Visit London Blog » Carinya http://blog.visitlondon.com Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:40:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Family Festive Day Out in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/12/family-festive-day-out-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/12/family-festive-day-out-in-london/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:35:04 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=39257 Father Christmas at Winter Wonderland

Father Christmas at Winter Wonderland

The twinkling lights are up, the mince pies out… London’s getting festive! Enjoy the magic of Christmas with the whole family on a festive day out in London.

Morning: Natural History Museum and Ice Rink

Natural History Museum ice skating

Natural History Museum ice skating

The Natural History Museum is always popular with children, who love the huge dinosaur skeletons, earthquake simulator and hands-on activities. Spend an hour or two exploring the museum’s amazing collections, then let off some steam with a skate around the outdoor ice rink – admiring the outside of the museum as you go for a spin.

There’s a large rink and a smaller one for beginners and children – plus a café/bar for those who prefer enjoying the antics from the sidelines with a tasty hot chocolate.

Lunch: Winter Wonderland

Jump on the 74 bus (towards Baker Street) and get off at Marble Arch, a stone’s throw from Winter Wonderland, just inside Hyde Park. Here you’ll find rides, a magical ice kingdom, a bustling Christmas market and much more.

You’ll also find lots of food stalls and pop-up cafes, where you can enjoy a lunch of piping hot bratwurst sausage in the Bavarian Village, or whatever else takes your fancy. Note: Winter Wonderland is free to enter but some rides and attractions are ticketed and need to be booked in advance.

Afternoon: Oxford Street Christmas lights and Hamleys

Oxford Street Christmas Lights

Oxford Street Christmas Lights

Stroll from Marble Arch along Oxford Street, admiring the beautiful white orb Christmas decorations above. It should just be getting dark by now – the perfect time to see the lights in all their glory.

Turn right onto Regent Street at Oxford Circus and head for Hamleys, better known as every child’s dream shop. Inside they’ll find all their favourite toys, see expert demonstrations and (if you get there for 5pm) you can watch it snow!

Dinner: Spaghetti House

Continue down Regent Street, through Leicester Square and onto St Martin’s Lane. Take a well-earned rest and refuel over dinner at Spaghetti House at number 30. A two-course dinner of Italian favourites is £10.50 for adults and £5 for kids.

Evening: Paddington Bear Trail and Carol Singing in Trafalgar Square

The Bear of London

The Bear of London

After you’ve eaten your fill of pasta, pizza and profiteroles, make your way to London’s iconic Trafalgar Square – just a few minutes away. Look out for The Bear of London, one of 50 unique statues of Paddington Bear dotted around the city. You can even do a whole Paddington Trail, to see all of the statues on one walk. But maybe save that for another day…

Then what better way to end the day than with some uplifting carol singing around the giant Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square? Performances take place from 4-8pm on weekdays, and from 2-6pm at the weekend. It’s enough to make even Scrooge feel festive.

]]>
http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/12/family-festive-day-out-in-london/feed/ 0
A Dickensian Christmas in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/12/dickens-christmas-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/12/dickens-christmas-in-london/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 13:58:06 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=39263 A Christmas Carol at the Southbank Centre

A Christmas Carol at the Southbank Centre

Many of London’s Christmas traditions date back to the Victorian era, so why not step back in time and explore Christmas as it was for Charles Dickens – the writer of the much-loved classic A Christmas Carol.

See A Christmas Carol on the stage

Many theatres and venues stage their own production of A Christmas Carol every year. There’s a star-studded narration at the Southbank Centre, a ‘chilling and contemporary’ take by the Old Red Lion Theatre, a family-friendly show at the Museum of London, and many more.

If you fancy something a little more dark, try Sikes & Nancy at Trafalgar Studios – retelling the story of two of the most famous characters in Dickens’s Oliver Twist.

Walk in the author’s footsteps on the Charles Dickens London Walk

A Dickens Of A Christmas

A Dickens Of A Christmas

Every Friday (except 26 Dec), London Walks leads a tour into the underbelly of the City of London – the tiny alleys, nooks and crannies where Dickens himself lived and worked. The walk begins at Temple Tube station at 2.15pm.

