IT'S up there as one of the greatest cities in the world. Steeped in history, London is the capital of England and historic home of Henry VIII. Go there and you'll be amazed by a buzzing cosmopolitan city that has so much to offer.
Whether making a brief visit or stopping over for a wider adventure in Europe, London is a delight for tourists. It's also perfect for day trips, but it's often difficult to know where to start your sightseeing adventure. Creating an itinerary is a must if you want to get the most out of the English capital during a short stopover, especially as the city is chock full of wonderful attractions, restaurants and things to do.
Leaving out the most obvious sights such as Buckingham Palace and the London Eye, you can still enjoy the city and avoid the tourist traps by checking out hidden gems. We spent 24 hours in London as follows and think you'll enjoy it just as much as we did.
Sir John Soane’s Museum
One of England’s most famous architects, Sir John Soane was a passionate collector. He amassed thousands of antiques and works of art during his lifetime. Entry to the Sir John Soane's museum is free, but even better is the museum's guided tour which takes a little over an hour. The tour involves being shown around the various rooms of the museum that used to be Sir John’s family home. Works of art include original paintings by the famous Italian artist Canaletto, several Turners and William Hogarth’s The Rakes Progress as well as sculptures, an Egyptian sarcophagus, period furniture and the impressive interior of the building itself.
Lincoln Inn Fields
Directly opposite Sir John Soane’s museum is Lincoln Inn Fields, the largest public park in London. Lincoln Inn Fields is thought by many to have been the inspiration for New York’s Central Park. It’s a great spot to relax and digest and chat about the wealth of information and wonderful things you saw on the guided tour of Sir John Soane's museum just moments before.
Lunch at ROVI
Israeli-English chef Yotam Ottolenghi is quite simply our new favourite chef. His newest restaurant is ROVI in London's Fitzrovia, which has been enjoying rave reviews from food critics and diners alike.
Specialising in vegetables, though not exclusively, we shared a selection of the restaurant’s small plates including a dish of lobster crumpet, kumquat and chilli sauce, also courgettes with goat’s cheese yoghurt, Aleppo butter and Malawah bread and beef carpaccio with beetroot, blackberries and Crowdie. These are ideal as shared platters and we had a couple more.
The savoury dishes, packed with flavor, were followed by flaugnard, apricot, flaked almond, fig leaf icecream for dessert.
ROVI also features a large central bar with cocktails based on seasonal spices and house shrubs, and a dynamic low-intervention wine list from small producers.
We won't lie, we indulged from the wine menu, including a Spanish sweet sherry. Everything we tasted was delicious and our waiter was relaxed, efficient and very helpful.
The beautifully designed 85-seat space is bright, almost Scandinavian in its mood enhancing design, and features an open kitchen and impressive oval-shaped bar.
Stroll Through Highgate Cemetery
Walk off your meal at Highgate Cemetery where illustrious figures from the 19th century and modern times are buried. Among them are German philosopher Karl Marx and the late Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. There are over 170,000 people in 53,000 graves including pop artist Patrick Caulfield, Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy author Douglas Adams and novelist George Eliot. Pick up a tacky Karl Marx stuffed doll on your way out to prove that capitalism is alive and well even if he isn’t.
Visit the Tate Modern
A tube ride and short walk to the Tate Modern includes a stroll past St Paul’s, which you can also see from the bridge that takes you to Tate Modern. We checked out Danish-Icelandic sculptor Olafur Eliasson’s hugely fun In Real Life retrospective, which includes a huge fog tunnel – so good we had to walk through it twice – as well as many more of his most thought provoking installations.
See Hamilton West End
Has anyone been to see Lin-
Hamilton is the story of Alexander Hamilton. The mixed race illegitimate son of a Scottish nobleman was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Set to hip hop, R&B and more traditional Broadway-style tunes, Hamilton is gripping and relentless, the songs are great and the choreography is simply out of this world.