London is as magical as it is beautiful. Ok maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but I have always been enamored with London, even as a little girl, so when the opportunity finally came to visit London I was on cloud 9! I researched like crazy, and made the itinerary of my dreams so obviously I wanted to share it with anyone and everyone (you're welcome). If only I had longer in this beautiful city because I felt as if I had only begun to scratch the surface, but boy oh boy were we able to see a lot. So without further ado, here is our 72 hour itinerary for London and I hope you have as much fun planning as we did.
72 Hour Itinerary in London During Winter
We left our hotel at 8:00am to make our way towards Tower Bridge for a nice stroll, with some incredible views of the Shard, before our 9:00am breakfast reservation at the Coppa Club Igloos. If you plan on visiting this restaurant, I highly recommend making a reservation. I signed up for their email list to be notified when bookings went live. If it's all booked up, try arriving right as they open for breakfast as they typically keep one igloo open in the mornings for walk ins. They are so daggum cute and cozy I didn't mind the occasional email.
After a delicious breakfast, we hopped on the metro to explore Notting Hill. Because we were visiting on a Saturday morning, the streets were relatively quiet until we walked through Portobello Market which was bustling with tourists and locals alike searching for trinkets and gifts. If you don't like crowds, I'd recommend avoiding this market. Two of my favorite spots here were the Biscutieers Boutique and the small Wild at Heart flower shop which were both so cute I could hardly stand it.
We then strolled through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park as we made our way to Scoff & Banter Tea Rooms on Oxford Street for some afternoon tea. I originally wanted to visit Sketch for afternoon tea, but holy moly was that place expensive. So I decided to save it for a future trip to London.
Afternoon tea was absolutely delicious and we were full to the brim, so I highly recommend not eating lunch before. We knew it was going to be a lot of food so we didn't each lunch, but we were still left wishing we had been wearing stretchy pants. We walked back over to Hyde Park to see the famous Christmas market, Winter Wonderland, before making our way back to the hotel for a little afternoon nap.
We ventured back out around 6:30pm to see more of the city and some Christmas lights so we stopped at the Tower Bridge to see it lit up at night along with the neighboring Christmas market. We then hopped on the metro to walk through Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square. We loved casually strolling around the city in the evening and finding quieter streets to enjoy. We were still pretty full from the afternoon tea, but had just enough room for drinks at The Coral Room which I would 100% recommend visiting if you have the time.
If you find yourself visiting during the Christmas season, here are all the festive things we did in London to get into the holiday spirit.
We woke up bright and early (for us) again to leave the hotel by 7:50am to make our way towards Peggy Porschen Belgravia as I was told that it can get quite busy, especially on the weekends. They open at 8:00am and we arrived at 8:15am to find no one else in sight which was a pleasant surprise. We sat inside to drink a coffee and only had 2 other couples walk in. So as we left I, of course, had to snap a picture in front of the adorable bakery still without any people in sight out front! We then walked over to Dominique Ansel for some pastries before walking over to Buckingham Palace.
If you want to see the 11am changing of the guard (which only occurs on select days each week) it is recommended that you arrive by 10:15am at the latest. When we arrived at 9:50am, there were already loads of people waiting near the gates to hold their viewing spot. This was not a priority for us so after snapping a few photos, we continued on our way. Plus it was cold and I already wanted some hot tea!
We walked to Trafalgar Square which is simply beautiful and then stopped inside the National Museum as it's free and gorgeous inside. Once we had warmed up a bit, we walked past the Horse Guards Parade and then to Westminster Abbey which is spectacular to see both during the day and at night.
After all that walking, we were pretty hungry and hopped on the metro to Covent Garden. There are lots of places to eat but can get quite busy on the weekends. We were lucky enough to get a seat at The Ivy for a delicious lunch before exploring Chinatown and Soho. Honestly, I didn't love these areas as we walked around, probably because it felt overly crowded at the time so we breezed through and made our way towards the Natural History museum.
Since we were visiting during the winter, there was a large ice skating rink outside that was full of Christmas cheer. Again, this museum was also free minus a paid exhibit or two. It was beautiful inside and fun to walk around so I'd recommend visiting here if you can. It also neighbors the Victoria & Albert museum so if you love visiting museums or catch yourself stuck in the rain, this is a great place to visit. But either way, the museums are truly a gem in the city so they're great to see no matter the weather.
We later met up with a friend for dinner at Dishoom at King's Cross (there are many locations) and I was so busy enjoying the delicious Indian food I forgot to snap a picture, but if you're looking for an amazing Indian experience, this should definitely be on your list. They don't accept dinner reservations, but they made the wait enjoyable by passing out a warm beverage while we stood outside, before moving us to an indoor waiting area before our table was ready.
The next morning we made our way back to the Covent Garden area for breakfast at The Grind and to see the displays while it was quiet outside. We love exploring the city while it's still asleep or people are quietly making their way to work so the early wake up call is always worth it for us.
We then walked to Tate Modern, crossing the Millennium Bridge along the way. Again, the museum was free, but we had purchased tickets online to visit an exhibit that was out-of-this-world cool and quirky. Naturally, we stopped by the Shakespeare Globe Theater before crossing back over the Millennium Bridge to see St. Pauls Cathedral. You can find this cool view from One New Change. We then made a quick stop at Leadenhall Market before grabbing lunch at Ye Olde Chesire Cheese.
After a delicious lunch with some tasty beer, we stopped at the Westminster Palace to soak in the view and see Big Ben, even though he's currently covered in scaffolding until 2021. Of course we stopped to snap a picture of the London Eye from across the Thames river which I personally enjoy better than the up close view. While in the area, we walked past where the Prime Minister lives and then snapped the classic red telephone booth picture because, well, you have to while in London! After grabbing some more tea and enjoying a stroll, it was already the evening and time for us to make our way to the airport to Scotland.
Phew! That was a lot to pack into a 3 day London itinerary, and your feet may be tired but it's so worth it. We walked about 11-14 miles a day and we STILL used the metro, so it should go without saying that you will definitely want to pack some comfortable shoes. I hope you have an amazing time in London during the winter, and now that I've had a taste, I want to experience this beautiful city during every season!