Enjoy a Dickens of a Christmas at the Dickens Museum

Given the strong connection between Christmas in London and Charles Dickens’s work, it’s no surprise the Dickens Museum has one or two things planned for the festive season. Under the A Dickens of A Christmas umbrella, you can be entertained at A Very Dickensian Christmas Eve, explore Dickens’ former home by candlelight, learn about the darker side of Dickens’ festive works on Bah Humbug Tuesdays, and much more.

Have a festive drink at The George Inn

The George Inn is not only the last galleried coaching inn in London, but also where Dickens himself used to go for a drink – he even wrote it into Little Dorrit. The pub, which can be traced back to 1542, today belongs to the National Trust. Drop in for a pint and take a pew in the Middle Bar, which was once the Coffee Room where Dickens would sit.

Feast on London’s Christmas specialties

Leadenhall Market

Leadenhall Market

It is said that on Christmas Eve, Dickens would visit the Christmas markets in London’s East End between Aldgate and Bow. Take a leaf from his book and explore the sights, sounds and tastes to be found under the elegant Victorian roof of Leadenhall Market – the setting of the fictional bar Blue Boar Inn in The Pickwick Papers. It may be more upmarket than what Dickens would have encountered in his day – but luckily there’ll definitely be something better than gruel on the menu!

]]>
http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/12/dickens-christmas-in-london/feed/ 0
A Quick Guide to London Beards http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/a-quick-guide-to-london-beards/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/a-quick-guide-to-london-beards/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 09:00:20 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38797 Sham, winner of the beard contest at the 2014 Great British Tattoo Show at Alexandra Palace. Photograph by: Jonathan Daniel Pryce

Once the favoured accessory of weathered fishermen and chin-stroking academics, the beard has had a revival in fortunes of late – and no more so than in London.

New research warns we may have reached ‘peak beard’ – but you just try telling that to East London, where the ‘hipster’ beard reigns supreme. London’s finest fuzz was even captured by photographer Jonathan Daniel Pryce in his blog-turned-book 100Beards.

We look back at some of the beard’s most famous moments in London history and culture…

The UK’s most beard friendly pub

The Cock Tavern in Hackney was recently crowned the most beard-friendly UK pub 2014. It was selected in an online poll organised by The Beard Liberation Front. It’s also where the British Beard Club hold their meetings – although that might be more to do with the pub’s great range beers from different micro-breweries – including its own.

Henry VIII. Image credit: Lucas Horenbout/ Web Gallery of Art

Henry VIII’s Beard Tax

Everyone’s favourite head-chopping king, Henry VIII, is said to have introduced a ‘beard tax’ in 1535 – despite having one himself. Walk in the king’s footsteps at his stunning former home, Hampton Court Palace.

Tower Green and the Queen's House at the Tower of London

A bearded escape at the Tower of London

On the eve of his execution in 1716, Lord Nithsdale staged a daring escape from the Tower of London. His wife and two of her friends smuggled in a set of women’s clothes and managed to sneak out the prisoner disguised as one of them – even though he hadn’t had time to shave his long beard. Visit the Tower of London for a glimpse of the site where the Lieutenant’s Lodgings (where the Lord was held) once stood – next to what is now the Queen’s House.

Weird Beard Brewery

West London brewers Weird Beard Brew Co (“all beard, no sandals”) concoct fantastically named beers like American IPA Five O’Clock Shadow, K*ntish Town Beard and Black Perle. Give them a taste for yourself at the Craft Beer Co in Covent Garden or The Harp near Charing Cross, which regularly stock Weird Beard Brews – just two of many other pubs and bars across London to do so.

Margaret Thatcher with Ronald Regan outside Number 10 Downing Street. Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library.

Margaret Thatcher’s fear of beards

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had a thing against facial hair and famously declared “I wouldn’t tolerate any minister of mine wearing a beard”. See where the Iron Lady once lived by peering through the imposing gates of Downing Street.

