London has been on my bucket list ever since I watched the movie Winning London, starring Mary-Kate & Ashely Olson which came out circa 2001. I have seen every single Mary-Kate & Ashley Olson movie, and Winning London is hands down the best movie they’ve ever made. In the movie, the twins arrive in London for an international competition representing the States as a part of their school’s Model UN team and embark on a fun adventure learning about the UK.
I finally had the chance to visit Europe for the first time, and London was my first stop! This 48-hour guide covers a few things that I did while I was in London and tips that can help you plan your next trip to this enchanting city!
Let’s start along the river! While not all of London’s biggest attractions are along the river, a lot are. The Houses of Parliament, Big Ben (under construction), Palace of Westminster, St Paul’s Cathedral, and The London Eye (shown above) all sit along the River Thames.
This is a great location start if you want to take in some views of central London and get a feel for the city. There’s a cute little cafe a few blocks down called Riverside, which is a great place to stop and get a quick bite to eat after walking around. If you don’t feel like walking around in the cold The Hop-On Hop-Off London Sightseeing Bus is a great choice for anyone who has a quick layover or for someone who wants to get the most out their time in London.
The ultimate shopping experience can be found in London, England. With countless luxury brands, and cool thrift shops London has everything for the chic Shopaholic. I can say that shopping in London is not cheap, but it’s worth the experience, even if you don’t plan on buying anything in particular, since a lot of the retailer located in London aren’t in the US. Here are a few shopping locations that were on my list to see while I was in London.
HARRODS – Now this is what you call luxury honey! Harrods is a very high-end department store that pretty much has anything you could dream of. Located on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, London, England, Harrods is the largest department store in Europe. If you are a true fashionista at heart, you cannot afford to miss the Knightsbridge location which has an array of shops, department stores, and even a food hall.
OXFORD STREET- Located in the heart of the city, the famous Oxford Street is located on a major road in the City of Westminster in the West End of London and is home to more than 300 shops and offers the most exquisite London shopping experience. By the time I arrived the shops were already closing down around 9:00 PM, but I did get to see Oxford street and night and plan to spend some time shopping here the next time I visit.
SELFRIDGES- I spend A LOT of time online shopping and one of my favorite sites is Selfridges. Not only do I go to Selfridges to find the latest trends, but I can occasionally catch some great designer items on sale. Even though Selfridges is also located on Oxford Street, it needs its own separate category since this massive complex covers six floors with a total of 10 acres of shopping space.
THRIFT SHOPPING– London is filled with great thrift (AKA Charity Shop) and vintage stores, which is perfect for anyone traveling who wants to pick up rare finds while visting in the city. Places like Camden and Portobello Road Market offer great shops to find trendy thrift items.
Foodie Instagram Spots
Everyone loves a good Instagram-worthy restaurant, and the good news is that London has a TON! Let’s talk pink! EL&N (eat, live, and nourish) is one of London’s favorite Instagram cafes and now has 8 locations. Not only is the decor top-notch but the food on the menu is actually very good. I know what you’re thinking… what does she by “actually good?” Well, I hate to break it to you, but a lot of times when influencers post about “Instagrammable” places, the food isn’t always good only the decor is, but no fear I’m here to tell you what’s truly insta-worth, and EL&N most deifnately is!
Sketch is at the top of every Instagram influencers list, and I can kind of see why. The infamous pink room is the highly sought after location, furnished with velvet mauve-pink chairs and David Shrigley artwork. Most Millenials flock to the restaurant to have afternoon tea, but I had the pleasure of dining here. Now, I’m a planner and I tried to make reservations here months in advance, but could not get one for the life of me. I was only able to get dinner reservations here thanks to my friend Farnaz who’s a London local, and even she said it was tough.
Sketch is a three-star Michelin restaurant and the food is definitely worth the hefty price tag. You’re not walking out of here spending under $100 USD on dinner and drinks, and for that price, I expected better service. Our waitress kept forgetting to bring our drinks, and sides which made the experience a little frustrating for us, but I’d still recommend it to anyone visiting London.
When visiting Sketch you don’t forget the obligatory snap in the egg-shaped individual bathrooms, which honestly might just be the best part.
Explore the Neighborhood
Bordering the expansive Hyde Park, Knightsbridge is an upscale neighborhood with impressive Victorian-style cottages and shady garden plazas that looks like it came right out of a movie scene. It’s one of the top tourist destinations and an affluent mingling spots with high-end restaurants and shops, including the iconic Harrods department store previously mentioned. I recommend getting out and exploring the local neighborhood, which you’ll run into if you’re walking to get to other destinations and get a glimpse of how the locals live and get a feel for the different styles and vibe of each neighborhood.