When it comes to luxury travel, London is one of my favorite destinations to enjoy a five-star getaway. Other than the incredible history, architecture, and culture, London has an impressive array of elegant accommodation, award-winning restaurants, unique tours, and exciting entertainment to choose from!
But when it comes to planning a luxury vacation in London, where do you even start? Keep reading for my tips and recommendations…
Accommodation in London:
Consider staying in a serviced apartment in London rather than a hotel. While there is no shortage of beautiful hotels in London, your money will go further with a serviced apartment as most of the hotels in Central London have quite small rooms. And if you’re traveling with more than two people, or even with kids, a serviced apartment will give you more space and useful amenities like a kitchen and/or washing machine.
And after being at home for the majority of 2020, I think it will be nice to have the comforts of a home while away on vacation too. Why not have the best of both worlds?
Dining in London:
However, London’s luxury hotels still have something to offer every visitor, even if you are not an overnight guest. One of the best cultural and foodie experiences to have while visiting England is afternoon tea and the best ones can be found inside the best hotels.
Choose the historic and glamorous Ritz or Savoy for a grand high tea with impeccable service. But there are charming boutique spots like The Kensington Hotel that offer very inventive afternoon teas too. And if you’re not a fan of tea, don’t worry, because people often order a glass of champagne at afternoon tea as a delightful alternative.
Speaking of champagne, head to Bob Bob Ricard in the trendy Soho neighborhood and slip into a sleek booth where you’ll find the famous “press for champagne” buttons to enjoy throughout your meal. Or if you want to take in more historic places, Rules is a British restaurant that’s been around since 1798… making it the oldest restaurant in London! There is truly a fabulous restaurant on every corner in this city, and if you get too overwhelmed, keep reading for my recommendation below…
Sightseeing in London:
People can find their first-time visit to London overwhelming, there are simply too many wonderful neighborhoods to visit with hidden gems. One of the best kinds of tours you can book while in London is a food tour. There are several different ones offered in almost every neighborhood, and it’s so much fun to learn about a city through the eyes of a local foodie.
If you have a list of London sights and museums you are determined to see, I highly advise browsing their websites online beforehand and see if booking a timed ticket is necessary for your visit, even it is a free museum! For those who have a limited amount of time, there are several “black taxi cab” tours you can take in London which will not only give you a personal driver for the day, but a tour guide as well. In the summer months, be sure to visit the incredible Buckingham Palace as it is only open for a few months out of the year.
But other royal places in London like Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace, and the Tower of London are thankfully open to visit all year round. If a couple of those are on your list, upgrade your trip with a Historic Royal Palace membership which gives you access to several royal properties throughout London for a year, but also discounts in their shops and restaurants, plus exclusive behind the scenes member tours and more. It is absolutely worth it, even if you just plan to visit a few of these locations in one trip!
Shopping in London:
If shopping is one of your favorite activities, then London is your city. A visit here is not complete without visiting the famous luxury department stores such as Harrods or Harvey Nichols in the chic Knightsbridge neighborhood. Their window displays, especially around the holidays, are an impressive sight for window shoppers or anyone passing by. I would also recommend a visit to bustling Oxford Street to visit another iconic department store called Selfridges – you could easily spend all day there!
As for all the high end name brands, head to Bond Street or Regent’s Street (where you’ll find another beautiful and unique, but smaller, department store called Liberty). Carnaby Street is a fun, more hidden, area in London where there are a great variety of new, hip brands. If you are more interested in historic, British shops, I’d recommend Fortnum & Mason for the best tea (and so much more) to bring home as gifts, Penhaligon’s for luxury perfume with connections back to Queen Victoria, or Hatchards which is the oldest bookshop in London dating back to the late 18th century.
Entertainment in London:
If you have the time, I’d recommend spending at least one week in London just to see several West End shows. This is the theater district in London for those who are Broadway fans, think of this place as the original Broadway! Whether it’s a play or musical, there are so many new and historic theaters to visit to keep you entertained for a lifetime. Some of the classic musicals like Les Misérables and Phantom of the Opera are a must-see, as well as some newer shows like Hamilton, The Prince of Egypt, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, or Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new Cinderella.
If you are choosing to see a show in the West End, I’d recommend booking direct with the theaters and when you pick your seats, see if they have premium packages which will not only include the best seats in the house, but also an added bonus of champagne and/or a meal as well. Again, it is all about elevating your vacation and stretching your money when it comes to living the life of luxury in London.