Gabrielle Sander

Correspondent

  • London, England, Europe

Gabrielle Sander is a London-based Forbes Travel Guide correspondent who has spent the last eight years or so eating, drinking, exploring, probing and pampering all in the name of work. She writes about luxury travel, food, restaurants, spa and beauty and has been published in The Arbuturian (where she also heads up the travel section), The Telegraph, News International’s Fabulous magazine, Running in Heels, Glass Magazine, Lovefood.com and more. Sander enjoys the simple things in life: Earl Grey tea, playing Scrabble, discovering the local dishes of a new destination — and attempting to whip them up back home — crunching through autumn leaves and sunrises in beautiful settings.

  • On March 9, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander is now following the question:
  • On March 9, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What should I pack for a trip to London?

    For winter, spring and fall visits, pack clothes to beat the chill, a handbag-sized umbrella and a foldaway waterproof jacket, that way you’re prepared for whatever the weather decides to do at the time, without using up all your precious suitcase space. In summer, London temperatures can get pretty high – especially on the Underground – so light layers are your best bet, in addition to the aforementioned rainy day necessities for impromptu showers.

    Year-round, comfortable shoes are a must so you can explore the city on foot, rather than relying too much on the busy public transport. Some people choose to dress up for a trip to the theatre, some don’t; likewise, there are many great restaurants that don’t require men to wear a tie and ladies to dress to impress, so don’t feel pressured to pack your Sunday Best unless you want to.

    Lastly, a good pocket map, camera, travel plug and some pounds to keep you going until you find an ATM, should cover the basics. And be sure to make a note of the addresses for any great recommendations you’ve picked up on the site from Forbes’ London Correspondents.
  • On March 9, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What is the weather like right now in London?

    Right now, at this very moment, London is experiencing a light shower of rain. Yesterday, it was bright one moment, foggy the next, drizzling for a time, and then blowing a frosty wind… Colder temperatures - and even rumours of snow from some forecasters - is apparently on the way over the coming days; next week, there’s a run of cloudy days and highs of 50 Fahrenheit on the cards. But then, being London, it could just as likely clear up and blanket the streets in warm sunshine, completely contradicting the experts.

    This beautiful city is a bit of a changeable diva when it comes to the weather. Though, come rain, shine or hailstones, there are plenty of shelters to take cover until it passes - one of the many free museums and galleries, shopping malls, or delicious places to pick up a bite to eat, will keep you entertained while it does. For the latest report, visit the Met Office website.
  • On March 9, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What are the best bars in London?

    North

    69 Colebrooke Row – aka The Bar With No Name - what this bar lacks in size, it more than makes up for in quality cocktails. Far beyond your usual Manhattan, expect inventive mixes incorporating seasonal and unique ingredients you’ve likely never heard of, let alone associated with a cocktail: smoked frankincense, woodland bitters, distilled clay, ‘hint of hay’… Budding mixologists should book into one of the 69 Colebrooke Row masterclasses. Reservations are recommended to ensure a place on one of the 35 seats.

    East

    Steeping foot inside Callooh Callay is a bit like venturing down the rabbit hole to Wonderland, without the hallucinogenics and antsy Mad Hatters. This eclectically-decorated gem serves up playful cocktails such as From Nancy With Love and Mary’s Magic 8 Ball and a menu of bar snacks. The best lies through the unassuming wardrobe at the end of the main bar, the JubJub Bar – a popular space for private parties and pop-up events, which until March 30th plays host to JubJub Does Oysters & Absinthe: a tasting menu offering just that (email info@calloohcallaybar.com to book). 

    South

    A short stroll from Blackfriar’s or Waterloo Bridge, stooping high over the river Thames and South Bank, lies the OXO Tower Bar, the place to head for an evening tipple, when London is in its all-twinkling glory. Lounge back, relax after a day of exploring the city, and take in the view with one of the many Champagnes, cocktails (the location-apt Room With a View perhaps?), whiskies, liquors and locally-brewed beers.

    West

    Serving classy martini, long, and sparkling cocktails in equally high end opulence, Beach Blanket Babylon is a bar with personality and, with the fire roaring during this chilly time, a cosy place to head for a drink or two before continuing onwards for dinner in Notting Hill.
  • On March 9, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    Where is the best shopping in London?

