When it comes to cities and chic hotels, few are as awe inspiring as London, particularly when the sun is shining. Yet for most of us who live here it’s not often we take the time to really enjoy it. The city has so much to offer, and personally if I had a weekend in London in the sunshine I could think of nothing better than checking into one the chic hotels and exploring it through the eyes of a first-time visitor.
While north London has its character and central London has untold
vibrancy, it’s south west London that wins when it comes to charm however, particularly in the summer months and so for this time of year that is where I would focus my urban adventure for chic hotels.
Kensington and Chelsea are almost impossible to beat for elegance and with them come some of London’s most iconic sites. The Royal Albert Hall and Kensington Palace are a living, breathing part of the city’s history while Notting Hill with its array of postcard perfect houses broadly lives up to its romantic reputation as depicted in Hugh Grant’s rom-com classic. It’s probably also got some of the best boutiques in the area (including charity shops that redefine the genre).
Meanwhile, there’s also the leafy village of Putney, the large open space of Wimbledon Common (perfect for Wombling), and events including the historic Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge, and of course the upcoming Wimbledon tennis which always inspires excitement, even if you’re mostly in it for the strawberries and cream.
Perhaps one of the greatest joys in South West London however, is simply watching the world go by, so it’s fortunate that it’s brimming with coffee shops, pubs and restaurants with outdoor spaces and gardens. Few things are finer than a leisurely weekend lunch in the sun as the world pootles around you in this little corner of the metropolis – it really is a world unto its own.
When it comes to chic hotels, a favourite is The Lodge Hotel, a contemporary gem and former coach house nestled into a Victorian terrace that’s otherwise characteristic of its home in Putney. It has a conservatory at the back (in case you prefer the quiet of the hotel to the aforementioned pub), and it’s close to the tube should you care to go beyond this little oasis of calm and explore the wider capital.
So many people come to London every year for work and play, and see it through excited eyes, so perhaps this summer is the year for an urban staycation; time when you can look up at the beautiful architecture rather than down into the murky Underground, and instead of thinking of London in terms of job prospects and daily commutes, rediscover is as the beating heart of England, throbbing with culture, stories and exceptionally good food.