London Calling

With the opening ceremonies of the 30th Olympiad only days away, the world’s attention is focused on the British capital.  Here is just a sampling of what London has to offer beyond the games.

The Wolseley

Located in what was once The Wolseley Car Company showroom, then a Barclays bank, the Wolseley is now the home of an elegant restaurant where the food, service and decor are all first rate. Come for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a traditional British afternoon tea, complete with an assortment of finger sandwiches, fruit scones and pastries, all made in house. The crowd is predictably stylish and well suited for people/celeb watching.

The Wolseley, 160 Piccadilly, London

Rainbow Park

Polish sculptor, Adam Kalinowski designed this multicolored sand installation, as part of the “Festival of the World” celebration at London’s Southbank Centre, Europe’s largest center for the arts, located on the South Bank of the River Thames. Visitors walk and play among the hand crafted wooden sculptures in the park, mixing the sand to create new colors. The festival runs until September 9, 2012, celebrating the power of art to transform lives. It includes the work of 4,000 artists, writers and performers from 200 countries.

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John Lewis, Oxford Street

Occupying one full block in the busy Oxford Street shopping district, the flagship location of the British department store chain is a favorite of Londoners. The store dates back to 1864 and is a shopper’s paradise, filled with everything from womenswear to food to electronics and much, much more. There is even a shop for official Olympic merchandise. The Oxford Street store is located just a short walk from the Oxford Circus tube station.

John Lewis, 300 Oxford St., London

The Cow Pub and Restaurant

“Eat Heartily & Give The House A Good Name” is the slogan of this traditional, British gastropub that has a more “intimate” dining room upstairs. The Notting Hill establishment is owned by Terence Conran’s son, Tom, and you can expect to find it crowded with locals who come for the delicious seafood, and, of course, the Guinness.

The Cow Pub and Restaurant, 89 Westbourne Park Rd., London

Cowshed Bath & Shower Gels

These “quintessentially British” beauty products are 100% natural and contain no petrochemicals, parabens, sulphates or artificial colors or fragrances. The gels are infused with essential plant oils and the variety of scents allows you to tailor your cleansing routine to suit your mood. They have clever, names like Grumpy Cow, Knackered Cow, Lazy Cow or the limited edition, British Cow, celebrating the brand’s fourteen-year history.

Past Better Bets Column:  Sun & Fun

Rhonda Erb

Rhonda Erb writes about fashion, travel and lifestyle from a New Yorker’s perspective in Better Bets. A self-confessed Instagram addict, her work has also appeared in such publications as Runway Magazine. Follow her at: Instagram: @betterbets Twitter: @betterbetsny tumblr:

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