On October 3rd, Colin and I leave for one week in London and Iceland as part of my return to Europe in the fall. I’m so excited! Even though I have been to London and Iceland before, I can’t wait to revisit London, one of my favourite cities in the world, and to explore Iceland with Colin.
Because this trip was kind of booked spontaneously (flight deals – what are you gonna do?), we only have just over one week in London and Iceland. We have four nights in London and then three in Iceland. I think because I’ve been to both before, it helps me deal with the fact that we won’t get to see everything. But we definitely have a lot planned for our week!
I’m a planner. I absolutely love doing research, mapping things out, booking early bird deals and planning out my trip itineraries before I hit the ground. For me, it helps make the trip feel longer. Yes, I only have a week in London and Iceland but since I’ve been planning this for months, the trip feels much longer. Plus, when it’s such a short trip, it helps to do some planning ahead of time. With only one week, you don’t really have much time to wander and plan on the go.
So here’s how our trip is looking so far. Of course, even though I am a planner, I also love being a little spontaneous. Some of our itinerary items are set but there’s lots of room for mixing things up. If you’ve got one week in London and Iceland, or just a few days in each of these places, check out our itinerary below and use it to inspire your own!
So this is actually my 7th trip to London, if you count the one day we spent there on the way back from Ireland in April. I love London! I seriously can’t get enough of this city. Though this will be the first time I’m visiting in the fall, so let’s see if I’m still so in love after dealing with London in the rain.
Colin has also been to London, so on this trip, we’re skipping some of the London staples. We’re not making time to see Big Ben, Buckingham Palace or Tower Bridge (though we may happen to walk by). We’re doing some new things and we’re taking in some of my old favourites.
London – Day 1
Our one week in London and Iceland actually starts in Iceland, as we do have a layover at Keflavik Airport. But skipping that, we arrive in London just before noon on October 4th. We’ll take the tube to our hotel and hopefully not be so jet-lagged from our red-eye that we have to nap.
If we can push through, I’m planning for us to go to the Soho Secret Tea Room. It’s afternoon tea… in the upstairs of a bar! You actually have to walk through the bar to get there. I love afternoon tea and think it’s such a cute English thing to do in London. Colin’s not such a huge tea person, so I thought he’d like the bar aspect of this one. Plus, it’s one of the cheaper afternoon teas at only £23 per person, as opposed to some of the fancier teas, like the super cool Sketch, where it’s £59 per person.
After tea, we’ll walk around the area and possibly pop into one of the free museums, like the National Portrait Gallery, if we have time. But we’ll mainly be on the hunt for discount theatre tickets! We’ll have entered the online lottery for Hamilton already (fingers crossed!) but if that doesn’t work out, we’ll head to one of the discount ticket booths and pick up something.
For dinner, I’m planning for us to go to Covent Garden. I love this little indoor/outdoor market and it’s nearby to all the theatres. Hopefully we’ll finish the night with a show in the West End!
London – Day 2
The next day is all about the fantastical! We head to the Wicked box office for 10:00 AM so we can buy same-day tickets for only £30 each. Wicked is probably my all time favourite musical (but there’s some stiff competition). It’s the first musical I saw that totally blew me away. I’ve seen it four or five times I think, and I believe at least two of those times were in London! So I’m hoping to see it there one more time and introduce Colin to my favourite show.
Once we get the tickets, we’ll grab lunch and then start the big trek up to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London for The Making of Harry Potter! I actually went on the Harry Potter studio tour back in 2012 but it didn’t take much to convince me to go again. The place is pure magic! I was smiling from ear to ear the entire time. I know Colin is a Potterhead too so he’ll love it. And it’ll be all decorated for Halloween, which is even better!
After spending all day geeking out in the Wizarding World, we’ll return to reality just in time to be flown off to Oz with Elphaba and Glinda!
London – Day 3
Saturday is kind of our free day. I have a few things on the list I’d love for us to do, and they’re all sort of in the same area of town, but we don’t have anything booked. Our rough plan for the day is to do a tour of the Tower of London. Colin has never been before – I have, but I’m happy to do it again. The tour is really fun and informative. Hopefully the weather and crowds won’t be too awful.
We’ll have lunch at my favourite place in London: the Borough Market! If you’re in London, you need to stop by here for a meal. It’s the best place!
We might also try to squeeze in a visit to the Globe Theatre (unfortunately, the play showing that day is sold out but we could tour the theatre in the morning) and take in the views from Sky Garden (if we can score some of the free tickets). And you know I wouldn’t be upset if we ended up at another musical or play that night!
