Answers from Our Experts (3)
1. Wander around the financial district — “the City,” as we call it — maybe on a Sunday, when it is deserted, for a feel of history.
2. Go and take a look at St. James's Street and St. James's Palace at the bottom of it, which has guards in those giant fur hats we call busbies — also gentlemen's clubs in beautiful old buildings and Berry Bros.' historic wine merchant.
3. Roam on Hampstead Heath if you're feeling constricted by city life and explore Kenwood House.
4. Go on the Eye or to the top of the new Shard building for a bird's-eye view of the city.
5. Portobello Road at the weekend is great for buying antiques and vintage clothes.
6. Walk by the Thames on the south bank.
I work a lot with Jay Jopling, one of our big art people. Jay has a huge gallery in Bermondsey. It’s called White Cube. He has several in London. I think they’re fantastic. There’s one in Mayfair, and I go to the one in Bermondsey, too.
Visitors should pop into the Royal Academy and have lunch at The Wolseley. Go to Portobello Market on the weekend and Notting Hill — even though we’ve seen the film and you’ve got the T-shirt, I think the neighborhood has a lot of vibrancy. Shoreditch is also great, the markets there. Tate Modern is also fantastic. If it’s raining, get yourself an umbrella and book a lot of great restaurants and hit the shops. If it’s sunny, the parks are beautiful.
London has more iconic landmarks, fascinating museums and cultural highlights than almost any other city on earth. But if we had to whittle those attractions down to just five, this would be our selection:
1. Discover Westminster Abbey. With a history dating back almost 1,400 years, Westminster Abbey is one of the most enduring features of the London skyline. Ornate, enormous and breathtakingly beautiful, this old church is home to a vast array of interesting features, including the medieval masterpiece Lady Chapel, and that’s why it just edges out St. Paul’s in the city’s must-visit cathedral stakes.
2. Eat and shop in Camden Town. There is nowhere else in the world quite like Camden Town. A unique corner of London known for its markets, which sell everything from alternative fashion to antique furniture, there is also nowhere better for street food, with fresh-cooked cuisine from all four corners of the world on sale.
3. Explore the British Museum. London has more than its fair share of world-class exhibitions, including the Victoria and Albert, the Natural History Museum and the Tate Gallery. Yet it’s the British Museum, with more than eight million artifacts including the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles, that is top of the pile.
4. Enter the Tower of London. Home to monarchs, politicians, treachery and treasure for more than 1,000 years, the Tower of London is a microcosm of British history — expertly brought to life with a world-class exhibition. Highlights include the dingy dungeons, the ornate Crown Jewels and having a snapshot taken with a beefeater guard — then finishing with a stroll across the picture-perfect Tower Bridge.
5. Catch a West End show. "Theatreland," as it is affectionately known locally, is one of the world’s greatest destinations for musical theater. Between them, the 40-or-so venues here have premièred everything from Les Misérables to The Phantom of the Opera. Buy last minute, bargain-priced tickets at the TKTS booth in Leicester Square and then prepare to be entertained.