Things to do in Charleston

This trip to Charleston was my first experience of America’s Southern States… despite only being a 90 minute flight from New York (making it the perfect weekend getaway), Charleston feels completely different, a relaxed and friendly city with an important history, beautiful buildings and celebrated food scene. Of course it was the latter that I spent most of my three days in Charleston exploring, but I also had time to dip into the cultural scene, taste some locally distilled bourbon and stay in a couple of the cities best-loved hotels.

Charleston

To Stay

The Dewberry – This modern hotel is a popular choice with stylish travellers. Situated in the downtown district of town, the hotel has 155 luxurious bedrooms, a wonderful restaurant and great bar.

Belmond Charleston Place – Belmond Charleston Place is an easy, relaxing and indulgent place to stay in the centre of the city. The renowned hotel has restaurants, shops and a glorious spa on site for guests to enjoy. The bedrooms are very spacious and the attentive service ensures you’ll have a memorable stay.

Charleston

 To Eat

Leon’s – Housed in a converted auto body shop this celebrated eatery is the place to go for irresistible classic fried chicken, hush puppies and oysters.

Little Jack’s Tavern – Little Jack’s is a little laid-back tavern on King Street. The restaurant is known for its burger which is often voted one of the best in the US. Paired with herb fries it makes for a typically American, yummy meal.

Xiao Bao Biscuit – XBB was opened in 2012 by Josh Walker, Duolan Walker-Li, and Joey Ryan and is housed in a former gas station. The menu is inspired by their travels through Asia with dishes showing influences of China, Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, Japan and Taiwan. Both the lunch and dinner menus change almost daily, but are always reasonably priced and addictively tasty.

Sugar Bakeshop – This quaint, tiny bakery is constantly full of admiring customers. The shop smells divine and you’ll always be greeted with a smile from the enthusiastic staff. Choose from the many delectable treats… we enjoyed the light and fluffy cupcakes and rich comforting chocolate cookies.

Lewis Barbecue – Whilst you are in Charleston you must try BBQ’ed food… everyone recommended Lewis or Rodney Scott’s to us. We opted for Lewis, a huge restaurant on the outskirts of town specialising in Beef Brisket and Hot Guts Sausage (it’s better than it sounds). Owner John Lewis opened the joint in June 2016 and he uses massive custom-made smokers to ensure the meat is unctuous and flavourful.

Chez Nous – Tucked away on Payne Court, Chez Nous is a charming and unpretentious restaurant serving refined but wholesome French and Southern Mediterranean cuisine. The menu changes daily and there is an impressive wine list to accompany your meal.

The Ordinary – For the best fried oysters in town head to the iconic restaurant The Ordinary. This expansive building was a bank in the 1920s and the original high ceiling and large windows give the dining room a dramatic feel. Seafood fans should also check out 167 Raw, which always receives rave reviews.

Charleston

 To Drink

Second State Coffee – We visited Second State Coffee every morning for our daily caffeine kick. This speciality coffee shop roasts their own beans and serves the smoothest cappuccino in town. The chic cafe is popular with creative freelancers throughout the day, and visitors feast on buttery pastries… we loved the Banana & Nutella Turnover.

The Daily – This hip neighbourhood cafe has a range of delicious snacks and drinks to satisfy every appetite. Head to The Daily for Stumptown coffee, hearty sandwiches and cold-pressed juices.

The Belmont – Black and white films are projected on the back wall while guests enjoy refined classic cocktails at The Belmont. The lounge was set up in 2010 by owner Mickey Moran and continues to grow in popularity thanks to the skilled bartenders and relaxed vibe. We relished every sip of our strong bourbon cocktails.

Charleston

 To Shop

Indigo & Cotton – Indigo & Cotton was launched by Brett Carron in 2011, as a place to showcase a carefully curated collection of independent all-American brands, such as Raleigh Denim and Wildsam guidebooks.

J. Stark – This Charleston based brand create beautiful hand-crafted, artisan bags of all shapes and sizes. Their products are timeless and made to last. I particularly loved the simple but stylish tote bags.

