24 hours of culture in Soho, Southbank and Marylebone

Words by
Flora Drummond-Smith

18th January 2018

From art to theatre and installations, make the most of the city's cultural offerings with a curated guide to experiencing the best of central London in a day

9am Wake up at the colourful, sleekly designed The Marylebone. Begin with a dip in the hotel’s pool before settling into a red leather chair at 108 Brasserie for a warming breakfast of roasted tomatoes on sourdough. 

10.30am Amble from the hotel to resplendent Hertford House and The Wallace Collection, a permanent collection of 18th-century French art, Old Masters and an armoury packed full of objects such as gilded swords inlaid with semi-precious stones. While there, don’t miss El Greco to Goya: Spanish Masterpieces from the Bowes Museum (until 7 January 2018), an intimate exhibition of 13 paintings that explore the religious, social and political issues of 18th-century Spain. 

11am It’s time for coffee and a cinnamon bun at the sleek Scandinavian Nordic Bakery (although the sugary butter buns are equally tempting), before going further east to the Wellcome Collection in Bloomsbury. Its fascinating winter show Can Graphic Art Save Your Life? (until 14 January) takes a look at how healthcare logos and signage inform the public. 

1pm Visit Soho for lunch at the outrageously named Flavour Bastard. The menu offers tapas-style dishes with no particular provenance, which combine flavours from the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean. Don’t miss the white lentil, chorizo and pecorino doughnuts.  

FB duck egg
Flavour Bastard's duck egg, cauliflower and pickled watermelon

Flavour Bastard's duck egg, cauliflower and pickled watermelon

interior
Flavour Bastard interior

Flavour Bastard interior

Flavour Bastard chickpea salad
Flavour Bastard chickpea salad

Flavour Bastard chickpea salad

Flavour Bastard interior
Flavour Bastard interior

Flavour Bastard interior

2pm Suitably revived, loop back west for Dalí/Duchamp (until 3 January) at the Royal Academy of 
Arts
. Despite Dalí and Duchamp’s outwardly different artistic styles, this exhibition brings together over 80 artworks to explore their long friendship and shared artistic interests.

3pm Meander down towards the river to Tate Britain for Impressionists in London: French Artists in Exile (1870-1904) (until 7 May). During the Franco-Prussian war, many artists, including Monet, Tissot and Pissaro, took refuge in London. With more than 100 striking works on display, this unmissable exhibition looks at how London influenced the aesthetic of Impressionism and in turn how the artists contributed to the British art scene.

4.30pm While making your way back towards Marylebone, stop off at The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace for Charles II: Art & Power (8 December–13 May 2018), which looks at the role that art played in the propaganda and re-establishment of the Stuart monarchy in 1660. 

Tate Britain explores how exiled French Impressionists were inspired by London
Tate Britain explores how exiled French Impressionists were inspired by London

Tate Britain explores how exiled French Impressionists were inspired by London

6pm Hearty fare might now be required, so book ahead for Les 110 de Taillevent in Cavendish Square. With 110 wines available by the glass, this London outpost of the Parisian icon Le Taillevent offers a menu of refined bistro dishes matched with a choice of four suggested wine pairings. Opt for the Mallard duck served with melting rich foie gras and wash it down with a robust 2010 Grange des Pères rouge. 

7.30pm Go to the National Theatre for Network (until 24 March), Lee Hall’s adaptation of the darkly comic, Oscar-winning film about media ethics, featuring Bryan Cranston as an unhinged TV news anchorman. Or travel further to Windsor and get into the festive season with an immersive production of 
A Christmas Carol (16-30 December) at Windsor Castle. Led by Ebenezer Scrooge, this promenade performance is set in the state apartments and around the castle. And welcome 2018 with two productions by English National Ballet at the London Coliseum: Roland Petit’s Le Jeune Homme et la Mort and Frank Andersen’s recreation of La Sylphide (16-20 January 2018) will be performed in the UK for the first time.

10pm Enjoy a nightcap at The Perception at W London with a Tequila Mockingbird cocktail. In January, there’s another night-time treat with locations such as Westminster Abbey and the National Theatre decorated with colourful light displays and installations for Lumiere London (18-21 January). 

Lumiere
enjoy light entertainment in the capital with Lumiere London

enjoy light entertainment in the capital with Lumiere London