WHAT TO PACK FOR EUROPE IN WINTER

What to pack for Europe in winter

WHAT TO PACK FOR EUROPE IN WINTER – PACKING LIST

If you are want to find out what to pack for Europe in winter, then this post is for you.

While you might have to think about which places to visit in Europe in winter, you will also need to plan what to pack for the cold winter months in Europe.

While Europe might not be the biggest continent, weather conditions strongly vary. So, it does make a big difference whether you visit North countries like Iceland or Norway, Central Europe like Switzerland or France or Southern Europe with places like Valencia in Spain.

If you head to Southern Spain you will not need all the super warm winter clothes – and you will be happy with some warm pullovers and jeans. In the Nordic countries you will definitely need to pack differently.

In this post, you will find one general part of what to pack in Europe for winter. Then you will find out about what to pack for warmer countries like Spain or Malta, but you will also find out what to pack if you visit countries like Switzerland, Estonia or Iceland in winter.

First ski experience in Verbier, Switzerland what to pack in winter

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Winter Weather in Europe

Before talking about what to bring to Europe in winter, we should talk weather in Europe in winter. Because your packing list depends on where you visit.

Southern Europe is much milder and warmer than Eastern Europe or Northern Europe. While you could wear a light jacket in Southern Spain in the winter months, you surely have to dress very warm in countries like Norway or Iceland.

If you come to Europe in winter – come prepared. 

Be advised that the average temperature can reach as low as -10° degree Celsius in countries like Iceland and Norway and while it gets up to 15° degree Celsius in other countries.

Climate change has lead to much warmer climate in many countries – I remember the years – as a little child – where we had many days with freezing temperatures in Germany. And a lot of snow – but nowadays, snow is no longer the rule for many parts in Europe. But it can be.

What to do in Alicante, Costa Blanca

What to Bring to Europe in Winter – General Items

So, the first part of the post is a general packing ist. Then you will find an additional packing list for winter.

Luggage for Europe

Here is what luggage/bags you might need for your winter Europe trip.

  • Suitcase: Though it depends, where exactly and for how long you travel, I recommend taking a good, light, and quality suitcase with you where all your clothes and most of your toiletries fit in.
  • Carry-On: If you visit for longer and aren’t a minimalist, then you might need an extra carry-on luggage.
  • Laundry bags: They are great if you travel for longer and don’t want your dirty and clean clothes to mix up. I prefer them over plastic bags.
  • Packing Cubes: They are the new must-items when it comes to traveling, they are very handy and they also come in cool colors. I recommend using packing cubes because it makes packing and organizing easier.
  • For my handbag, I choose a cross-body handbag with a zipper (just to be safe) and several extra pockets. My tip: The size of the handbag is important: do you carry a camera with your? A water bottle? Keep that in mind when you decide on one handbag.
  • Passport Holder, since I have become more minimalistic, I prefer not using a passport holder but if you need a passport (and an ID is not enough) you might want to have one.
  • For a day at the hotel pool or for some shopping, I recommend a beach bag or a cotton bag. Plastic bags – fortunately – do costs money in many parts of Europe…and plastic you use only once, sucks anyway, so with a cotton bag you use for years, you do the environment a favour (and it looks much better than to carry your shoppings in a plastic or paper bag).

Toiletries to Pack for Europe in Winter

Lately, I have reduced the care products. Less is better if you ask me. However, in winter our skin is also subject to stress. Here you will find a detailed list – even if I do not use all products below throughout the year, you might use more products.

If I travel for 10 days or shorter I take travel sizes toiletries which I refill with my natural and organic beauty products from home. To pack light, shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, cleaning water and cleansing milk is all in small bottles.

Of course, you could buy toiletries in Europe as well, but if you do not want to waste your time in drug stores or supermarkets, use this checklist for Europe.

  • (TSA Approved Clear) Travel Toiletry Bag (if you fly)
  • Sunscreen (even in winter – depending on where you travel to. If you go for a ski trip, then take it but you most likely will not need it for most other winter trips).
  • Travel bottles to refill – I refill them with my own organic products that I normally use (I do not use shampoo & conditioner provided by hotels)
  • Electric Hair Removal Epilator (only if you stay longer than a week or if you remove your bidy hair with it) – otherwise a razor or whatever you prefer
  • Face cream – (which I also use as a hand cream, so I do not have to take another cream).
  • Refillable Travel Size Perfume Bottle
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste and mouthwash plus Dental floss
  • Tissues
  • Deodorant
  • Magnifying make-up mirror
  • Nail polish and nail polish remover + glass nail file
  • My favorite hairbrush (especially for longer hair) – or if you have less space take a comb
  • Hair ties
  • A small cosmetic bag with the following items: Mascara / Rouge / Eyebrow powder (Taming & Shaping Kit For Brows) / Tweezer / Eyeliner and Eye Shadow / Make-up brushes/ Cotton swabs

Here are a few more items which I personally do hardly use but which might be important to you, so I added them here:

hair spray, hand cream, foundation, powder, lipstick, sanitiser

Tech Stuff to Pack for Europe

  • I have my laptop with me whenever I fly – however, I do work online while traveling and I also watch Netflix on it.
  • My phone is without a doubt one of my most useful and important (travel) items.
  • My camera is a must – because Europe has so many great spots that need to be photographed.
  • I have to admit, that I still don’t have a kindle, so a “real” book is often an essential
  • Power Charger – how long does your phone battery last? Not long? Neither does mine, so this  is an essential
  • Do you need an adapter? It depends on where you travel to in Europe, so please check if you need one for your destination.

Random Things to Pack for Europe

  • Umbrella (in many countries, like Germany, Switzerland, or England is can still rain quite a lot in the winter)
  • Guides
  • Medicine (headache pills etc.)
Cycling in London in winter

What to Pack for Europe in Winter

The key is dressing in layers for Europe in winter. The temperature can reach freezing levels, and yet the sun can be deceptively strong. Dressing in layers allows you to keep warm without compromising on comfort. 

Also, it really depends on where exactly you travel – as I mentioned before, Southern Europe has mild weather in winter where you will not need a super warm jacket and gloves plus a hat.

Depending on where you travel, the wind might make you feel much colder than the temperature actually says.

In worst case scenario, hypothermia and frostbite will be a result if If you’re wet and not appropriately dressed.

Your items should be versatile in function. For example, pack a jacket that is both waterproof and warm. In addition, comfortable walking shoes are essential.

December in Iceland, Golden Circle with Arzo Travels

Everyday Attire Essentials For Europe In Winter

At the top of your Europe winter packing list should be the following versatile, essential items. Using these items to dress in layers will keep you both stylish and warm. 

  • Coat – Warm And Waterproof: A warm, waterproof jacket should be one of the very first items that you think to pack. Avoid choosing a bulky jacket that takes up a lot of space. This can make you feel uncomfortable when you have layers underneath. Instead, opt for a lightweight, trench raincoat that will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. 
  • Hat: Science tells us that we lose up to 10% of our body heat through our heads, meaning that it’s essential to keep this area warm. A knitted beanie is a perfect solution for keeping the warmth in while you venture out.  A hat will keep you toasty warm whether you’re on the slopes, sipping coffee, or exploring the sights. 
  • Gloves: Have you ever tried to use your phone with frozen fingers? It’s a nearly impossible task. A pair of gloves can do wonders for your mobility, dexterity, and comfort. This makes it one of the most important items on your Switzerland packing list. When selecting your options, it’s worth investing in a pair that can dry quickly and are touch-screen compatible.
  • Scarf Or Turtleneck: A warm scarf and/or turtleneck sweater are key items for keeping your neck covered. Not only do these items keep you warm, but they also prevent you from getting ill (and thereby ruining the fun). A turtleneck sweater is perfect as a garment to wear underneath your jacket, while the scarf can be removed easily. 
  • Leggings: There’s a reason that almost every woman owns a pair of leggings. They are both comfortable and snug. Leggings are an essential item to pack as you can dress them up or down. You can even wear them underneath your denims as an extra layer of warmth. 
  • Socks: When it comes to packing socks for your Switzerland trip – the thicker the better. Chances are that you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors in the snow, and you’ll want your feet to be warm and cozy. If you plan on hitting the slopes at any stage, then you’ll want your socks to be extra-thick or padded for increased comfort. 
  • Thermals: A quality set of thermals is your key to enjoying the winter weather in Switzerland. They provide the extra layer of heat that will allow you to spend an extra hour on the slopes, or to pack fewer items on your road trip instead of excess clothing.
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes: If you can only pack one pair of shoes, then make sure that they are a trusty pair of waterproof snowshoes. You’ll want your shoes to be as versatile as possible. Snowshoes allow you to enjoy a variety of activities while keeping your feet warm and dry. 
Verbier in Switzerland in the winter

Winter Sportswear

One of the best top reasons to visit e.g. Switzerland during the winter months is winter sports opportunities. While most ski resorts will offer rental equipment, there are a few essentials to pack for yourself. 

  • Ski Jacket: When choosing the perfect ski jacket, you need to consider warmth, level of waterproofing, and freedom of movement. A jacket that is adjustable in fit, seals effectively, and dries quickly is the perfect apparel for snowboarding, skiing, and other winter outdoor sports.
  • Ski Pants: A trusty pair of insulated ski pants are the next essential item for all winter sports fans. Make sure that your choice of pants is breathable, warm, and waterproof. These details will keep you dry, warm, and comfortable on the slopes.  
  • Winter Protection: There are a few items that will make your winter vacation all the more comfortable. The last thing that you want is to be soaked on your first day, or get a migraine from snow blindness
  • Umbrella: Regardless of what time of year you visit Switzerland, it’s always a smart move to pack a foldable umbrella. The nifty item doesn’t take up too much space. It can be the difference between a leisurely stroll in the city streets and getting caught in a flu-inspired downpour. 
  • Chapstick: Visiting Switzerland in winter will most likely find you spending hours of fun on the snow-covered slopes. This can quickly dry out your lips and burn your skin. In this instance, you’re going to be grateful that you’ve packed your moisturizing stick of Chapstick. 
  • Sunglasses: The best days on the slopes are the ones accompanied by clear, sunny skies and good conditions. These circumstances also increase the glare of the sun on the white snow, making it close to unbearable on your eyes. A pair of polarized sunglasses or ski goggles can protect your eyes from the wind and bright light.

CONCLUSION: WHAT TO PACK FOR EUROPE IN WINTER

Europe in winter is a fantastic travel destination. Whether you come for a ski trip in Switzerland, explore the Christmas markets in London or want to have a weekend trip to a warmer place like Valencia – Europe is so diverse and has something for every taste.

Just be aware of what to pack for Europe in winter and you can enjoy some fantastic time in Europe.

Stay safe and enjoy!

Safe Travels, Arzo

Best Things to Do in London in Winter

Best things to do in Winter in London

WHAT TO DO IN WINTER IN LONDON

Visiting London in winter is one of the best times to visit this fun city – yes, it might be gray and rainy, but in London that can happen at any time. So, visiting London in winter means you at least get all the fun winter activities to do.

Personally, I think London is one of the best cities to visit in December in Europe.

So, find out about the best things to do in London in winter – where to go and what to see, plus many travel tips for your London winter vacation.

To check out a non-winter London itinerary check out my London travel guide.

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS – THIS MEANS I MIGHT EARN A SMALL COMMISSION WHEN YOU BUY A PRODUCT/SERVICE (AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU. MORE ABOUT IT HERE

Christmas by the River / Southbank

Whether you visit in the summer or in the winter, strolling the Southbank is a must-do. However, it is even nicer to stroll the riverside in the pre-Christmas period and so I had to include it on my “winter in London” guide.

christmas by the River is one of the best places to see in London in winter

There are bars and cafes to warm up in – and of course, all the beautiful lighting that makes places on a gray day even nicer!

