As much as I love jetting away for a sunshiney break, I equally enjoy a good old UK break to one of my favourite cities. As I live in Manchester, I genuinely love going that bit more full-on with the hustle and bustle of city life, and heading down south to London.
My recent visit to London was made much more fun thanks to Thistle hotels, who kindly collaborated with me to ensure I stay in the heart of the city, so I could experience London with convenience and ease.
I shared a lot of my highlights over on Instagram here, but if you would like to see a little round-up of the weekend, then read on!
Firstly, myself and my boyfriend were booked into the Thistle Hotel, Trafalgar, which is perfectly situated in-between Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square. Although this area is super busy, the hotel is within a five minute walk of around 3 different tube stations, making it super easy to get around and make plans for a full-on, fun filled weekend.
We arrived on the Friday evening and booked into the Thistle Hotel for dinner, alongside our two night stay. We’d both been working all Friday and due to severe winds, our Virgin Train was delayed an hour heading down, so we just wanted to enjoy some lovely food at the hotel before having a wander around the area.
The hotel rooms are comfortable and modern, in which our room has a huuuuuge bed which I literally sunk into the minute I arrived.
After making myself a coffee from the hotel’s Nespresso machine, we headed down to the hotel restaurant to tuck into a big meal.
I’ve shared some menu photos for you, but to sum it up, we shared a couple of small plates for a starter (hot and spicy chicken wings, chorizo and sourdough bread, and tzatziki and warm pitta) before I went and ordered a delicious chicken pie with mash. Well, I am a Northerner after all!
As the hotel is a short walk into China Town, we headed off for a stroll around after our evening meal. After we ventured through the streets of China Town (I love that place!), we soon found ourselves in the heart of Soho, exploring all the quirky little bars.
For a Friday evening, this place was absolutely buzzing with people, both local Londoners and tourists from all over the country/world. Soho has such an eclectic vibe, with a real mix of premium, more impressive bars mixed with your traditional local boozer style pubs, each one being warm and welcoming.
Our Thistle hotel offered up a buffet style breakfast in the morning, which certainly did the trick to fill our bellies for a long day ahead, exploring the rest of London. I can’t get enough of buffet breakfasts, and this one in particular *made* me go back for around three different servings.
The first is also a cereal and toast dish, the second tends to be a full English, and the third is a random concoction of pastries, cake, fruit, yogurt and even more bread. Does anyone else do this?!
Well they do say breakfast should be one of your biggest meals!
We spent the first part of the day walking along the Embankment area of London, before heading towards Tower Bridge and Westminster areas, walking along the River Thames the whole time. I truly do love that walk, passing by the London Eye, then onto Borough Market and straight down to the Tower of London.
There was a fabulous South American food and drink festival on right at the foot of Tower Bridge, which made a lovely resting spot for us!
I also got a little lost in exploring second hand book markets situated along the riverbank too on the Saturday. I love a good second hand book rummage!
For lunch, we headed back down to the Borough Market end and found a cute little tapas place called Boro Bistro. We ideally wanted somewhere we could pick at a few sharing dishes together, enjoy a glass of wine, and sit outside while the sun was still shining (although it was an awfully windy day – typical Britain!).
This place is what I’d call a bit of a hidden gem. Obviously, Borough Market is fabulous for food, and I’ve raved about it previously on both the blog and Instagram. But if you want a proper sit down meal rather than your grab-and-go street food, Boro Bistro is a fabulous place nestled underneath the entrance of the market, down some steps.
We used the weekend as an opportunity to be real London tourists, as it was such a lovely experience to be in the city for a break rather than for work meetings.
As out hotel was so handy in terms of location, we managed to get around Westminster Abby, Sky Gardens and the more central business district area of London, for a good old varied exploring session!
Oh yes, and I almost forgot! I feel like we packed in so much into one day I’m almost forgetting some other key hotspots we checked out. We discovered the loveliest green area of London, walking around St James Gardens and Park, as well as seeing Buckingham Palace, and the Changing of the Guards, which were all brilliant tourist attractions to see!
We massively messed up when we went to visit the Sky Gardens. Tickets book up real fast here, which I was not area of (duh!) so we just walked around the area where you can see the Gherkin and Walkie Talkie buildings, but didn’t actually get to go inside for the views.
Ah well, lesson learnt, and it’s totally one for next time!
A huge thank you to Thistle Hotel Trafalgar for hosting us for the weekend. It’s a fantastic base if you are looking at packing in lots of sight-seeing on your London trip, with an abundance of bars, restaurants, tube stations, shops and tourist attractions literally on your door step.
We’ll be back for sure!