Big red buses, telephone boxes, and Buckingham Palace aren’t the only things that London has to offer. As well as being home to quintessentially British characters such as Paddington Bear and Sherlock Holmes, the English capital also houses a melting pot of cultures, with vintage markets galore and countless cuisines interspersed throughout the city.

SHOPPING

Regent Street/ Bond Street

 

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Indulge in a shopping experience like no other as you explore the prestigious Regent Street and Bond Street, renowned for their exquisite selection of top-tier British and overseas brands. Is there really a better way to spend an afternoon other than pampering yourself with some retail therapy? 

Regent Street, London; Bond Street, London

Covent Garden Market

 

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The vibrant Covent Garden located in the creative district that is London’s West End is characterised by a central piazza showcasing countless restaurants, cafés, fashion stores and craft stalls at the Apple Market. You will no doubt see street entertainers performing by the 17th century St. Paul’s Church, with a variety of acts ranging from singing to magic tricks. At one end of the piazza lies the Royal Opera House which exhibits world-class ballet and opera performances.

Covent Garden Market, London WC2E 7QH

Brick Lane Market

East London’s Brick Lane Market is chock-full of vintage sellers with collections that date back to the 1920s. From racks of vintage Adidas tracksuits to leather moto jackets and pre-loved designer bags, there is bound to be something to your fancy in one of the 200 stalls that make up this underground maze. Once you emerge from the depths of the Brick Lane underground market, be sure to pop into the shops down actual Brick Lane (such as the Bella Hadid favourite: 194 local) and hit up one of the historic Beigel stores for a piping hot bagel!

85 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL

Camden Market 

 

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Camden is renowned for its web of canals and waterways. Inhale the rich perfumes that make up the food market and spend the day perusing through stalls of artwork by local artists, unique jewellery pieces and more. 

54-56 Camden Lock Pl, London NW1 8AF

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia
Photo: Alex Walker via Getty Images

Photo: Alex Walker via Getty Images

Spend your Sunday morning soaking in the fresh aroma of flowers at Columbia Road Flower Market to find your next houseplant, shrub or bulb. Opening bright and early at 8 in the morning, be sure to arrive closer to opening time to avoid the busy rush of the afternoon. Closing at 3pm, you will have ample time to sift through all the stalls. Whilst you are in the area, make sure you venture behind the stalls to discover a whole host of homey cafés, galleries and antique shops. 

Columbia Rd, London E2 7RG

Portobello Road Market

Notting
Photo: Christy Lam

Photo: Christy Lam

Live out your Julia Roberts fantasy and wander through the streets of Notting Hill. The bookshop that features in the eponymous film is located on Blenheim Crescent which is lined with stalls galore of fresh produce, homemade knick-knacks, vintage watches and more. As you wade through the numerous stalls selling weird and wonderful things, you will end up at Portobello Road market which showcases in all its fullness every Saturday of the week. Opposite the retail section lies the food market where you will find cuisines ranging from Caribbean jerk chicken to Korean bibimbap. 

Portobello Road, London W11 1LJ

DINING

Canton Blue

Nestled within the opulent Peninsula Hotel at the prestigious Grosvenor Square, Canton Blue stands as the epitome of Cantonese fine dining, promising an unforgettable and unparalleled experience. Explore the extensive menu on offer ranging from succulent blue lobster to the artfully carved signature Peking duck, skilfully presented tableside. The restaurant’s stunning interiors seamlessly complement the porcelain displays and floor-to-ceiling paintings, creating a visually stunning ambience. Be sure to check out the unique cocktails at Little Blue, the chic neighbouring bar just below the restaurant.

The Peninsula, 1 Grosvenor Pl, London SW1X 7HJ

Brat

Velvet
Photo: Christy Lam

Photo: Christy Lam

Ribeye
Photo: Christy Lam

Photo: Christy Lam

Helmed by Chef Tomos Parry, Brat is located in two locations across London – Shoreditch and Hackney. The one Michelin-starred kitchen draws inspiration from Basque cooking styles which manifests itself in the form of stoves and grills, so you might catch a flame or two when you walk into the restaurant. Spoil yourself with the house speciality turbot or the tantalisingly juicy sirloin. 

4 Redchurch St, London E1 6JL; 374 Helmsley Pl, London E8 3SB

Miel Bakery

 

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Located just off Tottenham Court Road, the classic French bakery is renowned for its homemade breads, pastries and seasonal tarts. You are sure to be spoilt for choice as you step into the doors of miel as you are greeted by the comforting aroma of freshly baked pastries.

60-61 Warren St, London W1T 5NU

NAC

 

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Located just off the end of Oxford Street, the modern French bistro cum cocktail lounge offers an array of plates designed for sharing. The cyan-hued plush seats and pink walls in the basement lounge make for a great photo backdrop. Sample the miso-flamed aubergine with crispy rice or the popcorn chicken with spicy mayo for starters and the crowd favourite: truffle mac ‘n’ cheese. 

