There is no dearth of unique experiences in London – it’s easy to have a meal suspended over the London Eye, fly over the city in a helicopter, or just pop into a nouveau vegan café for brunch. London blossoms during the summer. We wrote an article some of our favourite things to do in London during the summer last year (featuring open-air cinemas, music festivals, and al-fresco dining) and thought it was time to pen Part II. Here’s some stuff we’ve been enjoying this summer 🙂
1) The Magic Hour
If you, like us, don’t relish cliched tourist attractions, then The Magic Hour is for you. It’s a pleasant departure from bog-standard cinema, theatre, or dinner evenings. This unique show is inspired by Victorian magicians and illusionists. But this is no ordinary magic slow – it’s sleight of hand, taken to a new level altogether. There are vanishing objects, there’s mind reading, and spirits that appear out of nowhere.
The magician, Sonic, is a master showman. He’s performed with the likes of Gary Barlow and Jonathan Ross. At The Magic Show he manages to be thrilling, endearing, and shocking all at once. What’s more, he pulls off tricks with great finesse even when the audience is just inches away from him. The wooden panelling at the venue (an old hotel room!) adds to the charm. The Magic Hour will transport you to another time and the tricks being pulled in front of your eyes will leave you spell bound. Go for it!
The Magic Hour is rated highly on TripAdvisor and shows sell out quickly – make sure you book in advance. Tickets start at £25 (including a ‘magic cocktail’), more information on their website www.magichourshow.com.
2) Afternoon Tea à la Charlie & The Chocolate Factory
Now we’ve sampled our fair share of Afternoon Teas in London – we love Bea’s of Bloomsbury for their pocket-friendly afternoon tea and Landmark Hotel for their chocolaty take on Afternoon Tea. It’s hard to pick favourites but we’ll just say this – there has been no looking back ever since we feasted on a scrumdiddlyumptious spread inspired by the musical, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, at One Aldwych Hotel. Hand-painted chocolate eggs, delicate hand-spun candy floss, indulgent cake pops, dainty finger sandwiches, and old-school milk bottles – this afternoon tea is the answer to all our prayers!!
Our favourite part? Cocktail Charlie – a crazy cocktail inspired by Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Yes, that isn’t a potion but a cocktail comprising whisky, chocolate bitters, grapefruit juice, cherry syrup, and Champagne. It’s bound to cast a magical spell over your day 🙂
One Aldwych Hotel, WC2B 4BZ, London
Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych starts at £35/person. Prior booking is necessary.
3) Lazy Weekend Brunches
Nothing screams summer weekend more than a lazy brunch. InterContinental London’s Cookbook Cafe routinely features as one of London’s top brunch spots. It can get quite hectic, so this isn’t the place to go if you’re looking for a romantic meal. Their weekend brunch buffet is a veritable wonderland with decadent desserts, warm pancakes, and an array of tapas-style main courses with an emphasis on sea food.
But that’s not what we go there for – we love the newly-introduced juicing menu. It’s perfect for anybody who likes their juices and smoothies and provides the perfect opportunity for a detox. Their juices are fresh, tasty, and healthy – it’s hard to fault that combination 🙂
Cookbook Cafe, InterContinental Hotel, W1J 7QY
Prices start at £49/person
4) Farmers’ Markets and Picnics
If you’re on a bit of a budget, then picnics are the way forward. Colourful Farmers’ Markets sprout all over London during the summer. Pick freshly-baked breads, English cheeses, cured meats, and lots of fruits for your picnic. Escape the hustle-bustle of London town by plonking yourself in one of the dozens of parks around the city. The usual suspects, Hyde Park and St. James’ Park can get very crowded. So try and pick a lesser known park. We love Greewich Park and Richmond Park – they offer dozens of perfect picnic spots.
Don’t forget to pack sunscreen and carry a picnic blanket. One thing is for sure – you’ll never want to leave 🙂
Travelstay has an extensive array of cheap London hotels to choose from if you’re on a budget. Each locality has its own Farmers’ Market. Borough Market is a great place to sample local produce and peruse food items if it’s your first time in London. But it tends to be overpriced. Hit local Farmers’ Markets for the best deals.
5) Chocolate Heaven at Said
Guess what you get when you put opulence and chocolate in the same room? Said of course! This Italian Chocolate Boutique has several branches in Rome (the first branch opened in 1923!) but this is Said’s first shop in London. Said’s is no ordinary chocolate shop – it’s a grown-up, sophisticated boutique that takes indulgence to a whole new level. Don’t forget to try their uber-indulgent hot chocolate (the creamiest in town!) and rich flavoured truffles. It’s the stuff of dreams and we’ve been going there way too often recently *rubs pot belly in shame* 😉
Said, W1F 9QL, London
Chocolates start at £5
Planning a trip to London?
We have everything you need to plan your trip to London, including all our favourite things to do in London, what to pack (and what not to pack ) in our Guide to London.