Discovering London in just 24 hours seems like a daunting task. In a city that's home to 9.6 million people, thousands of restaurants, over 300 museums and seemingly limitless other landmarks to discover, where do you begin?
While it may not be possible to see all of the capital during a lightning-round stopover, follow this itinerary and you’ll be rewarded with a taste of the city’s best. From world-class museums like Somerset House and ancient markets like Borough Market to a dose of the famous performing arts scene courtesy of the Royal Opera House, enjoy a whirlwind 24 hours in London.
You’ve begun your day jetlag-free (ideally) and with a generous breakfast at The Northall - what next? You’ll do a fair amount of dining later, so some morning perambulation isn’t just a fine way to see the city – it will also ensure that you’ve worked up an appetite by lunchtime.
From Corinthia London, set off towards Trafalgar Square and within steps of the towering Nelson’s Column, you’ll find both the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. The motivated can try to explore both, though even one will more than provide your recommended dose of masterpieces. Don’t miss the Tudor and Elizabethan portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, while the National Gallery is host to world-famous paintings like "A Young Woman Standing at a Virginial” by Vermeer and "The Ambassadors" by Hans Holbein the Younger.
Alternatively, a leisurely stroll up the Strand is one of those quintessential London walks. Meander over to Somerset House: both a striking Neoclassical icon on the site of an old Tudor palace and an exhibition space for blockbuster art shows. Its gorgeous looks and Thames-side placement make it a must, whether or not you fancy attending an exhibition.
Take this opportunity to wander across the Thames and explore Borough Market. With an incredible thousand years of history behind it, the market has drawn traders throughout London’s history. Today, it’s still considered the city’s gastronomic heart (or stomach, perhaps). While there are plenty of treats you can pick up as souvenirs, keep an eye out for scrumptious samples: from aged Comté to Italian cured meats and paella, there’s plenty for the casual wanderer to taste as they go.
Before you fill up completely on fromage (tempting as it is), settle in for a sit-down lunch. Arabica, just adjacent to the market, is one of the restaurants at the crests of London’s burgeoning Levantine dining scene. Alternatively, other nearby eateries like Brindisa (which ranks among London’s many top-notch tapas haunts) and the Wright Brothers (home to gorgeously fresh, saline oysters) are just a trot away.
Full to bursting? If you’ve been blessed with a sunny afternoon and would prefer to enjoy London en plein air, a river cruise will take you along the Thames. It's a great way to savour views of many of London’s most famous vistas, from the London Eye and Houses of Parliament, to Tower Bridge and the skyscrapers of the City.
Alternatively, go for a gentle stroll over to the Tate Modern. Housed in a renovated power station, it’s not only one of London’s most striking landmarks but has also ranked among the city’s most visited museums since its opening in 2000. The permanent collection is free to visit.
Prefer your museums on the smaller side? Head for homey, hidden museums like the Handel House Museum, the Charles Dickens Museum, or the Sir John Soane’s Museum, all of which are tucked away in Zone 1.
The evening isn’t complete without dipping your toes into London’s world-class theatre scene. For those on the South Bank, the Old Vic – or, indeed, the National Theatre at the Southbank Centre – always have something of interest on. Or, for the classical, the Royal Opera House’s ballet and opera performances rival those of La Scala.
It’s been almost a full 24 hours in London – and at this point, you’re bound to be a little tired. Time to head back to Corinthia London, then, where you can enjoy a nightcap at Velvet by Salvatore Calabrese, our luxurious Champagne and cocktail bar, before finally retiring to bed.