Flowers, coffee, and wanders around the prettiest neighbourhoods the city has to offer; if there’s one day that’s made for exploring, it’s Sunday. And so if you’re looking for some great weekend recommendations for the UK’s capital city, then here’s how to spend Sunday in London (as told by a local!)
- What is open in London on a Sunday?
- Things to do during a Sunday in London
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What is open in London on a Sunday?
Of course, like in many other places in Europe, Sundays are seen as a day of rest. Saturdays and Sundays are the weekend (and time off) for most 9-5 workers in the UK and while many things remain open on a Saturday, this is definitely not the case for Sundays.
Typically, some museums and smaller shops are closed. Meanwhile, the stores and boutiques which do remain open operate at limited opening hours (including the supermarket) and so can be open for as little as six hours. Conversely, there are several markets around the city which are only open on Sundays and so this would be the best time to choose to go and visit them!
Things to do during a Sunday in London
Of course, when it comes to the rich variety of things on offer in London, the world is your oyster. From attending a theatre performance to discovering hidden gems to getting lost in a little park that few people know about, there’s no shortage of attractions for every budget in the big smoke.
With this being said, my suggested itinerary for spending a Sunday in London will set out some of the must-see spots, including the order in which you should see them (so as to economise your time in the city) and see the most amount of things possible with the time that you have available.
Visit Columbia Flower Market
If you’re looking to start your day the right way, then you simply need to hop on the tube and head to Columbia Road Flower Market. After all, this weekly event is where the locals come to hang out and you’ll find a pretty good deal on all floral-related goods if you head here!
Held every Sunday (and, most notably, now only on Sunday) since the 19th-century, be sure to head to the market earlier in the day if you want to experience the event without the crowds that inevitably head there later on.
The market is held in the morning, and if you head to the market around lunchtime (when things are beginning to wrap up), then you’ll soon discover that many vendors are touting their wares for significantly reduced prices. If you want to experience a covered London market at the same time, then it’s worth noting that the Old Spitalfields market is not too far away.
Enjoy a coffee and cake in Notting Hill
When it comes to Sunday in London, there’s perhaps no better place to enjoy the weekend vibe than in the pretty district of Notting Hill. All pastel coloured houses and mews streets (for those not in the know, these cobbled lanes once housed horses when the city ran by carriage and are now home to some of the most exclusive real estate in the city).
Some of my favourite coffee shops in the Notting Hill area include Biscuiteers and Farm Girl Café. The latter is particularly good if you want to enjoy Sunday brunch. If you’re looking for a full meal (complete with a pint or two!) then you should check out the Churchill Arms.
This inn serves Thai noodles, while the interior is decked out in Churchill memorabilia. Head outside, and you can expect to find plenty of pretty floral decoration, all year ’round! All in all, this is easily one of the most Instagrammable spots in the city. While en route, I highly recommend checking out some of the many spots in the area that have been used as movie locations, including for the hit film, Love Actually.
Head to a History or Design Museum
Many of the major museums in the British capital can be found in South Kensington, an ever-so-chic district of the city close to Hyde Park. And one of the best times to simply meander around and soak up some culture is easily on a Sunday when everything is open. Furthermore, if you’re looking to enjoy London on a budget, then it’s well worth noting that almost every major museum is absolutely free of charge!
For those seeking some ancient history (and wish for the chance to spy a dinosaur or two), the Natural History Museum likely needs no introduction. If you prefer to enjoy art and design, ranging between everything from the Classical Era to Victorian times, then you must explore the V&A.
And for those with the kids in tow, the Science Museum is forever a crowd/ family favourite. The permanent exhibitions of all the above museums are free to visit. Nearby, Hyde Park is one of the Royal Parks the city has to offer and is perfect for picnics during the summer time.
Visit the Portobello Road Market
And if the flowers on Sunday morning weren’t enough, then there’s an equally interesting London market to check out in the form of Portobello Road Market. As one of the largest antique markets of its kind in the world, then there’s never any shortage of trinkets and collectables at nearly every price point.
Each weekend, around a thousand stalls can be found dotted along Portobello Road, as well as in the shops which line the two sides of the street. During the weekend, you’ll also find that Portobello Road Market is home to a large selection of food stalls. The closest metro station to the market is Ladbroke Grove on the Circle and Hammersmith & City line.
Finish the day in the City of London
After a perfect Sunday of exploring the best markets, culture, and food that London has to offer, hop on the tube once more and head towards the River Thames. Once in the City of London, the very heart of Roman ‘Londinium,’ I highly recommend strolling along the water and enjoying the vistas of the many iconic landmarks that are so synonymous with the British Capital.
Take yourself on a free and self-guided London walking tour or, if it’s summer, then treat yourself to a night out in the theatre at Shakespeare’s Globe. While in the area, there are plenty of places to enjoy happy hour and a stroll along to the Sky Garden to catch the last of the evening light never goes amiss either.
Otherwise, the recently opened (as of Spring 2019), Garden at 120 is easily one of the hottest places in town to grab a drink with friends and enjoy the view of the city. Absolutely free to visit and meander around, from the top you can easily spy the wheel of the London Eye and the domes of Saint Paul’s Cathedral.
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