Visiting London in a week-end for the first time

Here’s how we made the most of our weekend in London. We arrived on Thursday night and left at lunch-time on Sunday. This itinerary is great for those visiting London for the first time but also eager to experience something more typically Londoner than only its famous touristy spots.

Valeria lived in London for years, so she knows pretty well her way around it.

1 – Arrival

Arrival in the evening, stay at apartment/hotel. We stayed here at Sophie’s, in the heart of Angel/Islington which was perfect for 2 couples.

2 – From Tower Pier, to the Parliament and Oxford Circus

Take the Original Tour, or any other tourist buses or public buses, and tour around London to eventually get off at Tower Pier. Here get on a boat and get off at Charing Cross Pier. Walk around Embankment, the Parliament and Big Ben, then take Whitehall, where you’ll find Downing Street no. 10 on your left, and arrive to Trafalgar Square. Continue to Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, and Oxford Circus. Take a tube or Uber to Camden Town to check out the foumous Camden Market, or go shopping in Oxford Street/Bond Street.

3 – Portobello Road, Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace

On Saturday it’s great starting off at Portobello Road Market for plenty of street food, or a lovely brunch in one of the many cafes. Valeria’s favourites are Cafe 202, and Granger & Co, although it always has a long queue.

When it’s warm enough, consider renting one of London’s bikes around the Portobello/Ladbroke Grove/Notting Hill area. You can cycle from there until the bike stand nearby Whole Foods Market in Kensington, where you can buy some food for a picnic in Hyde Park!

Alternatively, from the Portobello area, walk all the way to Trafalgar Square. It might seem a long walk but actually, done little by little, it’s very enjoyable. From Portobello go through Notting Hill Gate and walk towards Hyde Park. Approaching Hyde Park and Kensington Palace, take Kensington Palace Garden, where all the embassies are. There are patrolled gates on both ends of the road, making it perfect for pedestrians, or those cycling.

After the park, either go to Harrods, or to the Natural History Museum. Later, walk to Buckingham Palace, and reach Trafalgar Square where you can also visit the National Gallery. Museums are free in London which is pretty special.

In the evening, dine at a gastropub, or watch a musical in the West End.

4 – Columbia Road Flower Market through the canals

Take the footpath on the canal around Angel and reach Columbia Road Flower Market on foot. You’ll find plenty of flower stalls making you feel like taking everything with you for how fresh and gorgeous the flowers look! Towards the end of the market you’ll also find some food stalls where you can have a quick bite.

It’s already time to return home unfortunately..! Take a Uber back to your apartment/room, or go back straight to the airport.


London can get very expensive on a weekend, although it varies depending on where you decide to stay and eat. We decided to share an apartment and ate in mid-range restaurants. In terms of transports, being 4 people, we chose Uber over the tube most times. Overall, it came up to around 400 euro per person, excluding flights. Half the budget went into the accommodation, the rest for transports and food.


The easiest and cheapest way to move around London is by public transports, tube and bus. There are many options in terms of tickets, but the most convenient is using Oyster Card, a magnetic card that you can use on all transports, ferry included, and work as ‘pay as you go’. With an Oyster Card you top up a certain amount of money that will be deducted as you use the transport system by ‘touching in’. The maximum amount that will be taken for limitless use in zone 1-2 is £6.60 per day. It works this way: money will be deducted for each single journey every time you touch in, until you reach the £6.60 cap. An ordinary daily ticket will instead cost you £12.30, so you can see how this it’s more convenient.

You can buy an Oyster in one of the main tube stations in London during the day. Alternatively, you can also buy it online beforehand to save time and hassle. If you do so, order it well in advance to avoid problems with the delivery. For 3-4 days get a £30 card.


Try an English gastropub for dinner, we went to Riverford at The Duke of Cambridge nearby our apartment.

London is the most happening place in Europe in terms of musicals and theatre offering: definitely go for it! You can book in advance online, and although the best prices are for week shows and matinees, you can still find good deals on weekends. Another option is checking out last-minute theatre deals in person, at the Tkts ticket booth in Leicester Square. The best discounts are on the day of the performance.




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