We've rounded up the best nail salons in London to keep your digits looking divine. Whether you're looking for a quick beauty treatment or relaxing with a mani in one of London's best spas, these are the places where you'll find the most creative nail designs, perfect manicures and the neatest pedicures (and check out the best London pedicures here if it's just your feet in need of attention). Whatever your tastes, London has got it nailed.
Our pick of London's best nail salons
This wonderfully silly themed beauticians is decked out entirely from the salvaged innards of an American Airlines Boeing 747. Brightly lit beauty stations made up of roomy re-upholstered plane seats (think business class rather than Easyjet) accommodate travel themed treatments like the long lasting 'Two Weeks To Tahiti' gel manicure (£39) or the 'Shanghai Shape', a quick file and polish (£15). If you've got something more luxurious in mind, your treatment will take place over in VIP – where you can indulge in a two person pedicure station with an ex-Air France first class seating system.
Venue says: “Call or text now to book your next treatment!”
Hula’s boudoir style beauty rooms are gloriously decked out in Hawaian wallcoverings, with plush velvet sofas and burlesque flourishes (airbrush tans are dried off with a feathery fan, while beauticians have a distinctly Dita Von Teese air about them). Nail treatments take place in the window of the parlour, so you can gossip as you watch the media types go by. A basic manicure will set you back £18, with gels priced from £36.
Upstairs at Redchurch Street’s new multi-storey beauty pit stop is the Cheeky Parlour, where a speedy, excellent and cheap mani or pedi will leave you with change from a twenty pound note (£14 for a quick file and paint job). Once your nails have been spruced up, there’s plenty more to explore here – continue the beautification at the Josh Wood salon, or venture down to the basement to catch a film in the Electric Cinema.
Don’t have a manicurist on speed dial? Us neither. The next best thing is Milk, whose crack team of mobile beauty therapists mean that a salon-standard mani-pedi is just a click away. They’ve recently expanded their service area to cover all London postcodes, too, so living south of the river no longer means you’re stuck in a beauty blind spot. Prices start from £16 for a 15 minute manicure, while a Shellac mani costs a rather reasonable £35.
This little nail bar sorts out your nails with little ceremony and only moderate cost attached (£15 gets you a good manicure). The only glossy thing about the place is the nails, but that means staff are happy to get stuck in with the power tools to file off dead skin; our tester left after a pedicure with feet half a size smaller. We’re not the only ones to have discovered it: often the queue is out the door, so it’s worth booking.
This opulent nail bar in West Dulwich can sort you out with anything from a basic shape and polish (from just £8) to a full complement of Shellac nails (a gel colour that lasts two to three weeks, from £25). Divas-in-the-making can enjoy a mini-manicure (aimed at the under-tens) for a tenner, while threading, brows and massages are also available for grown-ups.
For those who care about what is going into and on to their bodies, the Aveda Institute on High Holborn is hard to beat. One of the original purveyors of natural hair and skin products, the brand continues to deliver quality treatments at this vast salon and spa. Tucked away at the back, you’ll find the serene manicure and pedicure booths – prices start from £26 for a 30 minute mani, and range up to £48 for an hour-long treatment.
London Grace is a nail bar with an actual bar, so you can order a cocktail or glass of fizz while your fingers and toes are tended to. Founder Kirsten has spent time developing a brand of nasty-free nail polishes, too, and the Top Notch pedi (from £25) uses a luxe coconut lotion that’s been specially formulated in-house. The salon itself is Pinterest paradise - think exposed bricks, fancy light fittings and an array of picture-perfect baked goods on offer. Well worth venturing across the river for.
Babington House's brand of tasteful day spas offer up quality treatments and divine-smelling products in all corners of the capital. The sociable mani-pedi areas are good for a group day out, while downstairs you'll find the peaceful treatment rooms. A signature manicure uses polish from sister brand Cheeky, and will set you back £45. If you are short on time but in dire need of beautification, book in for a multi-purpose treatment like the Cowgroom Indulgent in which two therapists can deliver a facial, eye brow tidy, manicure and pedicure in 60 minutes for £110.
Venue says: “Professional Beauty's 'best UK nail salon', 2014 and 2015. Superior hand and foot pampering, in-house bar and Apple TV.”
Get your tips filed in the plush surrounds of this good-value Notting Hill salon. A 20-minute classic manicure will set you back £23, while a ‘quickie’ pedicure is just £15. Facial threading and lash-tinting are also available, and the salon is happy to host groups for parties or special events, too.
How about a visit to London's brow bars?
Tales On Moon Lane Children's Bookshop
Just a stone's throw from Herne Hill station, Tales On Moon Lane is easy to find and even easier to spot given its delightful exterior, which is beautifully painted to resemble a circus tent. This lovely local bookshop was founded by Tamara Macfarlane in 2003 and has since provided the tots, toddlers and young adults of southeast London with practical picture books and rad reads. Regular events are held instore, too, including storytelling sessions, reading and writing classes, literary festivals and half-term activities. Check their website to see what they have coming up.