Here is the second instalment of my itinerary for tourists visiting London.
If you have not yet read my previous article, please check it out!
The Mall is a 930m ceremonial road connecting Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square.
Because the Queen uses it, the road is not black, but a pink colour!
It is usually open to the public, so members of the public can come and go along the walking paths and jogging trails.
Buckingham Palace is the residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but the Queen customarily stays up in the north during the summer to avoid the heat, and so it’s only during that time that part of the Palace is open to the public.
Because so many people want to have a chance to see the inside of the Palace, the advance online reservation is essential.
If you check the schedule on the official website and it fits in with your timetable, I recommend that you visit. (If you do, you’ll need to adjust the rest of this itinerary accordingly. It will take about two to three hours with an audio guide.)
|Location (Google Maps)||Westminster, London SW1A 1AA|
It’s about a fifteen minute walk through The Mall from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace.
Afternoon tea at an hotel or in a café
Afternoon tea is very ‘British’ activity! Enjoy tea poured from a real teapot into a proper china teacup – tea first, milk after!
It’s taken with scones and cakes served on a three-tier tray in a luxurious hotel tea room.
It is a wonderful experience not only for women but also for men.
My dad (65 years old) was completely absorbed in the atmosphere and enjoyed afternoon tea twice during his stay.
You can take afternoon tea in a variety of places, from first-class hotels to small cafes. But wherever you go, please don’t forget to make a reservation in advance, if necessary.
Option – 1: Lanesborough (Hotel)
I personally recommend the Hotel Lanesborough in Knightsbridge.
This hotel has a prestigious tea room that has been selected as serving the “Best Afternoon Tea” by none other than the British Tea Association.
I like the fact that the price is reasonable for the high quality and that there are very few tourists.
|Location (Google Maps)||Hyde Park Corner, London SW1X 7TA|
It takes about fifteen minutes to walk from Buckingham Palace to The Lanesborough.
Option – 2: Patisserie Valerie (Café)
If you want to enjoy afternoon tea in more casual surroundings, how about this?
‘Patisserie Valerie’ is a chain of French confectionery stores, and ‘tea for two’ costs only £25! No reservation is required, so you can just drop in for tea!
|Location (Google Maps)||162 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1J 9EF|
You can walk to The Patisserie Valerie from Buckingham Palace in about ten minutes.
Shopping or Art appreciation
Option – 1: Harrods (Shopping)
This is the most famous luxury department store in the UK.
It is also the largest, covering a whopping 90,000 m2, and it takes more than half a day to explore from the top to the bottom.
Harrods is famous for its enormous selection of products, and it is said that the store stocks its shelves based on the belief that “every product is for every person, everywhere”.
Nylon bags with the famous “Harrods” logo can be purchased in the store basement and there are many original goods that can only be obtained here.
This is the place to enjoy shopping to your heart’s content!
|Location (Google Maps)||87-135 Brompton Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL|
Harrods is about a ten minute walk from The Lanesborough.
Option – 2: Victoria and Albert Museum (Art appreciation)
This is one of my favorite museums.
It was founded in 1852 thanks to the efforts of Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert. With a wide collection of paintings, sculptures, glass crafts, metalwork, ceramics, jewellery and antique furniture, it is also well-known for its large number of exhibition rooms.
There are many exhibits related to “design”, and I never get tired of seeing them, so I forget the passage of time when I walk around its halls. This is a must-see especially for those who are interested in designing clothes, furniture, tableware, etc.
Above all, the “Jewelry Collection of the World” is definitely worth seeing.
Photography is prohibited, but you can get up close and take a look at the delicately crafted royal collection and the stunningly large diamond tiaras.
|Location (Google Maps)||Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL|
The Victoria and Albert Museum is about a ten minute walk from Harrods.
South Kensington Tube Station is just a four minute walk from the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the area around it is rather fashionable and a good place to ‘promenade’.
You might not feel very hungry yet because of the afternoon tea, but I still recommend having supper here.
Oriental Canteen (Chinese food) is fine if you want to have cheap and easy meal. Or you may prefer Tapas Brindisa South Kensington (Spanish food / tapas) all you need is alcohol and a snack.
There are many other options, so you can take a walk around and find a restaurant that suits you.
We are coming to the end of our first day of sightseeing.
Space precludes me from introducing more fascinating places here, but there are quite a few more that I’d really like to recommend; so ‘stay tuned’ for Part 3!