    On a short trip to London? Then you’ll find all your shopping needs fulfilled in the West End. Begin right at the centre at Oxford Circus where Topshop, Nike and United Colors of Benetton surround it with their multi-floor flagship stores, then work your way along the main strips and back streets leading off it.

    Selfridges, a five minute walk away, is a must-visit, with high street and designer fashion (from All Saints to Vivienne Westwood), handbags, shoes, beauty, fragrance, homewares, confectionary and much, much more to lose yourself in. Keep your eyes peeled for the easy to miss sign to St Christopher’s Place on the way, where a narrow alleyway of little boutiques opens up to a central courtyard circled with cafes and restaurants (for luxuriously thick hot chocolate, swing by Apostrophe).

    Alternatively, a stroll down Regent Street alone could easily meet your gift or personal treat needs: head to Hamley’s for the kids; Penhaligon’s for a beautifully packaged fragrance for that tricky to please aunt; Godiva to sweeten up a loved one; Anthropologie for the dog-sitter…

  • On March 9, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What are the best restaurants in London?

    Gaucho From pop-up stall to candlelit haute cuisine, there’s something for all budgets among London’s restaurant scene. Here are some recommendations for vegetarians and meat-eaters:

    Vegetarian

    Smart: Vanilla Black - a Michelin-recommended restaurant hidden down a back street off behind the busy strip of High Holborn; a 5 minute walk from Chancery Lane underground station. A sigh of relief from vegetarians who are finally taken seriously with an extensive menu of original and very pretty plates, which taste as good as they look. One to reserve ahead.

    Casual: Tibits off Regent's Street serves up a buffet selection of over 35 delicious salads, hot dishes, dips and nibbles, but the comfortable surroundings are far from what you’d expect from a help-yourself eaterie. From the people behind the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant, (Hiltl, founded in 1898), it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about taking the cuisine beyond just plain ‘rabbit food’. With a no reservations policy in place I recommend heading just as the lunchtime service starts, 11am, or early evening. If the tiramisu is on the menu when you visit, I urge you to try a slice; seriously good!

    Meat

    Smart: For prime, melt-in-the-mouth, cuts of meat in dark, moody (in a good way) surroundings, head to Gaucho. This Argentinean steak house, with 14 locations across the city, combines great service and food, with cowhide pattern wall covering, designer light fittings and floor to ceiling mirrors – in fact, tables folded away it'd make a perfect cocktail bar. While we're on the subject, they also boast a great selection of house cocktails and Argentinean wines.

    Casual: Meat Liquor was the place to head for burgers when it first arrived off Oxford Street in 2011, with people willing to queue for over an hour on its 'no bookings' policy and word of mouth alone. Now the buzz has died down a bit and the burgers served up inside are still good – the real get your hands messy sort; the cocktails, too (may I suggest the Full English Martini), it's a great place to drop by for a laid back bite in stripped back, rock 'n' roll music surroundings. Head down early evening and you’re much more likely to walk straight in.
  • On March 6, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What are the best activities to do in London?

    Add one of these to your to-do list for a taste of 'Ye Olde' London:

    Head to London’s oldest public park. Opened in 1845, Victoria Park in the East End is a beautiful place for a quiet stroll of the Old English Garden, a lengthy picnic (in warmer months) beside one of the lakes, or coffee in The Pavilion Café. For music fans, the coming months sees the park play host to events including the Field Day Festival 2013 (May 25th) and Lovebox (July 19th – 21st).

    Sample a traditional taste of London with a visit to one of the city’s oldest pie & mash shops. The family-run Goddards at Greenwich has been feeding hungry customers with handmade sweet and savoury pies since 1890. For more adventurous palates they also serve another traditional London bite, jellied eels.

    Order a pint at one of the city’s oldest pubs, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. This Fleet Street pub – famously touched on in Charles Dickens’s 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities -  is worth a visit to a peek at its dark, character-oozing, seventeenth century low ceilings and downstairs vaulted cellar bar, alone, but the beers served on tap are really rather good too.
  • On March 6, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What are the best attractions in London?

