Tag Archives: London stopover itinerary

24 hours in London

25 Jun

In an effort to avoid long haul flights and jet lag, I decided to break up the Dubai to New York leg with a stopover in London. I had already been there in 97 but on a shoe string so my culinary experience didn’t stretch beyond hot jacket potatoes topped with curried chicken. 16 years on, a different side to London was encountered.

My time was limited to 24 hours because I was set on maximising the length of my stay in New York, a city I’d yearned to strike off my bucket list. So how much can one fit in 24 hours in London? Quite a bit especially if you avoid the shopping frenzy, put on a pair of comfortable shoes and don’t mind walking.

Breakfast was a triple shot soy latte and a freshly baked crispy croissant at Nero’s in Paddington, a coffee chain littered all over this old world city. Both were perfect. From there it was a long walk along Oxford Street, across Soho towards St James Park, Trafalgar Square then on to Embankment. I then crossed the Thames over the Waterloo Bridge (I think) and finished up walking along Southbank up to London Bridge. The weather was perfect and if you’re ever in London for a limited time, this route will give you a good snapshot of what this city is all about. A quick refreshment at the Tate bar on level 6 was a must, a nice vantage point where you can appreciate sweeping views over the Thames, from one of the window seats.

For lunch, I stopped at the Borough Markets. On Wednesdays the stalls are limited to those offering mainly prepared food like sandwiches. The range was stupendously big. Fresh truffles, cheeses, cured meats, spit roast pork, artisanal breads, ciders, sandwiches, paella, seafood, on it went. I must have spent at least one hour browsing the stalls until I settled on a choice. I couldn’t resist one of the Italian stalls, everything they offered was screaming “eat me”! I went for a simple sandwich: baby rocket, semi-dried tomatoes, laminas of mozzarella di bufala in ciabatta bread. It was one of experiences that as you ate, you never wanted the sandwich to end. I then moved on to some prosciutto which I stuffed into some bread. It was melt in the mouth stuff and slightly sweeter than any other that I had eaten before.

After an evening run in Hyde Park, a friend of mine and I set out to Oxo. It’s a restaurant perched over the Thames in southbank. If you’re in London for a short time, I recommend doing both. Hyde Park in summer is a delightful experience because it’s provides you with the opportunity to see the locals at their best: smiling and basking in the sun. Oxo, whilst the execution wasn’t perfect, the spectacular views, buzzing ambience and well thought of menu made for an overall pleasant dining experience. Unfortunately the camera wasn’t on hand to capture the dishes but if you view their website, you’ll get the idea of what it’s all about.

Until New York!

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