Let’s not forget the views along the way either, but most of all, there are many different activities to do before Christmas. So, you can sign up for winter workshops like creating your own cards (and there are even some children’s activities).

Also, you can walk with the Snowman – it is more than the usual stalls that offer snacks, drinks, and gifts.

Yes, this place is a must-visit in December and it was one of my favorite November/December activities.

Geffrye Museum

Are you looking for some indoor winter activities in London? Then check out a free museum that informs the visitors about Christmas celebrations over the last few centuries.

You’ll find authentically-decorated living rooms and more information on Christmas – and it is completely free to visit.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

If you happen to visit London in winter, make sure to plan in some time to visit Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Christmas fair in Hyde park, one of the best places to visit in London in winter
@shutterstock

Visiting London in winter means: enjoying the Christmas markets and eating your weight in snacks, drinking mulled wine and then burning all the extra calories by ice skating at Hyde Park.

BUT it also means rollercoaster rides – so, if you want a bit of a thrill, then hop on one of the illuminated rides.

While it is one of the most popular places to go in winter, I must say that it felt more like a fair than a Christmas market, but kids as well as adults loved it (and it is one of the best free winter activities – however, you must pay for rides and, of course, food and drinks).

Christmas Markets

There are many Christmas Markets throughout London – some are so good they deserve an extra paragraph here. And good news:

As pretty as outdoor London is in winter, sometimes we need to warm up (especially if you don’t drink mulled wine like me), so check out indoor Christmas Markets – or at least the markets that are covered (rain in London is nothing unusual).

Carnaby Street Lights

One of the most beautiful streets to visit in winter in London is Carnaby Streets. The popular street in Soho, easily reachable from Regent´s Street, is different to the rest of London’s Christmas decorations.

Carnaby Project Zero in winter London

Here, you will never find typical Christmas lights though it is always fully decorated. This year it has a political and important message – use less plastic to keep the oceans clean! So, this is why all decorations have been made out of recycled plastic.

And though it seems hardly anyone actually cares in London during Christmas time, it hopefully is a good reminder to use less of plastic and be more conscious of what we consume

Pubs

Winter is the perfect time to spend in pubs. The pubs in England are particularly pretty – often with flowers outside and with Christmas trees and decorations for a festive atmosphere.

I am not a drinker and I am not a pub lover – but I can’t help buy admire the beautiful pubs all over London.

And I have to admit that, especially in the cold winter months, pubs are a good place to spend a few hours (and you can actually have food as it is not only about drinking).

There are even pub walking tours that you can take. 

Ice Skating

As mentioned above, there is one ice rink at Hyde Park, but there are many more that you can visit. So, bring your own skates and hit the ice rink. 

But of course, you can also rent some in case you don’t travel with your own skates.

While there is only one ice rink at Hyde Park, there are many others that are open in December or Januray.

Somerset House

Another must-see place in winter in London is the Somerset House – and not only because it has an open-air ice rink.

Somerset House in Central London is one of the best places to visit in winter in London
@shutterstock

The ice rink at Somerset House has particularly nice surroundings and with the big Christmas tree, there is surely a lot to see (and eat, thanks to all the little stalls).

Trafalgar Square

If you are into beautifully-decorated Christmas trees, then check out the Trafalgar Square´s Christmas tree that is about 20 meters high (it goes up at the beginning of December and stays until the beginning of January).

It is an annual gift from the people of Oslo (Norway) for the help they received during the Second World War.

If you arrive at the end of November, Trafalgar Square is still worth a visit – the Christmas Market in front of the Victoria Museum is absolutely charming and the view of the Trafalgar Square makes it one of my favorite places after the sun sets and the lights get switched on.

Millennium Bridge

Cross the Millennium Bridge towards St. Paul´s Cathedral – not only because it is one of the best photo locations, but also because you can read some “secret“ messages.

Millennium Bridge in London

You will find many different messages in different languages – like the one that wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2020 (in German).

Afternoon Tea Bus 

One of the prettiest buses I saw in London in November/December was the Afternoon Tea Bus – if you are into things that are typically British, then you should do an Afternoon Tea.

And if you are into things that are unique and British, then you should do an Afternoon Tea Bus Tour.

The afternoon tea is offered in a red double-decker bus, which comes with little tables and is beautifully illuminated. Enjoy the afternoon tea while cruising the main attractions of London in around 90 minutes.

What a pity that I am a picky eater (not only because I am veganish) and am reluctant to spend money on food if I don’t know whether I will like it or not because I was quite envious when I saw the bus passing me several times.

Winterville

A bit further from the other winter activities mentioned here is the free pop-up park town,  Winterville.

An entire Christmas Town is here to entertain you and make you feel happy – the Christmas town houses an ice rink, roller disco, fairground, and a cinema.

Harrod´s

Oh, Harrod‘s!

Harrods shopping mall in winter time

Harrod´s is one of the most iconic shopping malls in the world, and before Christmas, it looks even more stunning and is probably one of the prettiest buildings in the city center.

But it also has stunning Christmas decorations inside – so hop in to see what the Harrod´s fuss is all about and add this to your London winter itinerary.

Rooftop Bars

Rooftops are not only great to visit in summer – they can be a perfect place to spend some time in winter, too.

At least in London. So, for the winter months, some rooftop bars have unique decorations so that you can experience London from above while having a drink.

One rooftop bar to check out is the Queen of Hoxton’s Rooftop, which was inspired by Morocco and the famous Jardin Majorelle (aka the Yves Saint Laurent garden) this year. 

Coppa Club Tower Bridge

For a unique view of Tower Bridge – and a unique dining experience – book an igloo at Coppa Club Tower Bridge.

Coppa Club Igloo is one of the best winter activities
@shutterstock

Bookings needs to be made weeks in advance (especially if you visit during the weekend), and then you and your friends can warm up in the cozy igloos.

Oh, you can even spend New Year‘s Eve here – just plan in advance as it is a popular place.

Yes, I was too late, and though I checked the website more than 1 week in advance, there were hardly any free tables left for dinner but I still think it is one of the best things to do in London in winter even though I haven’t experienced it myself.

Shop

If you are into shopping, then London is the perfect place – with its numerous shopping streets and markets, you will for sure find something for your loved ones (or even for you).

Be careful not to go overboard with the many shopping options and don’t buy things you don’t need – which can easily happen with all the temptations.

But if you still need something, then London is the perfect place for some shopping – even after Christmas, as you then have the sales staring in January. 

Covent Garden

Covent Garden is always worth a trip, and so it is, of course, also during the Christmas month.

Covent Garden in wintertime Christmas

Covent Garden is also one of the busiest but also best places to visit in December in London- the cafes and restaurants are full of people. And not only people – if you can’t get enough of Christmas trees come to Covent Garden – there are so many trees decorated that you couldn’t even count them (well, kind of).

The main Christmas tree has more than 30,000 lights! But there are also some entertainers (musicians and actors) so it is also a fun thing to do in London with children.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Th entrance fee for St. Paul’s Cathedral is high – more than $25 if you buy the ticket on the spot. But before Christmas, it is one of the best places to visit in London  (and if you come for the services, it is actually free to visit).

St. Pauls Cathedral in winter

If you visit on December 23 and Christmas Eve, you can catch the service relayed on a big screen at Paternoster Square next to the cathedral.

I visited once (years ago) and it was mesmerizing – even though it was not shortly before Christmas with its festive atmosphere. However, if you have some money to spend, then why not spend it here rather than on other unnessesary things.

Christmas on the Canals

Take a Christmas canal ride and see London from the water.

Hidden Canal Cruises offers relaxing cruises down the Regent’s Canal in full festive finery for the season.

While I didn’t experience it myself, I suggest doing the cruise with your friends – a fun evening activity during the winter.

Regent‘s Street

The most beautiful street London in winter must be Regent´s Street. This popular shopping street is just one of the very best places to visit in London in winter – if not the best.

Regent Streets in London is one best things to do in Decmeber
@shutterstock

While it is extremely illuminated and there is a lot of bling-bling, it still feels classy and not overdone.

If you have only a few minutes in London (I know, sounds ridiculous), then visit Regent´s Street once it gets dark.

Natural History Museum

Whether you want to learn more about natural history or you want to go ice skating: here you can do both and even more.

From the end of October until mid-January, you can skate on the ice rink that is surrounded by fairy lights nestled in frost-covered trees.

Theatre

With the cold comes the wish to stay in cozy, warm, indoor places – so, why not visit a theatre and combine warming up with a Christmas theatre play?

Don’t ask me about my personal opinion as I did not get to visit any (to do all these London winter activities you need more than 48 hours), but The Snowman and Slava’s Snow Show at the Royal Festival Hall are known to be great winter plays.

New Bond Street

After Regent Street the New Bond Street is another must-see in December. The shopping streets are also beautifully illuminated and make this street one of the most beautiful in London.

Christmas decorations in New Bond Street is one of the most beautiful places in winter
@shutterstock

You can easily get there from Regent Street and it is almost as stunning as the Regent Street.

Museum of Childhood

Another indoor place that is great to see in the winter time is The V&A Museum of Childhood, which is free to visit.

Whether you want to reminisce and think about Christmas gifts we used to get (assuming most of us on this blog are at least 30 years old) or want to do workshops – activities here are free and for most ages.

Little ones can join the interactive storytelling – this is probably one of the best free things to do in London in winter.

Kew in the Dark

This is probably the best thing to do in the winter in London – I can just guess, as it was already fully booked, so I had to pass.

The botanical gardens host a magical nighttime experience, showcasing the sculptures, buildings, and trees in a totally different way. The fairytale walk also has roasted chestnuts and other tempting treats along the route to tempt you off course.

New Years Eve Fireworks

If you visit at the end of the year, then make sure to also stay in London for New Year‘s Eve – it must be magical to welcome the new year in London with all the fireworks.

Best places to celeberate New Years Eve in Europe shutterstock_540151606
@shutterstock

 However, to watch the fireworks from the Thames River you have to pay an entrance fee of about $12.

Spa Time

While spa visits are always a good idea, the best time to get pampered is in the cold months. Whether you want to relax before the Christmas stress or just after Christmas, book yourself a spa appointment. We all deserve to spend some time where it is all about us only.

Christmas Lights Bus Tour

Yes, this is another “must-do“ activity in London in December – hop on a Christmas Lights Bus Tour and see most (though not all) of the fun and impressive places that are uniquely decorated.

Christmas Bus Light Tour Regent Street

Even though the double-decker buses are not heated – and it is cold – it is a great way to see the Christmas decorations from “above“ and within a short amount of time.

Yes, I am not ashamed to admit that I wanted to see all the main Christmas lights, and thus, I additionally booked a light bus tour.

So, do as I did and enjoy a 2-hour bus ride (starting at Victoria Station) and get to see the beautiful, decorative lights all over London while sitting on a bus and relaxing. Check out prices and tours here.

Christmas Lights Walking Tours

Yes, while the bus tour is amazing, you can also do a walking tour and see some other places the bus tour doesn’t cover. Dress warm and wear comfy shoes and get ready to see some of the most beautiful places in London in winter.

I love walking tours and there are many offered in December, January, and February, too. 

So, if you visit London in December, then make sure to join one tour or to plan your walking itinerary yourself carefully, so you don’t miss out on the top spots for festive lighting.

Cycle

London is quite bicycle-friendly – and in the winter time, not that many people cycle, which means you have the cycle lanes almost all to yourself.

Cycling in London in winter

I would not ride a bike when it‘s icy, but other than that, pay a one-time fee of around $3 for 24 hours and discover London by bike (the city is quite big).

You can use the bike for 30 minutes without any extra fees and can bring it back to any of the numerous docking stations, and immediately rent the bike for the next short bike tour.

