If you’re planning an über-short city break in London – say, just 48 hours – then not only will it be important to make sure you have the right hotel booked for your stay, but also that you’ve the ideal itinerary in place. Because, don’t doubt it, the UK capital’s ram-packed full of myriad attractions. What to make a priority then – and what to miss? Well, here are a few ideas you may find mighty useful…
Tower of London
Kick-off your couple of days in the capital as you mean to go on by visiting perhaps its premier attraction, combining, as it does, fabulously imposing medieval architecture with a full millennium’s worth of fascinating, essential and, at times, bloodthirsty history. Did you know that, across its existence, the Tower has been everything from a military stronghold to a palace and a prison to a menagerie of exotic creatures?
Following this, toddle across the Thames via the stunning icon that’s Tower Bridge and stroll along the South Bank a short way and you’ll reach another venue dripping with history. Technically speaking, the Globe (being a theatre that’s barely 30 years-old) isn’t the stuff of London’s legendary past, yet it’s a reconstruction of the sort of playhouse in which Shakespeare’s masterpieces would have been performed back in his day. In which case, there’s nothing like catching a play there – and the tour and exhibition are great too.
West End shopping
Let’s face it, for any shopper from anywhere in the world there’s simply nothing like West End shopping. Oxford Street – the enormously long east-to-west stretch of outlets – is maybe the most famous retail road in the world, while the streets that dissect it (Regent Street, Bond Street and Piccadilly) offer a whole host of distinguished names. Meanwhile, there’s the irresistible boho feel of Carnaby Street (of Swinging Sixties lore, of course) and, should you have time, you must check out the world renowned Harrods department store in Knightsbridge, which is a little further out to the west. Quite frankly, though, should you be taking advantage of one of our hotel rewards programs and staying at the Shaftesbury Hyde Park, it’ll be within easy reach – meaning you’ll be able to make full use of London’s late night shopping!
Portobello Road Market
You really can’t move in London for shopping opportunities and you really can’t pass up the chance of experiencing the very best of it. To wit, in addition to all the West End retail opportunities, you’d be a fool to pass up the chance of visiting the globally famous Portobello Road market, to be found in the salubrious district that’s Notting Hill. Why? Well, not only will it enable you to boast you’ve been to the setting of *that* Hugh Grant movie, but also you’ll discover it’s crammed full of stalls selling top quality antiques, fresh produce, clothing and arts and crafts bits and bobs.
Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens
Head back into the centre for possibly the greatest (combined) city park in the world – NYC may well have Central Park, but here’s the original ginormous space of blissful, relaxing green slap-bang in the heart of a mega metropolis. Boasting features such as the Serpentine lake and its pedaloes, opportunities for rolling blading, horse-riding, ball games and other activities, as well as numerous monuments (including the charming Peter Pan statue), the debating area that’s Speaker’s Corner and the glorious Diana Memorial Fountain and Playground, its biggest draw of all, though, is its seemingly never-ending flora and fauna right in the centre of the city.
Late-night museums and galleries
Finally, what better way to close out your 48 hours in the UK capital than by making the most of its celebrated museums and galleries? Many of the biggest and, let’s be honest, the best are free to enter (although they do welcome a small financial remuneration) and run a late-night opening programme. So that means, come the evening, you can escape the hordes of school groups and families at the British Museum, the Tate Modern, Trafalgar Square’s National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery, and South Kensington’s Science, V&A and Natural History Museums. Usually they throw into the mix pop-up bars, food options and live music too – who could ask for more!