You’ve booked your flight. You’ve secured your dream apartment in London. And now? You’ll be staying in this fair capital for a week. Just what are you going to do with yourself? Do let me make some suggestions in our One Perfect Week in London Itinerary.
Arrive mid afternoon. London Perfect’s greeters will welcome you when you arrive at your luxe apartment of choice. There will be tea. There will be biscuits. Treat yourself. You’re on vacation and you’ll need something to fortify yourself before enjoying a leisurely amble around your new neighborhood! Be it the Christchurch in Chelsea, the Marlborough in Notting Hill or the Sloane near Sloane Square, you’ll have a wonderful time exploring before deciding on dinner somewhere. Might it be Nikita’s (now closed) or the Troubadour in West Chelsea? Or maybe Colbert’s on Sloane Square? Or that oh so charming English pub on the corner? Enjoy and relax…
Good morning. Feeling refreshed yet? Yes? Excellent. It’s time to experience a spot of public transport, be it by tube, bus or (later) boat as you’ll need some way to get to the Museum of London. This is the place to find out about the amazing depth of history that the city has to offer before taking a short trip over to the Tower of London and actually applying some of that newly acquired knowledge. Pose with a Beefeater, goggle over the Crown Jewels and admire the ravens before taking a boat back west along the Thames.
We Brits do royalty, pomp and circumstance very well. Exceptionally so if I may smugly say. Therefore I urge you to enjoy a day of Royal delights. You’ve had a taster already with the Tower of London (old school royals) so now get thee to Buckingham Palace, visit the State Rooms and Royal Collection of art and enjoy the changing of the Guard. And if you manage to make a Guardsman smile or laugh, then I’ll personally bestow you with a biscuit in honor of your impressive feat. All this royalling will take up most of the day and then it’ll be time for a spot of theatre in London’s West End. Satire? Shakespeare? Silly musicals? You’ll find it all.
Sorry. I know you’re tired after last night’s theater bonanza, but as it’s Saturday you’ll have to be up early to bag the bargains and dodge the throngs at the Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill. I’d then suggest wandering back to your apartment through Kensington Gardens and have a restful afternoon. You’ve a night out to prepare for in Soho. The bars and pubs in this corner of the West End are notorious and legendary but my personal favorite is the jazz club Ronnie Scott’s. That should keep you in mischief until the small hours…
How virtuous! You managed to get the last tube home. And all so you’d be ready for a Sunday in the East End. It’s a wonderful wander that begins at the world famous Columbia Road flower market. After acquiring a few bunches of blooms to display later in your apartment it’s a short stroll to Brick Lane. There are markets aplenty along this stretch with everything from vintage finds to contemporary curry to street foodie delights to tempt you. Continue your ramble at the Spitalfields Market on the edge of the City. Or head to happening Covent Garden where the shops are open on Sunday for you lovers of all things fashion and good.
A small etiquette note here: Brick Lane is a catwalk for all sorts on a Sunday. Please, don’t stare. Just marvel. You’ll be seeing a few of the more outrageous ensembles in next month’s Vogue…
Culture, culture, CULTURE. Yea gods, London’s good at that. You need a day of museuming. Choose between a day in the center of town with the British Museum and National Gallery as your destinations of choice, or Kensington where the V&A and Natural History Museum are within spitting distance of each other.
Of course, don’t actually try to spit the distance. It’s simply not done in this part of town.
If you’ve not acquired enough trinkets, retro bargains over the weekend then you’ll probably have to do some proper shopping. Oxford Street is the beating heart for this nation of shopkeepers and it’s an excellent place to start for mainstream shops and department stores like Liberty, John Lewis and Selfridges. If you’re looking for a top end shopping experience you’d best pootle along South Molton Street for some smaller, chic boutiques before launching yourself into the designer heaven that is Bond Street. This will then take you down to Piccadilly where you can enjoy your final culture fix at the Royal Academy (their cloakroom is excellent since you can leave your shopping bags there). Lastly, stagger over the road to the Ritz or Wolseley for a champagne high tea.
You’ve earned it.
Departure. Wowsers. How did that happen so quickly? There’s just about time to enjoy a traditional English breakfast (more on that coming soon …) before heading off. Just think, with a week you’ve just begun to scratch the surface of all there is to see and do in London. You might just want to plan a two week stay instead! Stay tuned to the London Perfect Blog for more London themed itineraries and fun travel tips.
Zoë F. Willis is a writer and enthusiastic London resident.
Image Credits: Tower of London with Union Jack by Valerie Hukalo, Chelsea pub by Kotomicreations, Beefeater at the Tower of London by Barney Moss, Changing of the Guard by Gabriel Villena, Alice’s on Portobello Road by Laura Thayer, Brick Lane by Garry Knight, V&A Museum by Laura Thayer, Ritz formal tea by TofflerAnn