London is open

As I travelled to work into central London today I wanted to share my thoughts with you.

72 Hours in London Day 2 Red Telephone Boxes at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

 

London on the whole is a very safe city and I have lived here my whole life and worked in central London on and off for 20 years.  I’m old enough to remember the times with IRA bomb scares and bombings.

72 Hours in London Day 2 Carnaby Street at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

I was working in London the day of the July bombings and walked with colleagues to Waterloo as there was no transport in central London, and then after walking in near silence getting on any train out the london not knowing it’s destination  as  we all tried to get home. We arrived as work the next day and I remember the feeling of a community coming together in the days following.

 

What I’m trying to say is come to London it’s as safe as anywhere else in the world, don’t let the actions of few change your views of our amazing capital. In times of difficulty we always come together.

London is open!

How to spend 72 hours in London-Day 2

There is so much to do in London.  But if you only here for a long weekend or a long layover, here are the best things to do in 72 hours.  London is known for its history, beautiful buildings, shopping and changeable weather. Click here to read Day 1’s adventures.

Day 2 is a mix of sightseeing and shopping, so make sure you have comfortable shoes and check the weather forecast as it is London so you might need an umbrella or some shades or both.

I have selected 2 routes you could follow. The Red Route for all purses and the Blue Route where money is no object.

Day 2 – From the Map

72 Hours in London Day 2 at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

Day 2 – Sightseeing & Shopping

Red Route:

1)  Leicester Square

Starting the day off the day in central London at Leicester Square, the tube line is on the Charing Cross branch of the Northern line (Black) and the Piccadilly Line (Navy).

Leicester Square is famous for its cinemas such as the Odeon Leicester Square, Empire and Leicester Square which are frequently used for film premieres.  Nearby is also the Prince Charles Cinema is known for showing cult films, sing-a-longs and marathon film runs. The square is a popular tourist attraction, and also host events for the Chinese New Year as china town is just behind the square to the north.

Leicester Square also has popular stores, M&M world and Lego Store which is the largest Lego Store in the world.

Fact: Lego store has exclusive sets you won’t find anywhere else in the world

2) Piccadilly Circus  

Piccadilly Circus is a short minute walk from Leicester Square.  It is well-known for its video display and neon signs mounted on the corner building on the northern side, it is London’s equivalent of Times Square.  However They are currently being updated and are switched off until the Autumn of 2017.  Piccadilly Circus is also the place where the Shaftesbury memorial fountain and statue is although most people mistaken the statue for Eros.  Piccadilly Circus a busy but popular meeting place.

Here the route splits continue reading for the red route or read further down the post for the blue route.

Shopping

Next take a walk up Regent Street named after George, the Prince Regent (later George IV). The street runs from Waterloo Place in St James’s at the southern end, through Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus, to All Souls Church.

The street was completed in 1825. The street is known for its flagship retail stores, including Liberty, Hamleys, Jaeger and the Apple Store. Regent Street is approximately 0.8 miles. Everyone has their own taste with regards to shopping so take your time and enjoy yourself.

Tip: If you’re from outside the EU make sure you keep your receipts and claim back your tax.

There are a couple of stops you have to make on Regents Street, Hamleys and Liberty’s.

3) Hamleys & Carnaby Street

Hamleys is the oldest and largest toy shop in the world.  It is named after William Hamley.  Hamley’s has had a few homes over the years but it is now situated at 188-196 regents street. Hamleys’ flagship store has seven floors, with different categories of toys on each floor.  The store is a popular destination for tourists and there is always a que’s outside the door during the run up to Christmas.

Parallel to regent street and behind Hamleys lies Carnaby Street  (highlighted in red on the map below).

72 Hours in London Day 2 at Carnaby Street www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

Carnaby Street is a pedestrianised shopping street in Soho in the City of Westminster, Central London. Close to Oxford Street and Regent Street, it is home to fashion and lifestyle retailers, including a large number of independent fashion boutiques.  Carnaby Street derives its name from Karnaby House, which was built-in 1683 to the east.

