London in 48 hrs: Bob's your uncle!

Published on 

London in 48 hrs: Bob's your uncle!

Alice Roman is a globetrotter who spending 48 hours in England's Big smoke.She shares her journey and addresses with us. From weekend getaway tips to luxury shopping, cultural events and hype addresses…

London in 48 hrs: Bob's your uncle!

In Anouska Hempel's world at Blakes Hotel

11:00 a.m. – Arrival at Heathrow, terminal 4. Pretty much like everybody, I use the Tube's Piccadilly Line to go to London. As it the first station on the line, the car is not crowded and I can get comfortable. 40 minutes later, I resurface over stylish South Kensington. Shopping, art galleries, antique dealers, designer boutiques and so on... here we go! As for now though, I enter the delectable universe of former actress, hotel owner and designer Anouska Hempel (now 75), revealed behind the façade of the Blakes Hotel, the very first Boutique Hotel in the world (opened in 1978).

 

Blakes Hotel
33 Roland Gardens
Kensington
London SW7 3PF
+44 (0)20 7370 6701
www.blakeshotels.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

London in 48 hrs: Bob's your uncle!

Grilled lobster at Harvey Nichols

 1:00 p.m. – As I love walking, I scamper about for a kilometre until I enter the temple of all fashionistas, Harvey Nichols'. I glance at the latest Margiela and Alaïa creations, and then climb up to the fifth floor to indulge in grilled lobster served with a butter sauce, in between salad and fries. Burger & Lobster, quite nonchalantly.

 

Burger & Lobster
Fifth Floor Harvey Nichols
109-125 Knightsbridge
London SW1X 7RJ
+44 (0)20 7201 8676
www.burgerandlobster.com/home/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

London in 48 hrs: Bob's your uncle!

Royal visit of Buckingham Palace

4:00 p.m. – After a digestive walk around Green Park – which belongs to the British Crown, not to the city by the way – with a stop by the deckchair, I finally go for a visit I never had a chance to go through during my former London tours: Buckingham Palace and its 19 sumptuous rooms (open from late July to late September, when the Queen leaves for her Scottish residence). Works of art by Rubens, Canaletto, Rembrandt and Poussin fight for wall space between Sèvres china. I stride across The State Rooms wearing sublime shoes – looking exactly like the ones Queen Elizabeth had during her wedding in 1947. Give a girl the right pair of shoes, and she can conquer the world, said Marilyn Monroe. What goes for the Hollywood star and the Queen goes for me!

 

Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA
www.royal.uk

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

London in 48 hrs: Bob's your uncle!

Mediterranean diner at Palomar

 8:00 p.m. – After a three hour royal visit and a stroll along the lawn of the Palace, I go for the Tube station, heading for Piccadilly Circus to have dinner. Three minutes away by foot, the bar of the Palomar awaits me wide open. By myself, without a reservation and after a little wait, I enjoy a Mediterranean, Jewish and gluten-free cuisine. I see a medley of small dishes go before me, genuine and tasty falafels, tzatziki, mezze and kebab, in a noisy but festive atmosphere. Two hours later, it is time for me to use the subway again (only four stops, goodness gracious) to go back to my lovely Parisian Room. 11:00 p.m., time to turn in. I have dreams of James Bond's muscular arms carrying and protecting me from the angels of death. It may be due to the fact that my hotel owner, Anouska Hempel, played one of these creatures in the Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service...

 

The Palomar
34 Rupert Street
London W1D 6DN
+44 (0)20 7439 8777
thepalomar.co.uk/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

London in 48 hrs: Bob's your uncle!

Rejuvenation at Aman Spa

 Following morning, 9:30 a.m. – After a succulent breakfast in the glass pavilion at my boutique hotel, I take the subway once more to reach Green Park Station. This time, I walk a little further up to Mayfair to allow myself the luxury of Chinese inspired signature treatment at Aman Spa at the Connaught. Two and a half hours – and 280 GBP, luxury prices – later, I regained my vital energy thanks to essential oils and massage techniques. I get out, radiant and relaxed, and walk up to the Jubilee line. A few minutes later, I find myself at the Southwark Station, less than 500 metres from Tate Modern.

