Put on your sensible shoes because this is a whirlwind itinerary that includes lots of shopping!
I used to live in London. Five years I spent as an expat trying to blend with the locals. I had the empty stare on the Tube down pat, and if there were no seats I mastered standing like a surfer riding the tunnels without holding on. It was the lurching stops that threw me. But now when I go back to visit, I must be ruthless for I no longer have the luxury of weeks to see all my favourite things.
So here is my perfect two days in London:
Start in Knightsbridge and head straight for Harrods. This iconic department store has rooms upon rooms and one can get quite lost in here. Make a beeline for the basement and grab something for brunch. Their food is fantastic. Then lose yourself in the fashion floors, homewares and accessories.
Step out of Harrods onto Brompton Road and ferret through the high street stores of Hobbs, Benetton, French Connection, Monsoon, Zara, Coast, Warehouse, Gap. You may be lured into Jimmy Choo, Gucci or Ted Baker, but if you’re anything like me you won’t stay long!
By now you’ll be needing a late lunch and my tip is to make it a lavish High Tea.
Make a booking at The Goring and take the Tube to Victoria Station. This hotel was where Kate Middleton (and her hot sister Pippa) got ready for the royal wedding. It’s also the “overflow” from Buckingham Palace so expect to hob nob with high society here. It’s also quite possibly the best high tea in London, so save plenty of room.
Now that you’re replete, take a bus to King’s Road and start at department store Peter Jones before high tailing it up the high street.
I love the Conran Shop, Anthropologie, Jigsaw, Cath Kidston, Whistles, Banana Republic. If you’re in the market for a pair of Cowboy-style boots you’ll love the cheekily named R Soles. You’ll also find a few of the same shops as Brompton Road – which is good if you saw something you were umm-ing and ahh-ing about!
Now for dinner.
I say Covent Garden where you’ll find wine bars, pubs and restaurants, buskers and boutiques.
Just away from the square is Porterhouse, a 2-level Irish pub where they brew their own beer. And of course when you’re in London you really should have a curry! I can recommend Dishoom for modern Indian cuisine. It’s not far from Porterhouse and is popular (read: busy) but they have a downstairs bar to wait in and get your starters underway.
Leave a whole day to shop Oxford Street. Hours are 9am-8pm.
Starting at Marble Arch head straight for Marks and Spencers then next door to Next and Dorothy Perkins before having a good look around Selfridges. This is also the place to stop for lunch, or for a designer sandwich on the run try Pret a Manger across the road.
Continue towards Oxford Circus and whiz into department store Debenhams to see what’s on the racks here. Just along and House of Fraser is worth a look at for Mary Portas’ range. H&M is up at the circus and a huge Top Shop is across the road.
Decision time: head down Regent Street or continue along Oxford. I like Regent Street and always browse through Liberty. If you have kids to buy for you can’t go past Hamleys (although there is almost always a crush in here). You’ll find Esprit, Calvin Klein, Levis, Zara, Mango (across the road from Burberry) and before you know it, you’ve reached Piccadilly Circus.
This evening take in a West End Show.
Your choices are overwhelming, so head for a last minute ticket office in Leicester Square and see what’s available. If you’ve never seen the Phantom of the Opera, make Her Majesty’s Theatre your first show in London and pay for the best seats you can afford.
You’ll thank me later!