From bustling streets, new restaurants, underground bars, one-off pop-ups, impeccably curated exhibitions and West End plays starring some of the world’s greatest talent, it’s impossible to get bored in london. You may not have weeks, months or even years to spend in this vibrant capital, yet that doesn’t mean a whistle-stop tour during a brief stopover won’t deliver a taste of all on offer.
SIGHTS | Be it your first time in London or your tenth, this city is packed with iconic places to see and things to do. If time is tight, sidestep the masses and book a private chauffeur to see the best of the city in the lap of luxury.
There are few buildings in the world riddled with as much intrigue as Buckingham Palace or Westminster Abbey. In a society so obsessed with all things royal, a tour of these two historic sites will leave you longing to stay and set up home. To get your trendy retail fix or experience the city’s best people watching, few department stores are quite as celebrated as Harrods—whether you’re a shopper or not. Arranging a personal shopping session at Harrods ticks a very impressive fashion box, in just a few hours. Last but not least, you can take in the legendary skyline. The best place, bar none, to watch the sun set over Londontown is in a private capsule on the London Eye. With panoramic views across the city, a glass of champagne in hand (and hopefully a clear night), there are ew better ways to finish a day in this big smoke.
RESTAURANTS | London’s food scene has never been as prominent as it is right now. Old favorites continue to strive, and new, more unique concepts have entirely changed the landscape and se the city abuzz.
With Europe’s tallest building, The Shard, opening after three years of construction, world-renownedHong Kong restaurant, hutong, snuck in quickly and has taken over the towering structure’s 33rd floor. This new restaurant from Hong Kong restaurateur David Yeo brings its renowned cuisine, based upon the food served in the imperial palaces of Old Beijing, to London. Not only does the eatery dish up incredible food, the views across the city are unparalleled.
Peruvian food is the current darling of London’s global cuisine scene. Very in vogue, ceviche has taken over as the most popular dish in the city. Coya — part Peruvian restaurant, part members’ club and part Pisco bar — is one of the the city’s best-kept secrets. Founded by Arjun Waney, the brains behind the infamous Zuma restaurant as well as dining hotspots including The Arts Club, Coya is like a mini Peru in the heart of Mayfair. Beautifully decorated, each and every piece of furniture was sourced in Peru—giving it an incredible, authentic, distressed look and feel. With three kitchens including the Ceviche Bar, Open Charcoal Grill and Central Kitchen, the food is impeccable and authentic. For drinks, the Pisco bar is the idyllic way to pass the time away while taking in the wonderfully local atmosphere.
A true rising star on the British food scene, chef Tom Sellers opened his first restaurant this year post a very successful pop-up in 2011 at the impressive age of only 26. Well, this 26-year-old has seriously impressed, as Story has received consistent critical acclaim since opening. Creative and impressive, the idea is that the tasting menu (of which you can choose between six or ten courses) tells a story in its journey through the courses. Using only British produce and taking over an old public bathroom, everything about what Sellers has done here is extraordinary and not to be missed when in London.
HOTELS | From the Ritz to Claridge’s to the Goring, there is no shortage of beautiful, decadent and historical hotels to get a singular taste of old Britain. Now, to add to this list are some new hotels offering up a taste of the old with a twist of the new.
Most excitingly, Café Royal Hotel has reopened after five years of closure. Since its original opening in the 1860s, this hotel is riddled with impressive history, having once been a hot spot for everybody from Oscar Wilde, Cary Grant, Virginia Woolf and Winston Churchill. Still awash in glamour, the gold- gilt clad The Grill Room is worth the visit alone. If you have a night to spare, it’s a must-stay with 159 rooms, a private members’ club, a holistic wellbeing spa and gym and some seriously luxurious suites— not to mention a bar with an absinthe fountain.
St. Pancras Hotel has taken over one of London’s most gorgeous gothic landmarks, bringing it back to its original glory. Having opened first as a hotel in 1835, this building took on a variety of uses over the years then succumbed to an era of neglect—until 2011, when it took on its stunning new identity. During the years in-between, the building was used as a train ticket office. The reception area takes over an incredibly imposing room that was once the booking hall, delivering an overwhelming and grand entrance. Even if you don’t stay here, pay a visit to the renowned house restaurant, The Gilbert Scott, which is headed up by Michelin- starred chef, Marcus Wareing. Boasting not just one of London’s best spas, but some of the most beautiful suites in town, St. Pancras takes pride of place in London’s coolest up-and-coming neighborhood, Kings Cross.
CULTURE | London is spoilt when it comes to culture. With more plays and exhibitions than you can see in a lifetime, London truly does attract the world’s greats to showcase their talent. This year is no exception. While you won’t be able to get around all of them, here are a couple picks that are must-sees while in town.
Those who know their fashion will be excited to hear about the Isabella blow: Fashion Galore! exhibition at Somerset House, which opens on November 20. Responsible for discovering Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy and Julien MacDonald, Izzy was a formidable character on the London fashion scene until she passed away in 2007. Expect a beautiful display of her eccentric and extraordinary personal fashion collection that will leave every fashion and art lover captivated.
Since Punchdrunk theatre company stormed onto the scene in 2000, bringing with it a rather pioneering form of theatre, Londoners have been obsessed with their every move. Putting on immersive plays that allow theatregoers to be part of the set
and interact with the actors, it makes for an interesting experience. The latest offering from this group is the drowned Man: A hollywood Fable. Spread over five floors of Temple Studios, the set is decked out as a Hollywood film company. Littered with mazes and lifts, each and every visitor is sure to have a different experience, all incredible in their own right. So, for an entirely different London experience, The Drowned Man should be on everybody’s list.
For more information about adding a stop in London to your next itinerary, contact your Travel Professional. To read the current issue of QUEST magazine online, click here, and be sure to stay up to date on all of QUEST’s online content by following the QUEST Facebook page.