    For history buffs or those seeking an insight into London and Britain’s past, here’s a trio of attractions to add to the itinerary:

    The Churchill War Rooms takes visitors back in time to the Second World War, with access to the Cabinet War Rooms, the underground bunker the then Prime Minister, Sir Winston, and British government sheltered during the Blitz, and an interactive museum dedicated to Churchill’s life, among the highlights.

    A stone’s throw from Trafalger Square, on 36 Craven Street, is the former residence of Dr Benjamin Franklin: scientist, inventor, and of course, one of The Founding Fathers of the United States. Set over three floors, the 18th century Benjamin Franklin House, maintaining much of the original décor and features, explores Franklin’s life and studies through various artefacts, live performance and visuals.

    Westminster Abbey is steeped in history, from William the Conqueror’s crowning in 1066 (the first king to be crowned at the abbey) to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011, many a famous foot has walked its aisle and iconic occasion taken place among its gothic walls, with a host of past nobility and iconic British figures laid to rest or commemorated within its grounds: Edward The Confessor, Charles Dickens and T.S. Eliot to name but a few.
  • On February 28, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What are the best boutique hotels in London?

    Townhall Hotel & Apartments
    Step foot inside this grand East London hotel and you enter a world of Edwardian architecture, sleek 1930s Art Deco décor and abundance of marble; with specially commissioned pieces from local artists dotted about on every floor. The bedrooms are brought up to the 21st century with modern technology and contemporary design, and fully equipped kitchens in the suites allowing you to self cater if you so wish - although the on-site restaurants (Viajante and Corner Room) and cocktail bar offerings are so good you’d be forgiven for leaving it untouched. Don’t miss the beautiful pool, made for a pre-dinner or breakfast dip, which awaits guests in the basement.

    The Zetter Townhouse
    This Georgian townhouse, with its 13 individually and thoughtfully designed rooms, and cobbled square location off the beaten track, is the epitome of boutique hotel. The diverse, and bulging, collection of antiques and conversation-starting curiosities adorning the surfaces and walls, looks like the wares of a well-travelled and eccentric hoarder. The downstairs Cocktail Lounge serves up a unique mix of dangerously drinkable mixes, while upstairs the bedroom boast REN beauty products, iPod docks and cosy furnishings. And for when the conversation runs dry, there’s a Games Room allowing you to challenge the rest of your party to a few rounds of Ping Pong.

    45 Park Lane
    This five-star Mayfair hotel is like the younger, trendier sister to the adjacent Dorchester. The décor is the brainchild of New York architect and designer Thierry Despont, and as a result, is stylishly dressed in natural materials, warm hues and dark wood, with an expansive collection of art from well known British names adorning the walls. The 45 rooms come complete with Hyde Park views, Nespresso machines, on-screen personal training from instructor to the stars Matt Roberts - plus yoga mat props - iPads, Bang & Olufsen entertainment systems and 24-hour personal butler service. Wolfgang Puck’s onsite CUT is the place for faultless steak and generous breakfasts, while upstairs Bar 45 serves up aperitifs and nightcaps. Popular with celebrities too, Rihanna is one of the A-listers to have recently checked in here.
  • On February 27, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What are the best kids activities in London?

    Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
    Set in the heart of London’s bustling Piccadilly Circus, Ripley’s is home to six floors of weird and wonderful worldly items, based on the travels and discoveries of the famous adventurer, Robert Ripley. From a mind-boggling mirror maze to a life-size model of the world’s tallest man it offers much in the way of food for thought.

    London Zoo
    Lions, tigers and bears, oh my! OK, that's not strictly true; there aren’t any bears at present, unless you count Winnie, a statue of the black bear that was there in the 20s and inspired AA Milne’s infamous book series… But there are 17,500 (at last official annual count) other animal inhabitants at London Zoo to keep you entertained: giraffes, penguins, gorillas, giant Galapagos tortoises, meerkats, pygmy hippos…

    SEA LIFE London Aquarium
    With over 500 species of sea life spread over three floors, from minute tropical fish to 2.8 meter sharks; floor-to-ceiling tanks allowing you to get nose-pressingly close; and stations allowing little fingers to touch and feed, there’s much at the London Aquarium to entertain children of all ages. For the brave, there’s also a Family Snorkelling with Sharks experience.

