1 week to soak it all – History, Architecture, Fashion & Lifestyle
I’m a sucker for accents, tea, flowers and cake! Yes, that’s not the reason to visit London, but I got a LOT of that on my trip and you’ll see a bit of that in my recommendations today too! 🙂
So 1 week in London – what all do you really want to do? Coz honestly you could spend a month in London and not even leave the city center!
At Peggy Porchen’s Cakes – my fav cake shop and highlight of the trip… but that’s me 🙂
Here’s a quickie of my itinerary:
Day 1: London Bridge, Borough Market, Sheakspeare Globe, The Shard
Day 2: Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Tate Modern Museum, Millenium Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral
Day 3: Buckingham Palace, West Minister Abbey, Big Ben, London Eye, 10 Downing St
Day 4: British Museum, Natural History Museum, Hyde Park, Harrods
Day 5: National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, Picadelly Circus, Oxford Street
Alternatively: take a day trip to Stonehenge, Brighton or Windsor Castle
Day 6: Notting Hill, Portobello Market
Here’s a quick Google Maps Want to Go List for you to access: WANT TO GO
Now you could choose to stay in one of the finest boutique hotels – and believe me there are plenty and are just so pretty! But keep in mind London can be an expensive destination for those on a budget.For me – I choose convenience & budget over everything else. My choice of lodging was determined by what I would be doing in the evenings – so my commute back to my hotel is quick and walkable. A big part of my agenda was to catch as many shows as I could.
So on Day 1 – I was fortunate to watch one of my favorite Indian artists Anoushka Shankar’s late night performance at the Royal Albert Hall. So that night, I chose to stay at the Astor Hyde Hostel in Kensington – very clean and convenient!
The rest of the days I wanted to catch musicals and the opera, so I stayed in the heart of Soho at a quirky lil airbnb – perfect walking distance from Trafalgar Square, Picadelly Circus, Leicester Square and China Town! Before I jump into the deets of the individual tourist attractions, I also wanted to tell you about booking shows and of course – cake shops!!! 😛
Day 3 – The Book of Mormon
Day 4 – The Great Gatsby Immersive Theater
Day 5- Kinky Boots
For shows at the Royal Albert Hall, I recommend going in early morning on the day-of the show, get a token/queue number. Return back 1.5 hrs prior to the show time, get in the queue and get your $10 tickets for the Arena! I got to watch the artists from a 5 ft distance and it was an experience of a lifetime!
I’d recommend getting the Oyster Card and top it up or get day passes as you’ll be taking the Underground as well as buses. Lets begin! 🙂
Day 1: London Bridge, Borough Market, Sheakspeare Globe, The Shard
Its your first day, you probably wanna take it slow. I thought I would too…but landing in London, walking the streets to my hostel was exhilarating! Its so vibrant and busy, it got my energy levels pumping. I dropped my bags, got the Royal Albert Hall tickets in hand and was on my merry way to the Tube.
Take the underground toward Southwark and get off at the London Bridge Stop. You walk out and you can see a host of tourists and locals walking toward the bridge! I walked right through, under, stopped for a while to grab a beer by the banks of River Thames.
This was prob my fav stop after a long flight, I walked past the brige and into the Market. The market is bustling with many different flavours from every corner of the world, live music playing and people laughing and juggling multiple boxes of delicious food! I got my fix for the best Indian food and dessert 🙂
Located on the bank of the River Thames in Bankside’s Cultural Quarter, Shakespeare’s Globe welcomes thousands of visitors to experience world renowned productions of Shakespeare every day. Open all year round, the Globe Exhibition & Tour gives you an opportunity to learn more about this unique building and its most famous playwright, Shakespeare.
One of London’s most recognizable buildings, the Shard is like a vertical city for thousands of people to visit and work at. You can certainly go up the Shard to get a 360 degree view of London, but the other exciting thing to do up there is to catch high-tea.
Royal Albert Hall:
I concluded Day 1 catching a mindblowing performance at the Royal Albert Hall!
If you’re serious about attending a concert at Royal Albert Hall, I highly recommend Astor Hyde Hostel – its literally a 1 min walk to the concert venue and super clean and reasonable.
