As the restrictions in London begin to ease, we can’t help but feel the city will soon have its iconic energy back. With many pubs, restaurants and bars having reopened on July 4th, the city is slowly but surely beginning to ease back into the swing of things. Although non-essential travel still remains off the cards, normalcy is on the horizon. Now, you can enjoy a guilt-free day out at the zoo, indulge in a drink inside a pub, or even sit down to dine — things that seemed completely impossible just a couple of months ago.
To get you reacquainted with the London we all know and love, we’ve got a few ways you’ll be able to gently ease yourself back in and rekindle your fondness for the city.
Delve beneath the surface of London’s shiny exterior and discover all about the city’s creative depths.
To step out into the streets of London is to walk in the footsteps of Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, John Dryden and Lord Byron. Since the time of Chaucer, writers as diverse as Herman Melville and Barbara Cartland have worked, played and loved in London. Many of the greatest books ever written can trace their origins to this wondrous city
That’s the introduction to Writers’ London, a chance to go behind the scenes and uncover the parts of London that influenced such impressive and significant works of literature, and discover the multi-generational enticement that London still holds over contemporary writers alike. You can even discover the places where these literary greats loved and lost for yourself — a guide that will become the beloved companion of any booklover or wanderer.
Another supplement to exploring London’s culture, Art London is your go-to guide to uncovering the city’s best art-focused fairs and fixtures, galleries, exhibitions and public spaces that truly put on a display of some great past and contemporary works of art. Discover the artists behind the works and bookmark some of the venues that take your interest that you’ll soon be able to visit.
Whether it’s rock, new wave, synth-pop or avant-garde that strikes your musical chords, if you’re a record-loving individual, there’s no better place than London to hunt down some of the most unique and characterful record shops to have existed in the city’s cultural heritage. A scene that has seen a revival in recent years, Vinyl London encourages you to appreciate the physical vinyl format in all of its nostalgic, authentic glory. If you’re a record enthusiast, this guide is an extremely helpful ally to your exploration, featuring an easily accessible map and summary checklist of what genres to expect in each individual shop.
Want the chance to win these London Guides? In collaboration with our new distributors, ACC Art Books UK, we’re giving three people the chance to win 1 of 3 of the guides detailed above. Head over to Twitter to enter by clicking below.
According to the UK government update, cinemas can open from 4th July. However, a large portion of them are not yet ready to do so. Luckily, there’s an alternative, and you’ll need a car, some blankets and some snacks.
Isn’t there something extremely attractive and romantic about cosying up at a drive-in cinema in a unique location as night begins to fall? Thankfully, there are plenty popping up around London to enable you to get your film fix. And the best thing about them? They’ve always been a great contact-free way to experience the phenomena of film.
The two main companies bringing us old-world American nostalgia is The Drive In and The Luna Cinema. The former’s venue will be in Edmonton and the latter in Surrey Quays at Printworks and Allianz Park in Hendon. As always, there’s a mixture of cult classics and contemporary releases on offer, from Back to the Future and Dirty Dancing, to Rocketman and Paddington. Prices are a standard £35, with extras available to be purchased including VIP spaces, blankets, or an extra occupant, as well as food and drink available to order to your car via smartphone app.
The lockdown restriction that many have been waiting eagerly to be lifted — some pubs and restaurants have reopened as of Saturday 4th July. For some, the idea of sitting in a pub with friends/family is just too good to resist, but let’s not forget we do have to be mindful of keeping a safe ‘one metre plus’ distance from everyone else, and not letting the cocktails go down too easily!
What's for certain — this won’t be the usual pub or dining experience you’re familiar with. Under government regulations, all establishments that wish to reopen should enforce new measures, from reduced capacities and reservation slots to favouring use of outdoor tables. They’ll also be required to keep contact details of diners and punters alike on file for 21 days to best support the track and trace system and keep us all as safe as possible.
You may find that some chains or even independent spaces for that matter, will implement table service to limit the amount of times you need to get up, or give people the option of ordering food and drinks via apps. Live gigs and standing at the bar is not permitted and even surround music should be kept to a minimum to avoid people needing to shout which could increase the transmission of droplets.
Whilst it’s going to be an experience to say the least, we’re sure we hear a Sunday Roast and a cool pint of draught beer calling!
