'When one is tired of London, one is tired of life.’
Writer Samuel Johnson made the argument for the city’s endless supply of entertainment nearly three-hundred years ago, and the sentiment still rings true today.
Whether you’re looking for theater, museums, shopping or nightlife, London never disappoints. Over the past year I’ve made several trips and I continue to discover new and eye-opening haunts. Here are some of my top recommendations for visiting the U.K.’s capital:
Image by @ottolenghi
Chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s eateries have exploded across the city over the past ten years. Nopi was the first to launch his culinary success, and remains one of the best stops for great fare in Soho. The ingredients are always fresh, vegetable-rich, indulgent, and satisfying.
I’m currently loving everything on the menu at Frenchie in Covent Garden. Each dish reflects the chef’s varied travels from London to New York, Spain and Hong Kong.
For authentic Turkish cuisine (of which there is plenty in London), I like Yosma. The fish is locally sourced from nearby Cornwall and the wine list includes unique regional selections from Turkey.
Great Indian food in London isn’t hard to come by, but one of my favorites is Dishoom in Covent Garden. Their inventive blend of Indian and Iranian fare is always heartwarming and deliciously good. I skip the fuss over Brick Lane and go here for my curry-fix.
To experience a more traditional English meal, I like to grab a Sunday Roast at the local pub. For a slightly more refined version of the same cuisine, The Pig and the Butcher is an excellent choice.
During my last trip to London, I had one of the best meals of my life at The Clove Club. Their tasting menu is completely British and completely mind-blowing. If you’re looking for a special spot to celebrate - this is the place.
Image by @turnbull_asser
Unlike other major cosmopolitan cities, London’s menswear scene is dependably good. Many of the historic and time-honored stops on Saville Row and Carnaby Street and others offer bespoke tailoring, including Turnbull and Asser. Their evolving range of menswear always includes a colorful selection of prints and fabrics.
For modern retail, I love the Conran Shop. Their collection is carefully curated from designers around the world, and includes vintage textiles, menswear and home accessories. Dover Street Market also carries an incredible selection of pioneering fashion brands.
For a Soho department store experience, the original Liberty London on Carnaby Street is a great destination if you’re looking to mix English heritage with avant-garde and eclectic design.
Finally, you can get some great contemporary and curated finds at Hostem in Shoreditch. This multi-story house always showcases new and exciting brands like Raf Simons, Yohji Yamamoto and Casely-Hayford.
Image by @hoxtongrill
Truthfully, I’ll take coffee over tea any day. Luckily, it seems as if more and more coffee shops are popping up around London. My newest favorite is at the Hoxton Hotel, where you can grab breakfast with your coffee amidst the creative Shoreditch scene.
Another one of my go-tos is the Coffee Works Project in Islington.The blends are strong and there’s a sweet garden patio in the back for those precious sunny days.
Image by @thermaebathspa
One of the best things to do during an extended visit to London is to take advantage of the regional rail system. Getting out of the city for the day is insanely easy - and there’s always a lot to explore.
For example, experiencing the town of Bath’s roman-style spa is a great way to escape the cold if you’re visiting in the winter months. On warmer days, I love seeing the green countryside in the idyllic Cotswolds.
Image by @tate
Whenever a friend mentions they’re going to London, the first place I send them to is the Tate Modern. All of London’s museums are exceptional (especially considering that most of them offer free public admission), but the Tate Modern takes it to a new level.
In rain or shine, I like to walk the Southbank. With views of the river, the Tower of London and Big Ben, you can spend hours strolling up and down the bank and taking in the best sights of the city.
Churchill's War Rooms is a unique stop at the Imperial War Museum. Seeing Churchill’s WWII bunker first-hand feels like stepping back in time.
When I’m in town during the summer, I spend a lot of time at Hampstead Heath. The lush and expansive natural beauty of this park is unlike any other in the city. Plus, there are some great swimming ponds.
The Hayward Gallery at the Southbank Centre has some fantastic exhibitions year-round that focus on pioneering contemporary art. I absolutely loved the Andreas Gursky exhibit. The gallery has just recently reopened, so the crowds are pretty constant. It’s definitely worth the trip, but book your tickets in advance so you’re guaranteed entry.
Image by @thebookclubec2
There’s no shortage of great bars in London. Whether you’re looking for a cozy pub or an upscale cocktail bar, you probably don’t have to walk more than two blocks from your hotel to find a couple of options for the night.
Among my top choices is The Book Club. The atmosphere is always fun and they make a great margarita with a blue twist.
For afternoon drinks, check out No.32 The Old Town in Clapham. It’s a contemporary neighborhood bar that reflects the best of what the area has to offer.
If you’re a fan of gin, stop by the distillery and bar at Portobello Road Gin. With several tasting rooms and interactive experience at their Ginstitute, you’re bound to fall in love with some completely unique concoctions.
Lastly, The Library Bar at the Lanesborough is the perfect place for a midweek nightcap. Grab a classic cocktail to match the elegant surroundings.
Comments will be approved before showing up.