Swiss Driving Trip: Yodel-ay-hee-hoo!

 

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(photo courtesy of Jungfrau Region Tourism)

The sights featured on this trip were recommended by my French teacher, who is Swiss, and my father, who lived in Geneva for over a year. They are timeless destinations, rich in history and settings. So, hop in the car and let’s drive around Switzerland! My husband and I just took this trip and it was great.

Geneva to Vevey

Take the Lake Road (La Route du Lac)–not the autoroute–from Geneva to Vevey (1-1.5 hours, depending on traffic). TIP: Be sure to time your arrival for anytime other than rush hour!

Montreux Riviera: Vevey (recommend 4 nights)

SEE THE SIGHTS

  • Chateau de Chillon–Take on of the many beautiful 1900’s-era steamers from Vevey to the Chateau de Chillon, a highly photogenic medieval castle on Lake Geneva
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Chateau de Chillon (photo courtesy of montreuxriviera.com)

  • LaVaux Vineyards (a UNESCO World Heritage Site of terraced vineyards dating from the 12th century, on the north shore of Lake Geneva/Lac Leman): You can bike, hike or see the vineyards while eating lunch aboard on of the CGN Belle Époque steamers that cruise the lake frequently each day.
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Lavaux Vineyards (photo courtesy of REGIS COLOMBO/diapo.ch)

  • Vevey’s old town is small and lovely, has some charming shops, and is located on Lake Geneva.
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Vevey (photo courtesy of montreuxrivera.com)

  • Gruyères is 20 minutes’ drive from Vevey: HIGHLY recommend a visit to this “tres jolie” small town and its castle!
  • Neuchatel/Lake Neuchatel (Vevey to Neuchatel is 1 hour and 20 minutes’ drive)

STAY in Vevey

  • Hotel des Trois Couronnes in Vevey (NY Times 2011 & Andrew Harper 2016 & recommended by MySwitzerland.com as “typically Swiss” & gave it 5 stars), 71 rooms, half of which face Lake Geneva; while the bar, two restaurants, and some of the sleeping rooms could use a facelift, the lobby is dramatic, terrace wonderful, and staff is charming and service-oriented; and views onto Lake Geneva couldn’t be better!
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view of Lake Geneva from our room at Hotel des Trois Couronnes

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view from Hotel des Trois Couronnes

  • Grand Hotel du Lac in Vevey, 50 rooms, is a Relais et Chateaux & recommended by MySwitzerland.com as “typically Swiss”& gave it 5 stars; its lobby decor is prettier and more updated than that of Les Trois Couronnes but I read somewhere reputable that its service was not as good. It is also two blocks farther away from the center of Vevey’s old town.

EAT, DRINK & BE MERRY in Vevey

  • Ze Fork on the Water is zee place to eat in Vevey and is booked weeks in advance, so call ahead. Lovely terrace looking onto Lake Geneva!
  • Have lunch on board one of the CGN steamers that motor around Lake Geneva. Their dining rooms are very nice and it’s so much fun to cruise by the little and large towns as you sip champagne!
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dining room on CGN steamer

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one of the beautiful CGN steamers that cruise Lake Geneva

Zermatt/Matterhorn (recommend 2 nights)–via Sion

SEE THE SIGHTS

  • Rhone River valley–The first part of the drive from Vevey to Sion takes you along the Rhone River valley, which is lush, filled with fruit trees and the Lavaux Vineyards. So pretty!
  • Sion–Stop here for lunch on cobble-stoned Rue du Grand Pont, the main street in Sion’s old town, then walk to the two medieval castles that top Sion’s camel-like hills (see sketch below).
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Sion

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Sion: My photos didn’t capture this so I had to resort to this sketch. The two mountains topped with churches with Sion in between is what makes this small city unusual.

