A Weekend Getaway in London
- Tuesday August 8th 2023
- London Eye
- weekendinlondon, london, Secret London
The best ways to spend a weekend in London
• Introduction: Your guide to a perfect weekend in the city
• Take in all of London’s famous landmarks
• Visit London’s famous museums & galleries
• Take in a show
• Weekends in London FAQs
Introduction: Your guide to a perfect weekend in the city
As a bustling modern metropolis, London is the ideal weekend getaway in the city. From award-winning shows and restaurants to some of the greatest historical landmarks known to the world, the nation’s capital has so much to offer that it can seem a little overwhelming when you only have two days. But there’s no need to panic, we’ve got you covered with our guide to the best ways to spend a London weekend break. Handpicked by local Londoners, here’s what we think you could do with your two days in the capital.
Take in all of London’s famous landmarks
One of the best tried-and-tested ways to explore a city for a weekend is by visiting its landmarks. As London is the nation’s capital, its landmarks are particularly special. With so many to choose from in just two days, it’s only right that you see the very best of what’s on offer. Luckily, we have the best right here:
Take a ride on the famous London Eye
When you’re in a new city (or even when you’re making a weekend out of a city you already know), it’s always a good idea to get a sense of the geography. Well, what better way to get a literal overview of the city than taking a flight on the London Eye? Currently, the UK’s most paid-for visitor attraction, the London Eye stands at just over 135 metres tall (the equivalent of 64 red telephone boxes piled on top of each other) and is loved by locals and tourists alike. At the very top of the London Eye, you’ll be able to see up to 40 kilometres (on a clear day, that’s as far as Windsor Castle) from one of our 32 enclosed, climate-controlled pods. If you’re feeling particularly fancy, you can also order a champagne experience where you’ll be given a glass of chilled Pommery Brut Royal Champagne by a private host and Fast Track boarding through a dedicated entrance. For something a little different, you can also take a sightseeing cruise on the London Eye River Thames Cruise, where you’ll cruise along the famous River Thames and see many of the London landmarks (listed below) alongside commentary from one of our expert guides.
Take a tour of the Tower of London
The castle that is the Tower of London has been known for being many things throughout its history, including a fortress, a palace (for around 500 years), a notorious dungeon (known as the Tower, its walls have seen many enemies of the state, both rich and poor), the Royal Mint (or Tower Mint as it was known back then), the Royal Armouries and even a zoo. Today, it’s primarily known as the home of the Crown Jewels and is guarded by the famous Yeoman Warders, sometimes known as the ‘Beefeaters’. This legendary structure has only been breached once in its history, during the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, when rebels ran in through the open gates. Attracting around three million visitors a year, the Tower of London is not to be missed on your weekend break in the capital city.
Did you know you can experience the best of London’s iconic landmarks with the convenience of a single ticket? With a Big City Saver pass, you can explore the Tower of London, take a trip on the London Eye and even see your favourite celebrities up close at Madame Tussauds, all while saving money on your weekend break in the capital!
Take a look at London’s favourite clock, Big Ben
The Houses of Parliament and the Elizabeth Tower, commonly known as “Big Ben”, are two of the most iconic parts of the city and its skyline. The name Big Ben is technically the name given to the large 13-tonne bell inside the Elizabeth Tower. However, collectively, the clock, the tower and the houses of parliament are often referred to by the one name (this is the case for many UK citizens and tourists visiting the city as well). Designed with 312 pieces of glass in each clock dial, the face of Big Ben lights up at night and when parliament is in session. Since its construction, Big Ben has rarely missed a minute (even when it was bombed during the Blitz in World War II), so it’s certainly worth a visit, even if it’s just to check the time.
Visit London’s famous museums and galleries
As the nation’s capital, it’s no surprise that London plays host to an array of world-renowned museums and galleries. From natural history and ancient cultures to portraits throughout history and the finest modern art the world has to offer, we recommend paying a visit to at least one of the below on your weekend in London.
