Staycation in the city: London

This year has allowed a lot of us to rest, reflect and relax. We’ve spent more time with family, realising how precious memories and moments mean more than material possessions. Which is why we are looking to places not far from our doorsteps to create new experiences.

London is rich and diverse. It’s home for the Chic Retreats family, however, we are constantly finding new and exciting spots to explore…

SOUTH

STAY at The Bermondsey Square Hotel 


This south-of-the-river 90-room boutique hotel is perfectly suited to meet the needs of discerning guests who are looking to relax and enjoy the local attractions whilst staying in the comfort of sleek Bermondsey accommodation, overlooking the Bermondsey Square and the weekly Antiques Market.

EAT at Seabird
Dinner and a view? Look no further than Seabird: a rooftop seafood restaurant boasting London’s longest oyster list, an impressive marble raw bar, and sprawling city landscapes. The scallop ceviche and grilled mackerel are delectable dishes that should not be overlooked.

VISIT the Tate Modern
A must is Britain’s national gallery of international modern art, The Tate Modern. It is based in the former Bankside Power Station, and currently features exhibitions from Andy Warhol and acclaimed artist Kara Walker. The new building – Switch House – is designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron and has a great open-air floor at the top with panoramic views of the city.

EAT at St. John Bakery
There are many St John Bakery postings to choose from, however, the original shop on Maltby Street remains our favourite. You simply have to taste the bakery’s best treat: the seasonal jam-filled doughnut. We recommend ordering a few for the road.

VISIT Borough Market
Located right next to London Bridge, Borough Market is one of the largest and oldest food markets in London, dating back to at least the 12th century. A great way to start your weekend, especially when only a short walk away from your hotel.

WALK along The Queen’s Walk
If you’ve a leisurely afternoon in mind, walk along South Bank, and in particular, The Queen’s Walk – a promenade located between Lambeth Bridge and Tower Bridge. You’ll pass Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, The London Eye, and see plenty of the city’s juxtaposition of old and new on the other side of the river.

EAST

STAY at Town Hall + Apartments

No hotel fully envisions the new-meets-old aesthetic of London quite like Town Hall + Apartments. Every room and suite has been individually designed, and many retain the grand Edwardian period features, while others have a loft-style chic style with ample space. They feel more like a pied a terre in the city than a traditional hotel room.

EAT at Silo
Silo is more than just a no-waste restaurant. Most of the ingredients used are grown on-site in Hackney Wick or sourced locally, and prepared in the most environmentally sensitive of ways to create what they call a “pre-industrial food system”. The menu is full of culinary experiments that can be ordered as a series of sharing plates or as a six-course tasting menu. Make sure to book ahead.

SHOP on Redchurch Street
Aside from being a quaint cobbled street in London’s East End, and being steeped in 1990’s art scene history, Redchurch is home to some of the coolest independent stores around. Peruse Not Just Another Store’s underground fashion designers, Labour and Wait’s carefully selected range of vintage and modern pieces, and luxurious scents at Le Labo.

EAT at Violet
If cake is on the agenda for the day, make sure to head to Violet in Hackney. The American-inspired bakery on Wilton Way is known for its irresistible ginger molasses cake, however the seasonal cupcakes with limited-edition buttercream toppings make for the perfect take-away treat.

UNWIND at re:lax
re:lax is a Skin Studio in Hackney, dedicated to non-invasive, results-driven skincare. It focuses on creating tailor-made treatment is bespoke and tailored to the client, using high performing products that are eco-friendly and ethical. Our skin coaches are trained in a holistic way, supporting the client in maintaining healthy skin from the inside out. This method identifies the root cause to provide long-lasting results.

VISIT Columbia Flower Market
This just so happens to be one of London’s most visually appealing markets. It overflows with bucketfuls of beautiful flowers every Sunday. From 8am-3pm, the traders line the narrow street selling flowers, houseplants, herbs, bulbs and shrubs. It can get quite busy, so best to either go early if shopping seriously, or later if you fancy a stroll.

