All eyes are on the South Bank, thanks to its world-class art museums, galleries, and theaters. Here, a few must-see destinations.
Design Museum: This Modernist-style museum by Terence Conran hosts exhibitions on fashion, architecture, furniture, and more. On view this month: “Designers in Residence,” an annual show that celebrates local and international emerging talent.
Edwins: This quintessentially English pub—Tudor windows, draped curtains, and large wooden tables—became an instant hit when it opened in the spring. On the menu: elevated British classics such as lamb “chump” chops with eggplant and zucchini, and for dessert, gooseberry trifle. $$$
Rabot 1745: Nearly every dish at Rabot 1745, the brainchild of Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris of Hotel Chocolat, is laced with chocolate, from the carpaccio Rabot, doused in a 100 percent cacao–liquor dressing, to the guinea fowl and cocoa-infused yogurt. $$$$
Lassco Ropewalk: You could spend hours exploring this 14,000-square-foot outpost of venerable furnishings company lassco at the Ropewalk market. The place is filled with salvaged goods and architectural antiques, from doorknobs and tiles to gilt-wood mirrors and Persian carpets.
Snowden Flood: London designer Snowden Flood’s quirky shop in the Oxo Tower Wharf stocks plates and cups printed with Pop art illustrations of London landmarks, retro stationery, and bright tea towels and aprons.
Our top picks in the South Bank’s foodie epicenter.
Wright Brothers Oyster & Porter House: The fresh oysters at this rustic-chic restaurant are prepared in various ways, from deep-fried to Japanese-style with wasabi, ginger, and soy. Get a sidewalk table for great people-watching. $$$
One-off boutiques. Artisanal restaurants. Buzzed-about galleries. Bermondsey Street is London’s of-the-moment destination.
Tanner & Co.: In a dining room decorated with old-school radios, model ships, and antique boxing equipment, Tanner & Co. claims to serve the best burger in Bermondsey (fried bacon, Gruyère, chutney, and pickles on a brioche roll). There’s also an expansive cocktail list; we love the Bermondsey Street Bootleg, made with Tanqueray gin, apricot brandy, Sauvignon Blanc, and rose-and-hibiscus syrup.
Here, Deyan Sudjic, director of the Design Museum, reveals his favorite places around London.
The Pub: The low-key Dean Swift, near Tower Bridge, is all about nostalgia for Old London, with hearty cooking—try the rabbit, pork, and chicken liver terrine—served in simple, unpretentious surroundings.
Our favorite new perch to watch the rapid reshaping of London’s skyline: Shangri-La at the Shard, itself located in the city’s most dramatic new addition, Renzo Piano’s 1,016-foot icicle on the South Bank. For its first property in the U.K., the hotel group brings its inimitable Asian polish to the British capital, with contemporary Chinese art, Japanese cherry-blossom wallpaper in the 202 guest rooms, and an Eastern flair (soy-glazed Welsh lamb!) at the restaurant Ting. Teatime here is held in the 35th-floor lounge, where full-length windows showcase the cityscape unfurling across the Thames. Earl Grey? Gracious, no—bring us a pot of green jasmine. shangri-la.com.
Sarah Miller is Travel + Leisure's European Editor.
One of London’s famous landmarks got a modern spin last week, as Café Royal Hotel—which opened just over a year ago on Regent Street—debuted a front- and back-of-house integration with Apple technology that's intended to streamline its entire operations process. Now, guests staying at the property can check in remotely using an iOS device, be it en route from the airport or over a cup of coffee in the restaurant, rather than having to queue up at the desk.