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London’s Capital Delights

A look at quality places to stay, timely visitor tips, some of the best upscale shopping and gourmet restaurants in London.

SEE & DO

Five cultural stops that visitors to London should not miss.

 

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Victoria and Albert Museum

Browsing the applied art and design pieces of the V&A is always a pleasure. The innovatively presented Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition, which runs until 2 August, is the first retrospective of his work to be shown and has created a buzz beyond the merely the circles of fashionistas. The artefacts on display range from the designer’s MA collection of 1992 to his final collection of 2010. vam.ac.uk; £17.50

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The British Library

The British Library is, of course, renowned for its vast collection of books and reading rooms but many visitors to London forget it regularly hosts insightful, well-curated exhibitions. To coincide with the 800th anniversary of one of the world’s most significant legal documents the Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy exhibition runs until 1 September. bl.uk; £12
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English National Opera

The ENO performs operas in English or provides surtitles for most shows, winning it a glowing reputation for accessibility. The company’s innovative, contemporary productions regularly provide a new take for well-known scores. The Pirates of Penzance and Carmen count among the shows being performed over the summer. eno.org

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Art15

Olympia hosts the third edition of this global art fair from 21 to 23 May, plus a preview evening on 20 May. Leading galleries from 40 nations will exhibit works by established artists and introduce up-and-coming contemporary talent to collectors. The art books, guided tours and evening events make this a must-visit happening for art aficionados. artfairslondon.com; £15

Londonaise International Petanque Festival

Britain’s largest petanque tournament will take place from 5-7 June at Barnard Park in the north-east of London. Participating gives you an opportunity to play with or against some of the world’s leading players, in an environment celebrating French cuisine and culture, while raising money for the Mercury Phoenix Trust. thelondonaise.co; £10
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STAY

Our favourite hotels across the city.

 

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The Capital Hotel

Over the past four decades this familyrun, 49-room boutique hotel has built a solid reputation for quality and comfort, using English fabrics and drawing upon the country’s stately design traditions. Located in Knightsbridge, just a couple of minutes’ walk from Harrods, the Capital is a fine venue for afternoon tea. capitalhotel.co.uk; £275

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The Soho Hotel

If you want stay in a chic, centrally situated, modern English setting try one of the 91 rooms in the Soho Hotel. Styled by Kit Kemp, each of the guestrooms is furnished uniquely, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows plus iPod docking stations. firmdalehotels.com; £245

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Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard

For some of the best views in the city, book a night in one of the 202 rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows located between the 34th and 52nd floors of London’s tallest building. Butler service is provided in the 17 suites. shangrila.com; £298

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The Charing Cross Hotel

This grand, 239-room 4-star property opened its doors 150 years ago. The Victorian hotel’s Terrace restaurant overlooks Trafalgar Square and the Strand. Rooms feature Nespresso machines and tablets for internet access. amba-hotel.com; £194

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EAT

London’s hottest restaurants serve a host of international cuisines yet don’t need to cost the earth.

 

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Ibérica la Terraza

Nacho Manzano, with three Michelin stars, is the executive chef at this al fresco restaurant on Cabot Square. You’ll find a choice of beautifully presented pinchas, tapas and other Spanish- influenced dishes, along with a laidback dining environment. ibericarestaurants.com; £25

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Angelus

This stylish yet relaxed French restaurant with a lounge-bar is run by Thierry Tomasin, the former sommelier at Le Gavroche. The lunch menus change each Wednesday and are served from noon until 6pm. angelusrestaurant.co.uk; £22 for two courses

Le Gavroche
This culinary institution with an exceptional wine list opened in 1967. Michel Roux Jr and his team continue to wow diners with creations such as soufflé suissesse and roast Goosnargh duck with crispy legs, beetroot tatin and port jus, a dish that’s made to share. le-gavroche.co.uk; £70

Reform Grill and Social
Inspired by a British gentlemen’s club, this restaurant offers hearty British fare, including ribeye steaks, fish and chips plus rabbit loin stuffed with mushroom. If you’re feeling indecisive plump for the five course tasting menu.reformsocialgrill.co.uk; £30

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Asia de Cuba

The so-called ‘Chino-Latino’ cuisine served here is a zingy blend of Asian and Caribbean ingredients and Cuban style cooking. Philippe Starck designed the dining room. The ceviche dishes and delicious salads mean you can enjoy the flavours without worrying about calories. morganshotelgroup.com; £30

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Le Secret des Rôtissiers

On sunny days the restaurant’s riverside terrace by Westferry Circus is a fine place to sit and enjoy succulent, rotisserie-grilled chicken served with a buttery, tarragon-infused ‘secret’ sauce along with fine French wines or cocktails. eatlesecret.co.uk; £18.85

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SHOP

Where to find the best footwear, fashion, houseware and more.

 

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Where do you go after heading to Knightsbridge to shop at Harrods (harrods.com) and Harvey Nichols (harveynichols.com), iconic department stores that are as much a part of any quality London sightseeing itinerary as they are about shopping? You could, of course, browse the stores on nearby Brompton Road and break up the day with pastries and patisserie products at Paul (paul-uk.com) or Caffe Concerto (caffeconcerto.co.uk) where you can grab a coffee and cake and listen to live music. Nicolas Anthony (nicholas-anthony.co.uk) has a host of smart ideas for bathroom decorations and stocks a range of branded appliances. For fine footwear slip into Crockett and Jones (crockettandjones.com), which has been in business since 1879 and stocks seasonal collections for men and women as well as classics such as Oxfords and Derbys. Rigby and Peller (rigbyandpeller.co.uk) sell a line of seductively designed lingerie, swimwear and shapewear from high-end suppliers, including the likes of Empreinte and Andres Sarda

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