2 Days In London – This Is What We Did

Exploring London on foot, learning about war history and last but not least witnessing a wonderful theatre performance.

The seat of government of the United Kingdom, metropolis of millions and home to David Bowie or the English royal family: London has endless things to offer. Whether in terms of leisure activities, history lessons, cultural sites, tasty food or mere the shopping experience - the city on the Thames attracts almost 20 million tourists every year.

The question of what to do and what to do at all can be all the more overwhelming. I myself have been to London countless times and have seen and experienced many things (some of them several times). When we planned our trip for the summer of 2022, we knew we wanted to take it easy and, above all, put together a programme that had not been on my radar before. Two days is not much for London and yet it is enough to get a good overview and get to know different facets of this wonderful city.

Day 1 - Meeting friends and getting to know London on foot

Friday, 7 am. We have timed the outward flight so that we get as much out of our first day in London as possible. We finally arrive at around 8am. To save some money, we even choose the slow train from Heathrow to the city centre and unload our luggage at the hotel first. We chose the Marlin Waterloo just around the corner from the station of the same name, which proved to be strategically valuable. We wanted to avoid public transport as much as possible and get around on foot whenever possible.

Our first stop is Covent Garden in the West End, where we have arranged to meet friends for brunch. We decided on the Ivy Market Grill restaurant, but we were rather disappointed by the price-performance ratio. Well, welcome to London. Next time I would choose the chain "Le Pain Quotidien", which is located right next to our restaurant of choice, as I have only heard good things about it and there is something for every taste there.

Afterwards we went for a walk across the city. It's a wonderfully warm summer day with a brilliant blue sky (spoiler alert: we even caught a little sunburn), the city is pulsating and people - whether tourists or locals - are stretching their heads into the warm midday sun. From Covent Garden we walk towards Buckingham Palace, where we take a breather in St. James's Park and made ourselves comfortable in the (parched) lawn. From there we continue on foot towards Belgravia, from where we then take the tube back to Covent Garden. We say goodbye to our friends and drive back to our hotel, tired and exhausted. We just wanted to lie down, eat something small in our room and say hello early to the land of dreams. It was all the more convenient that there is a "Pret a Manger" next to the hotel, where, by the way, we discovered what is probably one of the best chocolate mousses ever! The vegan sandwiches are also highly recommended, especially the one with sliced avocado, Kalamata olive tapenade, roasted tomatoes and peppery rocket.

Day 2 - a little history and a lot of Agatha Christie

Fit, alert and well-rested, we were up extra early on Saturday morning. What we didn't realise in the dark the evening before was the wonderful view we had of The Shard from our hotel room. The sunrise was breath-taking and we decided on the spur of the moment to do another little exploratory tour on foot before we even got ready for the day.

The route from the hotel to Westminster Bridge was approximately only a ten-minute walk, and so worth it! While the bridge in front of Big Ben is always packed during the day, it was completely empty at 6.30 on that summer morning. Apart from a few joggers or early birds who had to go to work, we were the only ones on the road so early. The silence of the morning hour and the beautiful dawn of this summer day were a wonderful experience.

Because we wanted to take advantage of the calm before the storm, we also went in the other direction and happened to come across the Imperial War Museum. It was still closed at that time, but we found out that the entrance is free (another wonderful thing about London: the free museums). So we had a plan for the morning.

After getting ready for the day back at the hotel, we went for breakfast first. How could it be otherwise: right next door at Pret. Afterwards we went to the War Museum and what can I say - we were thrilled! We certainly spent three hours inside the walls and by no means saw everything. The exhibitions are huge. We especially recommend the artefacts on the Second World War, where we could have lingered much longer. But we had other plans.

For the afternoon, we bought theatre tickets in advance for Agatha Christie's "Witness for the Prosecution". The County Hall, where the play is performed, was also only a few minutes' walk from our hotel.

After a quick sandwich for lunch and check-out, we headed into the courtroom-style building. For any Agatha Christie fans and crime fiction lovers, this play is an absolute must! A wonderfully staged story with excellent actors and a set design that cannot be matched. I would argue that even lesser theatre fans would be enthralled.

After the play, we collected our luggage from the hotel and marched straight off to Waterloo Station, which was also only a short walk away, to catch our train south.

Two days is not much, but even this time is completely worth it to see something of London and its diverse offerings. If you forgo expensive restaurants or the classic (often overpriced) tourist attractions, you can explore London well on a budget and perhaps have a little more money left over for the truly unique experiences like a time-honoured theatre.