Natural History Museum
Known all over the word for its ground breaking research, immense educational efforts and incredible exhibits, the Natural History Museum should be high on your list of ‘to dos’. Step inside and discover the colossal titanosaur, or ’Patagotitan mayorum’, one of the largest known creatures to have ever walked the planet. Or trek through the Mammals Gallery and see how you measure up to a stag, a hippopotamus and a blue whale. Maybe you’re more interested in unearthing some gold and kryptonite or exploring the fossilised remains of the creatures that used to walk the planet before humankind. All of this (and more) is possible at the Natural History Museum. For true science and hidden gem lovers, it is possible to make an evening out of your time at the museum by attending one of their many lectures or sleepover events.
National Science Museum
The perfect place to see, touch and hear science all around you, the National Science Museum is an interactive adventure with plenty to do and learn about. From the immersive Wonderlab: The Equinor Gallery (perfect for children of all ages), to the Power of Music exhibition to the science-infused documentary movies played on the museum’s IMAX movie screen (the size of four double-decker buses) or its late-night events (like Gaming Late, where you’ll play with everything from board games to state-of-the-art consoles) for adults only, the National Science Museum is yet another reason why the city’s museums are so readily visited by people globally.
The National Gallery
As one of the prides and joys of Londoners (and the UK), one of the most famous galleries you can visit is the National Gallery. Home to some of the most spectacular works of art in the world, you’ll be able to trace large parts of artistic history in one building. From beauty and satire in the Reniassance with Quentin Matsys the ‘Ugly Duchess’ to the Impressionist beauty of Paul Cézanne’s ‘Bathers’ (Les Grandes Baigneuses in French),Vincent Van Gough’s ‘Sunflowers’, as well as the creative foundations of what is known today as Modern Art, the National Gallery is an essential part of your weekend in London.
Take in a show on your London weekend break
A weekend in London just wouldn’t be complete without seeing one of its legendary shows. From the magic of the West End to the immersive classics at the Globe Theatre, don’t leave London without seeing at least one play (or musical).
A musical in the West End
In London’s West End, there is always a variety of award-winning musicals to choose from on your weekend in the capital. Since 2006, The Apollo Victoria Theatre has been home to the box office smash, Wicked, where we follow the childhood story of Elphaba, better known as the Wizard of Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West. Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre regularly puts on a range of shows that all the family can enjoy, from re-imaginings of classic plays to live dinosaur shows. Finally, the Lyceum Theatre has been dazzling audiences with the famous Lion King adaptation for over twenty years. With so many breath-taking shows to choose from, there’s always something for everyone to enjoy in the West End.
A play at the Globe Theatre
A stunning piece of architecture (and one of London’s hidden gems) that brings Shakespeare and other Renaissance classics to life throughout the year, the Globe Theatre is an absolute must for the thespians spending a weekend in London. Based on Shakespeare’s own ‘wooden O’ theatre’, the Globe Theatre is a 360-degree auditorium with no roof. As a result, events go ahead, whatever the weather, so we advise you to dress appropriately. From faithful Shakespearean adaptations to modern-day reimaginings and beyond, the Globe has it all. And be sure to bring a blanket, as some performances go on for longer than you might expect!
A spectacular show at the Southbank Centre
The Southbank Centre is known by Londoners and Brits alike as the place for a one-off artistic spectacular. With a continually changing roster, ranging from a celebration of classical music in the 21st century and the best upcoming British music acts in ‘futuretense’, to the international poetry festival and the EFG London Jazz Festival, there’s really a lot to choose from. However, we can say that all of the shows at the Southbank Centre will not disappoint and, with such an eclectic set of events, there really will be something for everyone. Do something a little different with your weekend in London, go to Southbank.
Weekends in London FAQs
If you have a weekend in London, you can spend it doing almost anything you can imagine. Home to some of the world’s favourite landmarks, including the London Eye, Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London, its combination of taxis, underground and ferries makes exploring the capital easy and quick.
Almost all of London’s most famous attractions (from the London Eye to the London Dungeon) are open during the day on Saturdays. The same is true of restaurants, bars and cafes. The only things that could be closed on a Saturday are parts of the underground.
If you prioritise the most important things you want to see, 2 days in London is certainly enough time to see the most important attractions. Especially if those 2 days are a weekend, the city of London truly comes alive on Saturdays and Sundays.
Yes, 3 days in London is certainly enough time to see plenty of the city’s most famous and sought after attractions. If this is your first visit, we recommend spending your days visiting its world-renowned landmarks, including the London Eye, Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London.