England Itinerary 7-8 Days : Perfect for First Time Visitors

After several visits, this is my suggested England itinerary for 7 days (or 8!), perfect for first time visitors.

Jolly old London-Town has been a place of fascination for me ever since I was a little girl. Its epic history filled with royals, intrigue, and power struggles drew me in immediately.

Once I read “Peter Pan”, “Harry Potter”, and a handful of Jane Austen novels, the deal was sealed. I was in love.

Visiting England was the first international trip I ever took, and it set the stage for a lifelong love of travel. This country is dear to my heart

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A map overview of my England itinerary for 7 days

Day 1: Arrive into London

Arrive into the city, settle in your London hotel, and explore the surrounding neighborhood on foot. I suggest to stay near Kensington High Street, as it’s a safe and easily navigable area.
Dive right in to the local London fare, and opt for some fish and chips for dinner! Read on for ideas of hostels in London!
London, England
Welcome to your Adventure!


Day 2: The London Icons

Start early with some classic English tea, and then you’re off to explore the nation’s capital! Hop on London’s user-friendly subway system (known as “the tube“). Pop out at the “Westminster” stop, and emerge to see the famous Houses of Parliament, and Big Ben. Contrary to popular belief, the bell is named “Big Ben”, not the tower that houses it!Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, London, England
Next, head inside the adjacent Westminster Abbey. Originally built in 1045, this insanely historic religious building is something you honestly cannot miss! Tickets are a bit pricy, and it’s best to buy them online in advance.
A guided audio tour is included in your admission, and takes around one hour. If you wish to go inside to pray for a moment, but not tour the site, you should enter via the West Gate.Westminster, Abbey, London, England, 8 day England itinerary
Afterwards, walk 15 minutes towards Buckingham Palace. It is the administrative headquarters for the monarchy, and boasts 775 rooms! This grand structure is a bucket-list item for a London first-timer.
While touristy, watching the iconic beef-eater soldiers do the “Changing of the Guards” ceremony is worthwhile. Be sure to check the schedule at the time of your visit to the palace.buckingham palace, london, england
Next up, stroll about 7 minutes towards Saint James’s Palace. If you love the Elizabethan era of British history, and anything to do with the famed Tudor family, you have to stop here!
This is the palace where King Henry VIII lived, and it’s rumored to bde haunted. The palace is not open to the public, but is worth viewing from the outside. Nearby, take note of all the iconic “Dickensian” era buildings on the Pall Mall too!
pall mall, london, england
Photo via Curtis Cronn
From there, take the tube to Saint Paul’s Cathedral. It’s known as the spot where Charles and Diana were married, but it’s also mentioned in “Mary Poppins” and other pieces of British literature.
Next up, go towards Trafalgar Square. This site commemorates a victory in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars. While you’re out, be on the lookout for those iconic zig-zag lines painted on the streets, and stop in a British pub for lunch and a pint!
Next, head to the infamous and eerie Tower of London. A guided tour from the tower’s guards (known as the Yeoman Warders) is included with your ticket. It is worth it to do the tour, as you’ll its fascinating history in a way that a self-guided tour never could.
Tower of London, England, Thames, Tudors
Photo via Hornbeam Arts
You will learn about the tower’s gruesome tales of torture, execution and royal sagas- and finish by seeing the Crown Jewels. Out in the courtyard, see the spot where they executed Anne Boleyn. Rumor has it that her forlorn spirit haunts the Tower grounds to this day!
If you have a strong stomach, you can check out the medieval torture exhibition. After seeing the “Traitor’s Gate” and the tower’s huge resident ravens, step outside the complex towards the Tower Bridge.
Tower Bridge. England itinerary 7 days. First timers guide to London.
The Tower Bridge is London’s most iconic bridge. Many mistakenly think this is “London Bridge”, but that is actually a less ornate bridge nearby.
Walk across Tower Bridge, then stroll along the river Thames passing the Borough Market, until you arrive at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. If the timing works out, seeing a play here would be amazing! Where you finish  the evening is up to you!


DAY 3- London: Kensington & Knightsbridge

Today, start at the idyllic green spaces of Kensington Gardens. Meander around its 265 acres. At some point, go inside and tour Kensington Palace, which is inside the park.
This palace is notable for many reasons, including Queen Victoria being born there and living there until 1837, as well as being the residence of Princess Diana for 16 years. Book your tickets in advance to see the inside of this 17th century palace.
Next, find the “Peter Pan” statue commissioned by its author Sir J.M. Barrie. Then head to Hyde Park and rent a paddle boat out on the lake.!Kensington Palace, London, England, Hyde Park
Next, hop on a red double-decker bus (it’s part of the experience!) to Kensington High Street for some upscale shopping. Get lunch, then head towards Knightsbridge. This is a posh area of the city, full of grand Victorian homes, and resident of the renowned British department store Harrod’s.
Finally, take a turn to the dark side by participating in a fun and eerie London ghost walk!
Harrods, Knightsbridge, London, England
The famous Harrod’s Dept. Store


DAY 4- The Cotswolds & Stratford-Upon-Avon

Leave early in the morning, and travel to a picturesque region known as The Cotswolds. Filled with stone cottages, this is what you imagine as the epitome of the English countryside!
With its small hills, grazing sheep, and lovely hedgerows, it is so charming! This region merits a full day visit, but after an hour or two it is time to move on. (Logistics: Arrive by rental car, or as part of a Cotswolds day tour). The image below is us visiting the Cotswolds town of Castle Combe, another suggestion! 
Next up is the town of Shottery. Stop here to see the family cottage of Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway. Constructed in the 1500’s, this country farm home gives a beautiful insight as to what life may have been like in that era.

