How to Spend 40 Hours in London

We have been fortunate to visit London previously, so after a busy few weeks of travel, we went into our brief stopover en route back home thinking we would “relax.” We are adventurers but also very talented loungers. And Grosvenor House (A JW Marriott Hotel) right on Hyde Park in Mayfair is the perfect place to do that.

But London (rain or shine) has incredible energy and remembrance for us. So, as we are wont to do, we jam packed our quick visit with lots and lots of activity and steps (you read the fondue post, right?)

Lots of gorgeous strolls under hazy skies:

London Parliament along the Thames River
London Parliament along the Thames River
Walking in Westminster
Walking in Westminster
Saint Paul's Cathedral
Saint Paul’s Cathedral – going for a much better outcome than Charles and Princess Di

Lots of pints:

The Churchill Arms Pub in Notting Hill
The Churchill Arms Pub in Notting Hill
The Audley Pub in Mayfair
The Audley Pub in Mayfair
The Anchor Pub in Southwark
The Anchor Pub in Southwark

A dinner at the most gorgeous and cozy garden terrace, the Ivy Chelsea Garden:

Fireplace @ The Ivy
A recommendation from a new, and stunning, British friend doing the expat thing in New York with my sister!
Cozy @ The Ivy
Cozy @ The Ivy
Terrace @ The Ivy
Terrace @ The Ivy

An afternoon at the market in Southwark: 

The market, a far more enjoyable and less claustrophobic Reading Terminal Market equivalent, dates back over a thousand years! I first visited in 2009 with my dear friend Josh during our respective semesters abroad and love to come for a post-lunch cookie (or, taco.)

tps://″ alt=”Borough Market in Southwark” width=”500″ height=”667″ /> Borough Market in Southwark

[/caption]Fruit @ Borough Market

Bread at Borough Market

Lots of fond childhood memories:

Peter Pan Statue in Hyde Park
Peter Pan Statue in Hyde Park

My sister and I have been obsessed with London likely since the opening scenes of the movie Hook and this statue makes a special appearance in the movie, and is also in the Mary Kate & Ashley classic – Winning London. You’re welcome.

Harry Potter Exhibit at the British Library
Harry Potter Exhibit at the British Library
Ring a bell from book one?
Shakespeare in Southwark
Shakespeare in Southwark – not fair to call this a “childhood memory” – but I read “The Merchant of Venice” in high school. Counts!

The Harry Potter Exhibit at the British Library has already sold more than 250,000 tickets and is coming to New York next fall – details here! No photos were permitted but my favorite part was reading J.K. Rowling’s original book proposal, her detailed sketch of how the entire series would unfold, and one very important handwritten review. You may have heard that Harry Potter was rejected by all but one publisher, Bloomsbury Publishing. An executive brought home the manuscript home to his eight year old daughter, a little Miss Alice Newton. The first line of her note “review” read: “The excitement in this book made me feel warm inside.” 

Gave me such a happy chill. Bless you, Alice! My husband pointed out that the ticket “queue” had folks of all ages – toddlers to grandparents … so if you are 20 years late to the party, you really should read the Harry Potter series. And after, you should write Alice a thank you letter.

Paddington″ alt=”Was a pretty big Paddington fan” width=”500″ height=”538″ /> Was a pretty big fan

<figure id=”attachment_1775″ align=”aligncenter [/caption]

Chowing on some marmalade sandwiches

Lots of momentous relationship milestones: [caption id=”attachment_1856″ align=”aligncenter” width=”500″ height=”667″ alt=”Ferris Wheel in Hyde Park”>Ferris Wheel in Hyde Park

Ferris Wheel in Hyde Park – we got engaged in one of those little cars in November of 2011
So much love for you, London. I first came here in 2005 to play soccer as a Abercrombie clad high school know-it-all. It was that visit which sparked my wanderlust and inspired a passion to see the world. I can say with near 100% certainty it is because of that trip that we are moving to Geneva now.

Our engagement here in 2011 only solidified its place in my heart as a very special city – it’s sometimes moody, mysterious, full of history and eccentricity, and it’s quirky charm lives on every corner. It won’t be our last visit, so if you have suggestions please let me know!

And, if you are visiting anytime soon – I am starting to develop “city guides” – “one pagers” of our must do’s/eats/drinks in some of our favorite locations for download. Do stay tuned and I will update this post with a link to the London guide when created!


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Carly says:

    The Ivy looks amazing- can’t believe I didn’t discover that when I was living there. A must see when I go back!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amanda says:

    This is the perfect article to point me in the right direction. I just purchased tickets for the Harry Potter exhibit at the British Library Thanks Nicole!

    Liked by 1 person

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