Words by Síomha Connolly
August 2nd, 2016
If you’ve ever visited London you’ll know that it is a huge and hectic city. With so much going on in such a vast array of areas it can be hard to distinguish what’s worth seeing and what’s not. Which is why we’ve created a 24-hour guide for those who are looking to get a taste of London from more than just the typical tourist attractions. Granted, there’s a lot more to see and do in London than is included in this list but it’s a good place to start if you are visiting for a short stint. Read on to see some of maven46′ top spots to eat, drink and shop in London town and bookmark this page for your next trip over.
First stop is a delicious breakfast to set you up for the day. Farm Girl Café is the perfect spot. Nestled along a tiny laneway off Portobello Road it feels like a hidden gem. The laneway itself is beautiful, with plants crawling up the whitewashed building, pale pink tables with white wicker chairs, and the interiors once inside the café make for a cosy, relaxed meal setting. The food certainly doesn’t disappoint either- we recommend the buckwheat pancakes served with amber maple syrup, berries and coconut flakes.
11am: Portobello Road.
After breakfast, it’s time for a stroll along the famous Portobello Road. There are markets here every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday but a midweek visit is just as good and means you won’t have to navigate through the masses of tourists. You can admire the pastel coloured shops and houses and enjoy strolling around this charming neighbourhood.
11.30am: Museum/Art Gallery
Next up it’s time to get your culture fix with a visit to a museum or art gallery of your choice. From Notting Hill Gate underground station you can take the Circle line train directly to South Kensington, the stop which serves the Victoria & Albert Museum, the National History Museum, the Science Museum and others. A lot of the museums offer free entry but you may have to pay to enter some of the exhibitions housed within them. Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear is currently on at the V&A and is definitely worth a visit.
1.00pm: Explore by foot
After wandering around your museum of choice, head back out and explore the locality. In a new city, it’s always best to walk as much as you can rather than rely on public transport. This way you’ll get to know your surroundings and will see so much more than you would if you were stuck on the underground or passing things by on a bus. After visiting the museum area, take this opportunity to walk through Hyde Park if it’s a sunny day. The gardens are beautiful and you can visit the Serpentine Gallery here too. From Hyde Park, you can stop off at Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace if you have an interest in seeing some of the traditional sights. If not, head along Piccadilly until you arrive at Old Bond Street (for high-end brands) or the famous Regent Street and Oxford Street for mid-market and high street stores and enjoy some retail therapy.
3.00pm: Shoreditch Strolls
It’s time to get out of Central London and head East to Shoreditch. One of London’s most creative neighbourhoods, Shoreditch is a hub for cool shops, restaurants and bars. To get here you can take the Victoria underground line from Oxford Circus which will bring you to Highbury & Islington where you’ll have to swap to the overground but this will take you directly to Shoreditch High Street. Once out of the station you’ll be right beside BoxPark, a shopping centre housed in a collection of shipping containers. Peruse some of the shops here then walk around to Redchurch Street which is just two minutes away. Grab a coffee in Albion and stroll along the cobblestone streets. Here you’ll find Aesop for skincare, Monologue and Labour and Wait for homewares, and brands such as A.P.C and Whistles for clothing. If that’s not enough, make your way to Goodhood for a carefully curated selection of menswear and womenswear brands, as well as an impressive lifestyle and cosmetics selection.
Grab dinner in one of Shoreditch’s many restaurants. Dishoom is a restaurant serving modern Indian small plates just off Redchurch Street. Go for the food, stay for the atmosphere- the Verandah is the place to be on a summer evening so stay for a while and enjoy some after dinner drinks. If Indian is not your thing try Pizza East which we’re told serves up some of the best pizza in London. If you feel like heading back into Central London book a dinner in Sketch, it’s possibly the most “Instagrammed” restaurant in London.
If your appetite for Shoreditch hasn’t quite been satisfied head to The Nightjar, Hoxton Grill or The Cocktail Trading Co. for some evening drinks. If you’re ready to explore another neighbourhood Peckham is a good option for a night out and it’s only a few stops away on the overground (take the train from Shoreditch High Street to Peckham Rye Station). There are plenty of cool bars distributed around the area but we hear the best spots to try are Bussey’s or Frank’s which are both rooftop bars, perfect for some summer evening cocktails.
The night may still be young for some, but after a long day of wandering around London, you may be up for heading back to your hotel and getting an early night in advance of another day of exploring tomorrow. The Ace Hotel in Shoreditch is one of the most popular spots these days, it boasts a great location, quirky features and an award winning restaurant, Hoi Polloi. If you’d prefer to be in Central London try the Artist Residence in Pimlico, an intimate ten bedroom boutique hotel with chic yet homely interiors. After a relaxing night’s rest, you’ll be ready for another 24 hours in England’s capital city.
Not sure what to pack for your city break? Check out our city style guide for some holiday inspiration.
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