A weekend in the English capital has the potential to be one of the busiest and most fun weekends of your life.
48 hours in London can be spent enjoying an unimaginably diverse range of activities, thanks to the amount the city has to offer at all hours of the day and night. From quirky late-night cocktail bars and a theatre scene that rivals Broadway to the endless signature sightseeing opportunities, two days in London will only leave you hungry for more.
Let’s have a look at some good starting points to follow, as a handy, loose guide for London first-timers.
With fantastic connections to the center from all major airports, it’s not always necessary to rent a car in London, but if you do, you’re guaranteed to save some money and you can bet you’ll have more freedom and see more of the city than on the subway system.
Start by getting your bearings with a stroll through the West End, enjoying the unique sights of the famous landmarks by night. You can see Nelson’s Column, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus – all within walking distance of each other. Amongst them are hidden some of the best foodie gems in the country.
For some truly unique Peruvian-Japanese fusion, hit up Choco Matte in Soho, or take your pick from the endless mouth-watering choices at the world-famous Chinatown found near Leicester Square.
Without having to venture far, you’ll find a huge variety of entertainment at your feet after dinner – from catching a jazz performance at Ronnie Scott’s to a comedy show at the Soho Theatre – the possibilities are practically endless. Leave the late-night partying until tomorrow and grab a relatively early night at your London hotel, so you’re fresh to explore in the morning.
Get started with a quintessential hipster London breakfast in the sunshine (if you’re lucky!) at one of the many colorful cafes around Shoreditch and Brick Lane, then have a wander around the irresistibly tempting thrift stores and soak up the captivating street art found around this vibrant part of town. A visit to Old Spitalfields Market just around the corner is the perfect way to wrap up the morning in edgy East London.
Take the opportunity to join the crowds of weekend shoppers around Oxford Street and Bond Street to get an authentic feel for the exciting hustle and bustle of the capital before grabbing some fresh air at the gorgeous Hyde Park, which you’ll find within an easy walking distance of the heaving center.
If world-class art galleries are part of the plan for your 48 hours in London, you’ll be pleased to know that the V&A Gallery and Christie’s are also in the area.
One of London’s most popular sights is the River Thames, and the local councils have economized on this by investing heavily in the Southbank to transform it into an electrifying cultural hub, complete with art galleries, food truck parks and the beloved Southbank Centre.
Here, you’ll also find the London Eye, an essentially obligatory stop-off during your two days in town, and easily one of the most worthwhile of the main touristy landmarks, thanks to the jaw-dropping views from the top.
Head a little further north and enjoy the rest of your afternoon drinking coffee in Covent Garden or enjoying international street food in the exhilarating Camden Town, where you can watch the sun go down from one of the many vine-covered roof terrace bars. If the inclement English weather prevents this, cosy up inside one of the world-class pubs instead.
If you’re going to have a big night on the town, there’s no better place than London, due to the staggering amount on offer and its capacity to suit every taste. If you’re a lover of the arts, the West End establishments like the Queen’s Theatre, Apollo Theatre and Shaftsbury Theatre with their always exciting performance calendars will leave you more than satisfied.
As far as drinks are concerned, not only are the English renowned for their proclivity for a good drinking session, but London is a veritable hotbed of reputable and not so reputable watering holes – and everything in between. Cocktail bar ‘Through the Looking Glass’ in edgy Shoreditch is popular among those with finer tastes, while some of you might prefer a livelier bar like Big Chill in Kings Cross.
When it comes to nightlife, much like its cuisine, London’s multicultural scene means you’ll be able to find just about anything. From salsa and electronic to funk and soul, you’re surely in for a wild night. For epic nightclubs that play thundering beats until the sun rises, look for Fabric, located in Farringdon, Egg in Kings Cross, or XOYO in Shoreditch.
For some hole-in-the-wall salsa joints, head over to Elephant and Castle, where the multicultural community offers incredible eats as well as irresistible world music. To save on late night taxi prices, consider booking a hotel in the area of your venue of choice!
Finish your 48 hours in London in classy fashion with brunch at one of the capital’s fine establishments. At The Wolsey, you can enjoy a truly unforgettable mid-morning meal – and perhaps a Bloody Mary or two to help with last night’s hangover!
If you’re looking for a slightly more down-to-earth option, find a place to grab a bite around Notting Hill and Portobello Road, both known for the quality of their brunch spots.
Spend your last few hours getting down with some culture by making the most of London’s incredible offering of museums – these can all be seen within the space of two or three hours.
The Natural History Museum, The Science Museum and the Museum of London are all within easy reach of each other and aren’t too heavy in terms of content, making for the perfect relaxing afternoon before heading home.