24 Hours in London with Olivia Croucher Buckingham
Socialite and stylist Olivia Croucher Buckingham takes us through a glamorous day in the City: from where to sleep to what to eat, what to see and where to shop, she has you covered for 24 hours of luxury London.
8am: Check in to Hotel Café Royal
With a suite bigger than most flats in Hong Kong, it was time to unpack and begin my journey through London as a tourist in the city that I know and love. I begin my day at The Club at Café Royal which is for members or guests of the hotel as a comfortable space for meetings, a bite to eat or cocktails. Sitting on a balcony overlooking the hustle and bustle of the hotel below, it most recently hosted a photographic exhibition of David Bowie. I started my day here in order to fully charge up before the day I had planned ahead of me with a traditional full English breakfast and a pot of Earl Grey.
9am: Take a Tour
Never has a tour around London’s most famous landmarks been such a fun experience: skip the cold and crowded open-air buses and zip around the capital in a traditional Mini Cooper with a driver who knows 1000 facts that you never knew about London. And on a beautiful day like today, it was roof-top down and off we went. From Regent Street to Parliament Square, from the grandeur of Waterloo Bridge to the graffiti tunnels of Leake Street, see London from every side with Small Car Big City.
11am: Shop 'til You Drop
From the back streets of Soho, to Regent Street's architectural beauty, is there any better place to shop than London? Ralph Lauren’s Polo flagship store has just opened and is most definitely worth a visit. If you're looking for an exquisite edit of anything, visit the Alex Eagle store on Lexington Street: a concept store like no other, it merges fashion and art under one roof with designers like Pallas and Hillier Bartley to Alex Eagle’s own collaborations with the likes of Blaze Milano and Maison Labiche. And of course, you can’t visit London without visiting the one and only Topshop store on Oxford Circus: their see-now, buy-now lets you take trends straight from the catwalk. Last but not least, no shopping trip is complete without a stop at Melissa del Bono’s new store in the Quadrant Arcade in Piccadilly MELI MELO to pick up one of her luxury leather handbags, handmade in Italy: on my wish list is the drawstring Santina bag.
1pm: Lunch at Milos
One of London’s newest restaurants is Milos in Piccadilly. Greek-inspired culinary delights are served in the setting of a stunning grade-2 listed building, and menu highlights include a signature fish market with the most pristine seafood being flown in daily from Greece: for true Mediterranean flavour, you can’t beat the delicate grilled dorade with olive oil and fresh lemons.
3pm Culture Vulture
Stroll up The Mall through Trafalgar Square and visit The National Portrait Gallery – I happened to be in luck and see their Picasso Portraits exhibition.
4:30pm: Tea in the Oscar Wilde Room at Hotel Café Royal
It's English tradition at its finest, and you could hardly choose a more decadent setting: having been restored to the highest degree of the original Louis XVI detailing, and renamed after its most famous Patron, Hotel Cafe Royal hosts an excellent afternoon tea in the Oscar Wilde Room. The London Royal Tea has everything from cucumber and cream sandwiches, coronation chicken to traditional scones and an array of exclusively blended tea. I was lucky enough to have a sneak-peek of the Dome Penthouse Suite, complete with a roof terrace that has uninterrupted views of London from the Shard to the Millennium wheel.
6:30pm: Cocktail O'Clock
Where better to start the evening than at Sexy Fish, Richard Carings latest restaurant on Berkely Square. Try out their infamous treasure chest cocktail, and if you are lucky enough to be invited to a soiree in the private room, then look out for the largest indoor living coral reef in Europe.
8pm-Late: Dinner and Drinks
What better way to end a very eventful and fun filled day than at Peruvian restaurant Lima Floral, the sister restaurant to its Michelin-starred Lima Fitzrovia. Clean and contemporary in style, the innovative restaurant sources quality local produce to complement the exotic Peruvian ingredients specially selected for their eclectic dishes. Served with artistic flair, this is an eating experience you won't quickly forget.
And if the night was to carry on it would be off to Chiltern Firehouse for a nightcap of their most lethal but delicious dirty Martinis… Over and out London !