UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

Dear Diary: 24 Hours In London As A Tourist

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The original title for this post just said ’24 hours in London’ and then I was like you guys are going to be like ‘ummm babes, you’re always in London, that’s not ground-breaking’. So huzzah, I changed it.

Y’see, this weekend, I spent an entire sweet baby boo 24 hours in London, with, well, boo.

I don’t think we’ve spent that long in the capital together since I moved out of Leytonstone back in 2014. And even then, we rarely ventured further central than Westfield Stratford, hashtag so hip and east London over here.

So it was nice to detach from work and treat it like a little mini break, to experience the city as a tourist rather than a sweaty worker crying over delayed trains and Wasabi queues.

We decided to drive (YUH HUH, DRIVE INTO CENTRAL LONDON) because there was no trains between Ipswich and London over the weekend, and so, armed with a coconut latte, I picked Chris up from his office at 5pm on Friday and we sailed off down the A12 singing along to the top 40.

We’d booked to stay at Citizen M because we’d loved the one in New York and I was mildly freaked out to find that the rooms are EXACTLY the same. And I tell you now, seeing your old offices rather than Times Square from the window will make your belly and soul feel in a sad ol’ place. Pray for Hannah.

But for real – affordable and basic but the beds are ginormous and there’s free WIFI and a giant flat screen and yeah, I can’t fault CitizenM (AND the one in NYC has a rooftop bar, just sayin’).

We jumped in an Uber (it was only the second time Chris had used one, and legit he still treats it like something from Harry Potter come to life, there’s so much joy and amazement on his face, n’awww) to Holborn and went for dinner at The Ship Tavern.

It’s a rustic little pub with a buzzing bar downstairs and a charming, candlelit dining room upstairs crammed with booths and cosiness.

It’s the sort of place you absolutely need to get your little toosh on a rainy Sunday to dive headfirst into a bottle of red wine and a plate of pie and mash. And, because it’s completely off the beaten-track, it’s not infiltrated with tourists. Hi tourists, love you tourists.

You know what I’m saying though, it felt really chilled out and easy-going, more like a country pub than something slap bang in the middle of London.

To start I went for calamari whilst Chris went for deep-fried Brie (ideally I’d like someone to deliver me a block of that stuff for lunch today – any takers?), whilst we both died and went to sexy food heaven over the Beef Wellington for main. Such dreamy pastry, such perfect medium-rare beef, such handsome truffle mash potato. I die.

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We finished off our Friday night food overload with passion fruit panna cotta and crawled into bed just after 11pm before rolling to our separate sides and falling into the most heavenly of food and wine comas. A welcome change from the I AM SO BUZZING insomnia of recent weeks.

Although, even with black out blinds, I wasn’t able to sleep in past 7.45am. Being a grown-up is hard, y’know?

I’d booked us into Berner’s Tavern for breakfast as I knew Chris would be all about that high ceiling picture-wall life, and we munched our way through £40 worth of eggs, coffee, smoked salmon, bacon and avocado bae feeling like fly bitches.

I was wearing a midi skirt and mint green Reebok trainers and was well aware that a) they *probably* didn’t go together and b) if they did, it was far too edgy for Berner’s, but hey, whatcha gonna do.

It’s a pricey brunch spot for sure, and a little bit pretentious, but also really laid-back and there’s even French toast with Nutella on the menu. So if you want something a little bit special for a birthday or anniversary brunch, he’s your fella.

We finished off our morning with a dash into H&M to buy ALL the homeware (haul video here), and I thought Chris might just pass out from sheer sadness at following me around the store comparing different gold plant pots and pastel coloured blankets.

Boys, eh?

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And then we headed back to the car and drove down to south London to have an ice cream sundae with my dad and step mum before my nephew’s second birthday at a soft play area.

I didn’t even like ice cream sundaes as a kid and now I’m all about that ice cream and whipped cream life. I am so excited to get back into our Friday night ice cream in a cone from the cinema tradition of last summer. Mint choc chip is bae <3

And that, boys and sassy girls, rounds up our 24 hours in London.

We left the party early to jolly on back home as we had dinner plans and got stuck in some monumental traffic on the M25, so that was grand and we nearly fell out over whose fault it was, but hey what’s a road trip without a little bit of silent treatment, eh eh?

