With the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle less than two weeks out, love—and Union Jack Pride—is in the air in the United Kingdom. And while you might not have scored an invite to Windsor Castle, why not paint London Town red with a well-timed trip to the U.K. capital—a safe 22 miles from any royal wedding hubbub.
A wondrously diverse intersection of history, arts, and culinary prowess, London is worth a trip any time of year. Whether you’re searching for traditional British fare or inventive spots indicative of contemporary U.K. culture, here are the best places to eat, drink, and shop next time you hear London calling.
Saturday Morning: Be sure to snag a reservation for Saturday brunch at Duck & Waffle—tables are booked weeks in advance. Located on the 40th floor of Heron Tower, the floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of London’s iconic skyline. The food ranges from traditional meats and sausages to—you guessed it—a fried duck leg on top of a waffle. Then walk off the meal on nearby London Bridge.
Saturday Afternoon: Soon work up another appetite with all the shopping you’ll to at Liberty London, the Londoner’s answer to Barney’s. Then walk a block south for lunch at Dishoom. Again, be sure to call ahead for a reservation, unless you prefer waiting in the queue—as Londoners say—outside for an hour. Don’t miss out on the famous interpretation of the U.K.’s national dish, tikka masala.
Saturday Evening: Spend your Saturday night in Notting Hill over a modified gin and tonic at The Distillery—not just a gin distillery, but also a world-class cocktail lounge. The upstairs bar, GinTonica, offers chic, ambient lighting and backlit bottles of the establishment’s staple spirit, as well as other variations imported from around the world.
Sunday Morning: Soak up all that residual gin from Saturday night at breakfast at André Balazs’s Michelin-starred Chiltern Firehouse. The vanilla porridge and eggs royale (Pinney’s smoked salmon on brioche topped with hollandaise) are sure to rival Meghan’s bridal brunch.
[Photo Credit: Chiltern Firehouse]
Sunday Afternoon: With over 24 loose-leaf tea blends and classic finger sandwiches with scones, Claridge’s is the way to go for classic afternoon tea. Just be sure to follow the dress code (no shorts, no ripped denim). If your wardrobe is lacking, more shopping awaits on Bond Street.
Sunday Evening: Instead of a view of London’s skyline, grab a table at Galvin at Windows, with 28th-floor views of Kensington Palace and Hyde Park. The French haute-cuisine hotspot is the perfect place for your final weekend meal, as well as the perfect Sunday night Instagram post.
Main image credit: Pinterest.com