Well that’s it. Summer, such as it was, is officially over. It’s back-to-school season and time to start thinking about cosy knitwear and your Netflix must-watch list. And, while you may be lamenting the return of colder weather, the changing of the seasons also traditionally heralds a slate of new openings, launches and must-try events in the capital – and this year is no different. From luxurious new hotels to exciting restaurant openings and an array of exhibitions and pop-ups, here’s our guide to the best things to do in London in September 2021.
The exhibition: No Time To Die - Behind The Scenes
To celebrate the forthcoming release, and its long-standing partnership with the James Bond franchise, Leica will be hosting a new exhibition at its Duke Street gallery showcasing behind-the-scenes images shot on the set of No Time To Die. Featuring works by Greg Williams, Nicola Dove, producer Michael G. Wilson and Daniel Craig himself, all the images were, of course, shot on Leica cameras and the exhibition also coincides with the release of a limited Leica Q2 "007 edition" camera, of which only 250 will be made.
The pop-ups: Diptyque at Selfridges Corner Shop
To mark 60 years of creating the most sought after fragrances around, Diptyque has teamed up with Selfridges to take visitors on an olfactory journey around its Corner Shop pop-up space. Inspired by the travels of founders Christiane Montadre-Gautrot, Yves Coueslant and Desmond Knox-Leet, distinct spaces and scents evoking Paris, Milies, Kyoto, Venice and Byblos have been created, alongside specially commissioned artworks and artisanal interiors pieces.
The Diptyque Le Grand Voyage pop-up is open until 3 October, diptyqueparis.com
The hotels: Pan Pacific London and The Londoner
Autumn often marks the return of both local residents and international visitors to London, making it a great time to debut a new hotel. Two luxurious openings are hoping easing restrictions will tempt tourists back to the capital this month. First, Pan Pacific London will make its highly anticipated debut in Bishopsgate, offering guests gorgeously appointed room and suites, Singaporean-inspired fine dining and one of the most extensive wellness suites in the city.
Meanwhile, over on Leicester Square, The Londoner is bringing a slice of refinement and elegance to this traditional tourist hot spot. Spread across 16 storeys, the hotel will offer 350 rooms, six restaurants, a members’ club-style area, cinema and wellness floor. Featuring design by Yabu Pushelbeg, whether you’re checking in for the night or popping in for a drink at the dramatic marble bar, this is the place to see and be seen this season.
The restaurants: 3 Henrietta Street and The Water House Project
London’s foodies have been well served in terms of intriguing new restaurants in recent months and the trend looks set to continue in September with two buzzy new openings from some of the capital’s most exciting chefs. Having started life as a supper club in his Hackney home, chef Gabriel Waterhouse’s The Water House Project will be putting down permanent roots in a prime position between Regent’s Canal and Bethnal Green station. Devised to feel more like an intimate dinner party than a standard restaurant, an unusual ‘borderless’ kitchen will be serving up a monthly-changing nine-course tasting menu influenced by Nordic and Japanese cooking traditions.
Meanwhile, celebrated chefs Mark Greenaway, Luis Pous and Kimberley Lin have teamed up to open an elegant new dining destination on Henrietta Street in Covent Garden. Housed in a beautifully restored townhouse, 3 Henrietta Street will be home to a flagship outpost from The Gentleman Baristas, as well as three restaurants with cuisines spanning modern British, Asian, Latin American and exquisite pastry work.
The cultural event: Photo London
This season looks set to mark the return of large scale art events in London and the first of these is Photo London. Taking place across four days at Somerset House, the fair will bring together 91 galleries from 17 countries to display (and sell) some of the world’s best fine art photography. Alongside works by the likes of David Bailey and Shirin Neshat, highlights will include a special exhibition showcasing the work of BA photography students from across London as well as a series of talks, workshops and portfolio reviews hosted by experts from the FT Weekend, Nikon and British Journal of Photography.
The spa: Aire Ancient Baths
Located in a warren of historic buildings and underground passages close to Covent Garden, the latest outpost of Aire Ancient Baths is bringing the brand’s much-lauded holistic spa experience to central London. Taking its inspiration from the bathing rituals of Ancient Greek, Roman and Ottoman civilisations, Aire offers a range of spa days and experiences geared towards ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation. Take the waters in the spa’s six baths aimed at targeting different ailments, unwind with a soothing massage or treat yourself to a unique wine bath experience and soak up the antioxidant properties of the Spanish Ribera del Duero grape.
The supper clubs: Norma, Hoppers and Cinnamon Kitchen
If you didn’t manage to get out of the city this summer, chances are you spent that time instead indulging at some of its finest restaurants. But, if you’ve developed something of a ‘been there, done that’ attitude, it’s time to think again. This month some of the city’s finest restaurants will be hosting a range pop-ups, residencies and supper clubs putting a new spin on their classic fare.
Take, for example, Fitzrovia-favourite Norma. From September culinary director Ben Tish will be hosting a series of monthly supper clubs highlighting fine Sicilian ingredients, with themed evenings turning the spotlight on seafood, crudo, marsala, truffle and more. Likewise, Sri Lankan eatery Hoppers will be showcasing the delights of the country’s national spirit, Ceylon Arrack, with a series of ‘Adventure of Arrack’ dinners. Each of the menu’s four courses, which includes dishes such as mutton rolls, chettinad chicken, bone marrow varuval and aubergine kari, will be paired with a Ceylon Arrack cocktail created by bar manager Martin Balo.
Finally, the City’s Cinnamon Kitchen will be welcoming Masterchef: The Professionals favourite Santosh Shah for a modern Nepalese pop-up. Served to just 15 guests at three weekly sittings, the fifteen-course tasting menu will take its inspiration from Shah’s childhood in the country and feature unusual dishes including lamb brain donuts, chicken momo dumplings and a Kodo ko kheer and mango snowball with mango leather.
Norma’s supper clubs start on 7 September, £75 per person, normalondon.com; Hoppers’ Adventures of Arrack dinner will take place on 8 and 29 September, £70 per person, hopperslondon.com; Santosh Shah at Cinnamon Kitchen will run from 20 September to 30 October, £75 per person, cinnamon-kitchen.com
The shopping: Soho Home Studio
It’s becoming clear that most of us will not be returning to the office full time and, if you’re ready to upgrade from the kitchen table you’ve been using as a desk for the past year, Soho Home’s new Chelsea flagship is here to help. Occupying a gorgeous light-filled space on the King’s Road, the 6,000 square foot boutique will be home to the full Soho Home collection, inspired by the brand’s sister members’ clubs, as well as offering the opportunity for customers to meet its in-house interior designers, discuss bespoke projects and participate in workshops and events.