The English capital through Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy’s creative eyes.

They opened their first UK store in London’s Soho two years ago but it’s not just business that keeps Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy – the minds behind jewellery and homewares label Dinosaur Designs – returning to the city. “It’s so energetic,” says Ormandy, “but it has that lovely charm and politeness. New York is very brash but London is more low level.” Adds Olsen, “It has a poetry.” The duo take time out from book-launch preparations (The Art of Dinosaur Designs, Lantern, will be published in October) to share their favourite London haunts. 

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Best place to stay

Ham Yard Hotel

“The Ham Yard brought us on board to do a store near the hotel, on Great Windmill Street, and we stay there every time. The interior is quite luxurious and there’s a wonderful rooftop garden. At the end of the day, after running around London, you can go up to the Roof Terrace, which has a vegetable garden, fruit trees, beehives and this fantastic view of the city. It’s lovely to sit up there at dusk with a nice glass of wine and relax.”

1 Ham Yard, Soho

Best place for breakfast 

Lantana Cafe

“For us, the quality of the coffee is crucial and Lantana’s is great so we’re happy! They also do really good scrambled eggs and avocado on toast.” 

13 Charlotte Place, Fitzrovia

Best restaurant

Bocca di Lupo 

“This Italian restaurant is busy but chic at the same time. There’s a long marble bar and you can see the chefs cooking. They do a wonderful radish and celeriac salad with radishes we don’t get in Australia – they’re black on the outside and white inside. They add truffle oil, lemon, Pecorino Romano and pomegranate.”

12 Archer Street, Soho

Best galleries

“We go to the Tate Modern, because there’s always a beautiful show on. The old Tate has a great collection as well as contemporary shows. As for commercial galleries, at Sadie Coles and White Cube you can expect to see what’s hot right now in modern art.”

Tate Modern; Bankside, London
Tate Britain; Millbank, London
Sadie Coles; 62 Kingly Street, Soho; 1 Davies Street, Mayfair
White Cube; 144-152 Bermondsey Street, Bermondsey; 25-26 Mason’s Yard, St James’s

Best shopping

“We love Paul Smith’s Mayfair store, which has an art-gallery feel and often holds exhibitions. Dover Street Market is eclectic, busy and the only market that has a Céline store. Céline in Mayfair is also a favourite – you can always find quality shirts with an amazing cut. A piece from here is timeless and lasts season after season. There are a lot of interesting stores around Soho, too – explore the laneways and you’ll stumble across many unique brands.” 

Paul Smith; 9 Albemarle Street, Mayfair
Dover Street Market; 18-22 Haymarket, St James’s
Céline; 103 Mount Street, Mayfair

Best park 

Kensington Gardens

“London is lovely in summer. It’s just so heady; you can smell the rose petals in the air. Kensington Gardens has ornamental trees and wildflowers. There’s also a beautiful Henry Moore sculpture [The Arch] and the Serpentine Galleries. The park combines the great outdoors with interesting and ever-changing exhibitions.”

Best experience

Riding around on a Santander Cycle

“A ‘Boris bike’ is London’s version of New York’s Citi Bike. Riding around, along the Thames and then to Buckingham Palace, is so much fun.” 

SEE ALSO: Our full guide to London 

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