Begin the day with Villandry’s famous brunch. Fresh pastries, homemade cakes, brunch dishes and lashings of prosecco (for an extra £15 per person it’s bottomless. Yes. Bottomless.) Villandry’s luxurious brunch is the perfect way to welcome in the weekend. Or any other day for that matter. Start as you mean to go on.
Even for the most determined foodie, there’s at least three hours to kill before you can eat again so consider a pleasant stroll through St James’s. Budding art critics will be pleased to hear that this area is home to a plethora of galleries, displaying everything from Old Masters to cutting-edge contemporary art.
Philip Mould (one of the country’s leading portrait experts) has uncovered lost works by Gainsborough and Van Dyke, and his gallery (18-19 Pall Mall) is a treasure trove of British art and Old Masters. They hold frequent exhibitions, and if you’re in the market for a signature piece for your home or office, there is always a large selection of fine paintings for sale. Tudor panel pieces, C18th landscapes, Old Masters like Titian and Van Dyke, antique miniatures and even modern British Art, this gallery always has something a little bit special.
45 Jermyn Street
45 Jermyn Street affords an excellent spot for people watching (or outfit watching, it’s well known that both fashion and costume designers have taken cues from the local sense of style) and has the added benefit of serving fresh Cornish oysters and caviar at lunch. Don’t spoil your dinner though, we’re heading to a Michelin Star restaurant for your next meal.
There is no dress code for the area (although some establishments, like the Ritz, still enforce theirs). It might be exquisite tailoring paired with a vintage trilby or a pocket square that matches the lining of a jacket, but the locals pride themselves on their one of a kind twists. Dressing to dine may seem anachronistic to a young cosmopolitan London clientele, but at St James’s the tradition is alive and well.
Now you’ve studied the local sense of style, maybe consider buying an accessory to brighten up your wardrobe before dinner. Nearby New and Lingwood provide accessories for the modern gentleman, and Bates’ provides an excellent selection of hats for both men and women. Jermyn Street provides an excellent distraction for keen shoppers before we move on to the next course…at Ikoyi, in St James’s Market.
St James's Market's specialists in West African cuisine.
The menu is short, with just three dishes in each section. Their signature plantain is soaked in buttermilk, garlanded with the fiery kick of scotch bonnet chillies, fermented, burnt and pickled, with raspberry salt. Try it with a butter-soft octopus tentacle and wash it down with a 'Roast Plantain Old Fashioned'.
The Rooftop St James
Those looking for a nightcap might consider The Rooftop St James’s, which offers refined drinks and stunning views of Nelson’s Column and the city skyline. Complete with alfresco and canopy covered seating, the Rooftop is delightful all year round, with cosy blankets and heaters providing warmth in the cooler months. Come at dusk for the striking views of the city, but stay for individually crafted cocktails under the stars.