Travel London

London, England
What do see and do…

A city with something for everyone, London blends historical charm and modern delights. No matter what your passion – food, fashion or music, London delivers. I have been to London several times, but my recent trip to this fabulous city was one to remember. Here are some of my favourite picks. Enjoy!
London is a fashionista’s dream. There are plenty of department stores in London to whet your shopping appetite including Harrod’s, Harvey Nichols and good ol’ Marks & Spencer. Check out an assortment of trendy shops such as Top Shop, Next and River Island. And, don’t miss a walk down famous shopping streets such as Oxford, Carnaby, Regent & Bond, If you only have time to only put your credit card to good use in one spot, make your way to Selfridges. This London institution will not disappoint. Scoop up local favourites Mulberry, Temperley, Burberry & Chloe. And how can you not adore a department store that has a Moet Bar! Champagne and shopping – simply brilliant.

Gift Giving
Now, you cannot make a trip across the pond without bringing back gifts. Shop for yourself – of course. But, leave a little room in your suitcase to squeeze in trinkets for those who matter most. For the kid in your life make a stop at Hamleys, the famous London toy store. You cannot go wrong with Underground Ernie, the UK’s answer to Thomas the Tank Engine! For the lady who has everything, pick some spa delights at Molton Brown. If you’re shopping for Mr. Right, snatch up a Paul Smithscarf. I am not kidding when I say that every stylish dude in London was wearing one. Finally, the quintessential gift for anyone on your list – treats from London’s staple food hall, Fortnum and Mason. Founded in 1707, no trip to London is complete without a visit.

My London itinerary usually includes a visit to the Tate Modern, but this time around, I left it to chance and explored some local galleries and made an unexpected stop at the Royal Academy of Arts. I was lucky enough to catch the Auguste Rodin exhibit just days before it closed. Whether you are a Rodin fan or not, when you view the sculptor’s masterpiece, The Thinker, up close you cannot help but be impressed. An actual art school, the Academy offers visitors access to not only exhibits but lectures, art fairs, and guided tours.

The theatre scene in London is second to none, and on any given night you can enjoy a play that’ll suit your style – from Macbeth to Mary Poppins. I sat third row at the Pheonix Theatre and was mesmerized by the award-winning Blood Brothers. You can hardly find anyone in London who has not seen this show, which has been playing since 1991. Now I know why!

Forget the local pub or chi-chi bar. I am suggesting that when in London, do as the Brits do – enjoy a cup of tea. You will find no better establishment for an afternoon cup than The Wolsely. The busy former car showroom and Barclay’s bank is now a must-visit spot for locals and tourists alike. Sip some earl gray and nosh on traditional finger sandwiches. And, I take my advice – leave your low-carb diet at the door and order the scones. Divine. 

Where you stay in London largely depends on what your plans are. You want to situate yourself strategically so that you are in walking distance to many of your favourite spots. For exceptional luxury and possible celeb sightings, give the The Savoy, The Hempel, or Sanderson London Hotel a try. If you want a delightful, reasonably-priced and well-situated place to crash after a busy day of shopping, my preferred spot is a small boutique hotel in the thick of all the action called The Flemings Mayfair.  Situated just off of Piccadilly, steps away from Bond Street, walking distance to the theatre district and close to attractions such as Buckingham Palace, this is a gem of a hotel. I became quick friends with Guest Relations Manager, Branca who treats everyone like family. The hotel has just over 100 rooms but try out one of their 10 fully equipped apartments. I knew I had found my home in London when on the first night of my stay Branca had hot cocoa and cookies sent to my room!

Tracy Finkelstein