Today on lauren on location, we have a real treat! A post from someone other than myself! Just incase you were getting sick of me ;p
Jessi from Two Feet One World is here, giving us a personalized, one-day itinerary of her favorite city, London!
London is such an iconic city, with so much to offer- so I’m sure this was no easy task. Luckily for us, Jessi knows London
pretty really well and has provided tons of options and alternatives, catering to many types of travelers. This way you can customize the guide based on your personal preference.
She starts us off with several of her favorite breakfast & brunch eateries, followed by activities to help you re-build that appetite for a delicious fresh market lunch. After lunch, she outlines 3 different ways to leisurely spend your afternoon, but hey, if you consider yourself an ambitious traveler, you can try to go for all three! And forget all those pesky rumors about mediocre food in London, with so many dinner dining choices, Jessi’s sure to have covered something to please any traveler’s palette!
If you’re heading to London and looking for somewhere to stay, be sure to check out this guide by a local Londoner on the best areas for accommodation.
So, possibly the ultimate challenge, one day in London. Get ready – it’s going to be action-packed!
Fuel Your Day
9 – 10am
The breakfast and brunch scene in London just keeps getting better, from porridge pop-ups to delicious raw food to a full English fry-up. For myself, I can never go wrong with some combination of avocado and eggs – add bacon or chorizo and good coffee and I’m in heaven! Depending on where you’re staying, look out for a branch of the mega-successful Breakfast Club – just go early on a weekend or you’re likely to have to queue. Other great breakfast offerings that have generously started sharing the love all around London are Granger & Co, the Grind Group or Caravan. For extra points have breakfast up a skyscraper with a priceless London view at AquaShard or Duck & Waffle – just remember to book!
- The Breakfast Club, various locations
- Granger & Co, Notting Hill, Clerkenwell, King’s Cross
- Grind, Shoreditch, London Bridge, Soho, Holborn
- AquaShard, London Bridge
- Duck & Waffle, City
Check Out Your Neighbourhood
10AM – 12:30PM
Your next move will very much depend on whether it is your first time visiting London or not. If you’re brand new, then I would always recommend a walk around some of London’s icons that you’ll have seen countless times in movies and on TV. Some (like Buckingham Palace) are more must-sees because of their place in culture and history. Others, such as St Paul’s Cathedral, are beautiful buildings in their own right. My “London in A Stopover” guide has the perfect itinerary for you to pick and choose your favourites – check it out here.
If you’re already familiar with London’s icons, or you’re not too fussed about getting that postcard picture, then heading to one of the many local neighbourhoods near the centre of the City is a must. Notting Hill is famous for its beautifully coloured doors and bustling market, Southbank is home to art and culture as well as being a lovely spot to stroll, and Shoreditch plunges you straight into hipster heaven, from street art galore to the latest in coffee culture. Soho is just a block from the crazy bustle of Oxford Street, but also contains loads of unique shops and theatres to spot. And Camden has the nearby attractions of Regent’s Park and the canals, as well as a sprawling market (and offshoots) with everything from tat to treasure. Wherever you choose, take the time to walk around and soak up a little of the local atmosphere.
To Market, to Market
12:30 – 1:30PM
After all that strolling, you’re going to be in need of lunch! London’s world cuisine is clearly visible in its many street food markets. Borough Market is one of the most famous spots, and a great option in winter as it is mostly covered. The vendors are many and varied, from fresh fruit and vegetables to iberico ham to Malaysian cuisine – and with loads of bakeries for you to satisfy your sweet tooth. However, it gets super crowded and is generally not my favourite, for that reason. There are loads of smaller lunchtime markets in London where you can join the locals and workers thronging for a delicious lunch, without feeling as squished as a sardine. Good weekday options include checking out where the Kerb market is on your given day, heading to Leather Lane or Soho’s Street Food Union, or visiting Camden Lock Market for a huge variety cuisines. On the weekend my personal favourites are Maltby Street Market and Broadway Market, or you could head to the swanky Duke of York Square Market in Chelsea.
- Borough Market, London Bridge / Borough
- Kerb Markets, various locations
- Leather Lane, Holborn
- Street Food Union, Soho
- Camden Lock Market, Camden
- Maltby St Market, Bermondsey
- Broadway Market, Hackney
- Duke of York Market, Chelsea
Afternoon Option 1: Getting High
No, not THAT kind of high – it’s time for you to check out a view over London! While the London Eye is easily the most famous way of getting a panorama, it’s not necessarily the best (or cheapest). You can get a free view from 35 floors up at the Skygarden in the City, or pay £4 to climb the Monument to the Great Fire of London (and its 311 steps!). If you’re visiting St Paul’s Cathedral, brave the winding staircases to head all the way to the top – the views over London in every direction make any small doses of vertigo completely worthwhile. As London is largely flat, you’ll be able to see for miles, or as far as the clouds allow – and I guarantee you won’t be able to resist a game of spot the iconic building!
