I'm Here on Business

I'm Here on Business in London

by Hilary Bass Rifkin
The cool suit is on the Boris bike. Photo by Pavia Rosati.

You're busy, business traveler. Let's make this easy for you, whether you have 30 minutes or 30 hours to fill.

LONDON – You came, you saw, you arbitraged. Time to use whatever time you have leftover from the business trip wisely. Here's what to do if:

You Only Have One Day

We have a 24-hour itinerary just for that.

You Don't Want to Socialize with Work Folk

You can:
a. Unwind with a drink at a great bar.
- - Loud and liveley — advertising, 'innit.
- - Effortless cool abounds in this Kensal Rise staple. 
- - Easy pies in a cool industrial Shoreditch space or the new .
- - Eurotrash, Saudi Princesses, and the occasional yummy mummy.
- - Elegant, dark, and — oddly — a brilliant margarita.
- - Look sharp, and bring your business cards.

b. Eat dinner at the bar and get a high from the scene around you.
- - Corporate card? Robata and sushi tasting menu is a must. Soho is the main one; there's also a Canary Wharf location.
- - BBQ courtesy of Adam Perry Lang and Jamie Oliver with stunning views of St Pauls.
- - Gordon Ramsey in mini-me mode. Small bites in a grand and modern space.
- - Modern European with lovely views. We all end up at Canary Wharf at some point. 
- - Gentrified Spanish Tapas.

You Want Your Colleagues to Think You're a Local

Make reservations at any of the restaurants above or snag a table at a local haunt. Don't forget reservations. They take "have you got a booking?" very seriously in London and don't do their best to accommodate walk-ins.
- - The name says it all. (Borough Market; Soho)
- - They call it "market English." It is just simply good. (Notting Hill)
- - Chelsea's hidden Indian gem.
-  - Classic New York steakhouse. But better. (Soho; City)
- - Pretty and delicious regional Italian with in-house gelato production.

You Need to Work through Dinner in Your Hotel Room

 grocery stores have excellent, fresh, organic prepared foods at multiple locations around town.  

You Want a Shot of Culture

Music - Single tickets are easy to come by and there's something on every night at , ,  jazz club, , or the in Camden.

Art: These museums stay open late.
- Wedesday - .
- Thursday - , .
- Friday - , , , (first Friday of each month), , .
- Saturday - .

Head out towards Shoreditch and Bethnal Green for extreme gallery hopping.

Theatre - Great discount tickets are always available at the  ticket booths and online. For the unexpected, see a dance performance at  and emerging theater at .

Film - For indie experience, head to . For an experience you can still live with, try in Notting Hill. Relax with a nice glass of wine in h seating and watch the latest foreign and independent releases. It's extra nice at midday when the theatre is empty.

You Want to Impress a Client

Sports: Get your hands on executive box tickets to whatever premiere league game is on. Chelsea v. Arsenal would close any deal.

Food: The chef's table at  (River Restaurant or Savoy Grill) is a nice second.

You Want to Spend the Money You've Earned (a.k.a. Souvenirs)

For all things amusing and British, head to on Talbot Road in Notting Hill. Or, better yet, their concession in for high-end gift shopping at one of London's premiere department stores.

For quirky, of-the-moment, fashion gifts, go to .

For food and pantry, shop or the equally classic .

For trinkets, stroll , but don't expect any bargains. in Marylebone is less touristy, indoors, and amazing. 

You Want to Stretch Your Legs

Gym: has innovative training pods with everything you need for tailored workouts. Pay as you go for easy access. Masseuse, nutritionist, holistic facialist, and osteopath are always on call.

Yoga & Pilates: the very best and at incredible prices at locations in Soho, Primrose Hill, Chelsea, and Covent Garden.  has locations in Notting Hill, Hoxton, Fulham, and Richmond. 

Bike:  are on the cutting edge of indoor and outdoor cycling classes, as well as classes to hone biking skills. Or hire a and ride around town. 

Running:  are excellent for runners. You can do a seven-mile loop through Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park, and St. James Park and hardly ever have to touch a street, as they all connect. 

You Want to Escape from It All

Take the 30-minute train from Paddington to Windsor and stroll the grounds of the .

Hop on the Thames water taxi from Westminster to Greenwich. Watch history pass you by, then walk the great hill up to the to catch the stars.