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Authored by Julie Smith

Let’s face it. London can be an expensive city to tour. Sure, there are plenty of free things to do once you arrive, but when you start adding up hotels, restaurants and shows, you may realize that a visit here can very quickly leave your bank account in a sorry state. Luxury in London

For those of us that live here, we cope by scouring the web for deals, hunting down the best cheap eats, and visiting the city’s free museums way too many times. What are the best luxurious experiences in London?

But what if you feel like a splurge? Where to splurge in London?

In this list of luxury experiences in London, we have included two levels in each category. The first, “Our Splurge”, are certainly luxurious, but could be considered ‘normal people luxury’ and we’ve experienced them all.

The other category is the “Dream Splurge”; the places and activities that we would love to experience, if it weren’t for the mind numbing expense. Keep in mind that in London, the sky is the limit. If you want to drop £15,000 on a hotel room, you are more than welcome to do so!

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Hotels

Our Splurge: Dorset Square Hotel £300/nt

This gem is tucked into a quaint square just off of Baker Street in Marylebone. The townhouse setting is adorable, with individually designed rooms and a restaurant with an amazing breakfast and afternoon tea.

Dream Splurge: Ham Yard Hotel £600/nt

This new property sits in a central location, bordering St. James, Mayfair and SoHo. The rooms are unique, there is a tree-filled courtyard garden, a rooftop bar with views across SoHo and a bowling alley.

It’s cool without being pretentious, with a luxury price tag to match.

Restaurants

Our Splurge: Clove Club £75/pp including drinks/service

Located in the Shoreditch Town Hall, Clove Club offers a set menu, utilizing British ingredients with modern flair. When to splurge in London

This place is all the rage since getting its first Michelin star last year, and the neighborhood is hipster central. Expensive restaurants in London

Dream Splurge: The Ledbury £175 including drinks/service

This two Michelin starred restaurant tops most lists for best restaurant in London. If you want to spend money, there are few better places than the Ledbury to do so. Best Michelin Star restaurants in London

This two Michelin starred restaurant tops most lists for best restaurant in London. If you want to spend money, there are few better places than the Ledbury to do so.

Cocktails

Our Splurge: 69 Colebrooke Row ~£10

Our neighborhood’s cool cocktail bar has no sign outside, upping its air of exclusivity. The drinks are well made and the tiny room is always packed, so advanced booking is a necessity. Best cocktails in London

Dream Splurge: Artesian ~£17

This bar, off the lobby in the Langham Hotel, has the distinction as one of the best cocktail bars in the world. The drinks are inventive and the room oozes luxury. Where to find the best drinks in London

Afternoon Tea

Our Splurge: Modern Pantry Afternoon Tea with Bubbles £27.50/pp

We love the Modern Pantry because it does afternoon tea with a twist. The rosewater and cherry scones are even better than the original.

Dream Splurge: The Ritz Champagne Afternoon Tea £66/pp

Tea sandwiches, scones and bite-size treats in the Ritz’s extravagant tea room. Don’t forget your dainty hat! Best afternoon tea in London. 

Tea sandwiches, scones and bite-size treats in the Ritz’s extravagant tea room. Don’t forget your dainty hat!

Shopping

Our Splurge: Jigsaw/Ben Sherman

Two of our favorite British high-end shops for clothes that are a noticeable step up in quality and price than our normal threads. It’s where we shop on our birthdays! Splurge on shopping in London. Best London shopping. 

Dream Splurge: Private Shopping at Selfridges £2,000 minimum

It is not hard to spend money at the classic department store Selfridges, but you will need to spend at least £2,000 to skip the crowds and shop in solitude and peace. Where is the most expensive shopping in London?

Events

Our Splurge: English Premier League Football Match £75-£100/pp

After becoming a member at our local club, Arsenal, we have been to a handful of matches. Nothing beats game day in the English Premiere League.

Pubs, beer and chanting. A memorable and truly local experience.

Dream Splurge: Wimbledon Men’s Final £2,500/pp

If you don’t happen to be a member of the British tennis association, tickets to Wimbledon are almost impossible to come by. That means sky high prices on the secondary market. Most expensive events in London.

Want to visit the All England Club for some a classic tennis final? Be prepared to unload your bank account. Most exclusive London events. 

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Julie and Drew are American expats living and working in London. There, they write about life in London and their extensive travels at Drive on the Left.

