The biggest mistake that people make when planning a big holiday is packing too much in at once (both into your luggage and your schedule). So do not treat your body like the proverbial exploding suitcase and tire yourself out to the point where you need a holiday to recover from your holiday. I therefore present you with: One Week in London: Express.
The idea behind this is to choose one big focal point for each day. This way, you know that you have maximised the time on your trip and are then free to spend the rest of your time exploring the corresponding areas at your leisure before you retire to your lodging at the Paddington Court Executive Rooms, which you got at an absolute steal because of your membership to Premier Club Rewards London Hotels.
Divide your planned activities depending on whether they are better suited to the weekend or the weekday. Some attractions are so popular that your only chance of properly enjoying them is to go while the rest of London is at work, while others cannot be truly appreciated without the vibe that comes with the crowds of the weekend.
I would suggest starting your trip to London by hitting all the big monuments that you cannot leave without seeing and, fortunately for you, you can do them all in one day with minimal strain. I would suggest booking one of the very many Hop-On-Hop-Off tours that will allow you to be transported all over Central London to see every monument that there is on offer: all while comfortably seated on your bus and with audio commentary. I will caution you to really research the company before booking because I had a particularly unpleasant and expensive experience a while ago – but the other tour that I used was excellent and worth every single penny!
The essentials of my misfortune was that I was persuaded to buy a slightly more expensive bus tour because it boasted a ‘free’ promotional tour of the Thames, which other companies did not. Unfortunately, we were informed at the docks of the cruise by the core tour company that the website we booked our tickets from (an affiliate of theirs) was ‘mistaken’. After hours on the phone and an anthology of formal complaints, neither company agreed to refund my money because they felt the liability lay with the other or my misunderstanding of the (in my humble opinion, misleading) advertising. Moral: always book with the core company and if the deal sounds too-good-to-be-true compared to the others: it probably is. A company that I would highly recommend is Golden Tours.
A day trip that you will be so glad that you took is The Warner Brothers Studio Tour where you will get to experience all of the original sets, costumes and special effects of the Harry Potter films up-close-and-personal. It’s a little far getting there and back and you will spend a good few hours walking around, so make sure your next day is a relaxed one.
Perhaps you next day should include some retail therapy? London is not short of high-street or high-fashion options – but there is no reason that you should not get to experience both: even if you cannot afford to buy the latter. I call this “museum shopping” where you treat the shop as you would any other exhibition: to walk around in either appreciation or judgement of the wearable art around you in Liberty and Selfridges while knowing fully that you can’t take them home with you. And if you can, then lucky you!
You should probably set a day aside for some actual museum exploring because London has more on display than you could see if you dedicated your full seven days to museums alone. I suggest planting yourself in Kensington where you are in the proximity of The Natural History Museum, The Design Museum (more niche, but still very interesting) as well as the catch-all classic that is the Victoria & Albert Museum. Make sure to investigate what temporary exhibitions are on show at that time, because those are usually worth the hype they are given. Said hype means that your best chances of having space to appreciate the exhibition (or even just get your hands on a ticket at all) are to go during the week.
I would then take another slow day based in the cultural hub of Shoreditch where you will be relaxed but far from bored. The greatest pull is the expanse of Street Art covering almost anything nailed down: sometimes political, sometimes just aesthetically-pleasing but always skilful expressions of creative talent. You will find boutique little shops and cafés of all kinds and little stalls and some larger markets around the corner. It is impossible to emerge uninspired from a wander around this area.
Some activities require the ambience created by other people and such is an excursion out of London to Brighton Beach. You may have to adjust your expectations of what a ‘beach day’ within the UK entails weather-wise: you might not be able to whip out your bikini but you will still have a fantastic day out. Time Out recently released a great list of things to do there. Get your shopping done at The Lanes with their iconic array of independent galleries, shops, cafés and whatever else you can imagine or venture on towards the Brighton Open Market for when the rain hits and you need to run undercover (in spite of the ironic name).
Lastly, end off the weekend with a stroll through Kensington Gardens where you can choose between marvelling at The Serpentine Gallery, The Albert Memorial or Kensington Palace – or all of the above? But a trip to London would not be complete without Afternoon Tea, so make sure to stop off at The Orangery Restaurant where you can sit back and reflect on the amazing trip you just had.