72 Hours in London Day 2 Carnaby Street at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

By the 1960s, Carnaby Street was popular with followers of the mod and hippie styles. Many independent fashion boutiques, and designers such as Mary Quant, Marion Foale and Take Six. Bands such as the Small Faces, The Who, and Rolling Stones appeared in the area to work (at the legendary Marquee Club round the corner in Wardour Street), shop, and socialise, it became one of the coolest destinations associated with 1960’s Swinging London.

There are loads of places to eat around this area, so take a break for lunch and get ready for the afternoon of lots more shopping and photo opportunities.

 4) Liberty of London

While Liberty’s isn’t technically on Regent Street it is just off Regent streets on Great Marlborough Street. Liberty’s is a department store which sells luxury goods including women’s, men’s and children’s fashion, cosmetics and fragrances, jewellery, accessories, home wares, furniture, stationery and gifts and is best known for its floral and graphic prints and silk scarf’s.

Started with a £2,000 loan from his future father-in-law, Arthur Liberty accepted the lease of half a shop at 218a Regent Street with only three staff members.

5) Oxford Circus / Oxford Street

Oxford Circus is the intersection of Oxford Street and Regent Street in the West End of London. It is served by many bus routes.

Tip: It is often a great place to take a picture of London’s famous red double-decker buses in a row.

It also has Oxford Circus tube station directly beneath the junction itself which had the Victoria line (turquoise blue) and the Bakerloo line (brown).

Oxford Circus has the highest pedestrian volumes recorded anywhere in London. At the busiest times, over 40,000 pedestrians per hour pass through the junction. The Circus was constructed at the beginning of the 19th century, the area is famous today for it many flagship shops, TopShop, Miss Selfridges and Nike Town.

72 Hours in London Day 2 St Christopher's Place at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

 

From Oxford Circus take a walk west down Oxford Street towards Marble Arch.  On route to our next destination you will pass many shops and department stores John Lewis, House of Fraser and Debenhams.  Just before you reach Selfridgew look out for this Clock  on the right hand side of the road, and the a narrow alley way. St Christopher’s Place has small boutiques and lots of great restaurants.

 

 

 

6) Selfridges

72 Hours in London Day 2 Selfridges at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

Selfridges, also known as Selfridges & Co was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge. The flagship store on London’s Oxford Street is the second largest shop in the UK (after Harrods) and opened 15 March 1909.

It is also believed that Harry Gordon Selfridge coined the globally known phrase “the customer is always right” and Selfridge used it regularly in his advertising.

72 Hours in London Day 2 Selfridges & Co at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

 

 

Selfridges’ windows have become synonymous also with the brand, and to a certain degree have become as famous as the company and Oxford Street location itself. Selfridges has a history of bold art initiatives when it comes to the window designs. The windows consistently attract tourists, who marvel at the current designs and styling and fashion trends.

Harry Gordon Selfridge’s success was his relentlessly innovative marketing, which was elaborately expressed in his Oxford Street store. When launched Mr Selfridge tried to make shopping a fun adventure and a form of leisure instead of a chore.  Emphasizing the importance of creating a welcome environment, he placed merchandise on display so customers could examine it, moved the highly profitable perfume counter front-and-centre on the ground floor, and established policies that made it safe and easy for customers to shop. These techniques have been adopted by modern department stores around the world.   The shop’s early history was dramatised in ITV’s 2013 series Mr Selfridge.

I think this is the best department store in London and I am a little (well a lot) biased as I used to work for Selfridges head office for 3 years but enough about me.

You can spend hours shopping here are there are loads of restaurants where you can take a break.

Blue Route:

 

Shopping on the blue route

3) Fortnum & Masons

Fortnum & Mason often shortened to just “Fortnum’s” is an upmarket department store in Piccadilly, London.  It was established in 1707 by William Fortnum and Hugh Mason.

