What to do in London for two days – Things to Do in London, England

what to do in london for two days

what to do in london for two days

Discover what to do in London for two days that will make you fall in love with the city, culture, and people.

 

As one of the top-ranking cities visited by tourists, there are thousands of things to do in London, England.  Experiencing them all would probably take years.  The typical traveler needs a more compact agenda.  Tourists don’t know what to do in London in two days or less.  With hundreds of years of history, it’s impossible not to appreciate the grandeur and excitement London offers.  But what if you’re pressed for time or only have a weekend in London before heading out? If you’re wondering about what to do in London for two days, here are my top suggestions.

 

 

Big Ben, House of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey

As the top places to visit in London, England, these landmarks reside almost side by side.  Visiting them is convenient without being time consuming.  Of all the things to do in London, these three iconic landmarks are the most visited because they’re easy to find and in the heart of the city.

 

 

Count the Minutes with Big Ben and ToBig Ben what to do in London for two daysur the House of Parliament

We’re all familiar with Big Ben, the giant clock on the top of Elizabeth Tower next door to the House of Parliament.  Originally named The Great Bell (referring to the giant bell inside the clock tower), the nickname of Big Ben was given based on its makers: Sir Benjamin Hall and Ben Caunt.  Nowadays, we refer to the entire tower and clock as Big Ben.

 

Taking a tour of the House of Parliament involves climbing 334 steps to the top of Big Ben where you get a behind-the-scenes look at the clock mechanism. While there, you’ll hear this massive clock strike the hour. Since Big Ben is the third largest clock in the entire world, it’s quite the experience.

 

If you have an agenda of what to do in London for two days, add this to the top of the list.  It’s a quick stop and a perfect photo opportunity.

 

Weddings and Funerals at Westminster Abbey

what to do in london for two days westminster abbeyWest Minster Abbey is around the corner from the House of Parliament and Big Ben.   Steeped in more than a thousand years of history and intrigue, it’s considered one of the most beautiful churches in the world. This was one of my favorite places to visit in London because I adore Queen Mary of Scotland and Queen Elizabeth I (daughter of Henry VIII).

Queen Elizabeth I (the Virgin Queen) is buried here.  So is her cousin and rival, Queen Mary of Scotland, and Queen Victoria.  Princess Diana’s funeral service was held here in 1997.

Since the year 1066, every royal of England has had their coronation here including William the Conqueror, Anne Boleyn, and the current Queen Elizabeth II.

Sixteen royal weddings have taken place here including the current Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, and Prince William and Kate Middleton.

I was fortunate enough to attend mass here while I was on vacation.  I only had one weekend in London, but I made visiting Westminster Abbey a priority.  Unable to get there before closing time, I was able to attend the last mass of the day.  It was free admission, and I soaked up everything that I saw.

Out of all the touristy things to do in London, this was my favorite. Not just because it was free, but because it was steeped in hundreds of years of history.  And I was able – for a short while – to be part of it.

 

 

London Eye

Across the bridge from Big Ben is the London Eye.  On the South Bank of the River Thames sits this gigantic ferris wheel.  The tallest in Europe, passengers enjoy the 360-degree views of the city from a comfy air-conditioned capsule.  Get your camera and a selfie stick ready.

London Eye what to do in London for two days

Take a seat and enjoy the view through the crystal clear walls, or feel free to walk around.  It moves 26cm every 10 seconds. The entire trip will last about 30 minutes and pricing starts off at $50 per person. If you only have a weekend in London, it’s an ideal way to see the entire city in less than an hour.  It doesn’t stop and go like regular ferris wheels. Once boarded, it makes a smooth continuous rotation.

Night rides offer a stunning view.  Seeing the city lit up at night from 443 feet in the air is a view you can’t get anywhere else. Getting a bird’s eye view of all the wonderful places to visit in London is a great way to go sightseeing while standing still.

