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Close-up of African penguins by the beach near Thistle Hotels

Sample South Africa

South African cuisine has taken the world by storm, and London offers ample opportunity to sample the big, hearty flavours that made its name. Zebra steaks and kudu carpaccio will satisfy those craving something new, but you don’t have to be a committed carnivore to enjoy it, with enticing vegetable dishes also featuring heavily. And that’s before we even get started on the wine…  

Shaka Zulu

Shaka Zulu is London’s largest South African restaurant and can be found in Camden’s stable market. It is truly stunning inside with walls covered in authentic wooden carvings and a series of gigantic warrior statues that tower over you. The atmosphere is buzzing and there’s always something exciting going on, whether it’s live music, family entertainment or dancing.

Experience a meal at the restaurant and enjoy a menu inspired by South Africa and beyond. Tuck into dishes like traditional Beef Bobotie and yellow rice or turn up the heat and go for something cooked on the braai: an open flame grill which is hugely popular in South Africa. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even try one of their more unusual game meats like buffalo carpaccio or a zebra steak.

Alternatively, you could relax in their mezzanine bar or book a table in their classy King’s Club. Sit back and soak up the lively ambience over a glass of champagne or one of their signature cocktails.

Shaka Zulu is located at NW1 8AH. The nearest underground stations are Chalk Farm and Camden Town.


Dining & lounge area in Shaka Zulu near Thistle Hotels

South African Shop

Part of the Jumbos brand, the South African Shop is a speciality shop found on the Embankment in the heart of London. They have a huge range of South African essentials and goodies so it’s the ideal place to head if you’d like to do some culinary exploring, minutes from The Clermont, Charing Cross hotel.

You'll find a tasty range of biltong and droëwors, as well as boerewors (spicy beef sausage) for your braai, koeksisters for dessert and rusks for your coffee. One particularly popular product is Mrs. Balls Chutney, a tangy preserve made from South African peaches and apricots. If you like something with a boozy kick, then opt for a bottle of Amarula Cream Liqueur which is made from South African marula fruit (a particular favourite amongst elephants, according to the label). Good news is they also deliver!

There are also things besides food to browse. Take a look at their extensive range of South African-inspired gifts, including beaded animal keyrings and items made from carved wood. They have handbags and clothing ranges too.

You can find the South African shop at WC2N 6NG. The nearest underground stations are Charing Cross and Embankment.


Close-up of a South African dish served at Thistle Hotels

Statue of Nelson Mandela

Engage with South Africa’s history by paying a visit to the statue of Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mandela was one of the most influential political figures of modern times, a former president of South Africa and fierce opponent of apartheid. The statue stands in Parliament Square, alongside the statues of other notable political figures.

The statue, designed by Ian Walters, was unveiled in 2007, with Mr. Mandela as the guest of honour. At the time, he said: ‘Although this statue is of one man, it should in actual fact symbolise all those who have resisted oppression, especially in my country.’

The imposing statue, depicting Mr. Mandela with his arms outstretched, is made of bronze and 2.7 metres (9 feet) tall.

You can find Parliament Square at SW1P 3BD. The nearest underground station is Westminster.


Close-up on a Nelson Mandela statue near Thistle Hotels

Bbar, Victoria

A hop away from the Buckingham Palace Gift shop is this South African bar complete with an outdoor terrace. If you want cocktails in Victoria, this is the place. The drinks menu uses unusual ingredients like jelly bean-infused gin and truffle honey and even has a cocktail featuring sake served warm.

Their menu plays homage to their heritage, with dishes that reflect the flavours of South Africa with a playful twist, from Boerewors Eggs Benedict with chilli chutney biltong to The Gatsby Sub, a Western Cape pulled-BBQ short rib of beef. Sounds delicious!

They were voted best for afternoon tea in the Open Table Diners Choice award in 2020 so could be a viable alternative to tea with the Queen. Invitations here are a lot less formal with a happy hour every day from 5 to 7pm.

Take a look


The Rubens at the Palace & street near Thistle Hotels