It might be, like myself, that you’re in London for a course or for business and only have one day to see the sights. Alternatively you might have a stopover in London or perhaps you have taken advantage of cheap train tickets and made a day trip from elsewhere in the UK. Regardless of your reason, I’m here to tell you how to make the most of those sacred hours in the big smoke…
9.30 Arrive into London and ascend Primrose Hill for the best view of the city. We hopped a tube over to Camden from London Euston. Although this is not the closest station to Primrose Hill, the coffee lovers that we are assumed that this could be the best option to pick up a cup on the way. We weren’t disappointed. There are coffee shops galore and as we only sampled one I wouldn’t like to recommend a particular place, just follow your nose! We then walked along the outskirts of Regents Park before walking up the hill. At this time of day, Primrose Hill is very quiet and a trip here avoids the frantic hustle and bustle of commuters near the centre. Looking out across the concrete jungle below, swarming with life, gives a true idea of just how vast London is.
11am Explore Camden market and grab a bite to eat at KERB. I fell in love with Camden market around 5 years ago on one of my earlier visits to the city. The vast array of stalls, some beautiful, some peculiar and often both are a metaphor for London and the people that inhabit the city. One of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, people let their personalities shine through their appearance and there is nowhere better to admire human individuality than Camden. After working up an appetite, grab a bite to eat at one of the many food stands at KERB by the canal. It might not be midday yet but I couldn’t resist these beautiful Halloumi fries. I’m sure you can see why.
12.30pm Catch a tube to Embankment and walk along the Thames. After departing the tube, we crossed the river on the Golden Jubilee bridge, took some photos and walked towards the London eye. If you have the time, the views are excellent! Those afraid of heights beware, I haven’t taken the ride for years but my legs still feel like jelly at the memory.
1.30pm See Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and say hello to the Queen. Cross back over Westminster Bridge to get one of the best views of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament before picking up an ice cream to eat in St James’s park. Wander along the paths until you finally reach the home of the lovely Lizzie. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch the changing of the guards. Either way, there are lots of photo opportunities.
2.30pm Investigate something old, learn something new and be inspired. Take your pick of one of the many amazing art galleries and museums around London. The Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum of Arts and Design are all a half hour walk from Buckingham palace, or a couple of tube stops if you’d prefer. Alternatively, the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery are just a 20 minute walk in the opposite direction with the Tate Modern a little further afield.
6pm Catch a West End show and/or grab something to eat. For some people, a trip to London would not be complete without a trip to the West End. Book tickets in advance to get a good deal. Although you can sometimes pick up cheap tickets in London on the day, this is not guaranteed and is highly unlikely at the weekend! As we were on a budget, we skipped the theatre and opted for an evening of good food and drinks. After many google searches we decided to eat at Flat Iron Steak . The menu is simple; expertly cooked steak and a choice of sides, I’d highly recommend it.
8pm Enjoy cocktails or a late night coffee in Soho. The atmosphere as you walk along the streets of Soho is electric. Everywhere you look there seems to be people having a great time! There are pubs and bars galore but also plenty of little coffee shops which are open until late depending on your personal preference. Spend the final part of your evening reflecting on an excellent few hours spent in the capital before catching a late night bus/train/flight, or retiring to your hotel.
London is such a beautiful and exciting city but unfortunately I’m not the expert! Do you have any more recommendations? Let me know here or tweet me! @_teachertravels