Special shout-out to my husband and favourite travel partner who has taken most of our travel photos.

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London itinerary in 7 days

Hotels

London:

Apex City of London

​♥♥♥♥

Nice hotel in the Tower Hill area, near the Tower of London. Convenient tube stop close by. The rooms are modern renovated and clean. Breakfast was not included. Recommended.

Day 1

Afternoon

Arrive in London and check into the Apex City of London Hotel. This East End hotel was perfectly situated not far from our sons' university residence.

We grabbed lunch in a cute pub down one of the laneways close to Spitalfields Market.

 

After lunch we went for a walk through Spitalfields Market and the Shoreditch area which is filled with interesting shops catering to the young and hip. Spitalfields Market is an old market which has recently been renovated and now has interesting stalls and shops.

Evening

Our son took us to dinner on Brick Lane in the East End for some Indian food. This street is lined with Indian restaurants. The food is delicious and authentic.

Day 2

 

Morning

After breakfast we walked through the financial district all the way to Trafalgar Square. On the way we walked along elegant streets filled with beautiful architecture, and along the Strand.

We stopped and visited the Courtauld Gallery - a small and exquisite art museum in Somerset House on the Strand. It houses a beautiful collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces. It's a hidden gem which we have visited on several trips to London.

Afternoon

We stopped for lunch at a the Fleet River Bakery, which serves seasonal sandwiches, quiches, frittatas, freshly made salads and soups, as well as delicious home baked cakes and desserts. 

From there we took the tube to Westminster Abbey - a 700 year-old, large Gothic Abbey Church in the City of Westminster (in central London). It is the final resting place of seventeen monarchs, as well as other important figures in British history. It is also known as the church where many royal weddings have taken place. It comprises of one of the most significant single collection of monumental sculpture anywhere in the United Kingdom. 

We continued to walk around the city including a walk by Buckingham Palace and then headed back to the hotel for a rest.

Evening

We had dinner at Canteen restaurant in Spitalfields Market which offers delicious British food with a modern flair. They use fresh seasonal ingredients. 

Day 3

Morning

After breakfast this morning we headed to the London Eye which is giant ferris wheel on the south bank of the River Thames. It is also known as the Millennium Wheel. It is a fun way to see incredible views of London. I highly recommend ordering tickets in advance, especially if you want to go at a particular day and time. It takes 30 minutes to travel one revolution.

Afternoon

This afternoon we walked through beautiful Hyde Park to Kensington Palace. During the warm weather Hyde Park is lush with colourful gardens and winding paths. It is an oasis in the middle of the city. 

Kensington Palace is the childhood home of Queen Victoria and is presently the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The State Rooms are open to the public, including a display of many paintings and other objects from the Royal Collection. When we were there they had a gorgeous exhibit of Princess Diana's gowns, clothing and jewelry. 

Of course you can't go to London without having afternoon tea. If you're trying to decide where to have high tea, The Orangery, in Kensington Palace is my favourite place. It is a wonderful and elegant cafe with soaring ceilings and classical 18th century architecture. They serve over a dozen varieties of tea with house-baked scones, homemade jams, pastries and small sandwiches. Although not cheap (it's hard to find an inexpensive spot for afternoon tea in London), the surrounding views of the gardens give it a relaxing and luxurious feel.  

Evening

We had dinner reservations at Ottolenghi Spitalfields.  Celebrity chef Yotam Ottolenghi has several restaurants in London. The food is fresh, contemporary Mediterranean and always delicious. I have several of his cookbooks and I try to eat at his restaurants every time I'm in London.

Day 4

Morning

This morning we went on an East End Food Tour with Eating London Tours. I'm a big fan of food tours and try to book one in most cities I visit. This was one of the best food tours I've been on. Our tour guide was a young British chap, who walked us around the East End giving us the history of the area with humorous stories.

 

The food stops were delicious and included some typical British fare such as the best fish and chips, bread pudding and local beer, as well as some homemade cheeses, Indian food and even the oldest Jewish bakery in the area.

Afternoon

This afternoon we headed to the Tower of London - officially Her Majesty's Royal Palace and fortress located on the north bank of the River Thames. The Tower is a complex of several buildings which have been used for many purposes over the years including an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, and the home of the Royal Mint. It is currently the home of the Royal Crown Jewels - a spectacular display which is not to be missed!

We booked a tour which is led by an entertaining guide in full costume. 

Evening

This evening we had theatre tickets booked for a show in the West End.

 

We had dinner at Jamie's Italian prior to the show. The busy restaurant in Covent Garden serves classic Italian food. It is conveniently located to most of the major theatres.  

 

Day 5

Morning

This morning we walked across the river to the Tate Modern - a modern art gallery located on the south bank of London. It used to be a former power station which was renovated. The architecture is beautiful. The exhibits are good, particularly if you enjoy modern art as there are many cutting edge works. The collection is impressive. 

Afternoon

Following the museum we walked along the south bank of the River Thames promenade toward London's renowned Borough Market - a lively and colourful food market on the south bank. The market is crowded with vendors selling fresh produce as well as many stalls and small restaurants surrounding the market where you can purchase a bite to eat for lunch. We each chose something different and sat on a bench enjoying our food and nice weather. 

From there we crossed London Bridge and headed (by tube) to the Soho and Mayfair areas to wander around. The small streets are filled with cute shops and restaurants.  We also went into some of the iconic department stores such as Fortnum and Mason and wandered south over to the Belgravia area to Harrods. This upscale department store has an incredible food emporium on the main floor. I could spend an entire day in this section!

