Mary Katrantzou's London

Sophia Spring

The fashion designer—best known for her use of bold colors and graphic, playful female silhouettes—shares her picks for how to experience the very best of the city she's called home for the past ten years, from where to drink the most inventive cocktails to finding the choicest views of the Thames.

What neighborhood do you live in and how long have you lived there? I live just off Sloane Square in Chelsea and have lived there since I moved to London over ten years ago!

Where do you put up friends visiting town? The Connaught is great for its location (Carlos Place; 44-20/7499-7070; the-connaught.co.uk). Also the Edition Hotel (10 Berners St.; 44-20/7781-0000; editionhotels.com). For those looking for something less central, the Ace Hotel is fun, and great in terms of value (100 Shoreditch High St.; 44-20/7613-9800; acehotel.com). Of course, the Chiltern Firehouse is also very "de rigueur," too! (1 Chiltern St.; 44-20/7073-7676; chilternfirehouse.com)

Where is the best place to find your hometown’s signature dish? One of my favorite places to visit is Borough Market (8 Southwark St; 44-20/7407-1002; boroughmarket.org.uk). It's been a full functioning market since the 13th century and serves some of the most delicious food in London! It's a hub of energy, a great place to socialize, and it's full of that quintessential Cockney charm. Get there early and head to Scotchtails for warm scotch eggs (they sell out quickly!). Or on Sunday, pay a visit to Roast—try the roast pork belly with apple sauce. You won't be disappointed! (The Floral Hall, Stoney St.; 44-20/3006-6111; roast-restaurant.com).

What is your favorite restaurant to take visitors? I have just discovered Palomar, a new Middle Eastern restaurant that has just opened in London. Its sister restaurant is in Jerusalem (34 Rupert St.; 44-20/7439-8777; thepalomar.co.uk). Alternatively, Scott’s is a London institution, and a great experience for visitors (20 Mount St.; 44-20/7495-7309; scotts-restaurant.com).

Where can you find the best cocktails? The cocktails at The Chiltern Firehouse are delicious. I also love the Social Eating House in Soho—their cocktails are really inventive. The Cereal Killer is a prime example, made with rum, white chocolate, Galliano ristretto, coco pops milk, and Xocolat bitters, and it comes in a little milk bottle with a stripy straw! (58 Poland St.; 44-20/7993-3251; socialeatinghouse.com).

Where would you choose to splurge on a night out? I don't get the chance to go out much, and when I do, I am normally at an event or dinner. I like to splurge on my boyfriend for special occasions. For his birthday we normally go to Scott’s in Mayfair. 

What is your go-to after-hours bar? My go-to bar is usually Chiltern Firehouse. It's got such a fun atmosphere, the service is exceptional and if you're lucky enough to get into the Ladder Shed, then sip on a Cinq a Sept and enjoy!

What’s the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon in town? On the rare occasion I have a Saturday afternoon free, then I love lunch at either Scott’s or Colbert (50-52 Sloane Square; 44-20/7730-2804; colbertchelsea.com). Scott’s is in Mayfair and serves the best seafood in town, and Colbert is just around the corner from my flat on Sloane Square—it's a great spot to sit outside and while away a few hours over coffee and Eggs Royale. The rest of the afternoon would be spent wandering around the Victoria and Albert (Cromwell Rd.; 44-20/7942-2000; vam.ac.uk) or the Tate Modern (Bankside; 44-20/7887-8888; tate.org.uk), before catching up with friends for afternoon tea at Claridge’s (49 Brook St.; 44-20/7629-8860; claridges.co.uk) or indulging in a spot of retail therapy at Selfridges (400 Oxford St.; selfridges.co.uk).

What is your Sunday morning routine in your neighborhood? I'll wake up early and be on email at home until around 10 A.M., then I’ll grab coffee in Duke of York Square with my boyfriend before having brunch at Colbert!

Where is the best brunch? I love Colbert on Sloane Square. Their granola is amazing, and I love people-watching there.

Where do you go for the perfect cup of coffee? There's a coffee shop in Primrose Hill called The Little One. It is literally just a counter and a small bar for seating, but the coffee is unlike any other I have had in London, and it's nice to grab a cappuccino and wander up Primrose Hill to look over London! (115 Regents Park Rd.

What’s your favorite view in town (that tourists might not know about)? Places like the Sky Garden remind me why I love living in London. It’s a huge open glass garden, which overlooks the whole of London, looking directly onto the shard and the Thames. It’s perfect for a relaxed afternoon with friends enjoying cocktails and the beautiful views of the city (20 Fenchurch St.; skygarden.london).

What’s your favorite path or trail to follow on a walk? When I’m home it’s nice to enjoy Chelsea and walk along the embankment by the river.

What are your favorite offbeat cultural attractions? There are some great exhibitions in London at places like the V&A, Tate Modern, and Saatchi Gallery (Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Rd.; 44-20/7811-3070; saatchigallery.com). I try to go to as many as possible as I am so inspired by the creativity of others. 

What’s your favorite shop or boutique? Browns on South Molton Street is a London gem (24-27 South Moulton St.; 44-20/7514-0016; brownsfashion.com). I also love the quirkiness of Dover Street Market. I don't have much time to shop so I normally do most of my shopping online at Net-A-Porter or matchesfashion.com.

What’s the best-kept local secret? There's a restaurant close to our studio called Primeur—you can't book online or over the phone; you have to book in person or over Instagram! They have a different menu every day, which they write by hand and upload to Instagram, too. There are only a few tables, but the food and atmosphere is perfect (116 Petherton Rd.; primeurn5.co.uk).

In our Hometown Guides series, we're seeking the best restaurants, bars, vistas, and things to do in a given place from the people who know best—the artists, designers, chefs, and store-owners who live there. See more Hometown Guides »

For more on what to do in London, see our Ultimate City Guide »