If you have just one day in London

Gaze at the grand lions in Trafalgar Square with a stop at the Fourth Plinth—which is always topped with an artwork commissioned by the incredible culture team at the mayor’s office; wander through the National Gallery’s Van Gogh rooms, then catch an evening performance at the Royal Ballet around the corner in Covent Garden. Fingers crossed you catch Lauren Cuthberston, she’s my favourite prima ballerina! 

When I travel, I long for

London’s sense of neighbourhood—each one is like its own universe. I’ve been missing things like the communal gardens in Notting Hill and late afternoon walks with friends getting tea and cakes from Ottolenghi before a film screening at the Electric on Portobello.

An ideal Sunday with a friend begins with

A stroll through the Columbia Road flower market followed by a late lunch at Brawn—probably my favourite restaurant in London.

Between you and me, this is my favourite ‘secret’ spot

I spend many hours in bookshops, and I love Lutyens & Rubinstein in Notting Hill. I know we all hope bookstores survive this really difficult moment in time.

The quintessential tour of London galleries and museums includes

The Hayward Gallery on the Southbank, the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton, Goodman Gallery in Mayfair and the (tiny!) Delfina Foundation in Belgravia. If you make it far enough east, I love the Chisenhale Gallery as well.

Finally, if you have time, hop on a train to Hauser and Wirth out in the Somerset countryside to see the work of Alice Workman and her awesome curators.

Catch the inspiration at these studios

Shezad Dawood in Hackney and Yinka Shonibare who is just down the street from him! On the other side of town, Nick Hornby has a space in West London, as does Emma Woollard who might get in a portrait of you if you’re lucky. If you can get in, Wayne McGregor’s dance studio in Here East is a massive treat to visit! Zaha Hadid architects have their own design space, run by Melodie Leung; it is open to the public and worth a visit. 

A day to unwind looks like

Morning yoga at Heartcore in Notting Hill, followed by a walk through Hyde Park down to see whatever’s on at the Serpentine.

A hidden gem for exquisite drinks

London has endless evening places—it really depends on your vibe. If you want something fancy, you could check out the back-room champagne bar at the Connaught in Mayfair; and if you want to learn something new and meet awesome people, you should sign up for one of the brilliant Syrian Supper Clubs: held at amazing locations across the city, you can enjoy the best food, company and support an important cause.

That dish that always hits the spot

The savory semolina pancake, rava dosa, at Ganapati South Indian Kitchen in Peckham. 

An experience money can’t buy in London

Somerset House winter ice skating is the best! Bundle up and go during the day when the crowds are light and make sure you nab some of the seasonal hot chocolate supply from Fortnum’s while you’re there. If you have good timing, London Fashion Week runs around the corner at 180 The Strand, so try to sneak in for a show!

The most exciting London-based art projects that I’ve worked on in my career

Working on Google Arts & Culture projects has brought me behind the scenes to some of the most iconic cultural destinations around the world, not to mention London: from the masterpiece-clad administrative offices at the Victoria & Albert Museum to filing through the vast archives of the Science Museum, British Museum and British Library. There is a fish tank room in the basement of the Natural History Museum where I’ve spent quite a bit of time facedown in fish gunk with a colleague while making a VR film.  
And of course various wanders through royal estates such as Clarence House and Buckingham Palace as we finalised projects with these institutions, really learning about heritage and history in ways which would not have been possible otherwise.
I’ve also had the chance to work closely with incredible contemporary artists and designers, everyone from artist and designer Es Devlin to choreographer and futurist Wayne McGregor and lots of trailblazing fashion designers, including, memorably, Paul Smith in his atelier, as well as some of the world’s best curators and cultural directors. Some of my favourites: Justine Simons and her culture team at the Mayor of London’s office; the team at the London Design Biennale; everyone at the Architectural Association; Hans Ulrich Obrist and Ben Vickers at the Serpentine; Gabriele Finaldi’s brilliant digital team at the National Gallery, and Ralph Rugoff and his curatorial stars at the Hayward.
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