48 Hours in London
The British pound is at a 31 year low, which means the bright side of Brexit is that it is the absolute perfect time to travel to London. Not only will you get to experience one of my very favorite cities, but you’ll be essentially saving money while you do it. In fact, Virgin Atlantic created a “Brexit Calculator” so you can see just how much you can save on things throughout your trip to London. Since we all love traveling and are giddy for a good deal, I’ve rounded up the perfect weekend guide to London for you to take advantage of this beautiful city and it’s record-low cost this Summer. Cheerio!
Breakfast at Farm Girl:
This bright, turquoise-tiled cafe in the heart of Notting Hill is everything your healthy, farm-fresh breakfast dreams are made of. Their menu is made from products carefully chosen from the New Covent Garden Market, and their meat sourced from their local award-winning butcher. With its fresh and nutritious ingredients, and the adorable ambiance of the cafe itself – this is the perfect way to kick off your weekend in London.
Notting Hill & Portobello Road Market
The best of London is seen in strolling neighborhoods rather than seeing specific sights. It’s a walking city, and Notting Hill neighborhood, with its charming residential streets and shops, is one of my very favorites to explore. Head from breakfast to one of London’s best markets- the world-famous Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill. The mile-long street market sells a wide variety of goods, clothes, antiques and even food, with different items being sold on different days. It is open every day, except for Sunday, and Saturdays are especially lively, with the renowned antiques market bringing in huge crowds.
Afternoon picnic in the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park
Escape the crowds of Portobello Road and head straight to the serene Kyoto Garden in Holland Park – which is really a park-within-a-park. The traditional Japanese garden created in 1991 by a team of Japanese gardeners sponsored by Kyoto Chamber of Commerce in association the Japan Festival of London, and stands today as a hidden gem of waterfalls, koi ponds, and pure tranquility.
High Tea at sketch
This Michelin-star awarded tea-house is housed in a historic building built in 1779, which was once the London atelier of London’s very own Christian Dior. The artsy decor and fashionable bar are only outdone by the delectable finger sandwiches, scones and pastries served with your tea. The truth is that many places in London offer tea, of course, but not many are much to write home about. You haven’t had a proper afternoon tea in London until you’ve sat down in legendary sketch.
Dinner & drinks at Sushi Samba
This strikingly gorgeous restaurant features a unique blend of Japanese, Brazilian, and Peruvian cuisine. It has one of the highest outdoor dining terraces in Europe and 360 degree views of the city (so get there right before sunset to take in the beautiful views!) The main dining room features floor-to-ceiling glass on three sides and dramatic ceilings, not to mention the delicious exotic food and innovative cocktails!
Go out on the town in Shoreditch
Shoreditch is known for their bars and nightlife, and the endless options for crafty cocktails and a true London night out do not disappoint. Check out The Cocktail Trading Co. for highly imaginative cocktails, like the Rum Forest Rum, which features aged Colombian rum, Chinotto wine, and tobacco and rose essence. You may even be served a cocktail in a Chinese takeout box or even a bright yellow rain boot, and could find your drink garnished with everything from sunglasses to toasted marshmallows. Cocktail Trading Co’s “speakeasy-meets-Tiki bar” aesthetic, and its friendly staff, make it a go-to neighborhood gem. And since a pint of beer now only costs $4 USD versus $5USD according to the Brexit Calculator, you may be buying the locals a few rounds.
And, if a late-night scene is what you’re after check out the hip and trendy Hoxton Hotel for some prime people-watching.
Stay at the Berkeley Hotel, Knightsbridge
The Berkeley, with its vast suites, Hyde-Park-view terraces, elegant decor, 2-Michelin-starred restaurant, and lavish spa, is the place to stay in London. The best part? Its glorious rooftop pool, which is set on the seventh floor of the luxury hotel and is beautifully tiled in white and gold mosaic surrounded by greenery – it is so idyllic you can barely believe it’s in London.
Tower of London
One of the world’s most famous fortresses, The Tower of London is also home to one of my very favorite tours. Meet the Beefeaters, see the crown jewels, and get a quick and great lesson in Britain’s rich history. This is a can’t-miss.
Don’t forget to walk down to the waterfront after the tour for a killer view and photo opportunity of the London Bridge.
Stroll the South Bank
The riverside walkway is perfect for people watching, spending lazy afternoons in a pavement café or browsing in one of the area’s many book and art shops or regular markets.
Fancy a pint? Historic pubs such as The George and The Anchor have long been favoured by famous Londoners – from Charles Dickens to Samuel Pepys – or head to The Rake, London’s smallest bar.
Horseback ride in Hyde Park
Giddy up! As well as being the biggest park in the city, Hyde Park keeps a relatively little-known activity in its grounds: horseback riding. The country has a long equestrian tradition, from its use as a means of transport and hunting throughout the Middle Ages, to equestrian sports, such as riding or polo. Hyde Park Stables runs lessons through the park, and the best part about it? They used to cost $150 USD, but with the British Pound being so low, that’s only $124 USD now. Thank you, Brexit!
Shop at Harrod’s
Not many department stores can say they are also a world-famous tourist attraction with over 15 million visitors every year. But with stunning architecture (not to mention some of the most luxurious brands known to mankind),Harrod’s, located in London’s ritzy Knightsbridge neighborhood, is the ultimate destination for both shopping enthusiasts and non-shopping enthusiasts alike.
Colombia Road Flower Market
The award-winning Colombia Road Flower Market is only open on Sundays, and it is one of London’s most beautiful markets, with bucketfuls of gigantic bouquets spilling out onto charming Colombia Road.
Take in the views & tunes at Sky Garden
Unlike the Shard and London Eye, the Sky Garden is completely FREE to visit and features a park 133 metres up in the sky, beautiful views of the city, and even live music and a DJ on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday nights.
Grab a rooftop drink at Rumpus Room
This swanky rooftop bar of the Mondrian hotel features chic, mod decor paired with jaw-dropping city views. It’s a must-stop for a cocktail, or three.
Or Martinis at Duke’s Bar
The legend goes that Ian Fleming — creator of James Bond — took the line “shaken, not stirred” from the many times he had drinking at this iconic hotel bar. Today, the bar creates the same legendary Martinis, which are so strong that each guest is allowed only two.
Eat dinner at Dishoom Shoreditch
Great Indian food to Londoners is like great Mexican food to Californians. There are several Dishoom Shoreditch locations throughout the city, and each one is to-die-for. The okra fries and lamb chops are a must-order, as is their old fashioned cocktail.
Check out Big Ben at night!
The Parliament’s famous clock tower is of course a must-do in 48 hours in London, and you can bet it’s even more beautiful at night!
Want to know what else you can save some serious money on while you’re in London? Check out Virgin Atlantic’s Brexit Calculator and get ready to feel great about your London vacation. Also study up on your british slang- you’re gonna need it!
Hi Christina! Love your suggestions on here — Dishoom was my absolute favorite place to eat when I was living in London a year ago. After we met at the MJ-School a few months ago, I started writing some travel pieces of my own. I wrote about a few things I recommend doing in London here: https://alexisallston.com/london-hidden-gems-for-people-on-a-short-visit. I would love to hear any feedback you have for me! Thanks so much.
Hi Alexis! That’s awesome! Thank you so much for the tip! and I can’t wait to check out your blog!! XOXO
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