How to spend a Sunday in London
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Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information.
I’ve been in London for almost 10 years now. During normal times, whilst TPG U.K. business often has me flying all around the world, I still hold a London Sunday close to my heart, and savour them when I can.
Trading laws in the U.K. have historically meant than Sunday is a less-busy day. A day of rest, perhaps. But even though the country drops down a gear, London life is relentless. So if you are heading to London as a tourist or even if you’re a local looking for inspiration, here are my favourite Sunday spots in the capital.
1. Columbia Road Flower Market
This historic market has been in operation in one form or another for decades. It is visited by throngs of people every Sunday looking for blooms — it can almost be impossible to walk through the main strip on busy days, however, it still retains its east London charm.
Traditionally, flower sellers loudly hawk their wares in mostly Cockney accents and the flowers and plants on sale are incredibly varied, of mostly decent quality and cheap in comparison to most London florists and garden centres. A lively atmosphere, great coffee, snack joints and often live music add to this true London experience. However, things may look different in our COVID-19 world.
Columbia Road Flower Market is open every Sunday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. (ish) and is best reached via Hoxton or Bethnal Green stations.
Related: Where to eat in London with kids
2. The Natural History and Victoria and Albert Museums
Situated right next to each other by South Kensington station in south-west London, these are two of my favourite museums in London. Combined, they provide hours of getting lost in long corridors and awe-inspiring exhibitions — especially on a grim and grey Sunday.
The Natural History Museum contains the delights of the natural world — from blue whale skeletons to taxidermied tiny Pygmy shrews.
The Victoria and Albert (known as the V&A) is an art, design and sculpture museum. It has a wide variety of artefacts from weapons and armour, to ancient jewels and busts. It contains one of the most beautiful cafés in London, the Gamble Room, which dates back to 1868.
The museums are both free to enter, but often have certain exhibitions that require paid entry. One exhibition, in particular, to watch out for is the Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the Natural History Museum. Both venues have just reopened, though you’ll want to buy your tickets to reserve a spot in advance.
3. Primrose Hill
I used to live right by Primrose Hill, north London, and would spend early mornings before work jogging to the top and taking in the stunning views. The hill itself and the surrounding park is an extension of the large and grand Regents Park, home to London Zoo, which is also one of my top strolling spots.
It takes a couple of minutes to walk the top, and views of the whole city await. What is also delightful is Regents Park Road (the Primrose Hill high street), which has a number of eateries and shops. For incredible Asian food, head to OKA (do not miss the marmite chicken). For Greek, the stalwart of the high street is Lemonia. And for a solid breakfast or brunch, it’s got to be Greenberry Cafe. There is also a Cowshed Spa nearby should you be weary after the arduous two-minute climb up Primrose Hill.
The area is best reached by taking the Northern Line to Chalk Farm and crossing the small footbridge behind the Roundhouse music venue to enter the area.
4. Canal Walk from Angel to Broadway Market
Save this one for a sunny Sunday. Exit the tube at Angel tube in north London and follow signs to the Regents Canal. Take the steps down to the canal and walk along its edge in the glorious sunshine, stopping on the way for some food and drink.
My favourite pitstop is the Towpath Café, an unassuming spot with an eclectic but absolutely delicious menu.
Exit the canal at Broadway Market, where there is likely more fun to be had on a Sunday afternoon. At the far end of the market, you’ll reach London Fields, which is the perfect spot for some hipster watching and a cheeky pint.
5. Sunday Roast at the Spaniards Inn
A London Sunday is not complete without a traditional roast dinner. One of my favourites is at the Spaniards Inn in Hampstead, where you may even spot Taylor Swift as you tuck into your Yorkshire pudding.
The setting is incredibly authentic. This place has been around since the 17th century and was once frequented by the highwayman Dick Turpin. Low ceilings, original fittings and a cosy vibe combine to make this place a real experience. The whole roast chicken with all the trimmings and a pint of Guinness (splash of blackcurrant if I’m feeling fruity) is the way to go.
The nearest tube is Hampstead, north London, and it’s a decent uphill walk to reach the pub. Car is the best way to arrive, with free parking on site. Be sure to book in advance.
Whether the sun is shining, or it’s a little grey outside there’s plenty of unique ways to spend your day of rest in the capital. London never sleeps and so there is always something on. It’s also a mecca for secret Sunday events like gigs and exhibitions so just do a bit of digging, and you’ll be rid of those end-of-weekend blues in no time.
Featured photo by sborisov/Getty Images
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