 

Aman Spa
Connaught Hotel
Carlos Place
London W1K 2AL
+44 (0)20 3147 7305
www.the-connaught.co.uk/aman-spa/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

London in 48 hrs: Bob's your uncle!

Swing with Kandinsky at the New Tate Modern

 12:30 p.m. – I start at the restaurant on the last floor of the New Tate Modern with a 360° view of the roofs London, offering a decidedly unobstructed vista of the City and St Paul's Cathedral. I pick at a light British snack comprised of seasonal products (22 GDP) served with a glass of white Santenay wine (7.50 GDP), offering a fresh rose and peony nose. Reinvigorated, I climb down the stairs and celebrate a number of odes to life with Kandinsky, Mark Rothko, newly acquired works and even performances. The museum has so much to offer it set a new goal of “changing the London socio-cultural life”.

 

New Tate Modern
Bankside
London SE1 9TG
+44 20 7887 8888
www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/special-event/new-tate-modern-opening-weekend

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

London in 48 hrs: Bob's your uncle!

Shopping in Camden Market

 4:00 p.m. – A little later, I head for Camden Town, just five minutes by foot from The Hawley Arms, the preferred pub of the late Amy Winehouse. Next to me, a young woman takes a sip of an alternative cocktail. I order a beer and start chatting with her. Angia is a food critic for a London paper. We don't linger much, as we favour a walk around the Camden Lock Market where it is possible to find some of the most incredible vintage clothes. Two hours later, I'm dressed up like Janis Joplin on her 1973 Greatest Hits album cover, humming the tune of Kozmic Blues: I keep pushing so hard a dream...

 

Camden Market
56 Camden Lock Place
London NW1 8AF
+44 (0)20 3763 9900
www.camdenmarket.com/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

London in 48 hrs: Bob's your uncle!

Sexy dish at the Sexy Fish

 8:00 p.m. – Returning towards Mayfair accompanied by my food critic to try out a new trendy restaurant, the Sexy Fish. As the place is popular and usually requires you to reserve a table beforehand, Angia pulls a few strings. Once inside, I don't feel at odds as the busy decoration (signed by the Martin Brudnizki Design Studio) reminds me of some Parisian brasseries. Thankfully, a few Damien Hirst sculptures and a crocodile by Frank Gehry bring me back to the Anglo-Saxon world. The menu offers a vast selection of seafood, fish and fresh Japanese products. I go for the truffle tuna tartare with broad beans and shrimp, as well as a moderately priced glass of Chardonnay wine. I pay the check (50 GDP per person) and return to my hotel. This time, my dreams take me into the arms of a vampire and his castle in the Carpathian mountains (Anouska Hempel once played in Roy Ward Baker's Scars of Dracula).

 

Sexy Fish
Berkeley Square House
Berkeley Square
Greater London W1J 6BR
+44 (0)20 3764 2000
www.sexyfish.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

London in 48 hrs: Bob's your uncle!

Impulse buy at Saatchi Gallery

 Last day, 12:00 p.m. – I exit the Duke of York's Headquarters, housing the Saatchi Gallery over 5,000 m2, near Sloane Square. Incredible pieces by lesser known artists are on permanent display. It is time to run and catch the Tube one last time to reach Terminal 4 in Heathrow, as I count my latest purchases. At the Saatchi store, I indulged and bought a Portrait of Mao bag in which I put various gifts for my relatives. This king of merchandising offers various prints of artists – British or otherwise – on display in the Gallery. You're sure to find something to soothe your impulse buy tendencies!

 

Saatchi Gallery
Duke Of York's HQ
King's Road
London SW3 4RY
+44 (0)20 7811 3070
www.saatchigallery.com