Now that the Olympics are over, London can get back to the regular business of the day, which includes packed soundstages and a thriving post and vfx sector. But there’s more to London than ADR and shoots at dawn. For showbiz out-of-towners, new options in the city exist for fun as well as work.

Barclays Cycle Hire

Throughout touristy central London, rent a sturdy Barclays bicycle for city cruising. Bike lanes are easy to navigate, though traffic is somewhat maddening. Stations to rent and return bikes are found throughout the city center.

Damien Hirst at the Tate Modern

The iconoclastic artist’s retrospective continues at the Tate Modern through Sept. 9. The recently opened Tanks at the Tate (oil tanks reclaimed from the former power plant’s inner workings) host performance and site-specific installation artworks.

Hollywood Costume at the Victoria and Albert Museum

The museum’s major fall exhibition (Oct. 20-Jan. 27) explores a century of movie costumes with 100 rarely or never exhibited iconic screen threads; organized in part by guest curator and costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis.

“King Lear”at the Almeida Theater

Jonathan Pryce tackles one of Shakespeare’s most coveted roles; Michael Attenborough directs. Previews begin Aug. 31; show runs through Nov. 3.

The ultra-competitive high-end London hotel scene feature some of the best in world.


Recent guests include the King and Queen of Malaysia, but Hollywood royalty bunks here too. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were frequent guests until they decamped to an estate in suburban London. Newly revamped Art Deco-styled suites by Linley design are finely detailed and have the plushest of bedding; butler service comes with the stay. Claridge’s also hosts numerous film junkets (along with the nearby Dorchester, also part of the Maybourne Hotel Group).

(Claridge’s, Kristy Lee, head of entertainment, Brook Street, Mayfair, +44 (0) 20 7629 8860)

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

Opposite Hyde Park on one side and facing Knightsbridge’s main shopping street on the other, the 198-room Mandarin Oriental reigns over its tony neighborhood. In addition to its Victorian-era charms, rooms are outfitted with the latest tech toys like Bang & Olufsen HD TVs. The secluded spa has steam, sauna and a soaking pool. A new pool and expanded fitness center will open later this year. Industryites use the clubby Bar Boulud restaurant for informal gatherings. Overlooking Hyde Park and also on site, Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner is one of the food world’s pilgrimage spots.

(Mandarin Oriental, Isabella Moroni, entertainment industry sales manager, 66 Knightsbridge, +44 (0) 20 7235 2000)

Corinthia Hotel London

The Corinthia, opened in 2011 as a flagship for the European luxury hotel group, is a complete remake and update of a Victorian-era property. Sunken marble tubs, indoor pool, Espa products in-room (and a four-floor Espa spa on property), are some of the amenities at the 294-room hotel. Close to most central London activities, the Italian specialties at the hotel’s Massimo Restaurant and Oyster Bar are worth staying in for.

(Whitehall Place, +44 (0) 20 7930 8181)

Soho is the epicenter of London’s lively West End dining scene and the concentration of restaurants per block means dozens of choices, though many are often packed. Bar patrons spill out onto sidewalks on warmer nights, adding to the street-carnival feel.


Popular for quick Spanish tapas, though the 23 seats at the bar fill quickly.

(54 Frith St., no reservations)

Ceviche Peruvian Kitchen& Pisco Bar

Peruvian fare is gaining a foothold in London, and Ceviche serves the South American version of tapas, with more kick and lots of lime-marinated seafood.

(17 Frith St., +44 (0) 20 72922040)

10 Greek Street

Affordable contemporary Greek/Mediterranean dishes are featured on a menu that changes daily.

(10 Greek St., +44 (0) 20 7734 4677)

Bar Italia

Open until 5 a.m., this remains the capper for a night out or early morning in Soho.

(22 Frith St., +44 (0) 20 7437 4520)