Trying to cover the entire 1500m2 that makes up London is a challenge, especially when you’ve only got limited time. If you want to make the most of your trip and tick off some of the best spots London has to offer, take it from a local and put these on your list
Columbia Road Flower Market
Grab an early coffee at StArt café, 150 Columbia Road and rev up your heartrate for the ensuing crowds that arrive as the iconic open-air Flower Market opens at 8am. Beautiful blooms, shrubs, indoor plants and herbs combine with a true local London vibe all under one sky. You won’t find a better way to start your Sunday in London.
Take the District Line to Richmond and change to the London Overground to Kew Gardens Station and you’ll arrive at the delightful village of Kew where you can browse the quaint array of shops before making the approximately 600-metre walk to the main gate of the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew. Be sure to visit Queen Charlotte’s Cottage that date back to the 18th century and ask one of the grounds keepers to point you in the direction of the brown bear (made of wood but every bit as fantastic as a real one). Refuel with a slice of red velvet cake and a cup of earl grey at the café then head out to the Temperate Gardens for some tropical delights.
Open 10am-6pm. Adult entry £16
It’s <technically> not London but Windsor Castle is an easy 45-minute train ride from Waterloo and well worth a visit. The town itself is bustling with history and the cobbled streets are lined with everything from cafes and fudge shops to hotels and gin bars. Adult entry to the Castle is £21.20 (approx. AU$40) which provides full access to the Royal residence and St George’s chapel where Prince Harry and Megan tied the knot. The Crimson Drawing Room andQueen Mary’s Dolls’ House are standouts and well worth the entry price.
Open Monday to Sunday from 10am-6pm and a pleasant stroll from Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament stands the impressive Tate Britain where you can explore artworks from 1545 to the present day. The building is breathtaking and from the moment you access the wide art deco entrance you’ll be enthralled. Check the Late at the Tate schedule for their bi-monthly after-hours exhibitions between 6 and 9.30pm. Entry is free.
Walk along Southbank
If you’re in London and don’t have a plan – head to Southbank and let it unfold before your eyes. Locals love it here as there are pubs, theatres, street art, pop-up shops, eateries, cocktails, coffee and everything in between. Whether you’ve got money to burn or empty pockets there’s always something happening to feed the senses. Smell the flowers at Jubilee Gardens, view the city from the London Eye, or sit back and catch a play at the Old Vic.
Head to Harrods
If shopping’s your thing, London is abound with choices. And for those who want a one-stop shop, there’s nowhere better than Harrods. After a short walk from Knightsbridge tube you’ll enter London’s most famous sartorial haven – and be warned: it’s easy to get lost. From designer clothes to quaint tea sets, a whole floor of edible delicacies, accessories, shoes and high-end grooming products, this is where London’s elite shop and where you could literally fill a suitcase with souvenirs for your friends and family back home. More into browsing? No problem, it’s a fabulous place to spend a rainy day.
Open Monday to Saturday 10am-9pm, Sunday 12-6pm.