Hattie Lloyd 08/03/24

A Splash-Out Cultural Staycation

Itinerary Location: Pimlico |  Duration: 24 Hours

Exciting things rarely happen in Pimlico.

But only because there’s so much going on around it. Straddling Central and West London, in the midst of galleries, theatres and quality restaurants, Pimlico’s the eye of a cultural storm…

…which makes it the perfect peaceful retreat when you feel like giving yourself – or someone extremely lucky to know you – a cultural staycation filled with good food, good wine, and more culture than that open yoghurt pot you’ve left at the back of the fridge for three weeks.

So on with the show, and it all begins at:


amie wine studio

Tucked into the revamped mews quarter that is Eccleston Yards, Amie Wine Studio started out as a pop-up… but turned out to be the area’s best cellar. A modern mix of gallery, bottle shop and wine bar, the warmth is so palpable here it’s like dropping by a friend’s who’s just opened a bottle. Every wine they stock is from their own London winery, which presses Chardonnay, Carignan, and Sauvignon Blanc grapes from France into their vegan-friendly wines. Sip a little of the house crémant as the sun pours in, before taking a ten minute stroll through Chelsea’s well-heeled back streets to reach…


royal court theatre

© Helen Murray

Yes, 5.30pm feels a bit early, but that’s when the curtain goes up on Saturday nights at the Royal Court. And actually, it’s ideal – particularly if sitting in a dark, cosy room after a meal leaves you at risk of falling asleep and having to bluff your way through the post-show debrief with your date.

Of course, the shows here are unlikely to lull you to sleep: priding itself as ‘the writers’ theatre’, the Royal Court only stages new writing. And don’t worry, you won’t be sitting through someone’s experimental one-person show with two other audience members – the theatre has a practised eye when it comes to spotting emerging talents. John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger, Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls and Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem all premiered here, and aside from staging new shows from established playwrights, the theatre also seeks out and nurtures the most exciting rising stars.

So take a punt, book yourself in, and find yourself inevitably wondering why you don’t do this more often, before heading off to:

➌ A WONG | 7pm

A wong - steamed dish with flowers

As splashy Chinese dining experiences go, Andrew Wong’s eponymous double Michelin-starred restaurant is tough to beat. His exquisite, three-hour, multi-course menu is crafted as a tour of regional Chinese cuisine – and with 14 international borders and 3000 years of culinary history to draw on, it’s a wild ride. You’ll be presented with elaborate takes on Peking duck with foie gras and smoked duck; Shaanxi pulled lamb ‘burgers’ (of the kind you can try at Murger Han); seared beef with the spices of Yunnan province; and delicate chrysanthemum tofu bobbing in a lemongrass broth. A Wong is not an inexpensive treat, but it is a rare one, and if you’re really pulling out the stops, this is where to do it.

From here, it’s barely a 10 minute stroll to:


artist residence boutique hotel london

London has many boutique hotels to daydream about, but Artist Residence is a real masterpiece. Set within a smart Victorian townhouse on a peaceful, leafy street, it’s the ultimate bohemian bolthole. On the ground floor you’ll find a buzzy all-day restaurant; in the cellar, a dimly lit cocktail den and lounge with ping pong tables and armchairs by the fire. And upstairs, a suite of ten beautiful rooms, each uniquely designed and furnished with antique finds and eye-catching artwork. We’d advise immediately getting into your robes and enjoying a nightcap from your own personal bar, before slipping into the crisp, heavy sheets for what will probably feel like the best night’s sleep you’ve had in ages.

In the morning, order breakfast in bed (or take your bacon roll for a soak in the tub, no judgement here) before heading off for one last dose of culture at:


saatchi gallery

Matt Chung Photography

The lack of a permanent collection makes the Saatchi Gallery one of the most dynamic art galleries in London. An evolving array of exhibitions will send you from the photojournalistic frontlines on one floor to a playful, absurdist sculptural group show on the next. They also regularly collaborate with design houses like Chanel and Tiffany to produce dazzling retrospectives of their most coveted creations. And amazingly for its aspirational postcode, there’s usually something you can see here for free.

From here you could check out the food market that pops up outside the galleries on weekends, or head for lunch at one of these fancy-pants restaurants in Chelsea. Or, you might just keep walking and wander round some of the free museums over in South Kensington

…either way, this weekend should already have gone down a storm.


The Itinerary:

Amie Wine Studio | Eccleston Yards, Belgravia, SW1W

A. Wong | 70 Wilton Road, Pimlico, SW1V 1DE

Royal Court | Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS

Artist Residence | 52 Cambridge Street, Victoria, SW1V 4QQ

➎ Saatchi Gallery | Duke of York’s HQ, Chelsea, SW3 4RY

Looking for more inspiration? Try these 101 London Date Ideas on for size

Itinerary: Cultural Pimlico Staycation

Start at Eccleston Yards, 21 Eccleston Place, Pimlico, SW1W 9NF