Day 2: Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Tate Modern Museum, Millenium Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral Tower Bridge:
The Tower Bridge is a gorgeous site – whether you walk on it or walk by River Thames by it! Its a suspension bridge in London built between 1886 and 1894. The bridge crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London and has become an iconic symbol of London.
Tower of London:
The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. Personally, not a big fan. It boasts of all the jewels and gifts that is owned by the Queen… I didn’t think it was worth spending time or monet on it. Its a sight from the outside though!
Tate Modern is Britain’s national gallery of international modern art and forms part of the Tate group. Very very cool collection – if you like modern art, make sure to spend a few hours here!
Right outside the Tate Modern museum is the Millenium bridge – walk through you get to see the London bridge as well as the Tower bridge! Walked right past it as at the other end was St. Paul’s Cathedral.
St. Paul’s Cathedral:
I’m not religious so visiting cathedrals for me is purely to marvel at its architecture… and St. Paul’s Cathedral is breathtaking! St Paul’s Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the Diocese of London. It sits on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London. I’d recommend doing the audio tour, and go all the way up the spire to get a breath-taking 360 degree view of London. I’d prefer this over the Shard or any other structure for this experience.
Day 3: Buckingham Palace, West Minister Abbey, Big Ben, London Eye, 10 Downing St Sourced Market:
Before starting your day to the palace, I’d recommend stopping by this adorable place called Sourced Market for some fantastic breakfast and Flat Whites 🙂 Fill yourself up and then brace the long day ahead of you!
Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. I ensured to be there by 11am to catch the ceremonial Change of Guards at the palace grounds, and bought tickets to tour the insides of the palace at 11:15. The tour lasts 45 mins… I thought it was fun as we made our way through the quadrangle through the various state rooms and finally to the royal gardens!
Below is a picture i snapped of one of the State Room (I think this was the Ball Room) – completely mesmerized by the white and gold intricate ceilings and chandeliers – where each piece of glass is put together manually!
West Minister Abbey:
Mother of all Abbeys! 🙂 The Goth architecture of this magnificent Abbey is something that you’ll be amazed by as you walk through it. Westminster Abbey is one of the world’s great churches, with a history stretching back over a thousand years and an essential part of any trip to London.
As you walk past the Abbey you’ll not miss the iconic clock tower!
Made my way right past towatd River Thames to the pier. You can walk past Southampton, get in the line to catch the ferry to ride the London Eye! I think the wait was about an hour when I was there (August)… its worth it if you’re into Ferris Wheels – although this one moves SUPER slow so you can benefit from your ride. The tickets cost about 50 pounds. I skipped this coz I was getting hungry and wanted to make my way down to the cake shops 🙂
10 Downing St:
As we all know 10 Downing Street is the official residence and the office of the British Prime Minister. This is in West Minister… so if you’re in the area, make sure to walk past it and get a glimpse of the Parliament house aka the Palace of Westminister. I moved to an airbnb in the heart of Soho for the rest of my trip so I would be close to all the squares so I could catch shows around here. For Day 3, I chose to catch
The Book of Mormon –
playing at the Prince of Wales theater. I got the cheapest seat in the house for about 40 pounds.. and even the cheapest seat had a darn good view!
Now that I’d visited most of the landmarks of London, I decided to take the next 3 days to relax and explore some of the museums, parks, cake shops and do a bit of shopping for my hubby!
Day 4: British Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal Opera House, Hyde Park, Harrods
Being in the heart of Soho, and quick access to the Underground as well as buses, I was able to get around the city real easy.
Art lovers will probably spend an entire day here and not want to leave. The British Museum houses a vast collection of world art and artefacts and is free to all visitors. It is a public institution dedicated to human history, art and culture. Its permanent collection, numbering some 8 million works, is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence and originates from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present.
Natural History Museum:
The Natural History Museum in London is a museum of natural history that exhibits a vast range of specimens from various segments of natural history.
Taking a break from the museum indulgences, I decided to check out Hyde Park. Got me some icecream and cruised in a rented bike through the length of the park.