CENTRE

STAY at No.5 Maddox Street 

No.5 Maddox Street is a hotel alternative discreetly tucked behind London’s bond street. Twelve uniquely stylish apartments offer total privacy, as well as a dedicated 24-hour telephone concierge. Located amidst some of London’s most exclusive addresses, Maddox Street manages to be well connected, whilst retaining an air of quiet tranquillity.

EAT at Norma
Think you know Italian food? Think again. This new opening from the team behind The Stafford London picks apart Sardinian food as we commonly know it, and repackages it with all of its Moorish influences deliciously intact. Its Trapani-style seafood stew with fennel, chilli and saffron couscous is exemplary of the menu’s East-meets-West sensibility.

SHOP at Liberty London
Liberty London is a luxurious department store, housed in a grand Tudor-revival building on Great Marlborough Street, in the West End of London. It’s internationally known around the world for its own fabric line of playful prints, and exceptional brands on offer.

EAT at Nordic Bakery
One of our favourite Scandinavian imports, the Nordic Bakery’s cinnamon buns are best paired with a strong coffee and a too-good-to-put-down novel. For a proper fika fix, seek out a corner table at the Soho branch – dark wood surrounds imbue pared-down Scandi-style.

SHOP at Dover Street Market
The original Dover Street Market was first opened in Mayfair in 2004. Since then five other Dover Street Market stores have opened in Ginza (Tokyo), New York, Singapore, Beijing and Los Angeles, however the London outpost still remains the most famous – a must visit. Expect to find a range of brands, including luxury designers, at this cool, multi-story clothes emporium.

SIP at Attendant
Situated in a renovated Victorian loo in the middle of Fitzrovia, this quirky café is nothing if not novel. Unique location aside, their food menu is seasonal, entirely sustainable and ethically sourced. While dining in a lavatory may leave something to be desired, Attendant’s endeavours to make permaculture the next big thing is nothing to sneeze at.

WEST

STAY at The Portobello Hotel 


The Portobello Hotel is a luxurious boutique bolthole, with interiors that celebrate the bohemian spirit of Notting Hill & the Portobello Road market, with no two rooms the same, showcasing regency style with a Curious Hotels twist.

DRINK at Medlar
Medlar is our little secret at the end of the King’s Road. The food is beautifully prepared from seasonal ingredients; however, the calm and unpretentious ambience is ideal for drinking wine in the early evening, and the list has been put together with care to include a huge geographic and stylistic variety at every price point.

EAT at The Ledbury
Multi-award winning, with two Michelin stars we’ll have you know, The Ledbury comes with a reputation for being a London institution for good reason. Chef-patron Brett Graham opened the restaurant in 2005 when he was just 25. The menu champions British produce, moving on from its original noughties-style fine dining to confidently understated cuisine that is entirely its own – and there’s a well-renowned vegetarian tasting menu too.

EAT at Maître Choux
Pastry chef Joakim Prat’s South Kensington bakery is an obvious option for those with a fine sweet tooth. Known for the eclairs, you have to try the delicately designed lemon meringue iteration, or the decadent hazelnut-and-milk-chocolate creation.

WALK along The King’s Road
Made famous in the 1960’s with fashion figures such as Mary Quant and Vivienne Westwood, The King’s Road makes for an enjoyable stroll for one mile. It stretches through five districts and allows you to enjoy over 300 stores, restaurants, cafés and galleries with quiet spots nestled between lively corners. Pavilion Road at the beginning is a must visit also.

VISIT the Saatchi Gallery
The Saatchi Gallery is a must-see on the London gallery circuit, known for contemporary art, and opened by Charles Saatchi in 1985 – initially opened in order to exhibit his collection to the public. Currently, you can view the London Grads Now. exhibition, which brings together over 150 graduating artists and more than 200 works.

Have you read our previous Journal entry? If not, check out The Chic Guide to Modern Minimalism, here. 

Featured Image by Eva Dang on Unsplash

Andrew Panteli
Andrew is a firm believer that travelling like a local inevitably leads to the best off-the-beaten-path finds which truly make a destination remarkably more memorable. From traditional Indian festivals in humid Hyderabad to fresh seafood pasta by the Sorrentine Peninsula, he appreciates variety when travelling. He hasn't been everywhere, but it’s on the list.