London is as vast as it is diverse. Cultural, cosmopolitan, historic, and hip, the bustling, vibrant capital has so many things happening it can be hard to keep track. One thing is for sure – you’ll never get bored with London.
Twenty-four hours in this city is barely enough to dip your toes in, so Oryx takes a look at two areas that have plenty to offer during a flying visit: South Bank – home to some of London’s oldest and most iconic attractions; and Knightsbridge and Chelsea – the ultimate places to max out your credit card.
Knightsbridge is one of the most attractive areas of central London. This is the place to go if you’re looking for prestigious brands and up-to-the-minute trends from the world’s fashion elite.
South Bank is an eclectic area of landmarks, theatres, arts, and design-led venues. The area is buzzing with things to see and do all year round: free events, music, film, exhibitions, dance, theatre, debates, and festivals.
Knightsbridge and Chelsea
Take the Tube to Sloane Square and head to The Grocer on Kings (184a Kings Road) for coffee and delicious homemade pastries – fuel for the hard day’s shopping ahead.
Walk down King’s Road, made famous by the ‘Swinging Sixties’ and punk-fuelled ’70s, to where the doyenne of punk fashion, Vivienne Westwood, still runs her World’s End store.
And now to Brompton Road for Harrods. Its impressive interior displays an incredible array of luxury goods. With 330 departments over seven floors, you could spend the day here.
Take a well-deserved break for lunch at Ishbilia (9 William Street), a vibrant place to enjoy Middle Eastern cuisine in a chic setting. Opt for the set menu with its seemingly endless dishes.
Wander over to One Hyde Park, billed as the world’s most expensive apartment complex. Nip over to Hyde Park for a stroll away from the hustle and bustle before hitting the shops again.
For designer clothes, look no farther than Sloane Street: Christian Dior, Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Armani, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Jimmy Choo, and many more.
For unusual accessories to complete your outfit grab a bespoke handbag from Lulu Guinness (3 Ellis Street) or Anya Hindmarch (15–17 Pont Street), both just off Sloane Street.
Time to eat, and Zuma (5 Raphael Street) is a Japanese restaurant in the heart of Knightsbridge. The swanky interior exudes style; try the lobster with spicy ponzu sauce.
Rest your weary legs and relax with a cool drink in the leather armchairs at Mandarin Bar (Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park). Sophisticated, yet unpretentious.
For peace and tranquillity, take a late-night walk over to the upmarket Chelsea Harbour marina and watch the lights reflecting on the water amongst the luxury yachts.
London – south bank
South Bank is the cultural heart of the city, bursting with things to see and do.
Start your day at the Tower of London. Formerly a royal palace, it also served as an armoury and even housed a menagerie. Marvel at the Crown Jewels, and hear tales from the famous Yeoman Warders, or ‘Beefeaters’.
Cross over Tower Bridge, one of the great engineering feats of its time, and visit the Tower Bridge Experience inside to learn the history behind its creation. Enjoy the panoramic views and visit the original Victorian bridge engines.
Explore the historic riverside street of Shad Thames, where Terence Conran established a number of his acclaimed riverside restaurants, including Le Pont de la Tour, the Blueprint Café, and the Butler’s Wharf Chop House.
After lunch, walk past the distinctive curved glass Mayor’s building (City Hall), and head to the London Dungeon, where actors, rides, and special effects transport you back into the capital’s most blood-curdling history.
Go back up Tooley Street and weave along the river, past the Golden Hinde (Pickfords Wharf, Clink Street), a full-sized reconstruction of the Tudor warship in which Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe from 1577 to 1580.
Just past Southwark Bridge you’ll see Shakespeare’s Globe (21 New Globe Walk). Take a tour of the theatre and auditorium exploring the life of Shakespeare, the London where he lived, and the history of the playhouse for which he wrote.
Carry on slightly farther up the river to Tate Modern for international modern and contemporary art, housed in the former Bankside Power Station on the banks of the Thames. The restaurant on Level 7 of the gallery offers stunning views.
Next, walk across the Millennium Bridge to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Climb up the dome to the Whispering Gallery and try out its unique acoustics. Climb 271 more steps and reach the Golden Gallery where you can enjoy panoramic views.
Jump on a bus and head to Embankment Tube Station. Cross over the bridge there for last entry to enjoy the aquatic adventures of London Aquarium or the modern art of The Saatchi Gallery, followed by an all-important trip on The London Eye.
If you have any energy left, cross over Westminster Bridge to see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. The clock tower looks spectacular at night when the four clock faces are illuminated.
Grab a bus heading up Parliament Street/Whitehall, which will take you past Downing Street – try to get a glimpse of Number 10 through the gates – before reaching Trafalgar Square at the top.
Ponder there, or head left down The Mall for Buckingham Palace. The Queen’s official London residence, with an astonishing 775 rooms, is one of the few working royal palaces in the world today.
Wander through Green Park to The Ritz (150 Piccadilly) to catch the last sitting of Afternoon Tea at The Ritz, which has become an institution in itself. Due to its popularity, advanced booking is a must.
If you plan to stay the night, the Penthouse Suite at St. James’s Hotel and Club (7–8 Park Place) has a private roof terrace with panoramic views of the skyline – perfect for unwinding after a packed day.
London, England> Book Now
Distance: 5,219 km
Flight Time: 7 hours, 35 minutes
Frequency: 6 flights a day