In April 1951, Canadian businessman W. Garfield Weston acquired the store. In 1964, he commissioned a four-ton clock to be installed above the main entrance of the store as a tribute to its founders. Every hour, 4-foot-high (1.2 m) models of William Fortnum and Hugh Mason emerge and bow to each other, with chimes and 18th-century–style music playing in the background. Click here to see the video of clock via The Londonist 

Founded as a grocery store, Fortnum’s developed into a department store, it stocks a variety of exotic, speciality and also ‘basic’ provisions.  It is also the location of a celebrated tea shop and several restaurants.  Fortnum & Mason is famed for its loose-leaf tea and its world-renowned luxury picnic hampers.  Their hampers contain luxury items such as Stilton cheese, champagne, quails’ eggs and smoked salmon are very popular, especially at Christmas time, and start from £55 to £1000.

Random Fact: In 1886, after having bought the entire stock of five cases of a new product made by H.J. Heinz, Fortnum & Mason became the first store in Britain to stock tins of baked beans.

 4) Burlington Arcade

The Burlington Arcade is a covered shopping arcade in London, that runs behind Bond Street from Piccadilly through to Burlington Gardens. The Burlington Arcade was built “for the sale of jewellery and fancy articles of fashionable demand, for the gratification of the public”.

The Arcade opened on 20 March 1819 the arcade is for pedestrians only.  Its smart uniform shop fronts under a glazed roof, have always been filled with upmarket retailers. It is also patrolled by Burlington Arcade beadles in traditional uniforms including top hats and frockcoats.

5) Bond Street

72 Hours in London Day 2 Bond Street at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

Bond Street is a major shopping street in the West End of London. It links Piccadilly in the south to Oxford Street in the north and has been popular for retail since the 18th century, being the home of many fashion outlets that sell prestigious and expensive items.

Bond Street has the highest density of haute couture stores anywhere in the world, attracting the rich, the famous and many tourists. So you may be able to do some celeb spotting.

The nearest tube stations are Green Park in Piccadilly which have the Victoria line (Turquoise blue) and the Jubilee Line (Grey), and Bond Street station in Oxford Street which have the Jubilee Line (Grey) and the Central line (red) . Despite its name, Bond Street station does not directly connect to either New or Old Bond Street.  Bond Street is the only street that runs between Oxford Street and Piccadilly. The entire street is around 0.5 miles (0.8 km) long.  Many of the shop frontages are less than 20 feet (6 m) wide.

Prestigious and expensive shops sit alongside auction houses Sotheby’s and Bonhams. At one time, Bond Street was best known for top-end art dealers and antique shops, some dealers and antique shops remain, but many of the shops have come to be occupied by fashion boutiques, some branches of global designer brands. The street still has a reputation as a fashionable place for shopping, including the flagship stores of Ralph Lauren and Cartier. Fenwick have had a department store on Bond Street since 1891.

 Regent Street

Next take a walk up Regent Street named after George, the Prince Regent (later George IV). The street runs from Waterloo Place in St James’s at the southern end, through Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus, to All Souls Church.

72 Hours in London Day 2 Regent Street at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

The street was completed in 1825. The street is known for its flagship retail stores, including Liberty, Hamleys, Jaeger and the Apple Store. Regent Street is approximately 0.8 miles. Everyone has their own taste with regards to shopping so take your time and enjoy yourself.

Tip: If you’re from outside the EU make sure you keep your receipts and claim back your tax.

Follow the map on to Regents street and make sure you pay a visit to a couple of stops to Hamleys and Liberty’s as you join back to the red route.

6) Hamleys & Carnaby Street

Hamleys is the oldest and largest toy shop in the world.  It is named after William Hamley.  Hamley’s has had a few homes over the years but it is now situated at 188-196 regents street. Hamleys’ flagship store has seven floors, with different categories of toys on each floor.  The store is a popular destination for tourists and there is always a que’s outside the door during the run up to Christmas.

