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LONDON IN MOTION

DELVE INTO A METROPOLIS WHERE HISTORY AND IMAGINATION COLLIDE

Resist the temptation to rehash past visits to the capital, as London serves up an array of hidden destinations, leftfield pastimes and mind (and body)-bending experiences.

LONDON LESS TRAVELLED

Detour off the shopping thoroughfares of this fashion capital to uncover tucked-away streets brimming with artisanal finds. Named after William Lambe, a gentleman who rebuilt a conduit to supply water from the springs to the city, Lamb’s Conduit Street has become a destination for fans of independent labels and directional duds. Beyond fashion, the neighbourhood is home to niche retailers stocking wares as varied as decoupage plates and out-of-print tomes to Bakelite switches for vintage home remodelers.
Spend an afternoon exploring the Grade II Listed buildings on the street, many of which now house cutting-edge retail concepts that are not to be missed.
Take a break from retail therapy and enjoy an afternoon pint at a historical pub like The Lamb, where star-crossed literary giants Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath used to meet.
In a time when online book retail behemoths have revolutionized the age-old passion for literature, Persephone Books is an independent boutique that not only specialises in hard copy reads, it nestles itself within yet another niche — tomes by forgotten female authors. Traditionalists could thumb through “unjustly neglected novels, diaries and cookery books from the 20th century” in the unassuming yet utterly lovely shop, dotted with the original twisted balusters of the 18th century building. The intimate store also boasts a publishing arm, with its founders persevering to keep deserving books in print.
The fact that American retailer J Crew has opened a men’s store on Lamb’s Conduit Street does not spell the instant demise of indie shopping options. Take time to explore the street’s purveyors of understatedly luxe threads and one-of-a-kind accessories, dwelling within charming historical buildings. Lamb’s Conduit Street has established itself as a menswear mecca, offering more casual alternatives to the crisp tailoring associated with Jermyn Street.

STEP RIGHT UP

As David Bowie once crooned, “life is a circus, it’s not fair.” But it sure is a whole lot of fun if the circus experience courses conducted by the National Centre for Circus Arts are anything to go by. Zip through the air suspended from cables or gain insight into what drove infamous tightrope walker Philippe Petit — who walked on a wire suspended between the roofs of the World Trade Center in Manhattan- to take such daring risks on the high wire.

UNLEASHING ONE’S INNER SUPERHERO AT THE ACCLAIMED ACADEMY FOR CIRCUS SKILLS.

Housed within a cavernous power station built during the Victorian era, the National Centre has been responsible for reigniting the spirt of “the greatest show on earth.” For starters, it has elevated the performance to heights that only an aerialist could fathom, with the first BA Hons degree program in circus arts. For those not quite ready to pursue tightwire walking at a tertiary level, there’s always a three-hour sampler session at the school.

LET’S GET PHYSICAL

Perhaps living out the fantasy of being a lion tamer or fire-eater might be a tad ambitious for a first-timer in the tent, but that doesn’t mean students at the National Centre cannot dive into exciting circus acts. Send adrenaline levels into overdrive by sailing through the air on a trapeze, or go beyond the typical yoga workout by contorting the body into pretzel-like poses.

ONCE YOU HAVE TASTED FLIGHT, YOU WILL FOREVER WALK THE EARTH WITH YOUR EYES TURNED SKYWARD, FOR THERE YOU HAVE BEEN, AND THERE YOU WILL ALWAYS LONG TO RETURN.


Leonardo da Vinci

THE DAILY GRIND IS OFTEN ONE MASSIVE JUGGLING ACT FOR URBANE MULTITASKERS.

For a change, veteran performers help participants channel that metaphorical skill into a much more pleasurable act of actual juggling. Here, the three-ball game is amped up into a mini workout session of tossing, rolling and pushing one’s hand-eye coordination to the limits. The best part is that, students leave the experience equipped with the basics to master the performance in their own time.

THE WORLD’S A STAGE

For a country known for keeping the proverbial stiff upper lip, the notion of a cabaret revival — with performers elevating the act of stripping down to one’s skivvies to an art form, takes more than a willing suspension of disbelief. And no establishment disrupted British decorum more notoriously than THE BOX, the most risqué of cabarets in the city, when it opened in 2011.

PEDIGREED DEBAUCHERY

Located within the once seamy red-light district of Soho, the uninhibited acts gracing the legendary stage of the former Raymond Revuebar have attracted a sophisticated clientele including numerous A-listers and actual royalty. The offshoot of an underground institution in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, this “Theatre Of Varieties” offers the world’s finest performers in acts that defy easy categorization.