 

 

Buckingham Palace

The childhood home of Queen Victoria is a short distance away from Big Ben and West Minster Abbey.  Buy a ticket and live like a royal for an hour or two.  Buckingham Palace is a sight to behold with its beauty and grandeur which is why it’s one of the highly rated things to do in London, England.

buckingham palace what to do in London for two days

Tour the State Rooms that glitter with gold, pick up a souvenir at the Palace Gift Shop, and have tea and crumpets at the Garden Café.  The history of this magnificent palace is illuminated by a professional guide.  You can also get up close and personal with the treasures in the Royal Collection.

If you’re there on the right day, be sure to watch the Changing of the Guard.  I was flabbergasted during these 45 minutes of orchestrated British pageantry. Five infantry regiments have the sole purpose of protecting the Sovereign, and they are truly a sight to see.  The ceremony runs all year, so be sure to work it into your weekend in London.

 

 

 St. Paul’s Cathedralwhat to do in London for two days st. pauls cathedral

Dedicated to the apostle Paul, this church has seen its share of history.  It has hosted a slew of services including the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, Queen Victoria’s jubilee, funerals for Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, and Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.

 

This was on my list of things to do in London because I am a die-hard fan of Princess Diana.  It’s an amazing experience to walk down the same aisle that she did when she was a bride.  The intricate details and incredible architectural design is nothing like I’ve seen before.  It’s still an operating church, holding mass, so it’s free to enter.  After service, walk around and see the stunning artwork and statues.  Photos can be taken but only after the service.

 

 

 

Tours, Tours, and More Walking Tours of London!

With tourists comes the need for guided tours.  I took several while I was in this wonderful city because I was pressed for time and didn’t want to bother trying to find things myself. Not knowing what to do in London for two days is frustrating, but a well-versed tour guide makes enjoying yourself much easier.

Jack the Ripper terrorized Whitechapel district in 1888.  The town has changed since then but not much.  The Jack the Ripper tour takes you on a two-hour walking journey to investigate the crime scenes as you follow an expert guide.  Wear comfortable shoes, grab a hot drink, and enjoy playing detective in London’s East End. I took this tour with my mom.  It was interesting, fun, and we all had a drink at a local pub afterward to share our theories of Jack’s true identity. This book is a great way to prep for your adventure.

Can the world get enough of Harry Potter and his magic?  If not, you may enjoy this walking tour of London from Harry’s point of view.  It’s geared towards muggles and their obsession with the books, movie sites, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of England’s greatest wizard.   The Tour of Muggles is 2.5 hours and includes a ride on the subway (tube).  Grab your wand (this one is awesome!) and practice your spells as you head out to discover a hidden world of enchantment.  Lots of photo opps along the way so get your phone or camera ready.

With so many places to visit in London, England, a walking tour is sometimes the best way to go.  They last an hour or two and take you to places you probably couldn’t find on your own. For more walking tours of London, try www.walks.com for an array of city, ghost, food, royal, pub, castle, and photo walks.  There’s even a Beatles walk for music lovers.

 

See a Show in London’s West End

The West End is to London what Broadway is to Manhattan.  All the best musicals and plays are held here.  Top names in Hollywood perform here including Daniel Radcliffe, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Matthew Perry, and Kenneth Branagn. Dinner and show packages make for a perfect way to end a long day of sightseeing.

If you want to see a show in London, visit one of these theatres:

  • Adelphi Theatre
  • Playhouse Theatre
  • Trafalgar Studios
  • Cambridge Theatre
  • Apollo Theatre
  • Noel Coward Theatre
  • Dominion Theatre
  • Kings Cross Theatre

 

London Bridge Is Falling Down, So Go See the Tower Bridge

Completed in 1894, it connects the north and south banks of the river Thames.  Its name is derived from its proximity to the Tower of London.  If walking across it seems boring, take a guided tour to explore one of the Victorian era’s magnificent creations.

what to do in london for two days

It lights up at night and becomes a spectacular image over the evening river waters.   Use the high level walkways to see fascinating panoramic views of the city.  Glass floor panels allow pedestrians to see London life below them from 137 feet (42 meters) above the Thames.