    Science Museum
    A chance for the little ones to learn the history behind some of the world’s greatest inventions and adults to reminisce about the one-time must have gadgets and technology of their youth. The IMAX cinema showing 3D and 4D films, interactive self discovery sections and a colourful, crawlable are just for babies and toddlers, are among the highlights. What’s more, the Science Museum is one of the few kid’s attractions that's – bar the cinema showings – completely free.
  • On February 27, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What are the best art galleries in London?

    Saatchi Gallery, London. Copyright: Matthew Booth, 2009 The stubborn British weather is made for perusing art galleries, and London is more than equipped to keep visitors dry and entertained come rain, or cool and contented, in the rare case of blistering shine. Refreshingly, they’re mostly free too, which allows for some guilt-free on-site gift shopping or bite to eat. It would take all day to reel off the list of must-visits, so here’s a trio of the best for modern and contemporary art to whet your appetite.

    Saatchi GalleryOut of the city’s many art galleries, the Saatchi is the one I would return to again and again for the thought provoking, eye-catching, and often smile-inducing, contemporary art displays: Richard Wilson’s 20:50 oil and steel installation is particularly mind-bending. A champion of young and lesser known British and international artists, the Saatchi is a great place to seek inspiration for that next big art investment. A stone’s throw from Sloane Square Underground.

    Tate ModernWith an impressive display of British and international contemporary and modern artists, and a calendar of must-see temporary exhibitions, its no wonder this Thames-side gallery is one of the world’s most visited. Rothko, Picasso, Matisse, Kandinksy, Pollock… there aren’t many well known artists not displayed among this little lot. Be sure to stop by the Tate Modern gallery shop – one of the best in my opinion - for a fantastic collection of books, postcards and other gift-worthy items. Likewise, the Level 6 restaurant is a great place for a lunch accompanied by awesome city views. Nearest Underground station: Southwark.

    Serpentine Gallery: Another fine, and free, London gallery of modern and contemporary works, set in Hyde Park’s Kensington Gardens. The rolling schedule of temporary exhibitions ensures there’s always something different to entertain visitors. Every summer the Serpentine boasts the addition of a pop-up pavilion, commissioned from a different big name architect every year – Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry and Oscar Niemeyer are among past names – playing host to the BBC Proms, film screenings, talks and a café. Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto is 2013’s contributor. Nearest Underground stations: Lancaster Gate, Knightsbridge, South Kensington.


  • On February 26, 2013
  • On February 23, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What are the best art galleries in London?

    Saatchi Gallery, London. Copyright: Matthew Booth, 2009 The stubborn British weather is made for perusing art galleries, and London is more than equipped to keep visitors dry and entertained come rain, or cool and contented, in the rare case of blistering shine. Refreshingly, they’re mostly free too, which allows for some guilt-free on-site gift shopping or bite to eat. It would take all day to reel off the list of must-visits, so here’s a trio of the best for modern and contemporary art to whet your appetite.

    Saatchi GalleryOut of the city’s many art galleries, the Saatchi is the one I would return to again and again for the thought provoking, eye-catching, and often smile-inducing, contemporary art displays: Richard Wilson’s 20:50 oil and steel installation is particularly mind-bending. A champion of young and lesser known British and international artists, the Saatchi is a great place to seek inspiration for that next big art investment. A stone’s throw from Sloane Square Underground.

    Tate ModernWith an impressive display of British and international contemporary and modern artists, and a calendar of must-see temporary exhibitions, its no wonder this Thames-side gallery is one of the world’s most visited. Rothko, Picasso, Matisse, Kandinksy, Pollock… there aren’t many well known artists not displayed among this little lot. Be sure to stop by the Tate Modern gallery shop – one of the best in my opinion - for a fantastic collection of books, postcards and other gift-worthy items. Likewise, the Level 6 restaurant is a great place for a lunch accompanied by awesome city views. Nearest Underground station: Southwark.

