A Walk Around the West End
Start the day in
at 10am when the fountains are switched on. You could spend a day at the
, but limit yourself to an hour, perhaps just visiting the Sainsbury Wing.
For coffee, head next door to the Portrait Restaurant at the
National Portrait Gallery
. It has fine views over Trafalgar Square.
Head up Charing
Cross Road to Leicester Square. Note the statues of Shakespeare and
Charlie Chaplin in the middle of the square. Continue towards the bright
and the famous statue of Eros, and
then walk up Shaftesbury Avenue, centre of the city’s theatre district.
Turn off here into bustling
, with its colourful shops and restaurants.
Lunch in Chinatown is
obligatory. Enjoy the bustle of the Golden Dragon on Gerrard Street, or
the calm of the excellent Joy King Lau in Leicester Street, just off
Give the afternoon over to colourful and lively Soho. Eat a peach fresh from the stall in Berwick Street Market, then stroll up Wardour Street, home of the movie industry. Reward yourself with tea and a slice of cake at the delightful
in Greek Street.
in Soho, you have to do something naughty. Ann Summers sex shops have
been around so long they seem quite tame – but their products really are
A Carnaby Street classic, fans may still buy clothes cut from original 1960s patterns here.
a street of bookshops, this grandmother of all bookshops is something
of an institution. A vast range of subject matter is covered.
for its vast array of sporting goods that are spread over six enormous
floors, there are plenty of bargains to be found at Lillywhites.
A West End whisky specialist, Milroy’s has a small bar where malts can be sampled.
A unique gift card shopping experience in Soho, Scribbler sells funny, well-designed cards and wrapping paper.
sexy high-quality lingerie, from Joseph Corré, Vivienne Westwood’s son,
and his wife Serena Rees. Give in to temptation!
One of London’s best-known delicatessens, famous for its fresh pasta, this is like stepping into a 1950s Italian grocery store.
Algerian Coffee Stores
in 1887, this is one of the oldest shops in Soho. It exudes a wonderful
aroma of the many kinds of coffee it sells. Speciality teas and herbal
infusions can also be bought here.
The Witch Ball
French lithographs, antique travel posters and prints are sold here.
The street is lined with antiquarian print and book shops.
Late Night Venues
London’s premier jazz venue .
47 Frith Street W1
020 7439 0747
Neon sign, Ronnie Scott’s
long cuban cocktail bar serving Havana’s original recipes.
Interpretations of Cuban and Latin American cuisine make up the menu.
French-style bistro: sandwiches, salads and light meat and fish dishes are served until 3am Monday to Saturday.
Cork and Bottle
range of champagnes and wines are available at this basement bar near
Leicester Square. Open until midnight, Monday to Saturday.
lively bar stays open until 5am daily (to 6am Fridays and Saturdays).
Hot dishes and sandwiches are on hand to keep people on their feet.
Their eggs benedict is to die for!
venue that is taking the West End by storm as it veers away from
traditional door policy and ushers in a more hip, casual crowd. Boasts a
Open till the early hours, this funky venue, on two floors, attracts cocktail drinkers and has live DJs at weekends.
Bar 101’s colourful interior
Jazz After Dark
don’t get going here much before 9pm, and the jazz and blues go on
until 2am Mon–Thu, 3am Fri–Sat. BBQ mixed grill, tex mex and tapas are
on the menu.
inviting and intimate bar that buzzes with a lively atmosphere.
Excellent cocktails are served by dedicated and friendly professionals.
One of a chain of 80 outlets in London, this one is open until midnight, with regular jazz nights a big draw.