What happens when the Brexit makes the exchange rate for the pound super affordable, and then you get a cheap flight alert for roundtrip tickets to Heathrow? Well, you plan a quick weekend in London!
Where to Stay
- My Bloomsbury – This hotel is in a great spot and a great value for the money. It’s updated and attached to an excellent cafe on one side and bakery on the other, making it easy to grab a good English breakfast. Walking distance to the museum and pretty easy to get everywhere else (although it was a good few blocks to the tube station). Only con is the room is small, but this is nothing new to frequent European travelers. But you’re not supposed to stay in the room anyway!
- St. Ermin’s Autograph Collection (Marriott) – This was my first choice hotel but ended up switching due to cost. It looks gorgeous and is in a great spot near the London Eye, Big Ben, and other hotspot tourist areas.
What to See
Of course there are the main spots for first-timers: London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Harrod’s. But here are some of the touristy places that are our favorites:
- British Museum – This free museum is the one to see, with vast collections of every type of art and history, the most famous pieces being the real Rosetta Stone.
- Hyde Park – This large park is worth cutting through as your wander London. Once Henry VIII’s hunting grounds, it now has concerts, art, horse-riding, and a lake where you can take out a row boat.
- Churchill War Rooms – Part of the Imperial War Museum, visit the underground rooms which served as the British government’s command center in WWII. Most the rooms are preserved exactly as they were during the war.
- Tower Bridge & Tower of London – The best way to get here is to take a river cruise down the Thames and get off at the Tower of London, the 11th century castle and prison. However they do close early and you need several hours to visit, so it’s best to go earlier in the day (as we found out)!
- Liberty London – An old department store opened in 1875, it’s still a great place to visit to both shop and view the historic architecture.
Where to Eat & Drink
- NOPI – The famed chef Ottolenghi has several restaurants in London, but this is his more formal location. Delicious Mediterranean small plates such as the Burrata and peach, or short ribs with shiitake mushrooms are to die for.
- Duck & Waffle – A more upscale restaurant atop a skyscraper, this place is great for even just a drink so you can take in the views. Dress formal and make a reservation – otherwise, you won’t get in, like us.
- OXO – This bistro/bar/restaurant is also known for its views – grab a drink to look our over the Thames.
- Borough Market – This area of food stalls is great for lunch and shopping. It is closed on Sundays, so unfortunately our timing caused us to miss out on this one!
- Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden Bar & Cafe – A casual spot for a drink along the Thames, this beer garden-like spot is good for a quick break while walking along the tourist sites of the Thames.
- Anchor Bankside – One of London’s oldest pubs – a great spot for a drink and meal on the Thames. The food is surprisingly delicious – try the mac and cheese and BBQ egg rolls, or the fish and chips!