REVELRY AT A PRICE

Catering to the most open-minded of patrons, this destination is designed to amaze even jaded globetrotters. Such erotically charged entertainment also comes dear, but THE BOX’s legions of fans argue that the chance to imbibe in such subversive revelry is simply priceless. One simply must step inside to find out for one’s self.

DOES IT REALLY MATTER AS LONG AS YOU’RE HAVING FUN?


Sally Bowles, Cabaret

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

The nondescript entrance to THE BOX is imbued with insider-only intrigue. Step through the heavy wooden doors to be transported into a hedonistic playground. The venue’s award-winning sumptuous décor sets the mood for partying within the inner sanctum. Here, the bold and beautiful linger long after the tantalising performances, moving to a chic musical feast.

LIFE IN A “LOCAL”

More than just a watering hole where everybody knows your name, the British pub is a cultural institution of sorts. And for a quintessentially London experience, there’s no beating a visit to The French House in Soho.
Discover
  • CONVERSATION PIECE

    Over a century old, The French House demonstrates how the pub is the brick-and-mortar equivalent of a social network — it stands firm on its no-mobile-phone, no-TV-policy so visitors have to rely on old school conversation to form real world connections.

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  • LA VIE BOHÈME

    Its classic wood-paneled interiors were once a petri dish for creativity, housing bohemian clientele like famed journalist Jeffrey Bernard and artists Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon.
    article
  • FRENCH TOAST (OF THE TOWN)

    Aside from a wide selection of eaux de vie, champers and aperitifs, The French House’s Gallic provenance stretches back to its genesis. Despite actually being founded by a Belgian, it was a favourite of French patrons like boxer and actor Georges Carpentier and famed musician and performer Maurice Chevalier.
    article
  • WAR AND APÉRITIFS

    As historical pubs go, the French House has more than its fair share of dramatic tales, the most famous of which was how it served as a base for Charles de Gaulle and his Free French Forces during World War II. It was in the bar’s dining room on the upper level where the General reportedly wrote À tous les Français — a speech that rallied his fellow countrymen to retake France from the Germans.
    article

HISTORICALLY MODERN

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LONDON

WHERE TO GO

LONDON

Experience head-turning new trends, old world encounters and slightly deviant distractions at every turn.

Rosewood London

Sidewalk to Catwalk
SIDEWALK TO CATWALK

1. Nicholas Oakwell Couture

49 Brook Street, Mayfair W1K 4HW. Tel.:  +44 0 20 7495 8527. Hours:  Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.

CONCIERGE

We’re at your service

Whether it is a simple dining reservation or complete organization of a personalized stay, our Concierge is at your service 24 hours a day.

Rosewood London
252 High Holborn, London,
WC1V 7EN, United Kingdom
T: +44 20 7781 8888
E: london@rosewoodhotels.com

STEP RIGHT UP

1. National Centre for Circus Arts

Circus Space, Coronet Street, London, N1 6HD. Tel.:  +44 0 20 7613 4141. Email:  info@nationalcircus.org.uk. Hours:  Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

LONDON LESS TRAVELLED

1. Persephone Books

59 Lamb's Conduit Street, London WC1N 3NB. Tel.: +44 0 20 7242 9292. Email:  info@persephonebooks.co.uk. Hours: Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.

2. THE LAMB

94 Lambs Conduit Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1N 3LZ. Tel.:  +44 0 20 7405 0713. Email:  lambwc1@youngs.co.uk. Hours:  Monday to Wednesday, noon to 11 p.m., Thursday to Saturday, noon to midnight, Sunday, noon to 10:30 p.m.

THE WORLD’S A STAGE

1. The Box Soho

11-12 Walker's Court, London W1F OSD. Tel.:  +44 0 20 7434 4374. Email: madam@theboxsoho.com. Hours:   Wednesday to Saturday, 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.

LIFE IN A “LOCAL”

1. The French House Soho

49 Dean Street, Soho, London, W1D 5BG. Tel.:  +44 0 20 7437 2477/2799. E-mail:  contact@frenchhousesoho.com. Hours:  Monday to Saturday, noon to 11 p.m., Sunday, noon to 10:30 p.m.

2. Lamb & Flag

33 Rose Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9EB. Tel.:  +44 0 20 7497 9504. Email:  lambandflag@fullers.co.uk. Hours:  Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Sunday, noon to 10:30 p.m.

3. Ye Olde Mitre

1 Ely Court, Ely Place, London, EC1N 6SJ. Tel.:   +44 0 20 7405 4751. Email:   yeoldemitre@fullers.co.uk. Hours:  Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.