Worth getting out of bed for
You’re surrounded by London’s leading stages here, including the Theatre Royal Haymarket (www.trh.co.uk). If you haven’t booked ahead (www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk), visit the ‘tkts’ booth in Leicester Square, where boards list cut-price last-minute tickets for that day’s matinee and evening performances. You're also very close to the Institute of Contemporary Arts, better known as the ICA (+44 (0)20 7930 0493; www.ica.org.uk) and the leafy lakeside St James's Park (www.royalparks.org.uk), where the park's wildlife officers feed the pelicans every day at 2.30pm. The Serpentine Gallery (www.serpentinegallery.org), which hosts regular events and exhibitions of cutting-edge art and sculpture, is at the far end of the park.
For a traditional British experience, with a sprinkling of pomp, head to The Wolseley on Piccadilly (+44 (0)20 7499 6996) for lunch or tea, or to Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill on Swallow Street (+44 (0)20 7734 4756): slurp oysters at the marble-topped champagne bar while pianists tickle the ivories; or dine upstairs, where Richard Corrigan works his magic in the Grill restaurant. Hakkasan on Hanway Place (+44 (0)20 7927 7000) has to be the sexiest Chinese restaurant ever; and it was the first to earn a Michelin star. Just off Regent Street, Veeraswamy (+44 (0)20 7734 1401) is the capital’s oldest Indian eatery, but it couldn’t feel more contemporary after its makeover. At The Ivy on West Street (+44 (0)20 7836 4751), you can brush shoulders with gossiping showbiz legends over classic British dishes. If you’re in the mood to splurge, multi-venue Sketch on Conduit Street (+44 (0)20 7659 4500) offers flashy French-fusion fantasies, brasserie fare, cocktails, or delicate patisseries in its tearoom. Created by world-renowned chef Virgilio Martinez, Lima (+44 (0)20 3002 2640; www.limalondon.com) at 31 Rathbone Place uses Peruvian flavors and ingredients – sourced mainly from the UK or small growers in the Andes and Amazon – to create inventive dishes, presented in a clean, contemporary and downright dazzling style.