We keep hearing that spending time in nature is the best way to refresh those tired old brain cells, and Hyde Park is one of the biggest green spaces in London. If you need an escape from the rammed pavements of Oxford Street or Knightsbridge, it’s the perfect place to pop in for a breather. You can do a lot more than gently stroll in this park though – check out Speaker’s Corner for some utterly random amusement, hire a tennis court, even take an (expensive) horse ride. In the summer you can rent a rowboat on the Serpentine or cool off with a dip in the Lido – and for those who don’t fancy actually being in/on the water, the Lido Café and the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen have waterfront seats where you can eat, chill, and take in the view.
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Serpentine Bar and Kitchen
The Serpentine Gallery's resident cafe makes a good spot for an art break. Yes, it may be a link on the Benugo chain, but it's still worth a visit if you're hungry in Hyde Park. While the food is decent, its waterside setting is what we're really here for. It's an easy place to while away your afternoon. The menu features tried-and-true staples like pizza and a flat iron steak sandwich. Their brunch also deserves a shout out - we fux with that eggs benny.
The late Zaha Hadid is widely considered one of the most influential and innovative architects of the 21st century. In fact, she came in on Dezeen's recent 2016 hot list at number one. This exhibition, at the same Serpentine Gallery she designed, isn't directly about her architecture but instead takes a look at the rarely seen drawings and paintings she produced that shine a light on how she thought about architectural forms. With heavy influence from the likes of Malevich, Tatlin and Rodchenko, Hadid used calligraphic drawings and painting to imagine architecture and its relationship with the wider environment. Described in the blurb as a 'manifesto of a utopian world', this show is all about revealing her all-encompassing visions of arranging space and interpreting realities, with ideas far ahead of their time. Time to see what else the Queen of the Curve had in her locker.
The National Theatre’s Christmas show, from acclaimed director Sally Cookson, is a belter this year. Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up, whisks the Darling children off to Neverneverland in a production that fires audience's imaginations thanks to an ingeniously ramshackle design. It’s Hook-like in its courting of the darker elements of the story. The characters have serious arcs - Wendy in particular is free from the shackles of gender stereotyping - and it hits all the right notes. Wonder, heartache, thrills and humour: a proper Christmas show. There are some £15 seats, but others aren’t cheap - this is primetime theatre.
Forest on the Roof
This foresty restaurant has popped up on the roof of Selfridges for the wintry season. Decked out with bark and bulbs, this is a decent option if you're doing some Christmas shopping downstairs, but we certainly wouldn't recommend making a pilgrimage to this place otherwise. The food pays homage to British traditions, and encompasses breakfast, dinner, and dessert menus. The bar does a bespoke list of house cocktails, like the 'after dinner mint', made from Pisco, Mozart dark chocolate, Frangelico, sugar syrup, Baileys and Mint liqueur foam - so you can get mega merry.