This way, you don’t miss out on all the pretty little side streets while still getting around quite fast.

Christmas at Leicester Square

If you are into Bavarian winter Christmas Markets, you can head to Leicester Market. Located in between Covent Garden and Picadilly Circus, this small market is supposed to be a traditional Bavarian market.

While it is cute, I am not sure whether Bavarian Christmas markets are really like that – well, the food and drinks surely have a real heavy and hearty German touch.

Ever After Garden

Whether it is a hidden gem in all the Christmas markets or not – head to Grosvenor Square and get some lovely pictures from the “light tunnel.“ 

Ever after Garden in London is one of the best things to do

Especially if you can’t make it to Kew Garden, this might be a kind of alternative for your Instagram picture.

You can also donate some money and get a white rose and write a message to one of your loved ones and stick it to the rose. The roses are then displayed and illuminated – it looks beautiful and helps to collect some donations go to the Cancer Center.

LONDON IN WINTER TRAVEL TIPS

Weather: London in winter will be cold for sure. But it is not always freezing cold – temperatures are around  xxx and some rain, with a little snow, can be expected.

WHAT TO PACK FOR LONDON IN WINTER

If you visit London in December – or winter in general – it is important to dress warm. Or better to dress in layers.

Coat – Warm And Waterproof: A warm, waterproof jacket should be one of the very first items that you think to pack. Avoid choosing a bulky jacket that takes up a lot of space. This can make you feel uncomfortable when you have layers underneath. Instead, opt for a lightweight, trench raincoat that will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. 

Hat: A knitted beanie is a perfect solution for keeping the warmth in while you venture out. A hat will keep you toasty warm wherever you are.

Gloves: A pair of gloves can do wonders for your mobility, dexterity, and comfort. When selecting your options, it’s worth investing in a pair that can dry quickly and are touch-screen compatible.

Scarf Or Turtleneck: A warm scarf and/or turtleneck sweater are key items for keeping your neck covered. A turtleneck sweater is perfect as a garment to wear underneath your jacket, while the scarf can be removed easily. 

Leggings: Leggings are an essential item to pack as you can dress them up or down. You can even wear them underneath your denims as an extra layer of warmth. 

Socks: When it comes to packing socks for your London trip – the thicker the better. Chances are that you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors in the snow, and you’ll want your feet to be warm and cozy. 

Comfortable Walking Shoes: If you can only pack one pair of shoes, then make sure that they are a trusty pair of warm and comfortable shoes

Public Transportation in Winter 

The best way to get around in winter is via public transportation. Though I recommend some cycling as well, most of the time, you will probably walk or use buses or the underground to get around.

Oyster Card: Buying an Oyster Card makes sense if you use public transportation often. You can load it up with credit and just swipe it in/out at every bus or underground station. In the end, it finds the best rates and calculates the cheapest tickets (so, no need to worry beforehand if a day ticket will be cheaper than single tickets).

And that is just because it is the best way to get around. Don‘t worry about renting a car – there is so much traffic, parking is difficult, and public transportation is too good to worry about driving yourself.

Red bus in London during winter time travel guide
@shutterstock

Accommodations in winter: London in winter, especially in December, can be quite busy and finding good accommodations spontaneously is not that easy. For December, I suggest planning and booking in advance, but it is less busy in January and February.

Luxury Hotels in London:Ritz-Carlton is one of the top hotels – it is also conveniently located in the city center and quite close to Buckingham Palace. Click here for the best rates and more info.

Mid-Range Hotels in London: 3-star hotel Hampton by Hilton Waterloo – find out more about this hotel and get the best rates here.

Budget Hotels in London: This hostel is well-rated, conveniently located and if you book a bed in a dorm you can actually get a bargain. Click here to get the best rates for YHA London Central

Accommodation in London is quite expensive – so even the more budget-friendly places cost a bit or are quite far from the city center.

London in winter was magical – even though I have only visited London in December and not in the other winter months, I truly enjoyed the special atmosphere and I do believe it is a great idea to spend a few days next winter in London  – as you can see, there is tons to do and see in winter.

Safe Travels, Arzo

4 Days in London – ITINERARY

London in 4 days, 20 best places to visit and places to see. UK

4-DAY LONDON ITINERARY

This post is the right post if you are planning your trip to Great Britain´s capital and are looking for the best 4-day London itinerary and want to find out about the best things to do in 4 days in London.

London is one of the busiest cities in the western world, it is always changing, but always fun.

Planning a trip to this city can seem overwhelming first but here you have a great London itinerary that helps you plan your 4 days in London – with so many attractions, neighborhoods, history and hip places it needs some planning to add all preferred activities on the London itinerary.

There is so much to do and see in 4 days- this post covers some of the main tourist attractions as well, as some quieter and less busy places in London – all are beautiful and well worth a visit.

Its business, all of its sights, its history, and its extremely friendly residents made me fall head over heels in love with London, and it became my favorite city at the time.

There are a few things I do regularly when I visit, but I always add a few new sights to my London itinerary. So, this list is carefully curated by me – and this post should help you get a good overview of the top things to do in 4 days in London. It is great for first-time visitors or those who visited London years ago – thus, it includes a lot of typical sightseeing places.

This 4-day London itinerary is quite busy, and it depends, of course, on how much time you actually spend at each London attraction, but it is doable if you are out and ready to see the best places in London in a few days.

View over London @shutterstock
@shutterstock

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS – THIS MEANS I MIGHT EARN A SMALL COMMISSION WHEN YOU BUY A PRODUCT/SERVICE (AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU). MORE ABOUT IT HERE.

Travel Tips for Your 4-Day London Itinerary

Before discussing your London itinerary for 4 days, here are some important travel tips.

How to Get Around London in 4 Days

Though many sights are within walking distance in London, you might need to take the bus or underground once in a while. It is bigger than other European cities, like Paris, and I always use public transportation in addition to the many miles I walk.

However, when I created this London itinerary I tried to pay attention so that you do not have to walk aimlessly but have a minimum amount of walking (however, wear comfortable shoes as it still includes many walks).

Public Transportation: The underground in London works fine, but I prefer taking buses. The underground gets extremely busy, especially at rush hour. At times, the stations are so busy, they don’t even allow people in (I saw this with my own eyes at stations around Oxford Street after work).

However, if you use it at other times, it works fine and is quite cheap and fast.

Oyster Card: Buying an Oyster Card makes sense if you use public transportation often. You can load it up with credit and just swipe it in/out at every bus and underground station. In the end, it finds the best rates and calculates the cheapest tickets (so, no need to worry beforehand if a day ticket will be cheaper than single tickets).

Some of the red double-decker buses are actually regular buses and not sightseeing buses, which is pretty cool and I recommend using them at least once in 4 days.

Hop-on and Hop-off buses: I use the buses whenever I have a limited amount of time in a new city and want to get an overview. The buses in London have several routes and if you cannot walk long distances, these are super handy to use.

You can get to most of the mentioned London points of interest by bus, and you can save some money on a few attractions, too.

Bikes: I actually have rented bikes several times. There are many stations throughout London where you can swipe your credit card and pay a small fee to rent a bike.

Once you have paid that general fee, you can use the bike for 30 minutes with extra charge. After a max. of 30 minutes, you need to drop it at a bike rental station (any). You could then take another bike and use that one for another 30 minutes – if you don’t want to pay extra and just pay that one-time fee.

Cycling in London in winter

I just used it to get from one place to another when my legs got tired. So, I dropped it at the next rental station and took a bike whenever I needed one again. If you don’t want to use my very budget-friendly system, you can also use the bike for longer by paying an extra fee in addition to the general 24-hour fee.

TaxisThe black cab is iconic in London and maybe a must-do for some London visitors. I have never ridden one, and with such good public transportation, it probably isn’t really needed.

Ubers are also available.

Keep in mind that traffic in London can be crazy, so the underground is probably one of the best means of getting around if you don’t want to spend too much time in vehicles.

Cars: In the UK you drive on the left side, I have never ever considered renting a car or driving by myself. Fo most people in the western world, driving on the left side isn’t standard but of course, you could rent a car and explore the city this way.

But honestly, I do not really recommend it as London is busy and attractions are clustered so a car isn’t needed (and, traffic and parking can be insane in London). If you still aren’t convinced, you can check out rates for renting cars here.

Best Time to Visit London for 4 Days

When you visit London for four days, I am pretty sure you will have at least one rainy day (even in the summer). Weather in London can be challenging – summer doesn’t guarantee sun and nice weather.

July and August are popular months for visitors, and December is great for shopping.

Though weather prediction in England is difficult, I recommend visiting between May and September. If you aren‘t visiting for a specific event, I also suggest checking to see if a big event (like Fashion Week or a Royal Celebration, etc.) is going on, as accommodations can be even more expensive at those times.

However, Christmas is also a great time to visit  London. It might be very busy but those Christmas Lights…Just wow. So check out my London winter travel guide.

People

London´s inhabitants used to be some of the friendliest people in the western world. English people, in general, are very polite, which makes it easy to ask questions (whether you ask for directions or whatever). I still think that the people are great, but I realized that people seemed a bit more stressed after the Brexit decision was made.

Maybe it’s because the majority of the people in London aren’t happy with the decision, but normally, you will find lots of friendly and polite people in England. So, while the weather isn’t always friendly, the people at least are!

Food

It is not only about fish & chips in London –  I love the restaurants in London. As a vegetarian it is quite easy to find veggie food (much easier than it is in Paris e.g.) and even finding good vegan food is not a big issue. You have many fine dining restaurants but also cheaper places to eat – you will find from fast-food to healthy food, you will get traditional British food as all food all around the world.

Where to Stay in London for 4 Days

Here are some of the best-rated hotels for each budget:

Luxury Hotels in London: London is home to numerous luxury hotels – if you find something easily it is luxury accommodation in London. Ritz-Carlton is one of the top hotels – it is also conveniently located in the city center and quite close to Buckingham Palace. Click here for the best rates and more info.

Mid-Range Hotels in London: A different kind of B&B is The One Tun  – the out more here.

Budget Hotels in London: I once stayed at this hostel and can definitely recommend it if you are a hostel fan. It is conveniently located and if you book a bed in a dorm you can actually get a bargain. Click here to get the best rates for YHA London Central.

Accommodation in London is quite expensive – so even the more budget-friendly places cost a bit or are quite far from the city center.

BEST 4-DAY LONDON ITINERARY

Okay, enough talking here is my 4-day London itinerary with the best things to do.

Day 1 in London

For day 1 in London, I have added some of the most famous sights and attractions.

Stop 1: Hyde Park and Speaker´s Corner

One of the most famous parks in the world can be a perfect starting point and a must-see in London in 4 days.

Hyde Park also hosts events and concerts and is the biggest royal park in London. Despite special events, it is a place that allows you to breathe and enjoy the green lounge of the city.

The Speaker´s Corner, a part of Hyde Park, is famous for people giving free speeches and demonstrating there – if you are lucky, you might experience some of those speeches yourself.

Start early (around 9 am) from the Kensington Palace entry and stroll the area, relax, or meditate before heading, via Wellington Arch, to one of the best places to see in London.

Prepare for busy, but fun, days as you head to one of the biggest tourist attractions in London. 

Extra Tip: If you are into museums you could visit the Victoria & Albert Museum, which is close to the palace. Museums in London are not only great for rainy days but for anyone interested in history or arts as London has some pretty good museums.

Stop 2: Buckingham Palace

Whether you like the Royal Family or not, the home of the Queen, Buckingham Palace, is one of the best places to visit in London and a must-see to include on your 4 day London itinerary.

Buckingham Palace in London @shutterstock
@shutterstock

More than 200 years ago, it was built for the Duke of Buckingham before it was acquired by the king in 1761. Now, it is the home of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.