 

 

See a Play in Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

Of all the things to do in London, going to the Globe should be one of them.  While the West End has modern entertainment, the Globe transports you back to the days of wooden playhouses and open seating.  Across from the Tower Bridge, it’s too close to pass up the opportunity to see Shakespeare in action.

If your weekend in London is getting too full and catching a show at the Globe can’t happen, discovery tours are available.  Tour the theatre and see where the magic happens.  You can still discover the history of the world’s most famous playwright without staying for the show.

 

 

Trafalgar Square Photo Opp with Lionstrafalgar square what to do in london for two days

No trip is complete without taking a photo of yourself with these iconic bronze lions at Trafalgar Square.  Everyone loves their picture taken with these immense statues.  Climb aboard and smile!  Whitehall (and its Jack the Ripper Tours) is not far from here and can be seen in the distance.

Similar to Times Square in NYC, you’ll find galleries, museums, cafes, and more.  The National Gallery museum, Nelson’s Column (protected by the lions), and the Café on the Square are nestled in the folds of this beautiful pedestrian-friendly area.  There are even public restrooms.

Memorial statues date back to the early 1800s to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.  Several fountains house mermaids, dolphins, and King Triton. An enormous Christmas tree is lit in the center of the Square, similar to that in Rockefeller Center.

 

Best Way to Travel in London is the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Buses, taxis, and the tube are great ways to travel in London.  London sightseeing bus tours are even better.  They offer a 24- and 48-hour unlimited hop-on and hop-off options.  It takes you to all the important places to visit in London as you enjoy the ride.

With 80 stops and several walking tours of London included in the ticket price, you can’t run out of things to do in London.  Cheaper than a taxi.  Easier than the subway.

Even if you don’t have a plan, taking a bus tour means you won’t run out of ideas of what to do in London for two days.

 

 

Final Thoughts

Thinking of what to do in London for two days can be mind boggling.  With so many things to do in London, they can’t all be done in one visit.  Having a good plan in place makes seeing your top interests doable.

I highly recommend purchasing a ticket for the London Tour Bus. It makes enjoying the city sights much easier.  Experience the culture and see a show in London.  Better yet, grab a seat at the Globe for a night of true Shakespearean entertainment.

If you only have a weekend in London, make the most of it.  Purchase tickets online as early as possible. Take advantage of the walking tours of London to give you a more personalized and intimate encounter with one of the most beautiful and historical cities in Great Britain.

Do you have any suggestions on what to do in London for two days or less?  What are your favorite things to do in London?  Leave a comment below!

 

Want to know more about London vacation? Read 5 Strange and Unusual Things To Do in London.

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5 Strange and Unusual Things To Do in London

London England Westminster

Indulge in these five strange and unusual things to do in London, England, to make your vacation unforgettable.

 

You’ve made it to London!  As one of the most recognized cities in the world, London has a lot to offer travelers.  So many sights to see and experiences to have, it can be overwhelming. Let’s forget about the standard sightseeing for a moment.  For my holiday, I wanted a more unique vacation. That meant finding strange and unusual things to do in London, England.  No gory super scary stuff.   I just wanted to find some strange and unusual things to do in London rather than stand in front of Big Ben like everyone else.

So I did my research and decided exactly what to do in London for a day that’s totally off the beaten path.

 

Strange and unusual things to do in London

Watch naked boys read

Books and birthday suits come together in a titillating combination when you Watch Naked Boys Read.  This could be the best thing to see in London on your vacation. Literature is read aloud by – you guessed it – real live naked men.

Strange and Unusual Things to do in London

Photo by Zbigniew Tomasz Kotkiewicz

Literature meets lovers of the male physique.  Hear passages of your favorite text read by live men standing on stage wearing nothing but a smile.  The audience is required to be fully dressed as you admire the variety of male flesh on display for all to see.

It’s a touring event that hosts in different areas.  There are no rehearsals.  It’s an honest-to-goodness on-the-spot reading of poems, monologues, and other curated texts.  Check their events calendar for dates and locations to visit this sexy library of talent.