Worthwhile – Situated in the 19th century McIntosh Seed House on King Street, Worthwhile is an eclectic shop of inspiring designers from all over the world. Pick up a croissant lamp by Japanese brand Pampshade or socks from Hansel From Basel.

Hampden Clothing – Hampden is known as the South’s chicest designer clothing store. The boutique in Charleston has a desirable range of clothes and accessories from American designers and further afield.

Charleston

To Do

Aiken-Rhett House – The Aiken-Rhett House was built in 1820 as a private home at 48 Elizabeth Street in Charleston. It is the best preserved early nineteenth century townhouse in the city and is open for self-guided tours. I loved seeing this magical house and getting an insight into the history of Charleston.

High Wire Distillery Co. – Located in the heart of historic downtown Charleston, High Wire was the first distillery to open in Charleston since the prohibition. The company are dedicated to making premium, small batch spirits and is open all week for tours and tastings. If your luggage allows, buy a bottle of their bourbon to take home.

Rainbow Row – Rainbow Row is the name for the street of thirteen colourful historic houses in Charleston. It is the longest cluster of Georgian row houses in the United States and is a lovely photogenic area to wander round.

Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art – This non-profit contemporary art institute is free to enter and always hosts interesting exhibitions. We really enjoyed ‘Southbound’ – a collection of photographs depicting the history of the South and how it has changed so dramatically over the last century.

The Rose Hotel & Restaurant, Deal in Kent

At this time of year, when the days are at their shortest, I try to escape London for an English weekend away… preferably somewhere cosy and quaint. Kent is the ideal option, most of the county is just an hour from London on the train with long stretches of beach and a calm friendly feel. Everyone seems to be visiting Margate at the moment, but I urge you to consider Deal, home to The Rose Hotel.

The Rose in Deal

The Rose Hotel, Restaurant and Bar opened in May of this year. The grand building has a significant presence on Deal highstreet, which is otherwise occupied by tiny antique shops and cute cafes. With a history of over 200 years, The Rose has always been a place to get a drink or a night’s stay, but thanks to new owners Christopher Hicks and wife Alex Bagner, it is once again the talk of the town.

The Rose in DealThe Rose in Deal

The eight characterful rooms are each decorated in their own eclectic style… bright headboards, vintage furniture, charming antique details and homely details. We were very happy in Room Nine, the smallest but most colourful, with patterned wallpaper and a bold yellow and pink theme. The bathroom, though small, was perfectly adequate with a powerful walk-in shower and luxurious Austin Austin products.

The Rose in DealThe Rose in Deal

I would also recommend Room Six which is decorated in nostalgic hues of olive green and pale pink. This bedroom features a vintage bathroom suite, mid-century furniture and a vinyl player for the guest’s enjoyment. And for a pretty sage green bathroom with pretty of natural light opt for Room Seven. Every room has something to make it special, different and memorable.

The Rose in Deal

Breakfast was a simple but delicious affair… strong coffee (from Climpson & Sons) and exemplary bacon and buttery eggs from the local butcher. I can also highly recommend the Sunday lunch, a range of hearty plates (from £12-16 for mains) cooked by talented chef Rachel O’Sullivan, who previously worked at the much-celebrated Towpath Cafe in London.

I have no doubt that with the addition of The Rose Hotel, Deal will soon be a favourite weekend destination for stylish British travellers.

More information and book a room at The Rose in Deal here.

