We’ve come up with some ways to make sure you get the best out of your time here, no matter the hour (and just slightly matter the weather). Kick off your day with a free in-room Nespresso® and a hearty full English breakfast at your Amba Hotel Charing Cross. Once you’ve eaten your fill and drunk enough coffee to prevent slipping into a food-nap, try starting on one (or more) of our itineraries.
If you haven’t already been – or even if you have – the Tate Modern is a hugely impressive exhibition space. Converted from the former Bankside Power Station by Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron, it is the most visited modern art gallery in the world, and for solid reason. With permanent and rotating collections, any time of year is guaranteed to deliver success.
When you’re ready to head out again (and this could be hours later…) for some fresh air, take a stroll along the banks of the Thames, admiring the London landmarks as you go, before crossing over to the other side by means of the ‘wobbly’ Millennium Bridge. A short walk away is the stunning St Paul’s Cathedral, built in the 17th century and designed by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London, it’s situated at the top of Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London and affords amazing vistas from the viewing gallery.
If you’re still fuelled by breakfast, hop on one of the many river cruises on offer – from the speedy to the leisurely, a number of companies will take you along past the Houses of Parliament, London Eye, Big Ben and Tower Bridge. On the other hand, if you’re starting to hear the growling of stomachs, head South East down to Borough Market, the world-renowned foodie haven of local and international fare. Whatever flavour of mind you’re in, you’ll find a stall to satisfy you here, and the venue itself is more than worth the visit.
Time to work off those deli counter indulgences? Why not join in one of London’s walking tours – young architect Ike Ijeh runs some seriously popular and well-informed treks around town, including the current festive-themed Christmas lights viewing one; advance booking is a must for this one, so do email him. Alternatively you can bag yourself a Boris Bike and pedal-power your way from one gob-smacking sight to another. If you steer clear of the busy thoroughfares, it’s a lovely, cheap, eco-friendly way to tick all the must-see boxes. There are also numerous companies that organise cycling tours, in case you’re not confident enough in your geographical or balancing capabilities. For example, Mind the Gap Tours runs guided sessions using vintage-style bikes to Windsor and Hampton Court. They emphasise ‘the road less travelled’, with small groups going at a leisurely pace to discover the quirky and hidden parts of London on traffic-free routes. Tours include ‘Hampton Court by Bike’, a day trip which includes transport from central London, bike hire, an audioguide and entrance to Hampton Court Palace.
If you thought of it in advance and booked a sunset trip up the London Eye, good on you. If not, why not chance your luck and see what the queues are like? It’s a slow half-hour ride but the views of the city really can’t be beaten. London has an absolute embarrassment of riches when it comes to theatre, opera, cinema… saying you’ll be spoiled for choice would be a major understatement. The Royal Court Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe offer two quite different experiences, and for independent, eclectic cinematic offerings you really can’t do much better than The Prince Charles just off Leicester Square.
As if we need to tell you how good London’s bar, restaurant and clubbing scene is…Also did you know that the Victoria and Albert Museum is open until 10pm on Fridays, often putting on lectures, live music and other highbrow events. If it’s not Friday, you can still catch live music on the hoof. Founded in the 50s and still one of London’s top live jazz music venues today, Ronnie Scott’s has earned its status as legendary no matter what school night it might be. For something a little more rock-folk or alternative, the 12 Bar Cluboperates until 3am, seven nights a week, and handily is within stumbling distance from your Amba Hotel at Charing Cross. Not ready to call it a night yet? No need to…
If you’ve been shown the door, enjoy the open air and head for Brick Lane – with its famous, late-night bagel staples, these spots are open all night, ridiculously good value and consistently amazingly tasty. Feeling a little more decadent? Cafe Boheme is a picturesque and, well, bohemian spot to treat yourself until the early hours of the next day. Once you’re refuelled, brave a hike up Primrose Hill for some staggering sunrise spectaculars over London, before wandering back down and hopping on a bus to New Covent Garden Market in Vauxhall- wholesale lilies and orchids for the one you love, including yourself? How could you not?
Hopefully we’ve inspired you to plan your own 24-hour odyssey around London, so why not book your stay with us and see what the day might hold…