The Beard of the Great Sphinx at the British Museum

The Great Sphinx is one of the most iconic sights of ancient Egypt – and the British Museum has a piece of this massive sculpture: specifically a fragment of its beard. It dates back to about 1500-1295 BC – possibly even further back – and was excavated at Giza in 1817. See it for yourself in Room 4 at the British Museum.

To Beard or Not To Beard window display at Selfridges London. Photograph by Gareth Davies/Snap Media Productions

To Beard or Not to Beard at Selfridges

The latest window display at Selfridges cheekily picks up on the beard/no beard debate. Titled To Beard Or Not To Beard, it features a recreated barber’s shop – with all the trimmings. Step inside and you’ll find an actual barber’s shop – a collaboration between the people behind Return of the Rudeboy (an upcoming exhibition at Somerset House), top hairdresser Johnnie Sapong and Soho salon We Are Cuts – snipping beards into shape until 12 June.

]]>
http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/a-quick-guide-to-london-beards/feed/ 0
Brazil in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/brazil-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/brazil-in-london/#comments Fri, 13 Jun 2014 08:34:00 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38923 The Fontanas. Courtesy of Rich Mix

In case you missed the news (where on earth have you been?) the 2014 FIFA World Cup is being held in Brazil. But you don’t need to jet around the world to get into the spirit, there are plenty of amazing places and ways to enjoy Brazilian culture right here in London.

Here are just a few ideas to get you started – from dancing up a storm to sipping delicious rum cocktails.

Brazilian cocktails in London

Made in Brasil cocktail and snacks

The caipirinha is the most popular of Brazil’s cocktails – a refreshing kick of cachaça (sugar cane rum), sugar and lime. Enjoy a classic caipirinha – or one of the many spin-offs, made with fresh fruit – at the newly opened pop-up Barzinho in Soho, Guanabara in Covent Garden or Floripa in Old Street.

Brazilian restaurants in London

Brazil is famous for its barbeques (or churrascaria) – and Brazilians know a thing or two about grilling meat to perfection. Find out for yourself at London chain Rodizio Rico, which has branches in The O2, Islington and Notting Hill. Other dining options include Raizes in Hackney, Barraco in Kilburn or the Japanese-flavoured Sushisamba in the City. While other favourite dishes to look out for include Brazil’s national dish, feijoada (a hearty bean and pork stew), moqueca (a tasty fish stew made with coconut milk) and the deliciously sweet pudim (a caramel-like flan made with condensed milk).

Brazilian music in London

Made in Brasil

The Brazilian music scene is big in London – and growing all the time. To hear live music, you need to head to places like Vauxhall restaurant/bar Tia Maria, glitzy Covent Garden bar Guanabara and Camden restaurant/bar Made in Brasil. As well as samba you’ll find choro, bossa nova, forro, MPB… the list goes on. Many non-Brazilian venues also hold regular Brazilian music nights too, such as Ronnie’s Bar (above famous Soho jazz club Ronnie Scott’s) and Primo near Westminster. And don’t forget to look out for samba, samba reggae and maracatu bands and dancers parading at the Notting Hill Carnival in August.

Brazilian dance in London

Brasil Brasileiro. Courtesy: Sadler's Wells

Like with music, there are many different forms of Brazilian dance – and you find many of them in London. Learn how to shimmy to samba at the London School of Samba itself, partner up for forro dancing (Forro London lists all the different forro nights in London), discover empowering maracatu and samba reggae dance with Gandaia Arts in Brixton, cross continents with Irineu Nogueira’s fierce Afro-Brazilian dance sessions… you could dance every night of the week! If you prefer to watch rather than participate, why not check out Brasil Brasileiro, coming to top dance venue Sadler’s Wells on 8 July.

Brazilian martial arts in London

If you prefer your dance with bite, seek out Brazil’s famous martial arts/dance form: capoeira. You can learn to ‘ginga’ (and the rest) at the many capoeira schools across London. Another popular Brazilian martial art is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – a self-defence sport focused on grappling and ground fighting. Just make sure you don’t get the two mixed up!

