Central London short stays: Take a moment for yourself

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After a turbulent year, self-care is more important than ever. 

That’s why we’ve assembled this bumper blog: To give you a wealth of self-care ideas to take the load off and to help you make the most of your short stay in Central London.

While London is such a vibrant, exciting city, it can be overwhelming. After taking the time to arrange a Central London short stay, you want to squeeze as much enjoyment out of every second as possible - without burning yourself out. Quite the opposite, in fact. 

The whole point of a short stay is that you go home feeling more relaxed than when you left. At Dolphin Square, we’re confident that our serviced apartments provide the perfect backdrop to do exactly that.

Our guide has two broad sections:

  • Self-care tips at your short stay accommodation
  • Self-care tips for Central London visits 

We hope to provide you with a bank of ideas to draw from to make your time indoors relaxing and refreshing, and your time outdoors rewarding and enjoyable.

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Self-care tips at your short stay accommodation

When you open the door to a hotel room or serviced apartment, there’s an undeniable feeling of being away. You’re somewhere new, far removed from the stresses and strains of daily life.

Or at least, that’s the plan. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, those niggling stresses follow you and try to insinuate themselves onto your holiday mood.

Here are a few ideas of how to crush those feelings, and to pave the way for a little R&R instead.

Relax and recharge with on-site amenities

If you’ve booked your short stay in Central London at Dolphin Square, congratulations. You’ve made the right choice.

We’ve got decades of experience providing accommodation for all manner of London residents and visitors, and over that time we’ve distilled what we do to something of a fine art.

We understand that a serviced apartment isn’t just a base to operate out of while visiting London. No: It’s something more. It’s a temporary haven for you and your group - whether they’re friends or family - to unpack and unwind. To soak up the sights and sounds of the city; to recharge for another day out tomorrow.

Here’s what we’ve got on-site to help you achieve just that:

A pool

Whether you want to crank out some lengths to burn off excess energy, splosh around to feel the water against your skin, or lounge beside it, our pool has something to offer everyone.

It’s open to all ages, too, meaning that the whole family can enjoy it.

Dolphin Square Pool

The DSQ Gym

Our gym is kitted out with state-of-the-art equipment for the fitness enthusiast who knows exactly what type of workout they want, and we offer a suite of professionally-led classes for people who want a social workout with a bit of guidance.

Our class schedule includes all your favourites like yoga, aqua, HIIT body blast, studio cycling, cardio burn and many more. 

Sauna and steam room

What good is a workout if you can’t bask in a steam room or sauna afterwards? The comfort, the heat, and the relaxation all do wonders for your mood and muscles. Dolphin Square proudly offers an on-site sauna and steam room for you to enjoy throughout your stay.

Botanical gardens

If you don’t feel like breaking a sweat, that’s perfectly fine. Our grounds feature beautifully-maintained botanical gardens that practically invite a gentle stroll with your hands loosely clasped together behind your back.

There’s nothing quite like enjoying quiet time in a slice of nature in the heart of Central London. You feel like you’re getting away with something clandestine, and it makes it all the easier to savour.

The Bar & Grill Restaurant

Do you enjoy beautiful modern British cuisine paired with exquisite wines? Of course you do. If you like to enjoy such fare in a comfortable, ambient, and recently-renovated dining room, then you’re in luck.

The Dolphin Square Bar & Grill Restaurant offers delicious, enticing, and competitively priced meals to suit any palette.

Nothing says “self-care” like a hearty meal enjoyed in nice surroundings with the people you love. So go ahead: Dig in.

Dolphin Bar & Grill Burger

Tennis and squash courts

If you enjoy a workout but lean toward a bit of healthy competition over gym time, then our full-size tennis and squash courts are for you. Playing a game in the heart of London on the bank of the Thames lends the sport a little extra oomph, too.

All visitors can book time on our tennis and squash courts, subject to availability.

How to self-care inside your apartment

All of the suggestions we’ve given so far rely on leaving your apartment and exploring the wealth of amenities we offer on-site. But after hand-picking somewhere to stay for your short London break, you probably want to spend a little time inside, too.

If this is the case, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top tips for taking a little time for yourself inside your serviced apartment:

Light some scented candles

There’s a reason aromatherapy is popular, and why pretty much every homeware shop sells an endless array of candles with intriguing scents. It’s because, regardless of the scientific backing, smells are relaxing. They’re evocative, and they can instantly transport your mind to a more relaxed place.

