Keep reading to check out 8 Amazing London Staycation Ideas
I don’t know about you but I’ve probably seen more of the world than I have of my own country I live in. I think a lot of people can say the same. We’re always so keen to get away that we forget what we have on our door step. For all of you who live in the UK I’m talking to you. This year (2021) is the year of the staycation given everything that’s happened over the last 14 months. Its the perfect excuse to explore the parts of the UK we may not have in other circumstance. So, what should be at the top of your list? London. Of course I am going to say that but honestly, if you’re looking to get away and have fun there is no place like London. Below I’ve listed out 8 amazing London staycation ideas depending on what you want from your trip. Are you looking for something relaxing? Do you want to be a mega tourist? Maybe you’re into Harry Potter or a big foodie and want to discover London’s best eats? – I have you covered. Here are 8 Amazing London Staycation Ideas.
Hotel: Waking up to a view of London’s iconic landmarks is the perfect start to a tourist staycation. Hotels with great London views are Sea Containers, The London Marriot County Hall , The Tower A Guoman Hotel and Novotel Canary Wharf. If you want a full on London experience and your budget is on the higher side you could choose to stay at one of London’s most iconic hotels such as The Ritz or The Savoy. Alternatively, if you’re on a more modest budget but don’t want to give up that London experience, Z Hotel or Citizen M are great options (Citizen M Tower Hill has room options with views of The Tower of London). The Travelodge and Premier Inn are your more basic (but good) hotels options if you’re not planning on being in your hotel much.
Things To Do: Being a tourist themed staycation you’re going to want to do all the iconic London things such as sightseeing, cruising down the Thames, exploring museums, watching the Changing of the Guard, going on walking tours and shopping. You’ll want to check out my list of 100 fun things to do in London for lots of ideas.
Food: No trip to London is complete without indulging in its iconic British foods. You could have breakfast at a classic English café like The Regency Café or brunch overlooking the London skyline at Duck & Waffle. Maybe dinner at Rules, London’s oldest restaurant sounds good to you or fish & chips at a vintage fish shop . Hawksmoor do one hell of a Sunday roast dinner and you’ll definitely want to indulge in an iconic afternoon tea at one of London’s best afternoon spots.
Harry Potter Staycation
Hotel: For the ultimate Harry Potter stay you have to book in to the Georgian House Hotel for their ‘Wizard Experience’. The wizard chambers have stained glass windows, gothic architecture and four poster bed. They also have wood burning stoves, cauldrons in fireplaces and tapestries to complete the look.
Things To Do: There is no better place than London to experience the best of Harry Potter. You could visit Platform 9 & 3/4 and have your picture taken before you board the Hogwarts Express or you can visit the House of Minalima and buy art and gifts designed by the original film graphic artists. Book to see Harry Potter & The Cursed Child play (resuming Oct 21) or take part in a Harry Potter walking tour around the famous film locations. If you don’t mind heading out of London a bit, the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour is not to be missed.
Food: The Georgian Townhouse has a Harry Potter themed afternoon tea you can book in for and a potions class to concoct your very own cocktails. You don’t have to be staying in the hotel to do these. Alternatively, Cutter & Squidge also do a ‘Potions Room‘ afternoon tea a short walk from Covent Garden.
Hotel: Just because you’re on a budget it doesn’t mean you should compromise on style. Citizen M Hotel and Leman Locke are two great budget boutique hotels in London. If you’re not fussed about style and looking for somewhere basic to rest your head the Hub by Premier Inn which are capsule hotel rooms with the basic but smart facilities.
Things To Do: There are tons of great things to do in London are are totally FREE! You can do my free sightseeing walking tour, visit London’s top museums, explore London’s best parks and see views of the London skyline – all for free! Check out my list here of 100 totally free things to do in London.
