Even if you’ve never been there in person, you will know London. It is the supporting character in our favourite books, movies and TV shows; it’s the home of our top fashion brands; and it enjoys a reputation as one of the glitziest cities in the world.
London has more day spas and spa-friendly activities than anywhere else in the UK, so it will take more than one visit to get the full experience. Rather than trying to do everything at once, we suggest you divide the city into quarters and get to know north, south, east and west London individually, so that you get a real sense of what London spa breaks have to offer.
If you’re looking for spa breaks in London, just follow the A-list and try a VOYA massage at The Landmark Spa – a favourite of Brad and Angelina. Or experience minimalist luxury at the equally exclusive Mandarin Oriental Spa, where you can book a crystal body massage or a caviar salt scrub.
*Image: Mandarin Oriental Spa
*Image: Thai Square Spa, Covent Garden
London is home to some of the best restaurants in the world. Everyone knows about Nobu, Hakkasan, and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, but there are still a few hidden gems to be found in the big city.
For the best sticky chicken wings you’ll ever try, go to Rita’s in Hackney, or for authentic sushi at affordable prices, seek out Tajima-Tei on Leather Lane.
And don’t miss the food stalls at Whitecross Street, Columbia Road, and Broadway Market, where you can sample all the latest food trends before they go mainstream.
London’s bar scene needs no introduction. You can go high end and classy at royal haunts Boujis and Mahiki (home of the infamous £135 Treasure Chest cocktail), enjoy a traditional pint at Dickens’ local The George Tavern, or hang out with the hipster set at a quirky bar in Shoreditch or Dalston.
Forget Oxford Street – if you want the high street experience without the perma-traffic, head to one of the vast Westfield shopping malls at Shepherd’s Bush or Stratford.
Bond Street, Sloane Street and King’s Road are studded with designer boutiques, but even if you can’t afford to shop there, the window displays alone are worth the trip. If it’s your first visit, the iconic Harrods department store is an absolute must.
And for bargain shopping, check out Portobello Market, Camden Market and Brick Lane, all of which are bursting at the seams with vintage wares and one-off finds.