If there are four women who know London’s hot-spots, it’s the stylish quartet behind modern evening wear label, Galvan. With their creative roots placed firmly in the English capital, these travel tips come from insiders who are proud to share their multi-cultural and vibrant home-town. Before you’re next trip to the UK, be sure to put these must-see, stay and play spots on your to-do list.
Best places to stay in London:
Claridges: Such a classic. If you want old-school glamor in the heart of Mayfair, then definitely stay here. The service is incredible.
Blakes: A boutique hotel in Chelsea. I used to live next door to Blakes for years and the bar was my local watering hole. Each of the rooms is individually (and gorgeously) decorated by Anouska Hempel. I’d definitely recommend staying here if you want to feel like a local.
Top six, must-try London restaurants:
Ottolenghi: This is really more of an Israeli delicatessen than a restaurant, but it’s a staple for any Londoner. Great for a take-away lunch or a pastry from the bakery.
Casa Cruz: My favourite restaurant of the last year. Located in Notting Hill in an old converted pub that’s been converted into a seriously sexy restaurant, the food is delicious. A mix of Argentinian and international cuisine.
Palomar: Incredible Israeli food! Difficult to get a reservation, but you can always walk in and eat at the bar.
The Wolseley: Great for breakfast or lunch when you’re in Mayfair. The service is impeccable and the space is gorgeous.
Chiltern Firehouse: Go for the food even if you aren’t staying at the hotel! The steak tartare is a must.
202: The perfect spot for a lazy Sunday brunch on Westbourne Grove, the shopping street in Notting Hill. The menu is simple and generally healthy, and the vibe is always relaxed.
Tate Modern: London’s best modern art museum. Always great exhibitions. Can’t be missed!
Borough Market: An enormous farmers’ market with amazing food stalls situated underneath the train tracks on the Southbank. It’s open on Fridays and Saturdays.
Serpentine Gallery: One of Europe’s best contemporary art galleries, located in the heart of Hyde Park. The Serpentine does a great architecture commission each summer on its lawn.
Spa at the Dorchester: Worth every penny.
Frieze Art Fair: A global art fair that happens every October in Regent’s Park with both contemporary and old masters. The opening night is always super glam.
The best spots to experience London nightlife:
The Electric in Notting Hill: A long bar with great classic and new cocktails. Exposed bricks and red leather booths make for a cosy feel.
Experimental Cocktail Club: Experimental cocktails in a speakeasy-style basement club, hidden behind a Chinatown door.
Chiltern Firehouse Bar: An intensely beautiful, buzzing space with incredible cocktails.
Must-visit London precincts:
Portobello Market in Notting Hill: Every Saturday you can find numerous stalls offering everything from fresh bread to vintage and designer clothes, music and great antiques.
Columbia Flower Market in Shoreditch: Near Brick Lane and Spitalfields, you can find this street market full of beautiful plants and flowers every Sunday. There are also lots of cafés and restaurants to refuel at along the way.
Marylebone High Street: A stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, this relatively quiet street offers an amazing range of boutiques, a Sunday Farmers Market and a variety of restaurants, tea rooms and cafés.
Kings Road in Chelsea: Spend a day walking the length of the main road and explore the tangle of side roads and lanes which have a variety of hidden gems ranging from vintage stores to pop-up restaurants.
Hampstead Heath: With its mix of countryside, historical buildings, cosmopolitan boutiques and well-known pubs, Hampstead offers a breath of fresh air and scenic views of London. If you spend the day there you can wander over to neighbouring Primrose Hill for an evening stroll and dinner.
Must-see cultural landmarks:
For a quick getaway, outside of London, try:
Bath: Georgian architecture, Roman history and thermal waters, this is the perfect destination spa and culture lovers. A beautiful city with a number of bars and restaurants offering delicious food and drinks.
Cotswolds: The rolling hills and gold stone houses certainly make for an idyllic getaway. Soho Farmhouse is a must for a day or overnight trip if you have a Soho House membership. If not then check yourself into a rustic bed-and-breakfast for a romantic weekend.
The New Forest: Wild horses won’t be able to drag you away once you’ve experienced the peace of the forest’s idyllic glades, ancient woodland, open moors, heathland and cliff-top walks.
Any secret travel tips or tricks you can share?
Definitely invest in an Oyster card when you get to London, you can get everywhere on the Underground and it’s a great way to avoid the traffic. It’s also lovely to travel around places like Big Ben in a car or bus so that you can really take in the sights, particularly if you co-ordinate your timings with sunrise or sunset.
You can find Galvan on Instagram at @galvanlondon
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