48 hours in London: what to do

hogwarts express

Picture the scene. You’ve just flown in and landed at Heathrow airport and you’ve got 48 hours before your next flight. What do you do? You’re in one of the most glamorous capital cities in the world, London, so there’ll be no shortage of things to do. But from the hotels in Hounslow, where do you begin? We’re here to help.

Get some shut-eye

Of course, this could be seen as the ‘cop-out’ idea as you’re not utilising your time to explore your area. But you shouldn’t think about this way as nobody knows what your situation is. You could be travelling across multiple destinations and this could be your only chance of getting some rest to let your body catch up, so it’d be very welcome. The Park Grand Hotel in Hounslow is ideally situated close to the airport, with easy transport links to the rest of London (should you venture out). The best thing about staying at a unique, boutique hotel is that you can enjoy all the luxurious amenities, the obligatory coffee and tea in the bedroom, dining and the chance to escape from the outside world. When you’re ready to resume your travels, all you need to do is step out the front door and you’ll be a stone’s throw away from the airport. You might not sleep for the full 48 hours (unless you’re really jet-lagged), which means you can still enjoy what’s rest on the list. Just look at the accommodation Heathrow has to offer and you’ll find somewhere divine to stay.

Breakfast, lunch or dinner

Yes, you’ve got two days so you probably can enjoy all of those meals but at the same time you don’t want to waste any time on eating somewhere special when you could be exploring the city. But for one of those meals, you should try out something truly unique. Perhaps you’ll go for the famous large Ostrich Egg at the Florentine Restaurant in south London, or maybe you want something spicy in the morning so a Bacon Naan at the Dishroom could be for you. There are also lots of traditional cafes where you can enjoy a proper fry up. For lunch, the Duck & Waffle is one of our fan favourites. This is in part to the amazing location up at Heron Tower and of course, the appetising lunch menu of duck and…waffles! Not only is the food great but the view’s amazing too. It’s open 24 hours a day too so if you miss lunch, you can always head there for dinner or breakfast. For dinner, why not try an experience rather than just a meal. Dinner by Heston Blumentahl at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in Knightsbridge is a plateful of history-inspired dining. It’s one that you’ll be talking about for a while.

Catch a train to Hogwards (then head over to Camden Lock)

At King’s Cross Station in London, you’ll find the home to the legendary platform 9 ¾. Okay, it might not exactly exist, but that hasn’t stopped plenty of people reenacting running into the wall. Which is why there’s now a popular tourist attraction. In the middle of the station is a trolley handle and half a trolley, obviously looking like it’s going through the magical wall. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to grab the handle by the rails, strike a pose and capture a picture of yourself entering the iconic platform. Another piece of good news is that you can park at Hounslow West station parking if you’re travelling by car and easily get into King’s Cross via the tube or bus.

After you’ve done your Harry Potter pose, you can explore north London and make the most of your time. The British Library is nearby but you won’t be around long enough to check out a book! A bit further up the road and you’ll enter the trendy town of Camden. On the high street there are a range of shops and restaurants but it’s further up towards the market where things get interesting. Unique stalls are lined up across the main road but venture further into the Camden Market and pick yourself up something truly unique. There are pieces of art, vintage clothes, furniture – you name it, you’ll find it a la Camden style. Then there’s Cyberdog which comes complete with laser light shows, techno music and occasionally cage dancers.

Take in the sights

The majority of sight-seeing in London can be done in two ways. The first is to go on a sight-seeing tour and we’d highly recommend these. Not only will you get an entertaining narrative on the areas you see but you’ll be able to fit in a lot in a short amount of time. You’ll go around and see the landmarks and have plenty of opportunities to take some photos for your Instagram. The second method is to stretch your feet and walk around. Head on over to the Embankment and see the London Eye. Walk across the Millenium Bridge. Maybe you want to go across Tower Bridge and London Bridge too? Then there’s Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and a slew of skyscrapers that just require you to look up. With easy tube and bus transport all across London, you’ll be able to pretty much see all the main sights in just one day. Which leaves you another 24 hours to fit everything else in!

Free museums

London is home to some of the most famous museums in the world. And the good news is that they’re free! The British Museum is home to ancient Greek sculptures and the famous Elgin Marbles. The Museum of London gives you a history lesson on the capital, from prehistoric times through the ages and up to the present day, while the Natural History Museum features the gigantic blue whale skeleton. And that’s just a selection of the free ones available. Perhaps you’ll fit in the Royal Air Force Museum, Tate Britain and National Portrait Gallery on your next visit?

From the Grand Park Hotel, you’ll have London delivered to you on a platter. Within the immediate vicinity you’ll have restaurants, bars and parks to explore. Which is great if you’re planning on just sticking around the hotel and relaxing. But just a hop, skip and a tube away and you’ll have the whole of London to explore. From Heathrow to the British Museum to the O2 Arena, it’s easy to do.