An Extravagant Weekend in London, England
Arts & Culture
London is a true crown-jewel of a European city. There is tons of history to peruse through, nooks and crannies to explore and plenty of pubs to dive into. It’s the kind of city that offers something for every single person. Indulge in its beauty during the day and immerse yourself fully in English gastronomy and nightlife come nighttime. And don’t forget to have a cocktail with it, as London bars offer some of the best cocktails in the world!
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Where to stay
The Savoy Hotel
Beloved London institution a stone’s throw from the River Thames, known for its exacting service, sumptuous interiors and rare treat indoor swimming pool.
$100 food / beverage credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
The Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel, London
A stately stay in Chelsea, infused with Belmond’s signature sense of place, flawless service and playful vibe.
$100 food / beverage credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
The Londoner Hotel
A new-concept “super-boutique” hotel close to Leicester Square, with intimate and insider service and all the amenities and access of an urban resort.
Complimentary cocktail on arrival
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Day 1: Arrive in London, United Kingdom
Upon arrival, check in at The Savoy – one of London’s iconic hotels. Head to your room for a quick refresh before making your way to the Beaufort Bar for a nightcap. Try the Hyperlink cocktail for some light summer refreshment or the Soothsayer for a winter warmup.
Day 2: Take in London’s greatest sites
Order breakfast to your room or explore one of the many eateries in the area. The Breakfast Club is a short walk or drive and well worth the trip, but get there early to avoid lines.
After breakfast, either walk or take a car to The London Eye. It’s a tourist destination, but worth the hype. Without a doubt, there are incredible views and photo-ops can be had here.
After you make your round on The Eye, walk down the bank of the Thames to The Southbank Lion. From there, you will witness spectacular views of Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster.
Cross the iconic Westminster Bridge to get up close to the sights on this side of the bank. Take a walk through Westminster Abbey after stopping at the Statue of Sir Winston Churchill. Explore the famed Churchill War Rooms after you take a stroll through St. James Park to see Buckingham Palace.
After all of this walking, I suggest you head to the famous Red Lion on Parliament Street for a classic pub lunch. The steak pie and the East End pie are old school winners, but the squid plate and duck taco are wonderful as well.
After lunch, there are about two dozen more landmarks and such in the area. Explore them at your leisure before the weekend as these areas can get rather busy.
Around 3 pm, take a car to Fortnum & Mason at 181 Piccadilly, St. James’s. When in London, you really should enjoy a proper tea, and why not have it at a place that is appointed as a tea house of the Queen?
Once at the location, take an elevator to the fourth floor for your afternoon tea reservation at The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon. Here you can order a personal pot of tea and a selection of sandwiches, scones and patisserie for a light afternoon meal. Sparkling wines and cocktails are also available to accompany your tea selection.
After tea, take a car to explore the Museum of the Order of Saint John, the home of the history of the ancient, religious military order tending to the medical care of the world’s people for the last 1,000 years. For no other reason than to see the 500 year old St. John’s Gate, see the home and workplace of William Hogarth and Samuel Johnson, and observe some classic Tudor-style interiors.
When finished with a dose of history, take a walk to meet your reservation at Fergus Henderson’s St. JOHN. A nose-to-tail restaurant that has a major role in the modern culinary renaissance of England, St. JOHN is brutally magnificent. It’s a personal favorite of mine, without much contest. The menu is ever-changing, so my suggestion is just to order anything you think might sound tasty or take a recommendation from the very knowledgeable staff. It’s all good (and I don’t think I have said that about more than three restaurants I’ve tried in the world).
Before retiring for the night, I suggest a trip to Mr. Fogg’s Society of Exploration, not far from the Savoy. Take a car here and then you are a short walk to your accommodation. A true, elegant nod to Jules Verne’s hero of exploration, this establishment is just a wonderful way to end any London evening! A Dram for The Climb is an excellent cocktail of unique nature that I believe is a feast for each and every one of your senses. After some libations and fun, return to The Savoy for the night.
Day 3: Wander around the city of London
For breakfast, head to the Thames Foyer in your hotel for an elegant, classic breakfast. This is not the place for a “Full English,” though it’s available disguised as ‘The Savoy Breakfast’. I suggest the ‘Arnold Bennett’ and a cup of the Savoy Blend coffee.
After breakfast take a car to Hyde Park and explore the beautiful gardens and many memorials to the late Princess Diana. It is also worth strolling past the Albert Memorial, if only to look in amazement at the gothic revival grandeur of it all. Tour Kensington Palace and the gardens before making your way to The Churchill Arms for a late lunch. This eccentric British pub is an excellent place to stop and take a breath. Thai Pub food? Sure! Give it a shot and indulge! Don’t forget to have a pint of London Pride while you’re there.
There are thousands of things to do in London. If you care for a cigar at The Ritz or a drink at Oblix in The Shard, take the afternoon to do it. If you're shopping, skip Oxford Street for Shoreditch, Soho or Brixton. If you want to take a London river tour, take a river bus instead. You can talk to locals and have a more enjoyable, quiet trip.
Around six or seven o’clock in the evening, make your way to The Laughing Heart. Enjoy the not-to-be-missed prix fixe menu with the recommended wine pairings. It’s a worthy place for a nice meal in London, trust me. Take your time here and really take it all in.
After dinner, choose your fighter:
Hide Below: A chill, relaxing after-dinner drink and conversation. Part fantasy (in the old literary sense), part elegance, this is an absolute dream for the more relaxed crowd.
A dark, sexy spot with what I would call a required reservation is the amazing Satan’s Whiskers. It’s also a touch campy, so don’t think of it as a couples only date spot. Grab a drink, chill out and watch London go by before your eyes.
Chelsea Funhouse: It’s all in the name. This mega-bar has three floors, each with a different vibe. A two-hour cocktail experience booking at The Bletchley – a 1940s-inspired cocktail bar – will not disappoint.
A party can be had at dozens of London spots, but Ministry of Sound has been doing this since the 90s and it’s darn good at it.
Indulge & enjoy!
Need to Know
Uber is widely available throughout London, but if you're not using a dedicated car service, I highly recommend using the iconic London Black Cabs. Though if you are up to it, the Underground is an efficient, safe and easy way to get around the city. If you go this route, get an Oyster Card and save both time and money.
Come prepared! While it doesn't rain in London as much as you may think it does, bring an umbrella, raincoat and/or rain boots, if you can.
Make sure you also have an outlet/power converter for your trip! A power bank may not be a bad move either (I always have one).
Finally, unlock your phone and get a local SIM card, if that doesn't freak you out. Local service is always better than roaming agreements, especially if you're coming from the United States.
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