If you are lucky, and are one of the 50,000 invited annual guests, you can peak at the inside interior. If you aren’t you have to content yourself with a look from the outside. Don’t be sad though, I have never been a lucky guest and still managed to like London nevertheless.

Good news: you can book a guided tour and have a peak even if you are not an invited guest.

With 775 rooms, it surely is impressive, but don’t mourn. It is still interesting to look at from a distance.

Also, you can see the Changing of the Guards from there that takes place around 11 am. Personally, I wasn’t too impressed, but it is on the bucket list of many, so check out the times in advance, as it isn’t very frequent.

Interested in a tour and to see the inside of the Buckingham Palace? Then check out tours and prices here.

Stop 3: St. James´ Park

From there, head to St. James´ Park, which is another royal park with a lake, fountain, pelicans, and some cute squirrels who would like to meet you. You can also rest before heading to the next main tourist attraction of London.

Extra Tip: For museum lovers, the Tate Gallery will be an interesting stop.

Stop 4: Westminster Abbey

One of the most beautiful places to visit in 4 days is the Westminster Abbey – the city has several beautiful churches and cathedrals worth visiting and one of them is Westminster Abbey.

It is a popular church for royals to get married in and you can visit the Lady Chapel, the Royal Tombs (Westminster Abbey is the final resting place for 17 monarchs), the Coronation Chair (a 700-year-old piece of furniture that is on display), and the Abbey Gardens.

Attending the services is free, but seeing the other places requires tickets, which you can book in advance.

From there, you are just a stone‘s throw away from the next gorgeous place in London.

Stop 5: Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower)

Wondering what else to do in London? The Palace of Westminster (also known as the Houses of Parliament) and Elizabeth Tower (also known as Big Ben) have such distinctive architecture that they‘re beautiful whether it‘s day or night.

Its important role in England’s political life as a parliament (it is home of the two houses) is almost unimportant – at least from the outside.

London on a budget- 21 free things to do in London

But if you would like to visit the Palace of Westminster, some parts are open to the public, like the House of Lords. It just requires some advance preparation.

I have never visited, but the architecture was enough to have me falling for it.

And here we are: at my favorite building in England. The Elizabeth Tower (formerly known as the Clock Tower) is the impressive tower at the Palace of Westminster and one of the most iconic landmarks in the world.

Most people refer to it as Big Ben, though Big Ben is actually only the largest of the five bells of the clock.

Unfortunately, there are some restorations going on (until probably 2021) and the clock is covered. 

I also suggest having lunch somewhere here – I suck with restaurants tips (I mostly just sit down whenever a restaurant appeals to me – sometimes it is a terrible choice but most of the time, it works out for me).

Stop 6: Westminster Bridge

Cross the Westminster Bridge (from there, you will also have the best free views of the Elizabeth Tower and the Houses of Parliament) and you are already at the next London attraction.

Stop 7: London Eye

I have a thing for great views – one of the first activities on my list (for any destination) is looking for the best vantage point. 

London Eye at night - what a beauty.
Looking at London Eye at night – picture taken by @cocoetfraise Instagram

London Eye is the biggest Ferris wheel in the world and located right on the Thames.

There are 32 capsules with glass windows, offering great views over the city. One ride takes about 30 minutes – it is not a wild ride, but goes very slowly.

People suffering from a fear of heights might be scared though. At its highest point, London Eye is 135 meters high, so it might feel like a thrill ride for them.

London Eye opened in 2000, so I did not visit during my first trip to London, but eventually, I did. I loved the amazing view of my favorite London building: The Elizabeth Tower (aka Big Ben).

The ride is not cheap, but if you are into great views and Ferris wheels, it is worth the money and time (it normally includes some standing in lines, so getting a fast-track ticket might be a good option). Check out prices for London Eye here.

Lunch and Dinner: There are many options for dining along the Thames. You will find something for every budget and taste, ending your day at a restaurant at the Thames River is a perfect idea!

Day 2 in London

One of my favorite activities in London is to stroll the Thames and see the most beautiful places along the way and the Thames River does play a role on day 2 of your London itinerary.

Stop 1: Tower of London

I recommend starting at the Tower of London, which is located at River Thames. The UNESCO World Heritage site is extremely popular and one of the most visited landmarks in London.

London where to visit in four days

While I only visited the inside once, I always love strolling the area. The Tower of London is one of the best places to visit in London, though its history is actually rather violent and tragic.

It is a historic castle that was used as a prison for the longest time (1100-1952), and was also a royal residence (weird how those go together). Now, it is a museum and open to the public. The Crown Jewels are probably the most famous attraction, though you can also learn more about England´s past while there.

If you visit the inside, you should know that it can be very crowded. Buying a ticket does include a guided tour though (either audio guides or guided tours). For anyone interested in history and royalty, this is a great place to see in London. You can prices for London Eye here.

Stop 2: Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge, just next to the Tower of London, is one of the most popular – and photogenic – bridges in the world. Its unique shape and design remind me of a large toy.

It was built in the late 19th century and has two pathways – a lower one for pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles, and an upper one with a glass floor that is only for pedestrians. 

London Tower Bridge point of interests

The one below opens for ships and boats, adding a bit more spectacle to it. Crossing it is free, but the upper one can only be walked across by paying an entrance fee. You can also visit the exhibition and learn about its mechanics.

Stay on the other side (so, not on the Tower of London side) and walk for about 1.8 km and you will see another unique bridge.

Stop 3: Millennium Bridge

This Millennium Bridge is a steel suspension bridge that opened in 2000 and is one of my favorite bridges. 

James Padolsey Unsplash London sights

Given that it is only for pedestrians, it is a safe place to take Instagram shots. The views all around are beautiful and the bridge is one of a kind. Take your time to soak in the views!

If you walk that bridge slowly, you will have a beautiful, and kind of surprising, view of St. Paul´s Cathedral.

Stop 4: St. Paul‘s Cathedral 

There are many London itineraries out there and I am sure they all recommend visiting this place:

As mentioned above, the best way to approach this beautiful cathedral is by crossing the Millennium Bridge – it almost feels dramatic (see picture above).

For more than 200 years, it was London´s highest building. It was rebuilt several times and this one was completed in 1710. It is now the seat of the Bishop of London, and the Anglican church is popular for royal weddings (Lady Diana and Prince Charles were probably the most famous couple who were wed there).

You can visit the church for free (Sundays it is only open for worshippers), but if you want to see the galleries, cathedral floor, and crypt, you have to get tickets (audio guides included) prices and skip-the-line-tickets here.

Also, grab something to eat along your way as there are some pubs, cafes, and restaurants along the way.

Stop 5: Sky Garden

Of course, I have to mention this place in my 4-day London itinerary: A popular and free option to see London from above is the Sky Garden.

Sky Garden @shutterstock
@shutterstock

You have to book tickets in advance (about three weeks earlier), but it is free to visit, and you have fabulous views over the city. It is located close to the Tower of London, so if the tickets are booked out, you can make a reservation for one of the restaurants in the garden (but, of course, you would also have to consume something).

It is the highest public garden and has several dining options. It is nice to visit at any time of the day, but could also be a great way to end the evening!

Stop 6: Shakespeare´s Globe

Okay, it really depends on where you like to end your day, so you could swap Sky Garden with this tip.

Globe Theater in four days with Arzo Travels

For those of you interested in theater, why not visit the Shakespeare‘s Globe? It will probably be one of the most unique theater locations you see!

It was built in the 16th century by Shakespeare’s playing company, and after it was closed in 1642, it reopened more than 350 years later – just a few hundred meters from the original theater.

You can watch plays by the famous William Shakespeare (Romeo & Juliet is just one of his famous scripts) or book theater “lessons.“ Believe me, after an exhausting day, it is refreshing to take part in such interactive lessons. 

It is located in the Bankside´s Cultural Quarter – a very lovely and charming neighborhood by the Thames, with many restaurants and cafes. It is a great way to end the day (if you aren’t too into heights and prefer culture over great views at the Sky Garden).

TIP: If you want to see London by night you could book a tour and relax while you are driven around and see the city by night. Here is such a tour.

Day 3 in London

Day 3 starts with another free activity in London.

Stop 1: Oxford Street 

This day, you can start a bit later. If you are at Oxford Street around 10 pm you should be fine. London´s main shopping street is home to 300 shops and restaurants – if you are a shopping addict, you´ll love it there.

Sabrina Mazzeo Unsplash
Sabrina Mazzeo @Unsplash

From super-budget to super fancy, you´ll find all kinds of retail shops and restaurants. If you cannot be bothered to walk the two-kilometer-long street, you can just walk a part of it and then head to Regent Street toward the next main attractions.

Stop 2: Regent Street 

This is another main shopping street that should be on your 4-day London itinerary.Just head from Oxford Circus Underground station to Regent Street and you´ll have more places to shop.

If you walk along this street, you will experience one of the best tourist places in London.

You will find many restaurants and cafes in this area – so, just sit down wherever it pleases you! It is also the prettiest street in December.

Stop 3: Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is a road junction, connecting the above-mentioned Regent Street and Piccadilly, and is a main hotspot in London.

Empty Piccadilly Circus @shutterstock
@shutterstock

It is a smaller version of New York´s Times Square and a popular meeting point with many neon billboards.

In the middle of the junction, there is an option to sit and just watch the bustling activity around. If you prefer sitting in a more comfortable environment, you can just choose one of the cafes close by and watch the craziness around you.

Stop 4: Trafalgar Square

Another iconic place for your “4 days in London itinerary” – Trafalgar Square which is just a stone‘s throw from Piccadilly Circus and one of the top places to see in London – whether you are in London with children or not, this is a fun place for everyone.

Trafalgar Square @shutterstock
@shutterstock

You might have heard of the “Battle of Trafalgar.“ The Nelson Column was named in honor of Admiral Nelson, who fought in the aforementioned battle. The lion statues are probably the most distinctive attraction there (and the lions are my personal favorite). 

You have many museums and galleries around!

Extra Tip: If you are into museums you could visit the National Gallery next to Trafalgar Square. The art museum houses more than 2,300 art paintings from around the world.

Stop 5: Covent Garden

After exploring Trafalgar Square, it is time for the next (and probably last) stop for the day: Covent Garden.

This district is just one kilometer from Trafalgar Square and makes a perfect walk.

Part of Covent Garden is covered and so it is a perfect location if the weather is bad. Stroll the cobblestone square of Covent Garden Piazza, shop in one of the numerous shops and markets, and visit the museums. These are just a few things to do in London‘s Covent Garden.

Given its many cafes, it is also a great way to end the day in London.

Day 4 in London

Here you have the last day of your 4-day trip and you hopefully have a better idea on how to spend 4 days in London.

Whenever I visit a place for more than two or three days, I give myself some free time so I can spontaneously do and see what I like. You never know about the weather, how you‘ll feel, and so on.

If you are four days in London and have managed to see all of the recommendations mentioned above, I have a few more tips. If you haven’t checked them all off, I suggest visiting them (if you are interested) and using this itinerary for the fourth day as an extra. However, visiting both places might not take a full day.

Stop 1: Notting Hill

If you are looking for an extremely Instagrammable place in London, then Notting Hill is it.

The colorful houses of Notting Hill @shutterstock
@shutterstock

This district is behind Kensington Place (at Hyde Park) and known for its fun and colorful houses and its markets – especially Portobello Market (check out the times of the markets beforehand as they aren’t every day).

You can buy fresh food and vegetables, antiques, and all kinds of fun souvenirs.

There are museums, cafes, and restaurants. There is so much to do that you could easily spend an entire day there. You will surely find a place to have lunch (or just prepare some sandwiches at the hotel and sit down and watch people while sitting on a bench).