  •  Zermatt
    • Tour the Matterhorn Museum
    • Hike up out of Zermatt around the base of the Matterhorn
    • Shop: NOT! The shops are touristy and totally unappealing
    • Take the cogwheel train from Zermatt up, up, up to the Gornergrat (3,089 m) to see the highest peaks of the Alps and a glorious view of the Matterhorn (30 minutes each way)

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STAY in Zermatt

  • The Omnia Hotel: This is a great hotel! The photos don’t do it justice. Just go! You will love it. Get a room with a balcony facing the Matterhorn. Suggest Room X (that’s right, Room X), as its balcony is very private and it’s a big room. Plus, great service, e.g.: When I called down to the Omnia’s desk to ask for a restaurant suggestion for that night, our wedding anniversary, the concierge said he’d call me back in 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes later, exactly (so Swiss!), he called, told me the time of our reservation, and said a bellman was at our bedroom door. When I opened the door, the bellman presented me with a raspberry enshrouded heart-shaped ice cream, and my husband’s and my favorite drinks. Impressive!
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The Omnia with its perfect Matterhorn backdrop

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The Omnia has a sleek James Bond vibe!

EAT, DRINK & BE MERRY in Zermatt

  • The restaurant at the Omnia has one Michelin star and is very good.
  • Restaurant Blatten–Imagine this: You have just hiked around the base of the Matterhorn, far from the madding crowds of Zermatt, and want a genuinely Swiss lunch, like fondue perhaps, up in the mountains. Restaurant Blatten is for you! It’s a 20 minute walk from Zermatt. The owners are fun and welcoming.
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Restaurant Blatten: Those people huddled in the lower right corner of this photo have views of the Matterhorn!

Interlaken area (recommend 3 nights)

Near Interlaken, my Swiss friend recommends Oberhoffen (3 hours drive from Zermatt), Grindelwald & Wengen. We stayed in Grindelwald.

STAY in Grindelwald

  • Aspen Alpin Lifestyle Hotel, 4* by MySwitzerland, an excellent web site for finding hotels, train trips, and restaurants in Switzerland. The Aspen Alpin Lifestyle Hotel (despite its overkill of a name) is up above Grindelwald (5 minute drive), in a small, small village, with big, big views. Get a room with a balcony and make sure you are in the building with the elevator, so you don’t have to lug your steamer trunk up stairs. The corner rooms are the largest. While the check-in area is not pretty, the rest of the hotel is attractively decorated.
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Aspen Alpin Lifestyle Hotel: Check out those views!

SEE THE SIGHTS

  • Observe the locals: While gazing at the big valley views from our Aspen Alpin Lifestyle Hotel’s balcony, I saw the local farmers leading their cows down from the high mountain pastures to their homes for the winter on the lower part of the mountain. They walked right by the hotel. For this once-a-year occasion, the cows wore their extra big cowbells (an autumn tradition) and participated in a prettiest-cow contest–in the Aspen Alpin Lifestyle Hotel’s parking lot! The winner was awarded a crown of flowers and a BIG bell, which its owner later mounted on its barn to advertise his fine-looking bovine. So great!
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cow bells awarded to the prettiest bovine

  • Hike the Heidi-like hills and mountains around Grindelwald. They are heaven! We took the cable car from Grindelwald Grund to Mannlichen and then hiked 1.5 hours to the train station at Kleine-Scheidegg. Huge, breath-taking views and relatively flat hike. Once you reach the K-S train station, you can have lunch and then take another train to Jungfraujoch, the “Top of Europe,” for even higher views of the mountain peaks. Walk a short way from there for lunch at Monchsjochhutte, as recommended to us by a local Heidi.
  • Take the 1.5-hour train trip from Grindelwald to Berne, Switzerland’s capital, for the day. Berne’s old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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medieval building in Berne’s old town

Zurich area: Braunwald, St. Gallen, Schaffhausen (recommend 4 nights)

SEE THE SIGHTS

  • Schaffhausen–I haven’t been here but my Swiss friend highly recommends this  town that was an important center of trade from the early Middle Ages. Its Old Town is lined with Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo buildings.
  • St. Gallen (1 afternoon)–Beautiful old town, whose cathedral and library (est. 9th century) are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. St. Gallen’s origins go back to 612! The stunning library, called the Stiftsbibliothek, has 170,000 works, of which 400 date from before the year 1000.
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St. Gallen Cathedral

