48 Hours in London

London is one of the world's most cosmopolitan and visited cities. With its allure of royalty, elegance, transition to a foodies paradise, and high-end shopping with brand names that adorn the most elite publications.

The city is also incredibly easy to access with its numerous airports - six international airports in total that can also accommodate private jets - London City Airport, Gatwick Airport, Heathrow Airport, London Luton Airport, London Stansted Airport and London Southend Airport.

The city of London is filled with history and never fails to attract global investors, tourists and high-end travellers with its modern and contemporary offerings from museums, manor parks, and buzzing nightlife, as well as the world-famous West End shows.

We look at how you can optimise a luxurious 48 hours in London!

Historical and modern sites in London

Day 1: Morning

There is no time to waste in the city of London. Head to central London to get your bearings (of course a ride on the underground tube is not for everyone) but in the historic centre of the city, on the banks of the famous Thames River - you can wander around and opt to explore some iconic sights.

A short walk away is Buckingham Palace, the residence of the Queen of England - most head to the hallowed grounds around 10-10.30 in the morning if you want to see the Changing of the Guard.

Afterwards, head to the famed Big Ben and Westminster Abbey which are located near each other. Big Ben stands at 106-metres tall and is part of the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament). They are both in the historic centre of London and a short walk away from many activities along the embankment of the Thames, as well as traditional pubs that are hundreds of years old and the drinking haunts of many famous writers and politicians.

Within the area, you can also reach Trafalgar Square which has its iconic and famous Nelson's Column and four famous statues of black lions. After taking photos of the popular sights, you can wander into one of the many nearby museums which include the National Gallery and Portrait Gallery among others. There are often street performers in the area too.

The National Gallery is a beautiful museum and houses a collection that includes works from Picasso, da Vinci, Van Gogh, Monet, Cézanne and Rembrandt.

Much depends on where you stay in the city, with several central and beautifully elegant areas of the sprawling city to visit and stay in.

Some of the best luxury 5-star hotels in London include:

Day 1: Afternoon

We think some tea and crumpets at a number of luxury cafes and hotels are the perfect respite before heading to the Tate Britain and Tate Modern where you can soak up some of the most prized modern art on the globe.

Many locations across the city offer an indulgent few hours feasting on treats from a three-tiered stand, with tea or Champagne. The Library at London Marriott Hotel County Hall offers bottomless sparkling wine, divine food.

The Tate Britain and the Tate Modern Museums are two of the most important art museums in the city, and they are both in the same area.

Photo Credit: -GUY-BELL - London National Gallery

Day 1: Evening

It's worth returning to the banks of the Thames in the evening and going up the London Eye - the biggest Ferris wheel in Europe. Reaching a height of 130 metres, seats can be booked in advance to enjoy a range of VIP experiences which can include Champagne, craft beers and more.

London Eye offers fantastic views in the evening

Once you have had your fill of culture and sightseeing, a short walk away are the famous areas of Soho and Leicester Square.

Soho is a vibrant area of London and the perfect place for evening drinks with its selection of pubs, theatres, restaurants, and clubs.

It's also here that you can watch award-winning musicals on the famous West End - it's best to pre-book and some theatres have special shows and events. Some of the more well-known productions include The Lion King, Wicked, School of Rock, and much more! Depending on how you end, take a walk past Piccadilly Circus with its huge advertising screens for another memorable photo!

London had 67 Michelin-starred restaurants in the 2020 Guide and is considered one of the top-ranked cities in the world for fine dining so we suggest you pre-book and head to one of these:

Fine dining at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester 

Top restaurants in London

  • Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester (three Michelin stars)
  • Hélene Darroze at The Connaught (two Michelin stars)
  • Lecture Room & Library at Sketch

Then of course there are famous eateries from Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal in London!

Day 2:  Morning

A visit through one of the many excellent green spaces in the city, followed by a British breakfast is essential. From picturesque Green Park, the massive Hyde Park, or head to the outskirts of the city and the hills of Richmond which offers plenty of gourmet breakfasts along the river.

Once you are ready to explore- the business district is epitomised by modern structures such as the “Gherkin” skyscraper and the Sky Garden - the highest public garden in the city which offers an incredible 360° panoramic view.

“Gherkin” skyscraper and the Sky Garden provide amazing city views

Alternatively, The Shard stands at over 300 metres high and opened to the public in 2013. The building provides offices, luxury apartments as well as the highest viewing platform in Western Europe.

You can also venture out to the financial district in Canary Wharf and the O2 arena which also hosts massive events and trade shows at the exhibition space,

A few of the unmissable tourist attractions in London include:

  • Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
  • London Eye
  • Tower Bridge + Tower of London VIP Visit
  • The Tower of London and Crown Jewels
  • See a musical on the West End
  • The Shard

Don't forget the Royal Ascot horse racing which takes place in June or the Epsom Derby Festival (June) and Cheltenham Festival.

Day 2: Afternoon

A visit to London is not complete without exploring some of its famous fashion and high-end boutique shipping areas. The choices include Notting Hill - a fashionable must-see district in west London (of course made even more famous by the Hollywood hit film!)

This means you should also explore London's world-famous Portobello Road Market “The west London site is most famous for having one of the world’s largest antique, bric-a-brac and vintage clothing markets. It's a location that attracts tourists, locals and celebrities from all walks of life.”

Fashion takes centre stage at the start of each year and in September when London hosts its Fashion Week.

In central London, Oxford Street is the main shopping street and the perfect place to treat yourself to designer clothes and famous British brands. Other hotspots for some shopping and London culture include choosing from Camden, Old Spitalfields and Borough Markets but for the high-end shopping head to luxury stores like Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and Selfridges & Co.

There is excellent luxury shopping in London at world-famous stores like Harrods 

If you are still craving more museums, the popular options include the British Museum, the Natural History Museum.

Day 2: Evening

If you are seeking some of the most cultured drinking spots or restaurants to wrap your weekend, try one of the dozens of Michelin-starred dining venues. such as Le Gavroche (two Michelin stars and serving classical French food.)

For exquisite cocktails, try The American Bar (renowned in London during the 1920s and 30s, and remains one of the longest surviving American bars in London) and can be found at The Savoy Hotel.

A final suggestion is The Bloomsbury Club which offers excellent cocktails and live music on occasion.

For exquisite cocktails try The American Bar in London

There is hardly a night in the city that's not full of live music, but if jazz and blues are your ideas of a great night out then try some of the best jazz and blues bars in London:

  • Ronnie Scott’s (Soho)
  • Crazy Coqs (Soho)
  • The Jazz Cafe
  • The Crypt
  • Pizza Express Jazz Club

There is nearly too much to do in the city. From cultured historical sights, fine dining, lavish shopping, parks, museums and palaces - London is a city worth multiple visits!

Catch live music at the famous Ronnie Scott’s in Soho 

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