What's New in London This Year — From Gorgeous Hotels to Chic Cocktail Bars

Whether you're visiting for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee or are just raring to return to London, these are the top new spots to check out.

The Red Room at Connaught London
Photo: Courtesy of Connaught

London is ready for its close-up. On March 18, Britain ditched its last remaining pandemic travel restrictions, and celebrations for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee begin on June 2.

While we're looking forward to getting reacquainted with The Big Smoke's time-tested classics, it's also high time to ogle the latest and greatest new offerings the capital has to offer, from game-changing drinking dens hiding minutes from Oxford Street to shiny new five-star stays in still-vibrant Shoreditch. Ready to dust off your trench coats? Whether you're visiting for the Jubilee, your first international holiday since the pandemic, or simply for a fun-filled long weekend, here's what's new in Londontown.

Luxury Hotel Openings

From royal residences to historic landmarks, London has legendary luxury hotels in spades. The city has emerged from the challenges of the last two years with a dazzling display of new five-star properties. A few stays which opened to rave reviews amid (or just before) the pandemic include Covent Garden's NoMad London, east London's Mondrian Shoreditch, Westminster's The Guardsman, Marylebone's Nobu, and effortlessly posh LXR-stay, Biltmore Mayfair.

Grand staircase at The OWO in London
Grain London

Since London's full reopening this spring, the hospitality scene has been buzzing. One of London's trendiest neighborhoods got another splashy luxury hotel in the form of One Hundred Shoreditch. Taking over the modernist building where the buzzy Ace Hotel once stood, this property is all about tranquility and features a new underground cocktail lounge from renowned mixologist Ryan 'Mr. Lyan' Chetiyawardana, an ethical seafood restaurant inspired by England's fishing villages and a pink-tiled rooftop bar with panoramic views of the city. In Mayfair, The Twenty Two opened inside a grade II-listed Edwardian manor complete with a mews house and penthouse inspired by Christian Dior's private living space. And toward the end of the year, expect to see one of the most-anticipated openings: The OWO Raffles. It'll be the first time the famous Old War Office on Whitehall, which stopped being used by the Ministry of Defense in the 1960s, will open to the public in more than a century.

New Bars in London

For the second year in a row, Mayfair's Connaught Bar was crowned the world's best. And if master mixologist Ago Perrone's world-leading table-side dry martinis aren't enough of a pull, the beloved 200-year-old luxury hotel recently opened an art-and-wine enclave known as The Red Room. Discerning drinkers will find more than 30,000 bottles of vino to sip from here. The city doesn't rest on its drinking laurels though, and other new cocktail bars of note include Sweeties, a 1970s Hollywood-style bar on the 10th floor of The Standard, the NoMad's Side Hustle set in a former Covent Garden police station, and east London speakeasy Nightjar's new Soho outpost.

Following both fire and flooding, Camden's 19th-century theater Koko is set to show off a $92-million transformation. Its most dazzling new update might be its new members' club, House of Koko, which is set to take over four floors. Look out for the new roof terrace and conservatory, a cocktail bar in the restored copper dome, a recording studio, and a hidden speakeasy.

New Restaurants in London

Sketch at The Ledbury in London is now in mellow yellow hues
Ed Dabney/Courtesy of Sketch

Take dessert very, very seriously? Join the line at The Berkeley in Knightsbridge, where world-renowned pastry chef Cedric Grolet opened his first pâtisserie outside of France, complete with a unique counter-side tasting menu of "trompe-l'œil" fruits and elaborate tarts. Other new restaurants making a splash around Londontown include Clerkenwell's Sessions Arts Club set in an 18th-century courthouse, 1920s Shanghai-inspired MiMi Mei Fair, The Lanesborough Grill (at its namesake hotel by Oetker Collection) led by acclaimed chef Shay Cooper, and Mexican-Spanish Decimo perched on the 10th floor of The Standard.

The revivals this year are equally exciting. The Ledbury reopened in Notting Hill with a new look and new chef. Michelin-starred Sketch has redesigned its iconic millennial pink Gallery and turned it mellow-yellow to mark the Mayfair institution's 20th anniversary. The fresh look comes courtesy of British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare and architect India Mahdavi, who originally turned the Gallery pink back in 2014. Another London revamp comes in the form of Carousel, with an ever-rotating lineup of incredible guest chefs continues, but this time in a sprawling new site made up of three converted Georgian townhouses in the heart of Fitzrovia.

Noteworthy Arts and Culture

Fashioning Masculinities Exhibition at the V&A Museum in London
Courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, London

All eyes are on the queen this June when the city celebrates her Platinum Jubilee. Want to celebrate with a spot of tea? We'd point you in the direction of Fortnum & Mason's special afternoon tea or the glamorous Belmond British Pullman train where guests will have the opportunity to sample Windsor Great Park Sparkling Wine from the Queen's own estate while watching the English countryside roll by. Fans of Wes Anderson should call dibs on the Cygnus carriage, which has recently been reimagined by the director. After two years of pandemic-induced cancellations, Pride in London comes back for its 50th anniversary in June, and with it comes the UK's first dedicated LGBTQ museum, Queer Britain, in historic King's Cross. Over at the V&A Museum, "Fashioning Masculinities" will be the first major V&A exhibition to celebrate "the power, artistry, and diversity of masculine attire and appearance."

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