Blake Snow

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How to visit London over a long weekend

Courtesy Blake Snow

Planning to visit London but now sure what to do while there? Here are some iconic highlights for first-timers, things repeat visitors may have missed, as well as special considerations, things to avoid, and where to stay.

  • Day 1: Tour the city on a public double decker, visit the free Sky Garden for a birds eye view of the English capital, eat “afternoon tea” (aka British for “lunch feast”) at Royal Albert Hall, then finish with people-watching at Buckingham Palace. For dinner, get stake pie at Maggie Jones Restaurant.
  • Day 2: Walk the massive Kensington and Hyde parks, watch the marching band pageantry of the Changing of the Guard, see a live soccer match (Chelsea, Arsenal, or Westham preferably), consider one of the two best free museums (either the National Gallery or British Museum), then end at Tower Bridge—it’s stunning. For dinner, try Spring (Somerset House) for a moderate but quiet meal or Nando’s for fast-casual spicy chicken.
  • Day 3: Take a day trip from London Paddington station to Windsor Castle, which is easy peasy. While there, tour the royal quarters, walk the Long Walk, buy a traditional English sandwich at Rachel’s Of Windsor, then take another open air double decker to tour nearby Eton college. Finish back in London with dinner at Berner’s Tavern followed by a West End show.

If you enjoy big cities, you’ll certainly enjoy London. But if you prefer the countryside and outdoors more, three days is more than enough to sample the best of London.

  • Getting there: If arriving at London Heathrow, take an easy-to-use train into downtown. They’re frequent and often faster and cheaper than an Uber.
  • Where to stay: The Dixon near Tower Bridge, which is a really nice, converted hotel that used to be a jail house
  • When to go: March–May for warm temps and green gardens; September–October for autumn colors and still pleasant weather.
  • What to avoid: London Eye, Kensington Palace, day trip to Bath—all of which are expensive, crowded, and underwhelming.

Cheerio!