I’ve been lucky enough to visit London 3 times in the past few years. The first one was in 2010, during my first trip to Europe. We did everything we could: had a typical English breakfast, walked from Westminster to Tower Bridge and back, went to Hyde Park, Picadilly, ate fish and chips, went to a pub, and took like 10+ photos at the Platform 9 3/4. The second time was to visit some friends, and since we already knew the city, we were much relaxed, we weren’t in a hurry to see everything. Finally, the third time was for work. I stayed over 2 weeks, but took advantage of the weekend to see a different London.
Woke up early to go to a restaurant that I found online, Caravan Café in Exmouth. I already wrote a review of Caravan, you can read it here. After having brunch, we walked to the British Museum since we wanted to have a little bit more time to explore it. After a 15- minute walk, we arrived !
Apparently, we lost the memo where it says that you go to the British Museum just to see the mummies! We did not see them! However, we really enjoyed the Egyptian, Assyrian, and Greek rooms.
After the museum, we took a double decker bus to Leicester Square. Oh, I almost forgot. Everytime we go we have a pay as you go Oyster Card. The Oyster Card costs 5£ but you can get your money back at the end of your trip (check in the metro stations, you can get the refund directly at the ticket machines).
We walked around the neighborhood and did some window shopping. We finally arrived at Covent Garden, and it was as busy as you can imagine in a sunny day !
We continued our window shopping and bought a really good tea at East India Company. We were feeling a little bit hungry, specially after all the walking. Since we saw a Five Guys near Leicester Square’s metro station, we did not hesitate in getting a burger for lunch ! After, we were really tired so decided to go back to the hotel on foot. As I always say, the best way to know a city is to walk and walk and walk. You get to see the neighborhoods, how the city changes from one street to the other, and you can find pretty places where you did not imagine you would find them.
Woke up earlier to have breakfast at Monocle Café in Marylebone. I wrote a review of the place here if you’d like to know a little bit more about it. We took the metro to Bond Street and walked from there. After breakfast, we went to Hyde Park. It was a beautiful day and the perfect one for renting a bicycle and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
The Park is beautiful, specially with all the autumn colors taking over the trees. If you’d like to rent a bike, it costs 2£ for 24 hours. Each time you get a new bike, there is a little machine in the corner of the bike stations that gives you a code. You type in the code next to the bike you want, and off you go !
After no more than an hour of going around the park, we stopped for an afternoon tea at The Orangerie in Kensington Palace. I found out about it on Instagram, and since my birthday was coming up, we decided to give it a go with a Royal Afternoon Tea. I will talk about The Orangerie in another post 😉 It was a lovely afternoon, it was sunny but not hot, just enough of an autumn breeze to enjoy the tea and park.
Afterwards, we took new bikes to go back to where we started near Hyde Park Corner’s station since we wanted to go from Buckingham Palace to the Big Ben on foot.
Pro tip: Getting around Hyde Park is really easy since there are a lot of maps that let you identify the bike routes, not all pathways are available for cyclists, so pay attention.
Buckingham Palace is not far away from Hyde Park, just follow the tourists 😉 It is a nice walk since there are two parks (Green Park and St. James Park) in between the Palace and the Big Ben.
After taking a little stroll around the Palace and Victoria’s statue, we started walking towards the Big Ben by going through the Mall and then cutting though St. James park. Again, follow the tourists if you feel lost !
Finally, we topped off our London weekend by going to the Big Ben. It is one of THE landmarks of London, so be patient since there’s a lot of people around, in front, and across the Big Ben.
This 2-week stay changed my feelings about London. I wasn’t in a rush to see EVERYTHING, and this is great. The city feels different and I learned to see it as if I lived there, which is a luxury. This is one of the many perks of business travel (nowadays called bleasure = business + pleasure), and I am very grateful to be able to discover new places and even re-discover others through a different point of view. I leave you now with a couple of photos from my weekend.
I would love to hear your thoughts about London and if you might be tempted to check out the places I mentioned above!