Want to know the secrets of the Swinging City? London is home to a lot of magical places you might not see in your average travel book, so we get the lowdown from one of the most famous Londoners of our time, Richard Branson. The man behind the 400-company strong brand Virgin was born and brought up in London and it’s where Virgin made its modest beginnings as a record store on Oxford Street. We got Sir Richard to share his top five tips to enjoy London to the fullest! Read on and discover for yourself...
1. Hit the hot spots
Looking for some inspiration? Head over to the west side of the city to see what’s up and coming. “I love Notting Hill and Westbourne Grove – there is so much life and vitality around Portobello and Ladbroke Grove. It has come up a lot since I started Virgin more than 40 years ago but there is so much character,” says Branson.
INFO: A guide to Notting Hill www.thehill.co.uk; a guide to Westbourne Grove www.westbourne-grove.com
2. Indulge in style
“We love to have a big family meal at nice restaurants such as Assaggi in Westbourne Grove. Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen is also excellent,” reveals Branson.
INFO: Assaggi 1st floor, 39 Chepstow Place, W2 4TS, 020 7792 5501; Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen www.fifteen.net.
3. Get on landmark watch
“It has to be the London Eye, because it reminds me of the time we played a brilliant joke on its sponsor BA,” says Branson. “They were having trouble erecting it, so we flew an airship over the Eye bearing the slogan ‘BA Can't Get It Up!’”
INFO: The London Eye www.londoneye.com
4. Prepare for business
Hosting a business lunch? Get classy. “I am biased but I love Babylon at Kensington Roof Gardens. Great food and great views. Recently had breakfast at the Langham too, beautiful dining room.INFO: Kensington Roof Gardens www.roofgardens.virgin.com; Langham London Hotel london.langhamhotels.co.uk
5. Best of bevs
Go for the best of British when heading out for a drink. “The pubs around our old offices such as Ladbroke Arms and The Windsor Castle are great. As is the new St Pancras hotel, it’s a really impressive space.”
INFO: The Windsor Castle, Kensington www.thewindsorcastlekensington.co.uk; Ladbroke Arms, Notting Hill www.ladbrokearms.com; St Pancras Hotel, Euston Road www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/travel/lonpr-st-pancras
Tune in to the City
Want to stay in the know about what’s on in London? Download Virgin Atlantic’s London City Guide for iPhone and iPad for free from iTunes! This guide will keep you up to date with all the happenings in the city, features a sport calendar and a lot of fashion tips on how to get the London look! As a bonus, you also get a Virgin Atlantic app with which you can check in, play games and track miles, and a Virgin Atlantic Trip Journal app so you can share your adventures online with friends in real time!