What’s new in London this year?

Credit: Matt Alexander/PA Wire

From illuminated bridges to restaurant openings, here are some new experiences to try in 2019

 

GO

With so much to see and do, getting around the city can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be, with new upgrades to transport links. At the end of last year, the first fleet of electric black taxis hit the streets ahead of Transport for London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone being introduced. The Sherbet Ride app will allow you to order electric taxis, which are not only more environmentally friendly, but will also have more space, charging points and wi-fi .

And despite delays, Crossrail’s brand-new Elizabeth line is due to open in 2019. The new railway will travel southeast from Paddington to Abbey Wood via Canary Wharf, northeast from Liverpool Street to Shen eld and southwest from Paddington to Heathrow, making it easier for visitors to get across the capital. Central stations include Bond Street, Farringdon and Tottenham Court Road.

EAT

London’s food scene ranges from Michelin- star restaurants to some of the best street food in the world, and there are some exciting launches planned for this year.

The old Edwardian shopping arcade at Victoria’s Terminus Place was recently converted into the new Market Hall Victoria with 11 kitchens, an array of food traders and three bars over three floors. This spring, a new roof terrace is to be added.

But it’s not London’s only new market. Mercato Metropolitano, which opened the first sustainable community market for conscientious food lovers in a disused paper factory in Elephant and Castle in 2016, will open in St Mark’s, a restored Grade I-listed church on North Audley St in Mayfair in the spring. The 16,000-square-foot Mercato Mayfair will hold artisan food stalls, a restaurant, deli, wine bar and brewery, among much more, and a rooftop terrace and outdoor bar are also planned.

There are some stylish new restaurants on the horizon too. Officially opening on 22 February, VIVI at the iconic Centre Point promises to be a beautiful new all-day dining destination for the West End. The vibrant interiors will take their inspiration from 1960s Swinging London – the decade in which Centre Point was built. The all-day menu will be made up of nostalgic British dishes modernised for today.

STAY

There are plenty of hotels opening this year, but our picks are the Belmond Cadogan Hotel, which opened on 1 February, and Vintry & Mercer, taking reservations now.

Built in 1887, the Cadogan Hotel (above), a Queen Anne-style building at the crossroads between Knightsbridge and Chelsea, has been lavishly restored. Guests can relax in the garden, warm themselves in front of the re or enjoy a local gin at the stylish bar. The 54-room hotel, once home to Oscar Wilde, also houses 400 pieces of original art.

Vintry & Mercer also brings the past tastefully up to date. Set among the livery halls and guilds of the City, this 92-room hotel takes inspiration from the area’s rich history. Vintry, established in 1364, was once a hub for London’s wine merchants, while Mercer, established in 1304, was for textile sellers; beautiful fabrics are used throughout. Guests can enjoy views from the rooftop restaurant or sip a cocktail at the secret bar.

SEE

Visitors flock to London for its rich culture, art and history, but for the seasoned traveller, there’s always something new to see.

The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College will be re-opening in mid-January after three years of restoration works. The dazzling 18th-century hall created by Sir James Thornhill, often referred to as the UK’s Sistine Chapel, will be revealed in all its glory.

London’s Cartoon Museum also has a new home in Wells Street near Oxford Circus. Opening in the spring, the museum, which features British cartoons and comic art from the 18th century to present day, will be launching an exciting new programme.

Summer 2019 will see four of London’s bridges transformed by a large-scale public art installation  celebrating the Thames by artist Leo Villareal and architecture practice Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands. London Bridge, Cannon Street, Southwark and Millennium bridges will be the first to light up. When finished, the glowing Illuminated River installation will span up to 15 central London bridges, from Albert Bridge in West London to Tower Bridge in the City.

It’s not only London’s bridges in the spotlight. Waltham Forest has been crowned the Borough of Culture for 2019. A £5.75 million development programme will help attract visitors and highlight what this North East London borough has to offer, from the William Morris Gallery to the Hitchcock mosaics in Leytonstone Tube Station.

For the ultimate guide to London, pick up a copy of the London Guide 2019 in stores now.