Brazilian events in London

Joga Bola! at Rich Mix

If you want to find out what Brazilian events are happening in your area or right now, pay a visit to Culturart.co.uk, a great online resource of Brazilian happenings and culture – with a handy monthly newsletter. Other top sites to visit include Brazilian/Latin American magazine Jungle Drums and the website of London’s Brazilian Embassy. Just three upcoming events not to miss include: the World Cup kickoff party Brazil Day at Trafalgar Square on 12 June, musical feast Joga Bola! at Rich Mix (from 12 June to 13 July) – with The Fontanas (pictured top) and many more, and Radical Geometry: Modern Art of South America at the Royal Academy of Arts (5 Jul-28 Sep).

Find out where to watch the World Cup in London.

]]>
http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/brazil-in-london/feed/ 0
How To Find a Pop-up Restaurant In London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/how-to-find-a-pop-up-restaurant-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/how-to-find-a-pop-up-restaurant-in-london/#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 09:00:55 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38805 Grub Club Supper Club Confit Comme Ca

With pop-up restaurants springing up everywhere, London’s foodie scene has never been more exciting. Not only do you get to try great food from the capital’s brightest new chefs, but you’ll meet new people and enjoy a totally unexpected evening.

But how do you find a pop-up restaurant or supper club in London? Here are a few leads to get you started:

Grub Club

On Grub Club’s easy-to-use website you just type in a day you want to eat out, a location, the number of people and any keywords… then bing! A tasty selection of options pops up. You can then filter the options by price, cuisine, diet (i.e. vegan, allergy-friendly) and even choose options that are for charity.

One to try: Summer Fish Feast (27 Jun, £35pp): Head chef Adha, otherwise known as The King of Gnocchi, serves up his well-appreciated gnocchi with seabass ragu, cherry tomatoes and burrata cheese, with other special dishes like black fettuccine with Devon crab & dill, or his famous octopus salad.

London Pop-Ups

Comprehensive blog London Pop-Ups not only lists new pop-up restaurants, but pop-up bars, shops, galleries and gigs too. The ‘London Supper Clubs’ tab lists all regular supper clubs and when they’re next happening. If you want to catch the freshest face on the blog, click ‘Open this week’ to find what’s new in town.

One to try: The Argentinian Pizza Supper Club (Saturdays, £25pp): authentic Argentian pizza in a café/gallery space off Old Street – includes dessert, half a bottle of wine and live music.

The Londonist

The Londonist publishes a monthly dedicated guide to eating on the fly: 10 Foodie Pop-Ups To Try This Month.

One to try: Morty & Bob’s (Wed-Sun): indulgent cheese toasties served from pub Off Broadway, along East London’s Broadway Market. Optional top-ups include bacon, pulled pork and avocado salsa.

The Nudge: Pop-up London

London lifestyle website The Nudge dedicates a whole section to ‘Pop-up London’, and each month picks The Best Pop Up Restaurants In London. May’s list included a five-course feast at the National Trust’s Osterley House, Roti Chai’s ‘Chaat Shack & Chai Bar’ on the Southbank, and Pop Up Barbados in, er, Dalston.

One to try: Struie Road, Clerkenwell (13 Jun, 18 Jul, 19 Sep, 17 Oct, 21 Nov, 5 Dec. £49pp) An eight-course seasonal menu with a Scottish flavour – dishes include wild boar sausage rolls with gooseberry ketchup.

]]>
http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/how-to-find-a-pop-up-restaurant-in-london/feed/ 1
10 Canalside Cafes in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/05/10-canalside-cafes-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/05/10-canalside-cafes-in-london/#comments Mon, 26 May 2014 09:00:03 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38687 The Counter Cafe

As London’s picturesque canals become increasingly popular with walkers and cyclists, more and more canalside cafes are popping up along London’s towpaths. We pick 10 canalside eateries where you can sit and watch boats bobbing, the sun shining on the water and the world go by. Bliss.