When they’re not exploring Europe, they love to relax in the neighborhood pub, take their dog Basil for walks in the nearby rose garden and root for their favorite football team, Arsenal!

Follow Julie and Drew on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Photo credits: Mackerel at the Ledbury by Simon Doggett. Afternoon Tea by Drive on the Left.

    24 Comments

  1. I’ve spent a lot of my time in London after having lived in South East England for almost five years and yes, it’s soo expensive. Even when you’re not splurging! But London is usually worth it :)
    Zascha recently posted…Why I’m Not Moving Back to EnglandMy Profile

    • Totally agree that London is one of those cities where it’s worth it! I was only there for a year but it’s one of the very few places I would return to over and over again :)

  2. Thank you for sharing this. Well, as a genrally budget traveller I can see this items are all quite costy but visiting London in a different (and poshy) way is one of the things Im planning next. I’ll favorite this post and I’ll ask you for more :-)

    • You’re welcome Sabrina – wishing you a wonderful trip to London – even for budget travelers it’s lovely to splurge once in a while. And London is a great city for it!

      Happy travels … feel free to reach out with any follow up Q’s you may have in the lead up.

  3. I LOVE London, and if I could splurge, I would! But this is probably for next time – will keep in mind when I’m financially ready. Haha.

    • Luxurious experiences will always be there for you; everyone needs at least one trip in their lifetime where they save up their money and blow it all on one truly epic vacation :D!

  4. Holy cow I didn’t realize that a ticket to Wimbledon is 2,500! I like that Julie’s splurges are reasonable – a bit more money than I would normally spend, but worth it. I have only been to London one time (when I was 15) so I’m due for a return trip. I like this post idea, thanks for sharing!

    • My affordability for splurges is more in Julie’s range too. Although it would be amazing I’m sure to get to Wimbeldon one year. Right now though I’m thinking I have to settle for watching it on TV :D!

      Have a wonderful trip back to London! Hopefully you can treat yourself to a few of these splurges :)

  5. London looks like the ultimate destination this year! Been reading so many posts about London! Fantastic tips, Julie! Thanks for sharing. Xx
    Trisha Velarmino recently posted…South America Travel BudgetMy Profile

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Trisha! Hope you manage a trip this year :)

    • Glad we have the local seal of approval! :)

  6. Between your splurges and the dream ones I must say they both sound like great options. One needs to enjoy of of London’s many Michelin starred restaurants for sure. And high tea!
    Mar recently posted…A magical stay at Hoanib Skeleton Coast CampMy Profile

    • Sounds like the perfect itinerary as it is right! 😀

  7. As budget travelers, London was a NIGHTMARE for us, money wise! We did everything we could to save a few pennies here and there. I MIGHT be convinced to do the Modern Pantry (only because it was the cheapest one on here) and we really enjoyed having afternoon tea w/ scones while in London
    LeAnna recently posted…Free Travel Consultation and Good ReadsMy Profile

    • I think it’s definitely a city which requires a lot of prior planning if you need to stick to a strict budget. Hopefully you’re able to organize a return trip for a visit to the Modern Pantry :)

  8. Meg, I loved this post! First of all London is probably my very favorite city and I agree, you can spend as much or as little as you want there. Plenty of freebies, but I really love how you showcased the difference in what you chose versus what you could have really splurged on and the difference in prices. Good for readers like myself to see the comparison side by side. Afternoon tea… the stuff dreams are made of.
    melody pittman recently posted…Visit the Florida Aquarium- Family Fun in TampaMy Profile

    • I’m so glad Melody! London is one of my favorite cities too, so was super excited when Julie reached out about writing a guest post from a locals perspective.

      Definitely a really good piece for highlighting that there can be different levels of splurging when there, and normal people can enjoy luxury without necessarily having to fork out for the dream splurges if they don’t have the opportunity :)

  9. Thanks for sharing these great tips! It’s always so helpful to know if a splurge is worth it or not. The Clove Club sounds really good–I would love to try it when we are in London next. Modern Pantry’s Afternoon Tea would be amazing to check out too. I always enjoy when places put a unique spin on things!
    Jenna recently posted…Old San Juan Walk & Taste Tour with Spoon Food ToursMy Profile

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Jenna! Hopefully you can start planning a return trip and take in some of these experiences :)

    • You’re welcome Mary! Happy travels :)

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