London Cool by Merle Wilkening | 2nd December, 2022 | Playground
Shaped by its royal heritage yet young and innovative: In London, ancient tradition meets the pulse of the times. It’s a unique mix that makes the British capital irresistible.
Majestic wherever you look: In London, the influence of the British royal family is palpable on almost every corner. The global city on the Thames is more than generously endowed with illustrious buildings: Kensington Palace, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge and the famous Big Ben at the Palace of Westminster. At Buckingham Palace, the monarchs’ official residence, King Charles III has been on the throne for the last few months following the 70-year reign of his mother Queen Elizabeth II. The rapidly changing skyline is dominated by glass and steel skyscrapers. In the City of London, the historic center and today the main business district, architects have been vying to land the biggest coup since the early 2000s. Sir Norman Foster has immortalized himself with multiple structures, including the Gherkin, Millennium Bridge and various other buildings. The Thames divides the center into two parts. On the South Bank, the jagged Shard towers into the skies while the London Eye keeps watch over the city’s more than 9 million inhabitants as it turns its leisurely circles. Even after Brexit, the multicultural British capital remains the second most important financial center in the world. And in the past decade, it has evolved into one of the leading tech industry locations. The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2022 ranks London in equal place with New York as the second most important startup hub after Silicon Valley. As the undisputed tech capital of Europe, London attracts founders like a magnet. Innovativeness and an urban lifestyle shape the city’s character. The annual Fashion Week draws fashion fans from all over the world. Today the hippest of street styles originate where Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen once created their provocative designs. And things are just as colorful in the Notting Hill district in West London. Houses painted in pastel hues give the famous Portobello Road its colorful flair. With its elegant Victorian townhouses the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is one of the most popular and expensive neighborhoods in the city. After Paris and Munich, London has the second highest real estate prices in Europe. Maximilian Stamm, Head of Private Office EMEA at Engel & Völkers, has regarded the UK as a home away from home ever since he was a teenager. He shares his top tips for London, where he met his British wife after doing his master’s degree: “I love staying at the bustling Ham Yard Hotel in Soho. The fantastic Tony Cragg statue in the courtyard is a must-see. My favorite restaurants right now are Casa Cruz in Notting Hill and the Maison François bistro in Mayfair. For drinks and dancing I like going to Laylow, which isn’t far from Portobello Road. I always wear one of my wife’s Pinky Laing jackets when I go there – the British brand sells handmade military-inspired jackets. Somerset House in central London always shows excellently curated exhibitions. And last but not least, my inside tip for fantastic art and collectible design is Lamb Gallery in Mayfair.”