• For Gourmands
The city’s culinary scene is overflowing with superb dining, including a large number of Michelin-starred experiences. This year alone London received eight additional one- or two-star Michelin awards, including the recognition of the city’s oldest Indian restaurant, Veeraswamy, which opened in Piccadilly in 1926.
Meanwhile the two-starred Dinner by Heston (Blumenthal) at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park offers guests a trip back into Britain’s culinary history. The savoury ice creams of the late 19th century, the grand Tudor dining experiences and the fanciful dishes of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, all resonate with Blumenthal’s interest in gastronomic history. The result is a menu featuring recreations such as the memorable Quaking Pudding (c.1660), Roast Pollack Frumenty (c.1390) and the delicious Tipsy Cake (c.1810).
For Michelin-starred restaurants that really typify London’s global dynamism, consider L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, The Harwood Arms (a Michelin-starred pub with great beer), Hakkasan Hanway Place, famous for its dim sum Sundays or Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, his three-star showpiece in the heart of Chelsea.
London has also seen an explosion in fantastic everyday eateries. The Bib Gourmand award, by Michelin recognises value and quality and new entries for 2017 include the funky post-industrial Paradise Garage, where you can dine in style under railway arches in Bethnal Green.
• Day tripping
A visit to London just wouldn’t be complete without ticking something off the must-see list. Here’s just a few of our big day-out picks:
Start at Buckingham Palace, where, if she’s home, you might catch a glimpse of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. From Buckingham Palace, it’s a short stroll down Birdcage Walk to Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.
From Westminster, cross the Thames to The London Eye with the London Dungeons in its shadow. Take a bus or tube to Blackfriars or Southwark, where the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe await. From the Globe it’s another short ride or leisurely walk to the famous Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, passing Drake’s Golden Hind and HMS Belfast on the way.
One of three major museums on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, the National History Museum welcomes over 5 million visitors a year. The museum houses 80 million items, many have huge historical significance, such as the collections of Charles Darwin. The museum also houses a spectacular exhibition of fossilised dinosaur skeletons.
Located on Great Russell Street, the British Museum is dedicated to human history, art and culture. Its permanent collection comprises 8 million incredible artefacts gathered from all around the world. As part of its special exhibitions, it is currently hosting a display of Indonesian, Malaysian and Thai Shadow puppets.
• Red Bus Tour
If you’re tight for time, then London’s red open-top double decker buses are an excellent way to sightsee. Choose a tour to suit – great London landmarks, night tours, West End tours and even movie tours exploring the adventures of Harry Potter. Check out www.visitlondon.com for information about tours and multi-entry passes.
• Fancy Something Different?
The London Dungeons take actors, special effects, stages, scenes and rides and combine them into an exceptional, exhilarating and educational walkthrough experience based on the brutal events of London’s dark and grisly past. Meanwhile, going behind the scenes, the Tower Bridge Engineering Experience takes visitors well beyond the regular tour and on into the hidden depths of probably the most famous bridge in the world.
The New Globe is a reconstruction of Shakespeare’s famous theatre. The winter season has just opened with a range of theatrical performances including Shakespeare’s Othello from 22nd February. For a truly Elizabethan experience choose the cheap seats – so cheap in fact it’s standing only!
• The Big Night Out
Why not take in School of Rock, the Broadway hit from Andrew Lloyd Webber now showing at the New London Theatre, or head to the London Coliseum and Jim Steinman’s epic rock and roll theatrical fantasy Bat Out of Hell, The Musical. At the Adelphi, Kinky Boots remains one of the most uplifting musicals in London. The Royal Opera House’s current schedule includes The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Il Trovatore, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, while at the National Theatre catch the ballet Amadeus, Hedda Gabler, Pan or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Night clubbers should check out Cargo, KOKO, Heaven or Electric Brixton, or one of the greatest super-clubs of all time, The Ministry of Sound in Elephant and Castle, London’s first house music club.
• Getting Around
The tube, numerous walkways, double decker buses and of course the iconic black cabs make London highly accessible. We suggest the official site at www.visitlondon.com for detailed information about transport, including maps of the Underground.
Fortnum & Mason, Harrods, Selfridges, Liberty of London, Hamleys and Harvey Nichols – London is bursting with famous brands and exclusive boutiques. But it is also famous for its markets, like Brick Lane, where Asia meets the East End, and the Apple Market, a 19th century glass arcade in Covent Garden.