Alice McCall's guide to London's best hotspots
So. Much. Food.
After spending a large chunk of her formative years working as a stylist in the ever-changing English capital, London-born Aussie designer Alice McCall has always had a soft spot for her birthplace. In London recently, where she caught up with Aussie expat pals like Natalia Imbruglia and Pippa Holt, Alice shares a few of her favourite London hotspots.
Best coffee shops
1. Café Liberty at Liberty London
I love the old world charm and the squeaky staircases in the mock Tudor building.
Regent Street, London, W1B 5AH, libertylondon.com
2. Dover St Market
So high fashion and avant-garde, they have wonderful modern herbal teas.
18-22 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4DG, london.doverstreetmarket.com
3. Granger & Co
For a classic English Breakfast tea. They nail it.
Various locations, grangerandco.com
5 Raphael Street, Knightsbridge London SW7 1DL, zumarestaurant.com
2. Sexy Fish
Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London W1J 6BR, sexyfish.com
3. The Ledbury
127 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2AQ, theledbury.com
434 Kingsland Rd, London E8 4AA, rotorino.com
21-22 Warwick Street, London W1B 5NE, ottolenghi.co.uk
6. Duck & Waffle
110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY, duckandwaffle.com
7. Sushi Samba
110 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY, sushisamba.com
Netil House, 1 Westgate Street, London, E8 3RL, ellorylondon.com
9. The Ivy Chelsea Garden
195 -197 King's Road, London, SW3 5EQ, theivychelseagarden.com
9. Chiltern Firehouse
1 Chiltern Street, Marylebone, London, W1U 7PA, chilternfirehouse.com
Best cocktail bars
1. Albert's Club
I just love the floral granny chic wall paper. It is a great spot where you can dine on traditional modern food and then go straight to the bar for a cocktail and a dance. We just hosted the most fabulous dinner party there with the likes of Immy Waterhouse, Jade Jagger and Yasmin and Amber Le Bon.
92b Old Brompton Rd, Kensington, London SW7 3LQ, albertsclub.com
It's just so heavenly sitting in the cloud of baby pink interior and sipping on a Golden Slipper.
9 Conduit Street, London, W1S 2XG, sketch.london
Uber cool, fun and makes a great cocktail!
2-5 Hertford Street, Mayfair, London W1J 7RB, 5hertfordstreet.co.uk
Best suburbs to stay
It's just so central and has wonderful, old Victorian architecture as well as great shopping spots. You've got all the high-end flagships like Céline and Miu Miu; plus Harvey Nichols and Harrod's.
I lived there for 5 years. It's still very industrial but as legend has it, it has the highest head count of photographers and stylists per metre anywhere in the world. You can feel it on the street - that anti-establishment creativity.
3. Primrose Hill
To me this area is a sanctuary. I will often go up to the top of the hill and just ponder. So peaceful but also full of great pubs, especially in Winter. Perfect to have a mulled wine. I also love the old cobblestone laneways.
3 hotel suggestions
1. The Marylebone Hotel
Filled with beautiful and quirky décor and surrounded by high fashion boutiques, the Marylebone is one glam stay.
47 Welbeck Street, London, United Kingdom, W1G 8DN, doylecollection.com/hotels/the-marylebone-hotel
2. The Kensington
Owned by one of my oldest besties, Pippa Holt's husband's family. Really loved the dusty pastel velvet ottomans, sofas and armchairs. They're so comfortable and chic.
109-113 Queen's Gate, South Kensington, London SW7 5LR, doylecollection.com/hotels/the-kensington-hotel
One of the landmark hotels in London. It's so refined and the service you get is immaculate. From the bell boys to the concierge to the lovely maids that turn down your bedsheets - service is perfect.
Brook Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 4HR,.claridges.co.uk
Where to shop for local and international designers
- Dover St Market for unique designer product
- Harrods's for great mid-priced product that is well-made and with a point of difference.
- Top floor at Selfridges is the best place to find collections from newly discovered designers
Best places for live music
1. 606 Club
90 Lots Road London, SW10 0QD, 606club.co.uk
East Poultry Avenue, Smithfield Markets, London EC1A 9LH, oriolebar.com
3 best galleries
1. Saatchi Gallery
Duke of York's HQ, King's Road, London, SW3 4RY, saatchigallery.com
2. Serpentine Gallery
Kensington Gardens, London, W2 3XA, serpentinegalleries.org
3. Tate Modern
Bankside, London, SE1 9TG, tate.org.uk
Best places to hang out in winter and summer
1. Liberty to shop all day long when it's cold outside!
2. The Dandelyan Bar (pictured) in the Mondrian Hotel for Hip Hop Sundays.
3. Chiltern Firehouse for a cosy dinner.
- 1. Primrose Hill is so perfect for a bit of peace and reflection. Apparently this is where druids used to go hundreds of years ago to perform their rituals. It really is a spiritual haven.
- 2. I love walking around the markets in the sunshine - whether it be Portobello Road (pictured) or Columbia Road Flower Markets.
- 3. Dalston Roof Park for a cocktail on a summer afternoon.
Insider tip: Get in early to Portobello Markets to avoid the rush and crowd. The best pieces get snapped up!
Best view of the city
Sky Garden terrace
Go to the top floor restaurant for an amazing view of the city.
1 Sky Garden Walk, London, EC3M 8AF, skygarden.london
Best places to drop in for an exercise class
For a yoga or pilates class
Various locations, triyoga.co.uk
2. Fierce Grace
For hot yoga in winter, fiercegrace.com
Best day spas/beauty
For the best facials in town
The Stables, Warren Mews, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 6BY, pfeffersal.com
Where to buy homewares or art
Islington has the most wonderful antique stores. Also Sotheby's Monthly does great antique auction houses in Islington where you can truly find collectible bargains from deceased estates etc.
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