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 I do spend the majority of my time in Manchester, I do have to travel down to the capital every now and again for work.
My visits are usually fleeting, 8 hours being the minimum and 3 days being the maximum, depending on meetings and events I have planned. And as it happened, about a fortnight ago, I popped into the capital for a brief eight hours because I had a morning meeting and one with a totally different client late in the afternoon. I managed to see and do a fair bit in the few hours to myself around those meetings, soi I thought I’d put together a little guide for anyone who isn’t sure how to spend a day in the capital on their own.
Hit Up Somewhere Instagrammable (it totally counts as a cultural activity)
Why not make the most of your time in the capital by taking some gorgeous pictures of one of the prettiest cities in the world 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 museum, but since you’re only here for a few hours, I’d recommend saving that for a visit when you have a little more time. For now, not milking every Insta photo opp possible is practically a millennial 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? It’s 2019!) 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 flat lays. 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.
Browse the shops (you know you want to)
Since you’re only in London for a few hours, 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 manageable than Oxford St. on a short timeline. The street was lit up with neon signs 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 heels you thought looked perfect with your outfit for dipping in and out of meetings were a good idea? 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 on. Because I don’t know about you but I’d rather not eat out for the rest of the month than deal with horrendously achy 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 to do!
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?
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 treats from Carnaby. Obviously, updating my Instagram on the way, as you do! How would you spend a day in London, balancing work and fun? Share your tips with me in the comments below or via social media.