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St. Gallen

  • Braunwald–Our last stop was Braunwald. Park your car Linthal at the base of the mountain and take the 7-minute cable car ride up, up and away to the tiny Alpine village (300 residents) of Braunwald, where the Ahorn Hotel’s taxi will pick you up and drive 5 minutes to the lovely hotel…The main activities in Braunwald are hiking and skiing but it would also be a great spot to “chillax” and observe Alpine village life from the comfort of your balcony overlooking the mountains. The suites come with their own saunas!
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hiking above Braunwald

 

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charming bee houses we saw along the trails in and around Braunwald

STAY

Ahorn Chalet Hotel Braunwald–This hotel consists of two BIG suites in the main building and five chalets. The decor is attractive and chef is EXCELLENT. He and his wife expertly manage this nice hotel with world-class views of the mountains and hikes to match. This is remote and yet, you can be back within reach of civilization in 7 minutes by cable care.

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Ahorn Hotel in Braunwald

Switzerland Summer

(photo courtesy of Switzerland Tourism/Andre Meier))

TIP on Tipping in Switzerland: By law, service is included at restaurants, so just leave a little something (“pour boire”), i.e., round up the bill.

TIP on Paying by Credit Card: You will be asked whether you would like to do the cc transaction in Swiss francs or US dollars. Before departing for SW, ask your credit card company for their recommendation, because it may differ from card to card.

Literary Traveling Companions: “Heidi,” by Johanna Spyri, of course; “Daisy Miller,” by Henry James, takes place at the Hotel Des Trois Couronnes in Vevey; and highly recommend the “Eyewitness Guide Switzerland.”

 

Spain: Madrid & Andalucia-Ándale!

 

Almudena Cathedral

Cortijo del Marques Alumna Cathedral, Madrid, Contents provided by MADRID DESTINO TURISMO CULTURA Y NEGOCIO, S.A. available at http://www.esmadrid.com

STAY in Madrid

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Ritz Madrid

  • Hotel Ritz Wonderfully stylish designer Carolina Herrera stays here every time she goes to Madrid (per Departures 2012). Elle Decor also recommended it, as do I. Particularly heavenly is the outdoor patio behind the hotel!
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Ritz’s lovely patio

  • Casa de Madrid Carolina Herrera’s daughter reserved this for her wedding (per Departures 2012). Elle Decor also recommended it and described it as, “Antiques and 18th century portraits grace this luxury B&B in a grand apartment near the Royal Palace.” Website currently under construction but the few photos I found (like below) in travel mag’s look very pretty! 7 rooms, moderately priced
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Casa de Madrid

SEE THE SIGHTS in Madrid

  • Prado (Museo Nacional del Prado)world-class & world-famous art collection
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Prado–Contents provided by MADRID DESTINO TURISMO CULTURA Y NEGOCIO, S.A. available at http://www.esmadrid.com

  • Flamenco–“On Thursdays, Laray (Calle de los Hermanos Becquer 6) is the insider dance venue–but the show won’t start until after midnight,” per Carolina Herrera (Departures 2012)
flamenco

Contents provided by MADRID DESTINO TURISMO CULTURA Y NEGOCIO, S.A. available at http://www.esmadrid.com

  • Hidden Treasure, per CH–“Cinephiles shouldn’t miss Cine Dore (Calle de Santa Isabel 3) housed in a gorgeous 1920s theater.”
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Las Ventas

  • See a bullfight at Las Ventas–While the tradition and symbolism of bullfights are interesting & the spectacle dramatic, I felt sad for the bull but it’s worth seeing once.

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EAT, DRINK & BE MERRY in Madrid

  • La Tasquita de Enfrente (Calle de la Ballesta, 6)–“best tapas,” per Carolina Herrera (2012, Departures)
  • Samm (Calle de Carlos Caamano 3)–for paella, per Carolina Herrera (2012, Departures)

Cocktails & Dancing in Madrid

  • Le Cabrera (Calle de Barbara de Braganza 2)–“You can’t beat a gin and tonic at Le Cabrera,” per Carolina Herrera (2012, Departures)
  • The pool at Room Mate Oscar hotel (Plaza Vasquez de Mella 12)–also per CH
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Room Mate Oscar roof terrace: I want to go here immediately!

