LONDON 101: MY TRAVELLERS GUIDE

England is an incredible country and I love going there to relax and enjoy the beautiful countryside or the exciting city life. We try to go to England, specifically London, at least once a year, because we just love it there.

I have put together a highlight filled itinerary for a great weekend in London. I will share with you everything you need to know like, where to stay, how to get around and cute places to eat. Sit back, grab a cup of tea, and read all about my favourite things to do in London.
A little warning, we tend to see as much as we can and eat a lot when we travel. I understand some people will think it’s a bit much. So, you could skip the parts that don’t interest you.

Day 1

At the crack of dawn, we flew from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to London City Airport and took the public transportation to the skyline restaurant Duck and Waffle.

Where Sander and I started our day with a savoury waffle with crispy duck leg confit, fried duck egg topped with a mustard maple syrup and poached eggs on sourdough with butter. We sat there enjoying our breakfast with an amazing view, the sun rising above London. Duck and Waffle is the highest 24/7 restaurant in London, its food is a take on traditional British cuisine and European influences, and it offers diners a stunning view across London with their floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s important to book in advance, considering Duck and Waffle is one of the “must-visit” food places in the city. The Gherkin was a part of our breath-taking view, so we can tick off one of the cities highlights.

Next we stopped at Leadenhall Market, located in the heart of London amongst the cobbled streets. It’s one of the oldest markets in London primarily selling fresh food; among the vendors there are cheesemongers, butchers and florists. Originally a meat, game and poultry market, it stands on what was the centre of Roman London. It was also used as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

From here, we went to Covent Garden to do some shopping. On our way to our underground station we saw the Monument of the great fire of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral. The cathedral is one of the most famous and most recognizable sights of London.
Emerging out of one of the smallest underground station, we ventured into Covent Garden. It’s located in the West End of London. The cobbled streets of Covent Garden are filled to the brim with quaint places to shop and eat at. We strolled around King Street where we wandered into Petersham Nurseries. The shop is beautiful with its antique furniture, indoor plants and floral displays. It’s a real inspirational space for someone who loves interior design and flowers, like me. You’ll feel like you’re in a fairy-tale, and perhaps, you are.

On the hunt for lunch, we ended up at Carluccio’s, which is inspired by the cooking of Antonio Carluccio. We ordered an array of dishes, Tomato Bruschetta, Calamari Fritti, Caprese Salad, Crab & Langoustine Fettuce. We tucked in and enjoyed every single bite. Fuelled up and ready to explore, we spilled out onto the streets once more. After shopping around, we headed over to Covent Garden Market, where we stopped for a sweet treat at Ladurée. We sat at a Parisian-style balcony overlooking St Paul’s Church and the West Piazza and we had macarons and an iced coffee. 

After this sweet break we made our way to our hotel, the Best Western Plus Delmere Hotel. The Best Western Plus Delmere hotel is a Victorian house converted into a hotel and it has a great location. It’s a 4-minute walk to Paddington underground tube station, National rail network and Heathrow express and it has quick access to central London. The rooms are really compact but deliver every modern amenity you could need, from WIFI, an electrical plug with USB port to a ‘do not disturb’ sign that can be operated from the panels next to the bed. It’s around 75 euros per person per night, considering the location I found that not extremely expensive.

Checked in we headed over to the National Gallery. On Friday’s it’s open until 9pm and the admission to the National Gallery is free. It’s home to one of the world’s greatest collections of Western European paintings and it begins before you even enter the galleries, because the floor in the entrance hall is a piece of art itself. So, we wandered around for the rest of the afternoon appreciating the wide collection. I do have to say that the National Gallery is not one of favourite museums to visit. I loved the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum even more, but more about them later.

