Gordon’s Wine Bar
47 Villiers St., Charing Cross
Gordon’s, rumored to be the oldest wine bar in town, sits on the banks of the Thames. You’ll have to fight through the crowds and be prepared to sit tightly packed outside on the terrace or inside the subterranean wine cave. But like everyone else in town, you’ll love it. While the wine list is justifiably famous, the best part is the cheese bar: You choose whatever wedges of Parmesan or creamy, melty mounds of Délice de Bourgogne that take your fancy, with warm baguettes to scrape the plate with.
The Hoxton Southwark
Blackfriars Rd., Southwark
The Hoxton Southwark, just south of the river, is newer and buzzy enough to satisfy the trendiest of travelers. It goes heavy on smart design. Millennial-leaning amenities—like custom cool-spot maps, kombucha on tap, and complimentary breakfast in a bag on your doorknob—are the norm. Best of all, it means there’s an affordable-ish hotel within easy reach of the Tate and Borough Market with a bar that booms every night and a lobby that welcomes laptops all day.
The Wild Rabbit
Church St., Kingham
Over forty years ago, in the bucolic expanse of England’s Cotswolds, Daylesford became one of the first high-profile adopters of organic, sustainable farming practices. The name has become synonymous with a distinct kind of English eco-chic (to see why, just take a look at the beautifully designed shop, which sells seasonal produce, baked goods, and kitchen supplies), and visitors come here for the quintessential British countryside experience. The Wild Rabbit, a pub that owner Carole Bamford opened just down the road in 2013, incorporates the same philosophy and aesthetic. This isn’t a typical English pub—this one was awarded a Michelin star in 2016 and serves wellness-friendly options, like a heritage carrot entrée with spelt and Swiss chard from the garden, and several fish dishes accompanied by foraged mushrooms and all manner of organic veggies. It also puts on one of the best Sunday roasts outside of London—or in London, for that matter. This one uses grass-fed local cows for the roast beef and dairy products. Each of the fifteen guest rooms is named after a local critter that roams the surrounding woods (the Hedgehog, the Badger, the Fox, etc.)…
Mc & Sons Public House & Thai Kitchen
160 Union St., Southwark
We’re always up for a beer at a London pub. But a family-run Irish pub that swaps fish and chips for spicy pad see ew (proving that authentic Thai is best paired with a pint)? That’s the kind of pub that makes us regulars. A spin around the bar here reveals the rich family history behind Mc & Sons: Every inch of available wall space brings you face-to-photograph with members of the McElhinney family, whose patriarch, Jack, opened its doors in the ’70s. The next generation—Ryan, Joanne, and Johnny and his wife, Lailar—now runs the show. The interior was designed and built by the brothers; Ryan’s artwork is peppered throughout the pub; and the menu was created by Lailar, inspired by her Southeast Asian heritage. Those may be the delicious, design-driven details that make that make the pub a good-looking place to eat and drink, but it’s the authentic Irish spirit and hospitality (they show rugby games at 10 a.m.) and the extensive beer list that make this unlikely Irish ale-meets-Thai kitchen a goop favorite.
Not to hate on food delivery, but the sevices we really want on demand lean more to the mani, pedi, waxing, and spray tanning side of things. This is where the Salonettes come in. They’re a team of beauty therapists spread out all over London. And setting up an appointment couldn’t be easier: Create an account online, select your service (or services? Nice!), pick a date and time, and give LeSalon the address for your home, hotel, or office. (Fun fact: goop’s VIP guru Kelly fell in love with LeSalon after one of the Salonettes rushed to goop Lab London to fix her failing manicure just in time for an event). Founder Natasha Pilbrow empowers the team to manage their own hours and work when it works for them, so LeSalon’s hours of operation stretch from early morning to late-late. Another reason we love the company and concept: Among Pilbrow’s priorities is making sure the Salonettes enjoy the high commission rates, regular training, and financial stability that are not easy to come by in the freelance beauty therapist industry. If you’re waiting for the catch, it’s not coming—treatments use…
The Square, Stow-on-the-Wold
Cotswold boutique Cutter Brooks is a complete surprise. We expected another adorable but predictable homewares store with painted cups and impractical pot holders, but instead we walked into a delightfully fragrant, impeccably stylish magpie’s nest of treasures. Store owner (and ex Barneys fashion director) Amanda Brooks has brought a tastemaker’s eye to this raincoat-and-Wellies part of the world. Stop in, check out the ikat tablecloths, the scrunchies made from vintage Chanel scarves, the woven straw baskets straight from a Saint-Rémy market, and the classic pieces personally scouted by Brooks. Maybe the best shopping isn’t in London—it’s in sleepy Stow-on-the-Wold.
