The fact that this is the largest bookstore in Europe, providing a huge range of author events throughout the year, is only one element of its appeal. The cafe on the fifth floor, complete with stunning views to the south, is the perfect place to pass a couple of quiet hours flicking through the bestsellers.
203-206 Piccadilly; Nearest tube: Piccadilly
During the week, the City is a place to be avoided, but come Saturday morning it is eerily, magically silent. The chance to walk the empty streets and explore the extraordinary number of churches, all utterly different in architectural style and atmosphere, should not be passed up.
Nearest tubes: Bank, St Paul's, Mansion House, Monument
A real local park only a few miles from the centre of the city, Brockwell Park is the green lung between Brixton and Dulwich with a cosmopolitan and exciting clientele and, in the summer, the Brockwell Park Lido, where the south London freaks and celebrities come out to play.
Herne Hill station (BR) or Brixton Tube (Victoria Line)
Shopping on Kensington High Street can be a fraught affair, so cut into Holland Park, ignoring the initial, undistinguished expanse of grass crammed with sunbathers and footballers, and find the little patch of heaven that is the Japanese Garden. Avoid the weekends when it is over-run by tourists, and you are guaranteed to forget that you're in one of the busiest cities in the world.
Kensington High Street; Nearest tube: High Street Kensington or Holland Park; www.rbkc.gov.uk/ParksAndGardens/HollandPark/default.asp
Re-energised since Nicholas Hytner became the artistic director two years ago, The National has finally begun to reflect 21st century Britain, with productions as diverse as Henry IV, Jerry Springer: The Opera and Elmina's Kitchen. As a result, the whole place is buzzing again, with the most diverse and vital audience of any major artistic venue in Britain. £10 tickets for the TravelEx plays make the whole package even more attractive.
South Bank, SE1 9PX; Nearest tube: Waterloo or Embankment; www.nt-online.org/
Heathrow: The Heathrow Express (www.heathrowexpress.com) is a regular and quick shuttle service into Paddington Station, and at £13 is fairly reasonable. If you are travelling in a group of four or more, however, you may find that a taxi will be a more reasonable option. Travelling by tube is a cheap alternative, but with current disruption to the service (until work on the new terminal is finished in September 2006) it may prove far from cheerful.
Gatwick: Two services run directly from Gatwick into the centre of London. The Gatwick Express is a non-stop train into Victoria Station, taking only 30 minutes. Unfortunately at £20 for a single ticket the cost is fairly high. Check the website (www.gatwickexpress.co.uk) for various reductions and offers. Cheaper but slower is the Thameslink service which takes 50 minutes to reach King's Cross Station.
Stansted: Because Stansted is well beyond the outskirts of London, the train is the most sensible option for anyone with more sense than money. The Stansted Express is a regular service running direct to Liverpool Street in 45 minutes. See www.stanstedexpress.com for fares.
The fruit of collaboration between Ian Schrager and Philippe Starck, with stunning views of the city. Double en-suite: prices from £220 (as of August 10).
45 St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4HX; Tel: 0207 300 5500; Tube: Leicester Square; www.morganshotelgroup.com/
Of course you don't have to stop there. The legendary food hall offers an absurd variety of food to suit everyone from gourmets to guzzlers. Also worthy of note are the Neuhaus chocolate counter and the pastries.
87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, SW1; Tube: Knightsbridge; Tel: 020 7730 1234; www.harrods.com/
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com