The Ultimate Beauty Stocking Fillers

Beauty products are the perfect little luxuries to fill stockings with at Christmas time. This year I have picked out some of the best products for winter-worn skin and hair, to get you through the colder months feeling moisturised and healthy. On this list of seasonal essentials there is something for everyone, from cosy scented candles to revitalising haircare, nourishing lip balms and refreshing toners.

beauty for christmas

DiptyquePine Tree of Light Candle (£53)

Diptyque is my favourite scented candle brand so I always get excited to see their annual festive range. This Pine Tree of Light candle comes in lovely sparkling green packaging, and inside the candle has a warming fragrance of pine and fir trees. I can’t think of a gift I’d like to find more in my stocking this year!

beauty for christmas

OuaiVolume Shampoo (£22) & Conditioner (£20)

Jen Atkin’s successful haircare brand Ouai looks super chic in the bathroom and works wonders on all hair types. The Volume range is great at this time of year, replenishing moisture whilst also adding natural volume to fine and limp hair. I find it’s great for controlling my static strands! This duo would be a stylish and useful addition to any Christmas stocking.

beauty for christmas

GlossierLip Balms (£10 each or 3 for £25)

The iconic American beauty brand Glossier now ships to the UK… making it the ideal time to buy for Christmas. Just £10 each, these little tubes are perfect for filling up stockings. The hydrating and long-lasting balm is multi-purpose and can be used to repair cracked and chafed skin. Available in a variety of flavours, my favourite is the ‘Birthday’ balm, inspired by Milk Bar (in NYC)’s birthday cake, it has a lovely subtle shimmer.

beauty for christmas

RENReady Steady Glow Daily Aha Tonic (£25) & Perfect Canvas Skin Finishing Serum (£50)

This easy to use tonic is a quick daily miracle worker. With natural bio-active ingredients it is good for all skin types and brightens and refreshes skin instantly. Use with the Perfect Canvas serum to leave skin looking smooth and feeling strong even in the harshest weather.

beauty for christmas

Living ProofRestore Mask Treatment (£37)

At this time of year my hair needs extra love and attention. The Living Proof Restore Mask can be used once a week with the Restore Shampoo and Conditioner, to restore hair cuticles and protect the hair from future breakages. The whole range is lovely as a Christmas present, but I always think it’s nice to fill stockings with those special products you wouldn’t indulge in yourself, and the mask treatment fits this brief perfectly.

beauty for christmas

MuradHydro-Dynamic Quenching Essence (£65)

This luxurious product is a special treat for a beauty-lover’s stocking. This product has won numerous awards for its visible results, with 100% of users commenting that they “instantly saw smoother, silkier and more supple skin texture”. The weightless serum should be used morning and night and will leave your skin feeling soft and plumper throughout the winter months. For extra effect use with the Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisturiser.

beauty christmasbeauty christmas

Perricone Intensive Overnight Moisturizer (£129)

A pot of this magic moisturiser will make anyone feel special this Christmas. I have been using Perricone skincare my whole adult life and swear by the range. This intense overnight cream is velvety rich and will ensure you wake up with firmer skin that has more elasticity and glow. Use with the Deep Crease Serum (with a vitamin F blend) to see even better results.

Another fun Perricone product for Christmas is the ‘No Makeup Mascara’ cracker gift (see above).

beauty

Davines – The Let it Go Circle (£8)

This stocking-filler sized sachet is exactly what your hair craves in the colder months. After washing and towel-drying apply the mask to your hair and leave it to work its magic for a minimum of 10 minutes, before washing out. As well as leaving the hair softer and smoother it will also moisturise and hydrate the scalp, thanks to the genius mix of grey clay and brahmi oil.

beauty

Anne SemoninExpress Radiance Ice Cubes (£50)

Ideal for party season these convenient sachet ice-cubes will refresh and brighten faded winter skin. The cubes should be stored in the freezer (for a minimum of 3 hours) before being applied onto the face. Your face will instantly look radiant before make-up application, the perfect pre-party treatment or jetlag remedy.

beauty christmas

Malin & GoetzRecovery Treatment Oil (£66)

The Malin & Goetz range of haircare and skincare are both fun and effective. I love the delicious-smelling haircare which is sulfate-free and great for colour-treated hair. But at this time of year the Recovery Treatment Oil is the must-have product. Ingredients include evening primrose, argan and jojoba oil, which all contribute to improving tone and moisture of the skin. I loved how quickly this oil is absorbed into the skin, leaving your face feeling softer and brighter. The Malin & Goetz products are good for all ages, a fun present for any stocking.