How to do London an itinerary for a whistle-stop weekend

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How to do London: an itinerary for a whistle-stop weekend

As the nights start to draw in and the temperatures begin to cool, it’s the time of year that’s simply perfect to enjoy not necessarily a full break, but maybe a weekend away in the UK capital. This idea, though, inevitably poses a problem – how on earth to squeeze so many of the awesome sights, sounds and world-class attractions London boasts into just a 48-hour stay?

Hmm, quite the quandary. What’s needed, evidently, is some good advice; some expert wisdom on the subject; nay, a weekend-long itinerary for your short stay in the Big Smoke. Well, you’re in luck because it just so happens this very article is exactly that – a list of suggestions for how you might get the most out of your time and make this one of those 2 night London hotel deals never to forget…

Day 1 – From Westminster to St Paul’s

  • Westminster, the South Bank and Tower Bridge – nothing beats the political pomp of Westminster (Downing Street, Westminster Abbey and, of course, the Houses of Parliament), but it’s perfectly complemented by the contrast offered by the Southbank (the stretch of tourist-tastic attractions, including the Eye, the National Theatre, the BFI and sundry other things), which takes about an hour to walk in its entirety (passing, too, the likes of HMS Belfast and Hay’s Galleria), before you finally reach the Victorian grandeur of Tower Bridge (which you’ll then want to cross not just for a closer look but to take it the medieval majesty of the Tower of London)
  • Borough Market – recrossing Tower Bridge and, then, continuing with your previous route will, after a few minutes, lead you to the unique, unrivalled foodies’ paradise that’s Borough Market; offering up so many culinary treats, as it does, this is the perfect spot to stop for lunch, something that often proves to be a true highlight of many London city breaks UK
  • London Bridge, the Shard and beyond – after Borough Market, you’ll quickly reach London Bridge (having passed the landmarks that are the Golden Hinde ship, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Tate Modern gallery); this area’s where, after a few more steps, you’ll find the tallest building in Europe, The Shard, which is ideal for photos, while just as Instagrammable is St Paul’s Cathedral, which you’ll eventually reach by crossing the Millennium Bridge.

Day 2 – Buckingham Palace and the West End

  • Buckingham Palace – try to leave your chic accommodation (such as the Montcalm Marble Arch London) and make it to the Palace for just before 11am, so you can watch the vibrant ceremonial pageantry that’s the Changing of the Guard before your very eyes; following this, nothing tops a stroll through the wonderfully pleasant St James’s Park, where you’ll spot everything from marvellously colourful flowers to beautiful pelicans to squirrels that’ll delicately eat nuts out of your hand and, eventually, this walk will lead you to Horse Guards Parade, where you’ll find the entry for the fascinating Churchill War Rooms (an underground WWII-bunker-HQ that’s been turned into a museum)
  • West End shopping – next up has to be an afternoon of retail therapy, in the shape of the nearby shops, boutiques and department stores of Mayfair’s Oxford Street, Regent’s Street, Piccadilly and Carnaby Street
  • Dinner and a show – finally, come the evening, dip into the vibrancy of Soho’s Chinatown for a delicious restaurant dinner, followed by a terrific show at one of the West End’s world-leading theatres (a word to the wise: just like you’ll be following the Covid-safe guidelines at your hotel – like, say, the Montcalm precautionary measures – be sure you’re also aware of any social-distancing or mask-wearing mandates at your show’s venue).