London is an amazing city with something to do and see on every corner but it can be slightly overwhelming with that much choice. So here are eleven of my personal favourite places in LDN, enjoy.
WHERE TO EAT
Sketch was once the most expensive restaurant in the UK and a Brit-pop celeb haunt; those days are thankfully over but the amazing aesthetic that made Sketch famous remains. Glasgow-based artist and illustrator David Shrigley is the latest artist to lend his talents to The Gallery dining room there, turning into a pink paradise. It really is very pink and is home to the largest collection ever of Shrigley’s drawings – afternoon tea here will leave you with a huge smile on your face.
Sketch, 9 Conduit St, London W1S 2XG
The trend for delicious Middle-Eastern and Ashkenazi cuisine is going nowhere and the latest opening serving this food is Jago in London’s Shoreditch. Headed up by the ex-head chef of Ottolenghi, Jago serves food all day from breakfast and brunch to a late dinner. I suggest going earlier in the day to take advantage of the stunning winter garden for alfresco dining even in cold weather (the bright orange colour enables you to make believe you’re dining in the sun). The signature salt beef beigels with chrain and cold-pressed juices make the perfect brunch.
Jago, 68-80 Hanbury Street, London E1 5JL
THE CHICKEN SHOP
Brought to you by the Soho House Group (Shoreditch House, Pizza East) The Chicken Shop has been a Kentish Town secret for years, of course now there are branches all over London but I’d recommend going to the original one nestled beneath Pizza East (where I regularly see Rick Edwards BTW). The menu is perfect in its simplicity; delicious free-range rotisserie chicken, buy a whole one or a half, and add crinkle chips, salad or corn. Then finish your meal with their apple pie – you can have as big a slice as you want and it’s heavenly!
WHERE TO SHOP
New York’s Opening Ceremony is arguably one of the coolest brands aroud – well, that’s not hard with Kenzo designers Carol Lim and Humberto Leon at the helm. The newly renovated Covent Garden branch is a beautiful concept store with items to suit every pocket, they even do super-cool pencils and erasers, plus well-known designers like Jeremy Scott and Proenza Schouler. The staff are so laid back they don’t mind if you’ve just popped in for a browse and a chat.
Quite simply The Liberty department store is one of the most beautiful buildings you’ll ever see and this imposing Tudor building should definitely be on your must-see list in London. There is the usual designer shopping but I like Liberty for their amazing beauty hall and stationary department.
Liberty, Regent Street, London W1B 5AH
WHAT TO DO
THE STABLES MARKET
Having lived in Camden for two years I’m well aware of its many shortcomings – hoards of tourists descend every weekend, the Last of The Rockers are permanent residents and far too many shops on the high street selling knock-off Beats headphones. However, I love it! I love the atmosphere and the holiday vibe, the Lock and The Hawley arms. The Stables Market has Cyberdog – a shop that plays happy hardcore music and things that glow in the dark, there’s a great Mexican, a statue of Amy Winehouse and lots of vintage shops. It’s so old that a lot of it is like a warren – but it’s a lovely place to get lost. Oh and ‘Bang Bang’ chicken is delicious, sold everywhere and only £3 for a box.
The Stables, Camden Market, London NW1 8AH
COLUMBIA ROAD FLOWER MARKET
Colombia Road Flower Market on a Sunday is an east London tradition and what a sight to see. Alongside millions of choice blooms there is about 755 of Dalston’s hipster population who can be found being fed and watered at one of Columbia Roads many coffee shops Hydrangeas in hand.
Colombia Road Flower Market, Columbia Road, London E2 7RG
The Victoria & Albert Museum in beautiful Kensington is home to lots of great fashion exhibitions but you probably knew that. I like it for the gorgeous courtyard with its manicured lawns, excellent teas and large pond. There’s no better way to while away a sunny afternoon and if you go at night be sure to sip on a glass of prosecco – take cash though, the pop up prosecco bar doesn’t take cards last time I checked.
The V&A, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL
WHERE TO STAY
THE LONDON EDITION
I’m a big fan of The Edition, it’s a one stop shop for eating. Drinking and playing just off Oxford Street, and its home to Jason Atherton’s Berner’s Tavern restaurant which does probably the best Sea Bass in the entire world. It’s stuffed with butter fennel – yum. The Basement club is host to club night Nobody’s Business which is free in, host to some amazing old school R&B and hip hop DJs and a rum punch slush puppy machine. Heaven.
Shoreditch has a lot to offer in the way of hotels with Shoreditch House and The Hoxton Hotel
being within a stone’s throw of each other but I’m partial to the Ace Hotel. It’s laid back to the point of lunacy with most of the patrons wearing beanie hats. You can roll up at any time of day for a coffee, juice from lovage or craft beer. Dine in restaurant Hoi Polloi or do a workout class by Frame in the penthouse. Personally I’m usually found in high summer sipping wine on the entrance steps – but that’s just me.
Ace Hotel, 100 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JQ