By Tyler Kenny
There is an amazing juxtaposition of the old world and the new in London. Here, you’ll discover a city as renowned for its past as it is respected for its forward-thinking approach. The city invites you to immerse yourself in culture, from its storied museums to its charming street markets, and everything in between.
Victoria & Albert Museum
Known as the world’s greatest museum of art and design, it’s collection contains over 2.7 million pieces of decorative and applied art. In both scope and diversity, the museum is home to an incomparable collection, which ranges from architecture and painting to furniture and fashion. In addition to its permanent collections, the V&A offers a host of special exhibitions (counting David Bowie & Alexander McQueen's Savage Beauty among it’s most popular). With over seven miles of galleries to walk, it’s best to plan your route in advance.
Dover Street Market
This former construction site expertly blends the feeling of market shopping with a quirky yet minimalist approach to designer merchandise. The brainchild of Comme Des Garcons founder Rei Kawakubo, you’ll find six floors of expertly curated fashion, and the only retail space where you’ll see Louis Vuitton hanging next to Supreme. You’ll also discover Dover Street exclusives only available here — the perfect memento from your trip to London.
Located in Mayfair, and only a five-minute walk but far removed from the congested and super touristy Oxford and Regent streets, sits Mount St. From rare books and luxury paper goods to watchmakers, Mount street has something special to suit every style. On one end of the street sits a Porsche dealership and Phillip’s auction house, with a 3-floor display of contemporary art, that changes weekly. Towards the middle of the street, you’ll find flagship designer boutiques like Balenciaga and Goyard next to world famous Scott’s restaurant. Reservations (or bookings as they’re known here) must be made several weeks in advance, so plan accordingly and ask for “The Queen’s Table.”
Don’t let the name fool you, the Brits have a cheeky sense of humour. Sexy Fish offers up Asian fusion fare and is as ostentatious as one might expect Mayfair’s newest restaurant by Richard Caring to be. With every inch of the interior covered in onyx, and art installations by Damien Hirst and Frank Gehry, it’s easy to see how the interior design cost over 15 million pounds. Beef or octopus carpaccio, crispy duck salad and the signature Sexy Fish roll (a salmon and yellowtail maki roll) are all expertly prepared and presented here. Celebrities like Kate Moss, Joan Collins, Rita Ora and David Cameron have all been spotted here.
Mourad “Momo” Mazouz and his team have converted this traditional 18th-century tea house into a London institution for art, food and music. Sketch is comprised of multiple rooms each offering a unique menu, decor and experience. Among others, the Lecture Room & Library boasts 2-Michelin-starred European cuisine, while The Glade is set in an enchanted forest, the perfect ambience for intimate cocktails.
The highest tower in Western Europe contains the Shangri-La and seven restaurants and bars. The Aqua Shard (located on level 31) is open for breakfast at 7AM until 11PM for dinner, meaning you can watch both sunrise and sunset from the city’s highest vantage point. The Aqua Shard bar serves up an extensive selection of signature cocktails inspired by British staples, like gin and tea.