With Caroline Lever
London is a city that is much better with a guide, and there probably isn’t a better one than The Edition Hotels Culture Director, Caroline Lever. This born and bred Londoner always knows the best party, can explain why you should see which new play and has already been to the opening of any art exhibition should hope to see. Just like London itself she has an assured, quiet charm. But just when you think you know what to expect next, you are totally surprised!
What most inspires you about London? Do you think you see the place differently as you are born and bred?
London is like 10 cities in one. It is constantly evolving; an endless adventure…exhaustless possibilities… Despite it being my hometown, I am constantly making new discoveries. London is so culturally rich and diverse. From the art to the food, the music to the history, the fashion(s) to the architecture of the city… It can make your feet tap, your eyes go wide and your heart sing. I love that London really is a city of the world, a home to all kinds of people.
I feel really proud to be a Londoner, because of everything I said above… I also worry that some of these attributes are under threat from the rising cost of living, rapid gentrification, sanitization and Brexit. I guess you feel extra protective of your home town?
Why do you think if a man or (wo-man) tired of London he is tired of life? Is there any truth in this?
Much as I love London, it can definitely be a tough place to live. I just got back from Barcelona yesterday. You can get big beautiful apartments for not too much money… People there spend the summer weekends at the beach and winters skiing, just one hour drive from the town. It really didn’t sound too bad!
What would you advise a first time visitor to London?
Take black cabs.
Walk on Hampstead Heath, and if its warm, swim in Hampstead ponds
Walk by the Thames at sunset.
Visit all the amazing museums and galleries London has to offer.
It’s seen as somewhere that is very hard to make friends in? What is your take on that?
I guess I’ve been lucky.
Where do you go if you feel sad in the city?
My parents house, back to my childhood bedroom or garden!
Where do you go in your city at night?
What would you personally choose to entertain yourself in the city on a rainy afternoon?
A long boozy pub lunch is one of the best ways to while away a rainy afternoon amongst friends… possibly followed by a movie.
If I were feeling more energetic I might head out to an exhibition at The Tate Modern, or Britain, the V&A, the British Museum, the Royal Academy or Somerset House… Or hop round the commercial galleries in Mayfair.
For a treat I might go to a spa or Hammam with a girlfriend, Iron Monger Row is pretty good and inexpensive or the beautiful art deco Porchester Spa.
Where would you take a visitor for a cocktail?
Dukes for a classic martini.
Cecconi’s for a bellini and an assiette plate.
Punch Room at The London EDITION
Bar Termini in Soho
Ruby’s in Dalston
What is the place you could eat at everyday?
I think if I had to eat one type of food forever then I would probably go for Vietnamese; so that would be Bun Bun Bun or Cay Tre on the Kingsland Road.
I think the Wolseley is always a classic favourite as well.
What is your favorite time of day in the City?
The time when the afternoon blurs into evening in the summer.
Tell me about a place where you should watch a Sunset or a Sunrise from in your city?
The Millennium Bridge
What’s the most meaningful thing you bought back during your travels? How is it part of your life at home?
I have a piece of parchment that is framed in my flat that I bought in Vietnam on my gap year many years ago. It says Avec le Coeur et La Poésie La Vie est En Couleur… which I think is a pretty good life motto.
My parents are big travellers and they took me all over the world when I was growing up. My mum and I have a charm bracelet with a charm from all the different places we went together which is pretty special as well.
Do you call the city you live in home? Or is just a place where you are currently resting your hat?
Where will your next escape be to?
One thing that you wish you could change about London?
I wish it didn’t take so long to get from place to place…
Tell me about what the next 6 months are looking for you, life, love, work and adventures?
Hopefully full of fun and adventure in all regards.
Your favourite travel quote?
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in you sail. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain
SUGGESTIONS FROM THE ARTICLE:
Bun Bun Bun / bunbunbun.co
Cay Tre / thevietnamesekitchen.co.uk
Wolseley / thewolseley.com
The Tate Modern / tate.org.uk
Victoria and Albert / vam.ac.uk
British Museum / britishmuseum.org
Royal Academy / royalacademy.org.uk
Somerset House / somersethouse.org.uk
Dukes / dukeshotel.com/dukes-bar
Punch Room at The London EDITION / editionhotels.com
Bar Termini in Soho / bar-termini-soho.com
Chiltern Firehouse / chilternfirehouse.com
Ruby’s in Dalston / rubysdalston.com
Cecconi’s / cecconis.co.uk
The Millennium Bridge
Iron Monger Row / spaexperience.org.uk