The news of attractions across London beginning to reopen their doors once more to the public has come as a welcome respite from the months we’ve had to spend trying to keep ourselves occupied indoors. Whilst it will of course be socially distanced, you can now take a visit to Kew Gardens, London Zoo, and a selection of National Trust properties at your choosing. For some, you will have to book a time slot online, but once you’re there you are free to roam safely and stay as long as you like. Whether it’s the 60 acres of immaculate gardens at Hampton Court Palace or waddling penguins at London Zoo that you can’t wait to experience again, we’re certainly easing ourselves back into London life once again.
One of London’s most iconic attractions? It has to be its theatres! Whilst they still remain closed, the industry has truly taken full advantage of the potential of digital to continue to excite us and keep us thrilled to experience the real thing when possible.
In the meantime, there is a virtual way to bring the adrenaline-inducing vitality of the theatre to your own living room. The company have been streaming free productions each week throughout lockdown over on their website, and next up is Les Blancs, the final play by Lorraine Hansberry and directed by Yaël Farber, described as “a brave, illuminating and powerful work that confronts the hope and tragedy of revolution.” Each production is available to stream for one week only, allowing for that feeling of exclusivity and eager anticipation for the next show, to prevail.
The Official London Theatre also has some virtual versions of their productions, from & Juliet to Matilda The Musical for all your sing-a-long desires. They can be accessed here.
If you really want to fall back in love with London again, how about staying a couple of nights? Many hotels are reopening again this month with the assured COVID-19 safety measures and precautions in place to help you feel secure when booking. Below are a selection that all offer something highly distinctive and characterful to complement getting accustomed with the capital.
Taking pride of place in the heart of Soho, Mimi’s discreet townhouse façade hides a bijou paradise of stylish decor and lavish materials. It’s the sophisticated yet chic vibe you could be missing right now and Mimi’s Hotel will soon be able to fill that void.
Whilst there is no in-house restaurant, Henson’s Bar will be operational, offering a new menu centred around the Italian Aperitivo, until September. Serving from 5-8pm, enjoy a classic Americano aperitif or a delicious citrusy Garibaldi, all available to be enjoyed with olives, cheese and hummus if you wish.
For a slice of Soho like you remember or that you may have never experienced before, Mimi’s is your go-to.
For a true dose of London’s finest, visit one of the capital’s oldest hotels, Flemings Mayfair. Taking its design inspiration from the 1930s, ornate decor meets with contemporary flourishes. This, paired with its peaceful location down a side street off of Piccadilly, and being in such close proximity to the elegant Mayfair, makes Flemings a quintessential and must-try, British stay.
We are extremely delighted to announce that Flemings Mayfair opened their doors again on Saturday 4th July. They have been working tirelessly to ensure their hotel is a safe haven, adhering to strict guidelines and notifying you about what to expect during your stay. All luggage will be wiped down by concierge, all critical touch points will be wiped down and disinfected, all rooms will be disinfected prior to arrival, and hand sanitiser will be in free supply. You can find out more about the safety measures in place at Flemings Mayfair by clicking here.
Set across two Victorian townhouses and founded in 1971, Portobello Hotel has a star-studded past, having long been the hotel for those in the know from the world of music, show business and fashion. Today, its rooms still exude an eclectic and eccentric charm that mimics the chic sophistication of the Notting Hill area.
Reopening its doors to the public on Friday 31st July, Portobello Hotel is ensuring that it adheres to all government guidelines. The team have been working on a new app that will allow guests to check in and interact throughout their stay, including calls to pass on additional information before check-in, access to digital magazines, newspapers and games, as well as food and drink ordered from the app. You can view a full list of Portobello Hotel’s safety measures by clicking here.
Combining British eccentricism with Indian decor and hospitality, this repurposed Victorian schoolhouse doesn’t let in so easily on the secret extravagance that lies inside. Whether you’re tantalising your taste buds at the magnificent Baluchi restaurant or relaxing in your spacious room with intricate furnishings and ornate embellishments, The LaLiT London is a unique experience to say the least. They are yet to announce their reopening, but we’re sure they’re hard at work ensuring the hotel is as safe as possible for its staff and guests upon their return.
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