London is a hustling, bustling city that (almost) never sleeps. With everything from the hard-working city to the playful West End, acres of parks and green spaces, all punctuated by colourful mews, Dickensian alleys and a rich history, it’s a city that should be on every traveler’s list.
We have created our top 11 things to do for visitors heading to this wonderful city for a short trip that explores the old and the new, and gives visitors an insight into the city’s vibrant culture.
- Our 24 hours in London begins in The Square Mile. Officially known as The City of London, this area contains the historical center of the city as well as the busy business area. The best way to see it? From 40 floors up, of course! Visitors to the capital can begin their day with breakfast coupled with breathtaking views at Duck & Waffle, a 24 hour, seven days a week restaurant that serves up treats such as lemon meringue waffle, the classic English breakfast, and the restaurant’s namesake, duck and waffle.
- After a filling and spectacular breakfast, take a short walk to Leadenhall Market. Originally established in 1321, it is a covered market which is now home to shops such as cheesemongers, butchers and florists, as well as cafés and restaurants. A stunning building, you may know it better as the area of London near the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter films. It also made up part of the marathon course in the 2012 Olympic Games.
- After exploring The City visitors should head to London’s creative center, Soho, passing St Paul’s Cathedral and Somerset House on the way. Once in Soho, head to The Bar Italia for a coffee. Originally founded in 1949 and is still true to its Italian roots today, and you’re guaranteed a warm welcome.
- From Soho it’s time from another market as you wind through the sprawling streets into Covent Garden. Now a fashionable shopping and dining destination, Covent Garden has a rich heritage; from orchard garden of Westminster Abbey to London’s first residential square to London’s wholesale fruit and vegetable market. What’s more, it’s now the home of many wonderful street performers who never miss a chance to put on a show.
- For lunch, visit one of London’s many ‘counter’ pasta restaurants, such as Bancone in Covent Garden. Here, you can relax and watch the chefs at work while you enjoy a delicious dish of handmade pasta from a menu that takes inspiration from many of the 20 regions of Italy. Start with soft, creamy burrata followed by silk handkerchiefs with a walnut butter and confit egg yolk, all finished with a light and refreshing coconut panna cotta. Delizioso!
- After lunch catch a matinée performance in the famous West End. From classics such as Wicked to the new musicals like Pretty Woman, there are so many different shows to choose from.
- It wouldn’t be a trip to London without a visit to Buckingham Palace. The official London residence of the UK’s sovereigns since 1837, it has 775 rooms all housed in a building which is 108 metres long and 120 metres deep. Today, it is very much a working building and serves as the venue for many royal events and ceremonies, from entertaining foreign Head of States to celebrating achievement at Investitures and receptions.
- After paying a visit to the Queen, cross the river and head to the South Bank. Nestled along the river Thames, South Bank is an area of incredible history, culture and regeneration. It is home to national centres for art and culture, a vibrant and growing community and some of London’s finest achievements in architecture, such as the National Theatre, Southbank Centre and London Eye.
- For dinner, go to one of the capital’s many food markets which combine cuisines and drinks from cultures and countries across the globe – reflecting London’s vibrant and diverse community. Mercato Metropolitano has everything from Neapolitan pizza to Asian fusion wraps to Bhangra burgers, and everything in between so you won’t go hungry!
- After dinner it’s time for a trip into ritzy Mayfair and a tipple or two at The Donovan Bar. Named after famous photographer Terrance Donovan, it has long been the destination choice for Mayfair’s most discerning sippers. It’s impeccable cocktail menu has been created by legendary cocktail maestro, Salvatore Calabrese, who has married his personal classics with original concoctions.
- Following a busy day of city sightseeing, rest your head at a timeless London gem, The Bloomsbury Hotel. Housed in a beautiful neo-Georgian listed building, The Bloomsbury has been renovated and restored to its original grandeur and glory. Enjoy a fantastic night’s sleep, before being treated to a wonderful breakfast the next morning.
24 hours in London is a flying visit – time will be short, the schedule tight and you’ll definitely be left wanting to come back and discover more but our guide will give you a good taste of one of the best cities in the world.