Our Favourite Things

Whether you're a newcomer to London or a regular visitor, our friendly, helpful team are always on hand to give advice on everything you’ll need to get the most out of your stay. From pointing out the best bars and restaurants to recommending popular bus tours, street markets and theatre productions, we’re here to make sure your next trip to London is a fabulous one. You just need to arm yourself with an Oyster card and get out there!

Just in case you need a little inspiration, here are some of our favourite things to see and do to have an extra-special London experience:

Explore beautiful Belgravia

Belgravia is one of London's grandest, most exclusive and most central residential districts, offering visitors a plethora of beautiful boutiques, restaurants, gastro-pubs and delicatessens. Start with some window-shopping on Elizabeth Street and treat yourself to an upmarket pub lunch in our buzzing local, the Thomas Cubitt, or ponder the impressive mansions of Eaton Square over a pint of London Pride ale in the traditional wood-panelled surroundings of The Antelope. Then perhaps head to Pimlico Road and browse the delightful deli-counter at Daylesford Organic and check out the neighbouring antiques showrooms before fearlessly exploring the cocktail list in the ground floor bar at The Orange.

www.grosvenorlondon.com/belgravia

Afternoon tea at the Wolseley

No one takes tea as seriously as the English, and you simply shouldn’t leave London without partaking of this most civilised tradition. There are many wonderful places to enjoy an afternoon tea but the Wolseley is our favourite and great value to boot. Sophistication and classic continental style abound in this trendy restaurant, with delicious teas and towers of cakes served in the wonderfully airy main hall.

www.thewolseley.com

Go provincial

One of the best things to do when you get to London is… leave London! There are so many absorbing places to visit outside the city which are within easy reach by train or coach, if you have more than a couple of days here it would be a shame not to head out of town. Popular destinations include Windsor, Stonehenge, Cambridge, Oxford, Canterbury, the Cotswolds and Brighton.

If pressed on the matter we’d opt for a day out in Bath – a cinch on the train, awash with history and gorgeous architecture, bags of green space and if you’re feeling adventurous you can take a dip in the rooftop thermal pool at the Thermae Spa – don’t forget your swimming kit!

www.thermaebathspa.com

Scout the South Bank

The mile-long stretch of the southern side of the Thames between Southwark Cathedral and the South Bank Centre is a marvellous place to explore. With no cars, tons of history and great views across the river, this area has a unique atmosphere. On Fridays and Saturdays you can see Borough food market in full swing and stop off at one of the great restaurants en route. Passing the Clink prison museum, the replica of the Golden Hinde galleon and Shakespeare’s Globe you reach the Tate Modern, before winding up at the South Bank Centre, the spiritual home of contemporary arts in London. Don’t be put off by the dreary concrete exterior, for inside there is a world of music, art, theatre and the wonderful Skylon restaurant, one of our favourite spots to eat in the whole city.

www.boroughmarket.org.uk
www.southbankcentre.co.uk

Trawl the Thames

Travelling by water gives a unique perspective on the city, and brings you a little closer to London’s history – after all this was the only way to get about in the good old days. A classic route is between Westminster and the Tower, but for the more adventurous you can travel eastwards to Greenwich or west to Kew Gardens and even Hampton Court Palace. If you want real excitement, high speed RIB boats take trips from Waterloo Pier by the London Eye every hour.

www.tfl.gov.uk/river

Get jazzy at Ronnie Scott's

A London institution since 1959, Ronnie Scott’s in the heart of Soho has been attracting the very cream of the world’s jazz talent for decades. Nothing beats it for a really classy evening of live music, with top-notch acoustics and a buzzing atmosphere; for the best seats book a table for dinner and you can sit right by the stage. Old-school entertainment at its best.

www.ronniescotts.co.uk

Hike on the Heath

Just a short tube ride from the centre of town, pretty Hampstead feels miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Nothing clears the mind like a hearty ramble on Hampstead Heath, a large, ancient park covering some 320 hectares (790 acres). One of London's best-loved open spaces, the Heath's remarkable range of habitats includes one of the capital's few bogs, as well as wide expanses of grassland and ancient woodland. Drink in the great views from Parliament Hill, one of the highest points in London. Afterwards, stop for lunch at the Wells tavern and finish up browsing the shops in Hampstead Village.

www.thewellshampstead.co.uk

Soul music

For a truly uplifting experience take in a classical recital by candlelight in the crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields, a magnificent church in the north-eastern corner of Trafalgar Square. You can hear baroque Bach, rousing choral works and even jazz - at Christmas time Handel’s Messiah performed in the flickering light is particularly joyful.

www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org

Follow that bike

In recent years the mayor has gone to great efforts to make London ever more cycle-friendly, but even if hiring a ‘Boris bike’ from the racks around town seems a little daunting, some excellent companies offer very safe guided rides around the city. Fat Tire tours have a license from The Royal Parks and ride on their bike paths and cycle lanes for virtually the entire journey, stopping for information and photo opps. All gear is provided and various routes are on offer.

www.fattirebiketours.com

Join the Kew

If you’re one for horticulture, or just want some time out from the hustle and bustle, get yourself straight to Kew. Only 20 minutes west on the tube from Sloane Square, and then a short walk, the world famous Royal Botanic Gardens are simply beautiful at any time of year. Stroll from the Palm House along Syon Vista to reach our favourite leafy spot by the Thames, then tuck into your own picnic or head over to the delightful Orangery café for a bit of tea and cake. Don’t miss the recently restored Royal Kitchens for an insight into upscale catering, Georgian-style.

www.kew.org

Reviews

It’s hard to imagine better value for money in central London… a place that made me feel at home the moment I walked in.

The Daily Telegraph

You'll be hard pressed to find better value in the centre of town. The Lime Tree – two elegant Georgian townhouses – stands less than a mile from Buckingham Palace, with Westminster, Sloane Square and Piccadilly within walking distance.

Sawdays

Enthusiastically run by Charlotte & Matt, the Lime Tree offers spacious and thoughtfully decorated rooms and a fun-loving breakfast room.

Rick Steves