London is a huge and bustling city with so much going on. You would need to spend days here to see all of the key tourist spots, but I wanted to share with you an edit of ‘real London things to do’ that I love, and that can all be done in a day trip. I have gone to London from Glasgow and back in one day many, many times before (e.g. for meetings, events or press days). If you love beauty, style and luxury, these are the London things to do that I recommend for your next super-short trip.
It’s really important to consider your transport options, if you are only visiting London for a day, from the likes of Glasgow or Manchester. If I have an early morning meeting, i’ll fly down; but if I don’t have to be there until early afternoon, I prefer the train. It’s all about keeping me in bed in the morning for as long as possible! Luton airport is a lot closer to London city centre than Gatwick or Stansted. As Heathrow is usually a lot more expensive and busier, I prefer to fly into Luton with EasyJet, the take the Thameslink train from Luton to St.Pancras. Getting advanced plane tickets and advanced train tickets is your best chance at getting low cost travel.
Once i’ve arrived in London Underground Zone 1, I then just use the subway to get around where I need and want to go. I like to head first to Green Park tube station and walk (2 minutes) along to Fortnum & Mason to handpick a box of all my favourite chocolates for the journey home. Whilst i’m there, I usually pick up a freshly made sandwich and cake from the Fortnum & Mason food hall to eat in Green Park if the weather is nice.
Next, i’ll head along to the splendor of the Burlington Arcade. The historic and very Instagram-able shopping arcade is a 5-minute wall from Green Park tube station. This Mayfair gem has stores such as Laduree (where I always pick up a few macarons), Strathberry (to lust over the chic leather handbags), and Atkinsons (where I’ll smell all their stunning fragrances to find a new favourite).
Atkinsons are a luxury perfume house and are actually the UK’s oldest! They even made a fragrance for Queen Victoria’s wedding. The team are really great, and they’ll guide and advise you on choosing a sublime British fragrance that’s right for you.
I usually then take my lunch and go and sit in Green Park to eat it. I always walk (10 mins) from this end of Green Park, to the opposite side where Buckingham Palace is, so a stop to eat lunch here and people-watch is perfect. I love to see Buckingham Palace on every trip to London, even if it’s just driving past in a black cab, as it’s the touristy thing that most signals London to me.
Alternatively, you can head the opposite way along Piccadilly from Fortnum & Mason, towards Piccadilly Circus. Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms museum is just a 15-minute walk from Fortnum & Mason in this opposite direction, and it’s a MUST-SEE museum. If I had a time machine, I’d love to go back in time to London during World War 2, like in the TV show ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’. The War Rooms really give you an amazing glimpse into life and government at that time. Churchill actually walked those underground corridors planning his strategy against Hitler, and you can see many of Winston Churchill’s personal artefacts. I’d say this is my top London museum recommendation. There are so many hidden gems in London! I had wanted to visit Kew Gardens (a UNESCO world heritage site) but I just didn’t have time.
I then head to St Jame’s Park tube station, and take the underground to South Kensington (15 minutes) to pick up some cupcakes from my sweet-treat favourite, The Hummingbird Bakery. If I have time, i’ll have a coffee and a piece of cake at one of the outside tables. From there I can just take the tube to St. Pancras to head back to the airport, or head to any meetings I have if I didn’t do them first thing. This is how I spend a day in London! If you want to experience more of England, but are on limited time, this is a helpful post on how to do England in a week!
You can see more of what I’m loving, and what I’m doing, over on my Instagram.
Images – Imperial War Museums, Fortnum & Mason, Atkinsons