London Concierges Give Their Top Travel Tips

London's experienced hotel concierges share their insights, and tell us their most intriguing requests from hotel guests.

Carlos Lopes
joint head concierge at Mandeville Hotel

Tell us a popular request from your guests.

Directions to Selfridges!

Any strange requests?

One of our U.S. guests, a make-up artist for Universal Studios, Florida, wanted to know where the "Frankenstein" actor Boris Karloff was buried. There is actually a plaque in his memory at St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden.

Selfridges, London, UK
Selfridges department store is a well-known spot on Oxford Street. (©Anouchka/iStock)

What if you only have a day in London?

Have breakfast at The Wolseley, then go shopping on Bond Street and in Selfridges on Oxford Street. Take a bus tour to see the city's highlights, then have dinner or see a West End show.

Share your favourite quintessential English experience.

Take afternoon tea at The Ritz or Claridges.

Cotswolds cottages, UK
The Cotswolds region in Gloucestershire is known for its quaint, honey-coloured cottages. (©CaronB/iStock)

Where should visitors explore outside of London?

The picture-postcard quaint cottages in the Cotswolds.

Gladstone Redwood-Sawyer
concierge at Holiday Inn Kensington Forum

Tell us some popular requests from guests.

Directions to fashion shows during London Fashion Week, and, since the Royal Wedding, how to get to Windsor.

Have you received any strange requests?

Identical female twin guests had seen a documentary on identical twins and wanted a copy of it. After lots of searching, I found the production company and obtained a flash drive of it.

Spitalfields Market, London, UK
The stalls at Spitalfields Market sell antiques, vinyl, clothing from new designers and artwork. (©Dynasoar/iStock)

Please share some of your favourite family-friendly ideas.

Take a night tour bus, and visit Petticoat Lane and Spitalfields markets.  

Any romantic ideas for our London visitors?

Walk along the River Thames, then pop into Gordon’s Wine Bar on Villiers Street. Have dinner at Clos Maggiore in Covent Garden.

Share a quintessential English experience.

Have an English breakfast at Hawksmoor Guildhall.

Martin Ballard
head concierge at Claridge’s

Any strange requests from your guests?

One guest wanted to buy a white horse!

Tate Modern, London, UK
Peruse an exhibition or see the permanent collection at Tate Modern. (©Terraxplorer/iStock)

What if you only have a day?

Start at the Tate Modern, then have lunch at Wilton’s in Mayfair, which opened in 1742. Watch Tina the Musical at the Aldwych Theatre, then have dinner at J Sheekey, a seafood restaurant.

Share some family friendly ideas.

Kids can run wild in Kew Gardens. Highlights include walking 18m above ground on the Treetop Walkway, and listening to real bees in a The Hive—a 17m tall structure. 

Any hidden gems that you can suggest?

Visit Sir John Soane’s Museum, the former home of an architect which has been left untouched since his death.

Share a quintessential English experience.

See a show at Glyndebourne Opera House in Lewes.

Conor McDowell
head concierge at The Principal London

Tell us some popular requests.

Restaurant suggestions are very common. We have great relationships with restaurants, such as Noble Rot which has an amazing wine bar.

Why is your hotel special?

Its architectural design was inspired by Château de Madrid in Paris and its doors first opened 120 years ago. After a two-year restoration, it’s certainly put the ‘Bloom’ back into Bloomsbury.

Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath, London, UK
The graceful Kenwood House is filled with world-class artworks. (©Winterbee/iStock)

Any romantic ideas?

Pack a picnic and head to the stately home of Kenwood, which has a lake and views of Hampstead Heath

Any family-friendly ideas?

Seven-acre Coram's Field park, near Russell Square, has a sandpit, swings, sheep and a paddling pool. 

Share a quintessential English experience.

Afternoon tea in Palm Court in The Principal—it has a high glass ceiling and garden.

Camden Town, London, UK
Camden Town is a hub of market shopping and indie food venues. (©Jozsef Istvan Paul)

Ronnie McDowell
head concierge at Royal National Hotel

Tell us some popular requests.

Places to eat in Covent Garden and Camden Town.

Why is your hotel special?

It has a traditional London pub and a bowling alley.

Thames walk along the South Bank, London, UK
River Thames, along the South Bank, with plenty of landmarks to spot. (©5xinc/iStock)

How can visitors see London in a day?

A trip on an open-top bus is a must. Also be sure to visit the South Bank for outdoor bars, restaurants and entertainers.

Any romantic tips?

Watch films from a bed in the front row at the Electric Cinema in Shoreditch.

Any family-friendly ideas?

Visit Windsor for its castle and shops, then take your kids to nearby Legoland.

Windsor, UK
Windsor is a popular day trip from London, especially Windsor Castle. (©JVvoisey/iStock)

Any hidden gems?

Pop into the Coach & Horses on Wellington Street for a pint, then listen to piano players at the Players’ Theatre in Charing Cross.

Ruairi McDowell
head concierge at ME London Hotel

Any family-friendly ideas you can recommend?

The Science Museum has interactive games and the South Bank’s Underbelly Festival is still in full swing.

Underbelly, London, UK
Underbelly is a summer-long festival held at the South Bank, with cabaret, comedy and kids' events. (©Robert Pater)

Tell us some of the popular requests from your guests.

Everyone wants to go to our rooftop bar, Radio. As soon as the sun comes out, the phone never stops ringing. After our refurbishment, it is even more chic.

Why is your hotel special?

The artwork in the lobby changes on a monthly basis.

London Eye, London. UK
Board the London Eye for sweeping views of the city—you can even hire your own private capsule. (©Borchee/iStock)

Any romantic tips?

Sip Champagne in a private capsule on the Coca-Cola London Eye, enjoy dinner in the sexy Michelin-starred restaurant L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and go to its rooftop bar, Le Salon.

Any hidden gems?

Go to the Icon Balcony Bar at the Empire Casino in Leicester Square—it’s great!