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London City Guide

Make the most of your stay with rock-star-approved accomodations, the city's best curry (it's not on Brick Lane), a scenic ride along the Regent Canal and more.

Where to Stay  /  Where to Eat and Drink  /  What to Do  /  How to Get Around

Where to Stay

The London Edition

Photo: Nikolas Koenig

The London Edition

For a sophisticated stay

Canadian design firm Yabu Pushelberg applied textural flair throughout this refurbished hotel, from the walnut desks and oatmeal-upholstered George Smith lounge chairs to silk area rugs and gold-leaf-framed Hendrik Kerstens photographs. The Berners Tavern, captained by celebrity chef Jason Atherton, dishes up haute fish and game favourites through midnight.

10 Berners St., London, 44-20-7781-0000, editionhotels.com

The Culpeper

Photo: Daniel Morgan

The Culpeper

For budget-friendly rates

Set atop the antique-brick Culpeper pub amid Spitalfields’ restaurant scene and Georgian speakeasies, this 5-room hotel is furnished with the greatest hits of neighbourhood boutiques: Donna Wilson poufs, Acapulco chairs, Tolomeo sconces, hand-knit Welsh blankets. Don’t forget to grab a pint at the pub downstairs after you settled in.

40 Commercial St., London, 44-20-7247-5371, theculpeper.com

The Lanesborough

For proximity to royal parks

Perched between Hyde Park, Green Park and Buckingham Palace Gardens, you’re just as likely to spot the Queen from one of the upper windows as you are to see Mick Jagger strutting through the lobby of this luxury hotel. The chintz-lined rooms beyond the classical pillared threshold of the Lanesborough come with their own butler.

Hyde Park Corner, London, 44-20-7259-5599, lanesborough.com

The Mondrian

The Mondrian

For views of the Thames

When lit up at night, this former shipping HQ looks like a luxury cruise liner against the postwar architecture of the Southbank. And, thanks to Tom Dixon’s modernist makeover, it now has the opulence of one. Monochrome bedrooms draw from Dixon’s catalogue, but you’ll only have eyes for the City views.

20 Upper Ground, 44-20-3747-1000, morganshotelgroup.com/mondrian

Ham Yard Hotel

Photo: Simon Brown

Ham Yard Hotel

For the interior design inspiration

In a shop-filled courtyard just off busy Piccadilly, this colourful property houses a bowling alley, a specialized gym and day spa, plus so much art it’s practically a gallery. All-day afternoon tea is served in the drawing room, complete with scones with clotted cream and jam. Later, enjoy the charcoal-coloured calm of the Kit Kemp-designed members’ library and curl up in a plush armchair with a nightcap from the honesty bar.

1 Ham Yard, 44-20-3642-2000, firmdalehotels.com

Chiltern Firehouse

For the star power

Originally built as a fire station in 1889, this Marylebone hotel is a destination for rock stars and supermodels. Take a stool at the Nuno Mendes brasserie for panoramic people watching or sip a vermouth cocktail by the fire among VIP clientele.

1 Chiltern St., London, 44-20-7073-7690, chilternfirehouse.com

The Beaumont

For the refined glamour

The Mayfair property is the brainchild of restaurant veterans Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, who are famous for transforming a 1921 car showroom into The Wolseley, one of the area’s most renowned upscale cafés. They’re aiming for similar success with The Beaumont, which continues their esthetic of 1920s glamour underpinned by contemporary amenities.

8 Balderton St., London, 44-20-7499-1001, thebeaumont.com

Where to Eat and Drink

Barrafina

For Spanish tapas

There’s always a wait for a stool at the zinc-edged bar, so let the staff ply you with sherry and salchichon to ease your impatience. Once seated, watch chefs expertly plate an oozy croqueta and a milk-fed lamb’s kidneys. Or choose from basic tortillas and vegetable dishes that are charred at the edges and infused with fruity flavours to balance the salt.

26-27 Dean St. or 10 Adelaide St., London, barrafina.co.uk

Granger & Co.

For brunch

Enjoy the ricotta hotcakes as you rub elbows with London locavores versed in the virtues of acai and chia at this brass-accented breakfast institution. Bring the whole family to the buzzing Clerkenwell branch, where they take reservations, for homemade muesli and organic sourdough.

50 Sekforde St., 44- 20-7251-9032, grangerandco.com

Ape & Bird

Ape & Bird

For the beer and sharing plates

Located at the nexus of Covent Garden, Soho and Chinatown, the pub’s kitchen tenant is Polpo, a Mediterranean mini-chain that produces Venetian meatballs and smoked mackerel. The fare’s not light – even salads are weighed down with fried gnocchi and pan-fried Brussels sprouts – but the portions are made for sharing, so you can try a bit of everything. Put down your name for dinner; then kick back with a pint until you’re called.

142 Shaftesbury Ave., London, 44-20-7836-3119, apeandbird.com

Fernandez & Wells

Fernandez & Wells

For the coffee and cakes

On warm days, sit in the courtyard and nibble Moroccan honey cake while watching the fountains dance. If it rains, grab a table inside the café and enjoy its collection of modern art.