The Counter Café

At independent café and coffee roastery The Counter Café (pictured top), you get a view not just of the canal but the Olympic stadium – which is just 100 metres away across the water. Grab a seat on the outdoor terrace to enjoy their popular pies, excellent coffee and amazing brunches. Save time to explore the latest exhibition in the Stour Space, the social enterprise which the café is part of.

Towpath Café

From Islington, the Regent’s Canal stretches further east to Hoxton – and the Towpath Café (near Whitmore Bridge). Opened by food photographer Jason Lowe and his food-writer wife Lori de Mori, the café serves up a small but delicious selection of Italian specialities. They have no phone number, website and only accept cash, so why not take their lead, switch off your mobile and indulge in some people watching!

Ribeira London

Neighbouring Towpath Café is another canalside favourite: Ribeira London. This time food comes with a Latin twist, served in beautifully designed surroundings. The chilled-out sister restaurant to Old Street’s Floripa, Ribeira is the place to go for anything from coffee to cocktails, and dinner to all-day (well, ‘til 4pm) brunch at the weekend.

The Proud Archivist. Photo by Luke Hayes

The Proud Archivist

Close to Kingsland Basin on Regent’s Canal (nearest station: Haggerston Overground), The Proud Archivist – like InSpiral Lounge – wears many hats. Gallery, bar, restaurant, café, events space… Seasonal, locally-inspired dishes are top of the menu and change all the time, while current/upcoming events on the social calendar include Secret Theatre’s Diary of a Sociopathic Freakozoid and the exhibition Miniature Salon.

King's Cross Filling Station

King’s Cross Filling Station

Its name may suggest a petrol forecourt, but King’s Cross Filling Station is anything but. Behind its contemporary, glass architecture and neon signage, you’ll find Shrimpy’s Deluxe Dinette & Terrace – and during the warmer month, the Outside Grill & Bar. On the dinette menu: everything from snackettes like ‘frickles’ (deep fried picked chillies), to crab burgers, to chocolate & pistachio sundae. Fill us up!

Ragged School Museum café

The Ragged School Museum is a little-known, free London attraction that offers a fascinating insight into Victorian England – and specifically what it was like to be a pupil in the charity school that once stood on this site. As well as a reconstructed domestic Victorian kitchen, there’s the real-life café – serving hot and cold drinks and snacks. Not a destination in its own right, but good for a quick refreshment after exploring the museum.

InSpiral Lounge in CamdenInSpiral Lounge

A wonderful haven in the heart of Camden, InSpiral Lounge is part eco-café, part music venue, part shop. Take a pew in the seats overlooking the canal and tuck into a plate of vegan food, some raw cake, a scoop of vegan ice cream or one of the feel-good smoothies. Stop by in the evening for live music, poetry and weekend DJ nights.

Lock 7 CafeLock 7 Café

London’s canal towpaths are popular with cyclists, so Lock 7 was opened to cater for those on two wheels (and two feet). In fact it claims to be London’s first cycle café. So alongside the café serving the usual coffees, teas and snacks, there’s a bike workshop and shop.

The Pumphouse Café

Sitting alongside Regent’s Canal in Islington, The Pumphouse Café is located (as the name suggests) in a converted brick pump house – with great views over the City Road Basin. As well as fresh coffees and homemade cakes there are vegetarian and meat lunches if you need something more substantial.

Cafe Laville

Café Laville

Café Laville is an Italian café bridging the canal at picturesque Little Venice. Pop in for a continental breakfast (there’s everything from yogurt with honey and almonds to omelette with goats cheese and spinach), a freshly made sandwich or salad at lunch or a tasty dinner of pasta, risotto or grilled fish/meat.

]]>
http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/05/10-canalside-cafes-in-london/feed/ 0
10 Of The Best Frozen Yogurts In London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/05/10-of-the-best-frozen-yogurts-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/05/10-of-the-best-frozen-yogurts-in-london/#comments Mon, 19 May 2014 09:00:58 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38655 Moto Yofo frozen yogurt. Photo credit: Katie Boardman

Healthier than an ice cream, more exciting than a smoothie, the frozen yogurt is one of London’s favourite treats. We pick out 10 of the best places to find fabulous ‘froyo’ in the capital. Tuck in!

