London in 48 Hours

A whirl of Victorian markets and soaring glass skyscrapers, world-class museums and royal palaces: London roars with life.

London Fields - Pinterest user Laura Shh

As you shimmy up to Big Ben, take a wander through Notting Hill, and find your favorite nook at a local London pub, you’ll soon see how easy it is to fall in love with the Big Smoke.

Day One: From The Shard to Soho

Morning: Skip the line and head to the top of The Shard for the best views of the British capital.

Next up, hop aboard the London Duck Tour for a sightseeing adventure aboard the amphibious WWII truck. Swing past the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and Downing Street before bursting into the Thames for a mighty river splashdown.

London, red telephone boxes -  Pinterest user simon falvo

Lunch: For a proper gastropub lunch, head to the award-winning Anchor & Hope – it’s right around the corner from the London Eye.

Afternoon: In summer, skip the line and take a tour inside Buckingham Palace.

Buckingham Palace - Pinterest user Maryann Rizzo

Outside summer, head to royal Hyde Park before a trip to Notting Hill. An eclectic neighborhood with colorful Caribbean roots, the area is packed with pastel townhouses, artists, celebrities, and antiques dealers.

Alice's, Portobello Road - Pinterest user Bianca Bahary

Evening: Head to Soho’s famous Pitt Cue Co for slow-cooked barbecue food so good you’ll be looking at London house prices straight away.

Pitt Cue Co - Pinterest user Ericia F

Then head around the corner to enjoy a glittering West End musical. From Mamma Mia to The Lion King, there’s plenty of choice.

Day Two: Tate Modern to the Tower of London

Morning: Take the hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus to the Tate Modern, and spend an hour or two checking out Picasso and Andy Warhol’s most famous works of art.

Then take a stroll by the Thames to the Globe Theatre, originally built for Shakespeare’s plays in 1599.

Shakespeare's Globe - Pinterest user tabsf

Hop back on the sightseeing bus to skip the line for St. Paul’s cathedral.

Lunch:  On a lively food tour, sample Afro-Caribbean delicacies in vibrant Brixton, then head to Borough Market – one of the oldest and largest food markets in London.

Borough Market - Pinterest user Chloe Beeney

Afternoon: Meet a Beefeater with your skip-the-line ticket to the Tower of London. Then head to Fortnum & Mason for afternoon tea.

Evening: Shoreditch’s Brick Lane may be London’s most famous curry street, but for something really special, head to the Michelin-starred Trishna in Marylebone.

Brick Lane - Pinterest user MsFiggis

Take an evening stroll along South Bank for amazing views of Big Ben, Westminster and Tower Bridge shimmering on the inky water.

Especially for kids: Explore the wizarding world of Harry Potter on an exciting trip to Warner Bros. Studios.

Get around: The easiest and cheapest way to get around London is with a prepaid Oyster Card, which you can pick up for a £5 deposit at any station across the city.

Get out of town: Hop on the train to lively Brighton, or take the chance to see Stonehenge.

Brighton Beach - Pinterest user Kaja Warmińska ProjektObiekt

Getting into town: Relax with a private transfer to your hotel from any of London’s airports.

P.S. Fancy digging a little deeper into London’s alternative culture? The street art tour of East London is just the ticket.