6 Things to Do on a Short Break in London

Whether you are local to the UK or an international visitor, London is the perfect place to explore on a short city break.  There is plenty to keep you occupied, plenty to see and do and the only difficulty you will have is deciding exactly what you want to discover whilst in London.

From world-class attractions to award-winning restaurants, London is the perfect destination for a short break and if you need somewhere to start looking for things to do, we’ve got you covered:-

Visit the British Museum

Despite its name suggesting otherwise, the British Museum is actually a museum dedicated to history, culture and art from all over the world and there are around 8 million objects and artefacts on display.  Entry is free to members of the public although some special exhibitions do occasionally have entry charges.

You could spend hours wandering around the British Museum and still not see everything that is housed here but if you are on a short break you might not want to dedicate too much time, so handily the Museum have created a list of highlights; things you should absolutely not miss if you visit and these include the likes of The Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon Sculptures and the Mummy of Katebet.

Wander Around a Market

London is a fantastic city to visit if you want to enjoy some shopping and there are a number of different shopping districts to make the most of from high street shopping on Oxford Street to designer shopping in Mayfair.  There is something special however about visiting one of London’s popular markets and spending some time browsing the stalls and seeing what is on offer.

Most of the markets are easily accessible using public transport so if you are booked into the London City Suites Barbican you can have your pick of any of the larger markets such as Portobello Road, Brick Lane, Camden Town or Old Spitalfields Market.  You can dedicate as much or as little time as you like to exploring one of the markets but we would suggest getting there as early in the day as possible to ensure you beat the crowds and get first pick of the items on sale.

Watch Street Entertainers

There are two different places in London you can head to if you want to see street performers: Covent Garden and the South Bank.  The best acts in Covent Garden tend to perform in the piazza close to St Paul’s Church and you could expect to see acrobats, magicians, fire-eaters and more if you hang around.  Covent Garden also has a number of fantastic restaurants for London City so you might enjoy grabbing an outdoor table and waiting to see which performers set up for the day whilst you enjoy a good meal.

South Bank tends to come alive in the evening (although there are performers present during the day) and you can walk along this stretch of the River Thames and again see, acrobats, jugglers and fire-eaters all showcasing their craft.

Look Across the City

There are many great places to head if you want to see a panoramic view of the city, and what better way to take in the whole of the city you are dedicating a short break to exploring than by taking a step back and looking out and across to some of the famous landmarks?

There are paid for opportunities to see the London skyline such as the London Eye and the viewing platform at The Shard but there are also a number of free options which would suit those on a budget including the Sky Garden, the rooftop terrace at One New Change, Primrose Hill in Regent’s Park and Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath.

See A Show

London is well known for its leading theatre district and we think everyone who visits the city should see a West End show at least once.

If there is a specific show you know you want to see then we suggest booking tickets in advance but if you just want to be a part of the West End magic then you can pick up discounted tickets for same day performances at the TKTS Booth in Leicester Square or try one of the theatre’s box offices for any returned or unsold tickets which are usually sold at a reduced price.

It’s important that you only purchase a ticket from a reputable and licensed seller however, to avoid being ripped off and left out of pocket.

Cruise the River Thames

The River Thames is one of the most famous stretches of water in the world and no trip to London would be complete without boarding a boat and travelling along this river.  There are dedicated cruises you can book onto; some of which are themed and offer on-board commentary, live music and food and drink or you can choose to board the MBNA Thames Clipper boats instead.

The Thames Clippers are technically commuter boats and whilst you can purchase refreshments on board there is no on-board commentary.  This makes the tickets quite a bit cheaper than the cruise ships whilst still giving you the opportunity to see some of London’s iconic landmarks from the water; ideal for anyone coming to the city on a tight budget.

Of course these are just six different ways to keep yourself entertained in London and there are plenty more to choose from, whether you want to squeeze as much sightseeing into your short break as possible, pamper yourself with a treatment at one of the city’s world-class spas, only visit cultural attractions, get active and outdoors or learn more about the darker side of London’s history, you can discover all this and more in London.

Which is what makes it the perfect city for a short break; whatever happens you can be confident that you will never run out of things to do.

Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

I know what it's like to go from being a crazy backpacker without a care in the world, via being a vaguely sensible parent to being an adventurer once more. In other words, evolving into a Grown-up Traveller.

Like everyone else, I love to travel, have visited a lot of countries and all that but my big thing is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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