Pinkberry

Located in two of London’s biggest shopping destinations – Selfridges and Westfield StratfordPinkberry is the ideally placed for a mid-shopping-spree stop-off. Froyo comes not just in the standard tub but also in a cone or even a Waffle Cookie Sandwich. While toppings include everything from the sophisticated (green tea, coffee and lychee) to the decadent (cookie & cream, peanut butter and salted caramel). Your only difficulty will be choosing which to plump for.

Snog frozen yogurt

Snog

Probably London’s best-known frozen yogurt specialist, the cheekily named Snog has branches all over town – from Soho to St John’s Wood. On its own, a pot of fat-free frogurt at Snog is just 142 calories – but how can you not add a topping when you’ve got options like crunchy granola, gluten-free brownie and fresh strawberries to choose from?

Itsu

Alongside healthy portions of sushi and salad, Pan-Asian chain Itsu does a good line in frozen yogurts. Its Fro-go desserts are topped with a choice of fruity mixes or indulgent treats, like honey nut cashews. Please note, not all branches of Itsu stock frozen yogurt so check in advance to avoid dessert fail.

Yog frozen yogurt

Yog

Yog uses handmade yogurt from its dairy farm in Kent for its frozen yogurts. This ‘Hoof to Hands’ method means that it can add in its natural flavours while ageing the yogurt in the churn: things like dark chocolate, coconut and vanilla bean & honey. Try it for yourself at one of Yog’s six London branches, including Charlotte Street (West End) and Berkeley Street (Mayfair).

Frae

Like Yog, Frae’s frozen yogurt begins life on a British dairy farm (this time in Wales) – while its name (meaning “from” in old Scot) is a nod to the heritage of its two Scottish founders. With a branch at Topshop’s flagship London store on Oxford Street, Frae’s fruit-topped favourites are popular with the fashion crowd. Look out for other branches in the equally trendy Islington, Notting Hill and Chelsea.

Samba Swirl

Samba Swirl

At the very colourful Samba Swirl, you make your own menu – adding whichever toppings you want and then paying by weight. The flavours change daily but a suitably Brazilian theme runs throughout, with options such as coconut, dulce de leche and guava alongside the more familiar chocolate, strawberry and cupcake. Branches can be found in Chiswick, Battersea, Islington and Camden Town.

Moosh

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you might start salivating at some of the names of the toppings at Moosh: Banoffee Pie (banana, caramel, amaretti biscuit), Choc-aholic (warm chocolate brownie and chocolate sauce), Snow Storm (passionfruit, meringue, raspberry coulis)… Can’t wait? Head for one of its two branches (in Fulham and Carnaby Street) now!

Moto Yogo's Stan the milk van. Credit: Katie Boardman

Moto Yogo

Stan the Milk Float, as Moto Yogo’s cute electric home is known, can often be found at foodie markets like KERB at Kings Cross/the Southbank Centre and Greenwich Market. On the menu? Organic frozen yogurt crowned with delicious toppings like rhubarb crumble, organic pecans & maple syrup and (you heard it here first!) its soon-to-be-released Mexican-inspired flavour Choco Chido, made with chocolate, cinnamon and a touch of chilli. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for that one.

Yoomoo

Tucked away on the third floor of London’s famous Harrods sits the Yoomoo frozen yogurt bar. Handily it’s located in the heart of Toy Kingdom, so little ones can explore and play – before being tempted away for a tasty froyo. The basic frozen yogurt comes in natural, strawberry, Belgian chocolate or Madagascan vanilla, with everything from chocolate buttons to 23-carat edible gold flakes available to sprinkle on top. Only in Harrods! Other branches of Yoomoo can be found in Westfield Stratford City, O2 on Finchley Road and Canary Wharf.

Yogland

‘Your Cup, Your Creation’ is the motto at Yogland on Queenway, another frozen yogurt London fave which knows what customers like best: doing their own topping combos (however bizarre). There are even no-added sugar and high-protein varieties available, in addition to the mind-boggling selection of flavours – from the weird (cake batter, anyone?) to the wonderful (red velvet cake).

