Every time I go to London, I find great new places to share with you and this last trip was no exception. This is by no means a comprehensive guide to London, as there is so much to see and do (and EAT!), but these are places I always want to go when I’m in town mixed in with some new places we tried and loved. A little tip if you want to fly nonstop from Los Angeles…Norwegian Air was fantastic. They only have two classes of service—premium and economy. Our premium ticket was about the same as coach on the other major airlines and we got a lot more for our money, including a brand new Dreamliner plane!
Liberty – A trip to London would not be complete without a visit to this legendary department store. Located off Regent Street, they have incredible clothes + accessories, but it’s the home department that keeps me coming back.
Jo Malone in Covent Garden – I’m obsessed with Jo Malone perfume and though it’s sold in the states, there is something so fun about going in their gorgeous boutique in Covent Garden. Even though the area is a bit touristy, I still love to walk around— especially inside the Century Market Building, where you may have seen the incredible balloon art installation!
Harvey Nichols – I have yet to visit London and not come home with something from Harvey Nichols. Usually shoes, but this trip I found some adorable Symthson stationery with red double decker buses.
Corinthia London – 5 star luxury at its best, I had the pleasure of staying here on a business trip and it was incredible. The spa alone is worth a visit and in fact we did visit on this last trip. We landed, checked in to our hotel and then Ubered it to the Corinthia Spa. It’s in the heart of London, so very close to attractions like the London Eye, Trafalgar Square etc.
Charlotte Street Hotel – Located in Fitzrovia, this Firmdale hotel will make your boutique hotel fantasies come true. Read more about my stay here.
The Kensington Hotel – Though the ultra luxurious hotels are great for a special occasion (or when someone else is paying!), my favorite home away from home is the luxury boutique hotel, The Kensington. I love the area, I love the decor and it’s quiet with great beds and bathrooms–I especially love the top floor studio suite. I also recommend doing the breakfast package.
The Cranley – This is a great option if you want a boutique hotel in South Kensington, but are concerned about price. They have great advance purchase options online and via email. It feels very much like a bed and breakfast and the room we had was large with a beautiful bath. While this hotel is not a budget hotel (come on, people, do you know me at all??), it is a less expensive option than the others.
EAT + DRINK
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (Knightsbridge)- Located in the Mandarin Oriental, this is arguably one of the best restaurants in London. It has 2 Michelin Stars awarded this year. Order the famous ‘Meat Fruit!’ The chef also owns The Fat Duck, which is located in Bray (about an hour outside central London) and has 3 stars.
Gymkhana (Mayfair)- We were lucky enough to be treated here for dinner by a chef friend and every time I mention the restaurant name to anyone who knows London says the same thing—it’s the best Indian restaurant in London, which is saying a lot. It’s located in fancy schmancy Mayfair and they fit right in with their tasting menu and Michelin star.
The Connaught Bar (Mayfair)- After dinner at Gymkhana, you can mosey over to The Connaught hotel bar for a little nightcap. Order a martini, which will be delivered on a trolley and put together table side.
Duck + Rice (Soho)- We had dinner here on this last trip and it’s a really fun place if you are looking for a hot spot. It’s right in the heart of Soho. It’s “elevated Chinese” and everything is served family style, so you can try a lot of different dishes – I really loved the crispy duck.
The Bull & Last (North West London) – This is a truly British Pub experience, but the food is incredible. A local friend took me here a couple years ago and I cannot recommend more highly. A stroll through close by Hampstead Heath is a must.
Ottolenghi (Belgravia)- I always make time for lunch at Ottolenghi. It’s very casual with only a few tables, so I’ve gotten takeaway several times. The food will blow your mind.
Cutter & Squidge (Soho)- We stumbled upon this after we had dinner at Duck + Rice and it’s a darling little bakery that is full of cakes and ice cream. While I wouldn’t make a special trip to Soho for this, it was a fun place to end the night on a sweet note.
Victoria + Albert Museum – This is my favorite museum and it’s located in South Kensington, so I always look to see what exhibits are happening. The incredible Alexander McQueen exhibit was there this summer.
Kensington Palace – This reopened a few years ago after an extensive renovation. They have various exhibits throughout the year and a spectacular garden (my favorite part).
Borough Market – A total feast for the eyes, this food market is absolutely worth a visit. I also found great gifts here.
Tower of London – If you haven’t been here, you have to visit at least once—especially if you are like me and fascinated by Anne Boleyn.
I can’t wait to go back (hopefully soon!), so tell me what I’m missing!
1 thought on “Travel Notes: London”
I smiled at that last, “fascinated by Anne Boleyn.” I just finished the 7th of 7 Anne books I read in a row! If that’s not fascination, I don’t know what is. Probably my favorite was “The Creation of Anne Boleyn,” by Susan Bordo, a really fun look at Anne’s changing image throughout history. Wonderful interviews with Genevieve Bujold and Natalie Dormer, the 2 reigning queens of playing Anne. Highly recommend! Also “In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn” was very enjoyable, microscopically following literally her every footstep throughout her life. Did you know that there’s a castle hotel in Gloucestershire where Anne and Henry once stayed? You can actually stay in their bedroom! That is definitely on my bucket list.
I’m keeping this for next summer when as always I’ll be passing through London en route to Hvar. Thank you, amazing tips as always. What would we do without our eyes and ears on the ground?!