Oscar Wilde’s London: a guide to the city Wilde knew

Explore Victorian London as it was known by Ireland’s most famous writer, Oscar Wilde, with our insider guide to his favourite haunts and hangouts.

A figure as celebrated for his luxurious tastes as his indelible contribution to English literature, Oscar Wilde left an important impression on the London of today.

Enjoy a taste of the finer things as Wilde knew them, from famous champagne bars to historic hotels, and get discover Wilde’s Victorian London.

The Cadogan Hotel

Stay like a star at the Cadogan Hotel, where the luxury suite 118 is devoted to the semi-mythic Irish author, whose infamous arrest occurred in that very room in 1895.

The luxury Cadogan Hotel features Oscar’s Wilde Package, a new special offer which gives guests a sumptuous, Wilde-themed stay. It includes an Oscar Wilde afternoon tea in the hotel’s famous restaurant and tickets to a West End show, such as The Judas Kiss, a play revolving around Wilde’s arrest and prominently featuring The Cadogan Hotel. For an additional cost and if bookings allow, guests can even stay in the deluxe, Oscar Wilde Suite, number 118.

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Fox of St. James’s

“A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure,” Wilde famously wrote in The Picture of Dorian Gray, and he certainly believed it. Reputed to have smoke over 100 of his personalised cigarettes a day, Wilde likely spent significant time at his favourite cigar shop, Fox of St. James’s, which still stands today.

Explore a smoky world where every wall is steeped in history and once housed Wilde and his high-society company’s lively evenings of discussion. A perfect place to soak up some history and pick up a vintage cigar or two.

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Hatchard’s Bookshop

Founded in Piccadilly in 1797, Hatchard’s is London’s oldest bookshop and still today attracts the world’s most high-profile authors for book signings. Now selling many antique and signed tomes, it was once a favourite hangout of Wilde, who adored all the many forms of English literature.
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The Royal Arcade

Enjoy a little retail therapy, Victorian style, at The Royal Arcade, one of London’s most stylish, historic shopping centres.

Dating from 1879, it was here that Wilde famously purchased his iconic green carnations and, though the shop itself has disappeared, a wander through the halls will certainly evoke Wilde’s inimitable fashion flare with its many high-society shops.

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Kettner’s Champagne Bar

Undoubtedly one of Wilde’s most famous Soho hangout was Kettner’s Champagne Bar. Opened by a former chef to Napoleon III, Kettner’s Bar has long been renowned for hosting the most celebrated celebrities of the age in the most lavishly luxurious settings.

The Champagne Bar offers up some of the finest cocktails in town and a list of champagne as long as an Oscar Wilde novel, while the restaurant still prides itself on providing classic dishes fit for royalty.

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The Savoy Grill

A prominent feature both in Wilde’s life and in his works, The Savoy Hotel and the Savoy Grill still capture the lavish Victorian flare that Wilde so adored.

The original table layout has been painstakingly preserved and reservations can be made for the exact place Wilde preferred. The meals are always utterly delectable, upholding the reputation that has only grown more sterling as the years have progressed.

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