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The best boutique festivals to travel to from London

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If you’re a Londoner looking to escape the city to a haven of arts, culture and pampering this summer without travelling too far, we have just the thing for you, with a guide to the best boutique festivals within a few hours’ travel of the capital.


The time and place

8th-12th August, Cornwall

Why it’s unbeatable

Perched on a Cornish cliffside looking out onto the Atlantic Ocean, Boardmasters is a festival like no other.

By day guests can head to the beach for a unique experience – the opportunity to watch some of the UK’s best professional surfers compete at the World Surf League qualifying series.

Inspired? Surfing and coasteering lessons are also available to festival-goers as well as wellness workshops, massages and reflexology sessions at the Chakra Temple and natural eco-spa.

When the sun goes down, guests can dry off and enjoy a diverse lineup of artists and DJs  including George Ezra, Annie Mac, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Miles Kane as well as masters of electronica The Chemical Brothers. Those who prefer to choose their own soundtrack can dance to their heart’s content in the largest outdoor silent disco of any UK festival.

And if you’re peckish after all that fun, you’ll be delighted to know that Boardmasters specialises in ‘mindful eating’, delicious ethically-sourced meals made with local produce, including fresh Cornish seafood.

Don’t miss…

The vinyasa flow yoga sessions held each morning at the beach. Stretch, rejuvenate and revitalise to the sound of the ocean.

Green Man Festival

The time and place

16th-19th August, South Wales

Why it’s unbeatable

Since its birth in 2003, Green Man Festival has cultivated a well-deserved reputation as the thinking man’s festival. Guests who love film, theatre, comedy and poetry as well as music will be in their element.

This year Green Man offers a lineup of tastefully curated indie psychedelia, including The War on Drugs, Fleet Foxes, Kevin Morby and the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Festival-goers also have the chance to see a live performance of The Glass Isle, a collaboration between acclaimed poet and songwriter Paul Henry and Brian Briggs, formerly of indie-folk band Stornoway.

Solar-powered stages are the perfect backdrop for talks by artists, scientists and cultural thinkers. Guests can participate workshops and in interactive installations while enjoying the beautiful Welsh landscapes of the Brecon Beacons.

Don’t miss…

The chance to see Australian psychedelic rock band King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard play their first ever headline festival slot.

End of the Road

The time and place

31st August – 2nf September, South Wiltshire

Why it’s unbeatable

As possibly the only UK music festival to feature peacocks, End of the Road is a must for discerning festival-goers. Housed within the exquisite 19th century pleasure grounds of Larmer Tree Gardens, it’s hard to imagine a more fitting location for this celebration of music, literature and cinematography.

End of the World boasts a lineup of some of the best modern indie and folk talent, including Vampire Weekend, Feist, Fat White Family and Ariel Pink. Cinephiles will love the cult classics hand-picked by Gruff Rhys and The Prince Charles Cinema, while the festival’s magical forest library is sure to entrance book lovers.

End of the Road offers the same eclectic atmosphere as Bestival, but with a capacity of just 11,000 for a smaller and more exclusive feel.

Don’t miss…

The secret performances at the clearing in the woods.

Festival No. 6

The time and place

6th-9th September, North Wales

Why it’s unbeatable

The epitome of luxury and whimsy, Festival No. 6 is located in the Grade II-listed fantasy village of Portmeirion and offers a diverse blend of music and culture, with artists such as The The, Franz Ferdinand, The Horrors, Friendly Fires and Average Sex.

Guests can start the day with a refreshing yoga brunch and participate in carnivals and torchlit processions in the evening, all nestled in the exquisite scenery of the Welsh mountainside.

Tired festival-goers can then retire to the Hotel Portmeirion with its award-winning Art Deco restaurant, or to the Mermaid Spa to be pampered with all-natural, vegan-friendly products. At once surreal and sophisticated, Festival No. 6 is a midsummer night’s dream come true.

Don’t miss…

The chance to unwind in wood-fired hot tub overlooking the Dwyryd Estuary. Don’t forget to pre-order a bottle of champagne.

A Guide to London’s Most Exclusive Members’ Clubs

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Joining an exclusive private members’ club is a touch of luxury living at its best – but which club is the right one for you? Synonymous with corporate socialising and class – perhaps even as a venue for Christmas socials for the more employee focused companies alongside a corporate team building helicopter ride – the members club can get you next to some of the movers and shakers of the London business scene.

Read on for a guide to London’s most exclusive members’ clubs.

London members’ clubs for the artistic

The Groucho Club

Located at 45 Dean Street in the heart of Soho and boasting ‘an initiation ceremony that would make a Ninja faint’, The Groucho Club has been a watering hole for artists and mavericks since 1985. The venue is renowned for its stylish contemporary bars and restaurants as well as its extensive contemporary art collection.

The Groucho Club was originally the brainchild of a group of publishers, writers and agents and remains true to its roots, admitting only those who have distinguished themselves in the creative industries including arts, publishing, film, music and advertising.

Membership to The Groucho Club costs an annual £1,900 for residents of London. Applications need to be proposed by a current member and seconded by another current member or senior officer of the club.  

London members’ clubs for those who love a  luxury lifestyle

Home House

Located at 19, 20 and 21 Portman Square in Marylebone, Home House was commissioned as a ‘Pavillion’ for enjoyment and entertainment by the Countess of Home in 1773. Its aesthetic and atmosphere are designed to reflect the exquisite style of the 18th century while maintaining a vibrant modernity.

Membership to Home House costs £1,275 annually for those under the age of 35 and £1,940 for anyone older than 35. The club offers its chosen few full use of its many facilities in addition to discounted access to some of London’s most prestigious spas, salons, sports clubs and fitness destinations.