41 N Audley St, London W1K 6ZP

Blank Street Coffee

 

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Started by two friends in the realm of tech start-ups, Blank Street Coffee first appeared in New York City and has London as its only current international destination. The crowd-pleasing pistachio latte and pistachio pain au chocolat are definitely the coffee shop’s specialties. With over 15 branches in the city, there is no way you can miss it!

44 Charlotte St., London W1T 2NR and other locations

Granger & Co.

 

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The beloved Granger & Co. is available in 5 locations across the city and takes its inspiration from classic Australian style brunches. Apart from your classic avocado sourdough toast, you will also find items such as the hearty coconut curry or the yellowfin donburi.  

237 Pavilion Road, Chelsea, London SW1X 0BP; 50 Sekforde Street, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0HA; Stanley Building , 7 Pancras Square, King’s Cross, London N1C 4AG; 105 Marylebone High Street, Marylebone, London, W1U 4RS; 175 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London W11 2SB

Barrafina

 

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The bar-style Spanish eatery has established a fine reputation across its five locations in the city. You will be sat front row and centre as the action that is the open kitchen unfolds right before your eyes right up to the moment you savour the dishes. The tapas menu is on daily rotation and varies from one location to another, allowing one to explore countless flavour profiles according to the fresh produce of the season. 

26-27 Dean Street, W1D 3LL; 10 Adelaide Street, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4HZ; 43 Drury Lane, Covent Garden, WC2B 5AJ; Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross, London, N1C 4AB; 2 Dirty Lane, London, SE1 9PA

Claridge’s

 

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You simply cannot leave London without having had an afternoon tea at Claridge’s. No country does teatime better than the land of scones. Indulge in an exquisite selection of the finest pastries, finger sandwiches and more. Book in advance as their spaces are highly sought after.

Brook Street, Mayfair,  London W1K 4HR

Imperial Treasure

The inconspicuous doors that stand at 9 Waterloo Place will transport you on a culinary adventure back to Hong Kong. Imperial Treasure is a fine-dining establishment which offers authentic and exquisite Cantonese cuisine. The menu consists of a plethora of classics such as the peking duck (which you should order in advance), live seafood and a wide array of the freshest dimsum that will leave you wanting more. 

9 Waterloo Place, St. James’s, London, SW1Y 4BE

Dishoom

 

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“From Bombay with love.” These are the famous words that follow Dishoom wherever they go. Available at an impressive six locations across the city, the eatery offers a flavour of old Bombay in the form of biryanis, samosas, paneer, daal and more. Take a leap and have a taste of the signature house black daal which is cooked for over 24 hours. 

4 Derry Street, Kensington, London W8 5SE; 22 Kingly Street, Carnaby, London W1B 5QP; 7 Boundary Street, Shoreditch, London E2 7JE; 12 Upper St. Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9FB; 13 Water Street, Canary Wharf, London E14 5GX; 5 Stable Street, King’s Cross, London N1C 4AB

Riding House Café

To satiate a true bruncher’s desires, Riding House will do just the job. Located in the three convenient areas of Bloomsbury, Fitzrovia and Victoria, the bustling café and bar cooks up generous portions of crowd-favourite dishes such as the malted deep-dish pancakes and the buttermilk chicken burger. Look out for the recommended wine pairings too if you visit for dinner. 

1 Brunswick Centre, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1AF; 43-51 Great Titchfield Street, Fitzrovia, London W1W 7PQ; 8 Sir Simon Milton Square, Victoria, London, SW1E 5DJ

Speedboat Bar

 

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Nestled on Rupert Street in Chinatown, prepare yourself for the comforting waft of warm spices and aromatics as you step into the doors of Speedboat Bar. The eccentric and vibrant interiors transport you to a typical late-night canteen in Bangkok. Sample a fragrant curry, stir-fry or drunken noodle and cool down the heat with an icy cold Singha beer or snake-blood Negroni. 

30 Rupert St, London W1D 6DL

Heddon Yokocho

Heddon
Photo: Ines Hui

Photo: Ines Hui

Tucked behind Regent Street lies Heddon Yokocho, an apt name for its description given yokocho’s meaning of alleyway. You will instantly be hit by the Tokyo neon street signs and the melodies of j-pop in the background, setting up the scene for your warm, hearty bowl of ramen. The eatery is a celebration of regional ramen cuisine hailing from northern Hokkaido all the way to Kyushu in the south and everything in between.

8 Heddon St, London W1B 4BU

Daphne’s

Daphne’s has had a long-standing reputation of serving authentic Italian cuisine since 1964. Admire the upscale Italian interiors, modern European artworks and vintage Murano chandeliers. Tables are dotted from the street side dining room all the way to the conservatory and bar. Enjoy your lunch al fresco on the cosy terrace in the summer and the warmth of the fire on chilly winter days in the conservatory. 

