This post is in partnership with Heathrow Express and their campaign celebrating their 100 millionth passenger ever. To commemorate that, they have asked photographer Dave Burt to take pictures of passengers on their way in and out of London, and, if you’re quick, you can still catch his work on display in Paddington station until the end of today. If you miss the exhibition, you can still watch this video here for a sneak peak on what the exhibition looked like and a few words on how Dave came to be a London photographer (I found this especially interesting as it’s what I’d love to do!).
As Heathrow is London’s biggest airport and Heathrow Express the fastest link between the airport and the city, I thought I’d make a little guide on what do in the city if you only have 12 hours before having to continue your journey. I’ve got you covered from breakfast to dinner with a few tips on where to have a drink or a wander inbetween. Enjoy!
Once you get to Paddington, follow the underground signs to the tube and take the District Line to Notting Hill Gate station (this should only take you about 10 minutes).
About a 5 minute walk from the station on Uxbridge Street is an excellent brunch place aptly called the Eggbreak. They do every kind of egg based breakfast dish you could think of and then some, but, even if eggs aren’t your thing, they still have a lot of other options too, such as granola, breakfast burgers and pancakes (yum!).
I would recommend the Levantine Eggs served on top of toasted wholewheat bread and topped with a chickpea tabbouleh and z’atar herbs. Add a bit of chilli sauce (they bring this to the table too!) and you’ve got yourself a super tasty breakfast dish.
Top tip: If you can, head here early! We arrived just before 11 and were seated at the last available table in the downstairs bit. When we left at 12 there was already a little queue forming outside!
After finishing brunch, take some time to admire the pastel houses in the nearby streets (So. Many. Dream. Houses!) and then head back towards Notting Hill Gate and the famous Portobello Road Market (and more pastel houses!).
Saturday is the main market day, and hence the busiest, but this road is always worth a visit as it’s often buzzing with people and has lots of independent shops, restaurants and pubs to visit, even if the main market isn’t open.
When you’ve walked about 15-20 minutes, you’ll start getting to the end of the road where there’s usually more market stalls and lots of street food options too. Turn left after passing these and you’ll get to Ladbroke Grove station where you can continue your journey…
Take the Circle or Hammersmith line to Baker Street station (about 15 minutes) and take the scenic route towards Mayfair where it’s time to have lunch.
Head there by walking through the beautiful Chiltern Street which is full of beautiful houses and fancy shops like By Appointment Only (known for their beautiful floral window displays) and Cadenheads Whisky Shop which also does whisky tastings downstairs in the cellar room (much recommended!).
After you get to the end of Chiltern Street, it might be best to type in Lancashire Court in your maps app as there’s quite a lot of turning right and left before you get to your destination. It won’t take long though – it’s just about a 10 minutes walk!
Mayfair Pizza Co. is one of the four restaurants in Lancashire Court, a cute little street hidden behind Bond Street in Mayfair. The street and the aforementioned restaurant are pretty new finds, but I love them so much already and can’t believe I haven’t discovered them before, despite their very central location.
As you might have guessed from the name, Mayfair Pizza Co. is an Italian restaurant serving aperitivos, pasta, and, of course, pizza. For our mains me and my boyfriend both opted for the latter as it would’ve felt like cheating ordering something else when pizza is literally in the name of the restaurant. Luckily there were no regrets and we both really enjoyed them – I had a Margharita with fresh chilli & garlic, and Jim had the Diavola with spicy sausage, and we both devoured them to the last bite.
We also had a bruschetta as a starter (so much flavour!) and I also had the most refreshing cocktail ever – it was called Lipari and it was kind of like an Aperol Spritz, but for the people who don’t like their alcohol bitter (=me) as instead of Aperol it had peach liquor and Prosecco. So good!
Now, coming to London without paying a visit to a proper, traditional English pub would be a big shame. Even if you don’t like to drink alchohol or are just not in the mood, it’s still worth going to a good pub as the interior and architecture on their own will make it worth the visit.
My top tip is to go to Princess Louise in Holborn, which is a Victorian era pub built in 1872 still maintaining most of its original features, such as the separate drinking booths around the bar area. The pub is bit of a stroll from Mayfair Pizza Co. (about 25 minutes) but I think it’s absolutely worth it due to its beautiful interior – it’s kind of like stepping into a time machine!
After a few drinks at the pub, you might start being ready for dinner already. But, if you’re not quite there yet, London’s famous shopping street Oxford Street is on your way to our last destination where you can work your appetite by popping into a few (or many…) shops. My favourite is the massive Lush in between Oxford Circus & Tottenham Court Road – it’s their flagship store and I love visiting it and smelling absolutely ALL of the products.
When you start feeling your stomach rumbling, it’s time to head to Charlotte Street, which is my favourite foodie destination in London. You’re spoilt for choice here, but for this guide I’ve chosen my favourite Thai spot called Thai Metro as our dinner destination.
Thai Metro does the most amazing green curry and all of their dishes can be made with tofu, which means it’s really good for veggies too. The food delivery service Hungryhouse actually crowned Thai Metro as Britain’s best take-away just a few months ago – it really is that good, and not just as a take-away option! They’ve got plenty of seating in two floors, and on warm sunny days they open up their big windows and happily seat you outside too.
…by having dessert or a few drinks in the area’s many other foodie spots (check out my guide for Charlotte Street here!), or, if you’re already knackered or have to rush back to Paddington to catch another train back to the airport, you can take the Central Line from Tottenham Court Road to Lancaster Gate where it’s only a 5 minute walk to Paddington Station (even though on the tube map it looks like they’re really far from each other!).
I hope you enjoyed your day in one of the best cities in the world!
Check out the video on HExhibition on Paddington station here: