Our Travel Guide to a Weekend in London
One of Western Europe’s oldest cities wears modernity on its sleeve.
Heralding Central London’s return to cool is Bronte, which opened in July 2016 on the Strand in Trafalgar Square. The restaurant’s glamorous interior is the work of British designer Tom Dixon, whose products are featured throughout—from the elegant pendants to the seating to the tea lights on the tables. On the menu, you’ll find a mix of standard British fare and dishes with a decidedly Asian feel.
Bronte, 1-3 Strand, London, bronte.co.uk.
No. 11 Pimlico Road
This neighborhood restaurant serves up small plates, classic meals, and Sunday roasts in a relaxed and cozy space. Try one of the inventive cocktails or peruse the impressive beer and wine lists, and be sure to snag the green-velvet circular booth by the entrance.
11 Pimlico Rd., London, no11pimlicoroad.co.uk.
This pink-pouf-filled room is the perfect spot for afternoon tea with your ladies. Come for the Instagram (it’s one of the most-tagged locations in London), but stay for the petits gateaux in all their three-tiered-cake-stand glory.
9 Conduit St., London, sketch.london.
Much like Boston’s City Hall Plaza, Tower Hill was a Brutalist district that essentially shut down after rush hour. Dutch hotel chain CitizenM has breathed life into the area by appealing to millennial travelers. The focus here is on the hotel’s public spaces, including the British-memorabilia-filled bookshelves that line the lobby walls and a terrace bar on the eighth floor featuring downtown views and Warhol’s pop art portraits of QE2 herself. Though the guest rooms are small, they’re high-tech, equipped with iPads to give guests control over lights, sound, temperature, and television.
CitizenM Tower of London, 40 Trinity Sq., London, citizenm.com.
One of London’s original boutique hotels, this spot between Kensington and Chelsea boasts 47 individually themed, over-the-top, luxurious rooms designed by Anouska Hempel. The result is a design haven that has drawn the rich and glamorous for decades.
33 Roland Gardens, London, blakeshotels.com.
“You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966–1970”
Victoria and Albert Museum’s new show “You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966–1970” uses period artifacts to showcase how political activism and revolutionary movements spread through pop art, fashion, music, and film, from the U.K. to Europe and across the pond to the United States. The exhibit also explores how 1960s ideas of freedom and art continue to influence us, half a century later.
Through 2/26/17, Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London, vam.ac.uk.
“House of MinaLima”
The design duo behind the graphic art in the Harry Potter films showcases a decade’s worth of props that brought the beloved story to life.
Through 2/4/17, 26 Greek St., London, minalima.com.
“Fashion Rules: Restyled”
Three years ago, Kensington Palace displayed a collection of modern royal gowns. The show proved so popular that it inspired a new expanded collection—“Fashion Rules: Restyled,” a one-of-a-kind look at the dresses and ensembles worn by Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, and Diana, Princess of Wales. The exhibit is a testament to the way the three women both defined and adopted fashion trends of their time, with the help of some of the most iconic designers of the 20th century.
Through 1/3/17, Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, London, hrp.org.uk/kensington-palace.