Strand, London, 44-20-7420-9408, fernandezandwells.com

Carousel

Photo: Projoe Photography

Carousel

For the best lunch in Marylebone

World-renowned chefs descend for two-week residencies in this art-filled townhouse near Selfridges department store. At lunchtime chef Ollie Templeton serves up a menu that swings between fresh seafood with locally grown vegetables and British revival fare, like venison tartare. All that for a tenner – less than a burger at most pubs.

71 Blandford St., London, 44-20-7487-5564, carousel-london.com

Canto Corvino

Canto Corvino

For Italian fare

Explore the cobbled back roads of Spitalfields before seeking refuge in this modern Italian restaurant on a skinny lane. The menu is short and sweet, with more dolci items than any other category. Seafood sharing plates please the peckish while ox cheek, tail and heart tagliatelle and chicken-liver tortelli sate more serious eaters.

21 Artillery Lane, London, 44-20-7655-0390, cantocorvino.co.uk

Tayyabs

For the curry

Skip the over-sauced tikka masala on Brick Lane and walk five blocks east to this Pakistani institution. Start with the tender grilled lamb chops, followed by garlic chicken, king prawns and the surprise-hit: cumin-dusted okra. They don’t serve alcohol, so if you’re looking for a drink, head to Pride of Spitalfields for a pint of Cornish ale.

83-89 Fieldgate St., London, 44-20-7247-6400, tayyabs.co.uk

What to Do

Redchurch Street: Monologue

Redchurch Street

For the shopping

Six graffiti-splayed blocks in this retail hub attract conceptual fashion brands and such small-batch delicacies like tea-purveyor T2, whose tasting bar features its vibrantly packaged loose leafs. Canadian cobbler Tracey Neuls displays her sculptural footwear, Labour and Wait makes utilitarian feather dusters while at Monologue, home design is curated like high art but priced for middle incomes.


Foyles

For the literary experience

Start with apple-crumble cake from the sunny café on the fifth floor, then make your way down the wood staircases all the way to the basement Travel section. The second-level music department has an unrivalled collection of jazz and blues albums. For souvenirs, find classic fiction titles in jacket designs available only in the UK.

107 Charing Cross Rd., London, 44-20-7437-5660, foyles.co.uk

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Photo: Miles Willis

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

For a day out with family

Get your bearings atop the ArcelorMittal Orbit, an Anish Kapoor sculpture with the world’s longest and tallest tunnel-slide. Explore the network of playgrounds, rock pools and climbing walls en route to the VeloPark, where you can book an hour-long track session (bike and helmet included), or test the waters at Zaha Hadid’s London Aquatics Centre.

Olympic Park, London, 44-20-800-072-2110, queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk

Soho Theatre

For the laughs

The first port of call for up-and-coming comics is this 150-seat fringe theatre with a raucous bar and basement cabaret. Better-known American acts often workshop new material here – you could catch one for roughly £12.

21 Dean St., London, 44-20-7478-0100, sohotheatre.com

Tate Modern

Photo: Iwan Baan

Tate Modern

For the art

A pyramidal extension at the back of the Tate’s converted power station has doubled the exhibition space and added a 10th-floor viewing platform over the Thames, with sightlines to St Paul’s Cathedral. The permanent collection, rich in 20th-century European wunderkinds, is free to view, as are the subterranean “tanks,” prowled by performance artists.

Tate Britain Bankside, London, 44-20-7887-8888, tate.org.uk

The Design Museum

Photo: Hufton + Crow

The Design Museum

For a glimpse of the future

The museum’s second location opened in 2016 in a mid-century building outfitted by London minimalist John Pawson. It’s an exciting development for design buffs and anyone interested in the future of technology, globalism, media and the environment.

224-238 Kensington High St., London, 44-20-7403-6933, designmuseum.org

Regent’s Canal

Regent’s Canal

For a laid-back city tour

The London Waterbus Company navigates the Victorian-era Regent’s Canal on its traditional narrowboat. Board at Camden Lock Market after a lunch of gourmet burgers at Haché. There’s no booking required for the one-hour, one-way voyage, which takes you past weeping willows, Regency manors and the London Zoo’s chirpy aviary. Alight in Little Venice, a community perched at the canal’s widest point, for cocktails on the terrace at the Waterway.

hacheburgers.com
londonwaterbus.com
thewaterway.co.uk

How to Get Around

Getting from the Airport

Heathrow Airport is about 25 kilometres west of central London, but you can get to Paddington Station in 15 minutes, thanks to the Heathrow Express. This express train departs from Paddington station every 15 minutes with a similar service in the return direction.


Public Transportation

Transport for London has divided the city into nine zones. Fares for each zone depend on peak and off-peak hours. The price of a single journey starts at about £2.40 and is typically capped at around £12. More information about the Tube and bus services can be found at the Transport for London website.

tfl.gov.uk/

Taxis

Black cabs can be hailed from the street or from designated stands. There is a minimum charge of about £5.80 and fares are metered. Minicabs – Toyota Prius or other civilian makes – can be ordered ahead from various neighbourhood sources and are generally less expensive. Uber operates legally across London.

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CITY GUIDE     HOTELS     LONDON    

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