Fashion and the Olympics are famously intertwined. After all, the designs of the national uniforms—from runway favorites like Stella McCartney for the U.K. to Ralph Lauren for the U.S.A.—are almost as hotly debated as whether the judges made the right call in the women’s gymnastics finals.
So as all eyes turn to London this week for the start of the 2012 games, we continue the tradition of commingling sports and style by turning to a slew of London-born and -based tastemakers—not for their Olympics predictions, but rather for their tips on how to get the most out of a visit (Olympic or otherwise) to the hosting city.
1. Pre-games breakfast: The Pavilion in Victoria Park. The best coffee in East London and a lovely view over the lake.
2. Best pub for watching a game: The Cat & Mutton. A true London pub on one of East London’s most charming streets.
3. Restaurant you probably can’t get a reservation at during the Olympics, but should try for anyway: Elliot’s. A casual but clever spot serving produce sourced from Borough Market. There’s an amazing biodynamic wine list to boot!
4. Hidden dining gem: The Corner Room upstairs at the Town Hall Hotel. They don’t take reservations and the maximum table is for four.
5. Not-to-miss museum exhibition: Bauhaus: Art of Life. An exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery—an amazing centre.
6. Burn some calories if the Olympians have you inspired: At Victoria Park. They’ve ploughed millions into jazzing it up for the Olympics, and it is looking incredible.
7. Relax and wind down after all the exertion: Agua Spa at the Sanderson Hotel does a wonderful Jurlique facial.
8. Not-to-miss show: “Posh” at the Duke of York Theatre. A witty tale of posh boys behaving badly!
1. Not-to-miss show: I love watching dance performances at Sadler’s Wells. They are currently showing Matthew Bourne’s Play Without Words, which I have tickets to go see.
2. Not-to-miss museum exhibition: The Victoria & Albert, one of my favorite museums in London, has an exhibition on at the moment on British ballgowns—chic!
3. Pre-games breakfast: Franze and Evans. A lovely Italian bistro run by the nicest people! They feed me on a daily basis.
4. Burn some calories if the Olympians have you inspired: I really enjoy going for a run on the Regent’s Canal. It’s a beautiful part of London.
5. Best pub for watching a game: Victoria Park will be showing the Olympics on a big screen, which could be fun. If I want to avoid the crowds, however, I might try my favorite local pub, The George and Dragon.
6. Relax and wind down after all the exertion: A great place to unwind is the London Fields Lido, a lovely outdoor heated pool.
7. Restaurant you probably can’t get a reservation at during the Olympics, but should try for anyway: Bistrotheque is sure to be a popular East London haunt during the Olympics. Best roast chicken and great bar! I’ve been going for years.
8. Hidden dining gem: Mangal, the best Turkish restaurant in London. Try the lahmacun, a Turkish version of pizza, and arnavut cigeri, fried liver with tomatoes, onions and parsley.
1. Burn some calories if the Olympians have you inspired: We like to walk or run over Chelsea Bridge, along the river at Battersea Park and back over Albert Bridge. This is the part of London where we grew up, and we still have family all around this neighborhood.
2. Pub for watching a game: The Australian. It’s a proper, old-fashioned pub, which also caters to sports fans. We have both been going there since we were 17.
3. Restaurant you probably can’t get a reservation at during the Olympics, but should try for anyway: St. John, but not for vegetarians. This is the place for Fergus Henderson’s “snout-to-tail” modern British cuisine. It was wildly innovative when it opened 15-odd years ago and is still the best place for a hearty British meal in an understated, yet chic setting.
4. Hidden dining gem: The Surprise. Euan had brunch with his ushers in this pub the morning we got married, and then they all walked to the church. It’s been re-opened as a gastropub, complete with sofas, fireplaces and quirky art, and it tends to attract locals only.
5. Relax and wind down after all the exertion: The Royal Hospital Gardens are tranquil and elegant.
6. Not-to-miss museum exhibition: “Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands” at the British Library. It’s a lyrical, literary exhibition exploring how Britain’s landscapes—rural and urban—have inspired the country’s greatest books. You can look at handwritten versions of Kenneth Grahame’s “The Wind in the Willows” and Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures Under Ground,” inspired by the Thames.
7. Pre-games breakfast: The drawing room of the Pelham Hotel at South Kensington. Intimate, civilized, sophisticated. It’s our favorite; we never stay anywhere else.
8. Not-to-miss show: Wyndham’s Theatre has a critically acclaimed revival of Mike Leigh’s 1977 masterpiece, “Abigail’s Party.” The show has cult status because of Alison Steadman’s performance in the BBC recording of the original production. We hear Jill Halfpenny has taken on Steadman’s role with aplomb. Think clinging green maxi dress, gin and tonics and middle class malice.