A different London

Published 6th August 2020

The Covid pandemic has been a challenging time for everyone – but we’re always trying to find silver linings! It’s been a most extraordinary few months in London, and much like all its inhabitants, our city has had time to breathe. So now is a fantastic time to come and enjoy a more tranquil, thoughtful visit to our usually bustling streets. Expect fewer crowds, peace in the parks, and a much slower pace of life – just what every holiday should be like.

Our little village in Belgravia is a serene place right now and the perfect hub to unwind and enjoy the simpler pleasures of London at your own pace. With the most Instagrammable street in town right on our doorstep (Elizabeth Street, if you didn’t know) and the majority of the famous sights within a half hour’s walk, the city is your oyster and there’s no need to mix it on public transport if you don’t want to.

We’ve been putting our minds to some of the most interesting and, dare we say, soul-nourishing things to do right now to make the most of all this glorious summer weather.

Ticketed museum and gallery visits

Many of London’s incredible array of world-class museums and art galleries are now back open, operating only with pre-booked ticketing in order to control numbers, maintain social distancing and provide a generally more peaceful, contemplation-friendly visit. Best of all, most of the noteworthy venues are completely free of charge, including the National Gallery, the National History Museum and Tate Modern. See individual venue websites to book your visit online.

Picnic in the parks

London is famous for its generous green spaces and we’ve got some of the best within easy reach of the Lime Tree – St James’ Park, Green Park and Hyde Park are all a short stroll away and each provides a beautiful setting to connect with nature and reflect on its relationship with the man-made environment around it. There are few things as lovely as a picnic on the grass on a warm summer’s day, so we recommend grabbing a blanket, stocking up on a few supplies from the nearest Marks & Spencer, cracking open a bottle of chilled rosé and settling in for the afternoon in a shady spot.

Get pedalling

London is a very bike-friendly place nowadays and seeing the sights from the saddle is a wonderful way to take in the city without breaking too much of a sweat. Fat Tire are currently offering small private bike tours at very reasonable rates (mention the Lime Tree on booking for 10% off) .

Alternatively, if you want to be free to pedal at your own pace, just hire a Santander Bike from any of the bike stations dotted around town. Our nearest one is just a couple of minutes’ walk away, at the junction of Ebury Street and Bourne Street.

Canal adventures

If you enjoy messing around in boats, we recommend you hop aboard Jason, a converted 108 year-old cast iron cargo barge, and cruise the Grand Union canal between Camden Lock and Little Venice, cutting through Regent’s Park and the 250m long Maida Hill Tunnel. Pre-booking is essential (Lime Tree guests get a 10% discount).

Pound the pavements

If you want to get up close and personal with London’s amazing history, culture and architecture the best way to do it is to get walking, preferably guided by someone who knows a things or two – we recommend long-established London Walks who have recently resumed a selection of their daily roster of two hour guided walks, with something on the menu for everyone from royal enthusiasts to Charles Dickens fans and even ghost hunters.

Wild swimming

Yes you read that right, you can go wild swimming in London, at the Hampstead Heath ponds no less. It’s chilly, it’s muddy and there are ducks. And it’s glorious. Booking is currently required due to Covid restrictions.

So there you have it. Despite the strange times there is plenty to see and do in London right now that doesn’t involve dodging the crowds on the main thoroughfares. Come and enjoy lush green spaces, laid back cycling tours or perhaps just a spot of muddy swimming.