Tube-free weekend itinerary

While the Tube does a fantastic job of connecting London, the best way to really get to know the city is above ground.

London is a pedestrian-friendly city and walking is a great way to see the sights. There are plenty of ways to travel around London without taking the Underground –  see the top attractions without missing a thing by getting around by bus, boat and bikes with our weekend itinerary.

Friday 

Friday evening: Dinner and a West End show

Start the weekend by exploring the West End, London’s entertainment hub. It’s a great area to explore on foot, with many landmarks closer to each other than you might think. Leicester Square is just a five-minute walk from Covent Garden and Piccadilly Circus with plenty of shops, street performers and sights to see on the way.

Be enthralled by the bright lights and hordes of double decker buses at Piccadilly Circus, spot celebs at red carpet events in Leicester Square and explore the Asian shops in Chinatown, before heading over to Covent Garden for dinner. 

Conveniently located in Covent Garden close to Theatreland, Monmouth Kitchen is the perfect spot for a pre-theatre dinner. Try tempting small plates of Peruvian and Italian cuisine such as delectable rock shrimp ceviche and spicy nduja salami pizza, all served with a modern flair.  

Finish the evening on a cultural note with a dazzling West End Show. Sing along to Abba’s greatest hits at Mamma Mia!, laugh out loud at The Book of Mormon or be mesmerised by the talent of the Royal Ballet and Royal Opera at the Royal Opera House.  

Saturday 

Saturday morning: Explore Trafalgar Square 

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More than a dozen bus routes pass through Trafalgar Square from all over London, making it an extremely accessible landmark to reach without using the Tube. This handy map [175 KB] shows the different day buses that stop here. 

For an atmospheric start to the day head to the quirky Cafe in the Crypt at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church and fuel up with a traditional full English breakfast. 

After breakfast, step out from the crypt into Trafalgar Square and take stock of Nelson’s Column – a 169ft-high (52m) monument commemorating Admiral Nelson, who died in the Battle of Trafalgar.  

Bordering the square you’ll find the National Gallery. The impressive neoclassical building is hard to miss and holds more than 2,000 western European paintings. Spend the rest of the morning exploring works by world-famous artists such as Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt and Van Gogh. 

Saturday lunch: Hop on a bus to Harrods  

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Buses are a fantastic way of getting around town, while simultaneously seeing the sights. Hop on the Number 9 at Trafalgar Square – it’s one of the oldest bus routes in London and is particularly scenic, with great views down Piccadilly and over Green Park

Jump off at Harrods and head to the famous food halls. The grand rooms and high-quality produce are well worth the detour. Buy some treats, or even a luxury picnic hamper, for lunch. 

Return to the Number 9 bus, and keep an eye out for the Royal Albert Hall en route to Kensington Palace. Settle down in the pretty gardens surrounding the royal residence and enjoy your luxury picnic. 

Saturday afternoon: Treat yourself like royalty  

The best days include afternoon tea at our @scoffandbanter tea rooms.

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After a spot of lunch take a tour of Kensington Palace, the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Admire the lavishly decorated State Apartments and discover the stories of generations of royal women: Queen Victoria, Princess Margaret and Princess Diana all spent time in residence at the palace.  

If you still have energy, hire a bike from a Santander Cycles docking station and cycle through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park towards Oxford Street. With hundreds of acres of trees, meadows and lakes you may find it hard to believe you’re still in the centre of London. Alternatively, the 94 bus will take you to the same destination. 

Dock your bike at Marble Arch and take a stroll along shop-lined Oxford Street. Be sure to check out the innovative window displays at Selfridges on your way to the elegant Scoff & Banter Tea Rooms. Indulge in the quintessential British ritual of afternoon tea and relax with delicious sandwiches, scones and exquisite pastries. Pair your tea with a glass of champagne for the ultimate luxury experience.  

Saturday evening: Stroll around the South Bank 

After recharging your batteries, hop on the 139 bus from Oxford Street and disembark at Somerset House. Cross over Waterloo Bridge and soak up views of the London skyline as you venture across the river to the South Bank. London's bridges offer some of the best vistas of the city.  

There’s always a lively buzz to the area with skateboarders, book-sellers, theatre-goers and dozens of cafes and restaurants from which to watch the world go by.  

Sunday 

Sunday morning: Explore museums in Greenwich  

Enjoying a boat ride is one of the best ways to travel to Greenwich as you get fantastic views of London landmarks, including the Coca-Cola London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London.  

You can use your Oyster card on MBNA Thames Clippers boats, a speedy option that takes around 35 minutes to Greenwich from central London piers including Westminster, Embankment and the Coca-Cola London Eye. Or, for a more leisurely journey down the river Thames, take a City Cruises tour with commentary and refreshments.  

Get off at North Greenwich to take a return ride to the Royal Docks and back again on London’s only cable car – the Emirates Air Line. You can use your Oyster Card on this fun journey, which offers phenomenal views of The O2, Thames Barrier, Canary Wharf, the Royal Docks and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. 

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Spend the rest of the morning exploring Royal Museums Greenwich, a collection of museums within walking distance of one another in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Head to the Royal Observatory and place a foot in each hemisphere at the Prime Meridian Line, clamber aboard historic ship the Cutty Sark, uncover the stories of great voyages and sea battles at the National Maritime Museum, and explore the Queen’s House, an architectural gem filled with exquisite pieces of art.  

Sunday lunch: Tuck into a roast  

After a full-on morning of cultural discovery, it’s time to relax over a leisurely Sunday lunch. Greenwich has dozens of traditional pubs serving up delicious roasts with all the trimmings including crispy roast potatoes and fluffy Yorkshire puddings. The Old Brewery, The Sail Loft and The Greenwich Tavern all deliver an excellent roast dinner.  

Sunday afternoon: Unwind in a spa 

More Sundays like this please.

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Take a boat back into central London and end the weekend in a sublimely blissful state. Step into the May Fair Spa, an oasis of calm complete with an aromatic steam room, herbal sauna, experience showers, ice fountain and a candlelit relaxation room.  

Soothe your tired feet from a weekend of walking with The ESPA Invigorating Foot Treatment with a therapeutic foot massage and refreshing exfoliation, or indulge in the Detox Experience package with an aroma massage, algae wrap and exfoliating body scrub.  

Where to stay 

Get a real feel for the buzz of the city and go Tube-free with ease by choosing a hotel in central London. Radisson Blu Edwardian has several luxury hotels in upmarket locations such as Covent Garden, Leicester Square and Bloomsbury. Choose from chic boutique options to stylish 5-star hotels, all within walking distance from top attractions.