London shines in summer. The city brushes off the winter fog, shakes away the spring rain, and emerges, full of energy and raring to go. This is when London comes alive with events and parties, with cool openings and hip happenings. And a slew of new hotels, restaurants, shops and exhibitions offers even more reasons to travel to London.
The Best New Hotels in London
London’s biggest hotel news is the Belmond Cadogan, in Chelsea, a beautiful building that was once home to Oscar Wilde (he was famously arrested here). There are 54 light, bright rooms with views over Cadogan Place Gardens, an elegant salon for breakfast and tea, and a superb restaurant with chef Adam Handling at the helm. A lovely extra touch: guests are given keys to the private square gardens, perfect for a stroll or a game of tennis.
In Knightsbridge, the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park has reopened following last year’s devastating fire. The property is more beautiful than ever, with completely renovated suites, a dazzling new penthouse and an expanded spa and pool. The new Biltmore Mayfair, meanwhile, is an interesting five-star addition to Grosvenor Square in Mayfair, an overhaul of what used to be the Millenium Hotel.
Hipsters may want to head to Kings Cross, where The Standard is opening its fashionable doors soon; this is the brand’s first foray out of the U.S. Expect their usual take on laidback hospitality and retro-chic interiors. And East London’s most exciting opening is The Stratford Hotel, part of Manhattan Loft Gardens. The brains behind it is Harry Handelsman, of Chiltern Firehouse, so it’s destined to be a hit, with airy design-led interiors, plant-festooned terraces known as “sky gardens” and a buzzy brasserie.
The Best New Restaurants in London
Coal Drops Yard is the latest area in revamped Kings Cross, a once-scruffy neighborhood that has utterly transformed in the last decade, and Hicce is the place to be seen. This lofty restaurant, on the top floor of the Wolf & Badger concept store, specializes in wood-fired everything, courtesy of chef Pip Lacey. The Angela Hartnett protégé is big on seasonal dining, so expect delicious dishes such as grilled mackerel with radicchio or brussels sprouts with hazelnuts. Don’t miss the crème caramel, a dessert that is already gaining legendary status.
Fans of the original Bob Bob Ricard in Soho will rejoice at the news that Bob Bob Cité opens this month in the Leadenhall Building (also known as the Cheese Grater, because of its distinctive shape). The menu will be different, thanks to French chef Eric Chavot, but the famous “Press for Champagne” buttons will still be at every table.
Hotels are upping their dining game, too, with André Garett recently taking over at The Corinthia, and Nathan Outlaw shaking things up at The Queen’s favorite hotel, The Goring. For something more low-key, Notting Hill’s hottest new neighborhood restaurant, Orasay, serves seafood inspired by Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, to a relaxed, stylish crowd. Star chef Jason Atherton is also rumored to be opening another restaurant in Mayfair this summer, next to his flagship Pollen Street Social.
The Best New Shops in London
For a fascinating curation of young, international designers, head to the new Layers London on Albemarle Street in Mayfair, a minimalist space featuring clothes and accessories by the likes of Fausto Puglisi, Raf Simons and Damir Doma.
Top-end mall Westfield White City has had some interesting arrivals, including high-end Natuzzi Italia. The interiors brand recently opened a 5,700-square-foot store with its signature low-key, luxe collection of beautifully-crafted furnishings made in Italy. The heritage menswear designer Skopes has also opened in Westfield, celebrating the family-run business’s 70th birthday with a stylish selection of sharp men’s tailoring.
Over in Soho, on-trend eyewear designer Ace & Tate has a new shop on Brewer Street, while Folk on Berwick Street offers low-key, fuss-free fashion for men and women.
The Best New Exhibitions and Shows in London
The latest blockbuster exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum is a colorful retrospective of Mary Quant, the first since 1973. There are photographs and sketches from her personal archive, as well as 120 designs that display how she reinvented female fashion in the ’60s with her bold mini-dresses and PVC accessories. Through February 16, 2020.
The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain at Tate Britain, which runs until August, is a novel take on the artist’s works, bringing together 50 pieces that illustrate how he was influenced by Britain and how he, in turn, influenced British artists. The artist lived in the UK for several years, and this exhibition will showcase many of his most famous works, including Starry Night on the Rhône and Shoes. Through August 11, 2019.
The Design Museum’s newest show-stopper is Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition, which uses objects to delve into the director’s creative process on everything from A Clockwork Orange to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Through September 15, 2019.
In theater, the acclaimed Lehman Trilogy is back in London and playing at Piccadilly Theatre. The story follows the path of three brothers from Bavaria, their arrival in New York, and the collapse 163 years later of the Lehman Brothers firm they had established. The cast features Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley, and Ben Miles, as the brothers, their sons, and grandsons. Through August 31.
Matthew Broderick makes his London stage debut in Kenneth Lonergan’s moving, comic play, The Starry Messenger, about an astronomy professor, and the limitations drawn by dimming professional aspirations and opportunity, and a numbing marriage. Elizabeth McGovern plays his wife in this production staged by Sam Yates at Wyndham’s Theatre. Through August 10.
~ By Francisca Kellett