Even if you only have time for a layover, squeeze in a short city trip to soak in the vibes of central London. One of the world’s most vibrant capitals is a mere 15 minutes away from the airport via the express train.
Dive straight into the heart of London and revel in the hustle and bustle of Trafalgar Square, a popular place for annual Christmas and New Year celebrations. Stop to look at some art at the northwest corner, known as the Fourth Plinth. Intriguing sculptures like a giant blue cockerel and a bronze horse skeleton make for welcome memories. After a photo spree, join a free tour of the National Gallery and be mesmerised by the paintings of Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt.
Be introduced to the glitzy, leisure district of Covent Garden starting with its cobblestone-paved piazza - a passageway where street performers entertain pedestrians with various art forms. Window-shop your way down the street, past stores like cult British labels, Fred Perry and Paul Smith. At the end of the path, you’ll arrive at Seven Dials village, essentially seven streets of independent boutiques and restaurants that will surely please the most discerning of shoppers. Get your daily caffeine fix at Monmouth Coffee, which sources and roasts its own beans.
The nearby Knightsbridge area is a hotspot for high-end shopping, with a number of luxury department situated here. Definitely make a stop at Harrods – one of the most iconic department stores in the world. Its allure is mostly thanks to the Food Hall, adorned with chandeliers, art deco ceilings and marble countertops. Clink teacups over traditional afternoon tea with scones and finger sandwiches at Fortnum & Mason’s Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon before heading across the street to the Royal Academy of the Arts for a relaxing walk among beautiful artwork.
Soak in some morning sun with a leisurely stroll through Hyde Park. In the middle of the city, this Royal Park is one of the most well known parks in London that dates back to the 16th Century. The 142-hectare park is home to the famous Speakers’ Corner and monuments such as The Serpentine Bridge. For art lovers, the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens within Hyde Park displays works by international contemporary artists. On the outskirts of the park lies Buckingham Palace. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to witness their iconic Changing of the Guard ceremony, which takes place every morning during April to July and on alternate mornings during off-peak seasons.
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