The crown jewels, Buckingham Palace, Notting Hill—in London, history collides with art, fashion and food. A perfect day is different for everyone. Culture aficionados shouldn’t miss the Tate Modern Museum and the Royal Opera House. If you love fashion, Oxford Street has shopping galore. For foodies, cream tea at Harrod’s or crispy fish from a proper restaurant offers classic London flavor. Music and book buffs will love seeing Abbey Road and the Sherlock Holmes Museum. We were able to make up on own KKDL London list…see what you think!
Firmdale’s Dorset Square Hotel
Dorset Square Hotel is a beautiful Regency townhouse with 38 individually designed bedrooms many of which look onto the leafy private garden square which was originally the site of Thomas Lord’s first cricket ground. An interesting collection of cricket memorabilia can be seen displayed throughout the hotel.
There is a sumptuous ground floor guest drawing room with a fireplace and The Potting Shed bar & restaurant which is open all day long. The hotel’s interior has been designed by owner and design director Kit Kemp in her fresh modern English style. Our favorite spot in the hotel was the Drawing Room where we spent time relaxing and enjoying cocktails.
Ham Yard restaurant and bar has a frequently changing menu revolving around the freshest, seasonal ingredients and the best of British produce. Dishes range from house-glazed Ham Yard ham and hand rolled pasta to chili beans on toast and ice cream sandwiches. The bar offers a selection of small plates including truffled mascarpone and ham melts, pulled pork sliders with chipotle and parsley and barbequed octopus with pickled white cabbage, lime, chili and mint.
The buzzy, upbeat hotel brasserie located in the lovely Covent Garden Hotel is located the heart of London’s theatre district. The garden-like, traditional design has been lightened-up with quirky furniture and bright groovy colored soft furnishings. Rock oysters, vine tomato and chili salsa, roasted quail with lentils, fig and anchovies, dover sole with warm potato and grain mustard salad, and delicious pear and apple crumble with ginger and vanilla ice cream to finish are all options for dining enjoyment. We celebrated a relaxing brunch at the establishment and are now stateside trying to replicate the delish dishes.
Welcome to the most exciting and innovative fusion cuisine in the UK – also home to the largest selection of premium New Zealand wine in Europe. Thank goodness for friends who have great advice! The second floor of the La Providores and Tapa Room came highly recommended by a long-time friend. Located in the heart of the Marylebone Village, this charming restaurant is a combination wine bar and café. The tapa room, named for the huge, traditional Rarotongan Tapa cloth that hangs on the wall, is located on the first floor and offers an amazing selection of unique dishes. One of our favorite mouthwatering small plates was the tapa plate of grilled chorizo, guindilla chillies, marinated olives, grilled artichoke, babaganoush, fig-orange preserves and Après Soleil cheese. Their wine list is as diverse as the menu options and we highly recommend sharing tapas with a friend at La Providores.
The Natural Kitchen
Founded in 2007 Natural Kitchen started life as an organic food retail shop. They are now regarded as “the” healthy dining option for city workers, locals and visitors to London. We dipped into the Marylebone shop which offers great food choices with a lovely upstairs café. As Californians, we were surprised and thrilled to find fresh pressed juices and smoothies, Portobello mushroom sandwiches and wonderful salads.
Tea at the National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery is free to anyone who would like to visit. Many famous works of art reside there and give faces to names from ages past. You will find pictures of kings, queens, poets, musicians, artists and philosophers dating back to the 14th century. Our Modenus friend, Veronika Miller, suggested high tea at the National Portrait Gallery—and I am so glad she did! We actually had lunch at the gallery and it paired with our London roof top view, was one of my favorite meals.
The gallery also has a rooftop restaurant, the Portrait Restaurant, that is a work of art on its own merit. While savoring another fantastic meal, we were able to enjoy a breathtaking view of some of London’s most famous buildings including Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.
This month’s tea menu was inspired by famed portrait artist, John Singer Sargent’s (1856-1925) piece entitled “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose”. Sandwich selections include carnation chicken and rocket as well as fruit sconces, preserves and Dorset clotted cream. For “fancies” you can select from pistachio éclair with praline grains, rose macaron or white chocolate and carnation mousse. These delectables are presented on a lovely three-tiered platter. Tea at the National Portrait Gallery is not to be missed while in London!
Granger & Co.
Bill Granger began his career in the food industry as a chef and food writer. His relaxed, Australian style, helped him create restaurants known as much for their generous servings of scrambled eggs and ricotta pancakes as for their comfortable, fresh décor. Out of town visitors and locals alike, enjoy the friendly atmosphere of the classic interior furnishings with communal table seating. Brunch at Notting Hill’s Granger and Co., will offer you many fantastic choices including indulgent hotcakes with banana and honeycomb butter as well as fresh veggie and fruit smoothies. It is worth the wait to get in on the weekends!
