The insider’s guide to London

Whether you’re visiting for the weekend or just looking to escape the crowds, there’s a lot more to this capital city than its tourist landmarks. Here’s where to go to feel like a local… By DELILAH KHOMO


The holistic hideaway

Everyone thinks of the Edition hotel as a hedonistic hot spot thanks to its vibrant restaurant Berner’s Tavern and underground club Basement, a table-free party den. But now the space has been transformed into a holistic spa retreat complete with resident healer Lani Rocillo, who leads a monthly sound healing/gong bath and meditation session. This acoustic massage takes you into such a deep, dreamlike, relaxed state that, after a two-hour session, leaves you feeling like you’ve shed ten years of stress.

The capital zen

There’s a calming air of quiet luxury about Glow Bar that makes the frenetic pace of life dissipate as soon you arrive. Aside from a fabulous infrared sauna, this wellness emporium comprises a store that sells an interesting selection of organic beauty brands, pretty amethyst hair combs and rose quartz face rollers, palo santo and smudge sticks, plus a cafe that executes a simple but effective menu, including heavenly moon milks and CBD-infused chocolate truffles.

With an inviting cafe, a herbal supplement shop and an infrared sauna all under one roof, Glow Bar is the place to go for self care

The secret view

While away the day (and evening for that matter) on The Berkeley Hotel’s seventh floor, where the tranquil swimming pool, Bamford Haybarn Spa, secret garden and the city’s best-kept panoramas await, with views over charming Hyde Park. When the temperature drops, head back inside to try the hotel’s latest afternoon tea experience, ‘Prêt-à-Portea’, inspired by the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The lesser-known museum

Experience the Sir John Soane’s Museum, ideally by night, when on the first Tuesday of every month, guests can admire Greek antiquities and paintings including work by Hogarth, Turner and Canaletto by candle light.

The cycle route

Hire a Pashley bike from the vintage bicycle dealer Tally Ho! and cycle along the Regent’s Canal path towards Whitmore Bridge in East London. Stop by the Towpath Cafe, an enticingly rustic affair, born out of four containers on the waterside.

Enjoy hot chocolate, mulled wine and homemade shepherd’s pie while watching a classic movie at The Berkeley’s rooftop cinema

The historic adventure

Explore landmark churches, romantic ruins and candlelit crypts on one of the British Pilgrimage Trust’s guided walks, which follow the journey of the River Thames from the City of London to the City of Westminster. Book ahead for the upcoming guided pilgrimage with historian Jason Goodwin and Dr Guy Hayward, who offers a fresh perspective on the city, bringing meaning and context to the poetic metropolitan landscape. For more details on the route and upcoming guided pilgrimage events, visit

The British Pilgrimage Trust’s London routes take in major historical sites including the Tower of London (above), St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey
Browse for antiques then stop by the bar for a cocktail at LASSCO on Maltby Street

The foodie haven

Maltby Street Market is the go-to for unusual bric-a-brac from LASSCO (The London Architectural Salvage and Supply Co.), and a wonderfully eclectic food market with artisan bread from The Snapery and the best jamón from Bar Tozino. But make sure you save room to experience the incredible pared-down seasonal menu and phenomenal wine selection from the restaurant 40 Maltby Street.;;

The botanical escape

Tucked away out of sight in the heart of Chelsea, the Chelsea Physic Garden is a perfect oasis away from the maelstrom of city life. Book ahead for the bee-keeping courses, botanical painting classes and herbology talks from March to June.

The atmospheric theater

The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse puts on exceptional Reformation-era dramas on Bankside, lit by flickering candelabras, just as they would have been performed in Elizabethan London.

For 55 years, San Lorenzo has welcomed rock stars, Hollywood royalty and real royalty through its doors

The classic eatery

San Lorenzo is a 55-year-old Knightsbridge institution with a list of diehard regulars – which previously included Princess Diana, Joan Collins and Jack Nicholson; now Kate Moss and Alexa Chung – who love its old-school elegance and romantic setting. After designer Isa Arfen launched her SS19 collection there, the family-run trattoria is having somewhat of a renaissance; head there for classic dishes such as the signature bagna cauda and lobster spaghetti.

The antiques treasure trove

Find ’30s bias-cut slip dresses and mid-century antiques at Alfies Antique Market, which houses over 75 dealers in a grand Art Deco building in Marylebone.

The underground secret

Visit The London Silver Vaults for the largest retail collection of antique silver in the world, housed in underground high-security storage units – the same ones that protected the aristocracy’s valuables during both World Wars.