Got a thing for bling? Here's London at its blinging best. Be warned: may cause squinting/acute jealousy.
The Crown Jewels
So popular is this hoard of 23,578 gemstones, set into various bling headwear and ceremonial trinkets, it's got its own travelator. It can be tough ogling such ice as the Koh-i-Noor diamond, knowing you've paid the royal sum of £21.50 for the pleasure. A cheap alternative is to wait for the Imperial State Crown to get an airing during the State Opening of Parliament (whether or not the Queen's in the mood to wear it).
Also check out: the Cheapside Hoard — a barely-rivalled heap of Elizabethan and Jacobean jewellery, that will finally get a home of its own at the new Museum of London.
Knightsbridge every summer
There are boy/girl racers, and then there are the kind of so-and-sos who specially ship over their collection of gold Lamborghinis, Mercedes and Rolls, just to fly in the face of parking penalties, park up on double yellows in Knightsbridge, and bathe in the ensuing attention (which we realise we're adding to right now). The crystal-encrusted Merc is also a thing. Don't tell us you don't want the owners to prang their refulgent motors on a bollard.
Also check out: Harrods, while you're in the area, in particular its blinging Egyptian escalator, which is sometimes festooned with real life opera singers.
The Wallace Collection
The Wallace Collection has sparked fierce debate in the Londonist office. Some of us can't stuff enough of its cherry red velvet walls and Old Masters iced with gleaming gold frames, into our eyes. The naysayers are with Ian Nairn, who lambastes it as "an overwhelming, suffocating display of expensive 19th century taste." One thing's for sure: this place is blindingly bling. Even the staircase — dripping in coins — is nicked from a French bank:
Also check out: Dulwich Picture Gallery — another haven for gilt frame masterpieces.
The Broadway, Southall
Among the fruit, veg, fish and herbs of Southall's main drag, there's some seriously bling going on. Press your nose against the window of the multifarious jewellers here, and drool at the gold necklaces, headresses and nose rings. Vivid saris and dhotis sparkle with various bling trimmings — worth checking out if your current wardrobe is mainly from Gap.
Also check out: Portobello Road Market, home of many a glittering antique.
London Silver Vaults
Anywhere that was frequented by ivory-tinkling fop Liberace is hardly going to be drab. The London Silver Vaults is a sort of blinged-up Ikea, where punters with mile-deep pockets come to deck out their homes with antique salvers, sauce dishes, clocks and candelabras. That said, you can pick up trinkets for as little as £20 (christening teaspoons are guaranteed to get babies off to a bling start in life).
Also check out: neighboring Hatton Garden, London's diamond district, which is so bling, it often gets robbed.
The Lord Mayor of London
Kayne West has nothing on the Lord Mayor of London — a position you're only allowed to hold for one year, presumably for fear it'll bling you to death. This mayor's layered trifle of an outfit consists of a black velvet ensemble, heaped with a crimson robe that's trimmed with ermine, and topped with a gold collar of esses, from which dangles the Mayoral Jewel. The Mayor's wheels aren't too shabby either.
Also check out: your local mayor. We recently saw the Mayor of Newham flaunting his bling at a rooftop bar in Stratford. Respect.