London, United Kingdom
How to do London in only two days?
Well I did it- I saw all major monuments and ate my way through this very cool city. London has a lot of tourist/international business travel here. The weekdays are busy here and can’t even imagine the weekends because there was a fair/good amount of crowds even for ‘off’ season.
London is a big tourist destination with The Big Ben, which was under construction and will be until 2021. Along with Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, a ton of museums and yes endless eating restaurants all over this beautiful city. If you appreciate history, especially with royalty history- London is clearly a must.
My stay was one of the best hotel experiences yet and with St. James Court Taj Hotel of London. It was such an amazing location, service across the board, the pool/sauna area, room especially, I mean truly such a pleasurable experience! Partly because I was randomly chosen as guest of the day with them so I was upgraded, champagne welcomed, offered very late check out (my FAV to happen of the bonus lol)
When I was searching hotel wise, there is a lot of options but very price ranged options- I landed with this because it was less than a 5 minute walk from Buckingham Palace! I would absolutely stay here again too.
To get around London, don’t try by car or taxi- they run extremely expensive, stick to ‘the tube’ known as the train to get around. It was the easiest Europe train system iv’e been on because its well mapped/even inside the stations was easy to navigate. This train goes ALL OVER, from even the airport into London into all the little towns surrounding too and it’s pretty quick too. Get a day pass if your trying to really see all over London. Italy still wins for the hardest train systems 2 yrs on a row!
Food. Oh the food in London.
Research in advance because there is some extremely unique food spots in London. Defiantly knew I wanted to dine at a Gordon Ramsey Restaurant & bonus was Pétrus is Michelin Star. Did not disappoint, WOW!
How to choose especially what Michelin-Star restaurants?
There is a lot of Michelin Star restaurants in London, like ALOT and I felt like there was more options of different cuisines vs even Paris. Know what cuisine you are wanting 5+ courses of because most MS restaurants have set menus and you choose from options. Most importantly, go very hungry.
Openly admitting my favorite corse of the many plates is normally always the first one/second, the little bite/delicate ones but has so much depth of flavor- I still remember the details of each meal from the dinner, it was that specular.
I would also suggest checking the exact menu (duh) and pricing before dining at a Michelin-Star and compare, you would be so surprised how much it ranges, some over 1k for 2 people. Note: if you are a picky eater/don’t like to try new things, this experience might not be for you. Sometimes you can request something with/without in the meal but the chefs can’t always do that with the way things are prepared.
Example on pricing: Paris was over $800 USD bill for 2 people. London was under $300 USD and I enjoyed the London Petrus experience over the Versailles Gordon Ramsey personally.
Plan to reserve far in advance if it’s a major known spot, and try to get the first dinner opening time. Usually Michelin Star restaurants seat very strategically and very slowly the restaurant fills up, but get a 5pm slot (normal open time)- take it. Between 3 of my incredible MS experiences, was one of the only ones in the restaurant for over an hour of dining.
Good to know: If you plan to dine during a weekend, especially in major MS dining destinations (Pairs/London/Hong Kong/NYC, ect.)- book well over 3+ months in advance.
Weekdays are a bit easier to book reservations but depends on if its peak time of the destination as well. I booked Petrus the day I arrived into London and got in but it a was a Tuesday/in May (before big tourist time)
Lastly, they will likely charge you for water- so don’t be surprised if you see that on the bill.
How long would I recommend?
Tricky because I wouldn’t suggest 2 days unless flights are cheaper this way (what happened with me coming from Boston). You can do a lot of London in 2 days if your non stop!
I would suggest 5-6 days; 2 full days for the monuments and if you wanted museums, plan 1-2 full days aside if you wanted to see a lot of Harry Potter stuff because there is A LOT.
There is also more to London than just actual London, Brighton is popular a train ride away and that can easily be a full day. Brighton is south of London, on the water and a ton to do- plan for a few days here.
VERY unique spots outside of London: Brace yourself, you can easily spend over 2 weeks going around outside of London exploring these gem little British towns.
Make sure to see the architecture! Colchester is Britain's oldest recorded town, so the history is insane.
Blenheim Palace, Cambridge, Oxford, Gloucester, Dover, Liverpool
More food… DESSERT!
This was most saved/tabbed was literally all the dessert spots. If you are a huge sweet tooth, London is THE place for you. I saw from cereal themed restaurant, to this Michelin Star Chef awarded and seriously such beautiful spot, Dominque Ansel Bakery
Have you ever had a cronut? If you haven’t.. you haven’t LIVED until you have a cronut, this place is THE cronut spot and I left with over 7 desserts and ate them ALL.
I’ll make it easy and list out some crazy unique spots:
Peggy Porschen Cakes: The very famous instagram spot, and super amazing tea/desserts!
Bird; More than just incredible food, doughnut ice cream sandwiches (on the secret menu)
Le Garrick: If we are talking truly unique french dessert cuisine.. this is your place. Numerous awards!
The Cocktail Trading Co: Talk about a wicked unique atmosphere, insane drinks and yes even some treats designed within cocktails!
Bad Brownie: Yes, an entirely brownie themed bakery and they have GF and Vegan options too.
Flesh & Buns: Sushi restaurant but they have a super unique smores experience!
Harry Potter fanatic? SAME.
I was not able to partake in anything HP this London trip because I do come back next year and plan to do all these personally, here is the epic HP London List to Do’s!
See Harry Potter and The Cursed Child Part 1 & 2: Each show is about 3 hours.
Absolutely check the schedule before your trip if you were 100% planning to see this. Get your tickets ahead as much as you can, people come to London just to see this. When I was there Tuesday/Wend was the only 2 days that week the show was not playing so that sucked finding out later, the surrounding dates was also mostly sold out even 2 months ahead. Plan accordingly!
I didn’t even try for the platform picture because it is super overdone but hey, feel free to do that too but it’s likely a long line- always.
You can also visit the Warner Bros Studio, theres a 2 1/2 hour muggle walking tour where you can see Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley. You can even stay in a Harry Potter themed hotel, YUP!
Enjoy the London ONLY Harry Potter experiences with, Wizard Afternoon Tea in Potion Room, a big one is make your own Magical cocktails at The Cauldron. There is so much HP, its crazy but this would defiantly be one for next London trip, Harry Potter Escape Room
Again, HP is a BIG thing in London- absolutely PLAN AHEAD if this is important to your trip. Some of these are really big because of social media specially the Magical Cocktails and the themed hotel- but absolutely seem worth it for the real #HPfans!