Stop 2: Churchill Arms 

If you are in London (actually in any part of England), you will notice the beautiful pubs and cafes. There are flower pots everywhere and I think this adds extra charm to this fun city and lovely country.

Admiring London´s pretty pubs - picture taken of me by @bearcef (Instagram)
Picture taken of me by @bearcef (Instagram)

But the Churchill Arms, close to Notting Hill, is special. I am not a fan of pubs, so I did not go in, but looking at this stunning piece display of flowers was breathtaking.

It is definitely the creme de la creme of amazing-looking pubs and a feast for the eyes – yours and for the Instagram addicts!

If you like to end your day, or your 4-day London itinerary, in a pub, then this is probably the most iconic!

CONCLUSION: HOW TO SPEND 4 DAYS IN LONDON

With this 4-day London itinerary you will be busy, but you could spend weeks or even months in London without getting bored.

However, I think that London in 4 days gives you a good overview of the city. I hope this post helps you focus on the best places to see!

READ MORE: Do you want to combine a trip to London with visiting Paris as well? Then check out my one-week Paris & London itinerary.

1 week in England? Then check out my one-week England itinerary

Safe Travels, Arzo

21 Top Things to Do in London for Free

London - what is free to do in London

21 Best Things to Do in London for Free – London on a Budget

London is a fun and exciting city – there is so much to see and do in London. However, London is also pricey. So, here is my “Free things to do in London” post – the best things to do and see for free plus some London budget tips (yes, London on a budget is possibel and still fun).

When I thought about places to recommend, I did not intend to write about “free activities in London” – I actually just wanted to give you my tips for visiting London. When I started my list, I realized that many things I love in London are actually free.

Though I have visited London many times, I have hardly done any activities that were not free. Thus, I changed my plan and made a “21 Top Things to Do in London for Free” post.

At the end of the post, I did add a few things that are not free (since this was my initial thought), but here you go – great ideas for activities in London for free.

If you have never been to London, these places should be on your list.

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS – THIS MEANS I Might EARN A SMALL COMMISSION WHEN YOU BUY A PRODUCT/SERVICE (AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU. MORE ABOUT IT HERE.

Free Things to do in London

Here are the things to do in London for free.

1) Elizabeth Tower A.K.A. Big Ben

Big Ben is my favorite building in London. Though it is actually named Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben is only one of the five bells of the clock), I still often refer to it as Big Ben (as do many others).

London on a budget- 21 free things to do in London

Visible from far and wide, the Tower holds court over London and is located at the end of the Palace of Westminster, next to the Thames and close to other main tourist attractions like the London Eye.

At the moment, there is construction work going on, so you cannot really see it in its full glory but it is still worth to check it out.

 2) Parliament Square

Just in front of Big Ben (I just cannot get used to calling it Elizabeth Tower) is the Parliament Square – a square with some greenery and statues of some important people like Mahatma Gandhi.

This view is awesome, the options to relax and chill are great, and the statues might make you – or those you’re with – curious to learn more about the history of the UK.

Parliament Square in London @shutterstock
Parliament Square in London @shutterstock

3) Piccadilly Circus

An absolute must-see place is Piccadilly Circus, London’s own version of Times Square (though a bit less action than on Times Square). At times it is totally overcrowded and busy, but it is still a great place to visit at least once in a lifetime. It is close to Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and some other sights.

Empty Piccadilly Circus @shutterstock
Empty Piccadilly Circus @shutterstock

4) Buckingham Palace & Changing Guards

Buckingham Palace should be on your list and is one of the things you can easily do on your own in London whether you like the Royal Family or not. Though I have seen the Palace many times, I still visit whenever I am in London, though I cannot remember having ever watched the Changing of the Guards.

The Palace itself is not the most impressive building, but as a London first-time visitor, you need to see it and I love the parks close by and I haven’t given up hope on spotting the Queen or another royal family member.

Does the Queen really live there? That is a question my students actually ask me a lot, and the answer is yes, it is her official residence. If you see the Union Flag flying above the Palace you know she is not home (if the royal flag is flying the Queen is at home).

Buckingham Palace in London @shutterstock
Buckingham Palace in London @shutterstock

5) Trafalgar Square

When I visited Trafalgar Square for the first time, I mostly saw pigeons. I am totally scared of any kind of birds once they start flying above my head, so Trafalgar Square did not make a perfect first impression.

Trafalgar Square @shutterstock
Trafalgar Square @shutterstock

BUT this has changed by now. Nowadays, there are far fewer pigeons and I feel much “safer”. The Square (I have a thing for squares in general) is not far from other main attractions like the London Eye, and in the middle of the square are some statues and Nelson’s Column – great location for pictures.

6) Oxford Street

Oxford Street is not a normal shopping street. Oxford Street is THE main shopping street in London. It seriously is huuuuge – and you’ll find all kinds of shops there.

Oxford Street in London @shutterstock
Oxford Street in London @shutterstock

7) Covent Garden

Covent Garden is a district in London known for several attractions, but I love its market the most – it seems that the theme and interior changes every time I visit, and thus it is always lovely and different each time.

8) Camden Market

Okay, I have to admit that I am not the biggest market fan – but visiting Camden Market is a lovely experience – so visiting it once was good, and I can recommend strolling around.

Camden Market @shutterstock
Camden Market @shutterstock

9) Millennium Bridge

I actually only passed Millennium Bridge on my last trip – but walking towards St. Paul’s Cathedral is just beautiful, though also totally crowded at times.

London - 21 Top Things to do for free in London, UK. What is to do in London for free. Cool and free activities in England. Save money in London.

10) Visit a Cathedral

Talking about St. Pauls´Catherdral: Though I am not into museums I love religious sites, and recommend visiting one in London as well (if you attend the mass, if not you have to pay an entrance fee).

11) Free Museums in London

Again, I have to admit that I am not a big museum fan, but there are several free museums in London, such as the Bank of England Museum or the Victoria and Albert Museum.

12) Kensington Garden

The Kensington Garden is home to Kensington Palace (residence of royals such as Princess Diana and William and Kate) and has several playgrounds and a beautiful garden that includes a Peter Pan Statue.

Kensington Palace @shutterstock
Kensington Palace @shutterstock

13) Sky Garden

Okay, I actually haven’t been there yet myself – but only because it was booked out when I wanted to book. There are two great things about the Sky Garden: it is free (yeah!) and it supposedly offers great views of London.

Sky Garden @shutterstock
Sky Garden @shutterstock

The bad news: tickets sell out quickly, so make sure to book 2-3 weeks in advance since there are not many slots. In case it is fully booked you can make a reservation for a restaurant and have a drink and still enjoy the views.

If you are looking for more gardens to visit you could check out “The Gardens of Europe” – though it is not a free activity it is a beautiful place to visit as well.

14) Hyde Park & Speaker’s Corner

The world-famous Hyde Park is one of the biggest city parks in the world – you can swim, jog, cycle, relax, dine, and much more.

Okay, I only visited once and, though it is lovely and fun, it did not overwhelm me so I did not go again – however, as a first-time visitor it should be on your list and also to check out Speaker´s Corner – an area where public speaking and debates are allowed.

15) St. James’s Park

St. James’s Park is probably my favorite park in London. I love those animals (squirrels, pelicans, etc.) and the fact that it is super close to Buckingham Palace.

16) Tower Bridge

London Bridge or Tower Bridge? Which is the one to cross? I would definitely say Tower Bridge, it is a pretty and unusual bridge. If you want to enjoy a panorama view you can get a ticket to visit the walkways situated 45 meters above the Thames.

Tower Bridge in London, the UK. @shutterstock
Tower Bridge in London, the UK. @shutterstock

17) Notting Hill

Was it the movie that made Notting Hill more famous… or Instagram?

The colorful houses of Notting Hill @shutterstock
The colorful houses of Notting Hill @shutterstock

It seems that Notting Hill is the trendy district in London, and all London visitors flood their feed with Notting Hill pictures. Those colorful and cute houses are just too pretty, and strolling through Notting Hill should be on your list of things to do in London for free.

18) Pub Watching

I am not a fan of pubs – not at all – BUT I just love the pretty pubs in London. They are so extremely photogenic! If you plan to open a pub, do get some inspiration from London’s pubs.

Admiring London´s pretty pubs - picture taken of me by @bearcef (Instagram)
Admiring London´s pretty pubs – picture taken of me by @bearcef (Instagram)

19) The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9¾

Maybe it is because I have never read or watched any Harry Potter book/movie, but I did not know the famous platform was in London. The great news for Harry Potter fans is that it is free to take a photo at the magical Harry Potter shop..

20) Strolling Along the Thames River

I do not consider the Thames necessarily pretty or clean, but walking along the Thames (starting from Southwark Bridge and going toward the London Eye) will be a beautiful walk if the sun shines and it gets busy and I actually managed to fall asleep on the greenery at the Thames (yes, the sun does shine in the UK every once in a while).

walking along river Thames in London, UK. @shutterstock
Walking along river Thames in London, UK. @shutterstock

21) Getting Lost in London

No other city has more beautiful doors than London. I love the houses with the colorful and pretty doors, and I think that walking aimlessly in London (more than just around Notting Hill) is a great option, too if you’re looking for Instagrammable places in London.

Btw: Here is my 4-day itinerary for London (in this post it is not all about the budget travel but you might find more great places to visit).

22) Christmas Lights

We have now 22 free London activities!

After my first visit to London in winter, I realised that the stunning Christmas Lights are another fun and free thing to see. Yes, the lights are just to see for a few weeks at the end of the year but: Wow. However, Christmas is also a great time to visit  London. It might be very busy but those Christmas Lights…Just wow. So check out my post about winter in London guide.

More Tips on How to Save Money in London 

Here is how to save money (when spending money).

Oyster Card

A great way to save money is by getting an Oyster Card travel smartcard for London’s public transportation system. The public transport is pretty good, and using the Oyster Card can help you save money as the system recognizes how much you travel and gets you the cheapest ticket.

London Pass & Online Booking in Advance

If you want to do activities that require tickets, I recommend booking in advance. You can get the best deals on activities for London here, or the best deals on a London Pass here, which also helps you save money.

Activities in London that are not Free (Unfortunately) but Worth Checking Out

Here are a few activities that are not free (nor cheap but worth checking out).

The London Eye

The London Eye is one of the few attractions I added on my list that isn’t actually free. If you don’t have to budget (or just saved tons of money thanks to my great tips) you should take a ride and enjoy great views over London, particularly Elizabeth Tower. I have a review of my London Eye ride here.

Thames River Boat Tour

Start in Greenwich and you’ll see plenty of great sights along the way. Though the Thames water is definitely not very clear or pretty, I still have a thing for boat cruises, so I can not resist recommending it to you as well.

Tower of London

I visited the Tower of London for the first time last August, and we have a kind of love-hate relationship. It is super interesting (especially if you are into history) but it was crowded so I could not enjoy to the fullest. If you don’t mind some crowds and are curious to see the Crown Jewels and learn about some history, you’ll love it.

To save more money in London check out the best prices for flightshotels I activities and tours

I hope, you are enjoying London as much as I do and these tips help you to discover London without breaking the bank.

Read this post if you are looking for unique and off the beaten path things to do in London

Read more: Best places to visit in England

Read more: Best places to visit in Northern Ireland

Read more: Find out about the best places to see in Wales

Read more: Find out about the best places to see in Scotland

Read more: Best England itinerary for 7 days

Click here for more about tips for luxury on a budget in London.

 

Safe Travels, Arzo

 

One Week in England Itinerary

Best England itinerary, how to spend 7 days in England

How to Spend 7 Days in England

England (or better yet, the UK) is one of my favorite countries in Europe – yes, there is a lot of weird things going on (politically) right now, but so far, I still have very fond memories of England.

