So, you’re in London on business and you’re not sure what to do after work. Sound familiar? We’re business travellers ourselves so we know the challenge for people with limited knowledge of a city and not much time to enjoy it. This special set of ideas have been tailored for business travellers who want to enjoy a bit of London after a long day of meetings.

    This is a list you can use during the working week and if you've saved an extra day for enjoying London before your flight home. It combines casual places to take your colleagues, fancy places to impress a client, and not forgetting where to pick up some souvenirs for those back home.


    A meeting place: Covent Garden

    Catch up with old friends or colleagues at this pedestrianised square

    This pedestrian-friendly public square in the West End is a great place for soaking up the vibrancy of London. Street performers entertain the crowds and restaurants spill out into the square, making Covent Garden one of the prettiest spots in the city.

    The restaurants in Covent Garden are a mix of famous franchises, expensive fine diners, and tourist traps knocking out microwave meals. You’ll be spoilt for choice.

    Location: Covent Garden, London WC2E 8BE, UK


    A starting point: Trafalgar Square

    It's full of interesting landmarks to explore on your own

    Trafalgar Square is packed full of British history and famous landmarks. It’s a beautiful place to wander around and enjoy the vibrant street scenes. Nelson’s Column, with its 4 bronze lions at the base, is the centrepiece of the square, with the National Portrait Gallery and Admiralty Arch also worth admiring. There’s an almost constant succession of events and gatherings in Trafalgar Square so there’s usually something exciting going on.

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    Location: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN, UK


    After-work drinks: Embankment

    Tour a few bars with your colleagues

    Embankment is home to a nice selection of bars close to the River Thames. There’s a mixture of traditional English pubs, fancy wine bars, and even a few floating bars on boats docked in the river.

    Head to Villiers Street, that runs between Embankment station and Charing Cross. You’ll find a classic British boozer, The Princess of Wales, along with Gordon’s Wine Bar and several other bars, all within 100 metres.

    photo by Graeme Maclean (CC BY 2.0) modified


    A fancy rooftop bar: Bokan

    Stunning views close to the river and Canary Wharf

    Bokan is a stunning rooftop bar and restaurant popular with the business crowd. Built over 3 floors on top of Hotel Novotel London Canary Wharf, it’s walking distance from Canary Wharf business district in East London. The riverside location has a stunning view of London, and it’s a great spot if you want to impress your clients with a few cocktails. The restaurant is also highly regarded for its innovate take on British cuisine.

    Location: 40 Marsh Wall, Isle of Dogs, London E14 9TP, UK

    Open: Open daily from midday to midnight (open till 12.30 am on weekends)

    Phone: +44 (0)20 3530 0550


    Casual dining: The Mayfair Chippy

    A good, casual English restaurant

    The Mayfair Chippy is a seafood restaurant, but the standout dish has to be their classic fish & chips, served on a silver platter with tartar sauce, curry sauce and mushy peas. Think of it as a posh fish & chip shop, with the buzz of a neighbourhood bistro.

    Other British classics to try here include Scotch eggs, oysters, and shepherd’s pie. Cod and chips costs from £15. The Mayfair Chippy is in Aldgate, close to the City of London business district. Reservations are strongly advised.

    Location: 140 Minories, London EC3N 1NT, UK

    Open: Daily from midday to 10 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)20 7380 1625


    Fancy dining: Wright Brothers, Spitalfields

    A good, fancy English restaurant

    The Wright Brothers are a huge success of the dining scene in London. You can now find a Wright Brothers restaurant in several areas across the city, but it’s the Spitalfields branch we like for a celebration business dinner.

    Fresh oysters, Scottish langoustines, razor clams, Devon crabs, and a host of other seafood delicacies are served here with the utmost care and attention. It’s all so fresh, all that’s missing is a sea breeze to transport you to the coast. Interesting vegetarian options are also available.

    Location: 8a Lamb Street, Old Spitalfields Market, London E1 6EA, UK

    Open: Tuesday – Sunday from 12 pm to 10.30 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +44 (0)20 7324 7730


    Souvenirs: Fortnum & Mason, St. Pancras

    Where to pick up souvenirs (other than the airport)

    If you’re in a rush to pick up some typically English souvenirs before your flight home, head to Fortnum & Mason, a fancy grocery store favoured by the British monarchy. There are several branches and you will find something special for the whole family here. For business travellers, the St. Pancras branch is probably the most convenient.

    Fortnum & Mason is famed for their hampers, which make popular gifts. You’ll find a mix of chocolates, jams, teas, liquor, crockery and other specialities packed into hampers of different sizes. They also stock perfumes, accessories, flowers, stationery and teddy bears.

    Location: 1A, St Pancras International Station, Pancras Rd, London N1C 4QP, UK

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)20 7734 8040


    photo by daliscar1 (CC BY 2.0) modified


    A convenient landmark: Tower Bridge

    A landmark for quick and easy sightseeing

    Tower Bridge is an enduring icon of London, and it looks pretty at any time of day or night. In fact, it’s probably better to visit of an evening, when it’s lit up in soft lights. Head to Tower Hill underground and Tower Bridge is just a 5-minute walk from the station. If you have time, head to the Tower of London nearby to see another classic British landmark.

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    Location: Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP, UK


    Another convenient landmark: The Shard

    If you want to see something else

    Over 1,000 ft tall and entirely glass fronted, you can’t help but notice The Shard from any borough of London. It’s even more impressive when you’re on top of the building looking down, and if you aren’t lucky enough to be staying at the Shangri-La (the hotel occupies the 34th to 52nd floors), then head up to the Gong bar on the 52nd floor for panoramic views of England’s capital.

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    Location: 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG, UK

    Paul Smith | Compulsive Traveller

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