Our recommendations when visiting one of the world’s finest cities, London.
Think British cuisine, think Heston Blumenthal. Cooking’s nutty professor opened Dinner by Heston in 2011 with a menu inspired by historical English fare — the menu doesn’t just come with the price but also the time period. Choose between the Meat Fruit (circa 1500) and the Earl Grey Tea cured Salmon (c.1730) to start, the Powdered Duck Breast (c.1850) and the Spiced Pigeon (c.1780) for the main, and a range of sickly sweet treats for dessert. Extravagance on a plate.
Simpson’s Tavern, London’s oldest chophouse dating back to 1757, is another trip back in time, while elegant Indian restaurant Gymkhana is an antidote to the oily butter chickens you’ll find on Brick Lane.
The definitive World’s 50 Best Bar awards placed nine London watering holes in its list, and top of the pops was the Savoy Hotel’s American Bar, voted the best in Europe for its 24 legendary London-themed cocktails — from the Abbey Road to the Green Park — served by white-gloved barmen.
The more modern Dandelyon offers cutting-edge cocktails — they claim to specialise in ‘modern botany’ with their range of floral concoctions — and stunning views of the Thames, while a bunch of trendy Shoreditch establishments — The Gibson, Callooh Callay, Happiness Forgets and Nightjar — all represent the resurgent East End on the top 50 list.
Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, the British Museum, Shakespeare’s Globe . . . there’s enough sights in London to fill your Instagram for months.
But underneath the city’s surface lies the Churchill War Rooms, the legendary statesman’s secret World War II bunker that’s now an enthralling museum to the inner workings of cabinet during Britain’s battle with the Nazis, containing perfectly reconstructed bedrooms and offices just metres beneath the halls of parliament.
Any man with even a passing interest in sport can’t miss the chance to experience the pulsating atmosphere of a Premier League match in the English capital. London-based giants Chelsea and Arsenal pack out footballing cathedrals Stamford Bridge and Emirates Stadium every second weekend, while West Ham’s boisterous supporters have moved into the 2012 Olympic Stadium this season. Even the dozens of lower-league clubs can give you a taste of the England’s electric football culture, while a visit to the iconic Wembley Stadium is also a must for sporting tragics.