London in... 48 Hours (Day Two)
London is one of the most exciting, vibrant places in the world – so whatever the length of your trip, you’re sure to have an amazing time. In this two-part series, we’ll be guiding you through the perfect 48-hour break in the city. Be sure to check out part one here!
Now, without further ado, here’s day two…
Morning (Day Two)
Rouse yourself bright and early and head over to chic South Kensington, the convenient location for three of the capital’s best-known and best-loved museums: the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A).
The V&A, the world’s leading art and design museum, is a place brimming full of inspiration – from the gorgeous exteriors to the stunning fashion, ceramics and sculpture collections found within; whilst the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum offer more conventional (though no less breath-taking) examples of human development and ingenuity. All three are world-renowned and feature permanent collections as well as special exhibitions, depending on the season; as an additional bonus, entrance is free!
Whatever takes your fancy, the museums can be found on the same street – Exhibition Road - meaning that it’s possible to nip in and out of one, two or all three (depending how keen you’re feeling) in the space of a morning!
Tuck into a quintessentially British tradition at one of London’s most prestigious hotels with afternoon tea at The Ritz. Within the surroundings of the famous Palm Court, you will enjoy mouth-watering delicacies such as freshly baked scones with clotted cream, intricate pastries and sumptuous sandwiches, all washed down with a glass of champagne or hot beverages from the extensive menu. The Ritz happens to be the only hotel in the UK to employ a qualified Tea Sommelier, so even the tea is something special.
Or, for a grand but slightly more relaxed setting, you can always opt for afternoon tea or lunch at The Wolseley. Situated in the heart of Piccadilly, The Wolseley is a ‘café-restaurant in the grand European tradition’, and offers brasserie-like food in wonderful surroundings. The black and white marble and Venetian-inspired pillars are something behold; this historic building was originally a car showroom, before becoming a bank, until it was turned into a restaurant in the late 1990s. Nowadays it’s a hit with tourists and natives alike – you may even seen a famous face dining at the table next to you!
You’re in a great position to explore Mayfair: a lovely, leafy area with grand buildings, restaurants and shops. Wander through one of the capital’s fine parks – Hyde Park and Green Park are all nearby – whilst you stroll up to Buckingham Palace. You can simply gawp at this impressive royal residence or, if it’s the summer, head inside to explore the 19 State Rooms that are open to the public. After that, walk along The Mall to take a peek at Prince Charles and Camilla’s home (Clarence House). This is one of the most stately areas of London, quite different in character from the rest, and well worth exploring.
After all that walking, you’ll want to take a load off, so finish up in Trafalgar Square. Grab a coffee and sit in front of the National Gallery, soaking up the impressive sights, like Nelson’s Column, the grand lions, the famous fountains, or the bustling crowds (there’s no better place to people watch).
We're going to finish up our day at the theatre - but there's still plenty of time for an early evening cocktail in a classic hotel. Try Dukes, which is conveniently located between Green Park and St James’s Street. Not only is this one of London’s most atmospheric, historic hotels, but the bar is also said to have been the inspiration for James Bond’s ‘shaken, not stirred’ line – Ian Fleming was a former patron.
Next, opt for an early supper so the evening is free for other entertainments. Kaspar’s at the Savoy, which is great for seafood, offers a wonderful pre-theatre menu; other favourites include Brasserie Zedel, a grand Art Deco brasserie, and Dalloway Terrace (named after Virginia Woolf’s literary creation and Bloomsbury local, Mrs Dalloway), which serves up classic British food. All are an easy walk from London’s West End – because what would a trip to London be without a night at the theatre?
London is world-renowned for its stage productions, and the West End is a hotbed of historical theatres, from the Apollo to Her Majesty’s Theatre. With a roster of long-running, popular productions like Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera and Mamma Mia, as well as glitzy revivals and new writing, you’re certain to find something to suit your fancy. Bravo!