From ultimate urban extravagance to countryside wonders, we round up ten of the best luxury, quintessentially British experiences with an extraordinary difference.
- Private helicopter ride over the city
- Battersea Helicopter allows speedy access to and from the city with state-of-the-art helicopters available for charter from its heliport on the bank of the River Thames. A luxury VIP departure terminal and customer lounge completes the service.
- Indulge in a 24 carat gold spa treatment
- Bulgari Hotel’s underground spa has 11 treatment rooms, a thermal room, ice fountain and a 25-metre pool. The spa suite can be hired for complete privacy, where guests can enjoy treatments such as the gold naturalift anti-aging treatment, which combines the power of acupuncture with the beautifying properties of 24 carat gold, for a natural alternative to Botox.
- Commission a portrait fit for a queen
- With Sinclair Global’s Luxury London ‘By Appointment’ service, clients can enter the inner cloisters of Westminster Abbey to view the impressive Ralph Heimans portrait of the Queen commissioned for the Jubilee. Hosted by the Queen’s portrait artist himself, clients also have the rare opportunity to request an individual or family portrait commission.
- Ultimate bespoke London shopping experiences
- Decadent shopping experiences don’t come much better than these:
- For the ultimate in bespoke tailored style and finesse, clients should head to Savile Row for beautifully made-to-measure shirts, suits and coats. Founded in 1771, Gieves & Hawkes holds a Royal Warrant and is one of the most acclaimed historic British tailors, but is equally appealing to the modern gentleman. Turnbull and Asser in Mayfair has crafted clothes for James Bond actors and various members of the royal family.
- For a complete bespoke tailoring experience, Sinclair Global’s Luxury London ‘By Appointment’ service offers a 30 – 90 minute exclusive appointment with the Head Cutter at Huntsman, founded in 1849. Big budget clients can use the VIP personal shopping suits at Selfridges. With two beautifully designed havens for men and women, there is even a secret entrance for famous clients to avoid paparazzi and shop in peace.
- For a true money-is-no-object gift, clients can buy an actual block of gold from iconic department store Harrods, which sells embossed bars in all different shapes and sizes. Prices vary depending on the market price of gold.
REST OF ENGLAND
- Belmond British Pullman
- The sister train to the Orient Express, this is the ultimate in private luxury railway travel. Belmond British Pullman operates day and weekend journeys, mainly out of London Victoria station with visits to places of interest in southern Britain such as castles, country houses, cities, sporting occasions and events including the Grand National and Goodwood Revival. Elaborate fine dining is included in every journey, with lunch, afternoon tea and dinner served on board. The historic carriages themselves date from the 1920s to 1950s and original fittings such brass luggage racks were restored, while new furnishings include Art deco-style table lamps and armchairs and modern additions like electric heating.
- Hire a private island
- Why stay in a hotel when you can hire a whole island? Osea Island on the Blackwater Estuary in Essex, is an exclusive private tidal island Accessed via a mile-long causeway emerging from the estuary for just four hours a day. Its 380 acres of countryside, pretty village and four miles of beaches and coastline make it feel like another world. There’s a saltwater swimming pool on the island, and you can borrow a bike to cycle around it all. And it’s located surprisingly close to central London, just two hours’ north east by car.
- An extraordinary culinary experience
- Of all the most luxurious gastronomic experiences in Britain, The Fat Duck – located in Bray, Berkshire – certainly delivers one of the most extraordinary journeys for the taste buds experiencing it. Chef Heston Blumenthal is known for experimenting with the scientific side of flavour and taste in his surprising menu. Curious dishes include egg and bacon ice cream and “Sounds of the Sea", an impressive plate of seafood with a sensory twist. In 2005 the restaurant was ranked first on the list of The World's 50 Best Restaurants compiled by Restaurant magazine, and in 2016 it regained its three Michelin star rating.
- Drive like 007
- Whether clients want to bring their own Aston Martin over to Britain or would like to hire one, they can enjoy a track event at iconic racetrack Silverstone, or a performance driving course at Aston Martin’s proving ground in Millbrook, where the dramatic car roll scene in the James Bond film Casino Royale was filmed.
- Gleneagles: a golfer’s dream
- Named Best Golf Resort in the World for consecutive years, the French château-style Gleneagles Hotel set in 850 acres of glorious Perthshire countryside is certainly a glamorous location for clients to indulge a passion for golf. Home to three top-class championship courses, it was the host venue for the 2014 Ryder Cup. Guests can unwind with fine dining at Andrew Fairlie’s two Michelin Star restaurant, or enjoy the spa’s signature treatment, The Source, which takes ingredients from the fresh waters and rolling hills of Perthshire and involves two hours of blissful treatments.
- A royal Scottish safari
- Experience stunning mountain scenery on a luxury Land Rover safari tour of Balmoral Estate, the Queen’s private Scottish home. Kitted out with a pair of Swarovski binoculars, clients can spot birds of prey, red squirrels, red deer, red grouse, black grouse, snow bunting and salmon while travelling through the old Caledonian pine forest and heather of one of Scotland’s most famous mountains, Lochnagar.