Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, red double-decker buses, and afternoon teas top our list on the…
“Top 10 Things to Do in London”
This isn’t our first trip to London, but we are excited to return to this city during the holidays, and see the Christmas decorations lining the streets, stores, shops and hotels. You can feel the festive spirit and merriment that abounds during this time of year.
What to Do?
- Ride the London Eye: We suggest riding the London Eye to get oriented to the city. We had spectacular views of London and could see the city in every direction.
- Sip Afternoon Tea at The Ritz London: Experiencing Afternoon Tea at The Ritz London is on many people’s “life bucketlist” – it’s the quintessential British tradition. You can choose from a selection of 16 different types of loose leaf tea, savor finely cut sandwiches, and freshly baked scones with strawberry preserve and clotted Devonshire cream, along with tea cakes and pastries. Note: be mindful of the hotel’s dress code – this is a place you want to get dressed up!
- Check out the art collections at Tate Modern, National Gallery, Royal Academy of Art, and the Victoria & Albert Museum. We visited the Tate Modern, where you find contemporary art and exhibitions, located on the south bank of the Thames. Tate first opened its doors to the public in 1897. Today it has four major sites and 70,000 artworks.
- Buckingham Palace – State Rooms Tour: A definite must on our top 10 things to do in London! Visit the Buckingham Palace and State Rooms, not usually open to the public, but open at various times throughout the year. On this tour, visitors get to see some of the greatest Royal treasures and the State Rooms that are used by The Queen and Royal Family to entertain guests on State, ceremonial and official occasions.
- Walk Green Park, Regents Park and Kensington Gardens or stroll the Queen’s Walk along the Thames.
- Shop at Harrod’s, Selfridges, and Fortnum & Mason. Some of our favorite shopping streets? New Bond Street, Regent Street, South Molton St., Kensington High Street and the Nottinghill area.
- Go to the Theatre and see a play and/or musical
- Walk the narrow alleyways in Covent Gardens and SoHo
- Visit the Tower of London and London Bridge
- Last on our top 10 things to do in London! Walk the Thames to Big Ben and visit Westminster Abbey
- Private Tour of Kensington Palace: Had to add this one since the experience was extraordinary! Find out more, click here
Where to Stay?
As apart of our top 10 things to do in London we wanted to share our favorite to stay for this trip is the Haymarket Hotel – an elegant Georgian townhouse, just next to the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
Three reasons why you want to stay here:
- Central! This boutique hotel is central to every main attraction in London it seems…a 1 minute walk from Trafalgar Square, and 5 minutes to Charing Cross, 10 mins to Covent Gardens and Piccadilly Circus.
- Luxury! Our suite was comfortable and spacious with a separate drawing room and small kitchen. We even had a fireplace, and record player with a great album selection from Beatles to Frank Sinatra.
- Great Décor & Ambience! We were enamored by the hotel’s interior designer, Kit Kemp’s style and design. The hotel furniture, art and décor is colorful and fun. There’s a hip restaurant, opulent library, and funky indoor pool.
1 Suffolk Place, London, SW1Y 4HX
T: +44 (0)20 7470 4000
Where to Dine and Tea?
Our “Top Eats” for our top 10 things to do in London:
- The Ritz London for Afternoon Tea: Make a reservation to experience one of the most famous traditions in Great Britain – afternoon tea at The Ritz London. The sandwiches, scones, pastries, scones combined with superb service and opulent surroundings are everything you’ve ever dreamed of for an Afternoon Tea.
- Indigo: We dined at this Covent Gardens restaurant central to the theatre district. Courtesy of Executive Chef Dominic Teague, this healthy and delicious menu introduces the finest seasonal ingredients sourced from the British Isles (gluten and dairy-free). Our favorites included the beet salad and the traditional fish & chips on a bed of fresh peas!
- HKK London: One of the most unique dining experiences we had was at HKK London on Worship Street in Eastern London. The new HKK boutique kitchen is where Executive Head Chef Tong Chee Hwee and his team showcases a diversity of Chinese cuisine. We were presented with an excellent “Duck & Champagne” menu with the chef’s signature dish – the Cherry wood roasted Peking duck with steamed black truffle mantou and imperial caviar. The grand finale was the champagne sorbet topped with cotton candy with flecks of gold!
- Long Bar: If you’re looking for one of the hippest places to dine in London, step into The Sanderson Long Bar. You can sit in the famous Philippe Starck eye chairs lining the 80-feet of glowing onyx bar or get a table in the stylish side rooms and courtyard near the Long Bar. The cuisine is excellent and fantastic service!
- Brumus: The best breakfasts are served in our hotel restaurant – Brumus! Our favorites – the homemade waffles and eggs benedict. Great way to start the day.
How to Get Around?
There’s always the Tube (Underground) and the iconic red double decker buses to help get you around London.
We took the Tube a couple times, but traveled in style with these car services.
We highly recommend these car services:
The Executive Car Service provides excellent chauffeur services for 1 person up to many with their fleet of cars and buses. Second generation owner Julian van Marle of van Marle Limited greeted us at London Heathrow and drove us in a beautiful Mercedes to the Four Seasons Hampshire Hotel. Ivan, one of the private chauffeurs, escorted us from the London Haymarket Hotel to the airport on our departure. Professional, punctual, and experienced drivers. For reservations, call #00442077351073
Car Rentals Service
Sixt offers car rentals throughout the UK, Europe, and many other countries. We wanted to enjoy the views and not worry about driving directions, so Sixt arranged for a private chauffeur, Tanzeel, to drive us from the Four Seasons Hampshire Hotel to the Highclere Castle, Stonehenge and throughout the English countryside.
For reservations, visit: www.sixt.co.uk or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Global Adventuress thanks the following who hosted us during our stay – the Haymarket Hotel for a wonderful stay!
Restaurants Brummus, Indigo, HKK, Long Bar for the delicious meals, and The Ritz London for inviting us to an unforgettable Afternoon Tea. We thank the Coca Cola London Eye and Tate Modern for hosting our visits.
Also, we want to thank Sixt and The Executive Car Service for chauffeuring us to our destinations in London and the surrounding area.
As always, we appreciate DK Travel for providing us with the Great Britain Eyewitness Travel Guide Book with 1,635 photographs, 135 detailed maps, and 159 illustrations to help us plan our trip, as well as the 2015 London Guidebook with 890 photos, 140 illustrations and a pull-out city map.
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