Ahhh London. If you’re already from the UK then you’ll either love it or hate it, but there is no denying this capital city makes for fantastic day trips and weekends. I recently decided to have some ‘me’ time and treated myself to a 24-hour trip in London. I couldn’t travel abroad, as the UK still has tight restrictions, so a staycation was the next best thing. I definitely found some hidden gems which I wanted to share, including Backyard Cinema and Vonder Hotels. In fact, you might want to add these places to your London bucket-list. I guess this in a London travel guide in the form of a diary. Let’s go!
Disclaimer: Nothing is sponsored in this post. I paid for it all with my own money, at full-price.
10 am: Arrival To London Victoria Coach Station
I decided to take the coach up to London because I find the journey so much more comfortable than on a train. You’ll get less people moving up and down the space, will have a genuinely soft seat and will probably save half of the money you’d pay if you went by railway. Sure, the journey might take longer but I was in no rush! I slept the whole way lol.
10:15 am: Walk To Chelsea To Shop
It took less than 10 minutes from Victoria Coach Station to walk to Chelsea, but I’ve factored in additional minutes for anyone who wants to walk at a slower pace to take everything in! I knew I wanted to head directly to Zara, one of my favourite clothing stores, but in the area you’ll find a mix of high-street and designer shops. If you go during a sale period, typically late June-July in summer, you can definitely grab yourself a few bargains. I did spend a small fortune in Cos though! The minimalistic, yet cool, designs just catch me every single time. I didn’t hang around too long in the area as I knew I was stretched for time, so headed to the nearest tube station to go into Camden Food Market…
11:30 am: Explored Camden Town
At this point I was HUNGRY. I didn’t have breakfast because I knew I was in for a day of eating at every location which caught my eye. The underground took me 30 minutes from Chelsea, but holding shopping bags without sitting down certainly added to my desire to grab an early lunch. If you do visit London and plan to use the tube, get the all-day travel pass as you’re given unlimited travel on both the underground and local buses. Anyway, back to the food! Camden is a quirky place which has rows upon rows of markets, independent boutiques and sensational food stalls. You can literally find every type of dish you fancy. As someone who is Gluten-Free, I wasn’t too hopeful that many places would cater to my needs but I found an entire food truck dedicated to Gluten-Free fried chicken? THAT’S exactly what I mean when I say you can find virtually anything. After soaking up all the goods, I strolled around the other food stalls and decided to grab an Uber to Wandsworth because I was attending a themed cinema…
13:00 pm: Uber to Wandsworth For Backyard Cinema
The whole purpose of my trip was actually to attend the cinema. Now, I know what you might be thinking. Why travel all the way to London for a cinema? Backyard Cinema is not just any cinema though! Allow me to explain. The concept is the same as a regular cinema, as you’ll still see a film on a large screen, but that’s where the similarities end. This cinema is themed. Yup. You can choose from two events, ‘LA Nights’ or ‘Miami Beach’. I went for ‘Miami Beach’ as the film showing was more to my liking (The Beach over The Grand Budapest Hotel, if anyone was curious). The exterior leading up to the cinema is all designed to make you feel like you are genuinely at a beach party. Think beach stalls, seaside decorations and staff dressed in summer gear. There are benches outside the cinema to grab some food and drinks (including beach cocktails) to fuel yourself up before you head inside. It’s all extremely detailed.
Once you’ve collected your ticket and passed the rotating doors, you’re transported into a hotel setting where you’ll be greeted by actors who lead you through the snack room into the actual cinema. The first thing that will hit you is the lively music and rows of bean bags. Once you look down, you’ll see all the sand on the floor. The entire room has sand guys. Proper beach vibes. One thing I would say though, don’t wear new shoes like I did as they’ll get filled with the stuff! From here, I won’t give any spoilers on what happens next as I don’t want to ruin the experience if anyone decides to go, but all I’ll say is that you won’t be disappointed. In terms of logistics, book in advance online by typing ‘Backyard Cinema’ into your search engine. Prices range from £15-30.
17:30 pm: Quick Trip To Buckingham Palace
After all the relaxation from sitting down to watch a film, I was craving movement so decided to head to Buckingham Palace to check out the sights. I spent a bit of time watching the guards at the palace do their thing and had a stroll around the gardens nearby. My time here was cut short after I saw someone with a tub of frozen yogurt which made me want some instantly! I don’t know why I didn’t Google the nearest frozen yogurt shop at this point, instead I decided to head to the London Eye because I remembered there to be a frozen yogurt bus overlooking the River Thames. I am team frozen yogurt over ice-cream by the way. Every single time.
18:30 pm: Dinner + Frozen Yogurt Stop By The London Eye
Just as I was walking up the stairs to the frozen yogurt bus, called SNOG if anyone wants to visit, I accidentally strolled into a foodie market. I couldn’t say no! I decided to get a Venezuelan Arepa bowl as dinner then headed up to get the yogurt as dessert. Weirdly, it was unusually hot in the UK. Think 26 degrees Celsius, which I’m sure for so many of you is mild weather! You know it’s warm when your dessert starts to melt within seconds haha.
19:00 pm: Uber To Kensington For Hotel Check-In
I checked into Vonder Hotels in Kensington. After a brief delay, as nobody was at reception to let me in, I was given the key to my room. The place itself was modern, with rooms reminding me of a small apartment but with all the features of a hotel. For one night, it cost me £58 on a weekday – breakfast was included the next morning. The breakfast was actually nice too. It felt like coffee shop breakfast, rather than a typical complimentary buffet selection. All very luxurious. I couldn’t recommend the hotel enough, plus the area was nicely located and felt safe.
After a well-deserved rest, refreshing shower and cup of tea (I’m British after all), I called it a night. I was exhausted haha! The next morning, I had my morning shower, got ready, headed to breakfast and checked out. By 10 am, I was on the coach out of London. Yes it was a jam-packed 24 hours but I couldn’t have wished for anything more. Ok well, maybe another tub of frozen yogurt...
See you in the next post!