TRAVEL GUIDE: 48 Hours in London by Franco Boydell

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Step into the streets where innovation, creativity and history comes together. Day and night, there's always something happening in our much-loved capital. There's no denying that London is a must-visit city to visit, not just for those in the UK but the whole world - with a skyline that proudly presents centuries of progress from the industrial era to the modern hub it stands as today.

“Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” Samuel Johnson

But when you’ve only got 48 hours, it’s time to get strategic. We’ve created an insider’s guide to show you sights of London you won’t find in your typical tour guides.

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How to get there

With 6 international airports scattered around the city and links to Europe via the Channel Tunnel, London is a true crossroads of the world. If you’re from the UK you can get the bus, train or even fly from most places easily. The bus will be the most low-cost option but if you’d prefer to save some time, booking in advance to get the train or plane will save you some cash.

Getting around town

You might catch Londoners moaning about the tube being too hot or too packed every now and again, but the Underground System is still the quickest way to get around London. But remember, most stations within ‘Zone 1’ of the Underground map are no more than 5 minutes walk from each other above ground.

Also, bear in mind Londoners have many names for their beloved underground system: the Tube, Underground or train are the most frequent - or we may simply refer to the specific ‘line’ - Victoria, Northern, Piccadilly, et al.

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CityMapper is a must if you’re new to the city and want to get from A to B simply giving you a price and time comparison of all modes of transport across the city. If you’d prefer being out in the open exploring the streets and sights of London first-hand, hiring a bike is as easy as riding one. There are many stations where you can hop on and off a bike with Barclays 4 Bikes and Santander Cycles across the city. If you’re after a more memorable route, Moo Canoes take you through city via the river and canals. Offering beautiful views and a chance to experience London from a unique perspective.

We’d recommend steering clear of the infamous ‘Black Cab’, though, while cabbies have an unrivalled Knowledge of the city, prices are astronomical.

Where to stay

For those who love all things modern and techie, get yourself down Shoreditch and grab a room at the M by Montcalm. This trendy hotel soars above London’s tech city and although new, it is already praised as a bold new landmark in London’s busy skyline. The interior is  as edgy as it’s dynamic district in which it’s located with a mix match of science fiction aesthetics and vibrant retro ambience. Location-wise, this high-tech hub couldn’t be better connected. It also provides the ultimate space to relax and indulge with a spa and 17th floor restaurant to indulge in fantastic food and show-stopping views.

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The craft beer craze still isn’t over here and where better to enjoy it than Bermondsey south east London? This has became the destination to drink beer, being dubbed the Bermondsey Beer Mile. Here, six microbreweries such as Fourpure and Brew By Numbers  open their doors every Saturday to the public. Learn about the rich history of food and drink whilst refreshing with a hoppy pint.

Eating out

When it comes to food, vegans and vegetarians won’t go hungry here. If you’re around east London and looking for an edgier veggie choice, stop by Hackney Road to Just Fab. Inspired by the street food scene in Silicon City, Just Fab applies their one-of-a-kind vegan twist on traditional Italian food. They have a ‘zero-milage’ food policy, locally sourcing ingredients for their delicious dishes such as polenta muffins and PasTofu.

For those looking for a real food experience with an exceptional atmosphere, hop aboard The Prince Regent London Shell Co. Located in Paddington Central, this romantic canal boat is run by a super talented team who pick fresh fish from the market to form their menu daily, paired with some beautiful wine and you’re onto a winner. From Cornish crab to smoked cod roe, you’ll be sampling some of the best of what the UK’s waters has to offer, whilst chugging along it too!

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Must see sights

London’s art scene offers a famously mixed bag of galleries, quirky smaller exhibitions and one off gems. Step away from the top attractions and look at the city from a different point of view, at Alternative London. Granted, this gallery takes you off the beaten track through the heart of the east end but here you’ll unearth London’s street art and graffiti scene.

Theatre plays a huge part in the culture here and what better place to get involved than in the world’s oldest grand music hall? Wilton’s is an architectural treasure, tucked away in the heart of London presenting live musical performances, top class productions and interactive experiences all year round. Check out their last-minute tickets for a spontaneous evening of culture.

Insiders insights

It’s well known that London is pricey at the best of times, but it needn’t have to be. London is the greenest city in Europe, full of many charming parks with huge open spaces perfect for summer strolls, places to have a relaxed beer without the price tag of a pint, or simply a place to reflect or work. Get lost amongst the wildlife in Greenwich Park, take a look around Victoria park’s Chinese Pagoda and take in the breathtaking views of London from Primrose Hill. The best part? They’re all completely free.

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As our home city, of course we love London, but it also has just about everything you could hope for in a city break. It is a place that allows you the freedom to explore, broaden your horizons, learn and embrace whatever comes your way. It is the city which keeps us at the forefront of innovation and inspiration. Keep up to date with our blog for more of our travel guides.