London Calling: A Weekend Itinerary
After spending time with family over the holidays, I started 2017 off in London for business and realized that not only is London an easy and quick get away from New York, but with a strong dollar, you can spend a weekend dining, shopping and exploring one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the world in just a quick plane ride.
I have been lucky enough to spend a good amount of time in London growing up so on this trip I mixed some favorite spots and pastimes with new excursions and exhibits. Winter is a great time to visit London because not only are there a few long weekends in January and February, but hotel prices favor the visitor in these months.
Stay: This trip I got to stay in a fabulous boutique hotel right off between Jermyn Street and Trafalgar Square. Owned by the independent hotel brand Firmdale Hotels (which counts my neighborhood Crosby Street Hotel in Soho, NYC, among their carefully curated portfolio). Haymarket Hotel boasts a pool, spa, courtyard and other great amenities but I was most impressed with their incredible service. No detail is overlooked in the property, including lavender linen spray for your pillow, and the staff were amazing. Its convenient and central location made getting to any destination in London a breeze and I look forward to staying there again soon.
See: The Tate Modern is host to a great photography exhibit, The Radical Eye, until May 7, 2017. The modernist collection is the personal collection of the voracious collector, Sir Elton John and includes everything from 'Migrant Mother' to 'Glass Tears' by Man Ray. A must see.
Dine: My love for Indian food runs deep. I eat the spicy food weekly, if not more, when in New York. But truly no one does Indian (outside of India, presumably) better than the Brits. The casually cool, Michelin-starred, Gymkhana in Mayfair is the perfect East meets West dining experience and their wild boar vindaloo made me think of ways that I could move to London permanently.
Berner's Tavern in the London Edition Hotel is another pick for a lunch that has great food and a great ambiance.
Sip: A trip to London is simply not complete without a proper afternoon tea. I have always loved afternoon tea since I was a little girl and my mom used to dress my sister and me up for high tea. Now, the afternoon is even better since it involves champagne, so naturally, I found a way to fit it in twice in my short stay.
For a classic afternoon tea: no place is better than Claridge's Hotel. Scones and clotted cream plus live music will warm you up from the winter chill outside and is the perfect way to spend an afternoon people watching.
For a modern afternoon tea: head to the pink wonderland at Sketch. The quirky art and tableware are the accessories for a lavish afternoon in a dreamy setting, where champagne is always flowing.
Imbibe: For a dinner that always has a lively crowd, head to Chiltern Firehouse. Not only is the food excellent but the scene always folds seamlessly from dinner to after dinner drinks that will not disappoint.
Shop: If it's beautiful British designer duds that you want, head to Liberty. The department store is not huge but one of my favorites in the world with a carefully curated selection of the best designers have to offer. If it's random antiques you seek, head to Portobello Road in Notting Hill and browse the open air stalls and antique stores for a Saturday well spent.
Explore: This trip I decided to leave the comforts of Chelsea and Central London to explore East London and the hipster enclave of Shoreditch. The bustling shops and streets boast great shopping, tons of street art and loads of vintage stores. The bar scene there is also fun and the crowd is young and lively.
Any part time anglophile and travel enthusiast can enjoy London for a quick trip this Winter!