 

 

 

 

 

Sherlock Holmes Museum

When I traveled to London a few years ago, I searched the area around my hotel and found this. I had to put it on my list of cool and unusual things to do in London.   Everyone knows about the great Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson.

But did you know that at 221b Baker Street, you can step back in time and visit the house where Sherlock and Watson solved their greatest mysteries?  It’s quaint, charming, and so cool to turn back the clock and imagine yourself examining clues and solving those unsolvable mysteries.

It’s probably the world’s most famous address, and showcases the recreated living area that Sherlock and Watson occupied.  Sherlock’s famous violin and book collection of beekeeping are delicately placed near Watson’s notes he jotted down before dashing out to gather more clues.

A welcoming gift shop is next door for souvenir purchases.  The museum is open every day except Christmas.  Don’t forget your camera.  Posted at the front door is a police detective who gladly stands tall if you’d like to snap a photo with him.   Strange and Unusual Things to do in London

 After the museum, enjoy a drink at the Sherlock Holmes Pub on Northumberland Ave.  The upstairs has been converted to a life-size replica of the rooms that Sherlock and Holmes shared around 1894.  The details are amazing and go into more depth than the museum.

If you’re wondering what to do in London in a day and feel like playing detective, I recommend combining the two to get the true Sherlock Holmes experience.

 

Weird and unusual things to do in London

Made from the Dead Taxidermy Workshop

Try your hand in a taxidermy workshop and stuff your dead animal under the guidance of Tonja Grung.  Choose a course you’d like to take – Mouse anthropomorphic, Black Plague, Corvidae family bird head, or bird taxidermy course.  Bring some friends (six or more) and get a 10% discount.

While it seems strange, it’s also a truly unique thing to do in London.  The Mouse anthropomorphic course, for example, is four hours long and takes you through the entire process.  strange and unusual things to do in london

Start with a complimentary dead mouse, learn how to skin it, tan it, and mount it.  Props such as miniature clothing and accessories are available to bring your mouse to life, so to say.

Refreshments are served as you work.  You leave with your very own mounted Stuart Little and a complimentary beginners taxidermy kit.

If you enjoy it, add to your taxidermy kit.

 

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

It’s scary. It’s creepy.  It’s one of the most fun things to do in London at night. You’re locked in a room with a group of 11 people and a zombie who’s chained to a wall.  Your job is to find the key to unlock the door and escape before the zombie gets free.  Strange and Unusual Things to do in London

Through a series of clues and riddles, you have to perform under pressure to gain your freedom and protect your brain from the hungry zombie.  As time ticks by, the chain restraining the zombie loosens.

You have only 60 short minutes to locate clues, solve riddles, and obtain the key that unlocks the door standing between you and survival before the undead zombie reaches you.

 

Take the Muggles Tour (Harry Potter)

I mentioned this tour in one of my other blog posts, but it deserves another because it’s getting five-star ratings as one of the best London attractions for families. This tour brings the books to life and throws muggles into the heart of the world of wizardry.

Only 20 muggles per tour, so grab your wand,(amazon link)  and book early.  A 2.5 hour tour, you blast your way through the Harry Potter series to visit the Leaky Cauldron, Knockturn Alley and Diagon Alley, the visitor’s entrance to the Ministry of Magic, No. 12 Grimmauld Place, and multiple locations where death eaters terrorized, well, everyone.  This tour wasn’t around when I visited London, but it is definitely on my to-do list.Strange and Unusual Things to do in London

Another Harry Potter tour you can check into in case the Muggles Tour is sold out is the Harry Potter London Landmarks Tour .  While it goes to a few of the same locations that the Muggle Tour does, it takes you to a few places the Muggle’s misses. Strange and Unusual Things to do in London

During the 2.5 hour adventure, you’ll board the “Hogwart’s Express” at Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station. Thus begins your journey to Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Stop at Diagon Alley, the Leaky Cauldron, and Leadenhall market to name a few.

Brush up on all the Harry Potter facts, adventures, and important places so you’re prepared for the tour.  Find the complete book set here.

