it's a dreadful feeling being told you have a mere three days in a place, two of those days being travel ones. now, when I came to the realization that my stopover in london was so short, my mind immediately went into a panic, thinking about how I could possibly see all of the major sights, do all of the iconic things, and somehow think like a local in one weekend.
okay, so Buckingham palace.. not so much something a local would do on a typical Saturday, however shortly after my panic, I realized I could not do and see everything. even more, I would not want to. so what do you do with three days in Lodon? be a tourist! but don't try to do it all. pick a few things that are most important to you, and spend time seeing and doing them. don't see London from the London Eye (unless you want to!), see it from your eyes. here it is from mine.
almost a foolproof way to get to know a city is to get lost. on day one, we took a walk. we found rainy red phone booths and buses. we walked from our hotel to iconic harrods. we bought macarons and toasted the start of our trip with champagne.
another way I've found to be pretty successful in "localizing" yourself is going to the pubs. when in England, do as they do? or something like that. anyways, we had been trying to follow a rigid schedule all day, when we decided to cancel our planned afternoon, and sit down at a little local pub we found. changing the pace of the trip like this made ALL the difference. no longer did I feel like I was touring London. rather, this stop felt like traveling.
the last thing I want to mention is Westminster Abbey. Westminster Abbey! we spent two hours walking around but I could have spent half a day. there's a fee to enter but its 110% worth it. if you have any interest in history, architecture, poetry, monarchial gossip, etc. visit Westminster Abbey. they have audio guides, and staff who have incredibly detailed stories to tell you about anything and everything, but my personal favorite thing was poet's corner. I desperately wish I'd had more time in this foggy, but wonderful city (even though I most likely could not afford more than a few more days...)