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    Marriage Madness / London Update

    The royal wedding is upon us tomorrow, and if you are in town and want to get close to the action, we’ve listed the best places for picnic supplies, and also the best, closest parks. If, like me, you’re wanting to get out of the fray, we've also listed the best spots out of the wedding melee—many of them are some of the coolest new places in London.

    Love,
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    A map of the Royal Wedding Procession is below and the best places to stake out a picnic spot are St. James Park, Green Park and Hyde Park, where screens have been set up throughout to broadcast the event.

    The best places to pick up “bits” for a picnic:

    Nonna’s
    127-129 Parkway
    London NW1 7PS
    +44 (0) 20 7255 9254

    Nonna’s is a little Italian deli connected to Gordon Ramsay’s York & Albany, which is right on Regent’s Park. You can order from their picnic menu, order a pizza from York & Albany, or drop in to pick up a few salads and treats, and take them right out to the park.

    Daylesford Organic
    44B Pimlico Road
    London SW1W 8LP
    +44 (0) 20 7881 8060

    208-212 Westbourne Grove
    London W11 2RH
    +44 (0) 20 7313 8050

    This brand, which has grown from its organic farm in Gloucestershire, sells gorgeous breads, cheeses from its own creamery, and plenty of organic produce from their own farm and other organic farms in England. Stop by to pick up a picnic hamper, packed in a nice big basket of its own, or stay for longer and enjoy a meal in one their crisp, airy cafes.

    The Natural Kitchen
    77-78 Marylebone High Street
    London W1U 5JX
    +44 (0) 20 3012 2123

    I love this spot: a one stop shop for your bread, organic groceries, butcher, cheeses, and a counter full of ready-made salads to take away or eat in. We’ve become big fans of their butcher’s chicken sausages.

    Albion at Boundary
    Entrance in Redchurch Street, 2-4 Boundary Street
    London E2 7DD
    +44 (0) 20 7729 1051

    Boundary, a Terrence Conran hotel that we’ll revisit later, houses this charming little British café right off Boundary St. Great for an uncomplicated fry up, fish and chips, a shepherd’s pie, or a toad in the hole, but also a good place to pick up a sandwich, some bread, artisan jams and spreads, and the best brownies (hard on the outside, fudgy on the inside) going around.

    Ottolenghi

    1 Holland Street
    London W8 4NA
    +44 (0) 20 7937 0003
    13 Motcomb Street
    London SW1X 8LB
    + 44 (0) 20 7823 2707

    287 Upper Street
    London N1 2TZ
    +44 (0) 20 7288 1454
    63 Ledbury Road
    London W11 2AD
    +44 (0) 20 7727 1121

    And, of course, there’s always Ottolenghi. This has definitely been a mainstay of mine when I don’t have time to prepare a meal. Their salads are just so good and so distinctive, and with 4 locations they’re easy to get to in a pinch. They’ve opened a new sister restaurant, Nopi, in Soho, a slightly more formal setting where you can reserve a seat as, famously, getting a seat at Ottolenghi is something of a challenge.

    To Stay:

    St. John Hotel
    1 Leicester St
    London WC2H 7BL
    +44 (0) 20 3301 8020

    Fergus Henderson, who brought us nose-to-tail eating at his St. John restaurant, has, with Trevor Gulliver, opened up a new restaurant and, along with it, a new hotel. The décor is, as you’d expect, in keeping with the clean, white, and yet warm aesthetic of the St. John restaurants. The rooms are minimalist in their look but not in their feel. As they say, they have everything the traveler needs and nothing that the traveler doesn’t. The top floor, with three rooms and a living space, can be rented as well for large groups and those who, understandably, want to move in.

    The Zetter Townhouse
    St John’s Square
    86-88 Clerkenwell Road
    London EC1M 5RJ
    +44 (0) 20 7324 4444

    This 13 room Georgian townhouse seems to be the coolest place going, with each room designed individually full of its own antiques and plenty of British quirk. We thought this room was especially in keeping with spirit of the times. The cocktail lounge on the first floor comes as a major bonus, as it is a collaboration with one of the best cocktail bars in London these days, 69 Colebrooke Row.

