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February 26, 2024

Summer vacations in London: Eat, shop, travel

Arushi Sakhuja 
With the summer vacation season approaching, many of us have our tickets booked for London town. And if you’re a regular visitor you know that London in the summer is unparalleled. From the highly awaited crystal clear summer skies to shopping at Selfridges, Harrods, Bicester Village or Bond Street, a day at Covent Garden, enjoying a British high tea at the Prada cafe in Harrods or experiencing the summer bloom at Hyde Park and Kew Gardens, what’s not to love about London summer?
Big Ben
Photo Courtesy: Pexels
London. The city that has anything and everything you could possibly want in a vibrant capital. Visiting the home of the mother of all parliaments, your only real problem is working out what you can miss.
With the King’s coronation around the corner,  the city is brimming with zest, zeal and exciting events, and the entertainment in the city never fails to impress. The sun is (hopefully) shining, the parks are filled with families enjoying picnics from quirky art exhibitions to Broadway shows, and brand-new bars showcasing innovative cocktails, the capital is filled with events. Here’s a summer special guide to the most magical city.
Broadway
If you are a frequent visitor, there are some places that are already on your list. From a day at designer outlet stores in Bicester Village to a meal at Selfridges’ Din Tai Fung, a night out at Annabel’s, a day at Hyde Park, a new Ottolenghi restaurant opening or a new show at the Tate Modern, and of course catching a match at the coveted EPL or the Wimdeldon! Here’s a list of some must-dos this summer – but the list is never-ending!
London summer
Photo Courtesy: Bicester Village
Chelsea Flower Show
Hosted by the Royal Horticultural Society, this is a gathering of the world’s finest landscape designers, who compete to build the best flower gardens. Every year sees more conceptual creations and the results are surprisingly artistic. There’s also gardening advice and presentations on anything from the power of plant healing to conservation.
Located on the grounds of Royal Hospital Chelsea, the nearest Tube station is Sloane Square. On the final day of the festival, many of the plants and flowers are sold at huge discounts, so bear that in mind if you like a bargain.
Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason
This historic spot for afternoon tea has been an upper-crust British favourite. The beloved tearoom at Fortnum and Mason is a must-do for an indulgent high tea. Decorated in the store’s trademark eau de nil (take that, Tiffany). There’s often a pianist tinkling away in the corner of the airy elegant room in the afternoon. The tea itself will leave even the most discerning of tea snobs with their mouths open. There are 50 different blends and tea sommeliers to help you choose which one is for you.
Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason
Photo Courtesy: Fortnum and Mason
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Along with London Bridge and Big Ben, you must visit one of the most famous cathedrals in the world, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the masterpiece of architect Sir Christopher Wren. It’s awe-inspiring, magical yet sombre and reflective, a place for prayer whether you’re religious or not.
The Shard
The Shard is Western Europe’s tallest building at 1,016 feet, high, The Shard houses London’s first Shangri-la hotel, private apartments, offices and three high-end restaurants—Aqua Shard, Hutong and Oblix – while offering a bird’s eye view of the city. Arguably the main reason for most visitors is the view from the top. You can also make your way to the Gherkin for a similar experience.
The Shard
Photo Courtesy: The shard
Harry Potter World
One of the biggest tourist attractions however is Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour. A must-do for all Potterheads! Discover the wizarding world of Harry Potter and get a picture clicked at the coveted 7 and 3/4 platform, explore the sets, slip into the authentic costumes and mimic your favourite star with authentic props.
V&A Museum 
V&A is one of the world’s largest art and design museums. Its collection is broken down into topics—fashion, theatre, furniture, architecture – and is a haven for everyone no matter what your interest may be. One of the most sought-after shows is the UK’s first exhibition dedicated to the work of French couturière Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel. The exhibit will chart the designer’s evolution of her iconic design style and the establishment of the House of Chanel, from her first millinery boutique in Paris in 1910 to the showing of her final collection in 1971. ‘Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto’ will run from September 16, 2023, to February 25, 2024, and will showcase more than 180 looks seen together for the first time, as well as jewellery, accessories, cosmetics and perfumes. The exhibition will also explore Chanel’s pioneering approach to fashion design, which paved the way for a new feminine elegance and continues to influence how women dress.
V&A Museum
Photo Courtesy: V& A
Palace and Castle
If you haven’t made a stop at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castel your trip to London is incomplete. Synonymous with the royal culture of the city, take in the grandeur of lush green lawns, intricate roof dome and masterpieces at Windsor. At Windsor don’t forget to see the changing of guards, the doll house and St George’s Chapel along with the stately room tours. For those of you who enjoy exquisite cutlery and crockery, visit the gift shop to pick up a few favourites.
Buckingham Palace
Photo Courtesy: Pexels
Windsor Castle
Photo Courtesy: Pexels
Food 
When it comes to the food scene in London, it’s refined, indulgent, light and simply has the best cuisines from around the world. From the coveted chain Ping Pong to outdoor dining at St Christopher Place, a lavish brunch at The Breakfast Club, delicious Sri Lankan curries at Hoppers, Duck & Waffles savoury waffle, Mexican at Wagamama or divine peeking duck at Kai Mayfair and the classic fish and chips with mashed peas. Samyukta Nair has brought refined French Mediterranean comfort food to Mayfair. And don’t forget to try Lola cupcakes and churros at the Borough market! Some other high-end restaurants include The Clove Club, Shoreditch, Prada cafe at Harrods, St John Marylebone, Peggy Porchsen for delicious sweet treats, Hide, Mayfair, Brat Shoreditch, Michelin Star The Waterhouse Project, Bethnal Green, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester and more!
Din Tai Fung London
Photo Courtesy: Selfridges
Annabel's London
Photo Courtesy: Annabel’s
London
Photo Courtesy: Ping Pong
Team your meal with delicious Aperol Spritzer and cider locally available at Tesco and Waitrose.  For a night to remember make your way to the pubs and indulge in beer with Shepard pies or be a little upty as you head to Radio Rooftop, Annabel’s. Or head to Soho and Marleybone Street for a true flavour of London nightlife.
Parks 
Along with high tea, an iconic marker of London during the summer is the lush green parks. Families and tourists are often seen picnicking at the top parks in London. Spend a day running at Regents Park which overlooks the Buckingham Palace or rent a reclining chair at Hyde Park. Enjoy a beer or wine by the lake at Regents Park and make your way to Greenwich Park to experience the Royal Observatory. However, if you are looking for a neighbourhood vibe, Primrose Hill is your go-to. For a day trip, you can even opt to head to the royal gardens, Kew Garden which is 40 minutes by London overground. Spend a day with nature and explore botanicals, floral, fauna and the glass houses.
Kew Garden
Photo Courtesy: Kew Garden
While this is a lot to cover in one trip, it’s simply a small part of the city. Hence we keep going back to explore all the new places every single time because in this city there is no dearth of new experiences.
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Arushi Sakhuja

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