Celebrated British artist, David Shrigley, has transformed the Gallery at sketch as part of a long-term program of artist-conceived restaurants. Open for afternoon tea and dinner the project follows the huge success of artist Martin Creed’s restaurant commission at sketch in 2012. The space is truly a feast for the eyes.
Ascend the stairs to the Lecture Room & Library, sketch’s two Michelin starred fine dining restaurant. Created by leading Interior Designer Gahban O’Keeffe, all ‘tasting’ and ‘a la carte’ menus are devised by French Master Chef Pierre Gagnaire, offering a unique breadth of ingredients and a complexity of combinations. The extensive and acclaimed wine list was awarded ‘Best Award for Excellence’ by the Wine Spectator and AA Guide’s ‘Best UK Wine List’.
The Parlour is home to the finest delicacies of the sketch chefs. Lounge on a variety of Louis XV seating in the quirky and eccentric patisserie, restaurant and bar from breakfast, through comfort food and afternoon tea for up to six persons until the last drink before home… The Parlour turns into a cocktail bar from 6pm to 2am (Members only from 9pm)
Artists Carolyn Quartermaine and Didier Mahieu, have created an enchanted fairy-tale forest for The Glade at sketch. Taking inspiration from early 20th Century stationery, they re-painted, enlarged and reversed the design, printing it onto hundreds of yards of paper. Each piece is handcut, and découpaged to the walls. In this forest, delicate 50s rattan furniture, from the South of France, creates a startlingly modern fairy-tale romance.
Soho-based restaurant, NOPI, features platters full of salads that greet customers as they arrive and a menu which celebrates bold flavors. Interior wise the marble is white, the brass is golden, the art is dynamic and the pace is fast. The more formal design of the ground floor gives way to the informality of the communal dining downstairs, where two long canteen tables look onto the theatre of the open kitchen. NOPI’s menu changes according to the seasons but signature dishes from head chef Ramael Scully include courgette and manouri fritters, coriander seed-crusted burrata with slices of blood orange and twice-cooked baby chicken with lemon myrtle salt and chili jam. NOPI serves breakfast, lunch, pre-theatre and dinner menus.
Every year millions of Londoners and tourists visit Hyde Park, one of the capital’s eight Royal Parks. Hyde Park covers 350 acres and is home to a number of famous landmarks including the Serpentine Lake, Speakers’ Corner and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. The park also offers various recreational activities including open water swimming, boating, cycling, tennis and horse riding. Just walking it is a beautiful experience—especially just after you have landed to cure some of the jetlag.
Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. We particularly enjoyed visiting the crown jewels.
The National Gallery houses the national collection of paintings in the Western European tradition from the 13th to the 19th centuries. It is on show 361 days a year, free of charge.
Borough Market is London’s most renowned food market; a source of exceptional British and international produce. It is a haven for anybody who cares about the quality and provenance of the food they eat – chefs, restaurateurs, passionate amateur cooks and people who just happen to love eating and drinking. However, it’s not just the sheer quality of the food on offer that makes Borough Market special – it is also about the people and the place.
Kings, queens, statesmen and soldiers; poets, priests, heroes and villains – the Abbey is a must-see living pageant of British history. Every year Westminster Abbey welcomes over one million visitors who want to explore this wonderful 700-year-old building. Thousands more join in for worship during daily services. The Abbey is in the heart of London. Once inside, audio guides are available in 12-languages or there is the highly-popular verger-led tour.
Piccadilly Circus is a busy square in the heart of London. It is famous for the fountain that was installed here at the end of the nineteenth century and for the neon advertising that turned the square into a miniature version of Times Square. The Circus lies at the intersection of five main roads: Regent Street, Shaftesbury Avenue, Piccadilly Street, Covent Street and Haymarket—where all the action happens!
St. Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s, with its world-famous dome, is an iconic feature of the London skyline. Step inside and you can enjoy the Cathedral’s awe-inspiring interior, and uncover fascinating stories about its history. There are many different parts of the Cathedral for you to discover, from the underground Crypt to the Golden Gallery, 111 meters above London.
We love London for all its varied pockets, villages and sub-cultures, but Notting Hill has a bohemian undercurrent with diversity and loads of people watching. Find more than 12,000 items that chart the evolution of consumer culture at The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, one of London’s quirkier museums. Notting Hill is also a fantastic place to find small, independent art galleries such as Salon Contemporary, Beverley Knowles Fine Art and Graffik – a gallery dedicated to urban art. For something more traditional, try the Temple Gallery, which specializes in religious iconography and sacred art.
There are many more treks we would like to add to the London list, however, it will require another trip! Once we make it, we will report back! For more London ideas, visit our friends at RV Lifestyle.