If you’re lucky enough to take a reallyyy luxurious flight into London on Ryanair (please note the sarcasm) — you will most likely be landing at Stansted Airport (which is located about an hour northeast of central London).
But with flights into “London” as low as €15, you really can’t beat the price! And it’s not as difficult to get into central London as you think…
Of course, taking a cab (or Uber) is always an option! But if you’re not looking to blow through half of your budget right when you land — I suggest taking the Stansted Express into the city. It is best to pre-buy your tickets — here — (go ahead and buy roundtip tickets if possible).
We took the Stansted Express from Stansted to Liverpool — and then needed an Oyster Card to take the tube to the stop closest to our AirBnb.
We stayed a block north of Hyde Park in an AirBnb that unfortunately I cannot recommend — but the location was good. Finding a reasonable place to stay in London is difficult as real estate is crazy expensive — so start looking sooner than later!
Our first day started with breakfast at the very classy The Wolseley. I was a big fan of the carmelized grapefruit!
With full bellies, we made the 10 minute walk to Buckingham Palace for the ‘changing of the guards’. <– You can use this link to check the schedule!
On the morning we went, they had actually replaced the regular scheduled ‘changing of the guards’ with a ‘ceremonial practice for the queen’s birthday’ — which was just as great! … if not better!
Once at Buckingham Palace — you’re a stone’s throw away from St. James Park — which is just lovely! You’re sure to see swans, ducklings and beautiful blooms.
We walked through St. James Park on our way to “central London” where you will easily spot Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the London Eye.
For lunch we made our way to the very popular Borough Market (closed on Sundays).
Our (long list of) recommendations: glazed doughnut from Bread Ahead, chorizo roll from Brindisa, veggie bowl from Gourmet Goat, salted caramel milkshake from Bath Soft Cheese Co., prosecco spritz from The Borough Bar.
After eating just about everything at Borough Market — you will only be a short walk from London Bridge and Tower Bridge:
After some more exploring we stopped in at The George — a local pub with great outdoor seating and specialty gins. This is the perfect place to hang out (and hopefully enjoy the sunshine) for an hour or two.
For dinner we had reservations at Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings. I. loved. this. restaurant. My better half argued that it was a tad “girly” — but it didn’t stop him from leaving very pleased 😉 . They have a beautiful bar, menu, and location!
It’s located just a street over from Exmouth Street in a very trendy area called Clerkenwell. This area is stocked full of restaurants and bars that were ALL grabbing our attention!
After dinner we still had time to catch the Liverpool game at The Bowler Pub. If there’s a game you’re hoping to watch with locals — this is the place!
Day 2 started with possibly the most beautiful breakfast I’ve ever had! Saint Aymes doesn’t miss a single detail and we were surprised to discover that everything tastes just as good as it looks!
Sometimes we will try to find a local church to attend if we are traveling on a Sunday. But being in London on a Sunday was a no brainer — we had to check out Hillsong Church London! They meet in the Dominion Theater and have services at 11:00 AM, 1:15 PM, 3:30 PM, 6:00 PM every Sunday.
This was a really special part of our 3-day weekend in London.
After church, we had delicious Mexican food at Cafe Pacifico, located in Covent Garden. Their homemade salsas had our tastebuds thinking we were in Texas!
After lunch, we headed south to Trafalgar Square. This is definitely where all of the best people watching (and street performances) take place in London.
By 3:00 PM we got in line at Westminster Abbey for their Evensong. If you don’t want to pay for a tour of the Abbey — you can attend a service in order to see (and experience!) the inside. Click here <– to check their schedule.
We really enjoyed attending the Evensong. It was neat to experience both ends of the spectrum that day — a very modern, non-denominational worship service in the morning, followed by a very traditional, Catholic worship service in the afternoon.
After we finally had our church-fill for the day (ha!), we rented bikes to ride through Hyde Park. It’s really easy to rent bikes from the Santander Bike Hire stands located all around the city. It costs £2 per 30 min.
If you’re cheap like us, you can keep returning the bikes before the 30 minutes is up and re-renting them for free. Or if you want to ride for longer it will charge you extra per every hour of use.
Make sure you watch for “No Cycling” areas in the parks — you can get fined.
After freshening up back at our AirBnb, we made our way back to Covent Garden. This area is stocked with foodie restaurants and is especially lively in the evening.
We waited an hour and a half to have dinner at Dishoom — a VERY popular, delicious, modern, Indian resturant. They do not take reservations but I promise it’s worth the wait!
If you’re not up for waiting — I’ve heard it’s a lot easier to catch a table for lunch.
Our third and final day started with, again, another amazing breakfast! Farmacy Kitchen is an all plant based restaurant with a menu that makes choosing very difficult. We went with one savory dish, one sweet, and a “syringe shot” to top it off! This is one of the best plant-based restaurants I’ve ever eaten at — maybeee only second to one in Barcelona.
After our yummy breakfast in Nottinghill — we continued to wander around the surrounding area, checking out all of the beautiful (and colorful) homes.
We eventually hoped on bikes again (still free — since it was within 24 hours of our first rental) and strolled through more of Nottinghill and eventually made our way over to Kensington Gardens (it’s prohibited to ride bikes through certain areas of the gardens).
After a few hours on bikes, we were hot and hungry — which led us to our final meal in London @ The Churchill Arms. From the outside this very much looks like a traditional English pub — BUT once inside — there’s a twist! They serve nothing but Thai food! Like, really, really good Thai food!
Luckily, we LOVE Thai food so this was a pleasant surprise 🙂 We highly recommend checking it out!
Both William and I had both traveled to London prior to this weekend — but we’ve always known it was worth taking a trip back. And honestly, the food scene alone might call us back for a 3rd time!
London is lively yet sophisticated — with killer restaurants and shops! It’s a city where you have many activity options — plays, free museums, river tours, etc — but you can also have a great time just simply biking through the parks and eating all of the delicious foods!
Clearly, we did…. 😉