A couple of months ago, travelled to London for the day, something I haven’t done for a while. Rather than rushing across London which is often how I experience the city, now I no longer live there, I had a day to myself. A day to spend in the London I love and I thought I’d share and my alternative London; a guide to cool London. 7 things to do on a day trip.
London can be hugely overwhelming, some 8.5 million people live within the sprawling area that makes up the city. It attracts huge numbers of tourists (17.9 million in 2014). Suffice to say London is busy. Add to that the vast choice that London offers the visitor; places, experiences, sites. My alternative London takes you just off the well trodden tourist routes. I did this day on foot, walking is the best way to see London in my view, however, I’ve added some transport links if walking doesn’t appeal. Start from Oxford Circus tube.
A guide to alternative London: 7 things to do
1. From the tube at Oxford Circus and head towards Liberty. Opened in 1875, the store is beautiful and is sells delightful luxury goods – best for browsing. Must see: The very instagram-able Liberty Flower Shop.
2. Shop in Carnaby Street. Pedestrianised with less crowds and all of the much prized London style. Liberty sits at the top of Carnaby Street. A huge arch announces the name of the street, you can’t miss it. Check out the smaller streets to the side for smaller independent shops.
3. Experience a different side of London and enjoy the variety that Soho has to offer. Follow your feet from Carnaby Street, across Golden Square, left on to Brewer St. Right at Wardour St, down to (theatre land) Shaftesbury Avenue, over the road into China Town. Pick up noodles for lunch from one of the many eateries.
4. A short walk over Leicester Square to the Galleries. London has fantastic arts. See an exhibition at either the more intimate National Portrait Gallery or go large and grand at the National Gallery. Both have excellent cafes.
5. Afternoon tea at a posh London Hotel. Finger sandwiches, cakes and warm scones. Accompanied by a pot of fine tea. Less alternative, but so English, it has to be done. I recently had tea at the very cool Soho Hotel. Go classic at Claridges. London loves afternoon tea, with various alternatives; from the pretty to the pricey.
6. Finish the day on Tottenham Court Road for a hit of interiors shopping; West Elm, Heals, Habitat, Oliver Bonas; all bunched together around Goodge Street tube. (The 29 bus from Charing Cross Road, just up from the National Portrait Gallery delivers you to Tottenham Court Road, Goodge Street stop).
7. Hungry for dinner before a journey home: Eat on Charlotte Street, just off Tottenham Court Road. It has everything; established Italians, Chinese or Mexican Street food.
One day, 7 things alternative things to do in London. What would be your alternative London ?