London is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. Not only is it full of history, but it is also on the edge of what is new and trendy. Although you can explore London for weeks, here is what you must see if you are on a time crunch.
Start your day with an authentic English Breakfast! The Regency Cafe was opened in 1946 and is one of the most popular eateries if you are looking for an authentic English brekkie! Coming in at less than £5.50, it won't ruin your food budget for the day, and you will have tons of energy to do some exploring!
No trip to London is complete without visiting Buckingham Palace. If the palace is open during your stay, then take a tour. You can visit the Throne Room, Palace Gardens, Portrait Gallery, and the Ballroom. Even if the palace is closed to visitors, it is worth peering through the gates.
The Royal Mews is just around the corner and is always open. Here you can view the royal horses, carriages, and sometimes luxury cars. You are able to climb in one of the Queen's most loved carriages for a photo opp!
Head down Buckingham Gate and take a left on Petty France for lunch at the Buckingham Arms. It offers a full menu that is pretty affordable, considering its location. Try the Battered Cod or Sausage and Mash to continue on your traditional English day!
You can take Birdcage Lane away from the palace to visit Big Ben, Parliament, and Westminster Abbey. The line for the Abbey can sometimes be long, but it is architecturally beautiful. Make sure you grab an audio guide that tells you about the tombs and who they belong to as you walk through the building.
For dinner, it is time to get dressed up! Bob Bob Ricard is one of the dining staples of London. Located just outside of Piccadilly Circus, it serves Russian-style cuisine with a British twist. Don't miss the "Press for Champagne" button located at each table, and the Beef Wellington is perfect for sharing.
Take the London Underground to the London Bridge stop to head to your next breakfast destination. The Breakfast Club is a chain you can find all over London for a good reason! You can order another traditional brekkie, or you can get eggs benedict three ways, the choices are truly endless. Once you see the pineapple lanterns, you know you have arrived.
Next, head across the London Bridge to visit the Tower of London. The Tower of London is home to the crown jewels and some of the most infamous executions in history. You are able to tour the Tower on your own, but a guide will give you details and history that you won't otherwise know. It is easy to spend anywhere from two to six hours touring.
After your tour, head out towards the Thames to see a picturesque view of Tower Bridge. From here, you can take a river taxi back towards Big Ben, but we are going to head back across the London Bridge and visit Borough Market. Open from Monday to Saturday; this is a perfect stop for foodies and tourists alike. Grab some lunch from one of the many food stands around the market and tour the market stands and shops. This is a perfect rainy day activity since it is covered!
For dinner, it is time to visit one of the most Instagram-famous spots in London. Sketch London is a bright pink restaurant that you see everywhere. Sketch is comprised of quite a few different rooms that all have their own unique theme. The bathrooms are also in the shape of eggs with a rainbow block ceiling. It is truly something to see.
- The Gallery features walls covered in trendy artwork with baby pink seating and soft lights.
- The Lecture Room & Library has more traditional decor that you would expect in a fine dining restaurant. It features quilted walls and lavish velvet seating.
- The Parlor is a bright patisserie and cocktail bar located on the right when you walk in. It has large windows, bar seating, and a long table where you can enjoy a fancy cocktail or even a quick breakfast.
- The Glade looks like something out of a French-Impressionist painting. The walls are full of beautiful floral designs with almost a metallic touch. The chairs and couches are sumptuous velvet in purple and that same floral motif that is on the walls.
For your last day in London, why not go all out? The famous NYC restaurant, Balthazar, has landed in London. It is known for its upscale French-inspired menu and deep-red leather seating. You can pick up anything from American pancakes to house made pastries and more!
Hop in a Black Cab and make your way to Harrods. Next to Macy's, this is the most famous department store in the world. The six floors house everything from a unique food shop to some of the most prestigious brands in the world. Harrods is a great place to pick up some last-minute souvenirs or treat yourself to your next designer handbag.
This is one of my secret places for lunch in London, and you probably would never find it on your own. The Grenadier Pub has no street entrance and has been around since 1720! It is a truly authentic British pub, including an extensive beer list, heavy wooden tables, and even a ghost from a former Officer. The Beef Wellington is to die for, and make sure you leave your mark on the ceiling during your visit.
London is home to its very own Broadway called West End. It is mainly located around Covent Garden, which is a popular food and shopping area. Pick up a ticket to a show and enjoy some high-quality live theater entertainment on your last night. If you aren't sure what show to see, I suggest Waitress or Dear Evan Hansen. You can also find tons of restaurants in this area to eat at before or after the show.