 

 

 

No matter how much time you have, there’s always a variety of unusual things to do in London.  Leave the standard tourist spots behind.  Grab your camera and SD card.  Find the strange and unusual things to do in London that set your vacation apart from the rest.  Play detective for a day, stuff a dead animal, or trying to regulate your breathing as you watch a hunk read Little Women.  Throw normality to the wind and enjoy some strange and unusual things to do in London that make you smile for years to come.

 

Have you been to London and done weird stuff? Share your comments below and tell us all about it!

Need more of the unusual?  Read 5 Unusual and Creepy Things to Do in London, England.

 

 

5 Unusual and Creepy Things to Do in London England

London England Westminster

London England Westminster

Traveling to a new city is an exciting adventure.  The sights, the sounds, the people, and the culture are wonderfully different and exhilarating at the same time.  Sure, the typical tourist things are fun to do.  Buy a magnet of the London Bridge, purchase a coffee cup with the British flag, or order an overpriced latte at café.

But there are so many more adventurous things to do in London.  I knew there would be weird and unique things to do in London that would make my vacation so much better if I could just find out what they were.  I did, and I’m sharing it with you.  So ditch the typical tourist destinations. Put on some comfy sneakers. Now get ready to experience some unusual and creepy things to do in London that will make your vacation something to remember.

 

Unusual and Creepy Thing to Do #1

Take a Jack the Ripper Tour

London was the birthplace of the first major serial killer to be documented in mainstream history.  This tour is a spectacular way to retrace the steps of Jack and stand in the very spots where he committed the atrocious crimes that made him famous.  It’s a two-hour walking tour that covers a couple miles of street so wear good walking shoes.

Jack the Ripper London England History buffs, like me, will enjoy the knowledgeable story-telling tour guides who take you through modern London while transporting you back in time to the year 1888 in the White Chapel district of Victorian London.

The tour meets every night at the Aldgate East Underground Station.  This is the very center of where Jack the Ripper began his career as a serial killer.  You begin at the residence of the very first murder and follow Jack’s crimes in chronological order.  Your guide walks with you in the very footsteps of Scotland Yard as they remained one step behind Jack the Ripper.

If you’re on a family vacation with the kids, you may want to plan this excursion without them. Murder, prostitutes, a murderer who never got caught….not exactly sweet dreams for the little ones.  But this is one of the most fun things to do in London for adults if you enjoy intrigue, mayhem, and murder mysteries.

Tours are limited so book online to secure your place.

 

Unusual and Creepy Thing to Do #2

The Tower of London

One of the absolute must sees in London, England, is the foreboding and beautiful Tower of London.  Home to every royal family since they took the throne, King Henry Tudor VIII made it one of the most interesting places to see in London.

Tower of London Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn Memorial and Execution Site

A short distance away is Tower Green.  This is where Henry beheaded his wives, Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Jane Grey, and many others who displeased him.  The scaffold is no longer there but a beautiful glass monument commemorates the exact spot where they lost their heads.

 

st-peter-ad-vincula-and

St. Peter ad Vincula behind Anne Boleyn Memorial

Right behind the monument is the quaint and serene St Peter ad Vincula that was used by the royal family.  Among those entombed are Anne Boleyn, George Boleyn, Jane Grey, Catherine Howard, Lady Rochford, Thomas More, John Fisher and Edward Seymour.  It’s open to the public via a Yoemen’s Warder Tour.  The Yoemens are dressed as they did in the days of Henry VIII. They’re knowledgeable and very friendly.  I chatted with them and even convinced them to take a photo with me.

 

 If you’ve ever heard of the two princes in the Tower who were murdered by their uncle King Richard III, this is where they disappeared.  The boys were never found.  Some say you can still hear them playing in the Tower.

tower-of-london-353868_1920

Tower of London

The Tower is open for tours so you can visit the actual cells where prisoners were kept.  Their graffiti is still etched in the stone walls and clearly visible.  The rooms are dark and damp, but I enjoyed the feel of hundreds of years of history surrounding me. It was a strange feeling knowing I stood in the same spots that queens, princes, nobility, and traitors had stood as they awaited their fate.