Food: When I recommend budget food to my readers I always tell them that in London budget means something different. London is an expensive city and even though there are cheaper options it may not be as cheap as other parts of the UK. You could have breakfast at somewhere like Dishoom and try their famous bacon naan bread for under £7 or a full English breakfast at the Regency Café for £6. What about trying the famous maple bacon swirl at Popham’s or pistachio escargot at Arome for under £5? Dinner could be Pizza Union who do great pizza you can get for under £5 and frozen cocktails for just £3.50. Burgers at one of London’s top burger places Honest Burger come with fries for just £9. London street food markets have great options that are sometimes cheaper than a sit down restaurant or you if you would like afternoon tea but can’t stretch your budget to that, you could opt for a cream tea, a cheaper alternative to afternoon tea, at The Wolseley for just £12.50.
Non Touristy Staycation
Hotel: For a more unusual and quirky stay in London check out the funky Artist Residence Hotel , a creative boutique hotel in South West London. The Hoxton Hotel has a really cool and urban vibe or you could stay above a trendy East London pub at The Buxton Hotel. For a proper London experience you could stay in a real Londoners home by finding the perfect home away from home at Air B & B.
Things To Do: Forget the Tower of London and The London Eye, if you want a non touristy experience here in London, you’ll want to check out my list of 100 Hidden gems To Discover in London. The list includes things like riding the London cable car, finding Leake Street Tunnels and discovering hidden food markets. You may also like the idea of axe throwing, glow in the dark mini golf, rooftop cinema, vintage shopping, climbing the o2 arena, and drinking at a secret underground bar. Air B & B also do different experiences hosted by local people such as guided tours which give you a really unique look at London through the eyes of someone who lives here. Skiddle also has some quirky ideas of different events happening in London.
Food: Forget fish & chips you want something more unique. Max’s Sandwich Shop in North London is a real gem as well as brunch at Aussie eatery Brunswick East. You can eat from the cheese conveyor belt at Pick & Cheese, or even eat in the dark at Dans le Noir. Archipelago does alternate meats such as zebra and alpaca or eat at The Clink at Brixton prison served by prisoners training to gain their City & Guilds NVQs. The London Shell Co is set on a floating barge or eat modern Indian food like you haven’t tried before at Brigadiers.
Hotel: If you’re looking for a relaxing staycation in London then you need to stay in a luxury hotel with great spa facilities. The Ned, Rosewood or The Shangri-La are great options. If you prefer to venture out of the hustle and bustle of London you could stay at The Richmond Hill Hotel who are in the suburbs of Richmond upon Thames, one of London’s most affluent areas with lots of lovely greenery and parks.
Things To Do: There are many relaxing things to do in London. You could cruise on London’s waterways on one of London’s many boat tours or take a slow stroll around London’s many parks. If you love to explore take one of my self guided walking tours of Notting Hill, The Regent’s Canal or Hampstead or take in the views of the London skyline from one of the many free view points. London has lots of great museums for you to wander around too. If you are staying in one of the hotels I suggested why not book in for a massage or a facial before heading out to watch a theatre show. If you don’t mind heading out of Central London I recommend spotting the deer in Richmond Park or picnicking in Kew Gardens for a greener and less obvious staycation.
Food: Is there anything more relaxing than indulging in afternoon tea until you’re so full you’re sleepy? Afternoon tea is a great way to spend a relaxing afternoon in London and there are many choices here for you to choose from. If you’re not full from your afternoon tea, I’d recommend dinner of one of London’s many floating restaurants for a unique and tranquil dinner in a unique setting.
Hotel: If you’re looking for luxury hotels London has tons to choose from including 5* establishments such as Cadogan Gardens, Claridge’s, The Savoy, The Ned and The Shangri-la are all amazing options.
Things To Do: How about a shopping spree in London’s famous designer department store, Harrods? or spending an afternoon at Chanel and Louis Vuitton on Bond Street? You can check out all the best places to shop in London here. If you’re staying at the hotel nothing says luxury like a spa day at the Shangri-la hotel or treatments at The House of Elemis. What about drinking champagne as you ride The London Eye or look over the London skyline from the top of The Shard. If you love the theatre why not book some top price seats to a great show or have your own private tour of London in your own black cab.
Food: London offers the best in luxurious foodie experiences. Afternoon Tea at one of the worlds most extravagant hotels, The Ritz, is a must. You can find lots of great London afternoon tea options here. You could try Michelin star food at Le Gavroche or press a button that brings you champagne at Bob Bob Ricard. Nothing says luxury that dining with a view. Duck & Waffle and Sushi Samba are great options.
