You’ve got two days to fill in London and you want to make every minute of it count. Have a read of Sloane Ranger’s guide to all the best places to eat, drink, shop and sleep. You’ll be hanging out in amongst the Sloanes of SW3 – and if you keep your eyes peeled you might get a close up view of a Cara, the lesser spotted Cressy, or if you’re really eagle-eyed, a herd of young Royals in their natural habitat. Have fun!
Touchdown in London Heathrow and grab yourself a black cab straight to The Goring Hotel in Victoria. Only a hop and a skip away from Sloane Square, this is where Kate Middleton spent the night before her wedding to Prince William. Park Lane is another option for a short stay in London as it’s positioned in super-smart Mayfair and a short walk from Chelsea. Choose from The Dorchester, The Metropolitan or The Intercontinental at One Park Lane.
If you’re travelling to London in a small group of friends, there’s a growing trend for staying in serviced apartments rather than hotels. A-list celebrities, politicians and the international business class often choose serviced apartments for the extra privacy and space they offer – without compromising on luxury or service. Presidential Serviced Apartments in Kensington offer suites with lounges, kitchens and even a concierge service for everything from booking taxis to arranging tickets and tables. The suites are found in a smart Victorian red brick mansion a few blocks away from Kensington Palace where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and baby Prince George live. Who knows – you might even spot them strolling in the lovely Kensington Palace Gardens.
Once you’ve checked in and freshened up from your flight, you’ll probably be hungry. For a brunch that’ll set you up for a long day’s shopping, head to Colbert on Sloane Square. A favourite hangout of Cressida Bonas, this Parisian-styled eatery is a fabulous spot to linger over a coffee and watch the well-heeled world whizz by. Get a table outside if you can bear the cold, and try a Full English Breakfast – you won’t need any lunch afterwards!
And any trip to Chelsea wouldn’t be complete without a quick stop off at Peter Jones on Sloane Square, so why not amble over the road after refuelling at Colbert? This age-old department store is as British as it gets, and is worth the visit for the experience as much as the shopping itself. It’s also prime stomping ground for Sloanes and Royals, so keep your eyes peeled.
Just a little way down the King’s Road from Sloane Square is the impressive Saatchi Gallery. Pop in for a wander around and take in some of the pioneering and edgy art installations on show. Sloane Square and the King’s Road hosts every Sloaney brand you’ve ever dreamed of, from Jo Malone’s beautiful scented candles and fragrances to Cath Kidston’s cute interiors and knick knacks. For clothes, shoes and handbags, check out LK Bennett, Amanda Wakeley and Stella McCartney’s boutiques. And for all your workout gear, you must visit the fabulously-named Sweaty Betty.
For one-off vintage and second-hand gems, head for The Merchant and Oxfam Boutique. Here you’ll pick up anything from a vintage Chanel handbag to one-of a-kind pieces by Alexander McQueen. And you might just spot the odd model or Chelsea socialite on a day off, browsing the rails.
Another great Chelsea institution is Bluebird at 350 King’s Road. It’s open all day and well into the night, but we recommend you time your visit with a truly British afternoon tea. Bluebird’s three-tiered vintage platters are a joy to behold, stacked full of delicate little sandwiches, scones and cakes. Sit and rest those tired feet awhile and enjoy a cup of tea from their extensive menu. If budget will stretch, why not pay Richard Ward a visit for a blow dry that’s fit for a princess? Yep, Kate Middleton gets her glossy locks done right here on Sloane Square. The Chelsea Day Spa is another hot spot for a good manicure, a restorative massage or a rehydrating facial treatment.
And once you’ve had a little disco-nap back at your hotel or apartment, it’s time to hit the town! For dinner, try Benihana for lively Teppinyaki-style dining or head to Kettner’s in the West End for some fine British dining with a cut-glass service. Alternatively, Mr Fogg’s in Mayfair is an eccentric evening out with a distinctly Victorian feel. If you’ve got a concierge at your disposal, you could even try and book a table at The Ivy – one of London’s most exclusive restaurants.
After some dinner, we recommend you go for cute cocktails in jam jars at The Jam Tree at 541 King’s Road, then take your pick from Barts, Raffles, Boujis (Prince Harry’s old favourite) or Maggie’s (named after ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher) for a truly Sloaney end to the evening, with added celeb-spots.