As the evening drew in around us, we made our way to Oxford street where we shopped till we dropped right into the seats of restaurant Hush. It’s a floral heaven tucked away in a hidden courtyard in the heart of Mayfair. Because we had a heavier lunch we went for a lighter diner. We had the tuna tartare with ponzu and avocado, torched salmon sashimi, watermelon & feta salad and Aspen fries with parmesan & truffle oil with fresh summer truffles. Their smaller dishes are perfect for sampling and sharing.

Day 2

The next day we started the day of with a quick on the go breakfast from Starbucks. And off we went to explore all the city had to offer. We started at Trafalgar Square, making our way to the all-important district of Westminster. Westminster is the government district with the Big Ben, the Westminster Abbey, the Palace of Westminster and the Westminster Bridge. From here, we went to Buckingham Palace, the Royal Palace where Queen Elisabeth II lives. Every day at noon (in winter every other day) you can experience the changing of the guard here.

After all that walking, we made our way to Wagamama for a well-earned lunchbreak munching on crispy fried creamy squid balls and steaming bowls of ramen. From here, we went to do some shopping at Harrods. Harrods is one of the largest and most famous department stores in the world. It was founded in 1834, this department store is a must-see. When you see the display windows at Harrods you will quickly see why. They all look like beautiful scenes from an exclusive fashion show. Inside you will come across a wide range of all kinds of articles, 23 restaurants and a 100-year-old Foodhall. Next, we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Victoria and Albert Museum is the world’s largest museum of applied and decorative arts and design, as well as sculpture, housing a permanent collection of over 2.27 million objects. It’s really impressive and there are so many beautiful art pieces.

That night we went to Jamie’s Italian, the food was pretty good. We had seared scallops and salmon. The desserts were delicious, the epic brownie was truly indulgent. It was served warm with salted caramel ice cream, caramel crushed amaretti popcorn and warm chocolate sauce, and so was the trio of ice-cream.

Day 3

The last day we visited the Natural History Museum, that exhibits a vast range of specimens from various segments of natural history. It’s incredible educational and impressive. There is so much to see! Before we headed to the airport, we spent the time shopping at Oxford street and Piccadilly Circus. We even went to Elan Café at Selfridges for a quick hot chocolate and Lychee & Vanilla Mousse. It was delicious and the bar was stunning.

There is so much to see and do, but it’s always handy to have a plan before you go and explore. I hope I’ve giving you a little bit of inspiration.

Where to stay:

Best Western Plus Delmere Hotel
128, 130 Sussex Gardens, Paddington, London W2 1UB, Verenigd Koninkrijk
price: €€

How to get around:

Use the Underground, I suggest getting the Oyster Card that lets you top it off with credit to travel all around London. You will have to pay a £5 (refundable) deposit for the card but it is well worth it.

Where to eat:

Duck & Waffle
110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY, Verenigd Koninkrijk
price: €€€

Carluccio’s – Covent Garden
2a Garrick St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9BH, Verenigd Koninkrijk
price: €€
 
Ladurée – Covent Garden
1 The Market, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8RA, Verenigd Koninkrijk
price: €€€
 
Hush
8 Lancashire Ct, Brook St, Mayfair, London W1S 1EY, Verenigd Koninkrijk
price: €€€
 
Wagamama Victoria
Cardinal Place, Roof Garden level, London SW1E 5JE, Verenigd Koninkrijk
price: €€
 
Food Hall of Harrods
87-135 Brompton Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL, Verenigd
Koninkrijk
price: €€€
 
Jamie’s Italian Victoria
66 Victoria St, Westminster, London SW1E 6SQ, Verenigd Koninkrijk
price: €€
 
Elan Café
48 Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1K 1PR, Verenigd Koninkrijk
price: €€€

Where to go:

Leadenhall Market
Monument
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Covent Garden
The National Gallery
Oxford street
Trafalgar Square
Big Ben
the Westminster Abbey
the Palace of Westminster
the Westminster Bridge
Buckingham Palace
Harrods
Victoria and Albert museum
Natural History Museum
Piccadilly Circus
Selfridges