7 things you have to do when visiting London – 48 hour guide

I have been lucky enough to have a few of my friends come visit all the way from the USA in the past few months. Seriously, how amazing are they?!

Some of them were in London for the first time, while others know their way around town. Regardless, everyone needs to make the most of their time in this fabulous city! I want my friends to leave LOVING London… so they come back of course 😀

Whether you’re hosting or visiting for a few days, hopefully this top line list will make your London itinerary (depending on how go-with-the-flow you are) a little bit easier.

*Note: There’s WAY TOO MUCH to see in London in 48 hours, so these are just a few mandatory pitstops. I’ve lived here for three years and I still haven’t even seen a fraction of it! 

Indulge in afternoon tea 

I mean, obviously! What’s more English than afternoon tea, am I right? Whether you’re looking for a traditional setting or trendy hot spot, tea gives you a little dose of elegant English culture.

Growing up with an English father, my sisters and I never left the house without a cup of tea in the morning. While in London, I want everyone to get the experience.

For a traditional tea, I turn to The Orangery, which has an elegant and simplistic ambiance setting amid the stunning Kensington Palace Gardens. You’ll find an array of teas, scones, sandwiches and cakes. Top it off with some bubbles if you’re feeling crazy!

The Orangery | Photo by McKenna
The Orangery | Photo by McKenna

If I’m feeling more of a quirky and upbeat tea setting, I opt for Sketch – think Alice in Wonderland meets Zenon Girl of the 21st Century meets a man in a pink tux serving caviar. The man really is there in pink serving caviar though. Yes, really.

Sketch | Photo by McKenna

This tea is a bit pricier, but hey, it sure is an experience! Plus, it’s absolutely dreamy.

Sketch | Photo by McKenna

Stroll through wonderful parks  

Fresh air, foliage, pretty blooms and sunshine (if you’re lucky!) – what more could you want?

Every park has its own vibe so check out as many as you can!

My personal favourites are Green Park, St James’s Park, Kensington Palace Gardens, Hyde Park and Primrose Hill. From Primrose, you’ll be able to see the entire London skyline…

It’s dreamy.

The view from Primrose Hill | Photo by McKenna
St James’s Park | Photo by McKenna
St James’s Park | Photo by McKenna
Kensington Palace Gardens | Photo by McKenna
Hyde Park | Photo by McKenna

Peruse the markets  

Foodies, this is for you. London’s markets are the go-to place for anything and everything delicious.

Camden Market has a special place in my heart. You’ll find amazing street food – everything from steamed buns to quesadillas to smoothies. The market is in a fab setting as well – just along the canal.

Camden Market | Photo by McKenna
Steamed buns at Camden Market | Photo by McKenna
Camden Town | Photo by McKenna

Beyond the nomz, the market has quirky clothing, collectibles and antiques. Honestly, you can find anything there! It’s a must on the to do list!

Camden Market | Photo by McKenna

Columbia Road Flower Market is also a must. Only open on Sunday mornings, the market features florists and farmers from the area to showcase their gorgeous blossoms.

Also, mix and match? Yes, please! You’ll get more bang for your buck.

Flower Power | Photo by McKenna
Columbia Road Flower Market | Photo by McKenna

Borough Market is another one of my favorites. Located near London Bridge, the food market will blow your mind.

I mean, just look at all that cheese?!

Life is gouda at Borough Market | Photo by McKenna

Portobello Road Market is great for antiques – and also looks super pretty in pastels!

Portobello Road Market | Photo by McKenna

Take in the sights + how to do it 

London’s beautiful attractions make it one of a kind.

This may seem obvious, but it’s important! Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the London Eye, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral…they’re all gorgeous. So, here’s how to do it.

Buckingham Palace | Photo by McKenna

When I go sightseeing with my friends, I usually start at Buckingham Palace, walk through St James’s Park (where you can see the London Eye in the distance), where we then end up at Parliament Square.

Oh, hello Big Ben | Photo by McKenna

From the base of Big Ben, you can cross Westminster Bridge to go south of the river.

If you walk along the water, you’ll pass the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tate Modern and Tower Bridge (among others). It takes about 45-60 minutes to walk from one end to the other – depending on if you’re a power walker.

St Paul’s Cathedral | Photo by McKenna

Not only will you be able to take in the sights, you’ll enjoy street performers and riverside restaurants.

Tower Bridge | Photo by McKenna

Embrace the street art 

It’s… everywhere. And fantastic. From Camden to Shoreditch, this is one way to view London’s creativity.

Shoreditch | Photo by McKenna
Camden Road | Photo by McKenna
Amy Winehouse tribute in Camden | Photo by McKenna
Kentish Town | Photo by McKenna

Also, makes for a colourful Insta (come on, you know you’re looking out for a great snapshot!)