  • Evaristo Club (11 Calle Marques de Santa Ana)–per Travel + Leisure (2013)
  • Hit the dance floor at Charada Club de Baile —Travel + Leisure (2013)
  • “For one of the city’s most cinematic views, head to the rooftop terrace at the cultural center, Circulo de Bellas Artes  (42 Calle de Alcala),” per Travel + Leisure (2013)

SHOP in Madrid

  • For espadrilles, Lobo (Calle de Toledo 30) “is the place for the more traditional shoe, in every color. For more fashion-forward styles, try Castaner (Calle de Claudio Coello 51),” per Carolina Herrera.
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If & when you buy these sexy Castaner espadrilles, you will look exactly like her!

  • Sunday’s outdoor flea market El Rastro for antiques (recommended by CH in Departures, 2012, as well as Travel + Leisure 2013)

ANDALUCÍA

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Sevilla

SEVILLE (“Sevilla”)–300 miles SW of Madrid, Seville is the capital of Andalusia and the fourth-largest city in Spain (pop. 700,000+). “Though its history dates back to the Roman times, an invasion by the Moors in the eighth century left a cultural imprint that largely defines the city today.”  (Travel+Leisure, 2014)

STAY in or near Seville

  • Trasierra (Cazalla de la Sierra)–“Tucked away in Seville’s foothills, this tiny whitewashed town is a favorite of Carolina Herrera, who stays at the 16th-century hacienda Trasierra. It’s the perfect jumping-off point for exploring nearby Seville.” (per Travel+Leisure, 2014) The town of Cazalla de le Sierra is located 80 km. north of Seville and looks intriguing. Trasierra is a 19-room inn that has received rave reviews by excellent sources (interior designer, Mark D. Sikes, the New York Times Style magazine, and Condé Nast Traveler). I am so in love with the photos and feel of Trasierra that I have posted three photos below, as well as several more at the very end of this post*…check them out!
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Trasierra

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Trasierra

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Trasierra

  • Corral del Rey (Seville) –“a chic, low-key boutique hotel in a restored 17th-century palace”  (Travel+Leisure, 2014). This is a sister property of the Hacienda de San Rafael (Pippa Middleton’s b-day bash location, described below). Its website looks okay, not amazing.
  • Hotel Alfonso XIII (Seville) Built in 1929 and renovated, this is the grand dame hotel in Seville’s city center. The website looks great: lots of Spanish tiles and character!
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Hotel Alfonso XIII

  • Hacienda de San Rafaeltranquil, rustic, luxury hotel set in an olive grove 40 minutes south of Seville; site of Pippa Middleton’s 40th birthday party weekend; 11 bedrooms, three suites, three pools, bougainvillea-lined courtyard, gardens, al fresco dining, plus spa services and flamenco classes  (per Hello magazine, 2013). While at Hacienda de San Rafael, Pippa and her friends visited “Cortijo de Arenales, a traditional Andalusian estate about 45 minutes from Seville. Owned by the Count of La Maza, the beautiful estate maintains the traditions of Andalusian country life. Pippa’s party were given a tour …and taught about the fighting bulls that are bred on the estate and roam around its 7,000 acres.” (Hello magazine, 2013) Check out the other good cultural excursions on HdSF’s website, like touring the great white hilltop towns of the region!
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Hacienda de San Rafael

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Hacienda de San Rafael: I bet Pippa put on a good party here!

SEE THE SIGHTS of Seville

Following is a partial listing to whet your appetite:

  • La Giralda & the Cathedral–12th century bell tower, originally built as a minaret during the Moorish period; a UNESCO World Heritage Site
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La Giralda–Seville

  • The Alcazar –also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Alcazar is a royal palace originally built by Moorish Muslim kings, one of the most beautiful in Spain, and it is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe
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Plaza de Espana, Seville

  • Plaza de Espana – The beautiful Plaza de España, Seville, was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. Its tiled wall, benches, floors and walkways are an example of the Renaissance Revival style in Spanish architecture. Feast your eyes below…
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Plaza de Espana, Seville

  • Basilica de la Macarena –has one of the most revered sculptures in Seville, the 17th-century Virgin of Hope, which locals call La Macarena. La Macarena is the patron saint of matadors and a favorite of Spanish gypsies.
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Basilica de la Macarena

