48 Hours in London
Before Mathew and I travel I spend hours, over multiple days, researching hotels, restaurants, and sights. So, I have created this blog post to share all the useful information I gathered about London. Hoping to help you on your travels to London. Cheers!
Enjoy my travel tips? Check out my post featuring Dublin.
- This was Mathew’s first time in London, and my second time
- We always focus our travels around food and drink
We spent our two afternoons viewing tourist sights. We toured the city on foot and by the water ferry. We had the best weather, 75F/24C, sunny, with a slight breeze all weekend. We were truly lucky. The sights we saw were:
Note, we did not pay to go into, tour, or ride any sights. They were all expensive to purchase on sight (minimum £20/$26/€22) and I had done most of them last time I was in London. Mathew did not mind just viewing the sights from the street, and it allowed more time for food and drink!
Researching for this post I now see pre-purchasing tickets online will save you a lot of money. I've hyperlinked all the sights above so you can plan ahead and purchase online if you are interested.
- A show at West End
We saw Wicked on Saturday night and had a great time! The two main actors were incredible, I mean duh, it is Wicked on West End. Such a good show and fun to do something different while on vacation.
Our hotel was literally steps from the market, this was intentionally planned. We rolled out of bed and sleepily wander over to the market. We were immediately awoken by brewed coffee, freshly baked pastries, fruit smoothies, and so much more. The Borough Market is a must see and a highlight of our trip. Our only regret is that we could not purchase more.
Pret A Manger
We love Pret. And you're never far from a Pret while touring London. I vividly remember Pret from my first trip to London over five years ago, my brother loved it. We love the soups and sandwiches and I love the coconut latte! Additionally, sometimes a fast-causal meal is just what’s needed for the budget and schedule. For lunch, this worked well for us.
We had to dine at London’s best Indian restaurant. There are multiple Dishoom locations throughout the city but the Carnaby location was recommended to us as the best, it is located right in Soho. The original location is in Covent Garden. I asked the server to bring me the most popular dish (Murgh Malai), and it did not disappoint. The chicken was slow cooked over 12 hours and was so tender. Mathew’s dish was ridiculously spicy (Awadhi Lamb)! He said he liked it, but he was dripping sweat while he ate it. Good thing he enjoys spicy foods because the menu did not warn of any heat. And of course we started with calamari and garlic naan.
If you plan to dine here note the restaurant was packed at 5:00pm and they do not take reservations for parties under 6. I asked if the crowd was normal, the server chuckled and said, ‘a queue will begin to form down the street within an hour to just put your name on the list.’
The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Cub: ‘A London establishment’ we were told. And a restaurant that serves alcohol and brunch on a Sunday morning. Two things that have not quite made it to my home in Ireland yet (Sunday morning is a time to rest with family). So, this was a treat for us. Two Bloody Marys please! While our food was delicious, I have to note their Bloodys do not compare to anything served in Minnesota. I’m not complaining, I was staistifed. But if you have regular access to Bloodys in Minnesota skip these Bloodys and hold out for the good ones.
We wander the streets of London’s trendiest neighborhood and popped in and out of multiple pubs. You have to try at least one pint of London Pride, served at room temperature. Mmm, it’s London’s pride, right?
I am sorry I do not have more drink recommendations. Darn marathon training, it really hinders my alcohol consumption. If you have a favorite pub in London please share it in the comments below! Mathew and I will just have to return after our race.
We stayed at the London Bridge Hotel for three reasons:
- Once we boarded the train at Gatwick airport no transfers were required
- The walk from the station to the hotel was 3 minutes
- My selected breakfast dining choices were 3 minutes walks on Saturday and Sunday morning. Mathew and I don’t do well when we’re hungry in the morning
We found the hotel on Booking.com and booked there versus Airbnb because we were arriving quite late on Friday evening. In my opinion, Airbnb’s down fall is their check-in process. Since Airbnb check-in varies from flat to flat I did not want to be bothered with the hassle of it late at night. Or, lately I have noticed some flats on Airbnb charge for a late check-in. Nonetheless, before deciding I did price compare and really did not notice a huge savings between Airbnb and a hotel in central London. So, hotel it was.
The hotel room was small, but clean and comfortable. It is located in the Southwark neighborhood which would be considered the ‘business district’, so not necessarily extremely trendy for hotels. But, the three reasons I listed above trumped anything else I found. And we were happy, which is really what counts, right?
Using the London Underground with an Oyster Card was so easy! Is it a must-have for a 48 hour trip? No, but it sure was convenient. Click the above hyperlink for all the details. Bottom line:
- Fares are cheaper when using an Oyster Card versus a single paper ticket
- Fares change depending on the travel zone, hello confusion, an Oyster Card eliminates this
Since we were able to borrow our friends' cards we jumped on that opportunity.
Special thanks to Kendra and Zach, Kelly and Jack, and Cathriona and Ed (especially for lending us the Oyster cards). These couples have traveled to London numerous times and shared their London knowledge with us prior to our vacation.
In addition to their recommendation I also turned to Pinterest. Pinterest is my go-to site for trip tips. I simply search on Pinterest as I would any search engine. Searching ‘London’ or '48 Hours in London' generated many blog posts, similar to this one. And my research began, hence the multiple hours over multiple days.
Thanks for reading and happy travels!