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London

London City Guide

By | London

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
npg.org.uk

LIBERTY

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
liberty.co.uk

BERNER'S TAVERN

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
bernerstavern.com

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
soundsoftheuniverse.com

BARRAFINA

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
barrafina.co.uk

POLPETTO

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
polpetto.co.uk

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
rapha.cc

& 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
stories.com

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
linastores.co.uk

RONNIE SCOTT'S

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
ronniescotts.co.uk

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
experimentalcocktailclublondon.com

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
mlkhny.com

MAHIKI

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
mahiki.com

THE BOX

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
theboxsoho.com

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LONDON FILM WEEK

Seven Unique London Cinemas

By | London

London’s cinema scene is flourishing, with more and more quality venues programming great films. Here at London Film Week we had the pleasure of visiting some of London’s top cinemas to find the rarest gems in the capital’s cinematic crown. Here are seven of our top pics…

  1. Regent Street Cinema

Regent Street Cinema became the birthplace of UK cinema in February 1896, when it hosted the Lumière brothers’ first demonstration of their Cinématographe machine to British audiences. It’s rumored that audience members were so frightened by the moving images of an oncoming train they fled the screening. Between 2012-15 the building underwent a £6.1 million restoration, allowing the cinema to reopen after a 35-year hiatus. Now restored to its former Art Deco glory, it screens an impressive programme of classic and contemporary film and hosts festivals including London Film Week.

Regent Street, London W1B 5AH
+44 (0)20 7911 5050

2. The Prince Charles Cinema

During the 1960s and 70s the Prince Charles was a porn cinema, screening Britain’s longest continuous runs of French softcore erotic film Emmanuelle and Italian erotic history drama Caligula. Since then it’s branched out, achieving cult status among movie lovers for its programme of classic, arthouse, cult and Hollywood fare. Quentin Tarantino has called the Prince Charles a “Mecca” for lovers of quality films and London’s “queen’s jewel” of grindhouse cinema.

Leicester Place, London WC2H 7BY
+44 (0)20 7494 3654

3. Rio Cinema

This Art Deco gem located in North East London screens a range of films, from arthouse films to Hollywood blockbusters. Over its hundred-years history the cinema has had various incarnations: in 1958 it was the Classic Cartoon Theatre before it became the Classic Continental in 1960. It became a Tatler Cinema Club in 1971, screening uncensored adult films alongside live burlesque acts. Nowadays the Rio operates as a not-for-profit organisation, working with diverse programming partners. It hosts annual film festivals showcasing the work of Turkish, Korean and Kurdish filmmakers.

Kingsland High Street, London E8 2PB
+44 (0)20 7241 9410

4. BFI Southbank

Operated by the British Film Institute, BFI Southbank is dedicated to showing rare and critically acclaimed films from around the world. The cinema moved to its present site in 1957 and relaunched in 2007 as an enlarged complex; in addition to its three auditoriums the cinema houses an expansive médiathèque, gallery space, lively bar and restaurant.

Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XT
+44 (0)20 7928 3232

5. Ritzy Cinema

Brixton’s historic Ritzy Cinema opened its doors in 1911 and has served as a storied part of the local community ever since. It became a political and cultural hub during the 1970s and 80s, holding post-screening discussions on LGBT rights, Latin American politics, and feminist and environmental causes. Now part of the Arts Picturehouse chain, it screens a mixture of arthouse and political films alongside mainstream movies. When your film’s over, head to Upstairs at The Ritzy to catch live comedy, music and dance workshops.

Coldharbour Lane, London SW2 1JG
+44 (0)871 902 5747

6. Ciné Lumière

Named after the Lumière brothers, Ciné Lumière was opened in the late 1990s within the Institut Français, a grade II listed Art Deco building in West London. The Institut was designed by French architect Patrice Bonnet in the 1930s. It’s a cinema experience like no other: visitors to Ciné Lumière must ascend an exquisite marble staircase and pass Rodin’s statue L’Age d’Airain to reach their seats. The cinema shows a mixture of contemporary French, European and world cinema, with showings of French classics each Sunday.

17 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2DT
+44 (0)20 7871 3515

7. Electric Cinema Notting Hill

This beautiful cinema in West London has been in almost continuous use since opening in 1910. In the late 60s it became home to The Electric Cinema Club, which used it for late-night showings of important international films, commencing with Luis Bunuel’s The Criminal Life Of Archibaldo De La Cruz. Following an extensive redevelopment in the early noughties, the cinema is now operated by the Soho House Group. It boasts a lavish auditorium with leather armchairs, an Electric Brasserie, and private members club.

Portobello Rd, London W11 2ED
+44 (0)20 7908 9696

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London Film Week is an annual film festival taking place in the heart of London during the first week of December.

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