  • Casa de PilatosDuke of Medinaceli’s 16th century residence with STUNNING arabesque mosaics; considered to be prototypical Andalusian palace

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Case de Pilatos (photo courtesy of Fundacion Casa Ducal de Medinaceli)

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Case de Pilatos (photo courtesy of Fundacion Casa Ducal de Medinaceli)

EAT, DRINK & BE MERRY in Seville

  • La Monedatraditional tapas bar near the cathedral that is a favorite with locals (Hello magazine, 2013)
  • El Rinconcillo–for tapas, “the oldest tavern in Seville, dating from 1670…as old-school as it gets”  (Travel+Leisure, 2014)
  • Eslava–“at the other end of the tapas spectrum, Eslava, hip, modern joint, draws a smart urban crowd”…”the tourists come here early; the locals come late.”  (Travel+Leisure, 2014)

Elsewhere in Andalucía

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Granada

  • Granada–I could find no good hotels in Granada proper. Years ago, we stayed in the parador, a former convent called the Hotel San Francisco and it was dumpy, though its website looks as if they’ve made improvements. HOWEVER, it is on the grounds of The Alhambra, which is a sight to behold! It is the only medieval Islamic palace preserved in its entirety, with beautiful  gardens and magical architecture. Another option: Located 18 km. north of Granada is Cortijo del Marques, a former convent turned small hotel in the midst of olive groves.  TIP: Advise you buy tickets to the Alhambra the day before to avoid the lines. Staying on the grounds facilitates that as you can go to the ticket office at off hours or late in the day when there are no lines.
  • Cordoba–This smallish city’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and these are always good. It has been occupied since 42,ooo BC, ruled by the Moors for many years, and then conquered by Christians. Its Great Mosque of Córdoba and current cathedral, alongside the Roman bridge are wonderfully memorable and definitely worthy of one night. STAY  at the 53-room Hospes Palacio del Bailio, as recommended by Andrew Harper and Tablet Hotels.
  • Carmona–Carmona has been continuously inhabited for 5,000 years, is 15 minutes from Seville International Airport, and has a lovely hotel, the Casa de Carmona, where we stayed years ago. Nice hotel and nice little city!

Of Note:

Should you prefer an upscale tour to driving/self-guided exploring, Al Andalus is a renovated, beautiful old train that has several different tour routes through Spain, including an Andalusian route. The Al Andalus is a luxury train finished in 1930 and designed in France for England’s royal family. “There are five routes: two run along the mountain-sea routes of the north, two more traverse the central areas of the country, and one in the south, where the Al Andalus stops in Seville, Jerez, and Granada and at other monuments to Spain’s Islamic past.” (Departures magazine, 2015)

Ole!

Ole!

*MORE PHOTOS FOLLOW OF Trasierra, BECAUSE THEY ARE SO BEAUTIFUL THAT I COULDN’T RESIST…

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Trasierra

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Trasierra

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Trasierra

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Trasierra

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Trasierra

-Posted May 2016

London (part 2/2): Eat, Drink & Shop

Organized by neighborhood…

NIGHT LIFE

Leicester Square & Soho

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  • The Crazy Coqs (20 Sherwood St., near Piccadilly Circus)– on the edge of London’s theater district–small, attractive, art deco nightclub (above); especially fun is open-mic night, when theater professionals and talented mere mortals perform (while it’s usually on Thursday nights, you may want to check the website to confirm the schedule)
  • Theater: Click here to find out what’s on!

EAT, DRINK & BE MERRY

Chelsea

  • Five Fields (8-9 Blacklands  Terrace)–EXCELLENT, excellent food and service in elegant, initmate room on a charming street
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Five Fields restaurant in Chelsea

  • Tom’s Kitchen (27 Cale St.)–deelish comfort food, casual but nice ambience on charming Cale St., which is parallel to the King’s Road
  • The Orange (37 Pimlico Rd.)–The BEST gin and tonic I had on our most recent trip to London! They plopped a date in the bottom of the high-ball glass and draped a bunch of bright red currants on the side=pretty and delicious. Also, good food and convivial atmosphere.
  • Peter Jones department store (on Sloane Square)– has a decent cafeteria on its top floor with amazing views of London; good for a quick bite while shopping

Hammersmith

  • River Café (Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd.)–The River Café has long been adored by many and justifiably so, as it has a relaxing, peaceful, low-key stylish ambience & GREAT food. Plus, the staff are into it in the best way! The taxi ride from central London is long-ish but worth it.
The River Cafe, Hammersmith, London.

