One of the best things about London is that there’s so much to do. One of the worst things about London is that there’s so much to do. It’s a plus and a minus, with the city giving us so many options it can be overwhelming. But on the rare occasion I find myself in town on a weekend, I have a bit of a ritual. It makes a perfect Saturday in London, and it goes like this.
I start my day in Chelsea‘s Duke of York Square, where there’s a weekly market on Saturdays. A maze of vendors sells everything from duck confit sandwiches to decadent chocolate cakes. Locals and visitors browse the stalls, sampling Italian white truffle oil and English Wyfe of Bath cheese.
The market is big enough to offer a lot of variety, but small enough not to overwhelm. On sunny days, it’s the perfect place to enjoy oysters and champagne to the sound of live music played by street performers.
Right next to the Duke of York Square market is the Saatchi Gallery, where I usually end up next. The contemporary art museum offers free entry, and its exhibitions change regularly enough that there’s always something new to see when I’m there on a Saturday. From Warhol to Weiwei, the gallery exhibits a range of contemporary and modern works by artists from all over the world.
When I’ve had my fill of art, I usually do a bit of shopping along the King’s Road and Sloane Square until I’ve worked up an appetite again. From Anthropologie and J. Crew to Reiss and Peter Jones, it has more than enough stores to entertain.
When I’m ready for a break, I pop into Cuisine de Bar, the London branch of my favorite breakfast place in Paris. When it opened a few years back, I was so excited that I wanted to move in. It’s always busy for breakfast and lunch on the weekends, and I can’t get enough of their Welsh rarebit tartine.
My perfect Saturday in London continues with a walk up Sloane Avenue and past the pretty boutiques on Draycott Avenue and Walton Street. Eventually I reach Cromwell Road, home of the Victoria & Albert Museum, Natural History Museum, and Science Museum. I’m spoiled for choice with three of London’s largest and best museums in front of me, another symptom of the city’s tendency to offer too many temptations.
I usually pop into whichever one I’m in the mood for, whether it’s fashion at the V&A, the giant California Redwood at the Natural History Museum (hey, I get homesick), or the evolution of flight at the Science Museum.
Hours later, I emerge thoroughly museum fatigued. It’s nothing a rest in Hyde Park can’t cure, though. I walk up Exhibition Road in South Kensington and recharge in the green fields while the swans go by on the Serpentine. If there’s still time left when I’m walking around again, I head northwest through Kensington Palace Gardens and into Notting Hill.
There’s no shortage of energy in Notting Hill, and I spend the rest of my day exploring the Portobello Road market and meeting friends for dinner at one of the many good restaurants and pubs in the neighborhood. Often the night continues at the buzzy upstairs bar at The Oak or the hilariously kitsch basement of Trailer Happiness.
By the time my perfect Saturday in London comes to an end, I’m both thoroughly exhausted and completely overwhelmed by how much the city has to offer. And when I think about how this is only one tiny corner of it, I realize for the millionth time that I could spend the rest of my life in London and have a different perfect Saturday every weekend. But for now I’ll stick with this one.
How about you? What’s your perfect Saturday in London?