Afternoon Option 2: Park Life
You could also tie your view-seeking in with a visit to one of London’s many parks. One of the things that surprised me most when I moved to London was the amount of green space, particularly around the central city. Now I love to run around St James’ Park or Hyde Park, and often try to sneak off to a green corner for some calm in my lunch break. Beautiful in every season, but particularly so in spring, the parks are a great contrast to the bustle of the city. Close to the centre are the aforementioned St James and Hyde Parks, and also Regent’s Park near Camden where you can get great city views from Primrose Hill. Further afield, Greenwich (home of Meridian Time) and Hampstead Heath offer more city panoramas and a great neighbourhood to explore. If you have the time, head out to Richmond Park to feel like you have truly escaped the city – and to spot the many deer that live there!
Afternoon Option 3: A Spot of Culture
If London’s weather isn’t playing ball or you feel like a dose of learning, there are an absolute wealth of options for you. If you’re an art fanatic, head to the National Gallery or one of the Tates and immerse yourself there. If science is more your thing, the National History Museum is not only a stunning building but the home of animal, vegetable and mineral exhibitions that seem never-ending. Close by, the Victoria and Albert Museum houses the world’s largest collection of fashion and decorative art – and it’s all beautiful. London has no shortage of quirky museums either, whether they be dedicated to childhood, medicine, or brands. And of course there’s my personal favourite, the modern and fascinating Museum of London!
Dinner and a Pub
18:00 til close!
Forget dinner and a show – dinner and / or the pub are a classic English evening tradition. If you can name it, there’s probably a restaurant where you can dine on any given cuisine in London – the city’s multicultural nature sure shines in food. Some of my favourite areas are Soho, for the latest and greatest trends, Kingsland Road, for delicious no-frills Vietnamese, and Marylebone when I want something more luxurious. Picking a favourite restaurant is to me like picking a favourite child, but in the last few months I’ve visited Shackfuyu in Soho, Que Viet in Kingsland Road, and Kurobuta in Marble Arch and loved each of them. Just like with brunch, there’s some great independent chains where your tastebuds will also be tantalised – check out Byron or GBK for burgers, or Wahaca for Mexican. If you’re visiting close to the weekend, there’s also a great range of night markets springing up all over London – great if you didn’t get your street food fix during the day. Check out Night Tales and Street Feast London to see where their latest venues are.
- Shackfuyu, Soho
- Que Viet, Hoxton
- Kurobuta , Marble Arch and Chelsea
- Byron, various locations
- GBK, various locations
- Wahaca, various locations
- Night Tales, Old Street
- Street Feast London, various locations
Pub culture in London is changing somewhat as the venues try to compete with all that I’ve listed above. Having said that, I don’t think anything beats chatting with friends outside in the summer or by a roaring fire in winter, accompanied by a delicious ale or cider. Basically anywhere you are in London there will be some great candidates, but if you’re after something a little different seek out one of the pubs that competes to be the oldest in London – a surprisingly long list!
London Tips: Getting around
The tube in London is a great way to get around – but check this map to see if it would be as quick for you to walk between stations! Contactless cards are now accepted on the underground, making it very easy to get around. Daily caps also apply so you won’t be maxing out your card – for more information click here. I also love to take the bus if it’s not peak hour, as you can see so much more. A particularly popular route is the number 15 which runs from Charing Cross to Tower Bridge and beyond – you pay just £1.50 per ride and can still end up with a front-row double-decker view! To map your route, most Londoners swear by the Citymapper app. It is quite simply brilliant – providing options for everything from tube to bus to ferry and giving you precise directions about where and how long. You can even download journeys if you don’t have data – if you have a smartphone this app is a must-get.
Good luck for your big day in London – I hope you enjoy my city as much as I do!
If you have more than one day in the area, be sure to check out these awesome day trips from London by train!
A big thanks to Jessi for such a lively and thorough guide!!
Heading to London soon & want to take Jessi’s guide along? I’ve created a condensed, printer friendly version:
Download & Pack this guide: One day in: London
Check out my other “One day in” posts:
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Do you have a special city that you hold close to your heart? If you only had 24 hours in this amazing place, what would you do? Take the ultimate challenge- narrow down your favorite city into only one day! Let’s expose the best of the best 🙂
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**NOTE- Travel Tuesday will resume in January 2016! We’re taking a holiday hiatus!