London Film Week takes place in the middle of the West End.
This dazzling area is home to spectacular shopping streets, a top-notch restaurant scene and a world-famous theatre district.
Follow our city guide when visiting London Film Week!
NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY
A haven of relative quiet right off tourist-crazed
Trafalgar Square, this turn-of-the-century building’s high-ceilinged galleries house portrait’s of England’s bygone celebs: a white-collared William Shakespeare, the Brontë girls by their brother Patrick, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert – plus newer icons like Alan Bennett and Germaine Greer. Don’t mis the BP Portrait Award, every summer.
St Martin’s Place
+44 (0) 207 306 0055
Delve inside this iconic London department store
You could spend all day in this mock-Tudor paradise of floral-printed everything, from shirts to handbags, tea cosies to trays. As well as its eponymous prints, the department store, established in 1875, has an excellent edit of indie and established fashion and accessories, plus modern and Arts and Crafts furniture, lust-worthy kitchen wares, a flower stall, hair salon, pedicure spa and cafe.
Regent Street, London W1B 5AH
+44 (0)20 7734 1234
The Edition Hotel’s lavish dining room, where the 20ft ceiling is a spectacle of Belle Epoque mouldings and every inch of wall space holds work of art. Chef Jason Atherton’s food is suitably indulgent: expect lobster cocktail, ox cheek-stuffed macaroni and cheese with a dusting of bone-marrow, and crispy roast chicken with buttery gnocchi. Reservations accepted.
10 Berners Street
+44 (0) 207 781 0000
SOUNDS OF THE UNIVERSE
Old-school record stores of the Sounds of the Universe ilk are rare and precious these days. You’ll sniff that nostalgic dusty vinyl aroma here, of course, and mingle with a clientele that sifts purposefully through records while nodding their heads to the soulful music on repeat. The downstairs book section caters to students of jazz, reggae, rock and soul.
7 Broadwick Street
+44 (0) 207 734 3430
Modern takes on tapas at this lively Catalan kitchen
A formidable Catalan kitchen surrounded by a cosy 23-stool bar. The wait is at least an hour for two on any night of the week, but it’s worth it: patient punters are rewarded with supremely tasty tapas like braised pork belly, gooey tortilla and plump salt-fried prawns, paired with an impressive array of Spanish wines and sherries. No reservations.
54 Frith Street, London W1D 4SL
+44 (0)20 7813 8016
A stylish slip of a small plates restaurant, which balances formality and fun
The impressive dishes include creamy burrata with salty samphire and spicy chilli, and tender rabbit with Douglas fir and peas, while the relaxed staff and antique-style interior evoke a convivial Venetian bacaro. There’s room for 70 around tiny tables and at red leather banquettes. Lunch reservations only.
11 Berwick Street
+44 (0) 207 439 8627
RAPHA CYCLE CLUB
This sleek cafe-shop is dedicated to England’s new national sport: cycling
Smart cafe meets cycling shop via this British brand’s first permanent site. The Rapha look starts with the top-of-the-line bikes hanging on the wall; the fashion-forward jerseys, hats and spandex tastefully arranged around the store underscore the aesthetic, and you can top it off with accessories like neon water bottles, gloves and even body balms. Make sure you caffeinate with one of Soho’s best brews while you browse.
85 Brewer Street, London W1F 9ZN
+44 (0)20 7494 9831
& OTHER STORIES
Scandi style on the high street
A Stockholm-born purveyor of inexpensive, on-trend clothes, jewellery, bags, shoes, beauty products and underwear. The white, airy store feels feminine, boutique-y and very cool – think boxy silk tops paired with wide-leg leather trousers and glossy patent-leather flats.
256-258 Regent Street, London W1B 3AA
+44 (0)20 7479 7070
LINA STORES DELI
An Italian grocer stocked with the best of the basics
A good Italian grocer should offer the finest breads, meats, wine and cheeses, and Lina Stores is one of the best. Fresh pasta can be taken away or cooked to order between noon and 2pm; Italian olive oils and vinegars pair beautifully with the flaky focaccia and fresh baguettes, and dozens of salami and prosciutto sit by asiago, taleggio and pecorino cheeses in the deli fridges.
18 Brewer Street, London W1F 0SH
+44 (0)20 7437 6482
If a classy evening enjoying some classic blues in a sophisticated London jazz bar sounds like the perfect night, then Ronnie Scott’s is the place to go. First opened in 1959, the Frith Street club entertains its patrons until 3am, with acts which in the past have included Sarah Vaughn, Miles Davis and Kurt Elling.
47 Frith Street
+44 (0) 207 439 0747
EXPERIMENTAL COCKTAIL CLUB
A cocktail friend’s dream speakeasy, hidden behind a nondescript door amid dim sum restaurants on Chinatown’s main drag. With red walls, a mirrored-tile ceiling and a bar made from an antique piano, the prohibition-era interiors evoke noirish opulence.
Drinks made with rhubarb, lemongrass and aged liqueurs are nothing short of meticulous. Reservations accepted.
13a Gerrard Street
+44 (0) 207 434 3559
MILK & HONEY
With no number on its door, no name emblazoned outside, a ring-before-you-arrive guest policy, an underground location and some rather interesting house rules, this bar oozes mystery. Designed in the manner of a prohibition-era speakeasy, the land of milk and honey is, more accurately, overflowing with gin swizzles and champagne cocktails. The rules – no name dropping, no shouting, gentlemen will not introduce themselves to ladies – are only sporadically enforced, but they add to the general sense of sophistication. Access to non-members is by reservation only until 23:00
61 Poland Street
+44 (0) 207 065 6800
A favourite with young royals – Princes Harry and William, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie have been spotted here… all at the same time. And where the royals go the celebs follow and you’re likely to see a few of them here too. Scarlett Johansson and Paris Hilton are among the A-listers who’ve dropped by when they’re in town. Despite its popularity and ensuing publicity the door policy is really relaxed, there are no guest lists and the Polynesian vibe is chilled out with Tahiti inspired tropical cocktails.
1 Dover Street
Experience the edgy side of London’s nightlife with some cabaret – and a range of other outlandish acts – in The Box, located on Walker’s Court, between Brewer Street and Peter Street. This den of decadence is a stomping ground of the rich and famous, having welcomed celebrities including Kendall Jenner, Cara Delevingne and Rihanna.
11-12 Walker’s Court
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LONDON FILM WEEK