Travel: London Calling

Between London Fashion Week and David and Marcus’s recent participation in the GREAT Britain campaign, we’re yearning for a trip to the British capital.

Our friend, the lovely Angela Buttolph, Grazia’s Editor-at-Large, has kindly opened up her little black book to gives us an insider’s guide to London…

You should stay at The Rookery! It’s so spooky cool (I am totally bored of slick minimalism now) and it’s bang on top of Farringdon station which is a great half way point between Central London and the East End.

London is amazing for shopping and I love the West End so Liberty is my perfect store. It’s so peaceful for browsing, they always buy the best edit of new and established labels (rag & bone is stocked there!) and the perfume department is so dreamy. They recently opened a brilliant denim floor too so now it’s got everything.

After writing Kate Moss Style, I have to recommend Kate Moss’ top three London vintage stores. First up is Rellik  in West London. Store owner Stephen Philips regularly puts pieces aside for Ms Moss but you can still find some incredible pieces of designer vintage fashion. Alfie’s Antique Market  is one of Kate’s local vintage hangouts (also loved by many top fashion names from John Galliano to Charlotte Olympia). This is also London’s biggest indoor market. And finally, Virginia’s Antiques, home to antique clothing loved by supermodels and actresses. It’s full of 1930s slip dresses (Kate’s favorite), fringed scarves and vintage petticoats. This store is so cool it doesn’t even have a website; 98 Portland Road, Holland Park, London, W114LQ. Tel: 0207 727 9908.

For lunch - actually, it’s perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, oh, and people watching - I have to suggest you try The Wolseley. It’s the new ‘It’ venue, housed in a grandiose high-ceilinged hall that used to be a luxury car showroom way-back-when.

For a fancy dinner, I’d recommend Bob Bob Ricard. It’s so fun and sexy and the 1920s deco vibe is very now. But edgy supper club Bistrotheque in East London is still the fashion crowd favorite.

For more low-key food try Kulu Kulu in Soho is the best sushi in London – I’ve been going for 15 years! Definitely try the aubergine in soya bean paste, yum.

If you’re visiting with girlfriends, try booking seats at the Coliseum to see the English National Ballet. The view is brilliant even from the cheap seats (£20) up in the ‘gods’, and the theatre is gorgeously chocolate-box ornate. Afterwards head across the street to the National Cafe for drinks and late night eats. I also love meeting up with girlfriends for afternoon tea and macaroons at Laduree at Harrods. It’s all pretty pastels, like the macaroons, and looks like a dolls house. Wah! Nails on Kingsland Road is the best place for out-there nails and an oh-no-you-didn’t gossip session. Finally, Purl in Marylebone is great for a girls’ night out. It’s a speakeasy-style bar – hidden underground, with 1940s gramophone music playing, and drinks served in jars.

If you’re visiting with a partner, try Gordon’s Wine Bar, the oldest bar in London. It’s really dark, atmospheric and intimate. Get some red wine and a cheeseboard and get cozy.

For the best cocktails, you have to go to Lounge Bohemia who hands down do the most delicious drinks in London. This bar is full of mid-century modern furniture and very sexy in a hush-hush kind of way – a great place for talking and flirting.

For a fabulously sophisticated start to your night head to the new gold and black Beaufort Bar in the 1920s jewel box that is the Savoy Hotel and drink some dirty Martinis. And, if you’re heading East, try meeting up at Shoreditch pub The Owl and the Pussy Cat.

A ‘touristy’ must do is Highgate Cemetery – they give the best tours with tons of spooky stories. The Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221B Baker Street is also a brilliantly silly way to while away an afternoon.

Those after some culture on their trip should watch some films at the ICA and obviously take a trip to Tate Modern. But for something a bit different, visit modernist architect Ernö Goldfinger‘s house in Hampstead. It’s unchanged since the 1940s, and the tour is fascinating.

Before you leave London, you have to visit Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration, an exhibition being held this summer at the Buckingham Palace State Rooms (book early!), and dream of being Kate Middleton with all those rocks to inherit!

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