Business Casual: Exploring London Splendor In Just 6 Hours
Photos by Gabe Zaldivar
You can get a lot done when time is at a premium, namely roaming the streets of London as you wring out the sponge of travel for a few drops of leisure.
Welcome to the first of what may very well be many Business Casual articles, where we give you a glimpse of all the wonder you can glean from just a few short hours abroad.
Of course that business trip hardly affords you much time, if any, to see the city listed as a destination on your boarding pass.
But that hardly means you have to skirt what is an enormous opportunity to see a part of the city.
While we will mostly offer up a few itineraries from here on out, I thought it would be useful to kick things off with an experience I recently had in London, a town I had spent about a week in prior to my most recent trip.
On a press trip at the Hilton London Bankside, I was afforded a few hours of alone time to explore the city. Now this might be similar to you who have a half a day between meetings.
I submit to you that it’s far more beneficial to head on out, armed with sneakers and a plan than it is to sit in a hotel room fielding emails.
With that in mind, let me regale you with my recent amble. While you are more than welcome to duplicate its charted course, I hope that it simply reminds you to take a break from your work at hand to walk your city of business for 15 minutes or a day.
Your soul will thank you.
Borough Market is an amazing experience and well worth your time, energy and Fitbit allowance for the day.
I will explore the expanse of booths, markets and eateries in a later post. But let’s just say that starting here offers the necessary calories you need to wade through a park in London.
You enter the arena of meat, seafood and cheese bewildered and leave wobbly from devouring far too much.
Not knowing where to go, I headed west.
Transferring once, I departed the tube station at Kensington High Street, walked the stairs and asked a kind officer where this Holland Park was that I noticed in an extremely cursory search I did that morning.
Following his extremely detailed directions of “That way,” I set out on my mini-adventure.
Although it’s tough to call anything with so many pit stops and reflective moments an adventure.
Later eating a bit of Nutella pastry on a bench, I was hardly the embodiment of Indiana Jones.
Still, I felt as if I was discovering a piece of London that was just mine for a few moments, something you don’t get when you are milling about the bustle of a museum on a Thursday morning.
My amble would include a long walk through autumn’s embrace and straight onto an open field with lush green grass and benches put in place to tempt even the most ardent worker into taking a second for his or herself.
But my goal was to find Kyoto Garden, “a Japanese garden donated by the Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto in 1991,” via RBKC.
Finding it was a tiny victory amid an already glorious day. It gave me the chance to sit, open my backpack and remember thanks to the contents of said backpack that London squirrels have no problem in sidling up next you if they smell any amount of food.
Adorable or not, my journey continued immediately.
Heading north, I eventually made my way into Notting Hill, pushing further north until I came upon an iconic stretch of brilliance known as Portobello Road.
There are droves of shops lining this colorful road that hosts a weekly market. Even on a day without the complement of added stalls, the street was alive with vendors, tourists and locals strolling around the area.
If you ever wanted to dive into a mountain of antiques, this would be your place to do it.
As if I hadn’t eaten enough already, I stopped by The Duke of Wellington for a few pints and fish and chips, which at this point in the day was highly unnecessary but wholly enjoyed.
And, of course, no stop in this part of town is complete without a totally touristy visit at the Notting Hill Bookshop, which its previous incarnation as a travel bookshop inspired the movie “Notting Hill.”
Now this is just one itinerary that suited myself, someone who had already seen a great many of the tourist attractions and museums on a prior trip.
But had I not, I still would have felt that I discovered an important part of London, inching through the heart of a neighborhood that I would have normally ignored for more sparkly fare.
I left Notting Hill after snapping off a picture of the famed bookshop, hustling back to the tube to make it back to London Bridge Station in time to get ready for an event at six that evening.
I had spent the better part of the day, 10 in the morning until four in the afternoon, just walking.
It was a ridiculously tiny amount of time to enjoy a city, but I left feeling that I had stolen something, an unforgettable experience I might have passed over with the simple thought, there’s not enough time.
Hopefully this space will eventually convince you that you do have that time, to venture, to explore, to travel. Even if you are in a country for business, it doesn’t mean you have to pack away the pleasure.
More by Gabe Zaldivar
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Recent Travel Opinions
Cruise Line & Cruise Ship
Airlines & Airports