an overlooked gem in the middle of all the touristic things in London. Really well done. (Definitely made watching The Darkest Hour more “real”, too!) It’s always nice when travel cards are a good value, and it seems like the London card is one of those!

  36. Very well written and explained article. London is an awesome destination. . I hope i would travel this place once a day and turn my visuals into reality.

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