One of the advantages of living in Europe is that you can get to many different countries in just a few hours. London is one of the cities I had the chance to visit recently in a weekend, taking a one and a half hour flight with the low-cost airline Ryanair. Although there are tons of things to be done in such a vibrant and lively metropole, here is a suggestion of a two-day itinerary developed by a friend of mine, in case you want to plan a weekend escape:
Arrival in the morning. There are various airports through which it is possible to arrive in London, such as Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton and Stansted. Which one to choose depends on whether you prefer to arrive closer to the North, South or central region of the city. I arrived through the Gatwick airport and took the train to the city centre. However, a quick online research has made me believe that all the options available are well connected to the city centre through public transport (i.e. train, metro and/or bus).
Your first stop will be the London Eye. If you cross the bridge and go to the area where the river cruise tickets are sold, you will pay 25 pounds on the ticket to Europe’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel. The view is impressive, and it is worth a visit, you will not regret it. We were lucky enough to get the chance to contemplate London in a bright and sunny day. You can also watch a small and eye-catching 4D video about the attraction, in which you get to see London from above (including the Big Ben, that is currently under renovation).
After that, you can cross the bridge again and walk to the House of Parliament, crossing the St James’ Park, and arriving at the Buckingham Palace. Here, you can take the metro and go to Baker Station, to visit Sherlock Holmes museum. When in the metro, pretend to be a local and catch a newspaper to read on your way, and do not forget to leave it on the station when you arrive at your final destination, so that someone else can also read it. After visiting the Sherlock Holmes museum, cross the Regent’s Park to get to Primrose Hill, where you can watch the sunset. Once the sun is gone, walk to Camden Town to finish your day and have dinner.
You can start your day at the London Bridge, from where you can walk to the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge.
Then you can take the metro and go to the Leicester Square, to visit the Lego Store and the M&M’S Store (which maybe is the best smelling store on the world). Once in the M&M’S store, you can try the colour mood scanner, to discover your M&M’S colour (I am pink, by the way). Keep walking until you reach Piccadilly Circus, a vibrant square in London.
To finish your day, take the metro again and stop at Hyde Park, the largest of four Royal Parks that form a chain from the entrance of Kensington Palace. There are various attractions along the park, such as the Peter Pan statue and the Princess of Wales memorial. On the surroundings of the park is the National History Museum and the Royal Albert Hall. Due to time constrains, I did not have the chance to visit them, but I certainly want to in other opportunity.
To finish the day, you can go walking or take the metro to Notting Hill, where you can take your picture in front of the famous door from the 1999 movie and enjoy the Portobello Road Market.
There is still a lot to do in London, but the great thing is that you can always return during your time studying abroad. Enjoy!