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Alternative London: Surprising Staycations For Couples

If you're searching for holiday ideas for you and your other half through the autumn and winter, a relaxing weekend in the UK could be answer. A trip to London has everything you could wish for from a staycation. We take you through our highlights as well as some lesser known things to do. 

Staycations for couples in London

Are you looking for holiday ideas for you and your partner this autumn/winter? Ditching your passports for a relaxing staycation in the UK could very well provide the answer. 

But where to go? Why not consider visiting the nation's capital? Before you dismiss the idea just consider what’s on offer. You might have already visited Buckingham Palace, shopped until you dropped on Oxford Street or taken a ride on the London Eye but there’s so much more to explore. London is full of quirky, fun and niche must-sees just waiting to be unearthed.

We’ve dug deep to uncover some experiential gems that we guarantee will help you and your partner have a memorable 24 hours in Zones 1 - 4.

Read our article on surprising ways to spend a staycation in London, to get fresh inspiration.

Dawn - Kick the day off with some unforgettable sights and sounds

They say that the early bird catches the worm. London looks beautiful as the sun’s rays bounce off shiny skyscrapers and the city starts to come alive with bustling activity. Get up and out early to witness some unique vistas. Take a camera or a sketchbook to document what you see. Here are some great ways to see in a new day in London:

1. If you love a dramatic, panoramic view, see the sun rise over London from the historic vantage point of Greenwich park observatory

2. Take the plunge with a refreshing early morning swim at London Aquatics centre  

3. Get fruity with an early morning (4am!) visit to a Fruit and veg market at New Covent Garden Market in Nine Elms stall. 

Breakfast - feast into a new day

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so jump start yours with a tasty treat or two. London is full of some of the best breakfast spots in the UK but if you’re looking for something a little more specialist, we’ve got you covered. Check out some of the weird and wonderful suggestions below for a breakfast you won’t forget:

1. Visit the very trendy and slightly controversial Cereal Killer Café for a hipster take on a UK breakfast staple - Cereal and milk. 

2. Go upmarket with a visit to Balthazar London. This is a French brasserie that serves beautiful pastries and traditional French breakfasts, all in the most elegant of surroundings. 

3. Try some middle-eastern breakfast cuisine at the Coal Office. Described as a “melting pot of the region’s most exciting edibles, from north Africa and the Middle East” this is a breakfast experience that will leave you wanting to return the next day. 

4. Eat like the locals at Maria’s Market Café in Borough Market. Maria’s parents opened the Cafe in 1961. Now she runs it and has been providing her renowned breakfasts to market porters and Hollywood A-listers ever since.

Affordable Accommodation in Central London

Looking for somewhere in zone 1 which doesn't break the bank? Our affordable Stay Central Apartments are located in leafy Bloomsbury close to transport links.

Central London Apartments

Morning - Get Active in the AM

Morning - get active in the AM

Once you’ve eaten breakfast, you’ll want to get out and see the city. The morning is a great time to strike out into the wilds of an urban jungle just waiting to give up its secrets. Here are a few ideas to get you going:

1. Reconnect with nature at the Barbican Conservatory. Alive with tropical plants, trees and fish you’ll feel like proper explorers in a paradise set in amongst the sprawl of a big city.

2. Get dazzled by the intoxicating floral colours and aromas at the Columbia Road Flower Market. This is a great place to earn some brownie points with your partner (hint). 

3. Bored of the normal run-of-the-mill midmorning coffee spots? Re-fuel in a renovated Victorian public toilet. Don’t worry, it’s nicer than it sounds.

4. For staggering views of some of London’s lesser-spotted residents, search for deer in beautiful Richmond Park.

5. If you both love history and culture why not watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace. It’s a great opportunity to get some unique snaps of London’s Beefeater guards in action. 

Brunch and Lunch - are you hungry yet? You should be.

After a morning full of activity, it’s probably time to find a cool spot to brunch or lunch. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to locating somewhere interesting to eat but we’ve found some particularly good places to try:

1. Dine in style at the lavish Dean Street Townhouse, Soho. Set in a Georgian townhouse built in the 1730s this classy establishment serves traditional British food using locally sourced ingredients. 

2. Famous for serving delicious fresh food from all over the world Granger & Co’s restaurants are renowned for just how good their dining experience is. Dotted across London, you can find them in Chelsea, Notting Hill, Clerkenwell and King’s Cross. 

3. If you fancy thin-crust Roman-style Pizza fire-baked to perfection look no further than Pizza Union. You’ll be able to find a local branch at all four points of the compass across the city - Aldgate, Dalston, Kings Cross and Spitalfields. 

