By Sarah Reid
For the past five years, I’ve worked as the Teaching Assistant on UVM’s London Stage program, a 3-credit two week summer course dedicated to see a wide array of the best theatre in the city! Last summer after the program ended, I met up with my cousin who had a long layover in the city on her way back from her study abroad semester in Spain. It was her first time in London and she only had the weekend to see the city’s best sites.
Here was my plan: Friday we would visit the Camden area, Saturday we would start in WEST London and work our way south, while on Sunday we would start in EAST London and work our way south. In one weekend, she will have gotten a comprehensive look at the edges of London, cutting out the heavily trafficked (albeit cool) central part of the city.
Our top stops: Camden Town, Portobello Market, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Abbey Road, Columbia Road Flower Market, Spitalfield’s Market, Tate Modern, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey.
The Ultimate Itinerary for A Weekend in London
Kick things off in Camden Town, and immediately headed to the famous market. Camden Market is a former horse stable area turned into global market, with clothes and unique gifts and food from around the world. You can stay there and get lost in the tunnels for hours.
Wake up early to hit up Portobello Market in the Notting Hill area of town.
We found Hummingbird cupcakes and bought a vanilla and red velvet for a decadent market “ breakfast.” I had us on a walking route – the best way to see the city – so from Portobello Market we walked over to the Kensington area to see Hyde Park and Kensington gardens.
From there, we were only a short walk to THE Buckingham Palace.
We then hopped on a bus and headed back to the northern part of the city to see Abbey Road and the famous Beatles crosswalk.
Up early again for another market day! Markets are hands-down my favorite things to do in the city and there are so many good ones. Sunday we hit up Columbia Road Flower Market to tour East London, working our way down to the Tate Modern for the Damien Hirst exhibit.
From the flower market, we made our way down Brick Lane and over to Spitalfields Market, which is covered market full of clothes and art and food.
We left Spitalfields and walked by St. Paul’s Cathedral and across the Millennium Bridge.
We immediately got in the queue for the Damien Hirst exhibit at The Tate Modern. I love how this museum is broken down by concept area. After grabbing a bite to eat at the museum we walked across the Westminster Bridge to check out Big Ben, Parliament, and Westminster Abbey.
My cousin and I headed to the airport shortly thereafter, happy to have had a whirlwind tour of the city that included stops in so many iconic London places.
Sarah Reid is a Program Coordinator for the UVM Global Village Residential Learning Community. She graduated from UVM’s Higher Education & Student Affairs master’s program in 2008.