Grand Old Dame

Camden Stables Market ( is a vast expanse of land housing around 500 shops. Eager shoppers can indulge themselves in furniture houses, tattoo parlors, vintage and gothic fashion stores, touristy souvenirs and, of course, food stalls. Creating an impressive backdrop to the busy shopping scene is possibly the biggest restaurant to date in Lond: Gilgamesh, which is impressive in both size and gilded stature.
Fancy an original painting by Pablo Picasso or Claude Monet’s impressionist collection? Enter into the colorful fantasies of well-loved artists in the seven-storeyed Tate Modern (Bankside, London, England, +44 20-7887-8888, There are many halls, some with free admission and others that require an entry fee. Our tip: Have a casual lunch at the Tate Modern Café before embarking on your art expedition.
The London Eye (Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd., London, England, +44 870-990-8883,, a 135-meter ferris wheel, has 32 individually air-conditioned capsules which can accommodate 10,000 visitors on any given day. This observation wheel is the largest in the world, attracting over 3.5 million people a year, and reminds us a bit of something similar we’ve seen over at Marina Bay.
For the complacent and sun-worshipping individuals, Hyde Park ( comes into full bloom during the summer months. The scenic lake becomes the playground of feathered pilgrims, white swans and mandarin ducks. Deck chairs are a common accessory for visitors as they bathe under the sweltering sun and people-watch as strangers come and go.
Carnaby Street ( is situated comfortably in London’s shopping central. Expect quirky finds and one-of-a-kind labels such as Harriet’s Muse, which is all the rage for their drool-worthy customized corsets strikingly worn as outer wear. Young executives congregate religiously at Living Room after work for that well-deserved pint and appetizing menu.
Bicester Village ( is barely an hour away from the city center and it’s coveted labels displayed in individual boutiques makes this an all-day affair for any traveler. One can find Chanel, Christian Dior, Burberry, Molton Brown and more than 60 other brands at reduced prices.
Covent Garden Market ( is patronized by almost a million visitors each week. Boutique labels such as Whistles and stall carts draw eager shoppers to its unique abode. Enjoy a cool drink at the piazza where a soprano aria singer entertains or indulge in wholesome ice-cream on a summer’s day. You will be charmed by this mid-17th century market.
Spitalsfield ( Avant-garde or down to earth, bespoke or laid back, vintage or modern, you will definitely find something for everyone here. Prized possessions include vintage Chanel clutches, exotic-smelling handmade soaps, bespoke shirts (if it’s good enough for Brad Pitt, it’ll do for us!) and playful fairy decorations in pink—Elton John commissioned a store here to provide party decorations for his last birthday bash.
Making Merry
Trendy and eye-catching, just like its clientele, Cocoon (65 Regent St., +44 207-494-7600), serves up a delectable feast by trained Japanese sushi chefs behind two sushi bars, and luscious martinis which can be enjoyed with your meal or in the lounge bar. 
It might have arrived in Singapore, but the home of molecular gastronomy is surely Europe. The Fat Duck (High St., Bray, Berkshire, +44 1628-580-333), is world-acclaimed for its “off-the-hook” menu helmed by Heston Blumenthal. This three-star Michelin restaurant mesmerizes the palate with items such as smoked bacon and egg ice-cream, and salmon poached with liquorice accompanied by asparagus, pink grapefruit and olive oil.
Chef Alan Yau wows with a scrumptious yum cha menu of fresh scallop siew mai adorned with vibrantly-colored roe, fragrant fried wantons and soft-as-cotton char siew pau. Complement the glorious spread with blue teas from the Orient at Yauatcha (15-17 Broadwick St., Soho, +44 207-494-8888) designed by Toyo Ito.
Want a quick, appetizing meal without stripping your wallet bare? Head on down to local noodle institution Wagamama (4 Streatham St., Bloomsbury, +44 207-323-9223) and slurp Japanese udon teppanyaki-style with egg, smothered in roasted crushed peanuts. Before you leave, try the meringue dessert served on a plate of chili and tamarind sauce.
As we saw on TV, Jamie Oliver, culinary television extraordinaire, presents Fifteen (15 Westland Place, +44 870-787-1515), a restaurant run by local youths. The trattoria whips up daily menus using the freshest herbs and seafood. All profits go to Fifteen Foundation Charity which supports 30 unemployed youngsters on the program every year. Be assured that the food is as good as it looks.
To Sleep Perchance to Dream
For the penny-watcher who loves a good deal, B&B Belgravia (64-66 Ebury St., Belgravia, +44 207-259-8570, provides clean and comfortable rooms with breakfast every morning. This bed and breakfast is in a preserved building with no elevator or air-conditioning (what a novel idea!), but does provide internet service and helpful staff.
What was once a charred residence is now a fully-refurbished, black and white boutique hotel. Barely a year old, Montagu Place (2 Montagu Place, +44 207-467-2777, hosts 16 “Comfy,” “Fancy” and “Swanky” rooms which are sleek and intimate stocked with Molton Brown toiletries in the bathrooms. The stunning bar also acts as the reception. We like.