From shopping and museums to botanical gardens and martinis, here’s how to spend a perfect 72 hours in London.


What to Do in London
Thursday Afternoon



How to Spend a Perfect Weekend in London

It’s hard to picture a softer landing than reception at Beaverbrook Townhouse, Chelsea’s chicest boutique hotel featuring cheery yet sophisticated interiors by London’s own Nicola Harding. With just 14 suites each named after and inspired by venerable London theaters and congenial “hosts” armed with insider tips for navigating London, arriving at the Sloane Street hotel, which just opened in fall 2021, feels like coming home to the bespoke Georgian townhouse of your dreams. (Guests even have access to the exclusive Cadogan Park across the street.)
Drop your bags, then set out on foot to explore Chelsea’s most charming shops, starting on Pavilion Road, a pedestrian lane lined with boutiques and artisan food shops, then make your way to the most stylish cluster of design and antiques shops dotting the Pimlico Road, all within about a ten-minute walk from your hotel. Don’t miss: Robert Kime, Timothy Langston, Paolo Moschino, Chelsea Textiles, Soane Britain, Colefax & Fowler, Fermoie, Jamb, Bonadea, Rose Uniacke, Daylesford, Cox London and so many more.
After so much shopping, it’s time to indulge a London ritual: afternoon tea. Another casual 15-minute walk will lead you to Belgravia’s The Goring, a favorite spot of Queen Elizabeth II and the only hotel in the world to hold a royal warrant. Our favorite picks are The Goring’s own afternoon blend or its English mint herbal infusion, both of which pair surprisingly well with a glass of Bollinger—is served on the veranda or in the garden when the weather is nice. Come hungry: The crustless sandwiches, scones and clotted cream, and cakes are not to be missed (and can be packed up in a take-home box for late-night snacking).
Thursday Evening

Save room for dinner back at Beaverbrook Townhouse, starting with a drink at Sir Frank’s Bar where signature martinis invoke famous London figures from history and fiction. Paper lantern sconces, tables clad in Japanese matchbox covers, and a collection of 19th century Japanese wood-block prints serve as visual “appetizers” for the cuisine at the hotel’s restaurant, the Fuji Grill. There you’ll feast on sushi, sashimi, nigiri and other seasonal Japanese dishes featuring produce from Townhouse’s sister property in Surrey, Beaverbrook Estate.

Friday Morning
After a quintessentially English breakfast at the hotel, it’s time to for some World War II history at the Churchill War Rooms, the now-famous Whitehall basement offices turned top-secret government headquarters during the Second World War. Tickets provide access to not only the narrow corridors connecting the bedrooms, dining rooms, offices, and map room where Churchill and his cabinet oversaw the war effort from 1939-1945 but also to the Churchill Museum, an immersive and interactive exhibit exploring the 90-year life of the prime minister. Be sure to book tickets in advance to avoid long lines and plan to spend between 2-2.5 hours at the museum.

So much history calls for an indulgent midday meal, and The Wolseley in London’s Mayfair neighborhood is more than happy to oblige lingering over lunch. The Piccadilly setting is just as spectacular as the continental fare: First opened in 1921 as a luxury car showroom for Wolseley Motors, the space was reworked to house Barclays Bank in 1927 and reimagined as an all-day café in 2003 with many of its original design details—the domed ceiling, the geometric marble flooring—still on exuberant display.

After lunch, stretch your legs with a leisurely stroll on the streets of surrounding Mayfair, popping into art galleries for top-notch exhibits and fabled London shops like Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, Liberty of London and Savile Row.

From Mayfair, a short taxi ride (or a 30-minute walk through Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden neighborhoods) will deposit you at one of London’s most extraordinary museums, the home of Regency architect Sir John Soane. Comprising three townhouses that Soane acquired and rebuilt between 1792 and 1823, the house and his expansive collection of art, architectural models, and ancient artifacts has been preserved exactly as he left it since his death in 1837. Entry remains free for all, just as he intended. (Note: Sir John Soane’s Museum is only open Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; plan to arrive by 3:30 p.m. to ensure admittance before closing.)

Friday Evening
A day full of museum visits has earned you a decadent meal and Louie, housed in a 19th century townhouse in London’s Covent Garden neighborhood answers the call with delectable style. Featuring a menu inspired by French hospitality and its historic London home, Louie boasts a delicious raw bar as well as modern interpretations of classic French cuisine. Be sure to save room for dessert like the tarte tatin, if you’re sharing, or the southern pecan pie if you’re not!

Saturday Morning

Saturday is antiques day at the Portobello Road Market in London’s Notting Hill neighborhood, with dealers lining both sides of the famous market thoroughfare. Plan for an early start to score the best deals and discoveries—and to give yourself plenty of time to explore the expansive stalls of antique and vintage furniture, textiles, jewelry, ceramics, silver, fine china, art, and books.

Saturday Afternoon
Refuel with a contemporary take on classic English pub fare at South Kensington’s Anglesea Arms, an historic pub dating back to 1712 and located on the same street where Charles Dickens once lived. After lunch, head to the Victoria & Albert Museum, about a ten-minute walk, to explore the vast collections of fine and decorative arts spanning 5,000 years of human creativity. Design enthusiasts won’t want to miss the museum’s extensive collection of wallpaper, which it has been collecting since its founding in 1856.

No trip to London is complete without theater. Home to some of the most famous theaters in the world, from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to the Royal Opera House, which is offering an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour as part of its celebration of King Charles III’s coronation, London is considered by many to be the performing arts capital of the world. Most theaters are found in the city’s West End; if you have tickets to an evening show with a 7 p.m. showtime, late afternoon tea at one of Mayfair’s iconic hotels—Claridge’s, the Dorchester, or the Connaught with its famous martini trolley—will tide you over until after the show’s over.

Sunday Morning

Having traversed too much of the city on foot, it’s time to take in London’s sites from the River Thames. Head to Westminster Pier to and embark on a Thames River Boat journey through the cities of Westminster, Chelsea, and Putney to Kew Pier, where you’ll find yourself just a five-minute walk from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, home to some of the most diverse plant collections in the world as well as the world’s largest Victorian Glass House and the Marianne North Gallery, where over 800 of the 19th century artist’s paintings remain on display.