I try and get out and about in London when I can – especially as I work in Surrey, which means London is an exciting change of scene and pace at the weekends. Here are a few of the things I can recommend from the last two months.
I went to 108 Brasserie at The Marylebone Hotel with family for afternoon tea to celebrate my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary – a fantastic achievement and one that deserved some prosecco and scrumptious food. If you are gluten intolerant or coeliac, this is definitely somewhere to try as the grand tiers of the ‘healthy option’ were barely distinguishable from the ‘classic’. But although we weren’t sold on all the desserts, the sandwiches were exactly what you would wish for in this genteel English treat and the scones were possibly the best I’ve ever had.
Another afternoon tea, this time for my birthday, was enjoyed at the Richmond Hill Hotel, not far from home. It felt very sophisticated and the scones were deliciously warm, the puddings probably better and the sandwiches also pretty good. Combine with a visit to Richmond Park or a stroll along the Thames for the perfect Sunday afternoon.
Despite some splendid walks, including one four-mile loop of the Thames around Chiswick, Barnes and Hammersmith, the best view I’ve seen recently is undoubtedly the one from Oblix on the 32nd floor of The Shard. It felt very glam to dress up and ascend the landmark for my birthday. The cocktails were delicious- though inevitably expensive- some live jazz set the mood nicely and we even saw the Tower Bridge lifting. If only we could afford to do this every Saturday night!
Rewinding to election week, I was lucky to get to see The Vote at the intimate Donmar Warehouse rather than just on TV. It was incredible to be so close to Judi Dench, Mark Gatiss, Catherine Tate and all the other wonderful actors while they were giving such fantastic performances. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was an immersive and really impressive production and I would definitely return to The Donmar to see what else they can come up with.
Another exciting and very cliched thing to do in London was going to the Natural History Museum on one of its Fridays Lates. The bar food was very tasty and not as extortionately expensive as you may expect, and it was lots of fun to wander around the magnificent museum when it was less busy before finishing the night in a South Kensington pub.
Another late opening was the Sunset Safaris which recently started at London Zoo. There were some enticing food stalls, well-scheduled talks and again it was great to explore with less crowds. The penguins, lemurs and giraffes were my favourites.
Finally, it’s not quite London but at Hampton Court Palace I’ve been along to see Paloma Faith performing a brilliantly retro and brassy concert, plus to the RHS Flower Show where although I got rather sunburnt (my own fault) I had a lovely day checking out the exhibits in the sun and celeb spotting.