So, if you plan are wondering about how to spend one week in England this post helps you discover different areas and see different faces of England in 7 days.

Whether visiting the north or the south, whether visiting cities like London and Manchester or visiting cute towns and villages like Chester and Hastings – I was never disappointed and I like to share some of the most beautiful places in England.

Even nature in England is lovely – even stunning (e.g. Dover) – and while I have visited England many times, I have not posted much about it here on my blog.

However, this is about to change and this England itinerary will hopefully help you to plan 7 days in England. So, this England itinerary is surely not my first England post, but it is the first giving you an idea on how to spend one week in England – about the best places to visit and see and the best things to do in seven days.

Buckingham Palace in London @shutterstock
@shutterstock

So, whether you road trip England or use public transportation – it is quite easy to get to these places, and unlike some of my other itineraries, this does not include a lot of crazy driving. It is a busy and fun itinerary, but it will not leave you breathless.

This one-week England itinerary starts in London and then you´ll head to the south – exploring the beautiful coasts of England with their pretty coastal towns.

With only one week in England, it took me a while to think about what other places to visit besides London – because there are beautiful places all over the country.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which mean I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 7-DAY ENGLAND ITINERARY

So, before discussing your 7-day England itinerary, here are a few travel tips so that you have a wonderful time in the country – including tips on how to get around, where to stay, and more!

Best Time to Visit England

Have you heard about England (and Britain) being gray and rainy? Well, unfortunately, this is true. Whether I visited England in the summer months or during other seasons, the weather is moody and rain is quite common. But the sun does visit England, too – sometimes. 

However, this should not stop you from visiting – you just have to pack accordingly.

For this itinerary, I suggest visiting in the summer months. Normally, I advise visiting in the off-season, but due to the places on this itinerary and the weather, the summer months – let´s say from May to late September – are the best months to visit England in one week.

Hastings Beach Points of Interest

How to Get to England

I recommend starting and ending your trip in London for this itinerary.

London has several airports and you can fly into London from many airports in Europe, Asia, or the U.S.

But if you drive with your own car and come from Europe, you might want to start in Dover.

If you come from France, you get to Dover by train/ferry.

How to Get Around

Car: The reason why I would never road trip England is that I cannot drive on the left side of the road. Having a self-diagnosed “difficulty telling left from right” (that does really exist), I don’t dare drive on the left.

However, I enjoyed quite a few bus rides and did the exact same route several times (to be precise, 4 times, as this was the route we took with our graduating classes – as you probably know, I am a teacher and we visit England as a final trip with the graduating classes for 6 days).

So, the views are nice – sometimes it is a bit boring, but sometimes the views are even nicer than nice. The streets are not very busy and seem to be in good condition overall. Some streets are narrow and there are some mountain roads included – but no high mountains and nothing crazy like in Central Europe, for example.

Renting a car in England is – apparently – relatively easy, but not cheap, and pre-booking a car might help you save money. 

Gas is quite expensive in England and so are parking fees.

My tip: If you want to road trip, rent your car after your time in London because in London itself, you will not need a car. Public transportation is superb and you will save yourself money and, more importantly, stress.

Public Transportation in England: While I did not use public transportation in the south of England, I used it on other occasions many times – and it is pretty good. After doing some research, I have some good news: you can visit the places on this itinerary via public transportation. Of course, you are less flexible, but you do not have to worry about parking spaces and such.

So, from London to Canterbury, you can take the train (about 90 minutes) and then from there, take buses/trains. It’s important to note that you probably will need to check timings in advance as not every bus runs hourly.

Oxford Street in London @shutterstock
@shutterstock

In London, you are surely better off without your own car – public transportation is great and the best way to get around.

Costs

England is not cheap as a travel destination – London especially is expensive, but so are many other places in the country. However, I still think it is cheaper than some other European destinations in Central and Northern Europe.

Accommodations will probably eat up most of your budget. For train rides, booking early might be the best financial option.

Food can be costly, but also very affordable – and I do not mean just Fish & Chips (a traditional British favorite). You will find many take-away restaurants that offer great (international) food for reasonable prices.

ITINERARY FOR ONE WEEK IN ENGLAND 

Okay, let us talk about your actual England itinerary and what to do in 7 days in England.

London – 3.5 Days

London is surely a very interesting city – and it has so much to offer. You could easily spend a week here (and of course longer) and would not get bored. However, for this England itinerary, I suggest staying about 3 or 3.5 days in the city, so you have enough time for the southern coast of England.

London on a budget- 21 free things to do in London

Millennium Birdge and where to see in London

London is so rich in history, stretching back to Roman times – the capital of England has something for everyone.

Do you like shopping? Then head to Oxford Street or Regent Street.

Do you prefer lively squares? Then visit Picadilly Circus or Trafalgar Square. 

Do you like to admire beautiful architecture? Then check out places like the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower).

Do you prefer relaxing in the park? Then stroll St. James Park or Hyde Park.

Do you enjoy more hip and colorful neighborhoods? Then explore Nottinghill.

I could go on like this forever, but I guess you get my point (and let´s not forget about the Royal Family that just recently became a bit more internationally glamorous with the new Dutchess of Sussex – Meghan Markle).

Admiring London´s pretty pubs - picture taken of me by @bearcef (Instagram)
Picture taken of me by @bearcef (Instagram)

With all the pubs (pretty pubs to be more precise) and clubs in London, it is also a great place for those who enjoy some nightlife and partying. 

Stroll the Thames River and enjoy views from the London Eye – one of the biggest Ferris wheels in the world – and experience the city from a different perspective (for a birdeye’s view that is free, head to Skygarden).

I actually have a 4-day itinerary for London, but again, see how much time you want to spend in in the city. 

Personally, I would leave early on the fourth day and head to Canterbury, so you have more than half a day there to explore this pretty city. Also, check out my London winter guide.

Where to Stay in London

Here are some of the best-rated hotels for each budget:

Luxury Hotels in London – Ritz-Carlton is one of the top hotels – it is also conveniently located in the city center and quite close to Buckingham Palace. Click here for the best rates and more info.

Mid-Range Hotels in London: This 3-star hotel Hampton by Hilton Waterloo has decent reviews– find out more about this hotel and get the best rates here.

Budget Hotels in London : This hostel is well-rated, conveniently located and if you book a bed in a dorm you can actually get a bargain. Click here to get the best rates for YHA London Central

Canterbury – Half Day

So, to continue your 7-day England itinerary you can either drive to Canterbury or get there by train (which should take less than two hours either way).

Canterbury is a beautiful medieval city – a cathedral city that was once a famous pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages. Now, tourism plays a major role in the city and it is one of the most visited in England.

Canterbury Cathedral and other things to do_

Canterbury Town Center in England

With a population of about 55,000, it is a cute, small city and perfect for spending half a day or a full day.

Located in Kent, Canterbury has been the seat of the spiritual head of the Church of England for several centuries – and is home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites, which include the Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey, and St Martin’s Church.

The city is known for its ancient walls, originally built by the Romans, with cobblestone streets, timber-framed houses, and cute shops and restaurants.

Despite London´s long history, you will not find the small and narrow streets there that you will find here in Canterbury.

There are riverboat tours as well as planned walks if you want to spend some time in nature – but the highlight is probably the Canterbury Cathedral, which was built in the 6th century and is one of the most stunning religious sites in England.

The cathedral is a mixture of Romanesque and Perpendicular Gothic, and is one of the main landmarks in the city. You have to pay an entrance fee to explore the cathedral, the site of the shrine of Thomas Becket and the seat of the Archbishop.

The city center is small and you can get around on foot and see the main sights by walking.

Tip: Rent audioguides to get a better understanding of the cathedral´s history.

Where to Stay in Canterbury

I never stayed in Canterbury overnight – in case you plan to spend a night here, check out this hotel. It was rated one of the best and is centrally located.

Dover – 1 Day

With one week in England we cannot waste too much time so you can either stay here overnight or head to Dover and stay there so that you can start exploring Dover early in the morning.

Dover is one of a kind in England – and I suggest spending at least a full day here.

Dover Castle - Best view over Dover from Dover Castle

Chalk Cliffs in Dover - The White Cliffs of Dover

It´s a small coastal town located in Kent – and it is an important port in England. It is a great place to learn about England´s history, but it is also perfect for hiking – it has some of the most stunning scenery in the country.

Dover is probably most famous for the White Cliffs of Dover and its harbor/port. If you arrive at or leave England by ferry, you´ll most likely do it via Dover – Calais (France).

But if you are in Dover, do not skip Dover Castle, which is probably the most iconic in England nowadays and actually the biggest castle in the county.

It was built by King Henry II in the 1180s and served as a fortress. You can visit the castle and explore it while learning about the country´s history – and best of all, it comes with amazing views!

You can also hike in this beautiful part of the world, choosing one of several hiking routes.

Where to Stay in Dover

If you stay in Canterbury overnight, I suggest not staying in Dover but instead staying two nights in Hastings (so you do not have to change hotels too often). However, if you stay in Dover overnight, check out rates for hotels here.

Hastings – 1 Day

Your 7 days in England is almost up so it is time to get from Dover to Hastings.

Hastings is a cute, beautiful coastal town with a long history. It is located about 80 km from Dover and is one of the lesser-known destinations outside of the UK.

Pier inHasting, England is a must in 7 days

Hastings - a beautiful little town in England

Hastings is known for the 1066 Battle of Hastings (which was fought where Battle Abbey now stands). 

If you do a short hike up (you could also use a funicular), you can enjoy the views from Hastings Castle of the English Channel. The castle itself was once home to William the Conqueror, and up there, you can also visit the Smugglers Adventure Museum  (fun for kids, too).

Then you have the charming pebble-stone beach – though I came here many times, even in the summer months, I have never taken a dip as it can be chilly and windy all year round.

However, it is a popular beach destination in England and there is nothing better than strolling the promenade and visiting the really, really cute and colorful pier of Hastings.

Where to Stay in Hastings

I am not going to lie – the places I have stayed in Hastings were not great. The hotel standard here is not great. My tip is to stay at the hotel near the beach and near the old town – this is the best-rated hotel I have found in Hastings.

Eastbourne – 1 Day

For the last days of your 7-day England itinerary it is time to get from Hastings to Eastbourne.

Eastbourne is a lovely coastal town with a beautiful promenade. However, it is most famous for the Seven Sisters Hike.

Stunning Cliffs in Eastbourne

The Seven Sisters is a series of chalk cliffs – located midway between Seaford and Eastbourne (as you have seen in Dover). The hike is not overly challenging and can be done in a few hours – the views are incredible and the hike is probably one of the best hikes you can take in England.

There are different options (that also come with different lengths and difficulties). We did an easy hike (or walk) from there to Eastbourne. 

If you want, you can also do the longer hike from Seaford to Eastbourne. The only thing to keep in mind is to be careful – it can be slippery, especially when it is wet, and you can fall (there have been casualties in the past).

If you follow this itinerary strictly (3.5 days in London, half a day in Canterbury, 1 day in Dover, 1 day in Hastings, and 1 day in Eastbourne), then your 1 week in England is already up.

Where to Stay in Eastbourne

If you want to stay in Eastbourne overnight, check out this 5-star hotel in Eastbourne.

Brighton – 1 Day

If you have more than 7 days in England or want to skip one of the other places mentioned above, then think about visiting Brighton before heading back to London (if you fly out from there).

Brighton is a famous resort town that is about 35km from Eastbourne and about 76km south of London.

Things to do in Brighton Pier @Dan Breckwoldt
@Dan Breckwoldt

Things to see in Brighton
@shutterstock

Bigger than towns like Hastings and Eastbourne, Brighton offers more attractions and a busier atmosphere. Visit Brighton Pier, which opened almost 120 years ago and is where you will find carousels and food stalls.

