If you have been on your feet all day, then it’s time to treat them to some tender, loving care at one of the capital’s leading spas. Kohinoor Sahota rounds up the best in London
Put your best foot forward! If you have been on your feet all day, it’s time to give your toes some TLC. We show you where you can enjoy relaxing foot massages.
As a tourist, you will be on your feet all day rushing from one sight to another. It’s easy to forget one of the most crucial parts of any holiday: relaxing.
Help is at hand, as there are plenty of spas ready to tend to your tired feet. It’s not just about pedicures, but ensuring your feet are as healthy as they can be. It’s time to put your best foot forward!
If it’s good enough for the Queen, then it’s good enough for us. John Bell & Croyden is a Royal Warrant Holder – an official mark of recognition that proves a company has supplied goods or services to the royal family for at least the past five years. The pharmacist has been selling medicines since 1798, and has been the Queen’s pharmacist for years.
If you are in particular pain with your feet, visit its Chiropody & Podiatry Clinic, which specialises in treating conditions including joint and lower limb issues, heel pain, arch pain, flat fleet, verrucas and callouses (50-54 Wigmore St, W1U 2U).
Shopping can be a tiring business. If you have spent the day in Westfield London, in Shepherd’s Bush, head to the nearby
K West Spa. Luxurious treatments include a Red Carpet Ready Pedicure (70 min; £60). Dry and dead skin is buffed away, nails and cuticles are tidied and a mask is applied to revitalise the skin. After a massage, which concentrates on your reflex points, you can then have your nails polished, so that your feet are sandal-ready.
While you’re there, take advantage of the foot baths, steam rooms, hydrotherapy pool and ice-filled Snow Paradise room – a one-of-a-kind space in London, which is chilled to -15 degrees. To improve your circulation, shift between each room’s extreme temperatures (Richmond Way, W14 0AX).
Proving that it’s not just women who can enjoy glamorous treatments for their feet, the Bamford Haybarn Spa in The Berkeley hotel offers treatments specially for men. The Berkeley Shape and Buff for Men (25 min; £35; p. 77) includes a foot bath, which softens rough skin, a massage to release tension and improve circulation, and the removal of dead skin. Feet are then moisturised and cuticles tidied and buffed for well-groomed toes.
When you have finished, make sure you go to the rooftop pool for some landmark spotting. On sunnier days, the roof opens up to the elements. The pool has a spectacular view of London and will remind you that you are in the greatest city in the world.
TICKET INFORMATION Oyster cards & Travelcards
An Oyster card is a pre-paid travel smart card. It’s a cheap way to pay for single journeys by bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground and most National Rail train services in London.
You can buy a Visitor Oyster card before you leave home for a £3 fee and pre-load it with credit at www.visitorshop.tfl.gov.uk. The system has nine zones. Zone 1 is in central London.
Visitors can buy Oyster cards and Day Travelcards from stations, Visitor Centres and any Oyster Ticket Shop. UK visitors can also pay for their travel with a UK-issued contactless payment card. See www.tfl.gov.uk/visitinglondon.
An Oyster card also gives you a 25 per cent discount on London’s cable car, the Emirates Air Line, and a 10 per cent discount on single journeys on most MBNA Thames Clippers river buses. For more info, visit www.visitorshop.tfl.gov.uk.
For 24-hour travel information, visit the Transport for London ( TfL) website. www.tfl.gov.uk/visitinglondon or call T: 0343-222 1234.
London Underground (The Tube)
www.tfl.gov.uk. See London Underground map (opposite). Services run Mon-Sat 5am-12.30am and Sun 7.30am-11.30pm on most routes. The night Tube service runs on Fri-Sat on the Victoria, Jubilee, Central, Northern (via Embankment) and Piccadilly line. Fares vary; a Zone 1 adult fare costs £4.80 (£2.30 with an Oyster card).
London buses run 5am-12.30am. Night buses (midnight- 4.30am) operate on main routes (several services are 24-hour). You can’t pay for a bus fare with cash, so use a Visitor Oyster card, Oyster card, Travelcard or a UK-issued contactless payment card. Visit www.tfl.gov.uk/ buses. Single fare is £1.50 with an Oyster card or UK-issued contactless payment card.
www.tfl.gov.uk. See London Underground Map opposite). Trains run Mon-Sat 5am-midnight; Sun 7am-11.30pm on most routes.
Docklands Light Railway
Trains run approximately every three-anda-half minutes to 10 minutes. Mon-Sat 5.30am-12.30am; Sun 7am-11pm. T: 020-7363 9700.
Paddington serves the West Country, Wales and the South Midlands.
Liverpool Street and Fenchurch Street serve East Anglia and Essex. Euston King’s Cross St Pancras Marylebone and St Pancras International (connects to King’s Cross St Pancras) serve north and central Britain, and southeast England. Charing Cross
London Bridge Waterloo and Victoria serve southern England.
For times and tickets, visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call T: 0845-748 4950.
Eurostar uses St Pancras International. Visit www.eurostar.com for more information, times and ticket prices. Call T: 0344-822 4777 (or if you’re outside the UK, call T: 01233- 617 575).
Get information for deaf and disabled travellers, including step-free journeys on the Tube, bus and river service at www.visitlondon.com/ access and www.openbritain.net.
You can hail a black cab (taxi) in the street. Fares increase after 8pm. You cannot hail private-hire or minicabs, which you must book. We strongly advise against you using any vehicle that approaches you in the street, except for licensed black cabs. For more information, visit www.tfl.gov.uk.
