A long weekend in London!
Elliot and I recently popped to London to enjoy a little trip away. I’ve never really been that fussed about London before but this trip was so lovely and chilled. Yet we somehow managed to fit so much in without any kind of rush or pressure.
The main point of call was visiting the Natural History Museum, wandering along Oxford Street (and doing some homeware shopping!) and seeing Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. We were also meant to have a cocktail brunch at Proud Embankment which unfortunately got cancelled because of a technical fault with the sound system.
We were in London for just about three days including travel and I feel like it was a good amount of time to explore. We also stayed from Thursday to Saturday which meant everything was a bit quieter as the weekend is where it gets really busy. You could definitely take a shorter trip but I think three days allowed us to do a lot without any stress. We got to London via coach just because it was cheaper and because it was direct.
We stayed in the Victoria area in London which I would really recommend. It was such a lovely area, a short walk from the coach station and near pretty much everything we needed, such as bus routes. I wouldn’t recommend our hotel so I won’t even link it. It was horrible, there were four flights of steep stairs (without a lift) just to get to our room, a lot of broken plaster on the ceiling and they didn’t include the basic amenities that you would expect a hotel to have, like an iron and a hairdryer. The list is actually endless, as the taps let cold water out of the hot, and hot out of the cold, we thought the shower was broken because it took ages to get even warm and the toilet seat WAS actually broken, and so was the window…
On the first day, after arriving on the coach we walked across London from Victoria, through Chelsea to get to the Natural History Museum, stopping for food on the way. Walking instead of getting public transport allowed us to happen across some of the more, popular London sights such as Peggy Porschen (which really is v v busy) and also the loveliest little perfume shop that had one of my favourite door displays!
As long as you’re wearing good shoes, it’s really nice to walk through London as you get to see some really stunning architecture. I love the Chelsea area too so it was such a lovely relaxed journey with the sun shining, luckily!
I have never been to the Natural History Museum before (but Elliot has as a kid) and I’ve always wanted to go. They have a suggested donation of £5 although technically it is free and they have so many exhibitions. I think the dinosaurs were what we mainly wanted to see but we also just wandered around, taking everything in as the building is really impressive. We were there for about two and a half hours and it allowed us to properly take everything in and see a lot of the exhibitions. I would recommend going as you could fit it into the morning and then have the rest of the day for other adventures.
The Wallace Collection was another free museum that was suggested to me (which is behind Selfridges on Oxford Street) which we didn’t manage to head to. The V&A is also another free museum that I would highly recommend as although we didn’t pay a visit on this trip, I have been there many times before. They have just held a Dior Exhibition which was really popular and they also have a Tim Walker Exhibit on at the moment which looks amazing. You do have to pay for these but they’d definitely be worth the money.
After we finished up at the museum, we hopped on a bus back to our hotel as by this point we were really tired. We stopped at a shop nearby to grab a bottle of wine (and some chips from a fish&chip shop as they just smelt too tempting!) and stayed in watching programs on tv like Dinner Date and Supermarket Sweep!
On Friday, our second day. We headed off early after having some breakfast at our hotel. We got the bus to Westminster as we were intending on seeing the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. After getting there v v early (around 8:45am when it starts at 11am!) we decided to wander along Constitution Hill and through Hyde park for a little while. The sun was shining so this was actually such a lovely little walk and we managed to stop and see the Wellington Arch too.
There was A LOT of bikes in this part of London, mainly because everyone was cycling to work but it actually inspired us to rent some after watching the Changing of the Guard. We walked back to Buckingham Palace to get a good spot to watch at about 9:45am and you should have seen the number of people there already! We did get a good spot to watch it from but when it started, everyone got a bit forceful and pushy as they wanted to get the “best” photo, that we actually moved and then left before it was over. I would recommend seeing it if you’re into the proper London “tourist” things but be aware that people are rude and don’t care whether you can see or not, they will hold their cameras directly in front of your face!
It actually tipped it down with rain during this so we were lucky that we left. We hid under a tree for a while waiting for it to stop before getting a bus to oxford street, we had to forego the bikes as everything was soaking at this point!
When we got to Oxford Street, we basically walked from the top (Marble Arch) towards Oxford Circus, popping into shops as we went. It actually wasn’t too busy either which was such a blessing. We went into Selfridges as again, I had never been inside but I found it very underwhelming. We also went into two H&M’s before we found one that was selling home bits. It was a very small selection but I managed to get a few pieces that I loved, such as a couple of cushion covers and a lovely little tealight holder. It sounds silly as I can just order these things online but everyone raves about H&M’s homeware range so I wanted to experience it for myself, and I wasn’t disappointed! The women on the till was also so so lovely and allowed us to have student discount even though I had forgotten my card, it runs out in October so I was really pleased I could use it for one of the last times!
Another favourite shop of ours is Flying Tigar and I managed to pick up a couple of unique photo frames before we decided we were just too hungry to continue shopping. At this point, it was also trying to rain again so we headed to a little Italian called Bar Remo which was a recommendation by Jade. The food was SO good there. However, we sat outside as they had no tables inside (which was fine with us as we got to people watch and it was raining so it was lovely and cool outside, the waiters kept coming out to see the rain and checking on us so we got a kind of personal service too!) but a little while after our food arrived, whilst we were still eating some random men decided to come out and smoke near us, which was incredibly rude, some people just have no manners. We decided to head inside to pay and just leave instead of making a fuss.
We decided to slowly head back towards our hotel, going into a few more shops along the way. A shop which I would recommend is Neon Sheep, I’ve only ever seen these in London but I love them. They really remind me of Flying Tigar, they can look a little “young” from the website but they have some lovely stationery and homeware!
We got the bus back to Victoria and then wandered through the streets as we headed back. We ended up stopping for a coffee (and a treat!) at Patisserie Valerie nearby our hotel in Victoria which was so so good. We have one in Bournemouth but we’ve never been which will have to change. I just kept it simple and got a caramel latte and a scone (jam first) but Elliot got a delicious iced caramel coffee, which was so thick it was almost like a milkshake and a brownie that was small but seriously packed with chocolate. We managed to get a seat in the window so we just chatted and relaxed whilst people watching. It was around 3pm at this time so it was the perfect afternoon pick me up and the place was so lovely and quiet.
Once we got back to our hotel, we were there for a good couple of hours before we had to venture out again to see Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. We decided to walk as it was a nice night and we got there fairly early so we could have a drink and find our seats before it started. Despite us not having the best seats, the show was absolutely amazing and I would see it again in a heartbeat. It was funny and gave a brilliant backstory whilst being quite emotional at times. Both Elliot and I absolutely loved it.
The tickets were very kindly given to us by my sister for my Christmas present last year but you can get them quite cheaply even on the day before they sell out.
The next morning, we headed towards the embankment before finding out our plans had been canceled. So we decided to head home early instead of wandering about London dragging around our small suitcase! Despite this cancellation, we had such a lovely time away and I think this is the first trip that I’ve been on to London where I’ve really appreciated the city.
One tip that I do have, is to get buses instead of the tube. We were using our phones to tell us the route which is really helpful as it literally tells you where to walk, which bus to get on and where to get off etc. We had to spend £9.80 each on the tube on the last day to get to the embankment as our phones lost signal whereas the bus is just £1.50 a journey and is actually nicer, as you still get to see London and there’s no rush or pressure.
What did you think of this little London guide? Are you planning a trip to London anytime soon?