When Samuel Johnson said “there is in London all that life can afford” he wasn’t joking. From the capital city’s maze of side-streets to its never-ending list of boroughs, each with their own vibrant character, there is a lot to see in London, and also a lot to miss. Sometimes, even knowing where to begin can be an utter conundrum. But with a huge haystack comes a vast array of needles. Staying at our Grosvenor House Suites by Jumeirah Living gives guests a feeling of independence, so here’s our local’s guide to London, what to look for and where to find it, and ultimately how to feel like a Londoner.
Getting Around London
Famously the home of black cabs and “mind the gap,” London has always been known for its distinctive methods of getting around, and today is no exception. The iconic taxis are still alive and well in the age of Uber, and following a recent deal with electric car manufacturer LEVC, much of the fleet has received an oh-so-luxurious and ecologically sound makeover. Large skylights, state-of-the-art AC, and smooth silent rides are part of the all new black cab experience.
Lesser known, but far more of an experience, is the London river bus. Not all the whizzing catamarans on the misty morning Thames are loaded with tourist groups; many are the preferred transports of the capital’s financiers and entrepreneurial trailblazers. The river service connects all the main sites of central London along the Thames and is surprisingly faster than the Tube during peak hours. Not only that; it’s an utterly enchanting experience: cawing seagulls atop the looming silhouette of mist-cloaked Tower Bridge, nothing gets you close to Dickensian London than the river bus.
For all London’s many modes of transport, we recommend downloading the London Citymapper app. The app is so fine-tuned that it will even tell you which carriage to enter to ensure you’re right by the exit stairs at your destination.
Food & Drink
Anyone can take a client out to dinner, but it shows real local finesse to create a dinner party with your own private caterer. Favourites of smart London hosts include Ottolenghi, for upmarket Middle Eastern, The Admirable Crichton, for modern British and Mosimann’s (who cater for the Prince of Wales no less) for European flair.
If you love to cook, or just want to graze, then head for foodie havens like Borough Market, London’s oldest food market, where hundreds of artisan producers sell their mouth-watering offerings to grateful gourmets. Visit Richard Hayward Oysters (it’s been around since 1792) for your seafood starter and as you peruse the various stalls your menu will come together. Other favourites for fantastic dinner party ingredients are the legendary Food Halls of Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and Selfridges. From finest caviar to tastiest truffles, there is something for the fussiest foodie.
The British love for quirky, bespoke, truly individual styling is reflected in the number of specialist shops. Want custom made shoes? Head for John Lobb; a classic bespoke British suit? It has to be Saville Row. The perfect panama or Ascot hat? Lock & Co Hatters are a favourite of the British aristocracy; You can even do as the Duchess of Cambridge and have your own special scent created by Floris, the oldest privately-owned family perfumers in the world.
In addition to local boutiques, London’s renowned department stores such as Harrods and Selfridges all have excellent personal shopping services where in-house stylists will help you come up with a wardrobe tailored just for you, while Fenwick, Liberty and Brown’s all feature the best of British design talent.
Fitness, as in many of the world’s metropoles, is a watchword here in London. From picturesque jogging trails to swanky gyms, it’s a city packed with exercise glamour. The go-to personal trainer of choice is Matt Roberts, whose high-end studios include locations in Mayfair, South Kensington, and the City. Other elegant fitness alternatives include Equinox, whose flagship gym on St. James’s Street intersperses treadmill with dappled marble column. Or KX in South Kensington that is more like a private member’s club. Ask your personal trainers to take you outdoors for a challenging session in one of London’s many beautiful parks to take advantage of the city’s aquatint spring.
Staying in our residences at the Grosvenor House Suites by Jumeirah Living makes a visit to London seem more independent and we try to help our guests live like a local.