The Village Pub
The Village Pub serves excellent food every night of the week, but the Sunday lunch is otherworldly. A typical plate looks like this: thin slices of tender meat, extra-crispy roasted potatoes, airy Yorkshire puddings, and lashings of buttery vegetables all doused in a rich gravy. It’s intended to be a drawn-out, almost ceremonial affair. Everyone eats too much and somehow still finds room for apple tart, fruit crumble, or sticky toffee pudding). It’s all followed by a long ramble through the ridiculously lush Barnsley House grounds afterward. (It’s no surprise that the property was, at one time owned by a famous gardener—the late Rosemary Verey.) Food aside, the setting—low ceilings, blazing fires, sofas scattered with tartan cushions—invites you to sit, stay, and read the newspapers with a cup of coffee or perhaps a glass of port.
The Wild Rabbit
Church St., Kingham
With flagstone walls, streams of natural light, and elegance in spades, the eighteenth-century Wild Rabbit is worth every mile it takes to get there. And it takes a lot. The Wild Rabbit is the smaller sister property to nearby Daylesford, and its pub menu—most of it sourced from Carole Bamford’s organic farm—is solidly British. By which we mean Cheddar cheese tartlets, venison paired with creamy celeriac and sharp chicory, thick-cut chips, buttery vegetables, and proper puddings. On the somewhat lighter side, we loved the smoked salmon on nutty pumpernickel and balsamic onions. The pub also operates as an inn. Spacious guest rooms are next-level comfortable (and an excellent value at roughly £150 a night) with inviting armchairs, product-laden bathrooms, and cashmere throws strewn across the spacious beds.
Staying at Lucknam Park is a lot like staying at Downton Abbey. The forty-two guest rooms are Georgian marvels, some with frilly canopy beds, all with chintzy wallpaper, silk lampshades, and antique mahogany writing desks—for all the letters you might actually write in a place like this. Evenings kick off with dressy drinks in the library. That’s followed by a formal feast—Scotch salmon bathed in butter, Wiltshire beef, that sort of thing—at Michelin-starred restaurant Hywel Jones. Lucknam Park’s inviting, relaxed atmosphere is luxurious but never stuffy. Between afternoon canters around the estate on one of Lucknam’s horses (there are also well-trained ponies for smaller riders), outdoor soaks in the saltwater pool, and patisserie classes at the superb cooking school, there’s little incentive to leave the estate. And it’s 500 acres, so why would you? But if you do, head to Castle Combe. The village has barely changed since the 1600s.
Ox Barn Restaurant
If you’re not staying at Thyme (though we highly suggest that you do), book in for supper at the cavernous yet cozy Ox Barn Restaurant. It’s helmed by the owner’s son (and Ballymaloe alum) Charlie Hibbert, and his brand of Cotswold cooking is just as homey, hearty, and farm-to-table as you would expect, but elevated. Hibbert doesn’t go for rustic plating and simple preparation. Instead, a leisurely lunch or dinner at the Ox Barn might involve braised beef livened up with pickled walnuts and punchy salsa verde, with a salad of speck, kohlrabi, and local apples on the side. To finish, maybe a small bowl of fig ice cream? All artfully presented, of course. Having lunch there provides an excuse to wander the grounds with daylight on your side, poke around the carefully curated shop (we love the antique champagne coupes, vintage tea sets, and linen tablecloths), and thumb through the design books at the Baa Bar. Maybe with a glass of champagne.