Clockwise from above:
The world-famous signature cheesecake of JW
Steakhouse; art is at hand
at the Tate Modern; “The
Hive” sculpture at the
Royal Botanic Gardens is
an ode to honeybees.
Thankfully for those on a schedule, London’s
love of unique shopping is matched by its desire
for convenience, resulting in a new breed of
department stores and all-in-one shopping
experiences that offer incredible choice without
slipping into soulless megamall territory. Liberty
( libertylondon.com) is as classically London as
you could hope for, staging up-to-the-minute
fashion in its Tudor-revival premises. Edgy
Boxpark ( boxpark.co.uk) houses both high-street and independent labels in refitted
shipping containers. Fashion lovers should note
that the groundbreaking Dover Street Market
( doverstreetmarket.com) is no longer on Dover
Street, having relocated to Haymarket in 2016.
The new store is three times the size of the old
one—making more room for outlandish clothes
from the likes of Valentino and Givenchy as well
as Rei Kawakubo, who founded the place.
Make time for traditional markets, too.
There’s no finer way to fritter away a Sunday
than to take a stroll around Columbia Road
Flower Market ( columbiaroad.info) before
hunting for treasures at Brick Lane’s Upmarket
( sundayupmarket.co.uk). For a quaint,
compact ambience with design-driven stores,
head to Redchurch Street, a strong contender
for London’s most interesting shopping street.
EATING AND DRINKING
London is a city that marches on its stomach.
Food markets offer a quick taste of everything
the metropolis has to offer. The classic Borough
Market ( boroughmarket.org.uk) grabs the headlines (and the crowds), but for something edgier
head to Pop Brixton ( popbrixton.org) where
a once neglected space has been turned into a
vibrant, inexpensive destination that boasts
some of the best cheap eats in the city.
Even if you prefer a proper seat and real cutlery, you’ll find no shortage of incredible meals
in London. With its cozily masculine vibe (warm
woods, low lighting, retro furniture) and an
impeccable selection of American and Aberdeen
angus cuts, JW Steakhouse ( jwsteakhouse.co.uk)
at the JW Marriott London Grosvenor House
is the perfect venue for an indulgent feast. The
signature cut is a dramatic 32-ounce on-the-bone
rib-eye, but be sure to save room afterward for
the restaurant’s world-famous cheesecake.
Combining two British obsessions—Indian
food and queuing—Dishoom ( dishoom.com) is
a chic “Bombay café.” The line of diners can be
daunting in the evening, so go for breakfast: The
bacon naan rolls with chili jam are incredible.
Just around the corner, you can experience
two very different sides of the drinking scene
in Soho. The opulent Experimental Cocktail
Club ( chinatownecc.com) is arranged over three
floors of an old townhouse, while the team
behind Bradley’s ( bradleysspanishbar.com), a
perennially packed dive bar, believes a pub needs
little more than a good jukebox, a welcoming
atmosphere and filling tapas. They’re not wrong.
Farther east and run by organic brewery St.
Peter’s, the Jerusalem Tavern (0207 490 4281)
in Farringdon stakes a good claim to have the
finest range of craft ales in the city. You’ll have
to be lucky to nab one of the few seats available.
But don’t worry if you need to spill out onto the
street. As any Londoner will tell you, that’s
where the life is anyway. [