Kick off the itinerary with a ride around town on the Hop-on, Hop-off Bus, which stops at popular attractions like Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, and the London Eye. Then you'll day-trip to Windsor Castle, moving on to Kensington Palace on day three. After a luxurious Afternoon Tea at the Savoy Hotel, learn about Black history in Brixton on a walking tour. Wrap up the trip with a visit to Hampton Court Palace, a tour of the British Museum, and a relaxed rooftop film screening with a local crowd at sunset.

Highlights

  • Follow in the footsteps of Kings and Queens at Windsor Castle
  • Experience the elegance of Afternoon Tea at the Savoy Hotel
  • See the Rosetta Stone at the world-famous British Museum
  • Learn about Black History on a walking tour around Brixton
  • Watch a classic film under the stars at a rooftop screening

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in London & Explore on Hop-on, Hop-off Bus London
Day 2 Day trip to Windsor Castle London
Day 3 Visit Kensington Palace & Have Afternoon Tea at the Savoy Hotel London
Day 4 Tour the British Museum & Catch a Rooftop Film Screening  London
Day 5 Depart London  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in London & Explore on Hop-on, Hop-off Bus

Buckingham Palace

Welcome to London! After arriving and transferring to your hotel, you'll have the afternoon for sightseeing. Board the Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus to explore the city at your own pace. The circuits feature a series of stops around London's landmarks and key attractions. Highlights include Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, 10 Downing Street, Piccadilly Circus, the London Eye, Covent Garden, Tower Bridge, City Hall, Hyde Park Corner, Notting Hill, and many more. You'll have unlimited access to all routes for 24 hours. When you're ready to relax, head back to the hotel. 

Day 2: Day trip to Windsor Castle

Private day trip to Windsor Castle
The gates of Windsor Castle
Today you'll visit England's largest and most historic royal residence, Windsor Castle, with a private guide. The castle dates back over 900 years! On a castle tour, you'll explore the magnificent State Apartments and St. George's Chapel, the burial place of former Kings and Queens of England. One highlight is Queen Mary's one-time dollhouse, furnished with tiny handmade beds, carpets, silver candlesticks, and chandeliers.

Just across the River Thames from Windsor is Eton, England's famous "public" school where students still dress in traditional black tailcoats. Prince William and Prince Harry were both pupils here. Take some time to walk around this delightful town with its quaint shops and side streets. Nearby is the Kennedy Memorial, installed after JFK's assassination, and the Magna Carta Memorial, which commemorates the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. Enjoy views of the rolling English countryside and the River Thames as you drive back to your hotel at the end of the tour. 

Day 3: Visit Kensington Palace & Have Afternoon Tea at the Savoy Hotel

Kensington Palace Tickets
The entry to Kensington Palace
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Kensington Palace is your destination today. Once a suburban villa known as Nottingham House, the estate was chosen by new monarchs William III and Mary II in 1689 as a country retreat. Over the years, Stuart and Georgian monarchs transformed the palace into a fashionable home for Britain's young royal families. Queen Victoria spent her childhood here, though she left to live in Buckingham Palace in 1837. Kensington later became home for minor royals, including her daughter, the talented sculptor Princess Louise.

More recently, the palace has been home to Diana, Princess of Wales, Princess Margaret, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. It is also the London home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children. An admission ticket includes access to all public areas of the palace and gardens and takes you on tour through the palace to see the King's Stairs, the King's Gallery, and the Queen's State Apartments. Afterward, you'll go to the Savoy Hotel's world-famous Afternoon Tea, a hotel feature since it opened in 1889. The setting, in a stunning glass-domed atrium with live piano music, is enchanting. 

Today's final activity is a Black History Walk through Brixton and London with a private guide. Black people in Britain fought for civil rights as hard as their American counterparts. This tour will show the life, times, and activities of numerous African and/or Caribbean women who supported and led the anti-racist fight in housing, education, employment, media, and politics. After the two-hour walk, your evening is free.

Day 4: Tour the British Museum & Catch a Rooftop Film Screening 

Inside the British Museum
Hop on a train from London to Hampton Court Palace this morning to visit the most well-known home of Henry VIII. You'll start by disembarking from the train and crossing the River Thames, where you will hear about the importance of the river to monarchs over the centuries. On a palace tour led by a British historian, you'll appreciate the palace's opulence and historical significance, inspecting the impressive Tudor frontage, the Great Hall, and the huge kitchens that were once used to cook meals for over 1,000 people. Step into the Great Watching Chamber, where Catherine Howard's adultery was announced, leading to her execution.
 
Later in the palace's colorful history, the Prince and Princess of Wales also lived at Hampton Court. On your tour through the apartments, you'll see great works of art from the Royal Collection, including paintings, precious sixteenth-century tapestries, and a Renaissance masterpiece by Mantegna, "The Triumphs of Caesar." Then you will move onward to the gardens. Walk through the formal gardens to the orchard to the rose gardens. Get lost in Hampton Court’s famous maze if you're up for a challenge.

Then it's onward to the British Museum for a guided tour. The Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon Marbles, and the Assyrian Lion Hunt relief sculptures are just some of the treasures you'll see. Led by an archaeologist or historian, this walk explores the museum and its controversial history of collecting while viewing well-known Ancient Egyptian and Greek treasures and lesser-known Assyrian, Persian, and Mesopotamian artifacts.
 
Top the day with an open-air film screening with the Rooftop Film Club. Held at one of several venues around town, the screening includes sunset views over the city skyline, comfortable deck chairs, gourmet food and drinks, and state-of-the-art wireless headphones so you don't miss a minute of dialogue. Enjoy a cult classic or a new release with a local crowd on your last evening in London. 

Day 5: Depart London

Looking down over London

Today the trip comes to an end. After breakfast, you'll head to the airport to catch a flight out. Safe travels! 

More Great England Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to England? Check out these other England itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

Map

Map of Explore History & Culture in London - 5 Days
Map of Explore History & Culture in London - 5 Days