So, the plan for today, planned many months ago, was to eat out for breakfast and eat out for afternoon tea, and shop. Pretty simple. Easy… And Achieved.
I booked breakfast at famous French bistro, Balthazar, Covent Garden, months before arriving in London. I learnt my lesson a few years back when visiting New York, and was unable to get a reservation at the NY Balthazar in Soho, within a 5 day period. This was not going to be the case again. We arrived at 9.30am and were seated in the typically French decor inspired bistro and took a big breath in. It is a stunning space, and the french breads and croissants stacked up on huge breadboards, were mouthwatering. Eggs Benedict, Eggs with streaky bacon on thinly cut sour dough, smashed avocado and tomato salsa, were the staple for big day of shopping ahead.
With our bellies full, it was time to walk off the French calories. We headed up to Oxford St and hit the pavement. Shops galore. Zara, Top Shop, H&M, Aldo, Next and numerous other one season only clothing options were spread along Oxford St. To be honest, it was a little disappointing. Many of the same with different labels. Disposable clothing with a lot people. I was underwhelmed. I wanted more British. So turn left and wander down Old Bond St. Classic designer stores lined the narrow street. If you want Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Coach plus more…then this is your street. I want this street, but unfortunately my wallet does not. Exit stage left and head to Jermyn St.
This is the street if your man wants to splurge. Handmade English leather shoes at Crockett and Jones was our first stop. These shoes will outlive you. They are expensive, so they better do just that. My man had a little sweat going as I chose a beautiful tan stitched lace up shoe for him. They are stunning and now I realise how I underrated mens shoes. Big mistake, huge. Shoes really do maketh the man.
Classic English shirts from Thomas Pink and shaving cream from Taylor of Old Bond Street, who, since 1854 have produced some of the finest shaving soaps and shaving creams available, as well as a full line in shaving accessories, aftershaves and colognes, and we were done. We flagged a cab and headed back to the apartment to freshen up.
Next stop was the famous Savoy Hotel on the Strand, for High Tea. Once again, I suggest booking in advance if this is something you want to do. I booked it online a few months back, to ensure we were accommodated on the day we wanted.
Perfectly placed in the heart of the city and on the banks of the River Thames, The Savoy is just steps away from the colour and vibrancy of Covent Garden and a short taxi or boat ride to renowned London landmarks or to the ultimate designer shopping destinations of Knightsbridge, Mayfair and Chelsea.
The High Tea is held in The Thames Foyer, and is very much the heart of The Savoy. A stunning glass dome floods this sociable spot with wonderful natural light – and beneath this, a pianist serenades guests from a winter garden gazebo, as you enjoy the world-famous afternoon tea.
Afternoon Tea at The Savoy is an enduring custom where guests can choose from a range of teas served with finger sandwiches, homemade scones with clotted cream & jam and a mouth-watering selection of seasonal cakes and pastries. Plus a choice of 32 tea blends. I tried 3 and they were all divine. The cost for the high tea is high end at around $90 p/h, but lets just say…you may never need to eat again. And the memories last a lifetime.
After letting out the belt buckle for second time in one day, we headed along the Strand towards Aldwych. I read about a roof top bar on the internet and wanted to find it. The Radio Bar on the roof top of the ME Hotel. The name Radio derives from the location – a grand art deco edifice once known as Marconi House, but now the fancy ME London hotel. From here, the first BBC programming was broadcast in 1922. Radio is on the roof, ten floors up, where the transmission aerials once stood.
What you can’t see from up here isn’t worth its place on the London skyline
The bar attached to this view is great too – this is a sleek, glammed-up, ‘Sex and the City’ destination for long-legged model types and ski-holiday-brochure chaps with unseasonal tans. A man with a clipboard decides where you can sit; a DJ keeps it upbeat. We had a quick drink, got some sunburn and left the cool people alone.
Day 2 done and done…