Parallel to regent street and behind Hamleys lies Carnaby Street  (highlighted in red on the map below)

72 Hours in London Day 2 at Carnaby Street www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

Carnaby Street is a pedestrianised shopping street in Soho in the City of Westminster, Central London. Close to Oxford Street and Regent Street, it is home to fashion and lifestyle retailers, including a large number of independent fashion boutiques.  Carnaby Street derives its name from Karnaby House, which was built-in 1683 to the east.

72 Hours in London Day 2 Carnaby Street at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

By the 1960s, Carnaby Street was popular with followers of the mod and hippie styles. Many independent fashion boutiques, and designers such as Mary Quant, Marion Foale and Take Six. Bands such as the Small Faces, The Who, and Rolling Stones appeared in the area to work (at the legendary Marquee Club round the corner in Wardour Street), shop, and socialise, it became one of the coolest destinations associated with 1960’s Swinging London.

There are loads of places to eat around this area, so take a break for lunch and get ready for an afternoon of lots more shopping and photo opportunities.

 7) Liberty of London

While Liberty’s isn’t technically on Regent Street it is just off Regent streets on Great Marlborough Street. Liberty’s is a department store which sells luxury goods including women’s, men’s and children’s fashion, cosmetics and fragrances, jewellery, accessories, home wares, furniture, stationery and gifts and is best known for its floral and graphic prints and silk scarf’s.

Started with a £2,000 loan from his future father-in-law, Arthur Liberty accepted the lease of half a shop at 218a Regent Street with only three staff members.

8) Oxford Circus / Oxford Street

Oxford Circus is the intersection of Oxford Street and Regent Street in the West End of London. It is served by many bus routes.

Tip: It is often a great place to take a picture of London’s famous red double-decker buses in a row.

It also has Oxford Circus tube station directly beneath the junction itself which had the Victoria line (turquoise blue) and the Bakerloo line (brown).

Oxford Circus has the highest pedestrian volumes recorded anywhere in London. At the busiest times, over 40,000 pedestrians per hour pass through the junction. The Circus was constructed at the beginning of the 19th century, the area is famous today for it many flagship shops, TopShop, Miss Selfridges and Nike Town.

9) Selfridges

72 Hours in London Day 2 Selfridges at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

Selfridges, also known as Selfridges & Co was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge. The flagship store on London’s Oxford Street is the second largest shop in the UK (after Harrods) and opened 15 March 1909.

It is also believed that Harry Gordon Selfridge coined the globally known phrase “the customer is always right” and Selfridge used it regularly in his advertising.

72 Hours in London Day 2 Selfridges & Co at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

Selfridges’ windows have become synonymous also with the brand, and to a certain degree have become as famous as the company and Oxford Street location itself. Selfridges has a history of bold art initiatives when it comes to the window designs. The windows consistently attract tourists, who marvel at the current designs and styling and fashion trends.

Harry Gordon Selfridge’s success was his relentlessly innovative marketing, which was elaborately expressed in his Oxford Street store. When launched Mr Selfridge tried to make shopping a fun adventure and a form of leisure instead of a chore.  Emphasizing the importance of creating a welcome environment, he placed merchandise on display so customers could examine it, moved the highly profitable perfume counter front-and-centre on the ground floor, and established policies that made it safe and easy for customers to shop. These techniques have been adopted by modern department stores around the world.   The shop’s early history was dramatised in ITV’s 2013 series Mr Selfridge.

I think this is the best department store in London and I am a little (well a lot) biased as I used to work for Selfridges head office for 3 years but enough about me.

You can spend hours shopping here are there are loads of restaurants where you can take a break.

Where is your favourite shop in central London?

Click here to read Day 1 of 72 hours in London.

How to spend 72 hours in London- Day 1

There is so much to do in London.  But if your only here for a long weekend or an extended layover, here are the best things to do in 72 hours.

