Westminster is one of the most iconic areas of London, there is no denying its tourist magnetism. However, there is plenty to discover in the area if you delve deeper than the tourist sightseeing hotspots of SW1. In this article, we look at the best places to eat, visit and shop in Westminster.
Moo Cantina, 43 Vauxhall Bridge Road
Reportedly the first Argentinian restaurant in the UK, Moo Cantina in Pimlico is one of the area’s treasures for food explorers. It is possible that you have sampled South American street food in the city but it is highly unlikely that it will be as good as the cantina style cuisine on offer at Moo. On the menu you can expect steaks, sweetbreads, burgers, empanadas, lomito sandwiches and chorizo criolla. The beers, wines and cocktails also take in imports and inspiration from Argentina and South America.
St James’ Courtyard, 54 Buckingham Gate
Just a short walk away from Buckingham Palace is St James’ Court Hotel on Buckingham Gate. This luxury hotel was opened in 1902 and has frequently played host to the palace’s special guests. The courtyard at St James’ is an ideal place to be in the summer. The red brick frieze is beautifully appropriate for a turn of the century building such as this. The pairing of the architecture with the cherub-adorned fountain centrepiece makes St James’ Courtyard an idyllic place to enjoy a cocktail or some alfresco dining. Booking an evening at one of their Summer BBQ events, held on selected Saturdays and Sundays in the summer is highly advised.
The Cinnamon Club, Great Smith Street
Considered to be one of the finest modern Indian restaurants in the city, The Cinnamon Club is situated in the former Westminster library, a stunning grade II listed building. The Cinnamon Club was opened in 2001 by Vivek Singh and has recently undergone a £1 million makeover that includes an overhauled menu of innovative Indian cuisine. Vivek Singh has authored five bestselling cookbooks and is a regular on BBC's Saturday Kitchen, Celebrity Masterchef and UKTV’s Market Kitchen.
Tate Britain, Millbank
Built on the site of a former prison, the Millbank Penitentiary, where prisoners were held before being moved to Australia, the Tate Britain is amongst the oldest art galleries in the country. As the name suggests, Tate Britain showcases British artists, with pieces dating back to 1545 through to the present day. Over a million visitors a year visit Tate Britain to see works of art by Tracey Emin, John Latham, Douglas Gordon, Sam Taylor-Wood, Tacita Dean, Marcus Gheeraerts II and Joseph Mallord William Turner. Tate Britain is also home to the annual Turner Prize exhibition that runs from October to December and attracts a lot of attention from art collectors, press and visitors alike.
St John’s Smith Square Concert Hall
Renowned for its English Baroque architecture, St John’s has survived fire, lightning, bomb plots and the Blitz to remain as an iconic venue for classical music. If you are considering moving to Westminster, working there or have time during a visit attending a Thursday lunchtime concert at St John’s Smith Square is highly recommended. Throughout the concert season the venue hosts over 250 concerts from visiting, touring and local musicians, all of which have been carefully selected and curated. From local choirs and baroque ensembles to full symphony orchestras, the concert hall at St John’s is always busy with an interesting programme of classical music.
Wicked at Apollo Victoria Theatre
The musical ‘Wicked’ is the 9th longest running show in London theatre history and is the winner of many awards including three Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and ten WhatsOnStage Awards. Wicked tells the story of the witches from The Wizard of Oz (Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West) and is often highly recommended as a family night out.
Berry Bros. & Rudd Wines, 63 Pall Mall
If you have just unpacked after moving to Westminster and you would like to celebrate your new home with some friends, you will undoubtedly need some wine. Berry Bros. & Rudd is Britain's oldest wine merchants and have been in the area since 1698. It still has a presence in the building where it was founded, on St James’ Street, but its shop can now be found around the corner at 63 Pall Mall. Experienced staff are on hand to help you find the perfect bottle of wine, claret, port or any other spirit you may be looking for. Be sure to venture into the vaulted cellars for even more wine and to visit for one of the wine tasting sessions. The historic wine merchants hold two Royal Warrants for H.M. The Queen and H.R.H. The Prince of Wales.
John Lobb, 9 St James Street
Now under its fifth generation of the Lobb family, the boot and shoe makers at John Lobb have been making footwear for politicians, celebrities and members of the royal family since 1849. Although a bespoke pair of shoes from John Lobb might not be in everyone's budget, many people come here to admire the craftsmanship and skill that goes into each piece. Each pair of shoes that leave the shop is made to the exact specifications of the customer and can take as long as nine months to complete.
J. McCarthy Ltd, 11 Artillery Row
Another long standing Westminster trader is J. McCarthy Ltd, who have been selling fine jewellery in the area since 1798. Although their original shop just off Victoria Street was bombed in 1940, they have been in their second home on Artillery Row ever since. Specialising in Edwardian, Georgian, Victorian and Art Deco jewellery, J. McCarthy Ltd are highly regarded and have built a reputation on sourcing the finest rings, pearls, earrings, necklaces and brooches.
Cadogan Tate have been helping people move to London for many years. If you are considering moving to Westminster or the surrounding area, get in touch with the specialist removals team for a quote today.