I spent Sunday feeling a little bit like I needed a Starbucks truck to breakdown in my street, but alas nope.

Weekends away are my favourite, and the older I get the more I realise you don’t need to gallivant off to distant beaches and cities in foreign lands – you just need to make the most of what’s around you.

There are so many hidden gems in every town, city or village and it’s up to you to make the time, to break away from trips to B&Q and 4-hour Netflix on the sofa sessions, to explore them.

And on that note, I’m going to eat some peanut butter and browse Instagram for UK travel inspo. See ya <3

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(Pyjamas from Mish London)



18 comments so far.
  • I love the midi skirt and trainers on you. Please repeat. Also wish I’d known you were in town! I was out near work so probs walked right past you xxxx
    http://Www.fashionnomads.com

    • OH YEY. This makes me feel like less of a dufus. Ha, we literally arrived at like 7.45pm, got changed and headed straight out, so ya didn’t miss much! xxx

  • Amy

    You packed loads into 24 hours, just shows what you can do around you if you plan!
    Amy at Amy & More

    • I know – even when I did Paris in 48 hours i was amazed at how much you can do if you just put a plan in place! x

  • Kathryn

    It sounds like you had a lovely time! It’s amazing what hidden treasures you can discover in a place you visit once too often as soon as you switch off from everything.

    Kathryn | Chapters of Kat

  • Love the midi skirt x Rebook look! sounds like you had a fab time x

    alittlepieceofhelen.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Amy

    Get yourself to north Cornwall – port Isaac, padstow, rock etc so much amazing food, chilled out pubs and totally instagrammable scenery 😍

  • I have enjoyed seeing both perspectives from you and Chris on this weekend adventure into London! I think you also chose exactly what I would have done at the Ship Inn, every single course looks incredible! Plus, mint choc chip, the absolute best! Amazing how just going away somewhere for one night can make the weekend feel so much longer! Alice xx

    http://www.woodenwindowsills.co.uk

    • Tammy Nyman

      Hi Hannah I just have to say I needed to read 24 hours in London.. And you blog about a happy life. It was like you knew how I was feeling and reading your blog helped me to try to look at things differently. So thank you again

    • Aww love that you read Chris’s as well. OMG I know, ordered ALL the comfort food :)

  • Lucy

    I don’t know why people think you fitted a lot into 24 hours in London, you really didn’t, it doesn’t sound like you did anything cultural at all. Also it’s a bit hypocritical to tell your readers to stop spending their Saturdays in B&Q yet you went into H&M while supposedly on a weekend away..

    • I mean, I’d say going out for dinner and brunch, seeing my parents, going to my nephew’s party and finally getting to spend the H&M vouchers (that you can’t use online, that we’d been saving for homeware which is only in a handful of UK stores) was a pretty good use of our time. Of course we’d have LOVED to do more cultural things like visit museums but we didn’t have time and trying to tackle them on a Saturday in the school holidays sounds like sheer hell. But I appreciate your feedback.

      • Georgia

        Hannah, I personally really enjoyed reading about your time in London. I’m sure you’ve been to the museums a million times before and what could be more cultured than actually experiencing London properly, off the beaten track and away from the typical tourist spots we read about all too regularly?

        Enjoying nice food in beautiful surroundings, seeing Chris explore & enjoy the new technologies we’ve become so accustomed to living in the city and also, choosing Citizen M rather than a traditional hotel all made me feel that you’d explored OUR London rather than what it’s perceived to be.

        Good on you for a honest weekend away, a great read and OH GOD H&M HOMEWARE! xxx

  • I seriously need to do this more often, both London and nearby areas! It’s great to spend time as a tourist in your old or undiscovered haunts, and that brunch sounds UHMAZING <3

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Beauty Wellbeing

  • I live in London but have never come across the Ship Tavern, so thanks for the tip! It looks and sounds super lovely.

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

  • Nat

    Have you been to Aldeburgh Hannah? It’s perfect for a weekend away (The Brudenell hotel is ace, as are Best of Suffolks many cottages!) and only 20 miles from Ipswich (although it feels a million miles away… Walks along the beach, great food…,) It’s our favourite weekend pick me up place!

  • I stayed in the CitizenM in Amsterdam and loved it but yes it’s very strange feeling that all of the rooms are identical no matter where you are! Also adored The Ship Tavern, couldn’t finish my pie haha x

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