Make sure your driving licence is valid for the UK and see ‘Congestion Charge’ below. Hertz: T: 0870- 844 8844. www.hertz.co.uk. Kendall Cars Ltd: T: 020-8542 0403. www.kendallcars.com. Enterprise Rent-A-Car: T: 0800- 800 227. www.enterprise.co.uk.
There is a congestion charge to drive into central London, Mon-Fri 7am- 6pm. Payable in advance or on the day of travel (£11.50), or the day after (£14). UK: T: 034-3222 2222. International: T: +44 20-7649 9122. www.cclondon.com.
www.tfl.gov.uk/river MBNA Thames Clippers: T: 020-7001 2200. www.thamesclippers.com. Catamarans leave major piers every 20 mins. Services run between Waterloo Pier and The O2 (North Greenwich Pier) and on to Royal Arsenal Woolwich Pier, stopping at 20 main piers. Discounts on single journeys on all MBNA Thames Clippers river buses. The River Roamer day pass gives unlimited hop-on, hop-off travel from £17.35.
Emirates Air Line cable car
London’s only cable car runs across the River Thames between Greenwich Peninsula ( The O2) and the Royal Docks (ExCeL London). You can board from either the North Greenwich or Royal Victoria sides of the river (return flights are available). You can buy a combined ticket with MBNA Thames Clippers and London Transport Museum. www.tfl.gov.uk/emiratesairline.
It’s often quicker to get around London by walking. Look out for blue and yellow Legible London street maps. www.tfl.gov.uk/ legiblelondon.
There are 11,500 bikes for hire from 750 docking stations throughout central London. From £2 for 30 minutes; the first 30 minutes are free. There’s no need to book, but you need a debit or credit card to hire a bike. Visit www.tfl.gov.uk/ santandercycles or call T: 0343-222 6666.
London’s main coach services use Victoria Coach Station, a central hub which offers travel to destinations around the UK and some parts of Europe. SW1W 9TP. T: 0843-222 1234. www.tfl. gov.uk/coaches Victoria. Map D4.
DELIVERY AirPortr (Luggage delivery service)
Same-day luggage transfer between London’s airports and hotels – travel bag-free and make the most of your time here. Prices start at £15 for one bag plus £10 for each additional item (any size or weight). T: 020-3384 6677. www.portr.com.
Mail Boxes Etc
Worldwide parcel delivery, courier and postal services. There are 1,600 stores worldwide and more than 150 stores in the UK and Ireland. Mail Boxes are also trained certified packers. T: 01608- 649230. www.mbe.co.uk/london.
How do you start the day?
The best days start with rigorous bouldering at The Arch Climbing Wall in Bermondsey. I go from 6.30am with my younger brother. It is a wonderfully physical way to begin the day, and there’s a healthy eroticism to it all with bodies splayed across colourful geometric challenges.
What is your perfect breakfast?
Breakfast itself is eaten enroute to the studio. On good days, this is a large hunk of seed cake made by my flatmate who is a pastry chef.
What are your favourite buildings?
The Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre for the bowling; the IMAX for the visitor experience honed to celebrate the architecture; and St Paul’s Cathedral – my brother just got engaged in the Whispering Gallery.
Tell us your favourite museums.
As often as possible I visit Sir John Soane’s Museum, the strange house of one of Britain’s foremost architects. It is a cabinet of curiosities crammed full of architectural ornaments; he even had a hermit’s cell built for a live-in mystic. Another favourite is Tim Hunkin’s self-made arcade in Holborn called Novelty Automation. It contains a pin-ball version of the Large Hadron Collider.
Where do you like to shop?
I normally buy a couple of books a day. Tate Modern’s bookshop goes some way to enabling the habit.
What is your favourite green space?
This has to be the Barbican’s secret jungle conservatory; it’s one of the lushest places in London combining Brutalist architecture, tropical plants and terrapins. We hosted our book launch for Feasting with Bompas & Parr amid the foliage.
What do you like to have for lunch?
Padella was a recent success – the Italian restaurant is in Borough Market and it’s cheap.
What places in the city inspire you?
The River Thames for the changing smell; the recent pollution for creating beautiful fogs, despite ruining Londoners’ pink lungs; The London Library; the Natural History Museum’s mighty Earth Gallery; Crossrail for the enormity of the engineering; and Crossbones Graveyard in Borough.
What place holds a special memory?
Shoreditch House – the scene of some revels, including Wetness at Breakfast: Gourmet Bathing and Morning Cocktails, which had a submerged banquet table and mermen mixologists.
How do you prefer to travel?
On the front seat on the top deck of a bus.
Where do you like to drink?
The Lord Clyde in Borough, between my studio and house, is a beauty. The copper is polished, including the pipework above the urinals.
Would you do anything extravagant?
When I turned 30, my parents said I needed to buy furniture. Instead I picked up a Nebuchadnezzar (15 litres) of Champagne, chilled it in the bath and hosted a party. Feeling remorseful the next day, I turned the empty bottle into a mighty lamp. I could do with another bottle to furnish the rest of the room.
Where do you like to have dinner?
Right now it is Hoi Polloi at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch. The restaurant stays open later than most places and one of the waiters wears rollerskates. The acoustics are phenomenal, too.
What would you do for entertainment?
Riflery in the secretive gun club in the footings of London Bridge. You shoot out over the River Thames and few people have any idea it’s there.
Where would you spend the night?
My heating broke down during the winter of 2015, and the house was bitterly cold. It is savagely decadent, but on really cold nights I would check into the sensual and luxurious Mondrian London at Sea Containers hotel. The rooms were the perfect refuge, and I also loved a pre-mixed Beeswax Old Fashioned by mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana. For more information about culinary experiences, visit www.bompasandparr.com
This image: a foot massage Inset: John Bell & Croyden