Insider’s Guide: London with
CLAIRE GOLDSMITH

In this new series, we asked our in-the-know friends to give us  a glimpse inside their favourite cities, adopted hometowns, and current locations. These Insider Guides will take you on a specially guided tour, stopping at our guest’s favourite spots, and hidden gems in food, drink, shopping, art and culture. Our collection of taste makers, artists, designers, and creative professionals will show you around their city, giving a local perspective that might not otherwise make it on the map so to speak.

Claire Goldsmith, Eyewear Designer

Claire Goldsmith is the great-granddaughter of Oliver Goldsmith, one of the most influential designers and creators of modern-day eyewear and a man who dressed the eyes of almost every fashion icon, including Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Michael Caine. Today, Claire, a 4th generation Goldsmith, continues to make some of the most sophisticated and beautifully designed sunglasses and spectacles in the world. Established in London in 1926, the Oliver Goldsmith objective has always been to push the boundaries of expectation, self-expression, and individuality, and it is a vision and concept that Claire Goldsmith adheres to with passion and devotion.  Claire’s ability to sustain the legacy of this iconic heritage brand whilst forging her own path has been integral to its continued success through the 21st Century.

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On what intrigues her most about London:

“I love London for its layers that have come about through hundreds of years of history. I love the idea that 200 – 400 years ago, the streets I walk everyday were so different. I love the grime and the “secret London” that lies behind the frontage. London is a fascinating city with an incredible history wherever you go in it.”

 

Restaurants, Cafes, & Bars

The River Café

Situated on the banks of the River Thames, this Michelin star restaurant is pure understated perfection. Serving modern Italian fare, the River café gets it right every time. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth every penny.

 

Sky Garden

The view from the Sky Garden has got to be one of the best in London. Sitting at the top of what is known as the “walkie talkie” building because of its distinctive shape, 20 Fenchurch Street is a commercial skyscraper that takes its name from its address on Fenchurch Street in London’s Financial District. There is a super restaurant called The Darwin Brasserie at the very top of the garden, and if you have the time to eat and take in the view, its one not to be missed. Great for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner!

 

The London Shell Co. aboard The Prince Regent 

The canal system in the UK is steeped in fascinating history and this Sea Food extravaganza of a dining experience combines its delicious food with a unique take on London – from the canals. Iconic and totally a London experience with great food.

 

Cultural Landmarks, Museums, Art Galleries

The Victoria & Albert Museum

This is one of the most stunning museums in all of London and is home to some of the most iconic design and art in the world. Aside from the fact that they hold some of the rarest Oliver Goldsmith sunglasses dating back to the 1920s, they also have hosted some iconic and historic exhibitions such as the DIOR collection this summer.

 

The Tate Modern

I just love the Tate Modern. It’s my favourite art gallery in  London. I like how often it changes and I love the type of exhibitions they hold there. On a rainy Sunday, there is no better place to while away the afternoon. It’s also located on the South Bank which is a great stretch of London with loads of restaurants and a great river side view of London which can be walked or run on a nice day!

 

The London Duck Tour

Don’t be put off by the name of this tour. Honestly, it’s one of the best tours in London. The car/ boat takes you on a very well informed and historic tour of London, seamlessly travelling from road to river within an amphibious car/boat vehicle! And the perspective you get of London from the river is unique and totally brilliant. You have to see London from the river and this is fun way to do it

 

Boutiques and Shopping Areas

Carnaby Street/Soho

London is old and there is so much culture and heritage within certain areas and for me Soho/ Carnaby Street is just iconic London. You can weave through the streets finding cool shops, cool restaurants and bars.

 

Notting Hill

One of the last areas of London to house good independent boutiques. There is also a great coffee culture in the area along Portobello Road which is home to a great antiques and food market.

 

Shoreditch

Hipster cool is how I would describe this part of London. Totally a must visit area. Shoreditch Market is great and full of great street food. The shopping street is full of really cool stores selling cool clothes! That’s really all I can say. It’s cool.

 

Wellness Spots

 

Countryside Spa Retreat- Ragdale Hall

I love a good spa weekend with the girls. And we’ve done a few over the years. But my favourite by far is Ragdale Hall out in Melton Mowbray (home of the pork pie!) and nestled deep in the British country-side. This place is my heaven.

 

Hidden treasures 

A little known fact is that London has some amazing hidden alleyways often housing some of the most traditional and lovely little drinking establishments. These tiny old pubs literally transport you back in time. If you are lucky enough to stumble across one of these alley ways, you will not forget it. Here are a couple not to miss if you come here:

  • Newman Passage, Fitzrovia – is one of my favourites!
  • Bull Inn Court, Covent Garden
  • Lamb’s Conduit Passage, Holborn
  • Ely Court, Farringdon
  • Wine Office Court, City of London
  • Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden

 

Written on: January 3, 2020