However exciting it may be to have reached your destination, the first day of a trip can be taxing. Long flights are tiring, and hotels don’t always have rooms ready for check-in before mid-afternoon. Few travelers care to leap into their trip bleary-eyed, embarking on a full-day excursion, nor do they want to waste the day completely. In the spirit of finding a happy medium, we have outlined an ideal arrival day in London, customized to where you are staying.
- Late Breakfast: Enjoy eggs benedict and tea at the buzzing Cecconi’s
- Restore: Treat yourself to the Weekly Groom Hour at Groom, during which two therapists work in tandem on a manicure, pedicure, facial, massage and brow tidying
- Perfect Lunch: Dine at La Petite Maison, a fashionable hot spot serving Provençal fare.
- Culture Moment: Visit the Gagosian’s new Mayfair location for of-the-moment contemporary art exhibitions and installations.
- Shop Around: Navigate the boutiques along New Bond Street, and don’t miss the high-end leather boutique Smythson.
- Caffeinate: Return to your hotel for their famous afternoon, which is a draw for locals and travelers alike (reserve a table in advance).
- Lovely Stroll: Amble through Grosvenor Square and around charming Mayfair
Hotel: Ham Yard
- Late Breakfast: If the weather is nice, check out the rooftop terrace and garden before enjoying the farm-to-table cuisine at the hotel’s restaurant.
- Restore: Book the Matins energizing massage at the hotel’s Soholistic Spa for a Matins energizing massage, perfect for a post flight pick-me-up.
- Perfect Lunch: Snag a seat the popular Ducksoup to enjoy one of the day’s specials.
- Culture Moment: Pop into The National Portrait Gallery, which houses portraits of British leaders spanning from the beginning of British Monarchy to current day royals including Kate Middleton.
- Shop Around: Avoid the busy Piccadilly Circus and hide out at Karl Largerfeld’s London boutique, which proffers an eclectic mix of wares including candles and his ready-to-wear line.
- Caffeinate: Luxuriate in the beautiful yellow marbled Café at Café Royal Hotel while sampling fine European pastries and espresso.
Hotel: The Lanesborough
- Late Breakfast: Curb your appetite with freshly baked pastries at Celeste, located in the hotel’s Venetian dining room, or grab a quick bite in the swanky, wood-paneled Library Bar.
- Restore: Book a treatment at the hotel’s spa. The herbal massage, which uses ancient healing techniques to treat muscle aches and help melt away stress, is great for combatting jet lag.
- Perfect Lunch: Dine like a local at the Punchbowl, Guy Ritchie’s informal, Art Deco–inspired pub. Try the scotch egg, a classic British dish.
- Culture Moment: Stroll (or ride) through Hyde Park and pop into the Serpentine Sackler Gallery for the latest modern art exhibitions. Enjoy a light picnic afterwards on the lawn.
- Shop Around: At Globe-Trotter’s flagship boutique for hand-crafted, personalized luggage.
- Caffeinate: At Ottolenghi Belgravia, a gourmet chain that has fantastic baked goods and coffee.
- Lovely Stroll: Pass through Wellington Arch, located across from the hotel, which leads directly to Buckingham Palace.
- Late Breakfast: If you arrive at the hotel after noon, head to the cozy Scarfes Bar for some light fare and a cocktail before heading out for the afternoon. If you arrive earlier, the hotel’s Holborn Dining Room is a great spot for breakfast fare.
- Restore: Experience Rosewood’s Sense Spa and book their signature Face Place Treatment.
- Perfect Lunch: Located on the corner of Aldwych and Drury Lane is the eatery The Delaunay (owned by the same people behind London staple the Wolseley).
- Culture Moment: Walk to the nearby Sir John Soane’s Museum, located in the former home of the eccentric art collector and filled with his whimsical collection.
- Shop Around: If you happen to arrive on a Sunday, be sure to shop at the Rosewood’s Slow Food & Living Market, located in the serene inner courtyard. Another great place to shop is on Lamb’s Conduit Street, which is home to independent shops like The French House and Folk.
- Caffeinate: Walk 15 minutes to Store Street Espresso, a minimalist but cozy café located near the back entrance of the British Museum.
- Lovely Stroll: Walk over to Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the largest public square in London.
Hotel: Batty Langley’s
- Late Breakfast: Order from the all-day menu at Blixen, a European brasserie that offers several variety of scrambled eggs, pancakes and waffles as well as lunch fare.
- Restore: Hotel hop over to Shoreditch House, a Soho House property that boasts a chic Cowshed spa.
- Perfect Lunch: Have an indulgent lunch atop Heron Tower at foodie favorite Duck and Waffle, or grab something quick at Pizza East, a casual but chic pizzeria.
- Culture Moment: Take a self-guided street art tour through Shoreditch, home to many innovative artists
- Shop Around: Pop into London Undercover for a stylish umbrella to hide under during your stay in the often-rainy city.
- Caffeinate: Grab a window seat to enjoy hot chocolate and toast with marmalade at the quaint Verde & Co.
- Lovely Stroll: Amble down the hip Brick Lane, full of local shops and funky thrift stores.