Visiting the UK capital? You’ll want to be prepared. Here’s our edit of the coolest places to eat, the shops that’ll please the eye as well as the purse, and the inspiring exhibition­s you’ll be talking about long after you’ve left the city.


Where to eat, shop and catch all the culture


Selfridges’ denim studio is the largest denim bar in the UK and Ireland, offering no fewer than 60 brands and more than 10,000 pairs. Don’t expect to have to pay a fortune for a pair of jeans either. It offers denims at entry level prices from labels including Primark, all your favourite designer denim brands such as J Brand, Mother and Rag & Bone, as well as less well-known brands such as Good American and Slvrlake. It’s a denim lover’s dream. Nudie Jeans in one of London’s hottest shopping districts, Shoreditch, offers the Swedish brand’s full collection of 100 per cent organic denims along with a free repair service on all Nudie Jeans. The company aims to create the most sustainabl­e product possible, and is also committed to paying living wages to its employees. When I lived in London, I never made use of the incredible Levi’s flagship store on Regent Street, simply because the heritage brand had fallen out of favour with young shoppers like me who wanted the latest celebrity-endorsed denim brand. But over the past few years, Levi’s has reignited women’s interest with its fresh cuts and reimaginin­g of the classic 501. The Regent Street store has an incredible collection of styles, plus a tailoring service and a rip and repair and tapering facility. Not only that, but you can create your own unique pair of jeans with the store’s made-to-order service. Choose from five shades and weights of denim, a low-, mid- or high-rise fit in any style of leg, and choose between 20 threads, 14 leather or canvas back patches, and seven rivets and buttons.


Forget Harrods and Harvey Nichols – if you’re travelling to London to indulge in some high-end shopping, Liberty London is your first port of call. It boasts a beautifull­y curated edit of womenswear and accessorie­s housed in a Grade II-listed Tudor revival building that was constructe­d from the timbers of two ships. Liberty can’t beat its peers on breadth of product, but it doesn’t try to because its buying team is renowned for singling out the most covetable pieces and brands. Victoria Beckham’s flagship store on Dover Street in Mayfair is worth visiting whether you intend to buy or not. It’s been compared to an art gallery, with its polished concrete floors and minimialis­t aesthetic. The clothes are hung from gold chains, and in the VIP shopping area hangs a single Damien Hirst artwork. If you’re staying in London, pay a visit to the iconic Burberry store on Regent Street too, which has recently had a giant three-storey art installati­on by artist Graham Hudson constructe­d at its centre. It really has to be seen to be believed.


Stylist Fiona Fagan (read our interview with her on page 43) is a vintage obsessive, having lived in London for more than 20 years. Her top pick is House of Vintage in Shoreditch, a Canadian brand that branched out in London in 2010 before opening a second store in Hackney in 2018. It specialise­s in 1940s, 1950s and 1960s women’s and men’s wear, but has pieces dating back as far as the 1920s. One of a Kind on Portobello Road is probably one of the best known vintage stores in London, having been frequented by fashion icons such as Kate Moss and Sienna Miller regularly over the past 20 years. This is proper designer vintage (you’ll find plenty of Chanel here), so be prepared to part with some serious money if you plan on taking something special home with you. Retro Woman beside Notting Hill Gate Tube station is small, but packed to its rafters with both high street and designer finds. It’s affordable too, so if the aesthetics of the store don’t impress you, the prices will. Well worth a rummage.


Shopping in Dublin has developed exponentia­lly in the last decade, but there are still some amazing brands that have yet to open a bricks-and-mortar store in the city and which we can only access online (brilliant, but never the same as browsing in person). If you’re a fan of, you’ll love its flagship store on Regent Street. Housing women’s, men’s and children’s wear, with a homewares section and a small in-house café, this is very much a concept store that delivers 10/10 on product and surroundin­gs. Similarly, American retailer Anthropolo­gie has taken the idea of destinatio­n shopping to the next level. Its Regent Street store houses everything from womenswear to wellness products, furniture to food. I love how this store has managed to retain a boutique feel and an intimacy that you simply don’t find in department stores. My other online stop-off when in London is Uniqlo. Although I don’t buy an awful lot from the Japanese brand online, when I visit its Oxford Street store, I do a supermarke­t sweep of T-shirts, simple knits and outerwear.


Small plates are perhaps the most enjoyable and easy way to eat in London at the moment, suiting a weekend of exploring very well. There are numerous options, with Soho being a hotbed right now – look out for Barrafina, Kiln and Kricket. In East London, there are three that stand out – P Franco, Bright and Peg. All come from the team behind Noble Fine Liquor, wine merchants-turnedrest­aurateurs, so you know the booze will be good. P Franco in Clapton is one of the buzziest spots on the London food scene the last few years. A rotating line-up of chefs serve plates of seasonal food alongside wonderful wines. Bright in London Fields offers more of a sit-down affair with reservatio­ns, and Peg in Hackney is small plates with a Japanese slant and lots cooked on a grill. These three are a tiny bit off the regular tourist track, but well worth seeking out.


What could be better than a dedicated cake spot? A cake and champagne spot. Cakes & Bubbles, by the famed pastry chef Albert Adrià, delivers exactly this: a stunning selection of high-end cakes paired with the best bubbles. Dominique Ansel, the New York bakery that famously created the Cronut, opened a London outpost last year. The mind-boggling menu is probably best sampled as their Afternoon Tea featuring the finest of their savoury and sweet cakes and pastries. Long before getting the royal seal of approval last year, Claire Ptak of Violet Bakery had been the darling of the London baking scene since she started her stall at Broadway Market in 2008. These days, you can find her unique creations at her bakerycafé in Hackney. Expect lots of fresh buttercrea­m.


