Filled with history, culture, food and fashion, London is THE best city in the world. Don’t just take our word on it. Spend a weekend wrapped up in fur (or faux fur, we don’t judge), trailing the cobblestone streets of central London while enjoying all the city has to offer.
Our London correspondent, Kiran Dhaliwal, shares her insider guide on where to go, what to do, and who to see in gorgeous city.
Arrive in London on a crisp Friday morning and check in to The Grosvenor Hotel on Buckingham Palace Road, right next to Victoria Station. This hotel is gorgeous and in a perfect location in central London. After a power nap to help fight jet leg, its time to get spruced up and head out for a bit of sightseeing. Everything is best seen on foot, and the public transport is one of the best in the world, but walking around London is a great way to see all the little holes in the wall.
Insider Tip: You will spend some hard cash in London. The city is not cheap and it cannot be done by halves so acknowledge that it will be pricey but one hundred percent worth it.
The hotel is not far from Green Park and the Palace, so its great to walk (make sure you are wrapped up in some trendy London gear, nothing worse than looking like a tourist) and enjoy the crisp British air through the park on your way to the Palace. You’ll find a number of places to enjoy a quick bite to eat, like the local delicacy fish and chips.
As the evening approaches and the Friday rush hour traffic begins after 4, try and stay away from the tube as it’s just mayhem and extremely claustrophobic! Instead, make your way along the riverbank and enjoy the experience of the London Eye. Although only 30 minutes on thhis wheel, it is a great way to see all of London and have some peace and quiet during rush hour. London looks truly specular lit up in the evening dusk and you can spot the areas you want to visit for the rest of the trip.
I am going to be realistic here and say the best idea would be to head back to the hotel and order some room service and relax. The reason this is because, a) you’re likely jet legged and you want to make the most out of the rest of the weekend, b) you have done quite a bit of sightseeing already and are probably tired, and c) room service is the best part of a hotel!
Arise the next morning, and let’s be honest, it’s probably raining. Not to worry, plan on getting lost all day shopping. Knightsbridge has to be the gem of London; it is my favourite part as it is just so chic and oozes appeal. Take the tube to Knightsbridge, and when you come out of the underground, you will literally be next to the most amazing store in the world. You have to visit Harrods in London; there are eight floors of complete luxury and you can immerse yourself in there for literally days on end. Explore the food halls, the room of luxury with limited edition designer handbags and explore the shoe department for hours. I assure you, you will probably be in there all day! When you finally need to break for food, and you cannot stand to be in the outrageous queues in Harrods for God knows how long, go to Maroush.
Just a few minutes walk from Harrods, this Lebanese restaurant is my absolute favourite place to go whenever I am in Knightsbridge. I love Maroush because although we may be in Knightsbridge, this place is not pretentious at all, and the food is amazing. It is fresh, delicious and authentic, and the service in this restaurant is just outstanding. I have never been disappointed here! The menu is perfect for both meat eaters and vegetarians and I recommend that whatever you order, get some of their chilli sauce. It’s home made and not too hot…you will know once you taste it why I am raving about this!
After you have fuelled up at Maroush, head to Sloane Street and enjoy the designer stores which take you to Sloane Square where there are even more stores and an array of coffee shops should you desire a caffeine kick. Hop on the tube at Sloane Square back to the hotel to drop off your bags and relax before dinner in the evening.
Dinner, Cocktails and More
London has some of the finest restaurants in the world, and there are so many different places to eat. Where to go? There are just so many that are coming to mind at this moment but the one that I must say is just outstanding is Locanda Locatelli in Mayfair. This Michelin star restaurant is extraordinary from the service to the food. Boasting some of the finest Italian food, I could dine at this restaurant every evening. The lamb is a particular favourite as it is cooked to perfection and literally melts in the mouth.
After this orgasmic dinner, it’s time for a cocktail and when I can, I always go for a champagne cocktail at Claridges Hotel. My mother always told me that champagne cocktails were ‘uncouth’ and one should not mix champagne with anything as it is perfect as is. Well, I took her to Claridges this year to taste one of these creations, and she drank her words. The cocktails are pricey, boasting around an average of £20 per drink, but they are worth it with the warm atmosphere and classy clientele. I recommend my favourite, the J’adore. After a couple of cocktails go on to Oxford Circus, there are many clubs and bars to attend in the area to choose from. The clubs in London are pricey, and should you wish to stay in Mayfair, I recommend going on to Jalouse, a chic club where all of London’s socialites come together for good music and ambience.
Above photo from the South Asia collection at the Victoria Albert Museum.
It is Sunday morning, and there is nothing better than a British Sunday: having endless cups of tea in the morning with all the papers! Once you have recovered from the night before, spend the afternoon in one or more of the city’s numerous museums or galleries, all of which are easy to get to by tube, whether it be the Victoria and Albert Museum or Tate Gallery. A gem of London is Somerset House where there are always different exhibitions taking place. If you happen to go to Somerset House, right on the riverbank you will be on the doorstep of Covent Garden where you can find lovely cafes, restaurants and pubs. Once you have worked up an appetite, it is crucial you enjoy a Sunday Roast with all the trimmings – there’s nothing quite like a roast on a Sunday, and there will be plenty of restaurants all over London offering this.
Unfortunately, when you arise the next morning it will be check out time. The weekend in London has come to an end and by now you should feel exhausted yet completely energized at the same time. After this weekend, you now know why it’s the best city in the world.
Insider Tip: Do not be fooled by the rumours of the ‘rude taxi man.’ The black taxi cabs in London are safe and secure, and they charge legitimate amounts. When in doubt in London, or when the shopping bags begin to weigh you down, hail a cab!
Story By: Kiran Dhaliwal, our resident style and culture expert in London.