The Ultimate Guide For 72 Hours In London
What an amazing and spontaneous 72 hours in London! A little less than a month ago my mom and I booked our flight knowing we really didn't have anything planned but wanted an excuse to visit my sister. I think one of my favorite parts from the trip was having such an incredible girls weekend in London...something I will cherish forever and have always wanted to do. If you ever have the opportunity to travel with your mom, sister or have a girls weekend, I highly recommend finding a time to do it. Not only do you get to explore a unique place, but you make incredible memories.
Even with the short weekend we had in the city, we made the most of our time and fit in a lot of tourist attractions, delicious restaurants and several photo taking opportunities. Because I enjoyed my trip so much, I wanted to share some tips for traveling to London and what places to see during a short vacation!
We took a Thursday night red eye, which was perfect so we wouldn't miss too many days of work. When my mom and I arrived Friday, we had most of the day to ourselves before my sister's train arrived in London. We checked into our hotel, the Residence Inn London Bridge, and ended up taking a quick nap because we were so jet lagged. To be honest, we loved our hotel. It wasn't fancy, but there was so much room with two king beds, two bathrooms and a kitchen area. Also great to get some Marriott points!
After our quick nap, we started to explore the city by checking out Camden Market. We grabbed a bite at a pub in the area then started to walk around to check out all the shops and vendors. The food stations were very cool with unique cuisine, and they had some interesting sellers and shops for you to discover.
Wanting a change of scenery, we took the tube to Covent Garden which was SO cute! This definitely was more my speed, with market stalls, beautiful artwork, higher-end shops, and adorable cafes. As we were walking around, I loved all the store fronts because most of them had beautiful florals framing their doors. Coven Garden is really known for it's rich heritage, while being harmoniously balanced as a dinning and shopping destination with a blend of global brands.
It was finally time to pick my sister up at Kings Cross train station, and we basically tackled her because we were so excited to see her! With everyone so tired, we went to a fabulous restaurant near our hotel--Jamie's Italian Restaurant. Everything was delicious, and they had a wide array of Italian appetizers, pasta dishes and entrees. The dessert was also incredible!
Packing in a full day, we enjoyed a complimentary breakfast at the hotel and walked to Tower Bridge to take some photos. Often confused with London Bridge, Tower Bridge is an icon in London and arguably one of the most famous structures. While we didn't do the tour inside, you can purchase tickets to further discover its history, panoramic views, and experience the glass floor Walkway.
Following our walk around Tower Bridge, we took the tube to the London Eye for photos across the river. Photo tip, there's plenty of great spots to take a photo but it's pretty cool positioning the London Eye behind you for the full London effect. For the London Eye, we actually purchased our tickets through Marriott (another way to get points), but you can purchase them on site or online! I have a huge fear of heights, but knew this was something on my sister's bucket list, so I enjoyed the ride while sitting on the bench inside the London Eye pod. It is a pretty remarkable sight to see the whole city from an aerial view, so definitely try to carve out time during your visit. The lines are pretty long when waiting, but it's not too bad.
Unfortunately Big Ben was under construction, but we were still able to walk by it after the London Eye and also took photos at the classic red telephone "boxes" (as the U.K. calls them). Originally introduced in 1924 by Giles Gilbert Scott, the telephone boxes today have become a photo staple for London, especially for their bright pop of color.
We then headed to Buckingham Palace followed by Harrods. When deciding where to go, we started at places closest to our hotel and picked 'landmarks' and tourist attractions that we knew we had to see. Harrods was really impressive, especially with how much we love food in my family! All the displays were truly stunning.
For the last stop of our day, we booked tea at Fortnum and Mason's The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon and were so excited to visit with our long-time family friend who lives in London. The tea was so decadent, and if you're looking for a traditional tea experience I highly recommend making reservations and splurging on this experience. They had a few menu option, an entire menu dedicated to teas and once you pick your food and tea selection, everything was unlimited. It was definitely the highlight of my trip and they even gave us each a box of cake when we left. It's also the perfect place for souvenirs!
After tea, we went back to the hotel and enjoyed pizza and wine (even after everything we ate! HA!)
For our last day, it was foggy and rainy so we headed to the National Gallery to look at all the beautiful artwork. Our favorite exhibit was the impressionist artwork, however they have some really wonderful exhibits. We also walked around Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, and Oxford Street everything was pretty close to each other, about a 15-minute walking distance.
We grabbed lunch with our cousins, and then went back to the hotel so Kara could pack. All of us were pretty sad to have to part ways, so we went to Kings Cross train station on the earlier side to spend time together. After Kara's train, my mom and I went to St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel to see their gorgeous grande staircase and had dinner and drinks at Booking Office (they had AMAZING fish and chips). The restaurant had such a unique atmosphere right next to a train station, with vaulted ceilings and authentic decor.
My mom and I were so tired after dinner so we went back to the hotel, packed and got ready for an early morning! To cut down costs, we took a cab to Paddington Station then boarded the Heathrow Express, which is the cheapest and fastest way to the airport.
Other places to try
We were pretty selective in what we wanted to see, especially considering the short time we were in London. However, when you're planning your itinerary, here are some other places to consider visiting! Please note I did not see these places, rather have heard about them from friends and have seen on Instagram. I recommend doing your own research to see if you're interested in going!
Other tea locations:
Other places to visit
I know I referenced this a few times, but I am a pretty avid point follower, especially for Marriott. I have the Marriott credit card and when I travel for work I try to stay at Marriotts to acquire points. They can really add up! Please use responsibly, while you can receive great benefits and perks, only spend what you can pay for.