The Repeat Offender's Guide to London
So you’ve visited London more times than the queen’s seen a curtsey? Having ticked off the Tate, danced through Covent Garden and grazed at Borough, now you're back in the UK capital and wondering: what next? Well this 2000 year-old dolly has a whole host of off-the-tourist-agenda offerings to tempt repeat visitors. Here are LUXE’s top picks.
Last time you stayed at nip/tucked The Savoy, this time why not cross the river and bed down at bold contempo bunker Mondrian London? Perched in the famed Sea Containers building and surrounded by atmossy Southbank’s sup n’ sip spots, it flaunts its nautical heritage through sinuous, moulded copper walls and colour-splashed modish abodes, some replete with patios and Thames outlooks. Libation sensation Dandelyan is also here for botanical ‘tails, there’s a trig rooftop for sunnier climes, and brunch-tastic Sea Containers resto. 20 Upper Ground, SE1. morganshotelgroup.com
Ham Yard Hotel
Give the grittier, less touristy end of Soho a go at this boho-chic Betsy in a pretty, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it courtyard. Ninety-one character-packed, individually designed digs are decked with a Kit Kemp-selected jumble of eye-popping patterns, art, antiques and on-trend design accents, while outta-room entertainments include a best-in-Brit resto, bar, spa, library, cinema screen, rooftop herb garden and ab-fab 50s-style bowling alley. 1 Ham Yard, W1. firmdalehotels.com
It you’ve already done dine time at Dinner by Heston and Notting Hill’s The Ledbury, shimmy over to farm-to-table Fera for seasonal, polished Brit fare by Simon Rogan. Yes, this eatelier is inside art deco doyenne Claridge’s, but it’s keeping a low profile compared to the hotel’s glamazon bars, so you won’t have to book a table before your airline ticket – hoorah! Claridge’s, 49 Brook St, W1K. feraatclaridges.co.uk
Every schmuck and his schnauzer has heard about The Ivy and Chiltern Firehouse, for their celeb scenes, but plugged-in Londoners (and discreet A-listers) favour Mayfair sophisticate Scott’s for its clubby vibe, smart service and succulent sustainable seafood. Make like Mossy and get your PA to nab you a terrace spot in fine weather. 20 Mount St, W1K. scotts-restaurant.com
Sir John Soane’s Museum
Big daddies like the Natural History Museum and Tate Modern are, of course, a must. But for intimate peek into how people used to live, venture to one of London’s smaller, private house museums. Overlooking the city’s largest public square, Sir John Soane’s former home is an enchanting, atmospheric escape stuffed with C.18th art, antiquities, sculpture, sketches, models and canvases. The candlelit tour, first Tuesday of every month is all the more magical, but you have to be prepared to queue extra early. 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, WC2A. soane.org
Forget the London Eye, you’ll find fab vistas and a heck more history if you climb this iconic, gilded Doric column, built by Christopher Wren in testament to the Great Fire. The 311 steps will give your glutes quite the workout but it’s worth it for the clear autumn views from up top. Fish St Hill, EC3R. themonument.info
Old Operating Theatre
After a macabre moment? Don’t even think of queuing for the London Dungeons, instead totter over to what is the only surviving C.18th operating theatre, set in the roof space of a Baroque church. Not one for Fanny fainthearted! 9a St Thomas St, SE1. thegarret.org.uk
Avoid the hordes of Amex-flexing aspirationalists at Harrods or Selfridges, and head instead to our favourite one-stop department shop, Liberty. This age-old emporium housed in its iconic, faux Tudor building, is best in town for cutting-edge Brit designer threads and accessories (for him and her), exceptional beauty booty, dazzling artisan jewels and lest we forget, it’s gorgeous stash of fabrics, upon which it made its name. Plus there’s a Margaret Dabbs Sole Spa, for London’s best pedis and Café Liberty for mid-retail refuelling. Regent St (enter on Gt Marlborough St), W1. liberty.co.uk
The New CraftsmenThe lovely Heal’s might be London’s best-known homewares haven, but for hand-wrought off-beat furny and natty nest featherings we prefer modest Mayfair concept store The New Craftsmen for it’s small-batch pieces from across the Isles, plus clothing, jewellery and toys to kit out you, hubby and bubby. 34 North Row, W1. thenewcraftsmen.com
For more top London recommendations, shop the LUXE London guide...
Chloe Jessica Payne
After spells spent in Mexico, Madrid, Lyon, São Paulo and Hong Kong, Chloe now lives in London with her husband and two muddy mongrels and is currently planning trips to Bruges, Paris, Alaska, SoCal, Romania and Reykjavik.
- Chloe LOVES... Baking, old movies, Graham Greene novels
- Chloe LOATHES... 4x4’s in London, visor-toting tourists, airport queuing
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