112 Draycott Ave, London SW3 3AE

Fuwa Fuwa

A fan of fluffy pancakes? Fuwa Fuwa is the place for you. Situated in the two bustling areas of Bloomsbury and Soho, the eatery has an extensive selection of flavours so there is sure to be one to your liking. From the biscoff pancake to the matcha tiramisu, which fluffy pancake will you go for? 

Unit 8 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5HX; 57A Dean Street, Soho, London W1D 6AJ; Unit 8, Brunswick Centre, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1AE

Bancone

 

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Bancone is an informal Italian eatery that produces homemade fresh pasta everyday. You may have seen photos of their signature fazzoletti or silk handkerchief pasta dish with an egg yolk as its centrepiece. Pair your decadent pasta dishes with a bottle of vino from the curated wine list showcasing lesser known vineyards alongside more reputable ones. 

39 William IV Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2N 4DD; 8-10 Lower James Street, Golden Square, London, W1F 9EL; Arch 213, Stoney Street, Borough Yards, London, SE1 9AD

Pétrus

 

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Michelin-starred restaurant Pétrus is located in the exclusive neighbourhood of Belgravia. The French fine-dining establishment is characterised by its centrepiece glass-encased wine room and a beautiful outdoor terrace to dine al fresco. The seven-course bespoke menu will be described in meticulous detail by the personable staff so tuck in and be prepared to be amazed.   

1 Kinnerton St, London SW1X 8EA

Spitalfields Market

Spitalfields Market, located within the vicinity of the trendy Brick Lane and Shoreditch, is filled with a copious amount of independent stalls displaying their handicraft and rare, vintage pieces. Traders and artists alike are brought to the spotlight which is a great opportunity to promote their small businesses. Street food stalls ranging from Karapinka’s Sri Lankan cuisine to the Taiwanese Wheelcake Island sweet treats occupy the central area whilst the spaces that surround the market are home to a whole host of restaurants and high fashion brands.

16 Horner Square, London E1 6EW

Chiltern Firehouse

Chiltern
Photo: Christy Lam

Photo: Christy Lam

An honorary member of the 2023 Michelin Guide, Chiltern Firehouse is the restaurant located at the eponymous 5-star hotel. Have a bite of the popular fluffy buttermilk pancakes or the flaming benedict if you’re feeling adventurous. Brace yourself if you do visit though as you may bump into a celeb or two!   

1 Chiltern St, Marylebone, London W1U 7PA

Daisy Green

Daisy
Photo: Christy Lam

Photo: Christy Lam

Their award-winning banana bread is worth the visit. Daisy Green is part of a collection of cafés under the namesake label. This particular branch is located in Marylebone, conveniently situated just behind Oxford Street. Bringing the buzz of classic Australian brunch and coffee culture, you will find a tantalising selection of dishes such as sourdough French toast, shakshouka and more. 

20 Seymour St, London W1H 7HX

The Alchemist

 

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Located in 5 locations across London, The Alchemist is an innovative cocktail bar and restaurant that specialises in molecular mixology. So expect a menu full of unconventional and bespoke cocktails alongside classic cocktails in quirky vessels such as test tubes and edible cups.  

63-66 St Martin’s Ln, London WC2N 4JS; 6 Bevis Marks, Aldgate, London EC3A 7BA; Canary Wharf, London E14 5AJ; 145 City Rd, London EC1V 1LP; 1 Ponton Rd, Nine Elms, London SW11 7BD

Buns From Home

Buns
Photo: Macy Au

Photo: Macy Au

Buns from Home is designed for you to grab a bun on the go. Claimed to bake the best cinnamon buns in the country, it would be a missed opportunity to not visit one of its 9 branches located atop the River Thames. 

128 Talbot Rd, Notting Hill, London W11 1JA; 140 Long Acre, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9JZ; 63 Broadwick St, Soho, London W1F 9QX; 92 Holland Park Ave, Holland Park, London W11 3RB; Sloane Square Station, Sloane Square, London SW1W 8BB; 33 Royal Exchange, London EC3V 3LP; 12 Camden Passage, Islington, London N1 8ED; 166 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1J 9EF; 116 Baker Street, Marylebone, London W1U 6EG

Wagtail

Wagtail
Photo: Christy Lam

Photo: Christy Lam

The sophisticated but vibrant rooftop bar located by Monument station offers panoramic views of iconic London landmarks such as The Shard, St. Paul’s Cathedral and The Walkie-Talkie Building. With an impressive drinks menu curated in partnership with London’s finest mixologists, you are sure to enjoy the bespoke cocktails and exquisite wine selection offered at Wagtail. Be sure to pair your drinks with classic dishes made with the finest British ingredients. 

