Long Weekend Getaway to London

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Advisor - Cara Cancelmo
Curated By

Cara Cancelmo

  • England

  • London

  • Boutique Travel

  • City Travel

  • Couples Travel

  • Digital Nomad Travel

  • International Travel

  • Luxury Travel

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Sightseeing

  • Shopping

  • Foodie

pink flowers next to domed building
Curator’s statement

You could spend a lifetime exploring and not reach every corner of London. The UK city is filled with everything you might expect from a diverse and vibrant capital. From pubs to West African Cuisine, iconic luxury department stores, and regal botanical gardens, you might want to extend your trip. While you might need more help figuring out what not to do, keep reading for the must-sees during your last-minute weekend getaway in London.

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Where to stay in London

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Things to do in London

large building and green lawn during daytime

Walk through Portobello Market: While you can enjoy the many pubs, vintage stores and bakeries Portobello Road offers any day of the week, I recommend visiting the market located in the center of the colorful Notting Hill neighborhood Friday through Sunday, when the roads are closed off and thousands come from all over the world to forage through the multitude of antique stalls. No matter when you go, make sure to check out Karen Vintage.

Explore the vibrant jazz scene: When you think of London, you might not expect a scene quite like that of New Orleans. And while it doesn't have quite the accolades as The Big Easy, there's definitely no shortage of jazz bars. I recommend Louie in Covent Garden, Nightjar in Shoreditch, and Ronnie Scott's in Soho.

Stroll through royal botanical gardens: If you're looking for a bit more greenery outside of the city, head west to Kew Gardens. The gardens date back to the early 18th Century and houses over 50,000 different plant species on 500 acres of land next to the River Thames.

Take in the prettiest department store you've ever seen: Liberty London, in the West End of the city, was first opened in 1875. The architecture alone is stunning, but as you explore the store, you'll notice the most beautiful floral fabrics, colorful homewares and luxury clothing.

Stock up on wine: Head to Hedonism Wines. The two-story wine shop has a global array of wines, which to be honest can get overwhelming. But thankfully, the helpful staff of experts can help maneuver you through the store.

Stop and smell the roses: On Sunday, stop by the Columbia Road Flower Market. If you don't end up buying a bouquet, you'll definitely leave with a few baked goods, clothes from a boutique or antique homewares.

Wake up with Algerian Coffee: If you need a pick-me-up, head over to Algerian Coffee Stores. Over 100 years old, the store offers a wide array of coffees and teas as well as a takeaway option in case you just need a cup.

Places to eat & drink in London

colorful leather couches and chairs in a warmly lit room

Akoko: The West African eatery was by far one of the best meals I've ever had. If you drink, make sure to ask for the wine pairing and if you sit at the bar, don't be shy. The bartenders were incredibly kind, interesting and great with recommendations.

The Connaught Bar: If you're not opposed to paying £20 for a martini, definitely go to the Connaught Bar. They'll offer you a collection of different aromatic bitters to personalize your cocktail, begin stirring it at your table from their Martini Trolley, and pour the beverage from a few feet above the glass, finally spritzing with a lemon and it's zest.

The Red Room: If you can't get into the Connaught Bar, head across the hall to the Red Room. The interiors alone, like the pink onyx bar and velvet couches, are enough to get you to peek your head in, but the drinks are pretty delicious as well.

La Goccia: Visit La Goccia for lunch while you stroll around Covent Garden. The ambiance is romantic and the food is delicious, fresh and sustainable.

Below: The aptly named bar, Below, is the basement bar of Hide, a three-story restaurant in the Mayfair neighborhood. When you walk in, you'll be greeted by a beautiful, flowing, wood staircase, which you will follow downstairs to a dimly lit and relaxing cocktail bar.

The Ship Tavern: If you're craving some fish and chips, don't skip out on The Ship Tavern, a 16th-century pub with mahogany paneling and maroon booths below an ornate plaster ceiling.

Lisboeta: For traditional Portuguese fare, check out Lisboeta, a casual yet elevated dining room and seated bar perfect for a late lunch. Make sure to speak with the sommelier about their favorites.

All of the Italian Restaurants: With a huge Italian population, it is no surprise that you can get some of the best Italian food outside of Italy in London. I recommend Officina 00, Bocconcino and Noci.

Need to Know

For anyone looking to spend your next long weekend in Italy, I have curated some of my favorite recommendations for a Food and Wine Lover's 4-Day Guide to Sicily.

Advisor - Cara Cancelmo

Travel Advisor

Cara Cancelmo

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