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At the moment, travel is off the table—but that's not going to stop us from having a staycation inspired by our favorite cities. We've given you all the tools for a Parisian vacation at home. This week? We're taking you to London, chaps.
The lovely thing about the Big Smoke is that we're willing to bet there's something for everyone—it's a veritable melting pot, after all. Dreamers, readers and writers, film-fanatics, linguists, foodies, footie fans, politicians, musicians, historians, artists, fashionistas, tea drinkers (of course)—the list goes on and on and on. It's the setting for countless films and novels, from Notting Hill to Mrs. Dalloway; it's home to a legendary rock scene that quite literally changed the course of rock 'n roll history (the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Kinks, to name just a few); it's where hundreds of talented chefs have made their culinary mark (Ruth Rogers, Yotam Ottelenghi, Gordan Ramsay). And that's just the start of it, really.
Without further ado, here are our musts for creating an idyllic London staycation from the comfort of your home.
Brekkie: The Full English or Dishoom at Home
Begin the day with a steaming hot cuppa and a British classic: the full English breakfast. This typically includes baked beans, toast, sausage and/or bacon, fried eggs, sliced tomatoes, and maybe some sauteed mushrooms. Should keep you full for a while...
Alternatively, if—like us—you're obsessed with the London-based restaurant Dishoom, try making one of their famous Bombay-inspired Naan Rolls in your own kitchen. This blog provides a bang-on recipe so that you can enjoy this mouth-watering delight without leaving home.
Curl Up With a Good Book
If you've got young lads and lasses around, maybe opt for a read-aloud morning with Harry Potter or Charles Dickens. If you prefer some quiet reading time for yourself, curl up with Mrs. Dalloway, White Teeth, or Americanah. Fancy something a tad more visual? Check out Assouline's coffee table book The Light of London ($75, assouline.com), which features dozens of vivid black and white shots of the city.
Get Outside for a Bit of Footie
If you have access to a backyard, get outside for a quick football match. Of course, if you're not up for the actual game, you could just watch Bend It Like Beckham.
Or Jam Out to Some Classic British Rock
Whether you're in the mood for the Fab Four or the Stones, the Kinks or the Clash, there's no shortage of talented musicians to come out of London. Put an album on the turn table and burn some calories with a little dance party (you've got plenty more food ahead, after all).
Enjoy a Spot of Afternoon Tea (Scones Included)
What's a day in London without afternoon tea? For this portion of the day, we spoke to an expert: Jannes Soerensen, General Manager at American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property The Beaumont in Mayfair.
"To me the most delicious elements of a traditional afternoon are freshly-made scones with thick clotted cream from Devon ($14, amazon.com) and home-made strawberry jam, accompanied by a cup of Earl Grey tea, served with a slice of lemon," said Soerensen. "If you wanted to add some finger sandwiches, my choice of three would be for smoked salmon from Severn & Wye, organic egg mayonnaise, and rare sliced roast beef with horseradish."
Happy Hour, London-Style
For happy hour (a must these days, no?), Soerensen recommends the following: "A classic Gin and Tonic, made with No. 3 London Dry Gin ($38, totalwine.com) and Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water ($30, amazon.com), served with pink grapefruit as a garnish. No 3 Gin is London Dry gin from Berry Bros—the name refers to Number 3, St. James Street in London. Accompanied by some crackers with a strong farmhouse cheese, such as a matured cheddar or a Stilton from Neal’s Yard Dairy."
If you're in the mood for something even more herb-forward, the Rosewood London’s acclaimed executive head chef, Calum Franklin, recommends the White Lady. To make, mix 50ml Bols Genever, 25ml Triple Sec, 25ml fresh lemon juice, 10ml simple syrup, and seven basil leaves. Shake all ingredients, including the basil leaves, all together, double strain into glass, and garnish with leftover basil.
A Feel-Good Movie Marathon Night
Notting Hill, Love Actually, and Bridget Jones's Diary are all on the docket for this evening. Cozy up with a soft blanket, some fresh popcorn, and some of the best fictional film characters in the world.