VANESSA ARELLE

OCCUPATION: Head of Cultural Affairs at the Mexican Embassy, U.K.

MY STYLE: My fashion sense conforms to the moment or setting. Couture Lab on Davis Street is my first stop for unique and stylish clothing and accessories. At work, I wear more classic attire—a lot of pencil skirts and cinch belts. My special Roger Vivier cardholder is my favorite work item. Evening wear is about combining key vintage pieces, and Atelier Meyer has some great ones.

I LOVE LONDON BECAUSE: There are endless things to do, visit, and see—parks, museums, theaters, concerts, and markets. South, East, and West London all have their charm and special attractions, and it’s easy to get around, as the city is not too big.


Bel & The Dragon

Modern British cuisine abounds in this white-walled, country-contemporary dining room. Each dish—from the lauded duck to the simplest of salads—is made from fine local ingredients under the direction of head chef Ronnie Kimbugwe (formerly of Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s). And if the weather is right for outdoor dining, go for it! You haven’t had a true London summer until you’ve sipped chilled wine from Bel & the Dragon’s amazingly stocked cellar on the manicured patio.

Byron

This fast-growing hamburger chain has a simple mission: to do a simple thing (in this case, grilling burgers) and to do it properly. Luckily, grass-fed Scottish beef, fresh add-ons, and buns with the perfect degree of softness all allow Byron’s goal to be achieved—day after day. What’s more, the kid’s menu offers mini burgers, chicken patties, and mac ‘n cheese to suit smaller appetites.

South London Gallery

Entrance to this Camberwell gallery is always free and, once inside, the experience is truly priceless. Sean Scully and Catherine Opie are included in the permanent collection, and the gallery also offers residencies, workshops, and other educational programming. For one, South London Gallery is a participant in the Louis Vuitton Young Arts Project, an initiative to give young Londoners unique access to the artists, collectors, and curators who define the contemporary art scene today.

Thames River Trail

This picturesque walking path spans all 184 miles of the Thames: beginning in the Cotswolds, ending near Greenwich, and exposing devoted pavement-pounders to towns, villages, and several wildflower-filled clearings along the way. While bicycles are only permitted in certain areas (see the website’s FAQ section for details), strollers are always welcome—and encouraged!

Igloo

With several brick-and-mortar storefronts and a strong online presence, Igloo makes lovely and pragmatic children’s wares (toys, nursery essentials, party dresses, you name it!) accessible and fun. Founded by a mother of three, Igloo expertly handles its merchandise, as well as such helpful services as hairstyling and party planning.

Jack’s Café

This Queens Park café is a comfortable spot for coffee or lunch with friends. The wooden furniture and panels, not to mention an old-fashioned checkerboard floor, add a touch of charm to yummy macchiatos, baked goods, and sandwiches (we recommend aged English cheddar with tomato). And Jack’s outdoor patio, lined with small cypress trees, is perfect for sipping, reading, or chatting away the afternoon.

Pimlico Road Farmer’s Market

Nestled within the lush greenery of Orange a.k.a Mozart Square, Pimlico Road Farmers’ Market has some of the best produce, dairy, seafood, and meats in the city. On a typical Saturday morning, you’ll find a thirty stalls manned by farmers eager to chat about procedures and offerings alike. Stop at the seafood stand for fresh East Anglian oysters, or grab a fresh-pressed juice to sip on while perusing.

William Curley

The Ebury Street location of this self-labeled “patissier-chocolatier” is home to William and Suzue Curley’s dessert bar, not to mention the kitchen they use for their chocolate and pastry workshops. The couple’s tempting creations, displayed behind beautiful glass cases, account for the city’s most mouthwatering window-shopping. The most serious of chocoholics can also join the Curley Chocolate Club (or, for a bigger mouthful, Curley Chocolate Club Deluxe!) to receive monthly chocolate treats.

Nichola Hunt

Cocktail aficionado. Large dog breed lover. Fondness of summer dresses. Hater of pickles. Born in London, based in Bali.

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