London… I have this love & hate relationship with this city… I love the city/ I hate the weather… I love the places/ I hate the traffic… and so on :).
I am not going to start talking about all the touristic or cultural places you must see in London – there is so much to see and experience and there is also Tripadvisor for that. Therefore, I’d rather tell you, from my subjective personal experience, what I enjoy doing when I get my 24h in London.
I am a nomad by definition, personally and professionally, so I got around to enjoy perks of each city whenever I travel for business. I hardly ever get tired and vivid places just get me excited. So, after I finish my work and meetings, I get rolling to enjoying each city.
Even though London is not on my favorite-city-to-live-in list (and this is mostly because of the weather and that the city is simply too huge & over-crowded), London is definitely a great city to visit and enjoy once in a while. I actually love it for that! You can never go wrong in here with bars, restaurants and shopping… seriously!
So, to get it started, there is one particular thing that I would recommend you to try – the Afternoon Tea. It is a traditional thing that you simply must try. You need to book in advance and if you Google you may see you find all types of Afternoon Teas in London – vegan, gluten free, fully traditional, salty, sweet and so on. Practically it is similar to the Italian aperitivo. You have tea and you also get to have a delicious snack. I would recommend you to do the traditional ones. I loved the one at The Savoy – you should try it (the atmosphere, the piano, the beautiful setting and the tea!) – I am an old soul, what can I say? 🙂 Next time I am in London, I will try the one at the Ritz which is said to be the actual originating traditional one. I have to honestly tell you I hate tea. I never drink it unless I am very sick. However, I did give it a try… and I have to say… in London, at the Afternoon Tea in Savoy – I simply loved it! 🙂 I took the Chai tea and what can I say… I may be a tea person after all :).
For lunch, Daphne in West Kensington is a really good choice. It is an Italian restaurant, but a really good one. Try the truffle pasta. It may be pricey, but it’s worth it.
For dinner, as I am a big fan of fusion places, I recommend you give ROKA a try. It’s an open kitchen place, dim lights, deep house music, great service and cool people. It’s been a while since I had so good sushi. Go also for the spinach salad and the escargot! Really good! And for the amount of wine we had… the bill was not so high either. Book in advance and tell them you celebrate something :). They may surprise you.
For a dinner with a view, go for the restaurant at the Shard! 🙂 The best view of London, amazing food… this is where you may have probably an awe-moment and say you love London! Book in advance. There is no other way.
For drinks, I love the Radio Bar– again you get amazing views from this rooftop, this time from the other side of London, great music – the place turns into a cool lounge after 11pm. And if you want to combine dinner and dancing, you can go to the STK lounge downstairs (part of the ME hotel building), where you can also eat and party at the same time. If you are into the more fancy Bagatelle style, that is (if you know what I mean) :)))
For shopping…. where do I start? Well, I will just tell you about the last store I discovered and loved – the Fortnum & Mason – it’s like a small museum for me! I mean… the building, the set-up, the atmosphere, it is just very particular and a must go to. And I haven’t seen it on Christmas…which I just suppose it is even better. If you are into bespoke perfumes – this is the go-to place…one of them at least in London. Go also to the café at the last floor. You can enjoy a coffee or tea on piano tunes, in a Tiffany blue looking set-up. Even the market downstairs has a different feel.
As for accommodation, I usually stay at the Kensington Hotel on the West side. If you want to stay there, I truly recommend it. It is a great boutique hotel, really cosy, also artsy, with beautiful fireplaces, books, art, part of the Smith Hotels. Of course, London is full of incredible hotels, but in case you have a hard time picking, I have stayed here several times.
For now, this is it, as this post is getting very long as it is. I’ll come back with more of my fav suggestions after another visit which may be very soon :).
In the meantime, if you want to visit London now…. in the holiday season and you are a Christmas freak, do it! It is one of the best cities, besides Vienna, to be in at Christmas time. There is magic all around! Dress really warm, it’s freezing, but if you are like me you may find warmth in mulled wine and Christmas lights 🙂