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How to do London in 12 hours


Why would I fly in and out of London in one day?


Okay hear us out. It's the most exciting city for food in Europe (will fight anyone on this). Accommodation prices are off the wall. Maybe you have a child/dog/elderly parent that it's hard to leave for too long. There's no hanging around a hotel waiting to check in, no luggage to carry, and you can take advantage of duty-free prices. Plus, it's a fun-filled adventure, and for some reason feels even more boujee than if you stayed over night.



How would I do this?


The trick is finding cheap flights at the perfect times. You don't want to fly too early or you'll be the walking dead. An 08:00 flight (so a 06:00/06:30 airport arrival) is optimum, and should ensure a decent night's sleep (granted this is easier the closer you live to the airport). Look to get a flight home at around 21:30 and you could be home in bed before midnight. As of today you could do this wild day out on Saturday 27th April with those flight times in and out of Gatwick for €48.74 via Ryanair. What's holding you back?



How should I plan where to go?


The trick to making this all work is picking an area that's easy to navigate, and not trying to do too much. We suggest going straight from the airport to brunch, lolling around for a few hours shopping or being cultural, then heading for a late lunch, a cocktail somewhere suitably grand, and hightailing it back to the airport.


What would you suggest?


There are loads of areas you can hone in on, but we did London Bridge - Soho - Waterloo - London Bridge. You could also base your day trip on Shoreditch or King's Cross - both easily accessed from London Bridge.


Travel


Get the fast train (around 30 mins) from Gatwick to London Bridge. Head straight for brunch (all going well you'll make an 11am booking). If hitting the shops in between meals appeals, we'd suggest somewhere in Soho so you can saunter up and down Regent Street to work off your food, taking in all the brands you can't find here, as well as department stores like Liberty London. The Jubilee line goes from London Bridge to Green Park in six minutes, then it's a short walk past The Ritz to Piccadilly Circus.



Brunch


We brunched at Fallow (just around the corner from Regent Street), because once we saw these salmon belly royales there was an itch that needed to be scratched. It's on every brunch hot list right now, with its focus on "conscious gastronomy" and a room that seems to drip in coolness, so booking weeks in advance is necessary.



Can't get Fallow? Try Mount Street for breakfast Martinis and caviar omelettes; The Colony Grill Room for leather booths, duck egg hash and homemade viennoiseries; or Scarlett Green for a more low key, Aussie-style breakfast.



(Mount Street, The Colony Grill Room, Scarlett Green)


Late lunch


Just around the corner from Liberty London (the perfect place to purge your bank account) you'll find newly Michelin-starred Mountain, which every Dublin restaurant owner seems to have eaten in over the past few months. Tomos Parry's second restaurant has the same 'food cooked over fire' DNA as his first restaurant BRAT in Shoreditch, and it's a Wales meets Basque country mash up, with Anglesey produce given the Spanish treatment. There's an in house butcher and baker, and bread, cheese and ice-cream are all made on site. This kind of commitment doesn't come cheap, so budget accordingly,



Can't get Mountain? Try Noble Rot Soho for miraculous wines by the glass and one of the best set lunches in London; Andrew Edmunds for the glorious London classic that never fails to deliver; or Bob Bob Ricard for British and French dishes in London's most glamorous dining room - complete with a "press for Champagne" button at each table.



(Noble Rot Soho)



(Andrew Edmunds | Bob Bob Ricard)


Cocktails


Stroll down through the theatre district, past Trafalgar Square, and cross the river over to the Southbank (or download Uber and book a cab). There you'll find Lyaness in the architecturally swoony Sea Containers Hotel - currently 54 on The World's Best Bars List. Ryan Chetiyawardana is said to be the world's most awarded bartender, and the cocktail menu here (called the "cookbook") is a drinks geek's dream. You probably won't even know what much of that season's key ingredients are (try mallow root, goose fig and rice-cream on for size), but that's all part of the ride.



Then it's out the door and a 20 minute walk along the water to London Bridge for your train back to Gatwick. This is best done before the clocks change in spring for the full night-time skyline, but it's a beautiful sight year round. A 19:00 train will have you in Gatwick for 19:30, perfectly timed for your 21:30 departure.



Can get Lyaness? Try Bar Termini in Soho for the city's best negronis served by waiters in white jackets; Nightjar on Carnaby Street for the iconic East London speakeasy's first foray into central London; or The American Bar at The Savoy Hotel, to visit the oldest surviving cocktail bar in London, in very five-star surroundings.



(Bar Termini)



(Nightjar Carnaby | The American Bar at The Savoy)


Then it's home to bed wondering if that perfect day out actually happened, and wondering if you could do it all again next weekend.


Would you like us to do more London in 12 hours itineraries for different areas? Let us know on social or by emailing info@allthefood.ie.

1 comment

1 Comment


Conor Malone Malone
Conor Malone Malone
Mar 20

Guys, there's a climate crisis

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