LUXE City Guides
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London: The LUXE Lowdown

Hey there, Georgie Girl… What’s with the Russian accent? London may be gripped by new-monied affluenza and a serious outbreak of chainstore-itis, but at 2,000 years of age, she’s positively bursting at the seams with history and culture. What’s more, ballsy Brit-dish cooking and the resurgence of villagey nabes and artisanal pride are breathing new life into the Old Smoke.


Taking bubbly Soho as your centre, leafy hi-­so enclaves Kensington and Notting Hill extend west, spiffy red­brick Marylebone is perched northwest, quinoa-­fuelled Islington is north and grit-cool Shoreditch is in the East End. South of the Thames lie the lesser­ sung joys of Southwark. 

Need to Know

Cash Up: In London on a budget? Start crying. This city is one huge cash removal zone – either put up or shut up

When to Visit: London is a year ­round event. The tourist swarms never dissipate and the weather can be dreadful whatever the season, so there’s really no bad/good time to visit

The Tube: London’s vast underground is a necessary evil. Buy an Oyster Card, grab a free map, and skirt rush hour

Out and About: Clued­in Londoners hit bars, restaurants and clubs on weekdays; weekends in town can get rather skanky

Reservations: Book ahead for the big­ticket restaurants, unless you’re happy to dine at 5pm with an ‘L’ sign

Steer Clear: Avoid Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Regent & Oxford Streets like the plague

Talking Points, 2017 Edition

Events: The Boat Race (Apr) strapping young lads in lycra; RHS Chelsea Flower Show (May) bloomin’ marvellous; Glyndebourne (May­-Aug) opera­ahhh; Royal Ascot (Jun) mad hatters hit the gee­gees; Wimbledon (Jun-­Jul) Pimm’s and pros; The Proms (Jul-Sep) Albie’s orchestral blowout; Notting Hill Carnival (Aug) colourful street carnage

Archi Goss: Brit reliable Norman Foster and bonkers brain Frank Gehry are still beavering away at the long­ awaited regeneration of London skyline icon, Battersea Power Station

Plan Ahead: Excluding special exhibs, most major museums and galleries are free (stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Paris); just be sure to avoid swamped weekends. Squeeze in a gratis lunchtime classical concert at either St Martin in the Fields (recitals 1pm Mon, Tue & Fri) or St James’s Church Piccadilly (recitals 1.10pm Mon, Wed & Fri). And evening entertainment doesn’t have to be an eye­watering affair either – a little forward­ planning will bag you a perch at the Royal Opera House or a West End show for as little as a tenner. Seriously, book ahead

Summer Screen: Tickets for the gorgeous and wildly popular Somerset House Summer Screen (Aug) go on sale in May – get clickin’ quick, and book sups at Skye Gyngell’s rave­reviewed Spring at the same time. Come Dec, swap your cushions for mufflers, and carve some shapes on the ice rink

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