When a man is tired of London, the famous saying goes, he’s tired of life. Fortunately, it’s virtually impossible to tire of the city when there are always new and thrilling things to see and do. A celebrity-approved dive bar, a medieval street that’s been given a new lease of life and a lavish four-storey trattoria are just some of London’s latest.
Visit a “five-star dive bar” with celebrity appeal
A paradox of perfection awaits at The Wealthy Beggar in north-west London’s Kensal Rise. The brainchild of Emily in Paris heartthrob Lucien Laviscount, restaurateur Zac Lichman and head chef Gareth Drew, the hotspot is billed as a “five-star dive bar”. The contradictions are many, starting with the chandeliers and red velvet seating happily juxtaposed with a graffiti-adorned brick wall. The high-low vibe continues in the pan-Asian menu where Wagyu tartare with whipped foie gras and caviar sits alongside less refined (but equally delicious) offerings such as cheeseburger dumplings with kimchi ketchup. Cocktails include the not-so-shabby Velvet Hand – fresh pomegranate cordial, sparkling wine and apple-infused brandy. Legendary film director, DJ and musician Don Letts is behind the live music, quiz nights and DJs.
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Wander and dine in a rejuvenated medieval street
Just a stone’s throw from Borough Market is a new take on a very old quarter on the Thames’ South Bank. Established between and around a series of restored railway arches and utilising existing industrial buildings, Borough Yards is a new shopping, entertainment and dining destination that follows the footprint of a long-lost medieval street. The 18th-century thoroughfare known as Dirty Lane is now the site of bars, restaurants, co-working spaces and boutiques. Check out Parrillan, a Spanish restaurant making stunning use of the cathedral-like arches for flame-cooked seafood and sherry and wine by the glass, and the impressive Paul Smith retail store. Located just five minutes from London Bridge tube station, Borough Yards could keep you occupied for much of the day, but make time to visit the nearby Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe.
Be inspired by The White Lotus of restaurants
Every so often a restaurant comes along where the lavish décor receives more attention than the menu. Jacuzzi in High Street Kensington is that restaurant. The self-proclaimed “Villa of Worldly Pleasures” is like stepping into one of the decadent palazzos from The White Lotus (catch up if you haven’t already seen season two). The four-storey trattoria features treasures including Roman statues and Murano glass. Lush foliage sprouts from everywhere, pink glassware sculptures hang from the ceiling and the tiles in the bathroom – well, they have to be seen to be believed. Fortunately the food lives up to the opulent surroundings. There are plenty of showstoppers such as lobster risotto and spaghetti served in an entire wheel of pecorino but the menu shines without any gimmicks, with a humble puttanesca and real Napoli-style pizzas proving winners.
See an iconic landmark from a unique vantage point
If you like your history served up with a thrill, you’ll be pleased to hear you can now climb the rigging of the iconic Cutty Sark. Built in 1869 and docked for public display since 1954 in Greenwich, it’s one of the world’s last surviving tea clippers and had an illustrious career (including more than 10 years transporting wool from Australia) as one of the fastest ships of its day. Royal Museums Greenwich has teamed up with Wire & Sky (the company behind the O2 rooftop climb) for the Cutty Sark Rig Climb Experience. Ascend the ship’s rope ladders like hundreds of sailors before – the highest climb to the top platform will be rewarded with views of Tower Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral. The experience is almost as thrilling as the controlled descent via zipline to the main deck.
Experience American-sized luxury in Covent Garden
Vintage chandeliers, brass, crimson, mohair and damask adorn the interiors at the first NoMad Hotel outside of the United States. The new NoMad London offers 91 rooms, including an opulent Royal Opera Suite with a gold bathtub and tall, light-filled windows. On-site NoMad restaurant reworks some American favourites, such as tender suckling pig served with wild greens. “Be sure to visit my favourite street in London, Lambs Conduit, which is just a short walk from Covent Garden,” says Kristin Millar, the hotel’s general manager. “Take advantage of the prix-fixe lunch menu at Noble Rot, too. It’s the best deal in town with a stellar wine list to match.”
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