Evening

This evening we headed out to St. Katherine Dock near Tower Hill, on the north bank of the River Thames. This former commercial dock has been transformed into an elegant marina with shops and restaurants. We ate at Cote Brasserie - a French inspired restaurant that has several locations throughout London. The food was very good, including many classic French dishes, and the service was wonderful. 

Day 6

Day trip to Cambridge

We decided to do a day trip to Cambridge to check out the old university town. Cambridge is a short 45 minute train ride from London's Kings Cross Station. 

Once there, we walked from the train station to the centre of the old town. We had lunch at the oldest pub in Cambridge called the Eagle Pub. This is a well-known establishment serving typical pub grub.

Following lunch we went to the Visitors Information Centre and joined an interesting walking tour of the university and the quaint town. 

Evening

This evening we went to a French restaurant north of Hyde Park, called Angelus. This is a small, elegant restaurant. The classical French cuisine was very good and they had a nice selection of French wines. 

Day 7

Morning

If you're smitten with the Royal Family there is lots to do in London. But if you really want to learn the history, hear stories of revolution and execution, royal romance and scandal, and see what all the pomp and pageantry is about, you must go on a guided Royal Walking tour of London through Fun London Tours.

 

The guide will walk you through parks and by palaces and allow you to watch the Change of the Guard ceremony at Horse Guards Parade, a ceremony with 350 years of history.  Definitely a fun way to spend a couple of hours.

Afternoon

After the tour we walked over to Trafalgar Square and visited the National Gallery. it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900, including many masterpieces. We wandered through the gallery for a couple of hours.

Evening

This evening we decided to head over to the Grain Store, located north of Kings Cross Station, on the north side of the Regents Canal. This industrial area has been transformed by a hugely ambitious urban regeneration project. The Grain Store is a spacious, industrial-chic restaurant with expanded kitchen and a creative, vegetable-based menu.

We had a toast to our last night of the trip.

Day 8

Morning

After breakfast we checked out of our hotel and headed to the airport for our flight home.

More London activities

 

For more ideas of things to do in London, please check my

This trip was done in conjunction with four days in Lisbon, which worked out really well. See my Lisbon Itinerary in 4 days.

Guides and Tours

London:

  • Eating London Tours. The East End Food Tour is a great way to learn about the up and coming East End. The guide was entertaining and the food tastings were very good. Highly recommend.

  • Tower of London - officially Her Majesty's Royal Palace and fortress located on the north bank of the River Thames. It houses the Crown Jewels. They offer guided tours several times per day.

  • Fun London Tours. Royal Walking Tour of London. This two-hour walking tour gives the history, and share stories of revolution and execution, royal romance and scandal. The guides are entertaining.

Cambridge:

  • Walking tours of Cambridge University. The Visitors Information Centre provides interesting walking tours of the university and the quaint town. 

Noteworthy Restaurants

London:

  • Fleet River Bakery, near the Courtauld Gallery, is great for lunch. It serves seasonal sandwiches, quiches, frittatas, freshly made salads and soups, as well as delicious home baked cakes and desserts. 

  • Canteen restaurant in Spitalfields Market offers delicious British food with a modern flair. They use fresh seasonal ingredients. 

  • The Orangery, in Kensington Palace is my favourite place for afternoon tea. It is a wonderful and elegant cafe with soaring ceilings and classical 18th century architecture. They serve over a dozen varieties of tea with house-baked scones, homemade jams, pastries and small sandwiches. Reservation recommended.

  • Ottolenghi Spitalfields is owned by celebrity chef Yotam Ottolenghi who has several restaurants in London. The food is fresh, contemporary Mediterranean and always delicious. Reservation recommended.

  • Jamie's Italian is a busy restaurant in Covent Garden serving classic Italian food. It is conveniently located to most of the major West End theatres. 

  • Borough Market is a lively and colourful food market on the south bank of the River Thames. The market is crowded with vendors selling fresh produce as well as many stalls and small restaurants surrounding the market where you can purchase a bite to eat for lunch.

  • Cote Brasserie in St. Katherine's Dock near Tower Hill is a French inspired restaurant that has several locations throughout London. The food was very good, including many classic French dishes.

  • Angelus is a small, elegant French restaurant north of Hyde Park. The food was very good and they had a nice selection of French wines. 

  • The Grain Store is located north of Kings Cross Station, on the north side of the Regents Canal. It is a spacious, industrial-chic restaurant with expanded kitchen and a creative, vegetable-based menu.

 

Cambridge:

  • Eagle Pub is the oldest pub in Cambridge. Although it's a well-known establishment, the food is just typical pub grub.

Favourite Museums

London:

  • Courtauld Gallery is a small and exquisite art museum in Somerset House on the Strand. It houses a beautiful collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces. 

  • Kensington Palace is the childhood home of Queen Victoria and is presently the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The State Rooms are open to the public, including a display of many paintings and other objects from the Royal Collection.

  • The Tate Modern is a modern art gallery located on the south bank of London. It was a former power station which was renovated. The architecture is beautiful. The exhibits are good, particularly if you enjoy modern art as there are many cutting edge works. The collection is impressive.

  • National Gallery houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900, including many masterpieces.

 

London has incredible world-class museums and galleries. Over the years I have been to many. To read about more museums that I recommend in London, please read my blog post London Museums you won't want to miss

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London itinerary

November may not seem like the ideal time to visit London but my son was studying there for a year so we did a few trips to visit him. Luckily the weather was quite mild and we didn't have any rain. There's always so much to see and do in London, it never gets tiring. Although we like to explore and experience new things on each trip, there are some things that we enjoy doing over and over again. 

For more things to do in London, please check my London Itinerary in 4 days and my posting on London museums you won't want to miss in Travel Tips.

 
Itinerary Add-ons

This itinerary can be combined with:​