What to do in London, now
– by those in the know
There’s always something new to do in London and even its residents are constantly surprised. So, when Escape.com.au – Australia’s biggest travel brand – got in touch asking me to write an insider’s guide to London, I was delighted. I asked some of its most passionate residents to share their must-dos. You can read the full piece here.
Here’s six recommendations, from those in the know:
Eat at Straker’s in Notting Hill
With five Granger & Cos in London, restaurateur Bill Granger could be forgiven for only eating in his own venues, but he loves the city’s food scene. “You can dine at an establishment which has been trading for decades, as well as see trends evolving almost as you eat,” he says. His favourite places are in his West London locale, currently enjoying a food renaissance, including Straker’s in Notting Hill. “Thomas Straker has become a TikTok sensation, but the restaurant is the perfect neighbourhood bistro,” he says. He also recommends hip new Dorian, in Notting Hill, from Chris D’Sylva.
Drink at La Goccia
London really knows how to do a beautiful cocktail bar. Craig Markham is the marketing director of Firmdale Hotels and one of his favourite places is La Goccia, in Covent Garden. “I love everything about the Petersham Nurseries group, so will often head there for aperitivo hour on the leafy terrace,” he says. Also in Covent Garden is Brasserie Max in The Covent Garden Hotel - an institution for those in the film and entertainment industry. “I like to prop myself up at the long pewter bar and enjoy a dry martini,” says Craig. “You are very likely to spy a star here, which is always a good story to take home.”
Go shopping in Marylebone Village
One of the best things about London is its shopping. Stylist Amanda Woodward-Brown says, “You can literally find anything you desire in London, from umbrellas at James Smith & Sons, to velvet ribbon at VV Rouleaux.” And don’t miss Marylebone Village. “From the world’s best bookshop, Daunt Books, to Labour and Wait - a store that could only exist in England – there’s a discovery around every corner,” she says. On Saturday September 30, head to the special celebration Meet Me in Marylebone Village, with pop-up stalls, workshops and dining.
Visit the relaunched National Portrait Gallery
Maria Sykes from VisitBritain says top of her list is the recently reopened National Portrait Gallery. “The Gallery’s transformation includes the opening of a brand-new cocktail bar, Larry’s and café, Audrey Green,” she says. She also recommends one of the city’s lesser-known museums, the London Mithraeum. “The Mithraeum is a Roman temple excavated after World War II,” she says, “and like many of London’s cultural attractions, it’s free.”
See the Crossbones Graveyard
Vanessa Cain-Tait runs (literally) Secret London Runs tours, where she guides joggers around the city. Her must-sees include Crossbones Graveyard, near London Bridge. “This recent excavation of a ‘single women’s graveyard’ revealed around 15,000 forgotten paupers and the gates are decorated with ribbons,” she says. She also recommends the Lord Morpeth pub in Bow. “London has some incredible street art, but my favourite has to be the Sylvia Pankhurst mural on the side of the Lord Morpeth. You can do the Bow Heritage Trail, which has a series of plaques that tell you more,” she says.
Watch Crazy For You
“London theatre has something for everyone,” says GMB’s Richard Arnold. “My favourite theatres are the Barbican, London Coliseum and the new Soho Place theatre space.” His favourite musical is at the Gillian Lynne Theatre. “Crazy For You is some of the finest tapping, heel-clicking choreography I’ve ever seen,” he says. But if you’re going to one show, make it ABBA Voyage. “I’ve been four times since opening night,” Richard says. “It’s unfettered joy and one trip you don’t want to miss.”
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