Story by ASHLEY ROCHEFORT
DAY Frenetic and fancy, posh and punk, historic and hip, London is a city with a split personality. Whether you consider yourself a trendsetter or traditionalist, London is calling…
ARRIVE IN STYLE Luckily for Canadians, Toronto–Heathrow is the inaugural long-haul route for British Airways’ (britishairways.com) brand new A350 plane, which includes 56 Club Suite compartments, each with aisle access, privacy door, hand-delivered meals and snacks, 18.5 inch screen with the latest entertainment, complimentary toiletries kit, and fully adjustable lay-flat seats. Fly in style and arrive refreshed.
CHECK-IN Just across the River Thames from the London Eye, and steps from major attractions like the National Portrait Gallery, West End, and Buckingham Palace – the Corinthia Hotel London (corinthia.com) combines grandeur and heritage in the heart of London. Elevate your stay in one of their 51 suites or seven penthouses with private rooftop terrace and unbeatable views.
ENGLISH BREAKFAST Grand in style and fast in pace, The Wolseley (thewolseley.com) caters to the business crowd with service starting at 7:00 AM on weekdays. Enjoy the morning paper while feasting on one of their classic egg dishes. For something less expected, head to Koya Soho (koya.co.uk) and order the English breakfast udon noodles in a rich broth with fried egg, bacon, and shaved shiitake.
A TAILORED TOUR Not sure what to see first? Let Charley and her flock of locals at Totally Tailored tours (totallytailored.com) help you discover London your way. Choose from tours like Churchill’s London, A Royal Morning, or Borough Food Tasting; tours are private – yes, just you and the guide – and completely customizable. Want to build your own tour? Totally Tailored will put together a tour itinerary with transfers and restaurant reservations to make yours a real one-of-a-kind.
SHOP Pop into the bespoke boutiques and elegant shops of Oxford, Regent, and Jermyn Streets. Spend the day exploring classic department stores like Harrods (harrods.com) and Selfridges (selfridges.com). And if you’re looking for the perfect souvenir, visit the world-famous James Smith & Sons Umbrellas shop (james-smith.co.uk) or pick up a tin of biscuits or jar of Stilton at the incomparable Fortnum & Mason (fortnumandmason.com), open since 1707.
TEA TIME Savoury finger sandwiches, soothing tea, warm scones slathered in clotted cream, delicate pastries, and a glass of fizzy champagne; it’s no wonder the English take afternoon tea so seriously. And there’s no shortage of hot spots to hit for a spot of hot tea, too. Traditionalists should seek out The Savoy (thesavoylondon.com), The Goring (thegoring.com), or Kettner’s Townhouse (kettners.com) for classic elegance. Trendsetters need to see and be seen at Sketch (sketch.london) in Mayfair with its Beatles blaring band and sugary pink tufted sofas. For a low-key, Indian-flavoured twist on tradition, check out Cinnamon Bazaar (cinnamon-bazaar.com) in Covent Garden.
NIGHT London at night is a feast for the senses, especially if you know where to go. Here’s what’s great when it starts to get late.
NEW DO Get ready for a night out on the town with newly coiffed hair by Stuart Phillips (stuartphillips.co.uk), official stylist to the BAFTA awards. An appointment with this master stylist to the stars includes luxury transport service, champagne, consultation, and a six-month supply of hair care products.
EYE SPY Is there a better way to take in London’s sweeping cityscape than a ride on the London Eye as the sun begins to set? Yes! A ride on the London Eye in a private capsule with a bottle of champagne and box of chocolate truffles. The London Eye’s Champagne Experience (londoneye.com/champagne) for two also includes a personal host and priority boarding. Be careful when booking, operating hours change seasonally.
ROYAL ALBERT HALL Venture to South Kensington, outside of the city centre and away from the crowded West End, to experience concerts, comedians, ballets, banquets, sports, or even film screenings at the iconic Royal Albert Hall (royalalberthall.com). The array of hospitality packages includes pre-show canapes, private box viewing, and sometimes even meeting the performers!
DINNER For a serious upgrade on classic British fare, make reservations at Kerridge’s Bar & Grill (kerridgesbarandgrill.co.uk). Tom Kerridge, the Michelin-starred darling of the London food scene, makes a mean fish and chips – triple fried potatoes, hearty portioning, and savoury curry gravy. But don’t miss his signature pig’s cheek pie either, served, quite literally, in the shape of a pig’s snout. Private dining room available for up to 16 guests.
PUB CRAWL There’s always time for a casual pint at the pub. Visit one of Mr. Frogg’s six traditional taverns around town (mr-foggs.com) or the Churchill Arms, built in1750 and frequented by Churchill’s grandparents. You might recognize its flowery facade as an Instagram favourite (churchillarmskensington.co.uk). For more luxurious libations, be seen at Idris Elba’s lounge, The Parrot (theparrotldn.co.uk). And atop many “best of” lists is the renowned Connaught Bar in Mayfair (the-connaught.co.uk). Here, the glove-handed guard of the famed Connaught Martini Trolley will fashion you a made-to-order martini just the way you like it.