Lately a lot of people have been asking me how long to spend in London when theyre traveling. Its a tough question to answer, not least because Ive been here for over 10 years and I still feel like theres more to see. But if you dont have a decade to visit the city, you can still pack a lot in. Today I want to share my thoughts on how much time is a good amount.
How Long to Spend in London
Ill start by saying that theres no right or wrong answer to this question. Depending on your interests, itinerary, and agenda youll need more or less time in London to feel like youve checked all your boxes.
It will also depend on your pace. If you like to go quickly youll need less time than if you want to see things at a more relaxed speed.
How Long to Spend in London Based on Your Interests
As such, I recommend starting by having a think about your interests and must dos. Are you a museum person who likes spending hours in each gallery?
If so, youll need at least a week in London. There are so many world-class collections here that it will take you at least that long to see the bulk of them.
Or are you a bus-tour person who likes experiencing a broad overview of a city without getting bogged down in the details? If that describes you, you can see London in a couple of days.
Most people are somewhere in between. I find that a lot of the clients I plan trips for stay in London 3 to 4 days, sometimes doing a day trip on an additional day.
Making a list of your priorities and determining how long each will take to see and how spread out they are can help you decide how much time youll need here.
How Long to Spend in London Based on Your Speed
The next thing I recommend considering when deciding how long to spend in London is your speed. If you walk fast and do your sightseeing quickly, youll need less time in the city.
The same applies if you like taking public transport. The tube can help reduce time between sights, so youll be more efficient with your time.
On the other hand, if you like slow travel and dont want to feel rushed, youll need to give yourself some breathing room when planning your itinerary.
If you want to walk leisurely, stop for coffees, or leave time to explore places you discover along the route, I recommend building some padding into your agenda so you have as much time as you need.
One thing to keep in mind regardless of your travel style is that London is enormous and the attractions and sights are spread out all over the city center.
The Tower of London is on the eastern edge, while the Natural History Museum is on the western edge. Walking from one to the other takes well over an hour and a half if you dont stop, which most people do.
And thats to say nothing of north and south, or all the areas of the city outside of central London (and there are tons of them).
Public transport can be a big help if youre pressed for time, but it still takes a while to get around. And if you think taxis will be faster than the tube, think again.
Theyre usually slower, especially during commuting hours (although Ive been stuck in traffic in taxis at 2 oclock in the morning).
London Itinerary Planning
If you want some more ideas of what you can do and how much time it might take, have a look at the London itinerary posts Ive written.
My 1-day, 2-day, 3-day, 4-day, 5-day, 6-day, 1-week, and 36-hour itineraries will provide you with an overview of things to do in different amounts of time. They can also help you decide how much you might want to see in the time youve allotted.
My themed London itineraries can help if you have a particular interest as well.
You can take a look at my Ultimate London Travel Guide to make sure youre not missing out on anything you might want to see while youre traveling, too.
In any case, I hope youve found this post helpful in deciding how long to spend in London. No matter what length of stay you choose, I have a feeling youll wish you had more time. I certainly do, and I havent even left yet.
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6 Comments on Ladys Quick Guide to How Long to Spend in London
- Tanja/The Red Phone Box travels says:July 2, 2018 at 2:31 pm
I usually spend 3-4 days at a time, I wish I could more..like a month!:)Reply
- A Lady in London says:July 2, 2018 at 2:38 pm
I hope you can spend longer someday!Reply
- June parker says:July 2, 2018 at 6:46 pm
How long should I stay? This is a very good question. My answer would also include:
For first timers, be sure to plan those things you would like to see but leave time for a slower pace so you can relax and take it all in. For example, Tower of London in the morning and St Pauls Cathedral in the afternoon. Thats enough for one day. In between, you can stroll, have lunch, etc. visit the Tate and the Millenium Bridge, all within walking distance from St Pauls. Ive been lucky enough to have a friend who lives near Ealing and I go to London every other year, alone, unsupervised and do exactly what I want. Been doing this for about 30 years now. Im still finding new things to enjoy. This April, I totally focused back on Kew Gardens and Richmond and the Thames, with a little Liberty of London thrown in- and shopping in the area. Wow! So much fun!Reply
- A Lady in London says:July 3, 2018 at 7:25 am
Thats great! Thanks for sharing.Reply
- Latanya says:July 2, 2018 at 11:13 pm
I spend a week each time. I tend to catch two shows, revisit my favorite museums and just relax. Plus, I get day to crash from jet lag.Reply
- A Lady in London says:July 3, 2018 at 7:27 am
Nice! That sounds like a good way to do it.Reply
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