The River Cafe, Hammersmith, London.

Kensington 

  • Walton Street–any place on this charming, short street for a good, low-key (but not boring) time, e.g., The Enterprise is nice and fun, and a hip, pulsating bar is just down the street.

Mayfair

  • Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill (11-15 Swallow St.)–Opened in 1916, Bentley’s serves shellfish, classics (fish pie, for ex.), as well as more exotic fare. Sit at the ground-floor oyster bar.

Victoria

  • Thomas Cubitt (44 Elizabeth St.)–nice, informal restaurant on a pretty street

Soho

  • Quo Vadis (26-29 Dean St.)–Departures (2015) highly recommended Quo Vadis, so of course we bee-lined for it and it did not disappoint: SUPERB food, service & ambience!
Credit Photo: Paul Winch-Furness / www.paulwf.co.uk

Quo Vadis (Credit Photo: Paul Winch-Furness / http://www.paulwf.co.uk)

  • Rules (35 Maiden Lane)–Rules is attractive & the oldest restaurant in London. Several scenes from “Downton Abbey” were filmed here, when Lady Mary and Lady Edith met friends in London. Check out the 2nd & 3rd floors.
  • Brasserie Zédel (20 Sherwood St.)–beautiful and very deco w/good food

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The following restaurants get a lot of good press, though I haven’t yet eaten there:

Soho

  • Ham Yard Hotel (1 Ham Yard)–Departures (2015), among others, recommended this happy, fun, stylish décor; buzzing with people when we were there at 3:30 on a weekday afternoon
  • Bocca di Lupo (12 Archer St.)–Departures (2015) recommended it so we stopped by & checked it out between meals. It is small, attractive, Italian, w/welcoming staff.
  • Barrafina (54 Frith St.)–tapas, several locations, don’t accept reservations, lines

Marlebone

The 3 “hippest, of-the-moment spots,” according to The [English] Times food critic (Departures 2015):

  • Dinerama (19 Great Eastern Street, on the edge of the financial quarter & Shoreditch)–“the smokingest ticket in town”
  • Kitty Fisher’s (10 Shepherd Market, Mayfair)–“the atmosphere is classic old-London bohemian” & the food is “at the cutting edge of current style”
  • Colony Grill Room (8 Balderton St., Grosvenor)–very snazzy 1920’s deco décor in a nice hotel (The Beaumont)

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PUBS

Chelsea

  • Fox & Hounds (on Passmore St., @ Graham Terrace, parallel to Lower Sloane near Sloane Square)–Located on a quiet street near Sloane Square, the Fox & Hounds is a small, very pleasant, un-touristy pub, with beautiful summer/spring/fall flowers, as you can see below

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Belgravia

  • Star Tavern (Belgrave Mews West)–charming mews location, nice pub
  • Horse and Groom (7 Groom Place)–close to Buckingham Palace, in a mews, closed on weekends
  • Wilton Arms (71 Kinnerton St.)–really attractive mews pub with tons of hanging baskets of flowers out front

Wapping

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Prospect of Whitby

  • The Prospect of Whitby (57 Wapping Wall, between the Tower of London & Canary Wharf)–London’s oldest riverside (great views of the Thames) pub dating back to 1520, though out-of-the-way. Originally frequented by those involved in life on the river and sea, the pub was a notorious haunt for smugglers, thieves and pirates. Other notable customers included Charles Dickens, Samuel Pepys, and artists Whistler and Turner. Especially memorable: on the water side of the pub is the gallows, where unfortunates were hung and gradually drowned as the Thames rose!

COCKTAILS at Nice Hotels

  • Claridge’s–Claridge’s has two bars. Go to the smaller one with its own, separate entrance from the street. The bartender opens a bottle of champagne every six minutes. Elegant & full of life!
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Claridge’s bar: Shake that thing!

SHOP IT!