London – Day 4
Even though we only have one week in London and Iceland, Colin and I are fitting in a day trip. We’ve both been to London before so it’s not completely blasphemous to leave the city for a day. We’re hopping on the train to visit Manchester and Liverpool – two contenders for where we may live when we move to the UK next year!
It’s going to be a very long day. Unfortunately, the express trains don’t seem to run on Sundays so we’re spending a little longer on transit. Our train leaves London at 8:20 AM and we won’t get back to London until almost 11:00 PM. But hopefully it’ll be worth it to check out these two cities and get a better idea of where we could possibly be living in a year.
London – Day 5
Our last day in London! Our flight leaves from Gatwick airport at 1:00 PM so unfortunately we probably won’t be doing much else on our last day besides packing up, grabbing breakfast to go, and making our way to the airport.
After four nights in London, we’ll head back to Iceland. I’m a bit nervous about packing for one week in London and Iceland all together in one carry-on. But worst case scenario, I buy an overpriced jacket in Iceland?
Iceland – Day 1
We land at Keflavik around 3:00 PM on October 8th – which is Thanksgiving back home. Unfortunately, I doubt we’ll be enjoying much turkey or pie that day. Our first stop is to pick up our rental car. There are a few options for getting around Iceland and Colin and I have chosen to do a rental car and stay at a budget hotel in Keflavik (cheaper than Reykjavik).
After getting our car, if it’s not too dark or gross outside, we’re planning to drive around Reykjanes Peninsula as it’s quite close to Keflavik and looks pretty.
Of course, every night we’ll be tuning into weather reports and on the lookout for the Northern Lights! They escaped me the last time I was in Iceland.
Iceland – Day 2
The next day, we’re planning to drive the famous Golden Circle, with a few extra stops. We’re hoping to see:
- Thingvellir National Park
- Laugarvatn Fontana (pool)
- Gullfoss waterfall
- Secret Lagoon (pool)
- Kerid Crater
Craters, lagoons, waterfalls and geysers – oh my!
Iceland – Day 3
For our final full day in Iceland, we’re hoping to drive along the southern coast out towards Vik and see more of the sights that way. Today’s stops include more waterfalls, a black sand beach, a plane wreck, a glacier and a fish n chips stop!
- Seljalandsfoss waterfall
- Seljavallalaug (pool)
- Skógafoss waterfall
- Sveitagrill Miu (fish n chips)
- Sólheimajökull glacier
- Solheimasandur Plane Wreck
- Reynisfjara Beach
This is going to be a big day of driving. Thanks in advance to Colin who will be getting us around everywhere. I promise to actually go get my licence one of these days!
Iceland – Day 4
On our last day in Iceland, we’re heading into Reykjavik to explore the city a little bit. I found a free walking tour that I’m hoping we can join. After the tour and lunch in the city, it’ll be time to head to the airport, return our rental car and board our flight back to Vancouver.
Flights & accommodation
As mentioned, we’re spending one week in London and Iceland thanks to some awesome flight deals! I was able to score round trip tickets for $400 CAD each for Colin and I to take us from Vancouver to London to Iceland and back to Vancouver. How can you say no to that?
In London, we’ll be staying at a budget hotel in Zone 3 that’s right on the tube line. It’s convenient to Heathrow (where we’re flying into) and only 30-45 minutes on a direct train to what we want to see in Central London. Of course, it’d be awesome to stay at a swanky hotel in the heart of the city but that just isn’t in our budget. And if we really wanted to save, we could’ve done a dorm room at a hostel. But we decided to compromise with a budget hotel (private room and private bathroom) with good transport links into the city centre.
In Iceland, after running the numbers and thinking about what experience we wanted, we decided to base ourselves in Keflavik and rent a car for our daily adventures. We’re staying at a hotel/hostel (private room, shared bathroom) in Keflavik because staying in Reykjavik was really expensive. And since we have our own car, it’s not that big a deal to drive 30 minutes farther to Keflavik.
Whew! We’re packing a lot into just one week in London and Iceland. Even though I’ve been to both of these cities before and have experienced many of these sites, I’m excited to do it again.
As travellers, we’re always trying to see the next thing and tick a new place off of our bucket list. But there’s something really nice about revisiting an old place. It’s familiar and there’s less pressure to see and do it all. It’s also interesting to see how places have changed and to experience them at a different time of year and with a new person. Plus, we’re adding lots of new things I haven’t done before, which is super cool!
How would you spend one week in London and Iceland?
Let me know what you think of our itinerary and if you have any suggestions!