London, unlike Paris, simply isn’t a walking city – the main attractions are too far-flung to make it practicable so the Underground is the best way to get around if you have limited time. Make sure you have an Oyster, the all-purpose travel card for getting around the city – especially important on the buses as they no longer take cash.
Londoners aren’t big on breakfast out but for a traditional brekkie try Pellicci’s, a time warp ‘caff’ in Bethnal Green Road, East London. Formica tables, wood panels, art deco touches and great banter. Go the fry-up.
Walk up to Shoreditch/Brick Lane and follow the lane towards Whitechapel. Maybe check out the secondhand clothes at Blitz before cutting through Spitalfields market to Liverpool Street station. Catch the train to St Paul’s.
Stroll around St Paul’s Cathedral. If queues and time permit, pop in for a quick look. After which, head towards the Thames where the Millennium footbridge leads to the Tate Modern. Explore the Tate for an hour or so. It’s free to enter but you’ll need a ticket for temporary exhibitions.
Turn left along the Thames. A 10-minute walk brings you to Borough Market. Explore the goodies. Buy a picnic lunch. Continue along the south side of river to Tower Bridge. Cross it and head to the Tower of London.
Take a self-guided tour of the tower with an audio guide. This is London history writ large and it’s worth lingering for an hour or so.
Train from Tower underground station to Westminster. Admire Churchill’s statue, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey but head to Westminster Pier (by the bridge) and use
your Oyster card to buy a ticket to Greenwich.
Eat Borough Market picnic lunch on boat as it cruises past the major London landmarks on the way to Greenwich.
Head through Greenwich Park to the Royal Observatory and the prime meridian where you can have a foot in east and west at the same time. Depending on time, go in and have look around.
Catch the train to Knightsbridge for a wander around Harrods. Don’t forget to perve on the sumptuous and rightly famous Food Hall then take the train to London Bridge.
Gong is one of London's highest cocktail bars, a mere 52 floors up in the great gleaming spire of The Shard. Book ahead to get a window seat at sunset.
In the shadow of The Shard is the George pub, the only surviving galleried coaching inn in London. There’s been a pub here since medieval times but the current building ‘only’ dates from 1677. The food is simple pub fare but eating in a 400-year-old pub is pretty cool.
A 30 minute walk brings you through interesting streets to the Strand and The Savoy, where the American Bar (it closes at midnight) awaits. Maybe fork out for the Sazerac – at just £5000 it’s the world’s most expensive cocktail. Or maybe drink anything – being here is the thing.
Still feeling peckish? Catch a cab back to where it all began in East London and make a mess of yourself with a hot salt beef beigel in Brick Lane.