We speak from experience: a 48-hour business trip to London is draining.
And that’s before you even factor in the fun.
However, thanks to a few strategies we knew – and wish we knew ahead of time – we’re now back after a hectic London Fashion Week armed with a few tips on how to conquer your next business trip to the UK capital.
The time and money saved will afford at least a few extra rounds of Pimm’s – guaranteed.
Get the Oyster Card
Excuse us for getting a little basic here, but this stuff’s important – and a lot of first-timers don’t know where to start. Purchase an Oyster card the first trip you take on the tube; it’ll serve as your pre-paid transit pass from now on. It costs £5, but fares are significantly cheaper when using it (£2.20 with Oyster vs. £4.70 with cash). You can drop it off at the end of your trip to have the deposit and any leftover balance refunded, but we suggest holding onto it – it adds just a bit of extra incentive to visit London again soon.
Alternatively, take UberX
We had the pleasure of using UberX a few days before it eventually launched in Toronto and can confirm that trips are, in fact, 40% cheaper than a taxi. Driver arrivals were prompt (usually within six minutes) and price surges resulting from their infamous off the charts demand were relatively rare. If you can forgo the touristic appeal of taking a Hackney carriage (black cab), £10 from Soho to Shoreditch beats £14 every happy hour of the week.
Hourly caffeine jolts and Lucozade can only take you so far before you crash, which is why Pret A Manger was an absolute lifesaver. Located on pretty much every corner everywhere, the popular grab-and-go franchise became our daily stop to refuel between meetings – offering everything from prawn and avocado salads to vitamin smoothies, natural energy bars, and hoisin duck sandwiches. Let the maroon star guide you.
Check in at the citizenM
Aside from being a trendy boutique hotel with king-sized, wall-to-wall beds in every room, tablet-controlled lighting and recreational functions, live DJs daily, a lobby featuring some of the hottest art + design books, a fireplace, and countless workstation configurations, we loved that the citizenM hotel in Southwark (convenient location) was built with the jetset crowd in mind. Ample charging stations, international adapters, excellent wi-fi throughout, the fully stocked bar (and killer Americanos) and living room comfort seating all but turned work to pleasure. Its exceptionally designed meeting rooms also offer a great option for hosting clients – talk about reclaiming home court advantage.
The London tradition of hitting the pub right after work bodes well for your business-minded itinerary. No one will call you soft for calling it a night on the early side – London’s social scene is alive and well around 6pm. Indulge in a few pints street-side before taking up residence at a table for dinner. We suggest making a stop at either Cafe Boheme or The Riding House Cafe, both lively throughout the evening with exceptional menus to match. Waking up well-rested without the FOMO is basically our generation’s Eden.
Images: visitlondon.ca, myboutiquehotel.com, adscloud.co.uk