To paraphrase the 18th century writer Samuel Johnson: the person who is tired of London is tired of life. The history and culture of London has been woven into the fabric of our lives through stories, board games, movies, and television shows. Visiting London almost feels like coming home. From the magnificent spectacle of the river Thames, spread out before you as you stand on Westminster Bridge, to the glass and steel towers, five-star hotels and upmarket apartment complexes of the Docklands, everywhere you go in London will seem somehow familiar.
Discretion and service have always been the bywords of London hospitality. From the luxury hotels along Park Lane and the lavish Georgian apartments of Pimlico, to the illustrious city-centre hotels such as Claridges, the Savoy and The Ritz, London presents such an amazing variety of accommodation, dining, history and culture that this most wonderful of cities is almost like visiting a country in itself. Take a black cab, ride the underground, see the Queen, grab a pint. Samuel Johnson wasn’t quite right: it is impossible to get tired of London.
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The Four Seasons Hotel at Ten Trinity Square has a strong claim to being in the heart of London. Redevelopment discovered artefacts spanning human history including a flint knife that could date to 8500 BC. The Four Seasons also faces The Tower of London which contains the oldest intact building in London.
Interior design by Martin Kemp has meticulously layered contemporary design upon timeless style. With something of an underground atmosphere, this luxury hotel, complete with marble floors in the bathrooms, can keep the bustle of city life at bay while still ensuring that contemporary London is on your doorstep.
If you’re staying in you can enjoy private wine tasting, offering you the opportunity to select a great wine to go with a meal prepared by a personal chef. You can also enjoy the beauty treatments, hairstyling services, keep fit in the pool, or head to one of the two ballrooms.
Or, if you’re ready to enjoy London, you could start with the history of The Tower of London. From there, it’s a short walk to a riverboat tier from which you can enjoy many of the jewels of London such as Shakespeare’s Globe, Westminster Abbey and Tate Britain.
Claridge’s began its journey to becoming a luxury hotel in 1812. As early as 1860, its reputation as a second home for royalty began when Empress Eugenie of France (wife of Emperor Napoleon III) entertained Queen Victoria here. The well-appointed Empress Eugenie suite at Claridge’s pays homage to this heritage.
Claridge’s is renowned for its art deco style following a tasteful redesign in the 1920s. Original examples of this transformation remain today, a beautiful example being the glass screens in the foyer and reading room. And every year their Christmas tree becomes the subject of countless photos.
Airport transfer, concierge and butler services are available to free you to enjoy London. If work calls, you can take advantage of the beautiful office facilities of The Map Room. When you can escape work, you could entertain family or friends in the Foyer Private Dining Room designed to recall the 1920s Claridge’s Foyer.
Or if you want to go out, Claridge’s is perfectly situated in London’s Mayfair, halfway between Hyde Park and Regent Street. This makes Claridge’s an elegant place from which to begin exploring London’s incredible culture. The Royal Opera House, the Theatre Royal, Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey are all close at hand.
The Dorchester opened in 1931. Named after the Earl of Dorchester, who bought a house on the location of the renowned luxury hotel, ‘The Dorch’ was created to fulfil Robert McAlpine’s vision of the perfect hotel. With a history of affluent luxury, Mayfair in London is the perfect place to realise that vision.
The Dorchester’s style is a timeless one embedded in its inter-war roots. It’s perhaps The Promenade that embodies this best of all. Longer than the nearby Nelson’s Column is tall, The Promenade is a lounge lined with columns that create a beautiful environment in which to take afternoon tea.
The Dorchester offers a butler and the expertise of its concierges. You can enjoy the spa, delicious food with global inspirations, or combine the two in ‘The Spatisserie’. If you’re going to the theatre in the evening, you could leave your children safe with one of the hotel’s qualified babysitters and head out in a chauffeur-driven, classic car.
Mayfair has maintained its reputation for art and culture for over 200 years. The Royal Academy, The National Gallery and the theatres of the West End are all close at hand. Other cultural highlights such as the British Museum are also easily accessible.
Once you’ve found your perfect luxury hotel, it’s time to plan your London trip. London has so much to offer that it can feel overwhelming. Therefore, to help you have an unforgettable experience, we’re sharing eight of the most iconic and unique things to do in London town.
1. Wander around Borough Market
Borough Market is one of the oldest food markets in London and is renowned for its vast selection of artisan food, British meat, and organic produce. You’ll find the enormous market under the railway lines of London Bridge. Here you can taste various cheeses, bread, and wine and fill your belly with traditional English and international street food. Along with high-quality food and drink, the atmosphere is always incredible here.
2. Explore Camden Town
Camden town is one of London’s most loved areas. Although it’s often packed with tourists, no London trip is complete without a visit to Camden. This quirky neighbourhood is a live music hub and a cultural mecca. The vibrant, diverse town is full of punk clothing shops, old-school pubs, a large food market, and an iconic canal. Whatever time you visit, you are bound to see some wild and wacky sights here!
3. Visit a traditional English pub
One of the best ways to experience British culture is to visit a traditional pub. You’ll have no trouble finding one in London as there is pretty much a pub on every street. Even so, look for a pub that is frequented by locals rather than tourists. For example, check out The George Inn on Borough High Street or The Lamb & Flag in Covent Garden. If you’re in town on a Sunday, be sure to order a traditional Sunday roast with your pint, too.
4. Watch a West End show
London’s West End musicals are world-famous, and with almost 40 theatres in the city, there is a show for everyone. Theatre shows range from international favourites like Mamma Mia and The Lion King to independent comedy shows showcasing the best of British humour.
5. Go shopping at Harrods
Harrods in Knightsbridge is the UK’s most luxurious department store and a must-see for first-timers in London. The giant store has seven floors with a staggering 330 departments, selling everything from fashion to food to fine jewellery. You can easily spend a whole afternoon here and find some impressive gifts for friends and family. Plus, if you’re visiting around Christmas, Harrods becomes a magical wonderland during this time!
6. Do the Harry Potter studio tour
If you’re a fan of Britain’s most famous movie series, don’t miss the chance to see where the magic happened at Warner Bros. Studio. As well as stepping foot onto the iconic sets, you’ll discover some of the special effects used in the movies and touch the character’s costumes.
7. Enjoy an English afternoon tea
As you know, brits love their tea and biscuits, and an ideal way to honour this English tradition is with afternoon tea. This ceremonial meal takes place in the late afternoon. It consists of dainty sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and a selection of cakes; all washed down with bottomless tea. Many of the city’s luxurious restaurants, cafes, and hotels offer afternoon tea, including one of my favourites, Fortnum and Mason.
8. Cruise along the River Thames
Trying to see all of London’s sights on foot can quickly become tiring. However, as many of the top attractions are along the waterfront, a time-saving and relaxing way to see the city is by taking a river cruise. You’ll spot the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Tate Modern, Big Ben, the London Eye, and much more. There are many different tours to choose from, including sunset dinner cruises.