Not the late-night dodgy doner – these are modern interpreta­tions of a Middle Eastern classic that put sourcing and plating front and centre. Le Bab in Soho calls itself a “kebab renaissanc­e project”. The chefs have Michelin-starred experience and they proudly use local, seasonal British ingredient­s. Look for their sister restaurant­s Maison Bab in Covent Garden and Kebab Queen, where you can try their kebab tasting menu. Black Axe Mangal in Highbury is a compact rock ‘n’ roll restaurant serving Turkish flatbreads with immense toppings. Their daily changing menu doesn’t always guarantee a kebab, but when they appear, they’re epic. At Berber & Q Shawarma Bar in Exmouth Market, you’ll find rotisserie Middle Eastern meats slow-cooked over charcoal and wood along with mezze, cocktails and a wine bar. Kebabs have literally never tasted this good.


Irish food is having quite a moment in London. Some of the hottest openings this year have Irish chefs at the helm. Anna Haugh, a Dubliner who perfected her craft working with celebrated London chefs Gordon Ramsay and Philip Howard, opened her own place in Chelsea called Myrtle a few months ago. Here, Anna is cooking modern European dishes with an Irish influence, and familiar names like Clonakilty pudding and Cais na Tire cheese pepper the menu. Robin Gill, well known in London for The Dairy in Clapham, opened Darby’s earlier in the year. This stunning spot houses an oyster bar and in-house bakery with distinctly Irish influences and a good few mentions of Guinness. London’s best known Irish chef, Richard Corrigan, ventures away from his familiar Mayfair surrounds this year to open Daffodil Mulligan on Old Street, which is bound to be one to watch.


The incredible new Get Up, Stand Up Now exhibition at Somerset House, running until September 15, celebrates the past 50 years of black creativity, not just in Britain but beyond. Expect a multisenso­ry experience where new works sit alongside old, featuring more than 100 different artists across photograph­y, painting, music and film, all against the backdrop of a soundtrack by Major Lazer. Curated by Zak Ové, son of eminent f ilmmaker Horace Ové, it celebrates work from the Windrush generation to the impact black artists have had on the world today, somersetho­


Antony Gormley will flood one of the Royal Academy’s galleries for the first time as he shows “Host”, a work he created in 1991 in a disused US jail in Charleston using mud and seawater from the harbour, from September 21 to December 3. But “Host” isn’t the only attraction – the dedicated exhibition (the first in over a decade) will also showcase pieces specially made for RA spaces, as well as some of his better-known cast iron sculptures, royalacade­


Excitement and celebratio­n of fluid identities dominate Kiss My Genders at the Hayward Gallery until September 8, featuring 30 artists spanning the past 50 years. Both thrilling and exuberant, it’s about more than just something to see – it’s a fitting and necessary example of activism in 2019. This show brings together over 100 artworks by artists from around the world who employ a wide range of approaches to articulate and engage with gender f luidity, as well as with non-binary, trans and intersex identities. Stri k ing, moving a nd a n absolute must-see, southbankc­


Cindy Sherman’s unsettling, distinctiv­e work is the subject of its first UK retrospect­ive at the National Portrait Gallery until September 15. Known for dressing up as fictitious characters recorded on camera, Sherman’s work feels all the more resonant in a world where selfies and social media are so ubiquitous. The exhibition will feature 180 works, including her seminal series Untitled Film Stills, shot from 1977-1980 in New York, which cemented her style and reputation,


As this year marks the 200th anniversar­y of the birth of Queen Victoria, Buckingham Palace has announced a special exhibition in the State Rooms. From now until September 29, the sumptuous exhibit explores the life of the monarch and her time in the palace. Highlights will include a portrait of the young queen painted by Thomas Sully soon after she moved into her new home, along with Victoria’s personal insignia, the Star and Collar of the Order of the Bath. A dress worn by the Queen designed for the Stuart Ball is included in this fascinatin­g display,

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 ??  ?? Levi’s flagship store
Levi’s flagship store
 ??  ?? Nudie Jeans in Shoreditch offers a free repair service
Nudie Jeans in Shoreditch offers a free repair service
 ??  ?? Victoria Beckham’s stunning
flagship store in Mayfair
Victoria Beckham’s stunning flagship store in Mayfair
 ??  ?? Arket’s flagship store
on Regent Street
Arket’s flagship store on Regent Street
 ??  ?? Old Street, Shoreditch
Old Street, Shoreditch
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 ??  ?? Le Bab in Soho
Le Bab in Soho
 ??  ?? Small plates at Bright Dubliner
Anna Haugh’s Myrtle restaurant
Small plates at Bright Dubliner Anna Haugh’s Myrtle restaurant
 ??  ?? Le Bab serves up kebab perfection
Le Bab serves up kebab perfection
 ??  ?? Cakes & Bubbles by Albert Adrià
Cakes & Bubbles by Albert Adrià
 ??  ?? Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Still #15 This dress worn by
Queen Victoria will be on display in Buckingham Palace
Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Still #15 This dress worn by Queen Victoria will be on display in Buckingham Palace
 ??  ?? “Fashion Shoot Brixton Market” by Armet Francis, on show at Get Up,
Stand Up Now
“Fashion Shoot Brixton Market” by Armet Francis, on show at Get Up, Stand Up Now
 ??  ?? “Lucille” self-portrait by Luciano Castelli,
at Kiss My Genders
“Lucille” self-portrait by Luciano Castelli, at Kiss My Genders
 ??  ?? Antony Gormley at the Royal Academy of Arts
Antony Gormley at the Royal Academy of Arts

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