I grew up visiting London a fair bit, and having so many happy memories attached to this incredible city made me fall so totally and completely in love with it…till I discovered Manchester and everything it had to offer. And while James and I love the city we’ve chosen to settle down near, we both often pop to London for work or to visit friends, as it is only a mere two hours on the train.
Our visits are usually fleeting, 8 hours being the minimum and 3 days being the maximum, depending on what we have planned. And as it happened, about a fornight ago, I popped into the capital for a brief eight hours, but managed to get a fair bit done. If you’re not sure how to spend a day trip in London by yourself (or even with a friend), take a page out of my itinirary, for a visit that is short but very sweet.
Hit Up Somewhere Instagrammable (it totally counts as a cutural activity)
Start your London day trip by taking some gorgeous pictures for your squares, because did you even go to London if you didn’t gram the hell out of your trip? Now normally I’d suggest doing a real cultural activity like visiting a castle or a musuem, but since you’re only here for a few hours, I’d reccomend saving that for a visit when you have a little more time. For now. London is one of the prettiest cities in the world, so not milking every Insta photo opp possible is practically a milennial crime. Call it a ‘photo walk’, if you really want to put a cultural label on it. Blogger favourites include the perfectly pink Peggy Porschen Cakes, the shops will floral fronts in Belgravia and the pastel houses in Notting Hill. However, since I’d already done those before, I decided to stop outside Liberty London for a famous flower shot, even though I look like I’m carrying a basket on my head and that my waters just broke. Serving up the realness on a platter as you can see, ladies and gents.
Take Yourself Out To Lunch (bonus points for ‘grammability’)
Next up on your London Day Trip itinerary is to sit yourself down somewhere for a nice little lunch. Never been to a meal by yourself before? (Wait, what? Its 2018!) Do what beginners do and grab a magazine or book to keep you company. Or better still, pick the prettiest restaurant you can find and busy yourself in taking some great food flatlays. There’s no shortage of beautiful restaurants to pick from in the city, but if its ‘grammability’ you’re after (and yes, that’s totally a thing) then the Elan Cafe (basically blush pink and flowers on steroids) or Aubaine at Selfridges (whimsical wisteria hanging from the ceiling) are your best bets. Although make sure you book in advance as both of these locations are very popular and often have a waiting list and / or queue.
Hit the Shops with a Vengeance (you know you want to)
Since you’re only in London for a day trip, I’d suggest not even considering Oxford Street. Personally, I find it a bit overwhelming and really have to have the right shoes, the right frame of mind, patience and the drive to take on a big challenge to even attempt it. So this time, I decided to head to Carnaby Street instead. The colourful street has a little over 100 shops, making it a little more managable than Oxford St. on a short timeline. The street was lit up with neon signs reading the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody and I loved that it had some pretty interesting stores that you wouldn’t always see on your typical high street (here’s looking at you, The Kooples, Spectrum and Irregular Choice). A refreshing change from the same ol’ that is high street fast fashion .
Set down your Shopping Bags (and put on the trainers you bought)
Yes, I know that London is one of the fashion capitals of the world and you want to look the part. But are you done pretending that the chunky heeled boots you thought were a good idea for your day trip to London is a good idea yet hun? Mmmhmm. Thought so. Take your pretty self over to the nearest coffee shop for a little refuel and to change into the flats or trainers you weren’t anticipating buying but just spent £60. Because I don’t know about you but I’d rather not eat out for the rest of the month than deal with horrendously achey feet. If you’re on Carnaby Street, I suggest popping into the gorgeous little cafe at the Spectrum makeup brushes store. Because just LOOK at how pretty! Now stop getting distracted by the pink sofa and neon sign and chug, chug, chug that espresso – you have more shopping to do, girl!
Down One For The Road (you’ve earned it)
Heading to the station to get your train back so soon? I thought I’d have convinced you to sell all your belongings and move to London by now (because let’s be honest, only about six of your belongings would fit in a London flat!) Depending on the time you have left, you may be better off grabbing one for the road near the station. But if you’re staying over and have a hotel, the night is still young and stretches before you to do with it whatever you please! Use it and abuse it by chucking on one of the nicer pieces you bought in your Carnaby shopping haul and heading out to either Sketch in Soho or Dandelyan at the Mondrian hotel in Southbank. Again, both super ‘grammable. Are you beginning to see a theme here yet?
I decided to forgo the trendy bars for a fashionable night out instead. I got changed at a friend’s house and hopped in a cab to Marylebone where I attended the Radley 20th Anniversary party. The atmosphere was electric! I got to know the team and drink some well-earned bubbly with some lovely fellow bloggers, including some whose work I had admired online and finally got the chance to meet in person, like Holly from TheKittyLuxe.
The event also featured a very exciting announcement – that Radley had chosen its very first ambassador since opening its doors in 1998 – the wonderful Eleanor Tomlinson (you may remember her from Alice in Wonderland, Jack The Giant Slayer and other huge Hollywood blockbusters). Eleanor grew up in the countryside and loved dogs, which seemed like the perfect fit for Radley, given their Scottish Terrier branding.
I also got a chance to have a sneak peek at their Spring / Summer 19 collection, featuring drool-worthy totes, cross-body bags and the cutest ever pink circle bag that I can’t wait to buy when the collection hits stores Mid-February ’19. Rumour has it, Eleanor even has a special bag named after her that I can’t wait to see!
Tipsy on champagne, I dragged my shopping bags back to the station to get the last train back to Manchester, already excited about how I was going to style my new Radley items with my Carnaby shopping haul. Obviously, updating my Instagram on the way, as you do! How would you spend an ideal day in London? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below or via social media – I’m @MascaraEverSat on Twitter or @MascaraEverySaturday on Instagram. See you at the next post! xx
**I was invited down to London to celebrate Radley’s 20th Anniversary party with them. However, all meals and purchases were made by me, opinions are entirely my own and I would never endorse brands / products I don’t genuinely believe in / wouldn’t buy or wear personally.