So here I was at the beginning of the spring: London for a Business trip.
So I decided to make the most out of it and find ways to enjoy so that it does not feel so much like work!
I have to say I was quite lucky with the weather! Yes, for us Southern European, England has a connotation of rain… However it has been a sunny 2-day stay, and pretty warm for a month of March! You got to be lucky sometimes!
I had a great experience, London is always a place I enjoy, whether that be for leisure or for business. I like this international feeling, especially for food, and I love their accent! One that you can actually understand perfectly when you are a foreigner!
How to Travel hassle free from London Gatwick airport
Take a train from the airport
So I landed in London Gatwick… Well, that was not the best option for me, because I travelled alone and with achy back and feet, it was a long journey with my luggage… But the fact is that flights are much cheaper when landing in Gatwick airport…
It’s not that far though. There is a train, the Gatwick express, which was great!
Advantages of the Gatwick Express:
- it’s fast
- seats are comfortable
- trains are busy enough to feel secure even late in the evening
- plenty of space to sit
- you can load up your mobile devices
- you arrive at Victoria station, which is central.
Tube or Cab in the city
From Victoria, you can take the tube, but I was too tired for that… Especially because I didn’t feel like taking the stairs down with my luggage so… I went outside and took a cab. Which was a good option since my hotel was at the Chelsea Football Club! Only 15 GBP! If you have the internet on your phone, you can even download some apps with cheaper options, but I did not like the fact that they were giving me an appointment in a specific meeting point to pick me up. As I was not familiar with the area, I found it much easier to just get out of the station and take a cab right out the door!
Tips to save time
When I landed in England, I made one little mistake: I took my ID instead of my passport.
If you are a European, even if you don’t need to, take your passport! It will allow you to skip the line… Cause in Gatwick you have machines allowing you to scan your passport and pass way quicker than if you go with your ID…
Altogether it took me just over an hour and a half from the moment I got my luggage until I checked in at my hotel, which is alright for London! I left my house in Barcelona at around 2:30 pm and I was in my hotel room at 9 pm so it seemed long. But really it was not that bad. No queuing in Barcelona, since I checked-in online, Vueling had another area for luggage drop and it was very fast!
Where to stay & eat in London
Chelsea: a great neighbourhood to stay
I had the chance to be accommodated at a property near the Chelsea Football Club, and it is a really nice area! Especially if you love football, you will certainly enjoy the walls around the football club. But even if you are not that much into football, you will certainly appreciate the area. No high buildings, just a home suburbs feeling. Plenty of pubs to unwind with business partners and colleagues after a long day full of meetings. And also cafés, restaurants, shops. It is located near Fulham Road and the Fulham Broadway tube station. Perfect place to stay in London!
Food for all with taste
I found a place I absolutely loved: the Wholefood Market store!
I have food intolerances and in this place, you can find almost everything! And if it is difficult for you to eat in the restaurant like me, there you can also get hot food by weight! My Curcuma quinoa was absolutely delicious!
That was the highlight of my second day, this area surprised me a lot. I loved the atmosphere, the home feeling, and it does not feel like you are in a big city although it is very central and easily accessible to all tourists areas.
Enjoy London between meetings
Find an easy meeting point
Next day I was in Harrods by taxi in less than a quarter of an hour for less than 10 pounds! Great meeting point as there is only one Harrods and everybody knows where it is! You can arrive a bit earlier and enjoy that great shopping mall!
The area is nice and we went to a very nice restaurant in Montpelier street for lunch.
Take a cab to see a bit of London
From Montpelier street, we went all the way down to the Tower bridge by cab! Such a nice way to see lots of places on the way.
A few landmarks we managed to see from the cab:
- Sloane street
- Buckingham Palace
- The Big Ben
- The River Thames
I envied the tourists that day who had time to take a stroll and relax visiting all those amazing places! I had to rush to a meeting but I still enjoyed the cab ride. Take the tube would have been way faster, but I would have missed this beautiful city with the sunshine? No way!
Also, the advantage of travelling in a London cab is that their car is set up in a way that if you are several people, you can sit in front of each other. So if you have some last minute details to review before your next meeting, it will just make the discussion easier.
Get to London Heathrow airport and tips to check-in
Reasons to choose London Heathrow airport
We had to take an early flight to Paris the next day. In that case, and if you are staying in central London, then I would definitely recommend flying out from Heathrow. That was way closer than Gatwick! Plus, with such an early flight, the cab was the best option. Being close to the city, it only cost us 50 pounds, which is not bad at all. And at 4 am in the morning, there was no traffic of course! So you will not have to stress with traffic. Although even at that time, believe it or not, we were not alone on the road!
Tips to check-in at Heathrow
Next thing you need to know: Some airlines are not well organized! Even though you have an option to do your check-in online, it may happen that you still end up in the same line to drop your luggage than the people who didn’t check-in online! That was a shame… Over an hour in the queue…
So my tip: travel light or arrive early!
No checked-in luggage was not an option for us as we were travelling all over Europe for 2 weeks…
If you take an international flight and need to check-in luggage, then I would recommend you to arrive at least 2 hours prior departure. But if you can, just take a small hand luggage. Most airlines will accept up to 10 kilos for hand luggage.
All together I had a great 2-day stay in London: nice people, nice food, nice atmosphere, and plenty of sightseeing! That’s the way a business trip should be! Like George would say, what else?