St. James

  • Fortnum & Mason (181 Piccadilly)–SUCH a nice store! You will simply have to visit. Several floors, over 300 years old and stylish, F&M sells food, home goods & some fashion. WAY better store than Harrod’s!
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This recent window at Fortnum & Mason will give you an idea of its style.

 

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another Fortnum & Mason window

 

Fortnum & Mason Ground Floor

This photo of Fortnum & Mason’s ground floor does not do the store justice. Go up to its other floors for the best eye candy…clothes, gifts, a sweet tea salon. Go down for a small, refined, ladies-who-lunch restaurant.

  • Jermyn Street–See the beautiful men’s shirts, suits, and socks shops, plus George F.  Trumpers for elegant, old-fashioned shaving products; shop the arcades off Jermyn, as well as Lock & Co. Hatters  around the corner; above Lock, see Rachel Trevor-Morgan’s  millinery (she has designed over 65 hats for Queen Elizabeth over the past decade) at 18 Crown Passage, one of the oldest pedestrian streets in central London

Knightsbridge

  • Walton Street–short, quiet street w/some lovely, little boutiques, including Departures (2015) fav, Alex Engle (91 Walton), which is “laid out like the home of an impossibly chic friend.” Sounds great!
  • Beauchamp Place–Check out the pretty dress shops, as well as the Map House, which sells charming prints.

Chelsea

  • John Sandoe (10 Blacklands Terrace, just off the Kings Rd.)–perfectly wonderful small store, with knowledgeable staff…just what a bookstore should be!

Sandoe green bicycle

  • Sauntering down the King’s Road: lots of good boutiques
  • Sloane Square–tempting stores on and off the square, including on Ellis Street, West Halkin and Sloane Streets, as well as Lower Sloane
  • Oliver Brown (75 Lower Sloane St.)–very British: OB rents and sells top hats and waistcoats (in gorgeous colors and patterns) & also sells some ladies’ clothes, including hunting skirts (long, of course), as well as other traditional English attire, of the finest quality
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Oliver Brown–Lady Mary and Matthew would have bought their hunting clothes here.

  • Pimlico Road (between Lower Sloane & Ebury St., which runs into Elizabeth St.)–sophisticated, small decorating shops with living-large style. For example, Linley (as in, nephew of QE) is a beautiful store with especially intriguing furniture (the look=sleek, masculine, updated-deco) and everything stylish to accompany it, including stunningly-crafted wooden boxes for cigars, jewelry, and must-have “vice boxes” (all yours for the low, low price of 7,000+ pounds!)

LINLEY Belgravia Flagship Store

Between Victoria & Belgravia

  • Elizabeth Street (between Ebury Mews & Chester Row)–lovely, elegant boutiques, including Philip Treacy, the “king of royal wedding hats,” per the Irish Independent (2011); click through to read his fascinating bio
PhilT3

stunning Philip Treacy creation

PT2

and yet another PT stunner

Mayfair

  • Maggs Bros. Ltd. (46 Curzon St.)–has one of the largest collections of antiquarian books in the world. Departures magazine dedicated a whole article to Maggs in its 2015 issue focused on the joys of London.
  • G. Heywood Hill (10 Curzon St.)–Wonderful bookshop with an interesting past: “Nancy, eldest of the famous Mitford sisters, worked here during the second half of World War Two. Her gregarious character and witty repartee helped establish Heywood Hill’s shop as a centre of English social and literary life during the 1940s,” (from GHH website). QE awarded GHH the Royal Warrant in 2011.
  • S. J. Phillips (139 New Bond St.)–stunning, stunning jewelry

Soho

  • Liberty (Regent St.)–In addition to its famed small flower-patterned scarves, this beautiful store sells cutting edge fashion, as well as housewares, notions and even books.

Notting Hill

  • Portobello Flea Market–really crowded but lots of interesting things; go to nearby Geale’s (2 Farmer St.), circa 1939, afterwards for a nice lunch/dinn post-shopping
  • Independent bookshops (per Departures 2015)–
    • Notting Hill Bookshop (13 Blenheim Crescent)–click through and you will probably recognize this as the bookshop owned by Hugh Grant in  “Notting Hill”

For HOTELS & SIGHTS to See, go to my London (part 1/2) post.

-posted May 2016

 

 

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