Whether London is your everyday stomping ground or you’re just popping over for a weekend, check out The LFX A-Z of London for the best places to eat, drink and sleep and what’s on around the City…
A is for Active August
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is home to a range of free keep-fit activities including athletics, table tennis, dry rowing (no, we’re not sure how that one works either), triathlons, volleyball and frisbee- so all you London traders know where to head for your lunchtime workout. View the full timetable here. Not in London? Enter our competition here to for a chance to win your own virtual personal trainer and work out wherever you are.
B is for Bubbledogs
Bubbledogs is a champagne bar just a stone’s throw from Mayfair- but it doesn’t serve caviar. Instead, team your chosen champagne with a gourmet hot dog. We recommend the BLT- a hot dog topped with crispy bacon, caramelised lettuce and truffle mayo. But there’s 18 different combos to choose from if that doesn’t take your fancy.
Check out the menu here.
C is for Covent Garden
No trip to London is complete without a venture to Covent Garden, home to the Royal Opera House, markets, street performers, plenty of bars and restaurants and of course, shops. Head to Andronicas Cafe on the corner of the market square for a lazy Sunday morning of al fresco coffee and watching the world go by. It doesn’t get much better than that. Or round off a day of shopping and sightseeing at Tuttons Brasserie, home to a classic English menu (and an impressive cocktail list).
D is for Duck and Waffle
Did you know London is home to the highest restaurant in the UK? Hidden away on the 40th floor is Duck and Waffle, where you can tuck into seasonal British and European dishes (featuring everything from foie gras and roasted octopus to waffles and peanut butter ice cream) and take your pick from their ever-changing artisanal cocktail list, all while looking out at the unparalleled City views. You can also book private dining areas– maybe one to bear in mind for your next corporate event?
E is for the Eye
The London Eye is probably the must-do attraction in London to make sure you take in all the sights. We’d team it with some fizz and chocolate for good measure with the Hotel Chocolat Capsule package– including priority boarding, a private capsule, two glasses of prosecco per person and a Hotel Chocolat goodie bag. Or go for the Wine and Tapas Experience– you’ll get a glass of premium wine and a tapas platter including antipasti, king prawns, cheese and bread. If those don’t appeal, you can even Create Your Own Capsule.
F is for Football
Football fans, I won’t need to tell you that some of the country’s best stadiums can be found in and around the capital. Head to Wembley Stadium for a look inside the second biggest stadium in Europe and follow in the footsteps of the English national team with a tour of the ground. The Emirates Stadium, home to Arsenal FC, is also well worth a look– you can even get your photo taken with the FA Cup. And they have an Arsenal museum, so that’s a tick in the ‘Culture’ box as well, right?
G is for a Good Night’s Sleep
You might not think a busy city centre is the best place to stay when you need to recharge your batteries after a busy day of shopping, sightseeing or important meetings- but that’s where you’re wrong. There are five Montcalm hotels around the capital and they have everything you need for a good night’s sleep, including a ‘Sleep Concierge’ who will ensure your room is set to the right temperature, light and noise level, as well as being on hand with everything from bath oils and eye masks to herbal drinks, bedtime snacks and even a pillow menu. Bliss.
H is for History
If you’re after your fix of culture but don’t know where to start, you can’t go wrong with the British Museum. It has so many attractions that only a fraction can be on display at any one time. Entry is free to the public and there are plenty of free tours, talks and exhibitions on offer, as well as seasonal events and exhibitions. We like the look of the Eight mummies, eight lives, eight stories exhibition- watch a preview below:
I is for Islington
Head to Islington for boutiques, bars and restaurants. Don’t miss ‘The Bar With No Name’ (that’s 69 Colebrook Row to your taxi driver) for seasonal bespoke cocktails– you can even book cocktail masterclasses and learn how to make them yourself, a great idea for stag and hen weekends or your next corporate event. Or head to The House of Wolf, a three-story Victorian lair in one of London’s earliest listed music halls for fine dining, live music and an Apothecary Bar.
J is for Jumping the Queue
If you want to see all the tourist attractions on offer and you don’t want to spend time queuing, you need a London Pass. It gives you free entry to over 60 attractions including the Tower of London, a Thames River Cruise, the London Zoo and Westminster Abbey and gives you queue-jumping privileges so you don’t have to stand around waiting.
K is for Karaoke
If you’re after a unique idea for a party or a work night out, then look no further. Head to Karaoke Box (in Mayfair or Soho) and book a private karaoke room for up to 12 people so you can let out your inner Whitney without having to embarrass yourself in front of a group of strangers. If you need a bit of Dutch courage, there are plenty of cocktails, champagnes, wines and beers available. Right, whose turn is it next?!
L is for London Bridge
The London Bridge district is home to hundreds of places to eat and drink, from chain restaurants like Browns and Cafe Rouge to unique eateries, and they all have impressive views over the river. Give the Rooftop Cafe a try for breakfast, lunch or dinner from an impressive menu that changes daily and one of the best views you’ll find in the City.
