Despite her newfound home in Saudi Arabia, Soraya Bakhtiar still remembers her favourite London getaway spots. With her dopamine-filled style, the groovy writer and influencer knows to have fun anywhere in London. No matter the weather, Bakhtiar knows where to go if you’re in the mood for a burst of sunshine (metaphorically and literally). And if you want to attend a fitness or a pamper session during the busiest fashion weeks of the year, Bakhtiar has got the scoop.

From local food markets dating back to the 12th century to vintage shops in Soho, here are Soraya Bakhtiar’s favourite things to do in London town.

Top must visit food spots in London?

Juice Baby on kings Road or Notting Hill for Matcha Latte & Acai Bowls.

Bar des Pres in Mayfair for lunch or dinner

Granger & Co for brunch (Pavillion road location)

Bancone for pasta.

Berenjak in Soho for modern Persian food

And some more…

Mazi in Notting Hill for Greek cuisine, Sumi for sushi in Notting Hill, Gold in Notting Hill for dinner.

Best places for vintage shopping?

Beyond Retro in Soho.

Must-visit spots?

Not a must visit spot but if you are an active person like me and wake up early, I recommend squeezing in a workout at Karve (my favorite studio) or a class at Paola Body Barre at KXU. It will help you start your day right!

For hair color, I swear by Marley Xavier at Hershesons Belgravia.

Best boutique hotels to stay in?

I haven’t stayed in a hotel in London since ages but I would stay at Chiltern Firehouse or any Soho house. The Ham Yard or Number Sixteen in South Kensington is very charming. Kensington Hotel also cute.

Coutesy of Chiltern Firehouse
Courtesy of The Ham Yard
Courtesy of Number Sixteen Hotel

Underrated places?

“Covent Garden. I love this area and don’t spend enough time there when I visit. Borough Market has great food spots. Oakley Court on the Countryside a beautiful spot in spring summer for a little getaway.”

What should you avoid?

“The traffic in London can get really overwhelming and commuting from one area to another can last hours. I usually plan my day per area so I can walk as much as possible and get my steps in. 
I’m a bit claustrophobic so I try to avoid public transportation during rush hour. But if that’s not a problem to you, then it’s best way to commute. Avoid wearing anything flashy or obviously branded items or fancy jewelry as there has been a lot of mugging in the last couple of years, sadly.”

Must-pack items?

“London weather is always unpredictable so I always make sure to pack some layers and comfortable shoes because I like to walk everywhere.”

Soraya Bakthiar

Any tips and tricks to tackling London Fashion Week given how crowded it gets?

“Book your stay and restaurant bookings in advance to make sure you can secure your room and table. Don’t leave it to the last minute. The trick is always to book it for 4-5 people in case you have some friends that decide to join as it is difficult to amend a booking. Most restaurants have a 24hr cancellation policy so write down a note to cancel or modify without any charges before 24hrs.”

Rand Al-Hadethi is an art, culture, and fashion writer who approaches all her creative endeavours with a penchant for storytelling. She explores the intersection of fashion, culture, and society and sheds light on talent and cultural movements across the Middle East and the world. Rand also publishes a bi-monthly themed substack newsletter called WebWeaver™. To reach Rand, email her at or follow her on social media @rundoozz.