72 hours in London

12:41 PM Imke 0 Comments

As you’ve been able to read on my blog before, I’m London’s biggest fan - I’ve lived in the city for half a year and completely fell in love. Whenever I speak about London I’m extremely enthusiastic, so when one of my best friends told me she’d never been to London, I immediately decided I wanted to make her discover the most interesting city I’ve been to.

We went for a long weekend, and took her to a nice part of the must-do places with a local touch, going to the insider restaurants and bars. The schedule you find below is perfect for both a first-time London visitor as well as an established fan as I am.

Day 1 - Saturday

We arrived Friday quite late, so we went to our AirBnb just next to the St. Pancras station and went to bed early to be fresh and wide awake for our first full day in the city.

We started our day with a trip to the British Museum. Not my favourite museum in London in terms of the exposed art, but definitely one of the most beautiful museums architecture-wise. I love how you wander into the building, and immediately you discover the most beautiful inner courtyard with an impressive glass roof.

After we made a walk through the gorgeous and cosy neighbourhood of Covent Garden. We had lunch there at the Rock and Sole Plaice, one of the best fish & chips I've had in my entire life, and the whole experience feels so authentic. The place was established in 1871 and a must on your London foodie list! Both times I went to London with a friend who'd never been before I took them here for the ultimate fish & chips experiences and both adore the good old British food in a classic setting.

Our first afternoon we spent the first half wandering around Buckingham Palace, Saint James' Park and The Mall. A classic must-do on a first-time trop to London - I've always admired how the British Royal Family are still nowadays so admired, followed and respected not only in the UK but literally around the world. I think I personally know more about the British royals than the Belgian ones.

For dinner we went to Dishoom - literally the BEST Indian food I've ever had. Period. We went to the King's Cross branch, right next to Central Saint Martins, which was a clever thing to do on a Saturday night as this Dishoom is the biggest one in London, so we didn't have to wait very long for a spot. We had so much food we had to roll back to our flat, but goodness, how that was worth it! I still dream about Dishoom sometimes, and drool every single time.

Day 2 - Sunday

Our Sunday morning started early with a trip to the British Library, where at the time the Harry Potter, A History of Magic exhibition was held. We didn't manage to book in advance (all sold out) but were able to get two tickets on the spot for an immediate visit. We were so incredibly lucky because this exhibition was sold out for literally every single day as soon as the tickets were on sale, and SO worth it. If you're a massive Harry Potter fan as I am, I recommend you reading this article I wrote about the original studios just outside London - permanantly open to visitors and definitely worth the detour!

A Sunday morning is perfect for a cultural outing, such as my trip to the British Library, but there's many many many more cultural events going on in London on so many different subjects and areas. I love Time Out to keep track of all the newest and recommended things to do in town, so do check out their website while planning your trip.

Around lunch we went to Camden Lock Market for some shopping in all the unique and alternative boutiques, and have lunch at one of the stalls. All cuisines you can imagine can be found there, and I was wishing my stomach could handle more, just to be able to discover all the stalls that look amazing and smell delicious. The nicest way to get to Camden is by walking next to the Regent's Canal - such a nice walk between Camden and Regent's Park, and a much lovelier way to get there than taking the Tube.

Whenever I'm in Camden, I always hop into Cyberdog, which is for me the most fascinating shop in the area. The music is extremely loud, and the whole cyber/rave scene fascinates me so much I just can't resist having a look in there every single time I pass by. The fluorescent lipstick and faux fur jacket with flashing led lights (do check it out here!) make me want to become part of the Cyberdog community! But there's so many more little streets, shops and bars to check out in this area, both classics and new & upcoming. Wandering around Camden and discovering a completely different side of London must be on your to-do list!

For dinner I booked one of the most famous restaurants of Soho, a very vibrant neighbourhood. I booked a table for two at Bodega Negra, a Mexican restaurant with a modern and quite special touch. From the outside the place looks like a sex shop, with the flashin naked women neon signs and everything. When I took my friend here, stopped in front of the "sex shop" and told her this was our trendy dinner spot for the night she thought I was joking. But as soon as you get in & go down the stairs the cosiness of the place is overwhelming. Food was lovely but quite expensive for little to eat - as is the case for 99% of the trending places in town as we all know, but still. The taste was amazing though, and the frozen margaritas were the absolute best. 

Day 3 - Monday

One of our highlights of the week-end of my 72 hours in London was the breakfast we had at the Aqua Shard. The Shard is one of the most famous buildings among London's skyline, its name coming from its thin and long shape. The building houses offices, a five star hotel, an observatory as well as the Aqua Shard restaurant. I booked a table for two for breakfast (do book in advance as they get fully booked very quickly!), and don't forget to ask them for a table near the window if possible, so you can admire the stunning view at all times! I had a classic English breakfast which I absolute LOVE and was delicious. The waiters were very kind and helpful, and let us make some changes to our set breakfast (because asking for poached eggs instead of scrambled ones is sometimes frowned upon haha), or to change the regular coffee for a soy milk cappuccino without a blink.

After our brunch we walked all the away along the river Thames as the weather was exceptionally good for the time of the year, all the way up to Oxford Street for some shopping. It's one of the busiest shopping streets I've ever been to, but on a Monday afternoon it was quite doable. 

After we did some shopping at the mayor high street shops, we left to wander around the gorgeous Mayfair area. Around here you can find the most exclusive restaurants, designer shops, bars,... Everything needed to make this one of London's richest and most exclusive areas. Even though most of the places aren't affordable at all, one place you definitely must have a drink, even if it's just a plain cup of coffee or tea, is Sketch. The famous all-pink restaurant serves the best cocktails and food I've ever had, the design of the place is an experience on its own, and even a visit to the loo is exciting in this place. Not too bad of a place to be the last visit of this trip!

I hope you’ve found this 72 hours in London itinerary inspiration useful for planning your own adventure, whether it's a first-time visit or a come-back trip. This guide will hopefully help you make the most of your first-time visit to London!

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