Hotel: For a great foodie staycation I’d recommend two types of hotels. You could stay somewhere like The Berkley, Nobu or The Savoy who’s hotel restaurants are legendary. The Berkley hosts Michelin star restaurant ‘Marcus’ by celebrity chef Marcus Waring and Nobu, a popular hotel with celebrities such as Bradley Cooper and The Kardashians, does some of the best Japanese and sushi dishes in London. Also, The Savoy offers a quintessential British dining experience under the name of Gordon Ramsey. Its fair to say those are pretty pricey places to stay so if your budget doesn’t stretch to that I’d recommend staying in East London, the heart of the London food scene. Nice hotels I would recommend would be Citizen M and The Hoxton.
Things To Do: Air B & B offer lots of alternate food and drink experiences in London. You can tour London’s secret bars with your very own tour guide, go gelato tasting around the city or do a pizza class in a locals home. If you love to cook there are plenty of cooking classes to try as well as lots of great London foodie markets to explore. If your visiting in the summer, London in the Sky arrives every year where you can dine 100ft in the air looking over the London skyline or maybe you like the idea of foraging your own food on a guided urban wild food walk.
Food: If you’re wanting a great foodie staycation you couldn’t have picked a better place then London. The food scene is incredible with so much to choose from. For a classic London experience you have to have breakfast at an old style English café like The Regency Café or E.Pellici and then have afternoon tea at one of the many great afternoon spots in London. Hawksmoor also does a the best British Sunday roast in London. For something more unique you can visit the cheese conveyor belt or eat at a floating restaurant. There are lots of Michelin star restaurants to try London such as The Ledbury or Dinner by Heston Blumenthal or maybe find yourself dining in bustling streets of Chinatown or eating amazing sushi at Yashin. There are lots more foodie suggestions on my list of must eat places in London for first time visitors or must eat places in 2021.
Family Friendly Staycation
Hotel: London has an abundance of family friendly hotels whatever your budget. Budget hotel providers Premier Inn and Travelodge do large family rooms which are basic but spacious and have all the essential things you need including free breakfast for children under 15/16. Yotel is also a basic but good option. If you’re looking for something at the higher end of the budget Cadogan Gardens have luxurious family suitable suites with interconnecting family rooms, DVD’s to borrow and childcare facilities or The Athenium has its very own child concierge to keep your little ones happy and entertained whether its visiting their own toy store or making sure there are milk and cookies read for bed time. If you prefer your own space Air B & B is a good option to have the run of an entire house or a serviced apartment like Native Bankside or Leman Locke
Things To Do: London is very child friendly with lots of exciting things to keep them entertained on your staycation. If they’re into history there are great museums to explore, if they love Harry Potter there are plenty of wizard themed experiences or if they prefer to keep active there are climbing walls, escape rooms, mini golf and boat tours! You can check out my list of 50 fun things to do with kids in London.
Food: Recommending where to eat with kids in London is not easy. I understand kids are kids and they may not be the most adventurous or easy to please when it comes to food. If your children are okay with eating most cuisines, most restaurants in London are child friendly and will always try their best to accommodate you. I recommend choosing somewhere off my list of best places to eat in London for first timers or check out my London must eats of 2020 blog post. There are so many great suggestions on those that’ll give you a great London experience. However, if your little darlings are a fusser I have some recommendations for you too. Pizza is always a crowd pleaser and instead of somewhere like Pizza Express, take them to cooler London restaurant like Franco Manca or Pizza Union. Pasta is always a good shout. Flour and Grape are another independent London eatery who do a kids pasta menu while the adults can select excellent dishes off the main menu. Burgers are also a safe choice and Honest Burger or Patty and Bun are a cool places to head for lunch or dinner. Those suggestions are great because they are easy for the kids but always do delicious food. However, if you’re looking for lots of options there are the likes of larger restaurants chains such as The Rainforest Cafe, Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood and Giraffe who are all child friendly. In my opinion they won’t serve the best food you’ve ever eaten but they do lots of crowd pleasers and the lively atmospheres will keep the kids entertained. London pubs are always a great shout too.
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