Vintry & Mercer is at the heart of the City of London, surrounded by the historic livery halls and guilds that give it its name.
Touch down at London City Airport for the quickest transfer into town. Depending on traffic, the hotel can be reached in about 30 minutes by car; your other option is the Docklands Light Railway, which runs from the airport to Bank Station, a five-minute walk from the hotel.
All of London’s major stations are within easy reach. The most convenient is Liverpool Street, where you’ll be able to hop straight onto the Central Line, riding one stop to Bank.
You won’t need a car if you’re staying at Vintry & Mercer. With Bank and Mansion House stations so nearby, the Tube is the fastest way to get around, and black cabs are plentiful after dark. If you do decide to bring your own wheels, you’ll need to find public parking.
Worth getting out of bed for
With a glut of London’s mercantile history on the doorstep, you’ll likely be out and about most of the day. Wherever you end up, be sure to return at last light for a sundowner on the roof terrace, where you can watch the sun slide from the jagged tip of the shard. After dinner at Vintry Izakaya, descend to sultry drinking den Do Not Disturb, where the leather and low lighting lends itself to a few old-school cocktails. A stroll northward will bring you to London’s Guildhall, the Grade I-listed building home to the City of London Corporation. Long an emblem of London’s commercial power, the hall dates back more than 800 years, and has a Gothic great hall, mediaeval crypt and an art gallery filled with historic works. For an altogether more modern experience, keep heading north until you arrive at the Barbican, an icon of Brutalist architecture and home to Europe’s largest performing-arts centre, where world-class theatre, dance and musical performances run throughout the year. During daylight, don’t miss its verdant Conservatory, the second largest in London and home to more than 2,000 species of tropical plants and trees. If the exhibitions aren’t to your liking, cross the Thames to Bankside or Bermondsey, where the Tate Modern and White Cube galleries await. Borough Market, also across the river, has been selling and serving food for the best part of 1,000 years. It gets busy, particularly at weekends, but it’s a haven for city-dwelling gourmets. An alternative is stately Leadenhall Market, which is populated with upmarket boutiques.
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For an excellent tapas-style lunch, book a table at Hispania, which has taken over two trompe l'oeil-tiled floors of the old Lloyds Bank headquarters. Executive chef Marcos Morán hails from Asturias, and is the fifth generation of his family to forge a career in the kitchen. Having worked for some of the best chefs in Spain, including the Roca brothers of renowned El Celler de Can Roca, Morán lives and breathes authentic Spanish cuisine. The menus are in Spanish, the staff are Spanish and he never adapts dishes to British tastes – which is precisely why his restaurant is such a success. The steaks at Paternoster Chop House have been known to make diners weak at the knees, which may explain how it came to be the star of Channel 4’s First Dates. All of the meat is aged for at least 42 days and is butchered in-house, ensuring maximum time on the bone, allowing each cut to reach its fullest flavour. For something lighter, try Ahi Poké, the Hawaiian-inspired eatery bringing the poké bowl to the capital. The nutritious dishes are loaded with your choice of rice, fresh greens, sauce and fish or meat, including ahi tuna, salmon and spicy chicken, creating a nutritious dish that’s become the darling of health-conscious West Coasters. For first-rate Indian, books a table at Brigadiers, which was inspired by British Army mess bars in the days of the Raj. For an old-school splash, it has to be 1 Lombard Street, one of the most established restaurants in the City. Choose from the domed brasserie or elegant 1776 dining room – both serve the same menu of refined British classics.