What I would do in London if I wasn’t working

I am headed to London for a few days for work tomorrow. Unfortunately, smack dab in the middle of the week, means no real free time for Jess in London. But a girl can always daydream… here is what I would do if I had the days all to myself.

Imaginary activity number 1: Wander around the Victoria & Albert Museum of Art and Design

Aside from the fabulous Hollywood Costume and Ballroom fashion exhibits currently on display, I would love to visit the Jewellery Gallery to see the Manchester Tiara and the Architecture Galleries to learn about Islamic architecture. (Hint for those visiting London on a weekend – the V&A is open until 10pm on Fridays!) 

Imaginary activity number 2: See a show (or two) (or three) 

I seriously should have been a theatre critic because I would happily see shows everyday of the week. And London hosts the best of it. If I had time, I have heard One Man, Two Guvnors is hilarious. But I will save my tickets until I come back in February to see Helen Mirren reprising her role of the Queen in The Audience.

Imaginary activity number 3: Pub visit

Who am I kidding? This will still happen after work. But sadly perhaps only once and probably not at one of my favorite places: The Holly Bush up in Hampstead. I’m liking the sound of The Princess Louise as well, a fully restored Victorian pub. {History lesson + pint = bonus points.}

Imaginary activity number 4: River walk

When we visited London for the Queen’s Jubilee, we ended up drenched but happily wandering along the Thames river bank beside the Victoria Tower gardens, sneaking up behind Westminster Abbey, and it was gorgeous. This might be one of the best known areas of London after Piccadilly Circus, but wandering around this section of town will never get old for me. This self-guided tour is a good guide.

Imaginary activity number 5: Shopping

A girl can make intricate plans to avoid shopping… and then she learns that there is an Anthropologie a few blocks away from where she is staying during her trip… Heavy sigh. New plans are made to leave her wallet in the hotel room to allow for a strict “window-shopping-only” regime. Thank goodness J.Crew is not opening a store in London until 2013. {Rumour has it, they are looking to take the old Burberry store location on Regent Street}. My poor bank account and lack of self-discipline…

What will actually happen while I am in London?

  • Work
  • Tons of take-away coffee
  • A trip to a Marks & Spencer food shop {cheddar cheese, you will be mine!}
  • Smiling

What are your favorite things to do in London?
Any recommendations I can fit in outside the work hours?

V&A photos here and here / Theatre photo here /  The Holly Bush / Victoria Tower Gardens / Anthropologie

  1. Oh, that sounds like such a fun imaginary trip. All of the activities you’ve described sound so great.

    I love Covent Garden in London. I could wander around there for hours.

  2. Fortnum and Mason Ice Cream Parlor- I think they are open until 19h, but its so delightful and fun. Walk along the Thames, the side with the theatres and the Tate, lovely to see the city at night by the water (if it isn’t raining!). And I think the Tate Modern is often open in the evenings.

    Ps- could I ask what it is you do that allows you to work in Brussels and escape occasionally to London?
    from the woman stuck in Antwerp forest…

    • Thank you for the suggestions – it has been awhile since I’ve made to the Tate so I’m adding that back to the list! I work in government relations which from time to time lets me travel outside the EU bubble. I happen to think the Antwerp forest is gorgeous!

  3. Tatiana said:

    J. Crew store in 2013?!?! amazing news, just not for my bank account. Enjoy London!

  4. heathen brummie said:

    Lady! I will be in London at the end of this week, if there’s any chance we can squeeze in a sit-down coffee/peek at Anthropologie/buy cheese together at M&S? V&A is one of my favourite places in the world, let alone London! Will text you toute suite 🙂 a x

  5. I always, always, always have to see the Tpwer Bridge. I still get chills everytime I see Big Ben too, so I am totally with you on your Thames stroll. Followed by going to the Wellcome Collection (it is so close to the St Pancras/Eurostar station that I often manage to do this before leaving on Sunday) or the Portrait Gallery and then Carnaby Street or Long Acre, hike on Hampstead Heath and tea in the oh so lovely High Tea of Highgate.

    • Such good suggestions! Going to keep them on file for next time!

  6. barb said:

    exciting trip, even though only imaginary! I’d definitely check out Camden Town. oh, and any boots store, love them!

    • I love boots too!! Had plans to make it to one this time around, until I couldn’t find the one in St Pancras station. Turns out it is hidden by the underground station 🙂

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