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December 3rd, 2018
Where to Eat, Drink, Stay and Play in London

London is all about the buzz and vibe of the city, a place you have to experience to understand. With so many options available in England’s vibrant capital, we sum up the parts you can’t miss.

Planning a trip to London? Check out the Luxury Escapes offer for H10 London Waterloo here.

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London… by a Londoner

Image credit: Dishoom

Eat: Indian food

While it’s true that you can’t leave London without trying a hearty full English breakfast and a plate of fish and chips, the Indian food is the city’s real gem. With an Indian population of more than half a million, London is filled with bustling restaurants offering authentic curries.

Cinnamon, Brick Lane: Brick Lane is a hub of London’s Bangladeshi community and is famed for its many curry houses. Among the locals’ favourites is Cinnamon, which was voted Best in Brick Lane in 2017. The Lemongrass Chicken comes highly recommended. The best bit? This place is BYO, so pick up a bottle of wine on the way.

Kolam, Tooting: Tooting in South London was voted one of the world’s coolest city areas by Lonely Planet in 2017 – and for good reason. An eclectic mix of cultures, this might even top famous Brick Lane with its curry restaurants. Head to Kolam,  a friendly neighbourhood eatery with everything from dosai to dhal and masala to madras.

Dishoom: This is not your typical curry house: Dishoom (which has branches in Kensington, Shoreditch, King’s Cross, Carnaby and Covent Garden) is the place to go when you’re feeling fancy. There are delicious small plates to share, including lamb samosas, chilli-cheese toast and okra fries. On the grill, you’ll find dishes including masala prawns and paneer tikka, which all go nicely with a side of fresh naan or roti.

Or try breakfast with an Indian twist by heading here before 11.45am, when you can order a Bombay omelette or naan rolls with your choice of egg, bacon or sausage. Dinner reservations are limited to groups of six or more, so expect to queue – this place is popular.

cocktail at purl

Image credit: Purl

Drink: In a secret London bar

Where’s the fun in clearly-marked bars with obvious signs? In London, it’s all about seeking out the city’s worst-kept secrets. If it looks like a fridge, it’s probably a door to the coolest bar in town…

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town: If you thought the name was strange, it only gets stranger. Enter through a fridge door inside the Shoreditch’s Breakfast Club restaurant (you’ll need to find out the “secret” password first…) and find a cosy basement with a generous selection of cocktails on offer. We hear the bar staff are happy to go off menu if you ask, but shh… don’t tell anyone.

Call Me Mr Lucky: You’ll have to accept that getting into this spot (hidden under the London Bridge branch of the Breakfast Club) requires proudly proclaiming “I’m here to get lucky” to the doorman. It’s all worth it though, as inside you’ll find an extensive cocktail list, fairy lights and a wheel of fortune, which you can spin to win drinks… or get lumbered with a forfeit.

Purl: This 1920s-themed speakeasy is so cleverly designed, it genuinely feels like stepping back in time. The staff, clad in braces and bowties, serve up innovative cocktails with smoke, foam and other impressive gimmicks. Space is limited, making bookings worthwhile but offering the unusual London bonus of actually being able to hear your friends’ conversations.

Image credit: Mondrian London

Stay: In the middle of it all

You’ll never be far from London’s hot spots with these centrally located hotels.

Eccleston Square Hotel: Set on an award-winning garden square, this boutique property is close to London’s high-end Victoria, Pimlico, Sloane Square and Chelsea areas. A quintessentially British neighbourhood, its claim to fame is that Winston Churchill lived just two doors down. Tucked away in this traditional London townhouse you’ll find high-tech rooms with 3D smart TVs, a complimentary 3D DVD library, an iPad 2 that acts as your in-room concierge, a smart-glass wall between the bath and bedroom and smartphones offering free calls to five international countries.

Mondrian London: This sleek hotel is located on the banks of the River Thames in the famed Sea Containers building. It’s been carefully crafted by the Design Research Studio, under the direction of renowned designer Tom Dixon, to capture the essence of the original building. Expect 1920s cruise-ship glamour with plenty of modern twists. Meanwhile, the location puts you close to London’s popular Southbank area and the iconic Blackfriars and Waterloo bridges.

H10 London Waterloo: This elegant, centrally-located hotel sits right near London attractions including the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the London Eye. At night, relax at the Waterloo Sky Bar, located on the roof and offering spectacular views of the city.

Planning a trip to London? Check out the Luxury Escapes offer for H10 London Waterloo here.

ballie ballerson ball pit

Image credit: Ballie Ballerson

Play: Like a kid

Growing up is optional in London. We vote you don’t do it and embrace the Peter Pan feel of the city.

Ballie Ballerson: When was the last time you let your inhibitions go and jumped into a ball pit? Probably too long ago. This London bar wants to change that, with the added bonus that you can now drink a beer before you dive in. Or sip on a retro-sweet-themed cocktail for that extra dose of nostalgia if you prefer.

The Four Quarters: Beat your friends at classic games like Pacman and Mario Kart at this fun London bar. You can also get a great selection of beers, burgers and cocktails. Seriously, what’s not to love?

Bounce: Get hideously competitive at Bounce, a table-tennis bar with disco lighting and an impressive drinks selection. Need to carb load before your next big match? Their stone-baked pizza should do the job.

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