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Traveling over Thanksgiving isn’t for everyone. But this year, I decided to celebrate my little sister’s college graduation by trading turkey for afternoon tea in London. The two of us spent our Thanksgiving break wandering through museums, taking in the brisk city scene, and getting in the holiday spirit. Read on for my guide.
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Upon arriving at Heathrow, grab an Uber to Treehouse London. The hotel is the perfect location for everything we were set to see for our first few days. Plus, the restaurants—Madera and Pizza Mozza—become incredibly convenient when you’re adjusting to the new time zone. Plus, friendly details throughout the hotel and an amazing staff make it an ideal homebase for days of exploring.
Make your way to Heywood HIll. This tiny bookstore is acclaimed and adored, plus it’s on your route to the Royal Academy of Arts. There’s no shortage of interesting exhibits, so take your time perusing before heading to the unofficial capital of holiday cheer in London—Liberty.
If you’re just in it for the ornaments, head to the top floor. Otherwise, take your time soaking up the brilliant retail on each level, making mental notes of what you can and can’t fit in your suitcase. Spend the morning walking through the nearby Regent’s Park, making your way to Queen Mary’s Rose Garden. Benches fit for people-watching abound.
Dedicate a day to Marylebone, a charming neighborhood right next to Treehouse London. How convenient! Start at Daunt Books. It’s impossible to play favorites, but this has to be mine. The sunny bookstore has multiple locations across London, but this one’s the best. Take a swing around Selfridges. Check out any nearby charity shops. Expect similar shopping to what you’d find in Soho, only more charming. Spring for St. John for dinner before catching a movie at Regent Street Cinema.
Take a stroll to Portobello Road, but beware, this area can feel crowded on weekend mornings. The earlier the better for tourists looking to avoid other tourists. Expect darling stands and antique wares.
Spend the rest of your day at the divine Victoria and Albert Museum. The food hall’s actually quite nice, so pitstop for a tea break, if needed. Allot plenty of time to view floors and floors of exhibits, plus the memorable shop for postcards and the like.
Start with breakfast at Madera—convenience is key for the first meal of the day. Dinner is at Bubala (make a reservation) for the best Middle Eastern food in London, followed by a martini at Rita’s. Stop by Bay Leaf Cafe for a quintessential English breakfast. Warning: this is nothing fancy, but sometimes, that’s exactly what’s best.
A short tube ride lands you in Kensington, where you’ll start your day at Muffin Man Tea Shop for a proper tea. Naturally, there are fancier spots, but this is cozy and feels like just the place on a chilly morning. Take lunch at Farm Girl Notting Hill.