68 King William St, London EC4N 7HR

SIGHTSEEING & ENTERTAINMENT

London West End

Matilda
Photo: Christy Lam

Photo: Christy Lam

Right beside Chinatown lies London’s very own West End. Immerse yourself in the arts scene in one of the city’s prominent theatres to watch timeless classics such as Matilda, Les Misérables, Wicked, Hamilton, Mamma Mia and more. 

Shaftesbury Avenue, West End, London W1D

National Gallery

National
Photo: Christy Lam

Photo: Christy Lam

Located in Trafalgar Square in Central London, The National Gallery is free of entry and houses over 2,300 pieces of art dating back to the mid-13th to late 19th century. Spot big names like Caravaggio and Van Gogh and recognisable works such as the latter’s “Sunflowers” or Monet’s “Water-Lily Pond”.

Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN

Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Bar

Established in 1959, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club is open 7 days a week, until 3am from Wednesdays to Saturdays. The world-famous venue showcases class acts of the most talented jazz musicians, having a historically rich lineup of artists such as Miles Davis, Dizzie Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald. 

47 Frith St, London W1D 4HT

Prince Charles Cinema

Prince
Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images

Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images

The retro cinema located in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Chinatown showcases an array of cult classics such as “Fight Club” and Wong Kar Wai’s “In The Mood For Love” alongside current releases.  

7 Leicester Pl, London WC2H 7BY

Daunt Books

 

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The iconic branch of Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street is an Edwardian bookstore with deep oak interiors and old English library lamps which give it its stamp of bookworm approval. It originally specialised in travel books and was believed to be the first custom-built bookshop in the world so feel the historic pulse resonate from booklovers past in every shelf and floorboard.

84 Marylebone High St, London W1U 4QW 

STAYS

Broadwick Soho

Enter the whimsy wonderland of Broadwick Soho. Located in the beating heart of London’s bustling Soho district, this boutique hotel is impossible to miss — two majestic fibreglass elephants are perched above the entrance to welcome every guest that graces its grounds. Behind its doors, bold leopard print, vibrant geometric lines and sparkling gold details explode at every turn. The 57 rooms and suites within continue the eclectic aesthetic with bespoke decorative touches. Think wallpaper adorned with metallic elephants, glamorous art deco furnishings and minibars crafted from reclaimed Jaipur wood. Take in Soho’s dazzling nighttime views on the hotel’s rooftop bar Flute, and fuel up by indulging in seasonal Italian fare within the stylish interiors of the restaurant, Dear Jackie. For those who can’t head to bed without a nightcap or early birds who love their morning tea, head to the cosy Bar Jackie, which boasts an impeccable ambience. 

20 Broadwick St, London W1F 8HT

The Savoy

 

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Sitting along the River Thames is The Savoy, London’s first purpose-built hotel and a pioneer of its time. In the early 1900s, young Guccio Gucci worked here as a porter and was inspired by well-travelled guests to build his prestigious leather goods company, which has grown to become the beloved Gucci today. This hotel remains an icon of opulence, its legacy forever entwined with one of luxury’s greatest names.

Strand, London WC2R 0EZ

Bulgari Hotel

Attention all fashion and jewellery aficionados: the Bulgari Hotel London is the epitome of living la dolce vita. Since its opening in 2021, it has attracted an elite clientele with its stylish fusion of historical details and contemporary flair. Every detail of the hotel, from bedside lamps echoing Bulgari’s designs down to the golden mosaic tiles lining the subterranean pool, is a shining testament to the brand’s savoir-faire. 

171 Knightsbridge, London SW7 1DW

The Peninsula London

Having just opened in September 2023, The Peninsula London is where jet-setting Hong Kongers will find a luxurious home away from home in the heart of the city. After all, The Peninsula Hotels is Hong Kong-born and bred. The new London location houses The Canton Blue, which serves up familiar Cantonese comforts reimagined with British ingredients by chef Dicky To. Traces of Hong Kong can be found as guests sip on cocktails crafted from Asian fruits and spices in the hotel’s contemporary Little Blue bar, characterised by furniture pieces that nod to the famous voyage of the Keying junk, which sailed out of Hong Kong to New York and London. 

1 Grosvenor Pl, London SW1X 7HJ

Claridge’s

Set in the heart of Mayfair, Claridge’s was founded in 1812 and was once frequented by Queen Victoria. From the grand lobby framed by beautiful stained glass windows to the intimate salons decked with nineteenth-century artworks, the hotel seamlessly marries English heritage with Art Deco glamour. Guests can pamper themselves with bamboo massages and bespoke facials at the spa designed by none other than Hong Kong’s very own André Fu. Renowned for impeccable white-glove service, Claridge’s continues to set the gold standard for luxurious hospitality in the city. 

Brook Street, Mayfair, City of Westminster W1K 4HR