If you have a fun group of friends with slightly different interests, here’s the perfect way of planning a weekend in London: try a little bit of everything.
We managed to get together for a fun long weekend in London with our little travel blogger squad We Make Things Happen (except for Michael who was too busy with work, boo!) and came up with a pretty fantastic list of things to do in London. We all blog about travel, sure, but we all have a pretty different approach to it, too.
So we decided we’ll each come up with something cool to do and the others get to try it too.
After the three days together we’d grown closer as friends, but also experienced a lot of new things, great food, beautiful hotel rooms – not to mention two super fun nights at Marlin Serviced Apartments, perfect for a group like ours.
Street art walks in London
London has everything. I think we all know that much. But if you happen to be into free things to do, long city walks and street art, you’ll enjoy the two locations we explored during our stay.
The first location we went to in search of great street art was Brick Lane in Shoreditch. Alley after alley, wall after wall, just gorgeous art all around.
On the other side of the river, on South Bank, you’ll find the Graffiti Tunnel AKA Leake Street. It’s a long tunnel covered in graffiti, and often occupied by artists creating new pieces.
You can view more street art in our separate London Street Art article!
Vintage shops in Shoreditch
Oh, heaven. Oh, the amount of cool stuff. There are tons of vintage shops along Brick Lane, and although we only had time for a couple, I felt like I never want to shop anywhere else in my life. Bags, sunglasses, jewelry, vintage toys, cameras, books, art and endless rows of second hand clothes.
Marlin Serviced Apartments: perfect for groups who want to share
For the first two nights we stayed in Marlin Aldgate, sharing a spacious two bedroom apartment with a fitted kitchen, big balcony with fantastic views and two bathrooms. We spent the first night in the house drinking sparkling wine and discussing all the stuff we’d been up to since we all first met, and all the stuff we’re now planning to do together.
The location of Marlin Aldgate is absolutely perfect for those seeking to do a little vintage shopping, lazy street art walks and well, just about anything else in London. There’s a tube station right around the corner and pretty much everything else you need in walking distance.
Shops, restaurants, street food, pubs… you name it. It’s all there.
There was a massive construction work happening in the huge building next to ours, but it didn’t bother us at all. Our apartment on the 10th floor was really quiet, so I’m imagining it would work well for anyone who needed some peace and quiet for working… or putting their kids to bed.
HUNter 486 at The Arch Hotel: a steak heaven
On Friday night we were treated to a very special dinner by The Arch Hotel. Their restaurant of fine dining, HUNter 486, turned out to be a pretty good spot for amazing steaks. It was also a pretty quiet night, so we almost felt like we had the restaurant all to ourselves, but we probably made up for it with our loud joking and laughing.
And photographing the food… When a group of bloggers enters a restaurant, you can expect it to look like the food was there to attend a press conference. It never stops being funny — no matter what us bloggers eat, it always looks like it was the most amazing thing in the world, just judging by the amount of photos we take.
After our luxurious dinner, with our tummies full and lazyhappy smiles on our faces, we took a quick peek into The Arch’s library. I have to say, the temptation of just staying there and having a little nap on one of the comfortable couches almost won me over.
But we had other things to attend to… so we just snapped this mirror selfie and headed out.
ABQ London: a crazy cocktail experience for fans of Breaking Bad
Ok, so what do you get when you combine Breaking Bad, chemistry equipment, cocktails, an RV, some pretty charismatic servers and a late night in London? The answer is ABQ London.
ABQ London started off as a less permanent thing, a Breaking Bad themed pop-up bar in east London. But after the huge success of the first run (which we also attended last year, read more here!), the boss-of-it-all Sebastian Lyall decided to turn it into a more permanent venue.
The RV has moved to Shoreditch now and some of the original elements have changed, but the fun has gotten — shall we say — louder. ABQ London was pretty special to begin with, but it might possibly be even more special now. This super wacky, super memorable, super entertaining experience is perfect for pretty much anyone who’s out to find Something Special for a night out with a good group of people.
And that’s exactly what we had: the perfect group for this. Although we were pretty tired after a long day, ABQ London still managed to impress everyone.
Plus, our very own server was not only a lot of fun, but also looked a lot like Jesse Pinkman. (This can’t be a coincidence, can it, Seb? #staffwin)
The Breaking Bad themed RV bar isn’t the only thing this company has cooked up: their next big adventure is the naked restaurant. Yes, naked, as in naked customers and naked food. You can read about more about it all in this Forbes article.
A private tour and afternoon tea at the Royal Albert Hall
You know what’s beautiful? The Royal Albert Hall. You know what’s mind-blowing? The venue’s history and all the legendary artists that have roamed its hallways. You know what’s delicious? Their afternoon tea.
So, if you’re looking for a feast that’ll satisfy your eyes, your soul and your hungry little tummy, we recommend spending a few hours at the Royal Albert Hall. Read the full article & see more photos here.
A touch of luxury at the One Aldwych Hotel
Beautiful rooms, lovely food, tons of carefully considered details and a private cinema. That’s what One Aldwych Hotel in London is made of. We stayed for one luxurious night and wrote about it here.
A nice afternoon walk and sizzling steaks in the Theatre District
On Sunday, we had to say goodbye to Eva who had an earlier flight. The rest of us (me, Denise and Otto) didn’t have anything planned for the day, so we just decided to take the short walk over to Leicester Square (one of Fangirl Quest’s favourite places in London because MOVIE PREMIERES!) and find something to eat.
We decided to check out something Eva recommended before she left: Neal’s Yard, which is a small alleyway located near the Seven Dials in the theatre district. What a magical little place, and all hidden from plain view!
However, you’ll find your way there easily by checking out the location on Google Maps. Just keep your eyes open and look for the signs once you get there!
For lunch we stopped at Steak & Co on Leicester Square. We weren’t familiar with the concept from before, but were delighted to find out what it was all about: fresh slabs of meat served on a sizzling hot steak stone, where you can cook it to your own tastes. Very nice!
Best tips for a Perfect Weekend in London with friends
- Once you’ve set the dates for your fun weekend in London, discuss your accommodation options: do you want to share a serviced apartment or a dorm (and possibly save a little £), or do you all want peace & quiet after your days out and about? Maybe a little luxury? There’s plenty to choose from in London, so be prepared to spend a little time for the browsing & discussing it all.
- Also discuss our activity level: do you want to see & do stuff from sunrise to sunset, or do you want a more relaxed stay with slow dinners and afternoon coffees?
- Start a list of things to do and ask everyone to add a few items on it. It can be something specific you already have in mind, or something more general like “fancy afternoon tea”.
- Once you’ve chosen the attractions to see and activities to do, start building your itinenary: look up opening times, special offers and other details that might affect your scheduling.
- Leave plenty of room between venues and reserved tickets/times: getting from A to B in London can sometimes take a lot of time. An app called Citymapper is a handy thing to have on your phone.
- If you’re not fans of crowds and queues, avoid the busiest tube lines and stations during rush hour times. Remember, getting an Uber ride for 3-4 people on more quiet traffic times can be as cheap or even cheaper than buying tube tickets for everyone.
- Be patient and positive about the activities. Some stuff might not exactly be your cup of tea, but you’re there for your friends and something they enjoy. In other words, be open-minded about other people’s suggestions, because who knows… maybe you’ll find that you actually adore a speedboat ride down river Thames or cooking cocktails dressed in a bright yellow overall in a meth lab themed RV.