So summer’s come to an end (we think) and winter’s just around the corner: it’s too late for a last minute summer holiday, and too early for a winter wonderland venture. You know what’s better than a seasonal sojourn? A trip you can take whatever the weather.
London’s West End is one of the most exciting entertainment quarters in Europe, and with the best – and biggest – shopping streets on the continent, it’s bursting with brilliant places to see, shop, eat and sleep.
We took a trip to the West End courtesy of our friends at Rain PR recently to sample some of its finest fashion delights, so whether you’re after documented must-sees or undiscovered local gems, we’ve compiled a little black book of the best things to do when you’re there.
If you’ve worked up an appetite after all that shopping, the West End has some culinary delights that are delicious in taste and style. From the best tasting Thai to typical British cuisine, here’s a selection of our favourite food joints.
For great Thai food in contemporary surroundings, Busaba Eathai is perfect for a quick-stay lunch or relaxing meal. Choose from an extensive menu typical of the country’s cuisine and scrumptious feel-good smoothies – we recommend the Thai calamari (seriously delish). 35 Panton Street, SW1Y 4EA. www.busaba.com, 020 7930 0088.
If history and grandeur is on your menu, the Criterion restaurant is a must. Located in the heart of Picadilly and set in the most decadent of gold gilded domes, you’ll find a wide range of reasonably priced brasserie favourites fit for a culinary King. Check the pre-theatre set menu for something a little cheaper, or go on a Saturday to experience live music on the grand piano. 224 Piccadilly, W1J 9HP. www.criterionrestaurant.com, 020 7930 0488.
For the health-conscious, you’ll love the exciting options on offer at Tibits. Serving an impressive selection of flavourful raw foods and vegetable dishes, the popular Swedish chain is the first of its kind in England – we promise you’ll leave feeling full and suitably refreshed. 12-14 Heddon Street, W1B 4DA. www.tibits.co.uk, 020 7758 4110.
Above Piccadilly under glass and sky, discover the Terrace restaurant and bar. Known for its distinctive character and majestic charm, this eating experience, located in the world famous Le Meridien Piccadilly Hotel, offers traditional fine dining in a breathtaking atmosphere that fuses contemporary edge with French flair. 21 Piccadilly, W1J 0BH. www.lemeridienpiccadilly.co.uk/terrace-restaurant.
Fancy finishing the night with a cocktail or four? Japanese-style restaurant and cocktail bar Senkai serves the best beverages in town. Choose from a carefully-edited selection of inspired cocktails, or ask the waiter to put a twist on a classic – if your lucky, he’ll even design you your own. We recommend the Frozen Flower, a deliciously fruity refresher. Senkai serves food, too, in case you begin to feel peckish after several punches. 65 Regent Street, W1B 4EA. www.senkairestaurant.com, 020 7494 7600.