By Anton Constantinou
If there’s one thing London does well, it’s variety. This city has it all: world class theatre, stunning parks, jaw-dropping architecture, super clubs, and fabulous fine dining. There’s stuff for parents, kids, tourists, couples, singletons, culture vultures and business travellers. London doesn’t just look after people, it spoils them, and, with Christmas on the way, it’s only going to get more exciting.
Join us as we countdown some of the finest things London has to offer:
Alyn Williams at the Westbury
Alyn Williams is a first class eatery in Mayfair’s Westbury hotel, run by a top British chef. It’s smart, sophisticated, Michelin-starred, and serves up a delectable array of meat and fish dishes. Private dining is also available.
The Ledbury has been named among the World’s 50 Best Restaurants – and for good reason. This Notting Hill restaurant offers ground-breaking food in a comfortable setting, suitable for couples, colleagues and special events. We highly recommend the tasting menu, which features dishes like Chantilly of Oyster and Berkshire Roe Buck.
As one of London’s most affluent areas, Knightsbridge is full of great places to eat and drink. Marcus, for example is right up there with the likes of Zuma and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Marcus Wareing’s flagship restaurant provides French style cooking in an intimate, contemporary space. Dining options include à la carte and an 8-course dinner menu.
A great setting is everything when it comes to eating out. At Baltic, guests get to dine in a former coach builder’s works boasting skylights and wooden trussed ceilings. Its impressive ambience is matched by equally exquisite food. In true Baltic style, it mixes Russian, Georgian, Polish and Hungarian cuisine, to offer an authentic taste of Eastern Europe.
Liberty London’s iconic black and white façade is one of the most Instagrammed things in Carnaby Street. People travel far and wide to buy fragrances, homeware and clothing from this much loved department store. Barbour, Manolo Blahnik and Alexander McQueen are just a few of the major brands sold here.
Fortnum and Mason
With Christmas on the way, it’s time to swing by Fortnum and Mason, famous for its teas and specialist hampers. The Queen reportedly buys her groceries from here. For us, it’s all about their jewellery and grooming products. F&M is ideally located in Piccadilly, close to Green Park and Leicester Square.
Harrods is to Knightsbridge what Big Ben is to Westminster: a major tourist attraction attracting millions each year. All sorts of gifts can be purchased here, including luxury watches, handbags and gourmet food. Harrods looks spectacular when it’s lit up, so, if you get the chance, visit the store at night.
The Royal Exchange
On a first glance, The Royal Exchange doesn’t instantly scream shopping arcade. However, inside this beautiful building lie boutiques, bars and fine dining establishments. The Royal Exchange finds a home in the City and, among other luxuries, is great for fashion, art and beauty products.
The Bloomsbury Club Bar
Who doesn’t love a speakeasy? This 1920s bar is a throwback to Bloomsbury’s literary past, and provides a luxurious setting in which to drink and socialise. Many of its cocktails are themed on famous high society figures including artist, Virginia Woolf and painter, Dora Carrington. The bar has an extensive cigar menu.
Famous for its martinis, DUKES Bar is the 007 of drinking establishments, perfect for a special occasion. We like to think of it as a refined, quintessentially English sort of place with knowledgeable staff and fine furnishings. Guests are invited to unwind in the bar’s charming Cognac and Cigar Garden.
This vintage bar is as quirky as they come, and styles itself on blitz era tube trains. Everything about it is old world, from the “train guard” actor on the door, to the moquette upholstery. Ordering your drink is the best bit. The drinks menu is basically a newspaper with bevvies in place of articles. Our favourite is the Judy Garland, which comes in a cup and saucer.
On the modern end of the scale is Bar 45, with its polished wood and soft leather interiors. This upmarket, Manhattan-style hotel bar is notable for its wagyu sliders, lobster rolls and generous selection of hand-crafted signature cocktails. It can accommodate 120 guests, which makes it great for special occasions and parties.
Anderson & Sheppard
Anderson & Sheppard is a Savile Row bespoke tailors, that’s been suiting and booting men since 1906. Prince Charles has been known to purchase his suits there, as has Tom Ford. All garments go through a meticulous process of cutting and grading, using the finest fabrics and linings. Anderson & Sheppard also have a haberdashery on Clifford Street.
This gentleman’s tailor needs no introduction. Many of its customers are either royalty or members of aristocracy, who’ve been shopping there for decades. The first modern-style dinner jacket was made there and, since then, the store has grown to include ties, cufflinks pocket squares, braces, scarves and wallets.
Sir Tom Baker
Master craftsman, Sir Tom Baker, is an expert when it comes to both traditional and avant garde tailoring. He’s classically trained and takes a one-on-one approach to craft suits for artists, musicians, actors and televisions personalities. Contrary to some of the tailors in the area, Sir Thomas offers fantastic design flexibility and interpretation.
Fielding & Nicholson
Fielding & Nicholson have a simple aim: “to deliver style and quality in an efficient and personal manner.” This they achieve through on-site care and support, helping customers select the best fits in line with their requirements. F&N are based on Charlotte Road, right in the heart of Shoreditch.
Alexandra Wood Bespoke
Alexandra Wood is an award-winning Savile Row tailor, creating both bespoke and made-to-measure suits for men. Her ethos is all about having fun with tailoring; adding a modern twist to Savile Row. Alexandra Wood has shops in Shoreditch and Bishop’s Stortford, and a showroom to see clients in Savile Row.
Ozone Coffee Roasters
If you like your coffee made straight from the roaster, then check out Ozone. This coffee house has its very own Probat roaster, meaning everything is brewed fresh from scratch. Its Old Street location makes it popular with office workers in the silicon roundabout. Be sure to order a cold brew when you go there.
Curators Coffee Gallery
Central London is full of big chain coffee shops, but one of our personal favourites is a little indie haunt tucked away on Margaret Street. The Curators Coffee Gallery is modern and arty, with cool wall prints and great tasting lattes. They also do great breakfast bowls.
Trade is must-visit if you’re in East London. Their loose teas are sublime, and go great with a freshly baked cake or pastry. They have two stores – one on commercial street, and another on Essex Road. Both are cosy and industrial in style, with modest brick walls and friendly eating areas.
The Coffee Jar
Coffee Jar puts the family in family-run. It might be small, but that only makes its atmosphere friendlier. The staff are smiley, the cookies are fantastic, and its coffee is brewed to perfection. In an area dominated by cafes, Coffee Jar does things the simple way.
V&A – The Museum of Childhood
Kids love toys and costumes. What better way to keep their attention than with a museum full of the stuff. The exhibits here come from different points in history and tell a curious story growing up around the world.
The Ice Rink – Alexandra Palace
The Ice Rink at Alexandra Palace is easily one of the best in London. It’s open throughout the year and is great for family skating and birthday parties. Christmas at Ally Pally is a big cause for celebration: out come the fireworks, panto and other festive performances. Just make sure you’re wrapped up warm.
Gruffalo’s Child – Lyric Theatre
The story Gruffalo’s Child is a much loved children’s book, set in winter, about a little Gruffalo and “big bad bad mouse”. The stage production at London’s Lyric Theatre brings the tale to life with spectacular acting, songs and fancy dress. The show kicks off from November 22nd onwards.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Winter Wonderland. This major attraction is one of several big scale festive markets around the world, boasting rides, live music, food stalls, ice skating and carnival performances. Children love it, parents love it. It’s also great for couples.