Coming to Central London? Here’s where to stay, where to eat, and where to grab a latte.
So you’re coming to Central London – and W1 in particular. Good choice! It’s one of the most exclusive postcodes in the UK, and probably the world. There are a whole bunch of things to do here, and nearly all of them are worth your time. There are art galleries, there are theatres, there are major landmarks; it’s an area that’s positively soaked in history, and frequented by historical soaks (George Orwell drank in just about every pub).
When you first arrive, of course, it’s likely that you’ll just want a cup of coffee, some vaguely digestible food, and somewhere to rest your head for the duration of your stay. Well, if you’ve come all this way to see us, we don’t want you arriving groggy, hungry, or uncomfortable – so we’ve taken the liberty of compiling a list of our favourite coffee shops, hotels, and restaurants in W1.
We hope they’re as good to you as they’ve been to us.
Coffee shops in W1
London’s like most major cities in that you can more or less find coffee shops anywhere: a Starbucks here, a Pret there, a Pret over there, a Pret facing a Pret, a Pret next to another Pret, etc. etc. The chains are everywhere, so if you want caffeine quickly, just start walking in any direction. If you want something a bit different, however, it’s worth taking your time.
W1 has plenty of nice, independent cafes, and not all of them are overbearingly quirky. The Attendant, for example, was founded in 1890, and though it’s changed somewhat since then, you’re unlikely to find a better subterranean coffee shop in all of Fitzrovia. It even sells its own brewing equipment – so if you like their style, you can take it home with you.
Popular cafés Lantana and Kaffeine are also worth checking out. Kaffeine’s food menu changes every week and all food is made fresh on site, while Lantana serves brunch and lunch seven days a week. Or if you don’t feel like sitting down, you can grab a latte from Lantana’s OUT café on your way to a meeting.
Restaurants in W1
The fine dining is reason enough to come to London; if you don’t have a solid business pretext to visit, invent one. There are many restaurants in W1, and all of them offer something a little different. There are also multiple Greggs locations, and you should endeavour to visit at least one: their agreeably mediocre sausage rolls are a genuine British institution – a national dish in the vein of paella or kimchi.
If you’re after something a bit more sophisticated, there’s Roka: located on Charlotte Street – a mere thirty-second walk from our office – it offers sushi, sashimi, and Japanese robatayaki cuisine. If you’re in the mood for sushi, sashimi, or Japanese robatayaki cuisine, you can’t do much better.
For authentic UK cuisine (basically red meat and white meat – sometimes encased in pastry, often accompanied by fries, occasionally accompanied by vegetables), you’ll want to visit the award-winning Berners Tavern. Headed by the Michelin-starred Jason Atherton, it’s a uniquely good-looking restaurant that uses the best, locally-sourced ingredients to cook classic British dishes such as pork pie, cod and chips, and roast chicken.
Finally, for those arriving after a long morning flight, The Riding House Café has a superlative breakfast menu – and Sketch offers the best afternoon tea you’ll find in all London.
Hotels in W1
So you know where to grab your post-landing coffee, you know which restaurants in W1 to sample, and now you’re probably thinking about where to lay your head. A poor hotel can colour an entire experience negatively, and vice versa.
In terms of premium short-stay experience, The Charlotte Street Hotel is stylish, luxurious and ideally located (incidentally, a very short distance from our office). If you’re here over the weekend, its Friday night film club is a treat – its program typically includes a healthy mixture of classic cinema and new-ish releases.
If you’re of the mind that bigger is better, of course, London has you covered: the 150-year old Langham Hotel in Marylebone is considered one of the world’s finest, and has been the site of many famous fictional and real-life meetings: it featured in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, starred in 1995’s Goldeneye, and was frequented by none other than Oscar Wilde.
Of course, not everyone has such expensive taste – and W1’s mid-range is fully able to offer a pleasant experience. Holborn’s Hoxton hotel serves as a place to rest and a place to hang out; My Bloomsbury provides beds, hot desks, and its own bakery (you may well never have to leave), and St George’s Hotel supplies affordable corporate accommodation and meeting rooms, and a fifteenth-floor restaurant with a stunning view.
While these cafes, hotels, and restaurants in W1 offer a good starting point, there’s far more to London than what we’ve covered here – all you have to do is start walking.
Happy hunting – and if you find somewhere special, don’t hold out on us. Contact one of our directors and let them know immediately!