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Our Chauffeurs’ Little Black Book of the Best of London

Who knows London better than our experienced London chauffeurs? Who can guide you to those special places which don’t appear in your visitor guide? Journey with us to discover the best of London.

A chance to peek inside our chauffeurs’ little black book and discover these hidden gems, and off-the-beaten-track treasures. Just don’t tell our chauffeurs we’ve told you!

Below, you’ll find hidden-away corners of London. Various curiosities that do not appear on traditional tourist itineraries.

Star Spotting

 

For star spotting celebrities from theatreland it has to be The Ivy. Since 1917 the Covent Garden restaurant (and private upstairs dining room) have been the epitome of glamour. Its buzzing social scene is steeped in tradition. It has the most beautiful central dining bar, signature stained-glass windows, oak panelling and a striking contemporary art collection.

For sporting celebrities the bar at The Sanderson Hotel is definitely worth a trip – we have it on the best authority that it is popular with world class football players. However if you want to be guaranteed some time with a world class sporting star we suggest you head over to Selfridges which boasts a professional Skate Board Park on the first floor, with World Champion skate boarders on site to give tips and advice.

Bonnington Square

 

Bonnington Square is a square in Vauxhall, south London, which was built in the 1870s. It became famous in the 1980s when all the houses in it, vacant and awaiting demolition, were squatted. The squatters took the square into their own hands and a community was formed.

Stepping into the square is like travelling back 50 years. It’s wonderfully, gloriously, fabulously bonkers. The squatters established a volunteer-run vegetarian cafe, community garden, bar, nightclub and a wholefoods shop. Within the community today there are many artists who open their homes so that the public can view their work. There is an utterly glorious garden in the middle called ‘The Pleasure Garden’ which is lovingly tendered to by the community. During the summer months the square is a hive of activity on the square with kids playing football, dancing classes and live jazz.

Italo Delicatessen

 

Within the square sits a very cute cafe with a very old, italian store feel to it. Every one’s super friendly and all reasonably priced. It’s vegetarian friendly, vegan options should make the owner Charlie Boxer extremely proud. Simple, healthy and as trendy as London can get.

The Bar Hidden Behind a Bookcase

 

For whiskey lovers amongst you The Vault in Soho is a secret bar hidden behind a bookshelf in a Whiskey shop. According to our chauffeurs the cocktails are sublime and they have a world class selection of whiskies all waiting to be sampled behind hidden doors.

Best Rooftop Bar in London

For the best place to have a drink and enjoy the London skyline our chauffeurs recommend The Roof Terrace at One New Change. Take the elevator to the top floor and step out to a magnificent, open air, eye level view of the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral, and a great view of the City of London.

Best Sunday Roast

 

The Brits are famous for their love of a Sunday Roast, but with the enormous number of restaurants and hotels in London all claiming to serve authentic British Sunday Roasts where do they recommend?

The Savoy Grill came out as firm favourite for the most authentic and delicious Sunday Roast. We think Gordon Ramsay can be trusted with this British cuisine classic! With two courses, including a Bloody Mary or fruit cocktail, for £49. The menu simply states: Roasted Sirloin, a selection of seasonal vegetables and Yorkshire pudding. This is available every Sunday from 12pm – 4pm and 5pm – 6:30pm.

As for the best steak house Smith and Wollensky took the top spot and head to Joe Allens for the best after theatre night spot.

Tea at the Ritz… maybe?

 

Afternoon tea at the Ritz is definitely worth a visit for the quintessential English afternoon tea.
However our chauffeurs have another recommendation for afternoon tea – The Lalit Hotel which is owned by an Indian family. They serve their Indian version of afternoon tea, which we believe combines the absolute elegance and daintiness of a traditional afternoon tea, but infused with exotic spices and flavours from India.

A Taste of Persia

 

For a genuine taste of Persia try Alounak. Alounak is famous for its authentic Persian food, all marinated for 24 hours and perfectly cooked to order on the char-grill. They also offer traditional Persian specials; freshly prepared and different every day. The restaurant itself is decorated in traditional Persian style with a large clay oven at the entrance where bread is baked on an hourly basis. This restaurant also offers BYOB (bring your own bottle). You can take your own reserve wine at no extra cost (unlike many restaurants where they will charge you £100 corkage per bottle).

Best Pie and Mash in London

 

We all love stories of the small guys doing well against the big corporates. Our next recommendation for the best pies in London, Goddards at Greenwich, is a great example of this. Goddard’s had a little pie stall that was doing well but they owners did not have enough capital to expand the stall and so ended up selling it to Famous Brands who rebuilt the stall and turned it into a gourmet burger restaurant. With the money that Goddard’s made from their stall they bought a derelict pub, literally around the corner, and now their business has grown over 400% in the last few years.

Hidden Wimbledon

Buddhapadipa Temple

London is famous for many things but windmills certainly aren’t one of them. Neither are genuine Thai temples, but tucked away in Wimbledon is Wat Buddhapadipa – a true gem of Thai Buddhism architecture and traditions. The temple was just recently refurbished and shines all glimmery-white on sunny days. The Monks and community are friendly and will stop to talk to you if you have a question for them. They offer meditation classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the week and also on Saturdays.

 

 

The Buddhapadipa Temple is only a five-minute walk from Wimbledon and the All England Club. Djokovic, who has won 17 Grand Slam singles titles, has been using the Thai temple for meditation and quiet contemplation for several years.

“We’ve known him for quite a while now,” said orange-robed Phramaha (“Great Monk”) Bhatsakorn Piyobhaso. Novak came here on his own. He just walked in and said hello to the people here and went on to meditate on his own.” He comes to mediate, usually early in the morning when the grounds are quiet.

The Windmill Wimbledon Common

 

Nearby The Windmill has stood pride of place on Wimbledon Common since it was built in 1817 by Charles March to serve the local community. As well as its day-to-day role, the Windmill was also interestingly the vantage point of choice for watching the many duels that took place on Wimbledon Common and Putney Heath back in the 19th century. Today it is a working museum and so if you are in Wimbledon possibly for the tennis our chauffeurs recommend taking a day out to visit these 2 attractions.

Should you find yourself in Wimbledon (possibly for the tennis?) our chauffeurs recommend taking  time out to visit these 2 attractions.

I hope that you enjoyed our hidden gems. If you’re looking to discover the best of the Capital, and what the rest of the UK has to offer, check out our luxury chauffeur-driven tours.