I had to 🙂 Harrods is a luxury department store located on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, London. It is actually owned by the state of Qatar! I didn’t really spend any time or money at Harrods, but since I was in the area I thought I’d swing by! I’m a sucker for catching the newest trends in designer wear so my stroll through Harrods was fun 🙂
Royal Opera House:
Lastly, I thought I’d catch a show at the Opera house.. I actually didn’t coz I didn’t get tickets, however even the walk through was worth it! Instead I decided to indulge in an Immersive Theater experience and went to catch The Great Gatsby event! So much fun and definitely worth it 🙂
Double Shot Coffee Co:
If you come this far, definitely recommend a visit to this ADORABLE coffee shop for coffee or more!
Day 5: Peggy Porchen’s Cakes, Covent Garden, National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street
Peggy Porchen’s Cakes:
I had to call this out as a landmark because if you’re a blogger or a girl or even a guy who loves things pink and cake, you CANNOT skip this! I would go back to this little piece of heaven a hundred times and not get bored. The pictures speak for themselves!
I mention this coz Peggy Porchen’s is on Ebury Ste and good god its probably one of the prettiest I’ve seen! Going past Grosvenor’s Sq, every building looks like from the movies with white washed tall walls and gorgeous blooms on railing and gates.
If you love shopping, theatre and restaurants, then you’ll love Covent Garden! There are three markets located in Covent Garden’s 19th century Piazza, each offering a wide range of craft, gifts and more. I visited a bunch of boutiques and played dress-up… totally my thing 🙂 The cutest part of Covent Garden are these flower exhibits all over!
Since I was staying right by Trafalgar Square I decided to check out the National Gallery – and am I glad I did! The National Gallery is an art museum in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, in Central London. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900.
Trafalgar Square is a public square, and is surrounded by museums, galleries, cultural spaces and historic buildings. You can essentially spend hours out here admiring its wonderful fountains and architecture, go shopping, check out the cafes or join in the several special events happening every year around here in London.
Piccadilly Circus is a road junction and public space of London’s West End – right by Trafalgar Square. Piccadilly Circus is a busy square in the heart of London. It is famous for the fountain that was installed here at the end of the nineteenth century and for the neon advertising that turned the square into a miniature version of Times Square.
I primarily visited Oxford street to shop for my hubby and myself… not much to see except for some super pretty boutique stores and latest fashion trends.
Day 6: Notting Hill, Farm Girl Cafe, Portobello Market, Humming Bird Bakery
Saved the best for the last! I left my heart in Notting Hill 🙂
(source: airbnb) There’s a reason why so many films are set in Notting Hill. The neighborhood’s cobblestoned streets weave through scrunched alleyways and richly furnished Victorian townhomes, and its stylish shops and passionate antique vendors satiate design-driven appetites—Notting Hill’s famed Portobello Road Market is a rummager’s delight. Celebrated as much for its idyllic streetscapes as it is for its cafe lifestyle and ephemeral fancies, it’s easy to understand Notting Hill’s cinematic celebrity.I couldn’t agree more. My search for pretty rainbow colored houses and farm fresh brunch spots brought me to Notting Hill.
Getting off at the Notting Hill station, I was completely mesmerized. It had just rained so the streets were wet, droplets glistening on the trees and railings of the pastel colored houses… they had me right at the station 🙂
As I made my way down, there were houses in pink, orange, violet, blue with contrasting doors, beautiful vines, mailboxes and picket fences. I probably took a million pictures here even before I made it into the main streets!
Farm Girl Cafe:
I’d heard and read so much about this lil spot, I got there and had to wait about 15 mins to get a table. Ordered their famous Rose petal Latte, Avo toast & Acai bowl ! You cannot miss this lil spot – the servers are friendly and the food is OMG to die for!!! 🙂
After filling myself up at Farm Girl, I walked down to the renowned Portobello Market!! Portobello Road is the world’s largest antiques market with over 1,000 dealers selling every kind of antique and collectible… super cute stuff if you’re looking to take home little trinkets and souveniers.
Humming Bird Bakery:
No day is complete without a visit to a cake shop. I stopped by Humming Bird Bakery to pick up some of their cutest and yummiest Red velvet cupcakes and brownies… and I was ready to go home! I’d come back to London in a heartbeat – this time with my sweet husband, to explore the little pubs, the sites by night, romantic walks by River Thames and another round of shows, musicals and theater.
Recapping my two fav spots in London – Notting Hill and Peggy Porchen’s Aspinal Cupcake & Heart sprinkles coffee 🙂 Hope you enjoyed my post !