Furthermore, you’re in control. Bringing a few candles with your favourite scent is a great way to put your stamp on a rented apartment. You’ll be amazed at how something so subtle can make your rented space feel like home.

Mood lighting

We’ve grown so accustomed to bright lighting indoors that it’s easy to forget how relaxing carefully-crafted ambient lighting can be. Candles are one way to achieve this, but there are many intriguing battery-powered and plugin lamps available.

Why not bring a moody red salt-lamp with you to throw a little ambient light into your apartment? Or a nightlight to cast a gentle glow in the evening? There are myriad options, and taking the time to craft your space will help you to relax and unwind inside it.

Long baths

A long soak in hot water is good for the soul. It’s even better if you add an aromatic sparkle to it - our favourites include lavender, tea tree, or bergamot. 

A bath helps to take the weight off, physically and mentally. It’s hard not to relax when submerged in warming water. Bringing a book, and maybe even a glass of wine will help to complete the experience.

Many of our serviced apartments come with baths, and we fully encourage you to take full advantage!


All of our apartments come with flatscreen TVs, and nowadays it’s super easy to hook up your phone or laptop and take advantage of the speaker system. 

As long as you’re not disrupting the neighbours, filling your apartment with your favourite music is a guaranteed way to make it feel like home right away.

Why not put together a special holiday playlist, too? Gather up all the songs that remind you of London, or holidays in general, or of specific memories you’re collecting on this trip. What better souvenir to take home than a musical diary of your London short break?

Look after plants

Plants reduce anxiety, increase productivity, stimulate creativity, and provide a subtle reminder of nature in our busy, city-based lives. There’s a science to back this up, too.

They also function as excellent reminders to take care of yourself. Give yourself water and sunlight, just as you would your plant, and other aspects of self-care will surely follow.

Bringing a plant or two to your rented apartment may seem a little jazzy, but trust us: It’s a great way to own the space and gently remind yourself of the need for self-care during your trip.

That’s self-care in and around your apartment covered. What about when you’re out and about, though? Deep in the fray of Central London, where hot baths, pot plants, and yoga can’t save you?


Self-care tips for a Central London stay

London is a busy city, there are no two ways about it. With 21 million visitors in 2019 (averaging over 50,000 per day) you’ve just got to accept that a trip to London will involve crowds at some point.

Crowds often mean being pushed out of the way, or maybe getting a stray elbow in your ribs. In short: None of the things conducive to a relaxed and centred mood.

But that’s OK. You’re equipped with some great self-care tips now, and you’ve got a sanctuary to go back to at the end of each day - your home-away-from-home Dolphin Square serviced apartment.

Here are some ways to make things as calm as possible during your expeditions:


Or tea, really. ‘Coffee’ is a catch-all term for hot drinks imbibed in relaxing surroundings, and London boasts literally thousands of coffee shops.

If you find yourself needing a break from the hustle and bustle, just visit your nearest coffee shop and order a cup of liquid relaxation. Depending on your caffeine tolerance, something decaf may be better for soothing frayed nerves - maybe a green tea, a hot chocolate, or a nice cup of chai?


If a few minutes in a coffee shop isn’t going to be enough to bring your stress levels down to where they need to be, why not savour a meal instead? That’s a good hour at least off of the streets and at your own private table.

Many London eateries manage to maintain a calm and inviting atmosphere despite the throngs outside. Ask your waiter for a table away from the window, ideally in a private little nook somewhere, so you can get your head out of London and into rest-zone for a little while.

Delicious food is good medicine, and in this city, you’re never far away from something fantastic.

(Oh, and you better treat yourself to a dessert this time, too!)


London has thousands of pubs, each with a unique character and personality, and all with a wide array of beers, ales, wines, tonics, and whatever other tipples you fancy.

Punctuating your explorations of our fine capital with some convivial refreshment is a fine way to change the mood. A dimly-lit nook in an atmospheric British pub has a way of recalibrating the brain, and we’re sure you’ll feel ready to take on the world anew once you step back outside.

Why not try some traditional British pub snacks while you’re at it? Ask the landlord (that’s the person behind the bar) for a pickled egg, some Scampi Fries, a bag of pork scratchings, or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, one of each.


