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.
Looking for a light bite later in the day? Stop off for afternoon tea at any one of the West End’s many cafes and cake shops – it’s such a quaint way to break the day. And if you’re lucky, you might get a glass of bubbly, too.
Not just for sleeping, the Sanderson hotel offers a great afternoon tea with a magical Alice in Wonderland theme. Take a tumble down the rabbit hole and into the courtyard to enjoy a delicious selection of fantasy finger sandwiches, cakes, scones and a unique take on sweet treats to savour. The ‘Drink Me’ banana, peanut and sea salt smoothie served in a dainty chocolate espresso cup is simply darling. From £35 per person. 50 Berners Street, W1T 3NG. www.sandersonlondon.com, 020 7300 1400.
If you like a cup of tea while you shop, make the most of your trip to Liberty. Its 2nd floor newly-refurbished cafe is a hidden haven away from the busy shop floors and provides a perfect backdrop to an afternoon tea with traditional silver teapots serving 10 blends of loose-leaf brews, eclectic china and homemade jam for freshly-baked scones. From £16 a person. Great Marlborough Street, W1B 5AH. www.liberty.co.uk, 020 7734 1234.
Fortnum & Mason
A trip to one of London’s most historic stores is something you won’t forget in a hurry. With five restaurants serving traditional British cuisine, as well as an ice cream and cake parlour, the world-famous afternoon tea served in the St James’s Restaurant is a must. Take a lift up to the top floor to be greeted by a grand piano, decadent decor and a sumptuous selection of traditional finger sandwiches, bite-sized cakes, mini canapes and classic teas from around the world. From £34 a person. 181 Piccadilly, W1A 1ER. www.fortnumandmason.com.
Bob Bob Ricard
Like a scene from the Orient Express, Bob Bob Ricard, in the heart of Soho, is an explosion of eclecticism set in a glamorous all-booth dining room. Afternoon tea here is served with mini toasters to warm your own crumpets and a wide variety of traditional English teas. Ring the bell at the side of your table for champagne, too. Prices around £21. 1 Upper James Street, W1F 9DF. www.bobbobricard.com, 020 3145 1000.