48 Hours in London

July 24, 2017

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London. Image via Flickr Creative Commons, by grahamvphoto

London is timeless. It might be seen as the land of afternoon tea-drinkers, nibbling on dainty sandwiches and scones, or the land of beer-drinkers enjoying the many pubs as soon as the working day ends, but while these clichés are true, there is so much more.

This city offers something to suit everyone, whether it be shopping galore, eating in restaurants that offer cuisines from all over the world, soaking up the history or relishing the brand new, wandering around contemporary art spaces, sampling the pubs and bars, scouring hip boutiques for vintage gems or relaxing in the green spaces that pepper the urban sprawl. There’s a real energy wherever you go – when you visit you can’t help but feel it – and this guide is just a taste of what this amazing, dynamic city has to offer.

Day One

Sunspel. Image courtesy of the venue.

9am: Get the day started at Borough Market. Line up for a takeaway cuppa from Monmouth Coffee on Stoney Street and then find the perfect accompaniment, whether it’s a bacon sandwich or a fresh croissant, from among the many stall.

10am: Stroll along the river psat Shakespeare’s Globe and Tate Modern, enjoying the river views and street artists. To really admire the scenery, nip up the Oxo Tower, to the public viewing gallery.

11am: At Waterloo, jump on the Tube and get up to Old Street, from where you can start some Shoreditch shopping: for the gents, Sunspel , and for the ladies, Aida.

Brown’s Hotel. Image courtesy of the venue.

12pm: Catch the Tube to Leicester Square and walk down Charing Cross Road, where you might well be tempted by the bookshops en route to The National Gallery on Trafalgar Square. Sample the vast array of famous paintings or the latest exhibition.

1:30pm: Tuck into a bacaro-style bite at Beak Street’s Polpo. Or if the sun is shining, pop over to Fortnum & Mason for picnic supplies, and then lunch in St James’s Park.

2:30pm: Hope on the Northern Line up to Chalk Farm and take in one of the best views of London from the top of Primrose Hill.

3:30pm: After that hill climb, flag a black cab and ask for Brown’s Hotel, where you’ll partake of a reviving tea with finger sandwiches and scones.

5pm: Once refreshed, head east to Covent Garden and wander through the cobbled streets of shops and cafés to the Piazza. You can pick up some quintessential English souvenirs at Tea Palace or Hope and Greenwood.

Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. Image courtesy of the venue, by David Sinclair.

7pm: You’ll be thirsty now, so how about a swift half? Lamb and Flag isn’t far away and if it’s sunny, make like a Londoner and take your drinks onto the pavement outside.

8pm: When dinner beckons, go for some traditional English grub at Hawksmoor Seven Dials. An aperitif followed by native lobster grilled with garlic butter or a really good steak and sticky toffee pudding should do nicely.

11pm: for some live music, make sure to be a Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club for either the main act for the Late Late Show.

Day Two

Design Centre Chelsea Harbour. Image courtesy of the venue.

10am: Begin your morning in beautiful Sloane Square, treating yourself to a lovely breakfast at The Botanist.

11am: Amble down King’s Road, perusing Chelsea’s boutiques, such as William Yeoward or the 90,000 square-foot Design Centre.

12pm: To cover a little more ground, try out the popular Barclays (or “Boris”) bikes, and explore the historic streets of Chelsea and Belgravia. Look out for the blue plaques on some houses, telling you who once resided there, such as Oscar Wilde at 34 Tite Street.

1:30pm: Have a local lunch at Finns, one of London’s oldest and finest delicatessens, at tranquil Chelsea Green.

José. Image by John Carey.

3pm: You could visit the big museums of South Kensington, but for insight on Victorian London, go to Leighton House and revel in the glowing Arab Hall.

4pm: Take the Tube to Notting Hill Gate, or walk up pretty Kensington Church Street, and start exploring the streets and garden squares of Notting Hill. Portobello Road market and the shops alongside are prime vintage or antique hunting grounds.

6:30pm: From Notting Hill Gate, shoot back across town to London Bridge and have a bite to eat at tapas bar José to savor some deliciously mediterranean flavors.

8pm: At Roxy Bar and Screen, sink into a sofa and watch a new or classic film, with the bonus of having your drink of choice alongside your seat.

11pm: Polish off the evening with a nightcap at The Hide, sipping a local brew or some of their top-notch cocktails.

The HUNT London Writer: David Leppan is a treasure hunter and collector. His penchant for what’s unique, rare and handmade was first piqued at the tender age of 10, when a friend’s father told him with huge enthusiasm about his prized classic car. At the age of 20, in order to finance his rather nomadic student lifestyle, he started hunting: passionately buying and rather sadly selling antiques. Luckily, he’s since started gathering instead. Today, he is a self-confessed addict of beautiful and unusual products made by craftsmen and artisans, as well as those made by their predecessors.

For more great insider recommendations, pick up The HUNT Guides on gatehousepublishing.com.

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