London is replete with libraries, and many of them are historically interesting buildings. If you’ve been dipping in and out of busy attractions all day, then taking half an hour to meander through the serene halls of a London library could be the elixir you’re looking for.

The British Library in Kings Cross is a fantastic example of what we mean. Its vaulted halls are usually fairly busy, but because of its scale, you can still get lost inside. There’s a free gallery with some truly incredible cultural artefacts (handwritten Mozart manuscripts, anyone?) as well as endless books, and a nice little cafe to rest your feet for a while.


Not so keen on books? Then how about a show, darling? London is one of the most famous theatrical cities in the world, and you’d be remiss not to take advantage of the fact during your stay.

Whether you go for a world-famous show on the West End or dig deep into one of London’s myriad back-street theatres, you’re sure to find a bit of escapism to pull you out of the busy London mindset.

If you need to know what’s on in London, here is one of many booking sites to get you started.

Green spaces

London is a green city, although it may not look like it in some places. There are over three thousand parks in the capital, ranging from tiny courtyards nestled between grand buildings to Richmond Park: The biggest of London’s eight Royal Parks.

We’d go so far as to say that you can spend an entire day in London just walking around the parks. They truly are the green jewel in our crown, and with a range of activities to enjoy (swing parks, boat rental, horse rides, zip lines, and more) you can curate whatever type of day aligns best with your mood and mindset.

Green Spaces In London


If you enjoy a bit of retail therapy, London is definitely equipped to deliver. Whether you want the exclusive aura of Bond Street, the curious boutiques of Carnaby Street, the intriguing markets of Camden, or the exquisite cuisines of Borough Market, the options are near endless.

Many tourists come to London just for the shopping experience. In the same way that you can build a day around London parks, shopping centres like Westfield can easily provide an entire day’s worth of retail therapy.

While admittedly not everyone will find this relaxing, to a certain type of person, a day spent roaming shops is a day well spent. If that’s you: Embrace it!


Along with theatres, London is a great city for the film-buffs amongst us. When the house lights go down and the big screen comes on, it’s hard to resist being transported out of London and into a new world.

If you like to use film as a relaxing escape, then London has you covered. Leicester Square is one of the biggest sites in global cinema, with exclusive premieres as a common experience. 

There are also many quirky independent cinemas tucked away on the city’s backstreets. The Regent Street Cinema is one example, located in the heart of Westminster, or if you're happy to go further afield, why not check out the Phoenix in Edgware?

London attractions

What guide to London would be complete without a word on the city’s myriad attractions? From Buckingham Palace and Madame Tussauds to the London Eye and the London Dungeon - this city has something for everyone. And a lot more on top of that!

But we’re not here to rattle off a list of attractions you should visit. Oh no. We’re here to give you practical advice on making your visit less stressful.

Firstly, avoid peak hours. This probably seems obvious, but you’ll be surprised how many people turn up at peak time and then resent the fact they’re stuck in a crowd.

Secondly, consider priority passes. Many attractions allow you to dodge the crowds by paying a small premium on your entry fee. 

Finally, don’t feel obligated to see everything London has to offer, all at once. So many people try to ‘do London’ in a day or over a weekend, cramming in as many attractions as possible and rushing through all of them. One of the best self-care tips when visiting London is to take it slow. Explore gently, and remember that London will still be here tomorrow!

In our opinion, it’s better to see one or two attractions properly and truly savour the experience than to see six or seven attractions at a lightning pace.

London Attractions

Take good care of yourself

There you have it: Everything you need to have a more relaxing time of your short stay in London. While this is an undeniably exciting city, and while it can feel a little overwhelming to even the most seasoned traveller, remember that you’re here to enjoy yourself. You’re not here to rush yourself off your feet and go home feeling more harassed than when you left.

From burning off energy at the gym, soaking in a steam room and making your apartment homely with scented candles and ambient lighting, to tactical breaks from the London fray - this guide has given a selection of tips to help you focus on self-care.

We hope that some of these tips help you to have a less stressful short break in London. 

Remember, our team is available to chat with you about your Central London short stay accommodation requirements. We’re dedicated to helping you make the most of your trip to the capital city, and we can’t wait to welcome you to Dolphin Square.

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