    Serpentine Gallery: Another fine, and free, London gallery of modern and contemporary works, set in Hyde Park’s Kensington Gardens. The rolling schedule of temporary exhibitions ensures there’s always something different to entertain visitors. Every summer the Serpentine boasts the addition of a pop-up pavilion, commissioned from a different big name architect every year – Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry and Oscar Niemeyer are among past names – playing host to the BBC Proms, film screenings, talks and a café. Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto is 2013’s contributor. Nearest Underground stations: Lancaster Gate, Knightsbridge, South Kensington.


  • On February 23, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What are the best parks in London?

    Regent's Park Boating Lake. © Indusfoto Ltd The city is blessed with a plethora of parks and green spaces, varying from the immaculately manicured to the wilderness of the countryside, and feel a world away from the pedestrian-heavy shopping streets. For a breath of fresh air, pack a picnic (or flask of something hot, if it’s chilly), and head to one of these:

    Hampstead Heath: With bright green parakeets chirping happily from one tree to another, quiet spots to pitch up and throw out a fishing rod, and bathing ponds to take a dip in all year round, Hampstead Heath is one of the city’s best parks. Its rustic charm mentally transports you to the countryside, with only the occasional glimpse of a London landmark bringing you back to reality. The 790-acre Heath caters for runners, cyclists, dog walkers and duck feeders alike.

    St James’s Park: Set at the core of London’s iconic Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace and the Houses of Parliament, St James’s Park – the oldest of the eight Royal Parks – is the hub for witnessing some of the city’s age-old traditions: the Changing of the Guard; annual Trooping the Colour, to mark Her Majesty’s birthday; and the Royal Marines Beating Retreat, a drum-filled musical display by the Household Division Beating Retreat. The central lake, photo-worthy flower displays, and The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk, are among the other contributors to the park being one of Europe’s most visited.

    Regent’s Park: You could easily lose a day here with the host of things to do and see at Regent’s Park: walk among the kaleidoscopic flora in Queen Mary’s Garden; sneak a peek at the animal antics at London Zoo; don your sneakers and take to the running tracks; pedal along on the boating lake; take a seat at the open air theatre; or just lie back on the perfectly maintained grass and soak up the rays on a hot summer’s day. Its central location also makes it a great respite in between shopping on nearby Marylebone High Street and Camden Town.
  • On February 23, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What are the best parks in London?

    Regent's Park Boating Lake. © Indusfoto Ltd The city is blessed with a plethora of parks and green spaces, varying from the immaculately manicured to the wilderness of the countryside, and feel a world away from the pedestrian-heavy shopping streets. For a breath of fresh air, pack a picnic (or flask of something hot, if it’s chilly), and head to one of these:

    Hampstead Heath

    With bright green parakeets chirping happily from one tree to another, quiet spots to pitch up and throw out a fishing rod, and bathing ponds to take a dip in all year round, Hampstead Heath is one of the city’s best parks. Its rustic charm mentally transports you to the countryside, with only the occasional glimpse of a London landmark bringing you back to reality. The 790-acre Heath caters for runners, cyclists, dog walkers and duck feeders alike.

    St James’s Park

    Set at the core of London’s iconic Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace and the Houses of Parliament, St James’s Park – the oldest of the eight Royal Parks – is the hub for witnessing some of the city’s age-old traditions: the Changing of the Guard; annual Trooping the Colour, to mark Her Majesty’s birthday; and the Royal Marines Beating Retreat, a drum-filled musical display by the Household Division Beating Retreat. The central lake, photo-worthy flower displays, and The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk, are among the other contributors to the park being one of Europe’s most visited.

    Regent’s Park

    You could easily lose a day here with the host of things to do and see at Regent’s Park: walk among the kaleidoscopic flora in Queen Mary’s Garden; sneak a peek at the animal antics at London Zoo; don your sneakers and take to the running tracks; pedal along on the boating lake; take a seat at the open air theatre; or just lie back on the perfectly maintained grass and soak up the rays on a hot summer’s day. Its central location also makes it a great respite in between shopping on nearby Marylebone High Street and Camden Town.