09:00 – A bit of history
After a hearty breakfast at Caravan, a redeveloped grain store in Granary Square, the first day of exploration begins. A classic itinerary starts from Westminster, with a walk around the historic Houses of Parliament and the Abbey. A side entrance leads into the Chapter House: a real jewel, a small octagonal chapel with Medieval sculptures and wonderful frescoes. The entrance is from Dean’s Yard, on the south side of the cloister.
11:00 – History and politics
Going up Whitehall takes youpast the gate which, these days, protects Downing Street. It has not been possible to get up close to the Prime Minister’s residence for some years, but you can comfort yourself with a picture of the uniformed guards on Horse Guards Parade. Across the road, another gem lies waiting to be discovered: the Banqueting House, once part of the Royal Palace of Whitehall, with a wonderfully intricate ceiling painted by Peter Paul Rubens.
13:00 – Following Nelson’s footsteps
The grand avenue that is Whitehall leads you into Trafalgar Square, always packed with street performers. The National Gallery is full of masterpieces, but let’s make time for a different genre of artin the National Portrait Gallery and then have lunch or stay for afternoon tea, with its accompaniment of sandwiches, scones and patisserie, in the restaurant on the third floor, which has beautiful views over Trafalgar Square and the monuments.
15:00 – Fashion and British style
A walk towards Piccadilly leads towards Carnaby Street, the famous shopping district. It is full of international fashion outlets, but we suggest you try a couple of British brands: Drop Dead Clothing or Peckham Rye with its more traditional look.
19:00 – City lights
After shopping, it’s just a short ride by bus or tube from Oxford Street to Victoria, to take advantage of Golden Tours’ open top buses for a tour of the city as the sun goes down. The night-time view under the city lights is always mesmerising. The starting point is in Buckingham Palace Road and you need to be there by 19:45. The tour lasts 1¾ hours. At the end of the tour , the bus stops at Victoria station. Have you had dinner? A New-York-Italian restaurant worth a try not far from here, in Victoria’s NOVA complex.