A Sunday spent exploring London is always a good Sunday. While there are infinite combinations of things you could do, here are some ideas about how to spend a relaxed Sunday with a mix of touristy and local’s London!
The most iconic London Sunday should start at the Columbia Road Flower Market. This market takes place every Sunday from 8 am, on a street lined with the prettiest shops and bakeries (in case you needed anything more than the gorgeous flowers on display!). I just wish I lived in London, so I could buy ALL the flowers.
This is by no means a hidden gem or well-kept secret, so head there very very early. However, crowds or no crowds, it’s a must visit. My favorite was hearing the flower vendors sell in their British accents, “Five sunnies for a fiver”, just like I had stepped into a real-life, modern day ‘My Fair Lady’!
Right after your eyes are satiated by the flowers, satiate your stomach in Shoreditch. This area of London has suddenly become very hip and cool (like Brooklyn five years ago?). It’s very fun to walk through and grab breakfast in. I recommend coffee and pastries at Paper & Cup, but there are so many options in the area!
I didn’t get a good picture of Paper & Cup, so here’s a gorgeous one from @thatgirlfleur on Instagram!
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Shoreditch is a lot of fun to walk around. Plenty of cool buildings, hipster shops and cute cafes to keep your attention!
Once you’ve had your fill of Shoreditch, head to an early lunch at Honey and Co. It’s probably a good idea to make a reservation here, because it’s a tiny little place. Leave room for their unique, delicious cheesecake. Our friends who live in London brought us here, and it was excellent. So that’s a local’s recommendation for you!
Honey and Co. is a good stepping point to wandering around in Marylebone. Fun Fact : I only learned to pronounce this correctly on my most recent London visit, it sounds more like Maar-le-bun. Marylebone is an elegant neighborhood in London, a contrast to the slightly grittier Shoreditch. Another fun fact : Harley Street, which showed up in many of the books I read when characters went to see a doctor, is in Marylebone. There is, unsurprisingly, a doctor’s office in literally every other building!
We even found some pretty mews in Marylebone, although the prettiest ones are in Notting Hill and Kensington.
My favorite stop in Marylebone is Daunt Books. This gorgeous bookstore specializes in travel. Books are arranged by regions, and each region has both guide books, gorgeous photo books and fiction set in that area! It’s so much fun, literally the perfect manifestation of travel inspiration! I could spend hours at Daunt Books, and if you are like me, you might have to skip some of the other things in this itinerary because you lost track of time!
If you can tear yourself away from Daunt Books however, then you must take yourself to a quintessentially English tradition – afternoon tea. Afternoon tea in London can range from simple to all out glamorous, and could set you back a pretty penny if you wanted it to. However, it’s completely worth it once in a while. I’ve had afternoon tea at The Wolseley in Mayfair a few years ago, and it was wonderful. We splurged on the champagne option, and I did not regret it. We also sat at a table next to Stephen Fry, so that was fun! If you want to try something other than The Wolseley, check out this list by Conde Nast Traveller. I highly recommend that you make reservations for afternoon tea.
If you do go to the Wolseley, then don’t forget to check out Fortnum and Mason close by. It’s a simply gorgeous store, dedicated to the wonderful practice of drinking tea!
Tip : Even if you don’t end up experiencing a full fledged afternoon tea, definitely stop somewhere for quick tea and scones. So English, and so worth it!
In the evening, a visit to London’s new Sky Garden is a must. This is a modern garden in the sky, overlooking the entire city. A full 360 degree view over London, even more impressive because you can see the past and the present living in perfect harmony, side by side.
They also sell cocktails here, which by New York City standards are actually pretty reasonably priced. Tickets to the Sky Garden are completely free, the only caveat being they sell out almost immediately after they are released. Tickets are released on Monday for the following week. So check out their website to figure out when the tickets for your date are released, and then set an alarm to book them!
If you get hungry, you could head to Shoreditch again, for some dinner, or even to Brick Lane if you fancy some Indian food. Dishoom in Shoreditch has suddenly shot to fame, but I haven’t personally tried it.
And that’s it! Your perfect almost non-touristy Sunday in London! How does it sound?
We usually walk around as much as we can in cities, but this time in London we rode city bikes to get around! It’s definitely a lot quicker to get from Point A to Point B on a bike, but you do miss out on some gorgeous photos. The roads aren’t as busy on weekends, (and British drivers are generally very polite!) so it’s not scary to ride on the streets. You pay £2 to start off and as long as you return the bikes to a docking station within half an hour, the ride is free. So essentially, you can ride along to all of these spots I mentioned for a total of £2! Again, you can thank my friends in London for this idea, another tip only locals could give you!!
London is definitely one of my most favorite cities in the world. I’ve romanticized it through reading hundreds of books set in London through the ages. Luckily this is one instance where reality has lived up to my imagination. Every single time I’ve visited, I feel an instant connection. Every single time I leave, I miss it more than any other city I visit.
Does London tug at your heartstrings too? Or do you have another favorite city?