So, you’re in London on business and you’re not sure what to do after work. Sound familiar? We’re business travellers ourselves so we know the challenge for people with limited knowledge of a city and not much time to enjoy it. This special set of ideas have been tailored for business travellers who want to enjoy a bit of London after a long day of meetings.
This is a list you can use during the working week and if you’ve saved an extra day for enjoying London before your flight home. It combines casual places to take your colleagues, fancy places to impress a client, and not forgetting where to pick up some souvenirs for those back home.
A meeting place: Covent Garden
This pedestrian-friendly public square in the West End is a great place for soaking up the vibrancy of London. Street performers entertain the crowds and restaurants spill out into the square, making Covent Garden one of the prettiest spots in the city.
The restaurants in Covent Garden are a mix of famous franchises, expensive fine diners, and tourist traps knocking out microwave meals. You’ll be spoilt for choice.
Τοποθεσία: Covent Garden, London WC2E 8BE, UK
A starting point: Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is packed full of British history and famous landmarks. It’s a beautiful place to wander around and enjoy the vibrant street scenes. Nelson’s Column, with its 4 bronze lions at the base, is the centrepiece of the square, with the National Portrait Gallery and Admiralty Arch also worth admiring. There’s an almost constant succession of events and gatherings in Trafalgar Square so there’s usually something exciting going on.
Τοποθεσία: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN, UK
Business lunch: Barbecoa Steakhouse
Some people may be surprised if you suggest a Jamie Oliver-brand restaurant for a business meeting, but Barbecoa is a classy place that really fits the bill on several fronts.
The name is a play on barbecue, so it should come as no surprise that the menu is heavily focused on meat. The quality of the steak served here is among the best value in town, while the service is diligent and discreet. Located in the City of London, on the 2nd floor of New Change shopping mall, there’s a nice view of St Paul’s, just 40 metres away.
Τοποθεσία: 20 New Change, London EC4M 9AG, UK
After-work drinks: Embankment
Embankment is home to a nice selection of bars close to the River Thames. There’s a mixture of traditional English pubs, fancy wine bars, and even a few floating bars on boats docked in the river.
Head to Villiers Street, that runs between Embankment station and Charing Cross. You’ll find a classic British boozer, The Princess of Wales, along with Gordon’s Wine Bar and several other bars, all within 100 metres.
A fancy rooftop bar: Bokan
Bokan is a stunning rooftop bar and restaurant popular with the business crowd. Built over 3 floors on top of Hotel Novotel London Canary Wharf, it’s walking distance from Canary Wharf business district in East London. The riverside location has a stunning view of London, and it’s a great spot if you want to impress your clients with a few cocktails. The restaurant is also highly regarded for its innovate take on British cuisine.
Τοποθεσία: 40 Marsh Wall, Isle of Dogs, London E14 9TP, UK
Casual dining: The Mayfair Chippy
The Mayfair Chippy is a seafood restaurant, but the standout dish has to be their classic fish & chips, served on a silver platter with tartar sauce, curry sauce and mushy peas. Think of it as a posh fish & chip shop, with the buzz of a neighbourhood bistro.
Other British classics to try here include Scotch eggs, oysters, and shepherd’s pie. Cod and chips costs from £15. The Mayfair Chippy is in Aldgate, close to the City of London business district. Reservations are strongly advised.
Τοποθεσία: 140 Minories, London EC3N 1NT, UK
Fancy dining: Wright Brothers, Spitalfields
The Wright Brothers are a huge success of the dining scene in London. You can now find a Wright Brothers restaurant in several areas across the city, but it’s the Spitalfields branch we like for a celebration business dinner.
Fresh oysters, Scottish langoustines, razor clams, Devon crabs, and a host of other seafood delicacies are served here with the utmost care and attention. It’s all so fresh, all that’s missing is a sea breeze to transport you to the coast. Interesting vegetarian options are also available.
Τοποθεσία: 8a Lamb Street, Old Spitalfields Market, London E1 6EA, UK
Souvenirs: Fortnum & Mason, St. Pancras
If you’re in a rush to pick up some typically English souvenirs before your flight home, head to Fortnum & Mason, a fancy grocery store favoured by the British monarchy. There are several branches and you will find something special for the whole family here. For business travellers, the St. Pancras branch is probably the most convenient.
Fortnum & Mason is famed for their hampers, which make popular gifts. You’ll find a mix of chocolates, jams, teas, liquor, crockery and other specialities packed into hampers of different sizes. They also stock perfumes, accessories, flowers, stationery and teddy bears.
Τοποθεσία: 1A, St Pancras International Station, Pancras Rd, London N1C 4QP, UK
A convenient landmark: Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is an enduring icon of London, and it looks pretty at any time of day or night. In fact, it’s probably better to visit of an evening, when it’s lit up in soft lights. Head to Tower Hill underground and Tower Bridge is just a 5-minute walk from the station. If you have time, head to the Tower of London nearby to see another classic British landmark.
Τοποθεσία: Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP, UK
Another convenient landmark: The Shard
Over 1,000 ft tall and entirely glass fronted, you can’t help but notice The Shard from any borough of London. It’s even more impressive when you’re on top of the building looking down, and if you aren’t lucky enough to be staying at the Shangri-La (the hotel occupies the 34th to 52nd floors), then head up to the Gong bar on the 52nd floor for panoramic views of England’s capital.
Τοποθεσία: 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG, UK