    Boundary
    Entrance in Redchurch Street, 2-4 Boundary Street
    London E2 7DD
    +44 (0) 20 7729 1051

    Sir Terrence Conran’s latest venture is located in the ex-industrial and now very hip Shoreditch neighborhood. It’s a little bit of simplicity and elegance in its otherwise cutting-edge surroundings. There is tons of art on the walls, and the rooms are each inspired by a different legendary designer—The Eames’, Mies Van der Rohe (room pictured), Eileen Gray, Josef Hoffman, etc. Special highlights are the no-fuss Albion café, the more elegant Boundary restaurant, and best of all, the terrace—open all year round.

    Off the Beaten Wedding Path:

    Trullo
    300 - 302 St Paul’s Road
    London N1 2LH
    +44 (0) 20 7226 2733

    When it first opened, Trullo caused a stir for serving up such good food for such an affordable price. Go with a few friends and share a bunch of their small plates of delicious, super seasonal Italian food. Their menu changes all the time so you can always expect to be pleasantly surprised.

    Petersham Nurseries Café
    Church Lane
    Off Petersham Road
    Richmond
    Surrey
    TW10 7AG
    + 44 (0) 20 8605 3627

    This one is way off the beaten track but it’s a real gem. On a nice day, it’s worth taking a trip out of town to spend the day at the nursery, and stop at the café for Skye Gyngell’s simple and modern British/Italian food. In fact, they’ve just earned their first Michelin Star.

    Tom’s Kitchen and Terrace at the Somerset House
    Somerset House Trust, Strand
    London WC2R 1LA
    +44 (0) 20 7845 4600

    This peaceful and modern space, full of light, is a world away from London’s streets. Make a day of visiting this multi-faceted art institution, and stop by Tom’s for chef Tom Aiken’s super fresh and seasonal food. Tom’s Terrace is now open too (weather permitting) for snack boards and cocktails. Yet another perfect place to escape the crowds this Spring.

    Caravan
    Exmouth Market
    London EC1R 4QD

    Caravan starts early as a serious coffee drinker’s joint, morphs into a big brunch, and then becomes a drop-in restaurant the rest of the day for a smattering of salads or a full-on meal. Not only do they take coffee seriously, but, like the very varied menu, they also boast a well-considered wine and drinks menu. You can spend the day with many friends or alone with a good book.

    Tapas Brindisa
    18-20 Southwark St
    London SE1 1TJ
    +44 (0) 20 7357 8880

    I stopped here on my way to an event once and have become a fan ever since. In fact, this is quickly becoming one of my favorite places in London. This is an authentic tapas place made up of great food and all the requisite hustle and bustle of a good Spanish joint.

    The Lantern
    2 England’s Lane
    London NW3 4TG
    +44 (0) 20 7483 0933

    Finally Belsize Park has a neighborhood hangout that isn’t a pub and isn’t a chain. The latest addition to the area is most welcome, with chalkboard walls, a cozy and slightly industrial look, and a frequently changing menu of small but very intensely flavored dishes. A great place to stop after a day in Hampstead Heath, or for brunch before getting your weekend started.

    Koya
    49 Frith Street
    London W1D 4SG

    Don’t worry about the line, as it moves quickly. The authentic Japanese noodles, which you can have either hot or cold, in a choice of several different broths, are, simply put, amazing. This is true Japanese home-style cooking, and it’s the perfect hearty comfort food for any time of year.

    Modern Pantry
    47-48 St John’s Square
    London EC1V 4JJ
    +44 (0) 20 7553 9210

    This is really good food for all of your taste buds. The café downstairs is friendly to the freelancers with their laptops and also to those wanting to sit down for a serious meal. The food is just as flexible and is always, whether for brunch on the weekend, a formal dinner, or lighter fare, incredibly well prepared. The Blueberry and Ricotta pancakes are a real brunch treat.

    A Little of What You Fancy
    464 Kingsland Road
    London E8 4AE
    +44 (0) 20 7275 0060

    Hidden away (literally hidden, as its red doors are virtually unmarked) in Dalston, amid all the Turkish grills, is this very sweet, very seasonal restaurant for locavores. There are dishes for meat lovers and some very flavorful takes on salads and tarts for those who don’t partake. Save room for dessert as it’s worthwhile.