 

 

Day 1 – From the Air

London from the sky - 72 Hours in London at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

Day 1 – From the Map

72 Hours in London Day 1 at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

1)  The London Eye

Starting the day off at one of my favourite attractions is The London Eye.  The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel on the south bank of the River Thames (South side of the river in Waterloo between Waterloo and Westminster Bridges). The London Eye is not for those who don’t like heights at 443 feet tall it gives great views of London. The Ferris wheel takes about 30 minutes to complete the rotation.

Tip: Book before your trip to save money.

There are lost of different packages available and great saving to be had if booking tickets for other attractions. Prices Start at £22.00 per adult. Click here for more information.

 

2) Westminster Abbey

A short 5-10 minute walk across Westminster Bridge and will take you to the 2nd and 3rd stops of the day. Westminster Abbey’s  website states “ Westminster Abbey is one of the world’s great churches, with a history stretching back over a thousand years and an essential part of any trip to London.”

Westiminster Abbey - 72 Hours in London at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

But most people want to see it as it is where Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip of Greece were married, as were Prince Charles and Princess Diana of Wales and most recent the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Katherine Middleton.

Queen Elizabeth II also had her coronation at Westminster Abbey.

Fact: Since the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066, all coronations of English and British monarchs have been held in Westminster Abbey.

Click here for prices

 

3) Big Ben & the Houses of Parliament

A short walk across the road will bring you to Big Ben & the Houses of Parliament. Big Ben is known the iconic clock tower attached to The Palace of Westminster aka The Houses of Parliament.  The Clock Tower was renamed The Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to celebrate the Queens Silver Jubilee. Big Ben is the name of the bell in the Elizabeth Tower.

The Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

4) Downing Street

A short walk up Whitehall may take you past some demonstrations and also Downing Street. Downing street is the official residences of The Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street and The Chancellor of the Exchequer at Number 11.

Tip: It’s a great photo opportunity to take a photo with some armed police, but don’t expect to see the Prime minister.

 

 

5) Horse Guards Parade 

A short walk up further up Whitehall and you will reach Horse Guards Parade.  Horse Guards Parade is a large parade ground off Whitehall in central London.  It is well-known for the Changing the Life Guard and the Four ‘O’ Clock Parade.

Changing the Life Guard, takes place daily at 11:00 weekdays and 10:00 on Sundays.  Check here for more details and to confirm times and dates as they do vary.

The Four ‘O’ Clock Parade, also known as the Dismounting Ceremony takes place at 16:00 hours in the courtyard within the Horse Guards building.

The Queen’s Life Guard is normally provided by men of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment which consists of a Squadron of The Life Guards, who wear red tunics and white plumed helmets, and a Squadron of The Blues and Royals with blue tunics and red plumed helmets.

 

Tip: Great opportunity to take a picture with a royal guard on a horse.

72 Hours in London Day 1 part 2 at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

 

6) Trafalgar Square

Take a short walk up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square.  Here you will find Nelson Column, the fountains, the Lions, 4 Plinths and the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery.  Here you can spend a few minutes taking pictures or a few hours in the Galleries. It’s totally up to you.

By now you must be starving, so have a break for lunch.  In London you have so much choice of food I would suggest eating somewhere close by in the strand or Covent Garden.

 

7) Covent Garden

From Trafalgar Square take walk up the strand or through the side streets to Covent Garden.

Covent Garden - 72 Hours in London at www.mywonderfulworld.co.uk

Covent Garden is famous for its piazza and cobbled square, the area is great for shopping and food. So spend a few hours taking it all in.

Then have a pre-theatre dinner in one of the many restaurants.

 

8) Theatre Land

In the areas local to Covent Garden are Shaftesbury Avenue, Dury Lane and the Strand, also known as theatre land. London has many award-winning shows, with loads to choose from, you would be mad not to.

Tip: Pre book tickets for great savings.

I love London, which means I’m very lucky as it is my home town (well city). I hope you liked Day 1 in London and check back here next week for Day 2.