If you travel to London for business, you are familiar with the Heathrow Express and the city’s famous black taxis. 48 hours in the city can pass by in a blur, and all too often it is easy to take London for granted. I believe it is important to appreciate local gems in my business travels, to connect to the city and enhance my life by learning new things.
Collared shirts, ties and pant suits stand out against the architecture of London. Big Ben is a framed icon on walls around the world, while deep-rooted royal history has beckoned onlookers in hopes for a glimpse of the Queen or Prince Harry.
London is a prominent city. Business travelers come and go, and tourists attempt to make the statue guards budge a smile. With a pulse on international affairs and conservation, London is a functional, simple powerhouse withholding tradition with the flexibility of blending cultures and global change.
In order to make the most of my two days in London’s financial district, Ana at HotelRez recommended a stay at the Chamberlain Hotel. Part traditional English pub, part home away from home, my accommodations were clean and spacious. With a complimentary Fuller’s beer and espresso machine in the room, it felt tailored to my needs. Less than two miles from my conference at The Mermaid Theater, a short walk to the London Tower, and steps from two separate Tube stations, its location suited me well to do some sightseeing while in the city.
DAY 1 – Staying in London’s long standing business hub dubbed the “Square Mile” made it convenient to take an afternoon post-conference jaunt to one of London’s historic palaces, the London Tower, also home to the crown jewels. Followed by a walk across London Tower Bridge helps you appreciate the architecture and historical preservation in London.
As you are aware, business travel can be tiring. I returned to The Chamberlain for dinner on site at Fuller’s Pub. I felt welcomed as a local, as many businessmen and women enjoyed a pint and conversation after work. I loved that it was a quaint hotel with a pub for proper fish n’ chips.
DAY 2 – Breakfast at The Chamberlain – It was perfect to have a made-to-order hot breakfast, I ordered my favorite, eggs benedict. (Much more enticing to me than visiting Pret-a-Manger for a quick coffee and oatmeal.)
My morning was free, so I took a short bus ride to the Benjamin Franklin House to view a preserved and original Georgian town home which housed Benjamin Franklin for nearly sixteen years between 1757 and 1775. It was inspiring to learn of the history and play a replica of one of the United States Founding Fathers’ invention, the glass armonica.
From here I took a walk to Trafalgar Square, listened to the strings of violins sing to my ears at the St. Martin-in-the-Fields Cathedral, and pondered new work over tea in their garden cafe. Lunch at Le Pain Bakery & Restaurant in Covent Garden, where food, fashion, culture, and souvenirs await to overload your senses.
My afternoon was filled with meetings, so I took a short taxi ride back to the financial district, to spend some quiet time in my hotel room to reply to emails and make phone calls back to the United States. I dined at a traditional fine dining English restaurant with an extensive wine list, St. John’s, where I consumed a hearty meal of wrarebit toast and cheese, along with Venison pie. A return to the pub for a night cap and good sleep for my morning travel to Scotland.
DAY 3– I love the outdoors, and craved a morning run/stroll in Hyde Park. It’s not exactly within steps from the hotel, however a quick taxi or Underground ride will get you there. Connected to all of the Royal Parks, you have your choice of where to run. The London parks are stunningly beautiful and a must see in my opinion.
A return to The Chamberlain and off to the Train Station.
London, grey in color, your business sophistication is top notch. Values, traditions, and English Pubs will be something carried with me for life. The simplicity of your beauty and ornate accessories is a sight I hope business travelers will take a moment to look up and view.