Spending 24 hours in Victoria means one of two things.
1) You’re very, very early for your train, or
2) You’ve already read this guide to the finest attractions, drinking and dining establishments of the area…
…Which means you’d know about the place that serves brunch every day till 3pm, or the bar where you can order a magnum of champagne at 4 in the morning. You’ll be au fait with the absolute best spot for a picnic in St. James’s Park, and the secret attic space of Westminster Abbey that’s been closed up for 700 years.
Of course, if you’re not – you can find out the best things to do in Victoria right here.
We all know the importance of a balanced breakfast.
Which is why Timmy Green is an excellent place to start the day – because you can balance their broccoli & corn fritters and crispy back bacon with a breakfast pudding, like their french toast topped with coconut and bee pollen. Just as they’ll also happily balance out the nutrition of your spinach smoothie with a healthy dose of vodka.
Also housed in the grand Nova Food is the third eatery from the Riding House Café team – appropriately named the Rail House Café, they’ve softened the floor-to-ceiling glass walls with inviting, woven furnishings; salvaged archways; and low-hanging, beachy, fringed lightshades. It’s under these that you can tuck into brunch classics like shakshuka and Eggs Benedict – which here, naturally, sees the humble muffin replaced with an entire burger.
That should give you plenty of energy to explore throughout –
Venturing a little further from Victoria’s centre, there’s plenty of juicy slices of history to soak up. Westminster Cathedral is the Abbey’s lesser known sibling, and is a vast, Neo-Byzantine styled building topped by giant domes and a lone, 200ft tall bell tower… The latter of which is particularly interesting because you can head to the top of it (wait, don’t go – there’s a lift) and score 360 degree panoramas of the city around you.
Head along to its more famous cousin, and you’ll be treated to quite literally coronation-worthy architecture; grandiose graves belonging to Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth I; aaand – as of June this year – access to the secluded attic spaces of the building. The Diamond Jubilee Gallery is set to open in the church’s ‘triforium’ – you know, it’s on the same level as the clerestory – and will be opening to public access for the first time in 700 years. After which, you’ll be ready for a spot of –
Take a five minute stroll northwards towards the Institute of Contemporary Arts, pop your head into their vaunted galleries filled with – well, contemporary art, then head up to their skylit dining room which has recently become home to the sophomore branch of Shoreditch’s Rochelle Canteen, where you can indulge in majestic offerings of pheasant, trotter and prune pie with buttered greens. If you’re after something lighter and less pheasant-involving, however, you can stock up on picnic treats at Nova Food‘s Sourced Market instead. Sip on a glass of organic vino as you peruse their artisan produce and head to St. James’s Park – the only London spot to boast views of Buckingham Palace, a flock of native pelicans, and a ridiculously scenic park-keeper’s cottage.
Continuing your tour of cultural things to do in Victoria, heading down Millbank you’ll come across the illustrious Tate Britain. Housed in a palatial Grade II listed building, it’s one of the biggest museums in the country, and is filled with a sprawling collection of works by British artists, from Tudor portrait artists to pre-Raphaelites, and also plays host to Turner’s own personal collection. All that should serve nicely as a cultural apéritif before…
Yep, it’s time for an actual apéritif. Or two. Because the barkeeps at the laid-back carvery that is Stoke House will happily sling twice the number of cocktails your way during their two-for-one happy hours (5-7pm weekdays and weekend afternoons). Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, the nearby Vagabond (also in Nova Food) will happily equip you with a magical swipe card that will allow you to sample whichever vino you want from their futuristic grape-hooch vending machines. All of which should whet the appetite for…
Heading back down Victoria Street, there’s a heft of dinner options – from crispy, confit lamb-topped pizzas at Jason Atherton’s Hai Cenato, to the Nordic-French inspired decadence of the stunningly designed Aster, both in Nova Food. Or if you’re in the mood for sharing seasonal dishes over a glass of wine, head to The Other Naughty Piglet – the sister branch to Brixton’s Naughty Piglet, perched in the Other Palace theatre. Placing you perfectly for catching a show – they stage everything from stand-up to musicals in progress – before heading out for…
The Clarendon Cocktail Cellar is a secluded, brick-walled, low-lit underground drinking den filled with eclectic prints, intimate booths and vintage furnishings. Drinks here come themed after classic films, and are emphatically moreish – which is why it’s particularly good news that the top floors of this establishment make up the bohemian boutique hotel, Artist Residence. With each room independently decorated (but sharing the bare essentials of claw-footed freestanding baths, decadent 4 poster beds and supremely fancy toiletries), there are worse places to spend the next 8 hours…
…unless, of course, you head to the 24 hour bar at the Goring Hotel by Buckingham Palace. Kitted out with deep red walls, a roaring fire and barkeeps doling out classic cocktails…
You could become a pretty longstanding resident.
NOTE: You can keep up to date with all the newest things to do in Victoria by following @createvictoria on Instagram.
Main image credit: Ian Dick/Flickr
Want to find more things to do in Victoria? Check out our Insiders’ Guide to Nova Food…