London. Like many world capitals, they say this is a city that never sleeps, and on my most recent trip to the city, I put that to the test. The challenge: to discover 24 amazing moments in London – one unique moment for every hour of the day!
This trip called for some late nights and early mornings (because someone had to test out what you can get up to in London even at 3:00 a.m. should jet-lag kick in!) and I’m happy to report that London has got you covered.
From secret speakeasies to pop-up concerts in strangers’ living rooms, and whimsical afternoon teas to late night market eats, I scoured all of London to bring you the following 24 amazing moments.
My 24 hours in London
Wake up to amazing London views
I kicked off my 24-hour London adventure at CitizenM Hotel, where I had spent the night, and I don’t think I could have asked for a better view to wake up to.
Why, yes, that is the Tower of London right outside my window!
CitizenM was modern, unique, and playful, plus they had an amazing rooftop bar with views of Central London. It was hard to pull myself away from here, but I did have a pretty big bucket list to tick off, so let’s get on to that.
Grab a coffee at a telephone box
If I was going to tackle this 24 hours in London experiment, I was going to need some coffee; but why go to a regular coffee shop when I could grab one from a red telephone box?
While London’s iconic phone boxes are slowly disappearing, Kape Barako has set up shop inside a defunct phone box, and it turns out, you don’t need a whole lot of space to brew a good cup of coffee.
All orders here are to go, but there is a bench nearby where you can sit and enjoy your early morning cuppa joe.
Enjoy a nature escape at Hampstead Heath
Since I was already in Hampstead for my morning coffee, I also took the opportunity to have a wander through Hampstead Heath.
I know it probably seems a bit early into my London visit for a nature escape – surely Central London was calling! – but this is one of the highest points in London and you can get some nice views of the city.
Plus who doesn’t like starting off the morning with some fresh air and lots of friendly pups out on their morning walk?
Dive into modern art at the Tate Modern
London is a city of museums – most of them free to the public – and one that I never tire of visiting is the Tate Modern.
Set in the former Bankside Power Station, this unlikely structure houses the national collection of British art from 1900 to the present day, as well as modern and contemporary art by international artists.
On this particular visit, there was something new at the Tate and it wasn’t art; they had just opened a viewing terrace on the top floor of the Blavatnik Building. That meant 360-degree views of the London skyline featuring St. Paul’s, the River Thames, and Canary Wharf off in the distance.
Also worth mentioning, there was a new restaurant at the Tate Modern, which again, boasted panoramic views of London, and served up seasonal British cuisine. If you’re feeling a bit peckish after exploring the galleries, this is a great spot to grab a bite!
Catch the Changing of the Guard
Next up, it was time to watch the Changing of the Guard. There are a few different places to do so in London, but I watched the ceremony on Horse Guards Parade. You can expect red tunics, plumed helmets, and breastplates that dazzle in the sun.
I arrived a little bit early, so I also visited the Household Cavalry Museum, where a glass partition gives you a peek at the original 18th century working stables.
Ride down the Thames with Thames Rockets
No visit to London is complete without a cruise down the Thames, so I joined Thames Rockets who like to put a twist on things.
Their London cruise has you speeding down the Thames hitting up a whole bunch of the city’s highlights with music pumping, and all the while you’re teamed up with one of their hilarious guides who are there to share all kinds of interesting London facts that you won’t find in any guidebook.
Indulge your inner foodie at Borough Market
With hundreds of food stalls selling everything from baked goods to fruit smoothies and fresh seafood to takeaway burgers, Borough Market is the place for foodies!
This is the oldest market in London – it has been in operation in some shape or form for over 1000 years! – and it’s a place where you are spoiled for choice.
My favourite thing about any market meal is wandering around from stand to stand and piecing together a delicious meal. At Borough Market, I had a delicious goat kofte bowl from Gourmet Goat, a fresh berry juice from a juicing stand, and a classic vanilla doughnut from Bread Ahead. It was amazing!
Catch a West End show
Then it was on to the theatre. After multiple visits to London, I had still never been to a West End show and it was time to change that on this 24-hour challenge.
I went to the Prince Edward Theatre to see a childhood favourite brought to life, Aladdin. Since it was a matinee, there were lots of families in the audience, but it was also really enjoyable to watch it as an adult and relive the magic (I knew the lyrics by heart).
My favourite scene? When Aladdin retrieves the magic lamp from the cave – the set design for that scene was truly amazing.
Have an afternoon tea with a twist
As a lover of tea and scones, I’ve sought out many afternoon teas around the world, but the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at Sanderson may be the most unusual I’ve experienced.