England’s capital comes alive in the summer months. The national mood lifts with the sunshine and people take to the parks, streets and festivals for a fantastic programme of events. With an exciting Royal Wedding back in April and the 2012 Olympics coming up soon, the local sentiments are buzzing and the metropolis is bursting with new hotels, restaurants and shops, all adding to its incredibly vibrant atmosphere.
• Viajante (Patriot Square)
You’ll be dazzled at Viajante by the brilliant art installations and original interiors before you have even ordered your meal. Choose between 3, 6, 9 or even 12 courses (advanced request only) of delicious seasonal food and feel thoroughly treated.
• Tinello (87 Pimlico Road)
Don’t be put off by the low-key interior; it forms a simple backdrop to some seriously delicious Italian food, produced by two Venetian brothers. Antipasti lovers will delight in the range of reasonably priced plates on offer, and the larger dishes are equally worth a try.
• Boisdale (Cabot Place, Canary Wharf)
A slice of Scotland is set to arrive in Canary Wharf when Boisdale opens there this April. Occupying two floors, the venue will boast a cigar library and a crustacean bar, and promises many evenings of live jazz, blues and soul music.
• Pizza East (56 Shoreditch High Street)
This new branch boasts a vintage British interior and an open kitchen, where you can watch your pizzas being cooked in wide stone ovens. Over the summer, a gelato bar will open so guests can sit outside and survey the passers-by whilst enjoying high-quality ice creams.
• 123 boutique (123 Bethnal Green Road)
The owners of this huge store come from a long line of clothes recyclers, and the new boutique offers the last word in sustainable British fashion. Look out for exciting creations by designer Dr Noki among the rails.
• Anthropologie (131-141 King’s Road)
At just over one year old, this unique store is still the venue of choice for shoppers hunting for fashion and homewares that don’t resemble the norm. Anthropologie is the place for items that will ensure you stand out.
• Lucy In Disguise (10 King St)
The newest celebrity store on the block, Lucy In Disguise is a vintage project run by Lily Allen and sister Sarah. The decor alone is worth a look; it is designed to look like a bachelorette apartment with dress rails, bell jars, a blow dry bar and a vintage make-up salon among the treats on offer.
• W London (10 Wardour St)
The ultimate in all things chic and cool, W London brings a large helping of glitz to the city. Its highly contemporary rooms all have custom made furnishings and state of the art entertainment systems; in fact, this hotel is so full of surprises you may find yourself not wanting to leave the comfort of your room at all.
• St John Hotel (1 Leicester St)
The newly opened hotel is situated in London’s West End on the site of the famous former seafood restaurant, Manzi’s. It offers sparkling white rooms with ‘more than a touch of glamour’, as well as ‘post-supper rooms’ that visitors to the restaurant can reserve, removing the need to book a taxi home.
• The Zetter Townhouse (49-50 St John’s Square)
The eagerly anticipated sister project to the Zetter Hotel is a 13 bedroom Georgian Townhouse with a sumptuous lounge. Expect innovative drinks, boutique-style rooms and a unique sense of style.
• Joan Miro: The Ladder of Escape Exhibition, Tate Modern (Apr 14 – Sep 11)
The first major UK exhibition of the great Surrealist’s work will be well worth a visit for any modern art fan. (Caption for picture: Joan Miró May 1968 1968–1973 © Joan Miró and Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona)
• Taste of London, Regent’s Park (Jun 16-19)
Famous chefs take to the park in an annual feast where visitors can sample food from the best restaurants in town, attend cookery classes, and buy all kinds of delicious treats.
• Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park (May-Sept)
The Open Air Theatre is a great way to soak up some culture on a sunny London evening. Shows this year promise the usual high standard of performance, with ‘Lord of the Flies’ and ‘The Beggar’s Opera’ among the productions that will be delighting audiences.
• Free Range graduate art and design show, Old Truman Brewery (31 May – 25 Jul)
One of the capital’s largest and most exciting art events, this project allows the best young talents in photography, graphics, art and design to showcase their work to the public, who can try and spot the next big artists of the decade.
– Olivia Parker