Ostuni in Puglia the charming White City…
If you have been to London before there are certain tried and true favourite popular places one goes back for. Next time switch it up with other great locations and establishments to experience London like more of a Londoner…
If you like shopping at Harrods… Try Selfridges
Yes Harrods is great, and no one is taking anything away from that, but Selfridges is also a classic department store not to mention a great example of Art Deco architecture. Inside the shop feels modern and hip with a huge shoe department to die for and all the top fashion designers. Selfridges also has its own mouth watering food halls with top foodie boutiques for Pierre Hermes macarons and St. John’s bakery.
Instead of Afternoon Tea at The Ritz… Try Pret-a-Portea at The Berkeley
While a traditional tea is quintessentially English, if you’d like to change it up a bit nothing could be more stylish than the fashion inspired Pret-a-Portea. The theme changes seasonally to take inspiration for the latest season collections. How about a Burberry coat cookie? Or a cake in the shape of a Prada bag? Simply fabulous dah-ling!
For a bit of antiquing instead of Portobello Road… Try Grey’s Antique Market
Conveniently located just off Oxford street, this small but seriously packed antiquarian hangout is a sort of covered market featuring some really lovely pieces from jewelery on the top floor, to ceramics and lace on the lower ground floor. Perfect place to hide from the rain too.
To satisfy an art fix instead of going to the National Gallery… Try the Wallace Collection
Ideally do both, but if you have seen all the masterpieces of the NG, try the extremely elegant and highly underrated Wallace Collection not far from Oxford Street. Housing both fine and decorative arts, this baby grand museum has one of the best collections of 18th century Sevres porcelain along with an impressive gallery of 15th thru 19th century painting. Among this world class treasure trove is Fragonard’s whimsical The Swing and Hals The Laughing Cavalier.
For heaven on earth, instead of Westminster Abbey… Try St. Bartholomew the Great
The queues to get into Westminster Abbey can be long, but for another church with historical clout and vaulted cloisters head over to one of London’s oldest surviving churches St. Bart’s. This evocative 12th century medieval church survived the Great Fire and the bombings during World War II. Best of all almost no tourists and it is a truly peaceful place. If that doesn’t impress you enough, it has been featured in many movies as well. A real treat around Christmastime when they put up the tree.
If you are heading out for a pub crawl instead of the West End… Try Farringdon
While there are great pubs everywhere in London, the Farringdon area in The City, near the church of St. Barts, has a nice cluster of pubs with a true authentic feel and with a bit more taste for boutique made ales, many within a short walking distance from one another. Try the Fox & Anchor, The Peasant, and The Hope
Charming store front selling classic Chianti and other local wines in the medieval town of San Gimignano