Embark on a day trip if you can swing it 

You can get to the lovely Brighton on the coast of England in less than two hours by train – from St Pancras or Victoria stations.

It’s a completely different feel from the hustle and bustle of London – and so reachable!

Brighton Pier | Photo by McKenna

Not only do you get the beach, pier and seaside, you can weave in and out of vintage shops and delicious restaurants in the North Laine area. Honestly, it is so quaint and picturesque.

Brighton | Photo by McKenna

If you’re visiting the UK anyway, why not venture out and see what outside the capital has to offer as well.

Brighton | Photo by McKenna

Go for a wander (yes!!!)

So this is the part where I encourage you to drop the guide book for a second – and just wander!

There are hidden gems around every corner. Central London is a relatively safe place – so there’s no need to worry about running into rough areas.

I seem to find my favorite places when I don’t have a plan – here are a few of the many!

Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden | Photo by McKenna
Hampstead in North London | Photo by McKenna
Comedy at the Rose and Crown pub in Kentish Town | Photo by McKenna
Sunny skies at the market | Photo by McKenna

There really is something for everyone 🙂  And this is just the icing on the cake – there is so much more! But you might just need more than 48 hours 😀

Need more ideas? I post some on my favorite spots on Instagram

Happy travelling!

McK x


Croatian charm in Old Town Dubrovnik: your next European city break

Hello lovely people,

As summer comes to an end, and as autumn’s go-go-go mentality creeps in, I find my mind slipping away to the sunshine and excitement from my summer trips.

The other week I went to Dubrovnik for my cousin’s wedding – and wow, I was absolutely blown away. I had been to Zadar, Croatia before, so I assumed Old Town Dubrovnik would be a bigger version of the quiet seaside town.

Boy, was I wrong.

Dubrovnik is like no other. From its bustling cobblestone streets to picturesque beaches, this city is one of a kind.

Old Town Dubrovnik | Photo by McKenna

After walking through impressive city walls, you’re greeted with a stunning view of a marina as you stroll through stone-studded streets. Palm trees and sunshine… yes, please!

Old Town Dubrovnik | Photo by McKenna

Some may recognize Dubrovnik as a Game of Thrones filming location, which is cool of course, but the city is so much more than that! Dubrovnik is first and foremost a dazzling, historical European city, being a filming location comes after (wayyyy after) all of its cultural and beautiful offerings.

Old Town Dubrovnik | Photo by McKenna

From quaint cafes to little independent shops, Old Town offers a variety of businesses and restaurants. One of my personal favourites was Pupo, where I found my desperately needed oyster fix.

Oyster goodness | Photo by McKenna

If you’re a pizza, pasta or seafood fiend, you’re in luck. Dubrovnik boasts an abundance of mouthwatering goodness on every corner. Don’t forget an ice cream cone (pistachio for me!) to top it off!

Photo by McKenna

After you’ve scoped out the city’s cobblestone alleyways and city walls, venture to Banje Beach for an afternoon of sun and sea. The beach is just a five-minute walk from the eastern wall of Old Town, equipped with a beach bar and sun loungers to rent for 100 kuna (£12).

The pebbled beach leads you to the refreshing Adriatic Sea. When we were there in late August, temperatures were HOT, making the cool sea water more than welcome.

Banje Beach | Photo by McKenna
Banje Beach | Photo by McKenna

Beach by day, cocktails and music by night. On my first evening in Dubrovnik there was a mini music festival in the main square of Old Town. It was absolutely surreal to dance to house music under flashing lights in such a historic, seaside setting!

In addition to the impromptu rave, we perused everything from little hole-in-the-wall bars to the city’s massive Club Revelin  – there really is something for everyone!

the logistics… 

To and fro 

Dubrovnik Airport is only 20 minutes away by car. An Uber is about 250 kuna (£30), but you can also take a shuttle to Old Town at the bargain price of 40 kuna (£5).

Sleeping beauties

My family rented an Airbnb just outside the city walls because we had quite a large group. However, you can find deals within the city walls, right in the middle of all the action, for £60 a night (for a couple). If you book far in advance, I’m sure you’d be able to find deals at hotels as well.

Money, money, money! 

Many places took both euros and kuna, Croatia’s official currency, but you should 100% use kuna within the Old Town. Not all places take euros, so better safe than sorry!

A view of Old Town | Photo by McKenna

I’ve posted more photos from my Dubrovnik adventure on my Instagram, so feel free to check them out if this amazing city has made it onto your travel bucket list!

What a sunset | Photo by McKenna

After all, Dubrovnik is calling your name! And you need this beautiful sunset in your life!

McK x