Anne Hathaway Shakespeare, Shottery, England

Finally, arrive to the town of Stratford-Upon-Avon to tour the Bard’s birthplace! The town is a bit of a tourist trap, but interesting to see regardless.
Go inside Shakespeare’s home, which is now a museum. Also walk along the river Avon to the Church of the Holy Trinity and his grave-site.
Once you make the 2 hour ride back to central London, get ready for a night out on the town! Covent Garden is a fun, hip neighborhood perfect for meeting people and to experience London’s vibrant pub culture.
Shakespeare's Home, Stratford Upon Avon, England
Shakespeare’s Home

DAY 5- Bath & Stonehenge

Depart from London early, and drive about 2 hours to the town of Bath. Originally founded by the Romans, Bath became famous for its thermal waters and bath complexes. These provided health benefits for a variety of ailments over the centuries.
Spend time roaming around its ancient temples and Roman baths, and enjoy that omnipresent sulfur stench! Take a guided tour of the baths, and maybe even take a soothing soak if you have time.
Finish off with a stop at the Bath Abbey – notable as the first ever King of England was crowned here in 973AD!
Roman Baths. Bath, England. England itinerary 7 days.
An ancient Roman bath
Leave Bath, and drive 50 minutes towards the ancient site of Stonehenge. This gigantic stone arrangement is around 5,000 years old! These monoliths are equal parts eerie, mysterious, and awe-inspiring.
Walk around for an hour, and marvel at how these ancient people did what they did. How did they manage to find the stones, which are not located anywhere near the site? Why did they bring them to the site? What knowledge did they have to set them up so they also function as a solar calendar? Stonehenge, England, 8 day england itinerary
After a 2 hour drive back to central London, head to Piccadilly Circus. One of London’s busiest squares, this is a great place to find a traditional red phone booth and get a snapshot!

For more ancient standing stones, read about my road-trip through Scotland!

DAY 6- London: Harry Potter, Theater, and the West End

If you’re a Harry Potter lover like me, you have to take the tube to King’s Cross Station. Line up, and take your picture going through the wall at Platform 9 ¾! The line can easily be up to a one hour wait, just to warn you.
Head back towards central London for the Churchill War Rooms experience. It offers a memorable experience of what London was like during the Blitz. Tickets are £19, and can be bought in advance or at the door.King's Cross, London, England
A day-trip to Leavesden Studios is another option. This is where they filmed much of the Harry Potter films! You can tour the sets, and have a fun insight behind the filming process. It’s easiest to go with an organized Leavesden tour.Harry Potter Tour, Leavesden Studios. England itinerary 7 days.
In the evening, it is a GREAT experience to see a play in London’s West End. Another option is to take a “Jack the Ripper Walking Tour”. I did this tour both times I visited London, and find it to be incredibly intriguing. They provide great historical insights, and help you draw your own conclusions as to who this evil figure may have been.


DAY 7 – London & Windsor Castle

Start with a very early tour of Windsor Castle, which is 900 years old! While there, walk the grounds, and take a cliché photo with one of the beef-eater soldiers!Windsor Castle, England, 8 day england itinerary
After the 45 minute drive back into London, head to Westminster Bridge and walk across the river Thames towards the London Eye. The eye is a huge Ferris wheel that can hold 25 people in each capsule. It’s pricey for what it is, but still a fun experience.
Take the tube towards South Kensington to see the British Natural History Museum. Full of fossils and amazing oddities, this museum is worth a visit- especially as it has free admission! British Natural History Museum. England Itinerary 7 days.
Spend your final evening heading to a happy hour, grabbing some pub food, or just walking around this classic British locale! Read on for a great roundup of free things to do in London, even with children.

More helpful links:

♥ Get yourself some travel insurance– honestly, don’t go abroad without it!
♥ Book your hotels with my go-to platform, bookings.com
♥ Find organized London day trips or tours all over the UK
♥ Browse my Amazon storefront to see my favorite travel products
♥ Follow me on Instagram, and send me a DM with any questions!

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  • Reply Carole Bagley-Hartman July 7, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    Hi there!
    As an English gal, can I correct a statement you made. You called the Cotswolds a town… The Cotswolds is actually an area not a town, covering three counties (Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Warwickshire). The area is very quintessentially English for sure.
    I have enjoyed reading your travel tips of my country, and as an passionate traveller myself, the blog is very interesting.

    • Reply Michelle W. July 10, 2019 at 3:33 pm

      You’re so right! I will update it in my post- thank you 🙂

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