    Fernandez & Wells
    43 Lexington St
    London W1F 9AL
    +44 (0) 20 7734 1546

    A great afternoon stop for a cheese and/or cured meats plate and a glass of wine or prosecco. The offering in this tiny, white space is very straightforward, and a welcome relief from the rest of Soho. It is the perfect place to take a break in the afternoon with a friend. F&W also has a coffee shop around the corner that serves an excellent cup and has a similar relaxed atmosphere.

    Monmouth Coffee
    2 Park Street (and around the corner on Park St. and Stoney St.)
    London SE1 9AB

    27 Monmouth Street
    London WC2H 9EU

    34 Maltby Street
    London SE1 3PA

    The best coffee you’ll ever have in London and possibly anywhere else. Their Borough Market locations have crowds spilling into the street just for a cup to go. Also has good pastries and sweet spaces to enjoy your coffee if you can get a seat.

    Aubin Cinema
    64-66 Redchurch Street
    London E2 7DP
    +44 (0) 84 5604 8486

    The Aubin Cinema in Shoreditch is operated by the nearby Shoreditch House, which is not to say non-members can’t partake in the uber-pleasant movie going experience. There are plush couches and ottomans instead of theater seats, and a full bar in place of a popcorn stand. The theater mixes in independent films into their program along with the best of the mainstream movies. Also check out the Aubin & Wills shop up the stairs for great, basic clothing.

    Everyman Cinema
    203 Haverstock Hill
    London NW3 4QG
    +44 (0) 87 0066 4777

    5 Holly Bush Vale
    London NW3 6TX
    +44 (0) 87 0066 4777

    The Aubin Cinema in Shoreditch is operated by the nearby Shoreditch House, which is not to say non-members can’t partake in the uber-pleasant movie going experience. There are plush couches and ottomans instead of theater seats, and a full bar in place of a popcorn stand. The theater mixes in independent films into their program along with the best of the mainstream movies. Also check out the Aubin & Wills shop up the stairs for great, basic clothing.

    Drink:

    69 Colebrooke Row
    69 Colebrooke Row
    London N1 8AA
    +44 (0) 75 4052 8593

    The resident mixologist, Tony Conigliaro literally concocts his recipes in a science lab above the bar. So you’ll definitely be enjoying flavors you’ve never encountered before. Tony and his partner Camille Hobby-Linton run the hippest bar around, open 7 days a week with Jazz every Sunday night—and yet they still manage to maintain an enjoyably relaxed atmosphere. Make sure to reserve beforehand, as it’s a small space, or try their offshoot at the Zetter Townhouse.

    Nightjar
    129 City Road
    London EC1V 1JB

    Run like an old-fashioned speakeasy, its black door is easily missable, and then it’s down some dark stairs to this underground space. Once you’re in, it’s like a true jazz age bar with some stiff, old fashioned drinks. Their super spicy Bloody Mary that comes with a basket full of fixings so you can customize, is pretty memorable. You’ll often encounter troops of swing dancers dressed to the nine’s in their gear ready to dance to the live jazz provided by the bar.

    Shopping:

    Present
    140 Shoreditch High Street
    London E1 6JE
    +44 (0) 20 7033 0500

    If only all men could dress this well. This store also makes you wish you could be a man, just so you could justify buying from their tastefully selected sneakers, jeans and, of course, their plaid button downs. Women can console themselves by enjoying their selection of totes and canvas bags. Have a coffee while shopping from their bar at the entrance.

    YMC
    23 Hanbury St
    London E1 6QR
    +44 (0) 20 3432 3010

    11 Poland St
    London W1F 8QA
    +44 (0) 20 7494 1619

    Low key, simple clothes for men and women. They’ve got great spring dresses and the best raincoats for London’s weather.

    Folk
    11 Dray Walk
    London E1 6QL
    +44 (0) 20 7375 2844

    Folk carries a few great and tastefully selected brands like Acne, Aesop and Sessun among others. The backbone of the brand is definitely their own brand shoes, which are all classic in their design whether for winter or spring.

    Lucy in Disguise
    10-13 King Street
    London WC2E 8HN
    +44 (0) 20 7240 6590

    Sisters Lily and Sarah Allen started their vintage boutique in Covent Garden to much acclaim last year. Now the sisters are venturing into design with their upcoming ready-to-wear collection. It’s a great place to visit for their vintage finds from all over the world, and now a beauty bar to make your vintage look complete.

    The goop collection

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