You could spend years in London and never really scratch the surface – I’ve tried as I’ve lived there there on and off for the better part of four years – but I only had one weekend to get a taste of the luxurious side of London.
Buckingham Palace, the museums, the London Eye? No, I wanted to skip the lines and have a relaxing yet fun weekend with a touch of sophistication.
Here are just some of my highlights from my luxe weekend in London.
Check in to… Royal Horseguards Hotel
The Royal Horseguards Hotel is one of the cities premier luxury hotels by the Guomen brand. With a beautiful refurbished Victorian design, free WiFi throughout and comfortable rooms, it’s the little things that and the attention to detail that really make the property shine; though I’ll never say no to a TV in the bath tub!
My one qualm is that the rooms are small, even by London standard, but the location and facilities more than make up for it.
The hotel is located in Whitehall, just a short walk to Trafalgar Square, the River Thames, Downing Street and Charring Cross Station. The theatre district is a 10-15 minute walk away and there is easy access to public transport to take you to any of London’s premier shopping districts.
After checking in and enjoying breakfast in the Royal Horseguards’ One Twenty One Two, which turns into a fine dining restaurant come evening, the National Art Gallery was calling my name, located conveniently in Trafalgar Square.
Alternatively, the Horse Guards Parade and the London Eye are within walking distance and it’s the perfect time to visit, before the sun rises too high and the sleepy crowds begin to form.
Eat at… Shangri-La High Tea
Skip lunch and head straight to a British favourite, afternoon tea. Make your experience something different by paying a visiting to the newly opened TĪNG, part of the Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard, located on the 35th floor.
At such a height you’ll be offered panoramic views across the city from the regal dome of St Paul’s Cathedral, the River Thames, Tower Bridge, and out across the cities.
TĪNG offers both a traditional British Afternoon Tea as well as a Asian inspired afternoon tea, my choice for the day, which features delicate gyoza, rice paper rolls and a deconstructed pork bun before continuing to scones, and cakes and pastries with Asian flavours, including Japanese matcha.
For a alternative view, or for those wanting to skip the afternoon tea, visit The View at the Shard for the same stunning view only higher at levels 68-72 within the building.
Evening Entertainment at… The Lion King
One of my favourite things to do in London is to see a theatre show! That weekend was no different as I headed to the Lyceum Theatre to see a family favourite that has been running since 1999 - The Lion King.
I upgraded my ticket to an Ambassadors Club package which included VIP lounge entrance, drinks, including a glass of champagne, and nibbles, and a program inside an exclusive Lion King-themed canvas bag. The perfect way to make your experience a little grown up!
If a Disney hit is not quite your scene consider Let It Be, a time warp of Beatles songs from their time growing up in Liverpool to the multi-award winning songs we know them for, or Thriller Live, a spectacular song and dance extravaganza that takes you on a journey rediscovering some of Michael Jackson’s greatest hits.
Shop at… Sloane Square
Located on the border of some of London’s most prestigious boroughs – Chelsea, Belgravia and Knightsbridge – Sloane Square offers a mix of both local and International designer stores and boutiques.
There are three main areas to Sloane Square. The trendy Kings Road which includes stores such as Jack & Wills, French Connection, All Saints and REISS.
Around Sloane Square you’ll find the Peter Jones department store and boutiques such as Rag & Bone.
Finally, around Sloane Street you’ll find luxury shopping including Bottega Veneta, Chanel, Hermes, Mui Mui, Jo Malone and Tiffany & Co. just to name a few.
If you want to keep shopping Harrods, the world famous department store, is just a short cab ride, one tube stop or about 5 minutes by bus.
When you’re shopped out take a cab or bus 22 to brunch at nearby Bluebird, one of Chelsea’s most popular spots by day or night.
Wander through… Hyde Park
Come good weather, Hyde Park is bustling with friends, couples and families enjoying the beautiful surrounds.
Rent a boat and row along the Serpentine or, for those brave enough, go for a swim.
Grab a deck chair or bring a picnic blanket (some hotels provide them and a picnic hamper!) and enjoy a few hours of sun, some Pimm’s and scones… if you aren’t too full from afternoon tea at TĪNG! If TĪNG is a little out of the way for your weekend, consider The Orangery, a cafe with a full afternoon tea menu location within Hyde Park and very close tot he entrance of Kensington Palace.
Sundowners are popular with grazing plates – conveniently bought from the local Tesco or Waitrose – so don’t expect the park to be quiet until well after sunset.
During the summer season Hyde Park is also host to a number of free festivals and concerts, and the Christmas Wonderland which beckons in the holiday season.
Dine at… Bocca Di Lupo
Opened in 2008, Bocca Di Lupo is a multi-award winning restaurant specialising in delicious regional Italian cuisine with much of the produce sourced from Italy. The small restaurant in Soho’s Archer Street has a buzzing atmosphere, ambient open kitchen and brilliant service. Don’t forget to try the kitchen’s own sausages – cotechino!
Skip dessert at the restaurant and instead cross the street to the little sister of Bocca Di Lupo, Gelupo. As the name may suggest, this is the uber popular gelato and sorbet store which also serves coffee, tea, gelato based cakes and plenty of cooking inspiration.
The pistachio and hazelnut are two of my favourites, though the gelato and sorbet menu does change daily, including flavours of the season.
Now it’s over to you
What would you choose to do during a luxury weekend in London?
Which European city would you choose to visit for weekend getaway?
My travel to London and stay at the Royal Horseguards Hotel was arranged by Royal Brunei Airlines.
All thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own.