The London Guides
With our LA and NY guides out of the way, we’ve turned our attention to London, undertaking a seriously comprehensive overhaul and splitting this vast city into six guides, defined loosely by area and character. Take a walk down any London street to discover a span of hundreds of years just in terms of architecture, which is to say these neighborhoods’ roots run seriously deep. From the idyllic and leafy streets of the West and Southwest, to the gritty and ever-evolving neighborhoods of East London, we’ve included all our favorite old haunts, covered the best of the new openings, and added many gems that had somehow escaped our attention. Like always, our guides are alive and changing, and we’re constantly on the lookout for more.
Home to some of the world’s best hotels like The Dorchester and The Berkeley, all the major international galleries and auction houses, designer flagships, exclusive private clubs, and many of the Michelin star restaurants, Mayfair has always been a haven for the well-heeled, though Marylebone is quickly catching up.
Many would describe London as a series of villages, each with its own architecture, mom and pop shops, and quirky characters, and nowhere is that more true than in North London.
Dickens, Mozart, Lenin, Marx, Handel, Virginia Woolf, and the Bloomsbury Group were all one-time central London residents, and that rich history is still palpable today in the old Soho clubs and eateries, and the quiet, residential streets of Bloomsbury that they frequented.
Hackney, Shoreditch, Spitalfields and Clerkenwell are where the artists, creatives, and designers settled in the late 90’s and began to thrive, making this one of the most exciting places to shop and eat, not to mention people-watch.
Admittedly, most of the action in London takes place north of the Thames, though South London boasts many hidden gems that are all the more rewarding upon their discovery.
From Notting Hill’s pastel-colored townhouses to South Ken’s classic Victorian museums, to Knightsbridge with its designer flagships and the legendary Harrod’s, these are the streets of storybook London.
London reinvents itself at such a fast clip that by the time you finish reading this guide, we’ll probably be updating it. The most notable change in recent years has been East and Southeast London—these are the areas that are emerging as the capital’s newest pockets of food and culture.
You can’t really walk a block without stumbling across a cultural monument, a great gallery, or one of the world’s best museums—and thanks to its long and storied history, most of its shops and restaurants occupy pretty notable environs, too.
These spots are the kind of places that make it into many a Londoner’s daily and weekly routine—meaning they’re equal parts great and essential (and good for visitors, too).
Our guide to the most iconic spots of this much-loved city, perfect for both locals and visitors alike.
There are tons of new spots in London that are quickly becoming classics. Thanks to the arrival of Andre Balasz’ Chiltern Firehouse, Marylebone is sprouting all kinds of greatness, plus there are loads of more affordable (and verifiably great) restaurants popping up all over town.
For such a posh city, London is actually very kid-friendly. What’s more, so many of the child-specific experiences—be it parks, specialty shops, restaurants, or bakeries—are just as much fun for grown ups.