M is for Market
There’s no end of markets to browse in London, from Camden Lock (for fashion, food and drink) to Portobello Road (the world’s largest antiques market). Our favourite is Borough Market, London’s most renowned food market. You’ll find everything from bakeries and confectionary, seafood and wine to charcuterie and there’s always something going on, from live cooking demonstrations to pop-up restaurants. Well worth a visit.
N is for Nature
London may be a packed urban metropolis but it’s also home to several parks where you can kick back and relax. Head to Regent’s Park for the largest outdoor sports area in central London, including a boating lake, an open-air theatre, acres of gardens and playing fields, a pub, an ice-cream shop and the London Zoo. It’s also home to 100 species of wild bird and 400 varieties of rose- and you can adopt a duck, deer, rose or tree here to be able to say you own a part of a Royal Park.
O is for the O2 Arena
The O2 arena is London’s destination for music, comedy and entertainment. Sports fans will enjoy their Sky Sports challenge zone, featuring interactive sports simulators that allow you to race on your favourite Formula 1 track, take a swing for the Ryder Cup or take your place in the Monday Night Football lineup. Less sporty types can take a seat at the Sky Sports News desk and present the action. And you can buy tickets for upcoming events including Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway on Tour, Lee Evans and Ed Sheeran here.
P is for Poppies
If you visit London in the next few months, you won’t be able to miss the red ceramic poppies filling the dry moat around the Tower of London. The first 120,000 were ‘planted’ by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the 100th anniversary of WWI and by Armistice Day on the 11th of November, there will be 888,246: one to commemorate every fallen British and Commonwealth soldier. Not heading to the capital any time soon? You can take a look below:
Q is for Queen
Go and say hello to the Queen with a trip to Buckingham Palace. Between 1st-24th September, you can book an Exclusive Evening Tour of the State Rooms, where you’ll see gilded ceilings, glittering chandeliers and famous masterpieces, before rounding the trip off with a glass of champagne. Or visit the Royal Childhood exhibition for a glimpse into the world of a young member of the royal family, including unseen photographs and film footage.
R is for Retail Therapy
Make sure you make time for a trip to the world’s most famous department store. Harrods is home to 4.5 acres of fashion, beauty and homewards. If that sounds like a bit too much shopping, there are 27 bars and restaurants including a Champagne Bar, an Ice Cream Parlour and a Steakhouse where you can hide out while you recharge your batteries. Or check out Carnaby Street for 13 streets of unique boutiques alongside famous brands.
S is for Sunday Roast
It’s a British institution, so make sure a Sunday roast is part of your trip to the capital. The best one can be found at Hawksmoor, and the good news is you won’t have to go far- there are branches in Seven Dials, Spitalfields, Air Street and Knightsbridge and all serve roast rump of beef cooked in a charcoal oven and dished up with all the trimmings. Book a table here.
T is for Time Out
If you need a bit of rest and relaxation, there are plenty of spas on offer where you can take some time out. Try the St Pancras Spa, set in the impressive St Pancras Renaissance Hotel just a stone’s throw from King’s Cross. It’s beautifully designed and features a Victorian tiled relaxation pool, Eucalyptus steam room, saunas and a relaxation area as well as treatment rooms for everything from massages to manicures. You’ll leave feeling like a new person.
U is for Unusual
If you want to avoid the traditional tourist traps and crowded shopping streets, check out Rachel Howard’s Secret London – an Unusual Guide for little-known museums and hidden gems. Get her follow-up Secret London – Unusual Bars and Restaurants for reviews of intriguing quirky places to visit and keep away from the beaten track.
V is for Victoria and Albert
The Victoria and Albert Museum is one of the world’s best art and design museums, home to a range of seasonal exhibitions as well as year-round attractions. At the moment, the exhibitions on offer include a display of wedding dresses from 1775-2014, a display of Beatrix Potter illustrations inspired by WWI and a ‘Backpacking’ tour- perfect if you’re taking the kids. Book your tickets here.
W is for the West End
The West End is London’s answer to Broadway, and there’s plenty of shows on offer, from classics like Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera to new musicals Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. After the show, head to Sarastro for more live entertainment over Mediterranean cuisine.
X is for X Cars
If you can’t face the crowds on the tubes, book an taxi with X Cars London. You’ll get a text letting you know who your driver will be and what vehicle to expect, and drivers will help you to and from the vehicle with your shopping bags and luggage. They’ll bring coffee, bottled water and newspapers on request and they carry umbrellas so you won’t be caught out by the unpredictable British weather! They’ll also organise city tours if you want to see the sights in comfort.
Y is for You Choose
If you know where you want to go but don’t have time to start ringing round and booking things separately, why not go for a package from 5ive London. You can choose everything from the hotel to restaurants, bars and excursions, or go for one of their specially designed packages and leave the organising to them.
Z is for Zuma
For the best Japanese food in London, head over to Knightsbridge and snag yourself a table at Zuma. Sit at the sushi counter (you don’t need a reservation) and watch the chefs in action. If you can’t choose from the impressive menu, go for the tasting menu and have a bit of everything. Book your table here.