Check out the Royal Pavilion, the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, and Old Steine – or spend time at the beach.

Brighton is also known for its nightlife, so if you want to end your England trip with a party, then Brighton is a good stop!

From there, you can take a train and be back in London within the hour!

Where to Stay in Brighton

If you plan to stay in Brighton overnight, then check out this 4-star hotel which is centrally located.

CONCLUSION OF MY 7-DAY ENGLAND ITINERARY

I know, the country has many more beautiful spots – but with only one week in England I think, this would be my perfect 7-day England itinerary that is perfect for spring, summer, and fall (and even winter). Hopefully, this post has inspired you and you have your own England itinerary figured out.

Safe Travels, Arzo

 

7 Days in Paris and London Itinerary

Itinerary for London and Paris in 7 days, France and England in one week

7-Days Paris and London Itinerary

Here is my Paris and London itinerary for your trip to these two exiting cities.

I totally get why Europe is so intriguing for many Americans, but also for people from all over the world and from Europe, too.

Europeans love to travel within Europe, and if you have never been to Europe before, you will quickly understand why it is so popular.

I mean, we all know about the world-famous destinations like Paris, London, and Barcelona; about the stunning islands like Santorini and Mallorca; and let’s not forget about the breathtaking scenery of Central Europe.

But it is also quite easy to travel within Europe – train and flight connections are generally good, sometimes even very good, and you can easily travel within countries.

Even now that the United Kingdom (and so England, as it is part of the United Kingdom) is most likely leaving the European Union in spring 2019, it will still be easy traveling from one country to the other.

So, if you plan to visit the two main cities in Europe, London and Paris, this one-week itinerary will help you figure out how to organize your trip. Whether you want to stay seven days or more, there are lots of things to do and see.

Paris & London, 1 week itinerary for Paris and France - Pin me for Pinterest

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS – THIS MEANS I MIGHT EARN A SMALL COMMISSION WHEN YOU BUY A PRODUCT/SERVICE (AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU). MORE ABOUT IT HERE.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR LONDON AND PARIS ITINERARY

Here are some tips that will help you plan your trip before discussing your actual Paris and London itinerary.

How to Plan your Trip

With this itinerary, I also share my travel tips – not only for the two cities but also how I book and travel around the world.

Booking Flights

I check flight prices on Skyscanner. 

Skyscanner is great because they find you the cheapest flights by comparing millions of options from airlines and travel agents. 

Booking Accommodation

For hotels, I mostly use booking.com because I am a very spontaneous person and want to be flexible. Most of the time, you can cancel accommodations without any cost up to 24 hours before your stay. The rates are also most often the best.

Sometimes I stay in Airbnb. It really depends on the city and the prices for accommodations, so it is worth it to check out Airbnb (especially if you want to stay with locals, or if you like to book a whole apartment for yourself if you travel with several people).

If you enjoy an Airbnb accommodation just click here (first-time users can save $$$ by using my link)

Booking Tours in France and London

When I book my tours, I mostly use GetYourGuide because of their generous cancellation policy – and in case something comes up, I know they have my back (like the day I was not picked up for a tour even though the tour operator confirmed the trip. I got my money back from GetYourGuide after the tour operator did not return my messages).

TRAVEL TIPS PARIS & LONDON

Airports in London and Paris

If you come from abroad, you will most likely fly into London or Paris. If you are from European countries like Germany, Belgium, or the Netherlands (or any other country close by), then getting to London or Paris by train would probably be a good choice. However, both cities are well connected to airports from all over the world.

Airports in London:

These airports include London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, and London Stansted. Some are quite far from the city center, but all airports are well-connected to the city center of London and have regular shuttle buses.

Airports in Paris:

There are three main airports in Paris for visitors: Charles de Gaulle Airport, Orly Airport, and Beauvais-Tillé Airport. The first two airports are well-served by public transport. The latter one is a lot farther from the city and getting to the city requires a longer and more expensive transfer.

Best Time to Visit London and Paris:

I have visited both cities many times, and while I almost always had great weather in Paris, the weather in London was… grayish.

Both cities are great to visit in December (for all the Christmas lights and shopping), but if you can freely book your trip, I suggest visiting in May, June, or September.

While I normally never recommend visiting a place during the high season, which for Europe is most often in July and August, I would probably visit London during those two months – just because the weather might be better.

Prices go up significantly at that time. Both cities also host many events, like the Tour de France and Fashion Weeks, which make prices for accommodations even more expensive. So, if you aren’t visiting for one of those events, try avoiding those times.

How to Get From London to Paris or From Paris to London

You can, of course, fly from one city to the other, but the easiest way to get from Paris to London is by train. It takes less than three hours and there are regular train connections.

Normally, the earlier you book, the cheaper it gets.

HOW TO SPEND 7 DAYS IN LONDON AND PARIS

You can start your trip with London first and do it the other way around, it’s up to you.

Paris in 3,5 Days

Paris…there are not many cities in the world that are as popular, famous, and appealing than this quite small European city. Everyone knows Paris and almost everyone has added Paris on their bucket list – while I did not fall in love with Paris immediately, after about 8 trips or so, I can say that the city has grown on me.

Best Places to Stay in Paris

You can find all kinds of accommodations in Paris – however, the standard of accommodation is not very high (a 3-star hotel can be quite shabby), so I would probably pay a few $ more to not end up in a very shady place..

To check out accommodation rates for different hotels just click on each link

Luxury Hotels in Paris – the luxurious hotels in Paris come with a big price tag but are probably worth the money: Four Seasons Hotel George V is one of the most iconic hotels in Paris – find out more about the hotel and the rates here.

Hotel Wo –  this 3-star hotel has great reviews and is centrally located– Click here to find the best rates this hotel in Paris

I sometimes book budget hotels – but actually, I cannot recommend budget hotels in Paris (if you know a great budget hotel let me know though).

 

Paris itinerary
@shutterstock

You should know what to expect – while it is often called the most romantic city in the world, truth is that is can be a bit disappointing first. It is dirty, there is a lot of tourist scam but it is also extremely beautiful and special. While I am often in my hotel after sunset, I try to experience Paris at night.

Because Paris is the City of Lightsand the illuminated Eiffel Tower is just one fantastic sight to see after sunset – and it wears its best dress at night.

However, there is also a lot to do and see during the day

Where to go in Paris

Paris is not only a great destination for love birds -it is a heaven for shopping addicts, for architect lovers, for people who enjoy nice strolls, for history nerds….to make it short: Paris is great!

Before jumping to your days in Paris, here are a few more travel tips. Depending on the time of your arrival, I suggest planning in about 3-5 days for Paris. While the city is small, there is a lot to do.

Montmartre and Sacre Couer - where to visit in Paris, Frane

PARIS TRAVEL TIPS

Paris is best explored on foot. 

The city is geographically small, and many tourist attractions are quite close to one another. The public transportation is also pretty great. So, hop on the metro or bus to get around, if needed. It is easy, fast, and affordable.

There is no Oyster Card in Paris, unlike in London, so you could either buy single tickets or plan in advance and buy multi-tickets to save a bit of money.

Hop-on and hop-off buses are also a great option, and you get a discount on several popular tourist attractions in Paris.

I hate to say it, but Parisians are not the nicest people – and they do not even bother to speak English. So, you really should pick up some French words and not take it personally. However, I also realized that the people were becoming nicer day by day, but still… Download a translation app, if needed.

You can find all kinds of accommodations in Paris – from luxury hotel chains and beautiful boutique hotels, to mid-range and budget hotels.

While the standard of accommodation is not very high (a 3-star hotel can be quite shabby), you aren’t in Paris for its hotels.

Notre Dame in Paris - things to do in fours days Paris

THINGS TO DO AND PLACES TO VISIT IN PARIS IN 3,5 DAYS

  • Visit the Eiffel Tower
  • Stroll the Seine
  • Admire the Bridges
  • Picnic by the Seine
  • See Notre Dame
  • Explore the Louvre
  • Rest at Jardin des Tuileries
  • Explore Montmartre and Sacré-Cœur
  • Rest at Jardin du Luxembourg
  • Visit Versailles

I have a very detailed Paris post where you can find out more about the best activities and an ideal 4-day Paris itinerary and also a post about the best day trips from Paris.

Millennium Birdge and where to see in London - Louvre

Then, it is time to head to England´s capital, lovely and moody London.

London in 3,5 Days

London is another fun capital in Europe – London is a bit hipper and personally, I think younger people (especially if you travel with teenagers) will enjoy London more than Paris. However, this does not mean I suggest skipping Paris. Like Paris, I have visited London numerous times, and I always find new cute places and great spots.

Since the UK have left the European Union, thing have changed a bit and this might also be true for crossing borders. I haven’t been in England in 2020 yet – so, I cannot say how much you will be controlled when crossing borders. 

Where to Stay in London

Here are some of the best-rated hotels for each budget:

Luxury Hotels in London – London is home to numerous luxury hotels – if you find something easily it is luxury accommodation in London.

Ritz-Carlton is one of the top hotels – it is also conveniently located in the city center and quite close to Buckingham Palace. Click here for the best rates and more info.

Draycott  Hotel is a small luxury boutique hotel I actually stayed at one night. It is definitely, a good choice if you prefer smaller and more unique places. Click here for more info and the best rates.

Mid-Range Hotels in London – If you are looking for nice but more budget-friendly hotels that are located in the center of London, then check out the following hotels:

3-star hotel Hampton by Hilton Waterloo – find out more about this hotel and get the best rates here.

Budget Hotels in London – London is expensive but you might find a good deal

This hostel is well-rated, conveniently located and if you book a bed in a dorm you can actually get a bargain. Click here to get the best rates for YHA London Central

London Eye at night - what a beauty.
@Diary of a Bear

London is a must on any England itinerary but since it is quite easy to get from London to Paris, this Paris/London itinerary is also fun.

London is as rainy as rumors say and so, don’t forget your umbrella – with this in the back of your head, be ready to explore one of the most exciting and diverse cities in Europe. There is so much history – so many historic and important buildings, so many new and modern buildings, so many great Instagrammable spots, so many artists…Do not forget all the pubs and friendly people…

Before discussing the main things to do in London, here is some information for your days in London.

LONDON TRAVEL TIPS 

Though many sights are within walking distance, you might need to take the bus or underground once in a while. It is bigger than other European cities, like Paris, and I always use public transportation in addition to the many miles I walk.

Oxford Street in London @shutterstock
@shutterstock

The underground in London works fine (I still prefer taking buses though). It gets extremely busy, especially at rush hour. So, I really recommend not taking the underground or bus at those times.

It works fine and is quite cheap and fast.

Oyster Card:  Buying an Oyster Card makes sense if you use public transportation often. You can load it up with credit and just swipe it in/out at every bus and underground station. In the end, it finds the best rates and calculates the cheapest tickets (handy, right?). You can now also use your credit card and pay contactless.

Some of the red double-decker buses are actually regular buses and not sightseeing buses, which is pretty cool and I recommend using them at least once. Hop-on and hop-off buses are also popular and great for seeing London from a different perspective.

You can rent bikes for free at many bike stations – the first 30 minutes are free, then you would have to pay. I normally just ride around for 30 minutes and then bring it back to a rental station – there are quite a few in the city center.

While the black cabs are very popular and iconic, I have never used them and don’t think you really need a cap if you book your hotel in a central location.

London what to see - Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower)

THINGS TO DO AND PLACES TO VISIT IN LONDON

  • Hyde Park and Speaker´s Corner
  • Buckingham Palace
  • London Eye
  • St. James´ Park
  • Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower)
  • Tower of London
  • St. Paul‘s Cathedral
  • Nottinghill
  • Oxford Street or Regent´s Street

If you visit in winter check out my London winter travel guide.

