London is renowned the world over for its vibrant atmosphere, beautiful architecture, exclusive shopping opportunities and fine dining; if you're planning to visit the capital this summer, read our guide to getting the most from a luxury trip.
Al fresco fine dining
Soak up some sun as you enjoy fine fare in the capital by visiting some of London's top al fresco dining hotspots. Among the best eateries is Inn the Park - a restaurant situated in St James's Park with a terrace that overlooks verdant lawns and a shimmering lake. Seasonal dishes are served throughout the day, and you can choose from brunch and a buffet to fully-fledged restaurant cuisine if you're visiting for a main meal rather than a snack.
Another option is Tom's Terrace at Somerset House - an 18th century mansion that affords fantastic views over the Thames. Located on Covent Gardens' Strand, the riverside cafe serves up simple dishes from a menu drawn up by Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens.
If you're keen to spend time outdoors during your London holiday, explore some of the capital's famous gardens, such as the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. You can book a guided tour of the vast gardens to take in hundreds of plant species, glasshouses, museums and galleries that span a 250-year history.
Alternatively, head to the lesser-trodden Eltham Palace and Gardens to admire the art deco residence and explore the moated gardens, in which is located the remains of a royal palace dating back to Tudor times.
After a long day of sightseeing in London, a trip to the spa might be the ideal way to relax and enjoy some pampering. Most of the capital's best hotels have spas, such as the Langham - one of London's five star hotels boasting an internationally acclaimed spa.
Located on prestigious Regent Street, Chuan Spa offers a range of treatments that use traditional Chinese medicine as their base. The tranquil and opulent setting can be used as a day spa by visitors and also by guests who have booked a stay at the hotel.
Another day spa you might want to consider is Ushvani in Chelsea, which has Malaysian influences throughout and offers day guests treatments such as massage, facials, steam baths and yoga sessions.
To see the best of London's landmarks, it's a good idea to book an organised tour of some of the city's most famous attractions. However, jostling through crowds of people and queuing up isn't the most relaxing way to take in the capital; instead, arrange to attend a private luxury tour.
Perhaps you've always wanted an up-close look at the Crown Jewels, or want to experience Kensington Palace with wine and canapes, rather than trudging through the staterooms with clamouring tourists. Meanwhile, art fans might enjoy looking around some of the city's most renowned galleries when they're not open to the rest of the public. These are just a few of the private tours you could attend for a more enjoyable break in London this summer.
Sumptuous shopping opportunities
London is a real goldmine of exclusive shops and boutiques, and you can spend a leisurely afternoon flitting between the boutiques of Mayfair, the prestigious shops along Bond Street and renowned department stores such as Harrods and Selfridges.
During your retail expedition, take a break midway for a spot of afternoon tea; many cafes and hotel restaurants serve up the speciality, which comprises a selection of teas, cakes, pastries or delicate sandwiches. In the evening, why not make the most of the balmy weather by taking in an al fresco film? There are locations throughout London where you can take in a movie outdoors, including the Film 4 Summer Screen at Somerset House during August.