 

Unusual and Creepy Thing to Do #3

The Soho’s Murder Mile Tour

Out of all the unusual and creepy things to do in London, this may top the list.  Trace the footsteps of 18 murderous villains (including five serial killers) with a kill total of 75 victims in the span of one mile.

Soho Murder MileYou’ll see 21 locations where these gruesome murders took place on this two-hour walking expedition.  Even though murder sites are not the most pleasant things to visit in London (for some people), they are full of history and a great way to see the unexplored parts of the city that tourists usually miss.

Dress for the weather, wear comfortable walking shoes, and always have an umbrella since London weather can be tricky.  Take all the photos you want.  The guide goes into fully gruesome details based on accurate facts obtained from official records.

While not suitable for children, curious adults and twisted teenagers are welcome on the tour.

 

Unusual and Creepy Thing to Do #4

The Central London Ghost Walk

Forget the typical ho-hum boring ghost walk.  This walking tour should be one of those adventurous things to do in London that’s at the top of your list.  Quiet back streets, haunted pubs, and dark alleyways await you on this tour.

William Wallace Memorial

William Wallace Memorial

The Central London Ghost Walk guides you to Smithfield, one stop among many.

You’ll stand in the very spot that William Wallace, aka Braveheart, was tortured and executed in 1305.  A plaque on the wall of St. Bartholomew’s Church commemorates his life, bravery, and death.

After examining Wallace’s execution site at St. Bartholomew’s Church, slip inside for a moment.  It’s a good place to visit in London if you enjoy a bit of macabre history and medieval architecture.  It is the oldest church in London, dating back to the 12th century. And it’s said that the spirits of those interned here appear to walk among the living as they please.  It has also been the setting for movies such as Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner, Shakespeare in Love, Sherlock Holmes, The Other Boleyn Girl, and Elizabeth, the Golden Age.

Mary Tudor Bloody Mary London England

Queen Mary Tudor

The tour also takes you to the place where Queen Mary Tudor, the eldest daughter of King Henry VIII, earned her nickname Bloody Mary.

In an attempt to restore Catholicism as the reigning religion in England, she ordered over 200 Protestants to be burned alive.  It’s said you can still hear her victims screaming from the pain of the flames devouring them.

 

 

Unusual and Creepy Thing to Do #5

The Harry Potter Muggle Tour

Ok, so this isn’t so creepy, but it is a bit unusual.  It’s not often you see adults waving wands and casting spells on the streets of London.  That’s why wizards and muggles alike will love this tour.  It’s been rated as one of the most fun things to do in London for adults and children.

Couples, singles, and families are all welcome.  You’ll visit the real locations that Harry, Ron, and Hermoine used to shoot your favorite movie scenes.

Harry Potter Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley

Tours begin at the London Bridge tube station (subway stations in American English), and ends near the Leicester Square station.  The 2.5-hour tour combines exploring the city on foot as well as hopping on the subway to get to the other part of the tour.

Sites you’ll see include :

  • No. 12 Grimmauld Place
  • the place where Harry and his friends use polyjuice to enter the Ministry
  • Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley
  • a few locations where death eaters did Lord Voldemort’s bidding to wreak havoc
  • and the actual bridges that the Order of the Phoenix members flew over and under on their way to Grimmauld Place.

This is a new tour so purchase tickets beforehand to secure your place.  Grab your Harry Potter Wizard Accessory Kit, and keep an eye out for Dumbledore and Doby.  Get your camera ready.  You never know who – or what – you may find on this tour.

 

There are a million must sees in London, England.  But no one can see them all during their annual vacation.  So why not make this holiday different from the rest?  If you want an experience that’s out of the norm, these five unusual and creepy things to do in London definitely deliver.  Ghosts, serial killers, shadowy alleyways, murderers and their victims, and execution sites are waiting for you.  Try one or all of them.  Bring a friend, your camera, and let the creepiness begin.