These are just a few tips – For more tips and more detailed info on all of the places to see, head to my detailed London 4-day itinerary.

If you are on a budget, then take out my London budget guide.

Millennium Birdge and where to see in London

London Eye at night - what a beauty.

Check out my England itinerary if you want to stay a bit longer in England – click here to find out more.

 

If you only have one week in Europe and want to experience the main hot spots of the continent, then you will find them (at least some of the hotspots) in these two capitals and so I hope that this 7 days Paris and London itinerary will help you plan your trip!

Safe Travels, Arzo

What to Pack for Europe in Summer: Packing List

Summer packing list for Europe

THINGS TO PACK FOR EUROPE IN SUMMER

If you have decided to spend your summer (or at least some time of it) in Europe, you will have plenty to look forward to.

Europe in summer is definitely a good choice – whether you head to the beautiful beach in Greece, busy cities like London, or hike in places like Switzerland.

You definitely cannot go wrong with Europe.

If you are wondering what to pack for Europe you´ll find this “Packing List for Europe” – so you do not have to worry about what to put in your luggage!

Click on this link to find a checklist with all the important things to do before your trip.

Hastings Beach Points of Interest

WHAT TO PACK FOR EUROPE TRAVEL

Here is what to pack – of course, it depends whether you are a light-packer and pack a bit more and on a lot of many other things but hopefully, this Europe packing list will help you remembering the important things for YOUR Europe packing list.

Luggage

  • Suitcase: Though it depends, where exactly and for how long you travel, I recommend taking a good, light, and quality suitcase with you where all your clothes and most of your toiletries fit in. If you are a backpacker you´ll find plenty of your equals in Europe.
  • Carry-On: I normally always have extra carry-on luggage with me. I normally research if a destination in Europe is considered as safe (meaning, I do a quick research about the crime rate and while it is probably totally safe to take out your fancy luggage in some parts of Europe, other areas are less safe and robbing is more common. So, if you plan to bring your brand luggage double-check.
  • Laundry bags are great if you travel for longer and don’t want your dirty and clean clothes to mix up. I prefer them over plastic bags.
  • Packing Cubes: Packing Cubes are the new must-items when it comes to traveling, they are very handy and they also come in cool colors. I recommend using packing cubes that make packing and organizing easier and do not forget a laundry bag.
  • For my handbag, I choose a cross-body handbag with a zipper (just to be safe) and several extra pockets.
  • Passport Holder, I need a passport when I travel (when an ID is not enough) so I need a bigger wallet (aka a passport holder) and I love the fun colors here.
  • If you go on a beach holiday you should also take a light and (ideally foldable) beach bag or a cotton bag instead.

London Eye at night - what a beauty.

Clothing

Summer in Europe can be a dream destination. Beautiful beaches, lovely cities and towns, charming villages, and amazing landscapes.

Summer means sun – most of the time. It can also be cold and rainy, and to be well prepared for your Europe trip, scroll down and learn more about the perfect Europe Packing List.

As you probably know, I never list any single item or say how many items to take (7 panties etc.) because it clearly depends on the length of your stay and on you. It depends, whether you like to pack light and wash your clothes, and wear everything just once and do the washing part back home.

It also depends, where exactly you are heading to because there is no “European” style.

People in Italy are the best and fanciest dressed (in my eyes) people, while clothes are not important in other parts of Europe.

However, I recommend packing clothes that you can easily mix and match so that you do not have to overpack.

Clothes to Pack for Europe

  • Hats: A hat is more than just an accessory in summer, so my must-have item is a stylish hat.
  • Sunglasses: Another must-have item on a sunny day: Sunglasses. Ray Ban seems to be always a great choice, but the most important thing is the quality (sunglasses are an investment in healthy eyes)
  • Maxi Dresses: Summer means wearing cute dresses and Europe is made to wear maxi dresses.
  • Skirts: You can wear short skirts in most places, some shopping malls actually have dress codes and do not allow too short skirts or shorts (though many do not follow the rules)
  • Tops: The more the merrier – my rule for hot destinations. I love skirts/trousers which I can wear with tops that are easy to change and are made from cotton are other light materials.
  • Blouses: Some cute blouses should be on your list (for the evening, some places that do not allow naked arms, or for the winter).
  • Cardigans and jackets: It can actually get chilly in the afternoon – not only but also after the sun sets. So definitely take at least 1 or 2 cardigans or jackets.
  • Linen Trousers: Though I love maxi dresses, the best thing to wear when it is hot is probably linen trousers – combined with a cool tank top and nice flat sandals it can be super chic.
  • Denim is big in Europe and depending on where you visit in Europe, you might need some warmer clothes.
  • Sweatpants – for hiking, walking and for feeling comfy and cozy (and yes, you can look great in sweatpants).
  • Shorts: Shorts are okay for most places – I love them especially for the beaches.
  • Footwear:  flat sandals, flip flops, and ballerinas. But a pair of sneakers are almost always a good choice, too.

what to pack for Europe

Toiletries to Pack for Europe

If I travel for 10 days or shorter I take travel sizes toiletries which I refill with my natural and organic beauty products from home (shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, cleaning water and cleansing milk). Of course, you could buy toiletries here as well, but if you do not want to waste your time in drug stores or supermarkets, use this checklist for Europe.

Forget all the different small bags for shampoo etc. – get them all packed in a Toiletry Kit and have them super organized with you.

  • TSA Approved Clear Travel Toiletry Bag
  • Sunscreen
  • Travel bottles to refill – I refill them with my own organic products that I normally use (I do not use shampoo & conditioner provided by hotels)
  • Electric Hair Removal Epilator (only if you stay longer than a week or if you remove your body hair with it) – otherwise a razor or whatever you prefer
  • Face cream – (which I also use as a ]hand cream, so I do not have to take another cream)
  • Refillable Travel Size Perfume Bottle
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste and mouthwash plus Dental floss
  • Only use it when traveling: dry shampoo- (check size, and choose the small travel size)
  • Tissues
  • Deodorant
  • Refreshing towelettes
  • Magnifying make-up mirror
  • Nail polish and nail polish remover
  • My favorite hairbrush (especially for longer hair) – or if you have less space take a comb
  • Hair ties
  • A small cosmetic bag with the following items:
  • Mascara
  • Rouge
  • Eyebrow powder (Taming & Shaping Kit For Brows)
  • Tweezer
  • Eyelash curler
  • Eyeliner – I sometimes use a black eye shadow as an eyeliner
  • Make-up brushes
  • Glass nail file
  • Cotton swabs

Here are a few more items which I personally do hardly use but which might be important to you, so I added them here:

hair spray, hand cream, foundation, powder, lipstick, sanitizer

What to pack for Europe

What to Pack for a Day at the Beach in Europe

  • Swimming Suits: bikinis (though you might find some nudist beaches as well in some places).
  • I love kaftans and think, it is best to wear from the beach back to the hotel room etc. Luckily, they look super cool these days.
  • Beach Bag:  I recommend one of the cool beach bags, which are light, affordable, and stylish.
  • Flip Flops are my must-have for beach days.
  • If you have a great hotel with a private beach section, you probably do not need a towel. If this is not the case not it should also be on your list. If you do not have any beach towel yet, click here to get your beach essential.
  • Do you prefer lying at the beach all day, or do you like to be more active? Bring your beach ball (click here to get yours), or a floating unicorn.
  • A reading book / Kindle is also a great idea for a day at the beach.

Click here to find my complete list: What to pack for a day at the beach

Europe packing list

Tech Stuff to Pack for Europe

  • I have my laptop with me whenever I fly. Find the best laptop for travellers
  • A while ago, I thought my tablet  is the most useless item I bought in a while – since I can download from Netflix (and thus watch my shows offline) I have found one good argument bringing my tablet with me whenever I travel
  • My phone- without doubt one of my most useful and important (travel) item
  • Camera – Europe has so many great spots that need to be photographed.
  • I have to admit, that I still don’t have a kindle, so a “real” book is often an essential
  • A day at the beach or pool would not be perfect without my iPod
  • Power Charger- how long does your phone battery last? Not long? neither does mine, so this  is an essential
  • Check if you need an International Travel Power Adapter

Random Things to Pack for Europe

  • Umbrella (in many countries, like Germany, Switzerland, or England is can still rain quite a lot in the summer)
  • Guides
  • Medicine (headache pills etc.)

Read my: Packing guide for carry-on essentials

Depending on where you travel in Europe you could buy all or most of the items here in Europe – maybe even for a better price than in your country, but to avoid spending time with shopping, I suggest coming to Europe and having your packing list complete so you can fully focus on discovering the beautiful places here in Europe.

best things to do in Switzerland
Summer in Europe – can be rainy and foggy (even in August)

Safe Travels, Arzo

Visit Dover Castle – Key To England

Dover Castle- A Day Trip from London

Visit Dover Castle – The Key to England

Dover Castle in England
Dover Castle in England

Dover Castle – Start or end your England road trip with visiting this historic Castle in the south of England.

Yes, I know it is my third post on England within a short time period (read more about the London Eye and read m post on why I have fallen in love with England) but I can’t help it, I just love England.

I have been to England, or Britain in general, quite a few times, but I had never made it to Dover Castle. So, I was really looking forward to visiting the castle in the county of Kent (which I visited with my students from 10th grade) and wasn’t disappointed at all. If you plan to visit Dover or better Dover Castle, keep reading as you find important travel information for your trip to Dover Castle – one of the most stunning castles in England.

It is a must-see for your England itinerary.

Dover

Dover is a town in the south of England (with a population of about 43,000) and about 160 km from London. It is a perfect destination for a day trip from London (or a weekend trip) and probably most famous for the White Cliffs of Dover and its harbor. If you come or leave England by ferry, you´ll most likely do it via Dover – Calais (France). Another important attraction in Dover is:

Dover Castle.

Click here to find a full England guide.

Dover Castle @shutterstock

Dover Castle

You’ll find many castles all over Britain but Dover Castle is actually the biggest castle and probably the most iconic in England nowadays. Dover Castle is a stunning building, which was started to build by King Henry II in the 1180´s and served as a fortress with a long history. Due to its location and its proximity to mainland Europe it is also called the Key to England and has played a significant role throughout the history – Dover the town as well as the castle.

No wonder, this venue has been used as a setting for several movies, including Hamlet (1990) or Doctor Who – Mind of Evil (1970).

What A View – Dover Castle

Visiting Dover Castle

Info

Opening Hours: The opening hours vary, depending on the season, so please visit the website to make sure it is open to visitors.

Prices are about 18€ for adults.

Things to See and Do at Dover Castle

Dover Castle

Visit the Great Tower. The medieval palace has quite a lot to see and discover and the interior design is charming and you´ll get an insight of the lives back then. You will be able to see the King´s bedroom and find information about the history.

I did not get to see the Underground Hospital but you can Experience the sights, sounds, and smells of this authentic underground hospital.

Enjoy the great view from the top of the Great Tower. This view of the English Channel is amazing and it is great to have a great view which comes with so much history.

There are also shops where you can buy some souvenirs and have a coffee to warm up and get some snacks.

From all the castles I have visited Dover Castle has become my favorite. Standing on the top of the tower you will enjoy an extremely nice view on the ocean or on the city of Dover, and I loved it.  To me, the view alone was worth the visit. 

READ MORE: 4-Day London Itinerary

Dover Castle - Best view over Dover from Dover Castle
Dover Castle – Best view over Dover from Dover Castle

Book your trip to Dover Castle

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A day trip from London to Dover. Visit the oldest castle in England: where history meets great views. Dover Castle in the south of England
A day trip from London to Dover. Visit the oldest castle in England: where history meets great views. Dover Castle in the south of England

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