In London, “Everything is hopping,” says Indagare Trip Designer Lionel Brown. He has been living in the city on and off since July of 2021—a pleasant return after growing up there as a child. “The tube is packed, and everyone is buzzing as the city prepares to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee.” The first ever Platinum Jubilee. And as the world gears up for what should be one of the most exciting (and thankfully, more normal) summer seasons in a while, we’re diving into what’s new and noteworthy in the U.K.’s bustling capital, from hit restaurants to exciting hotel openings coming to Mayfair and Hyde Park, plus the cultural events you won’t want to miss.
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There have been seven Jubilee’s since 1809, the first celebrated in honor of King George III. Four of the others have been for Queen Elizabeth II. So, it comes as little surprise that this first Platinum Jubilee in the history of the British Monarchy has London going all out—both for the event itself, and for the numerous themed dinner and cocktail menus on order for the summer.
The Jubilee Weekend
For those planning to be in London from Thursday, June 2 to Sunday, June 5, you won’t be disappointed. The celebrations will begin with “Trooping of the Colour,” the Queen’s annual birthday parade of 1,400 soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians marching from Buckingham Palace to the Mall. The rest of the weekend will be a blur of celebration, with the Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral (June 3) the Derby at Epsom Downs and the Platinum Party and live concert at Buckingham Palace (June 4). Perhaps the most inviting event will be The Big Jubilee Lunch on Sunday June 5—people and organizations around the country register to host, opening their yards, homes or establishments to anyone for celebrations that range from street parties and barbecues to tea and cake. Notable entries include The Connaught, which will be hosting a street party complete with a brass band and artisan ice cream, along with Rosewood London and The Stafford, hosting ticketed street parties set in the hotels’ courtyards. The final event is the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, where artists are commissioned to interpret different chapters of the Queen’s 70-year reign and London’s society in a four-part play.
A Jubilee Summer
Luckily, you don’t have to be in London over the Jubilee weekend to enjoy the celebration. The spirit of the Jubilee is expected to be alive all summer long—The Goring is recreating the menu served at the Queens’ Coronation with dishes like glazed veal sweetbread and chicken consommé to be served throughout the season; Arch Bar at InterContinental London Park Lane will be serving their Royal Cocktail Collection inspired by the art displayed in the Royal Collection, which will bring back tastes hundreds of years old; Conrad London St. James is now serving the award-winning chef Sally Abé’s debut afternoon tea menu, paying tribute to the Queen ahead of the Jubilee. And for the first time, Claridge's will be putting on a special exhibition of their never before seen footage of the Queen's coronation, Claridge's coronation day menu, cocktail cards and more, available through the month of June. Plus, from May 30 to June 12, The Berkeley will be serving a Prêt-à-Portea with three delicious creations inspired by the Queen’s signature fashion (notably one of her summery hats, interpreted as a lime cheesecake with lemon compote, almond sponge and a flowery garnish). And from June 1 to June 13, The Dorchester presents a Jubilee Afternoon Tea where guests can munch on delicious pastries amidst the queen's favorite flowers and take a special Jubilee cake home to enjoy later.
This March, the sons of one of Sessions Art Club’s co-owners debuted Caravel, a narrow, candlelit dining room on a Dutch barge serving cheekily crafted British cuisine (like duck croquettes shaped like ducks) on Regent’s Canal in Islington. And if you haven’t been yet, don’t miss the gorgeous Sessions Art Club, either. The relatively new Clerkenwell restaurant, wine bar and gallery opened last summer inside a renovated 18th-century courthouse and recently earned a spot on Condé Nast Traveler’s Best New Restaurants list.
Another March 2022 opening was Fitzrovia’s Lisboeta, helmed by Portuguese-born chef Nuno Mendes, who has created a menu divided into snacks, small plates and sharing pots. And earlier this year a brand new iteration of Rita’s has opened in Soho after its unfortunate closure during Covid. Get ready for more of Rita’s classic Americana cooking and cocktails in a slightly more toned-down setting. In Mayfair, don’t miss BiBi, set inside an unassuming red-brick Georgian and from the same group behind Gymkhana. This new Indian restaurant, done up in chic red tones, dark leather, greenery and abstract art is at once glamorous and authentic, with cuisine created out of familial influence and Indian traditions.
Meanwhile, in Peckham, Kudu Grill opened as the fourth neighborhood restaurant South African Kudu Collective. The grill emphasizes braai cooking (meaning over coals), resulting in dishes like crispy black sea bream and pork chops with melt-in-your-mouth sauces like sweet treacle bordelaise. Plus, Carousel moved from Marylebone to Fitzrovia, taking over three converted Georgian townhouses and resuming its tradition of regular guest chefs and an ever-changing worldly menu, but with a new bonus: an all-day wine bar that makes for a great hangout spot.
Another notable update: this year we said goodbye to the pastel pink walls and seating of the ultra-Instagrammable restaurant Sketch, which has been redone in a sleek yellow.
In Case You Missed It: Summer 2021 saw the opening of Sachi in Belgravia’s new Japanese-Nordic emporium Pantechnicon. Like the store, the restaurant serves up an intriguing fusion: Japanese-style sushi and sashimi made from fish caught in British waters. You’ll find no salmon on this menu, but rather trout, tuna and sea bass, ideally paired with a fabulous sake list. For more drinks, a den and bar area inspired by Tokyo’s speakeasy scene serves Japanese cocktails.
Meanwhile, renovations continue at the beloved Indagare Index property Claridge’s. According to Lionel, work seems to be nearly finished, and additions will include a new spa and gallery as well as a restaurant experience where you can eat with the chef. (Claridge’s is tight-lipped on when these renovations are expected to conclude, but we’re hoping it’s soon!)
On the horizon: The Other House South Kensington, made up of Club Flats and 11 townhouses, opening July 4th; Raffles London at the Old War Office; Broadwick Soho, designed by Martin Brudznizki (of The Beekman and Annabel’s fame); Mandarin Oriental’s second London property (opening in Mayfair this winter) and Peninsula London across from Buckingham Palace. And coming in 2023 or 2024: Waldorf Astoria in the Admiralty Arch and Rosewood inside the former U.S. Embassy on Grosvenor Square.
The Royal Mews
Buckingham Palace’s Royal Mews—the stable responsible for the royal family’s travel—has reopened its museum to the public this summer. Get up close to its collection of gilded coaches, and, of course, horses. Open through October 2, 2022
“Picasso Ingres: Face to Face” at the National Gallery Picasso’s 1932 work “Woman with a Book” was created in homage to Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s 1856 “Madame Moitessier,” and for the first time, these two works will be shown side by side at The National Gallery. This small show offers the chance to see the continuity of art, a visual representation of how artists inspire each other through the ages. From June 3 to October 2022
The Raphael Exhibition at the National Gallery After a lengthy delay due to Covid, the exhibition “Raphael” has at last come to the National Gallery, a tribute organized for the 500th anniversary of the artist's birthday. With 90 works from his drawings and letters to his legendary paintings, experience this first ever comprehensive look at the Italian Renaissance artist’s mere two-decade career. Through July 31, 2022
“Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear” at The Victoria and Albert Museum This exhibition at the world’s largest museum of applied arts and design offers a reflection on ways designers and artists have interpreted masculinity through men’s fashion. Expect to see a mix of old and new—from 18th-century coats to the gown Harry Styles donned on the cover of Vogue. Through November 2022
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