4. Have lunch on the river in a permanently moored barge. The uniquely rustic marine style of the restaurant and a reputation for serving nautically inspired food makes Barge East a must-visit.

Afternoon - there’s even more to see

London's impressive collection of world-famous museums, interactive tours, stylish stores and beautiful parks will see you through an interesting afternoon. Experience natural beauty and see notorious crime spots famed for their depravity...all in one afternoon.  

1. If you’re looking for Great British history, the Imperial War Museum boasts 400 exhibits, including a Spitfire and a Harrier fighter jet. 

2. If you want to go back a lot further, the Natural History Museum’s earthquake simulator and T-Rex skeleton will transport you to a land before time. 

3. St James’s Park is a popular spot for wildlife enthusiasts, with woodpeckers, water birds and even pelicans - which you can watch being fed at 2:30pm every day. 

4. Delve into London’s macabre history and visit Soho’s Murder Mile for a guided tour of the district’s most notorious crime cases. 

5. God's Own Junkyard shines a light on London's DIY culture, housing over 37 years worth of neon art made from retro displays, reclaimed signs and movie props. This is a must-see if you’re a fan of the unusual. 

Greenwich Park London Staycation idea
Greenwich Park is one of the largest single green spaces in south-east London. It is one of the Royal Parks of London and covers 74 hectares.

Bed & Breakfast Accommodation

Looking ahead to your summer holidays? Stay in central London affordable bed & breakfast accommodation.

Central London Bed & Breakfast

Eat out in Style

Dinner - eat to your heart’s content

No matter what styles of food you both enjoy, London has a vast array of dinner restaurants just waiting to be discovered. It’s always a great idea to call ahead when it comes dinner reservations so do your research beforehand. We’ll get you started. Time to make use of that extra notch on your belt: 

1. Eat at the Shard for breathtaking views of the city. The Shard building has several restaurants inside covering a wide range of cuisines. You’ll find Aqua Shard, Oblix, Hutong, Bar 31, TĪNG and the GŎNG Bar all inside. 

2. London's largest South African restaurant, Shaka Zuku, is a two-floor restaurant found in industrial Camden. The establishment's tribal decor completed with 20ft Zulu warrior statues will make your jaw your drop with amazement. The Braai delicacies on offer are no less impressive. 

3. Try a dining experience that’s a little different to the usual city restaurant. Eating in a prison is definitely a niche suggestion but the  Clink at Brixton Prison Address: HMP Brixton consistently placed in the Top 10 restaurants in London on TripAdvisor. Visit their website to learn more about this unique restaurant.  

4. Fancy eating in complete darkness? Dans Le Noir, literally translated as ‘in the black’ is a dining experience with a very big difference - you can’t see anything. This unique restaurant is well known for both its bizarre concept and the incredible dishes it serves. 

 Nightlife - rave (or drink) the night away

This is why you’re really here! It’s time to hit the town London-style and immerse yourself in the capital’s unrivalled nightlife. Whatever your scene, this city has you covered, with cocktail bars from the psychedelic ‘70s to retro gaming and classy parlours filled to the brim with unique gins. 

1. West Hampstead’s Bobby Fitzpatrick is a ‘70s-themed pizza and cocktail bar with a menu of over 30 options for your nighttime tipple. 

2. Thumbs at the ready. The Four Quarters in Peckham will make a nice change for a couple of nostalgia-chasing gamers with a thirst for craft beer and retro classics. 

3. Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour in Covent Garden takes you back to the Victorian era for a more refined taste of London-life. The eclectic space offers a collection of over 200 drinks, from well-known favourites to rare, worldly gins. 

4. Cahoots is a 1940s-themed bar in the heart of Soho, but there's no need to ration your intake of fantastic cocktails. Different areas from which to enjoy the live swinging entertainment include the Underground and the Train Carriage. 

Staying overnight at Stay Central 

If you’re looking for the perfectly alternative place to stay on your London city break look no further than Stay Central’s affordable accommodation, housed in University of London apartments and halls. In this case, ‘alternative’ doesn’t need to mean uncomfortable or located on the outskirts of the city. 

With a range of rooms available including both self-catered apartments and bed and breakfast flats and rooms, Stay Central accommodation is a great place to recuperate on your staycation. 

Centrally located, our accommodation in the historic and trendy Bloomsbury is a short walk from some of London’s most iconic attractions such as Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace and Oxford Street. You’ll never be far from the city centre and convenient transport links to get you where you want to go. 

Comfortable and competitively priced, Stay Central accommodation will make your stay enjoyable but won’t break the bank. 

Affordable Accommodation

Enjoy a staycation in the capital with Stay Central accommodation.

Central London Accommodation

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