Applicants require two current members to represent them, after which they are invited to the club. Here the Membership Committee will take them on a tour and enquire about their social interests, lifestyle and general hobbies.

London members’ clubs for the adventurous

South Kensington Club

Located at 38-42 Harrington Road in South Kensington, this elegant club was designed as a health and fitness refuge for those passionate about the spirit of adventure and exploration.

Members participate in expeditions, the training for which is provided by specialist instructors at the club and the specifics of which are a closely guarded secret. They can also attend lectures by one of the pivotal figures of the club – arctic explorer Christina Franco.

The South Kensington Club also houses beautiful spa, bathhouse and gym facilities for members as well as restaurants and sitting rooms for those who need a rest and some refreshments after their adventures.

With an annual membership fee of £3,500, or £2,736 for applicants under the age of 30,

The South Kensington Club values who its members are, rather than who they know. As such, an applicant requires no sponsors and need only arrange a visit to the club to meet the committee.

London members’ clubs for globetrotters

Soho House

The oeuvre of exclusive clubs that make up Soho House are scattered across the globe, with locations in Hollywood, New York, Chicago, Berlin, Istanbul and of course Soho, the original ‘House’.

Members require an artistic soul and are mostly drawn from the creative industries.

Aspiring members of Soho House London should apply to their closest club but those who love to travel and live in cities that lack Houses can apply for a Cities without Houses membership, which gives them access to all Soho House clubs and venues around the globe.

An annual membership to the your local Soho House costs £1,000, or £500 for those under the age of 27. The Cities without Houses membership costs £1,650 annually. Applicants must be nominated by two current Soho House members.

London members’ clubs for true VIPs

5 Hertford Street

Located in Shepherd Market, Mayfair, 5 Hertford Street is prized by the few allowed through its unmarked entrance.

5 Hertford Street boasts intimate private dining rooms where members can enjoy a gin fizz and one of the club’s famous selection of cigars and where – in true British style – dogs are permitted.

Members can sit and marvel at the interior design – an English bohemian meets Moulin Rouge aesthetic – which is the creation of award-winning Turkish designer Rifat Özbek. Or they can descend to Loulou’s, one of the most exclusive nightclubs in London and a favourite of Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Eugenie.

Membership is by invitation only and members receive the annual fee only upon acceptance; 5 Hertford Street have declined to make the information public.


Where to Find London’s Best Champagne Bars

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A glass of sparkling golden champagne is the ultimate luxury, but it’s a must to know where to find it. From chic bistros to the epitome of British grandeur, here’s a guide to the capital’s finest champagne bars. Oysters are optional.

Texture Champagne Bar

The delicacy and luxury of Texture is unmissable. This exquisite champagne bar offers one of the most extensive selections of champagne in London, with over 140 different award-winning varieties to purchase by the bottle.

A wide range of champagne-based cocktails are also available, alongside aperitifs cooked by top chefs. Book a private dining room and order the tasting menu paired with champagnes for the ultimate luxury experience.

Searcys St Pancras Grand Champagne Bar

Searcys Grand Champagne Bar in St Pancras delivers seamless elegance in one of London’s most iconic settings. Guests can savour the extensive champagne list and sample delicacies within the cathedral of glass, brickwork and wrought iron that is St Pancras International.

Wisely, the bar does not try to compete with its setting in terms of ostentation. From the heated leather seats to the butter-soft light of its Art Deco lamps, Searcys is a byword for understated luxury.

The menu here offers such treats as native shellfish, including Pyefleet, Carlingford and Jersey Rock oysters and each table has a button so that guests can ‘Press for Champagne’. Your glass need never be empty.

Bob Bob Ricard

This iconic bar and restaurant offers guests a wonderfully eclectic champagne experience. Like Searcys, Bob Bob Ricard offers ‘Push for Champagne’ buttons and prides itself on pouring more fizz than any other restaurant in the UK.

The drinks menu is exceptional, with classics such as Cristal, Dom Pérignon and Bollinger well-stocked as well as plenty of rosé fizz for those who feel like something a bit different from traditional champagne.

Lest that sound like a descent into debauchery, Bob Bob Ricard maintains its decorum with ease. Its dress code is defined as simply ‘elegant’ and its series of impeccably decorated dining rooms – whose interiors are inspired by the Orient Express – are breathtaking.

Champagne + Fromage

For those who love to enjoy their champagne with cheese, this sophisticated bistro is just the thing. 25 award-winning champagnes are served alongside a carefully curated selection of more than 50 artisan cheeses and cured meats topped off with olives, grapes, figs and delicious preserves.

Champagne + Fromage are purists – all cheeses, meats and champagnes are prepared using traditional French methods and sourced from small independent suppliers, making a glass of fizz at their bistro truly exclusive.

Despite the exceptional quality of their produce, Champagne + Fromage are unpretentious.

Their three locations at Covent Garden, Brixton and Greenwich offer a relaxed and stylishly rustic atmosphere that never fails to charm.

Voltaire Cocktail Bar & Vaults

This grade II listed building’s past as a collection of prison vaults has not prevented it from becoming one of London’s most atmospheric champagne bars.

The lavishly converted vaults are now exclusive VIP areas that can be privately booked, each one with its own name and personality. Larger parties can enjoy the class of Voltaire’s Champagne Library, in which bottles are arranged on bookshelves among winged armchairs.

Voltaire offers a small but superb selection of champagnes with accompanying fish, cheese and charcuterie platters and excellent dim sum. And if you’re a traditionalist, you can also pair your champagne with a cigar.

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