London at your Feet
14 April, 2014
Por Tensi Sánchez de actitudesmgz.com
When you feel trapped by routine and you fancy something different, London is the perfect city for you. London is the ideal place for a weekend change of scenery where you can fully recharge your batteries for a return to the office on Monday morning.
One good idea is to grab a flight there on a Friday morning with a return on the Sunday afternoon. This will give you plenty of time to explore the city and have some fun. Here is one possible plan to cover a Friday and Saturday that avoids public transport and gets you everywhere on foot.
We land at about ten thirty and arrive at our hotel in less than forty-five minutes. The Doubletree Courthouse Hilton Hotel is a good choice because its location is excellent, in fact just a stone’s throw from Carnaby Street. In summer, you can also use the hotel terrace to enjoy a few drinks. Meanwhile, the indoor swimming pool with massage centre is available all year round. The hotel has a great deal of history as it used to be a magistrate’s court and some of the cells, the judge’s bench and witness stand can still be seen today.
Lunchtime approaches and we head off to our next destination. A ten minute walk from the hotel along the legendary Carnaby Street and Regent Street takes us to Piccadilly Circus, where San Carlo Cicchettiopened recently. This new concept in tapas combines quality traditional Italian food with good prices complemented by the very latest décor.
Not far from here is the Seven Dials area. The name comes from a monument with sundials to be found at the convergence of its seven streets. The seven streets are home to a multitude of shops, galleries and bars in which to lose yourself for a few hours. Here are our favourites:
Magma Books – you will find this bookshop to be a real treasure trove if the world of designer magazines and books excites you. Further down the same street is its partner establishment, Magma Design – here you can buy all sorts of objects and other curios related to design. Also on the same street is The Vintage Showroom – an unusual shop with a very English flavour that sells second-hand clothes for men.
If you like cheese, you simply must pay a visit to Neal’s Yard Dairy – you’ll be amazed by the varieties on display.
Hidden away in Seven Dials is a small square called Neal’s Yard – a magical place for enjoying a drink or snack on any of the terraces to be found there. The colourful building facades and flowers hanging in the windows are a source of inspiration for many fashion writers. You’ll love it.
We cross Neal’s Yard and on the other side of the street is the Miller Harris perfumerie. This brand was established in 2000 by perfumer Lyn Harrisen. A world of sensory excitement awaits behind its doors. Here you can buy fragrances, candles, soaps, creams, etc. Also worth noting is the wallpaper bearing the exclusive designs from the packaging used for the fragrances themselves.
The same street is also home to Coco de Mer, one of the most famous and unusual erotic shops in London. Succumb to the fetishes of your inner soul and buy yourself a little pleasure.
To end the afternoon, there’s nothing like dinner at Bill’s Restaurant in St Martin’s Courtyard – the perfect place to try the famous Bill’s Burger or the delightful Fish Pie, as well as some of their own brand products, such as Bill’s Beer.
Carnaby Street is opposite the hotel and is one of the most charismatic streets in London where you can always find a wide range of different shops. Take note of these: Cowshed – with its exquisite décor, they offer beauty and café services combined. This is the perfect place to meet for a chat and treat yourself.
For the lovers of British Style, Peckman Rye is a small family shop that has been selling silk ties, handkerchiefs and bow ties for more than two centuries.
Bottletop is an unusual shop that sells handbags and accessories made from bottletops. Some of the designs are amazing and, most importantly, the brand supports a foundation that provides work to young people in dire straits. Lamuète Boutique sells French and Italian designs for women with urban-chic style. Finally, on the corner with Newburgh Street you will find Fourth & Main for functional yet elegant men’s fashion.
A different and entertaining way to have lunch in London might be to sign up for Sutra classes with chefJay Morjaria. For less than €15 and for one hour, you will learn how to make succulent vegetarian dishes and then enjoy eating them
The perfect place for any man can be found on Brewer Street, where various new shops have all opened recently: Wolsey, Jack Spade, Woolrich, Stone Island and our favourite, Rapha – an ode to the world of cycling with a very well decorated café-bar inside. If you like hats, then Laird London on Sherwood Streetis the place for you. They have an impressive collection of borsalino and panama hats.
The website for Regent Street has all the information you need, is well organised for shoppers and has recently added a range of new services, such as Gift Cards and the delivery of your purchases to your home or hotel without charge.
To end your Saturday evening, you simply must visit Sketch. This is the most fashionable place in the city and where you can choose from a wide range of exclusive cocktails; we went for their classic Old Fashion. This place really gives you an incredible visual and sensory experience that is hard to put down in words.
A day dedicated to the markets of London. We will highlight two of the lesser known places to go:Spitalfields and Brick Lane. The latter of the two has become a symbol of multiculturalism that is constantly evolving.
Hundreds of stalls selling new and second-hand clothes, works of art by emerging artists and designer objects at good prices. We also recommend visiting the shops on the nearby streets and do not ignore thegraffiti you will see everywhere. If you like urban art, you can even sign up for a special tour. Finally, there’s nothing like taking a break at any of the international food stalls for a quick bite.
We return home after having had London at our feet for three days and, most importantly, with our batteries fully recharged.
By Tensi Sánchez from actitudesmgz.com
Pictures By Rubén Seco
14 April, 2014