Ironically, London suits sunny days, those days that defy stereotypes—those that draw your eyes up and there’s not a cloud in sight—not even the soft round threat of a cotton ball. Just an empty blue dome and the sun gently kneading its fingers into your shoulders. On days like this jackets are faint memories and umbrellas incomprehensible. Shame these days come but once a year. Of course, I’m kidding—realistically it’s closer to twice. This is London after all. Consider yourself blessed if you live a day in her Majesty’s yard with out rain. And, if you only have two days in the city, here are my suggestions for things to see and do!
The first 24 hours …
EAT: Tate Modern Café or Restaurant. If you’re looking for a traditional brunch with Buck’s Fizz (Mimosas) included then don’t bother arriving at the Tate before 11am. Voted one of the best views in London by the Evening Standard, the Restaurant on the sixth floor is open for morning coffee or afternoon tea on weekends. For menus, hours of operation or contact details check out eat, drink and shop at Tate Modern.
VISIT: The View from The Shard—not to be confused with The Shard (the building itself)—is the best platform to take in all that is London. Book in advance and pray for a clear day. Tickets are pricey, but the view is worth every pound. Check it out.
VISIT: British Museum. Home to the Rosetta Stone, the colossal bust of Ramses II and another eight million or so noteworthy objects, the museum opened its doors its 1759 and has remained free since then.
EAT: The Sherlock Holmes Pub. Even if you are not a fan of the detective and don’t care to see the exhibit located on the top floor just off the restaurant and garden—head here for the fish and chips. Five pubs and counting, this is still the best fish and chips I’ve had in London thus far (trust me, I’ve been searching).
DRINK: Gordons Wine Bar. If you need an excuse to end your day with a glass of wine, then look no further. Thought to be the oldest wine bar in London Town, Gordons is a long-time favourite for locals and tourists alike—and is rarely found without a ‘queue’ (line-up for you North Americans!—ed).
The next 24 hrs …
VISIT: Portobello Road. Made famous by the movie Notting Hill, the Portobello Markets come alive every Saturday. Hunt for antiques or graze stall-to-stall on your way down from the Notting Hill Gate tube station toward Lancaster Road. The Hummingbird Bakery is a great stop for a sugar treat. That is of course, if you follow the golden rule that calories don’t count while on holiday.
LOCAL: Graffik Gallery. Even posh Notting Hill isn’t exempt from this urban art. Graffik Gallery—besides being a gallery—offers workshops for wannabe graffiti artists.
LOCAL: Dare ya! Try out your newly acquired graffiti skills on Leake Street near Waterloo station in South Bank. Also known as “Graffiti Tunnel” or “Bansky Tunnel”, this “canvas” runs almost 300m in length and though there is an official law against graffiti, it is tolerated to a certain degree. Still, it’s not a good idea to tempt the fates…
DRINK: LAB London Academy of Bartenders. Located in the heart of Soho, LAB is like watching a scene from the movie “Cocktail”. Be adventurous—there are over 100 cocktails to choose from.
Ah—London. One of the world’s most visited cities, it offers a little something for everyone: from history to culture, art to architecture. Want to see for yourself? Find your adventure.