48 hours in...London

London is an epic city. There aren’t just pubs on every corner – you’ll also find museums, galleries, street markets and historical sites all over. You’ve got world renowned restaurants serving just about any cuisine you can think of at anytime of the day, as well as rooftop bars overlooking the cityscape and all kinds of events popping up around town. An unbelievable amount of stuff to do, see, buy, eat and drink has been packed into London. Take a peek at our favourite bits!

Daytime diversions

There are so many ways to see London as a city. You can walk, cycle, catch a bus, jump on the famous London Underground or even try a little river cruise along the Thames. Each of these gives you a unique perspective of the capital. But one of the best ways to explore this city is to follow the Jubilee Walkway.

The 15-mile path (you definitely don’t have to do it all – just pick and choose your favourite bits) takes you to some of London’s best landmarks. Trail along the Southbank past the Tate Modern, which is full of weird and wonderful modern art, and down to the Houses of Parliament with Big Ben. Wander through St James’s Park, teeming with squirrels and swans, before coming across Trafalgar Square, The National Gallery and the British Museum. The walk even includes the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and more! It’s the perfect introduction to London. Other great walks include those along the Regent’s Canal, Princess Diana’s Memorial Walk and the Jubilee Greenway.

The South Bank, London

The South Bank, London © VisitBritain/Nelson Casuncad

 

Out and about

A trip to London is never complete without visiting a few of its famous markets. Borough Market is a favourite with visitors thanks to its massive selection of local and international produce. Brick Lane Market is the place to go for vintage clothes. The nearby Columbia Road Flower Market is an Instagrammer’s dream, running every Sunday. Camden Market is for all those wanting to embrace their inner punk. Portobello Road Market is for antique lovers. And Maltby Street Market is a street food mecca. 

But there are plenty more things to try when visiting London. Have a picture perfect afternoon tea at Harrods or Sketch. Catch a West End show in town or try something a bit more alternative at The Vaults theatre. Explore different parts of London by going to one of Sofar Sounds’  hidden live music gigs scattered about the city or buy tickets to one of London’s roaming immersive supper clubs. And have no shame as you book your tickets to see the sets of Harry Potter – rushing around the Great Hall, riding broomsticks and drinking butterbeer! You’ll never be too old for this.

London Grind, London Bridge

London Grind, London © VisitBritain/Angela Mugnai

 

Stylish stays

Located in trendy Shoreditch, The Hoxton  is a stylish place to stay in town. It’s set right in the thick of the action, with all of Shoreditch’s super cool restaurants, bars and clubs within walking distance. 

If you’re looking for luxury and old-time elegance, stay in some of London’s oldest and most prestigious hotels. At the top of the list you’ll find The Savoy, Claridge’s, The Ritz and The Lanesborough. A night in any of these hotels will leave you feeling like royalty.

The Rooftop St. James, Trafalgar St. James Hotel

The Rooftop at The Trafalgar St. James Hotel, London © VisitBritain

 

Dates for the diary

London Cocktail Week, October

London becomes a cocktail lover’s paradise during the first week in October as more than 300 bars and restaurants take part in London Cocktail Week. Enjoy signature cocktails from some of the finest mixologists in the city for a reasonable £6. Also pick up a tip or two at a cocktail-making masterclass, sample the finest spirits at tasting sessions or immerse yourself in a multisensory cocktail experience. Don’t forget to visit the Cocktail Village, 3 distinct spaces on Brick Lane, and slurp your way through delicious cocktails trends from around the world!

Notting Hill Carnival, August

On the last weekend of August, Notting Hill plays host to one of the biggest street parties in the world, with over 1 million people attending. To celebrate Caribbean culture, the carnival includes a parade of wonderful costumes and music, while the surrounding streets are taken over massive sound systems, street food stalls and roaming bars.

Christmas, December

London is transformed for the festive season. Hyde Park hosts the largest Christmas Market in London, while all major landmarks are covered in tinsel and fairy lights. Don’t miss out on listening to carollers at Covent Garden or going ice skating at the Natural History Museum and Somerset House. Most pubs will be serving delicious hot toddies and mulled wine throughout December.

Ice skating at the Natural History Museum

Ice skating at the Natural History Museum

 

Getting there

London has 5 major international airports – London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Stanstead, London City Airport and London Southend. From Heathrow, catch the speedy Heathrow Express into London Paddington station or go for the cheaper option, the Tube, which takes a little bit longer. The Gatwick Express service goes direct into London Victoria station and the Stansted Express serves Liverpool Street station. London Southend can be reached by train from London Liverpool Street or London Stratford, while the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) connects the main underground network with City Airport.

Once you’re in the centre of town, use an Oyster Card to easily catch buses and trains to get to your accommodation. To help you navigate London’s vast public transport network, try the handy transport app CityMapper.

Find Your GREAT Britain

Top Picks for the Culture Vulture
.
Where to get your caffeine fix
.
Got Longer?
.
Need more inspiration?
.
More on London
.
Next Stop… 60 minutes from London
.
Love London? Try Manchester
.
#lovegreatbritain
.

VisitBritain Shop

Borough Market Food Walking Tour

Borough Market Food Walking Tour
From $81.00
Borough Market Food Walking Tour

Visitor Oyster Card London

Visitor Oyster Card London
From $26.50
Visitor Oyster Card London

Drink London! – Historic London Pub Walking Tour

Drink London! – Historic London Pub Walking Tour
From $33.00
Drink London! – Historic London Pub Walking Tour

Go to the VisitBritain Shop

View all products
Go to the VisitBritain Shop