]]>
http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/05/10-of-the-best-frozen-yogurts-in-london/feed/ 1
Six Things We Learned on the Eating London Food Tour http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/05/five-things-we-learned-on-the-eating-london-food-tour/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/05/five-things-we-learned-on-the-eating-london-food-tour/#comments Tue, 06 May 2014 08:22:22 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38592 Bread & butter pudding at The English Restaurant

East London has long attracted people from all over the world: silk-weaving Huguenots, persecuted Jews, Bangladeshi chefs… who have all made their fortunes on its cobbled streets – alongside the native Cockneys born and bred here. So where better to hold a heritage food tour?

The Eating London food tour lasts about 3.5 hours and is packed full of fascinating facts about Brick Lane and Spitalfields, hidden gems and visits to everywhere from a traditional English boozer to a Brick Lane curryhouse. Visit London went along to sample it for ourselves – and left with brain and belly delightfully full. Here are just five things we learned on the way…

1. St John does an amazing bacon sandwich

St John Bread & Wine knows a thing or two about meat – its founder is the pioneer of the ‘nose to tail’ food revolution after all. So it should be no surprise that its bacon sandwich is a real treat, and a great way to kick off the tour. Made using Gloucester Old Spot rashers, for once the delicious smoky bacon is the main event, not something to be smothered in ketchup!

2. How to spot a real bagel

While tucking into hot salt beef bagels at the Brick Lane Bagel Bar – juicy meat falling away, pickles sliding, mouths drooling – we learned how bagels are made the proper way. Unlike supermarket bagels which are steamed, real bagels are boiled before being baked. You can tell it’s not the real deal if it has the telltale grate marks on the underside.

Cheese tasting at Androuet

3. You can get a cheese wedding cake at Androuet

French cheese shop and restaurant Androuet served up some delicious English cheeses for us to try, expertly paired with dried fruits and nuts. Our attention was also caught by the photos of giant cheese wedding cakes they supply for more savoury-toothed couples. Brie-lliant!

4. It pays to look up

Our Eating London guides constantly surprised us by pointing out street art, strange buildings or quirky signs we’d missed – despite having walked around the area countless times in the past. Many times a whole new world opened up just by looking above eye level.

5. You can still buy fish & chips served in newspaper

In the 1980s, the powers that be decided serving fish & chips in newspaper was unsafe as the ink could seep into the food. Poppies in Spitalfields has ingeniously got around this law by printing their newspaper with edible ink! It’s also just been voted Best Independent Fish and Chips Restaurant in the UK at the National Fish and Chip Awards – an award well earned, after tasting their wonderfully light cod, chunky chips and piping hot mushy peas. Well worth a look.

6. There’s always room for dessert

Filled with tasty drinks and snacks from some of East London’s finest restaurants, the tour ended at Pizza East with a slice of salted caramel chocolate tart. Sprinkled with almonds and sea salt, no-one could resist scoffing down the entire slice (despite all that had come before) accompanied by a cuppa and chatter. Well, we had been walking after all – it was well earned.

Eating London’s East End Food Tour takes place Monday to Saturday at 10am. Adults £59. To book, visit eatinglondontours.co.uk

]]>
http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/05/five-things-we-learned-on-the-eating-london-food-tour/feed/ 5
Spotlight On: Greenwich http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/top-5-things-to-do-in-the-london-borough-of-greenwich/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/top-5-things-to-do-in-the-london-borough-of-greenwich/#comments Wed, 30 Apr 2014 09:00:11 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38541 Mercedes tall ship. Photo credit: Royal Borough of Greenwich

You’ve probably heard of Greenwich for its rich maritime history, World Heritage status and great time-keeping (this is the home of Greenwich Mean Time, no less). But there’s plenty more to discover across this Royal Borough, from sky-high cable cars to an Art Deco mansion. Here are just five things to do while you’re staying in the area:

1. See Tall Ships and Nelson’s Uniform

Nelson's Trafalgar Uniform. © National Maritime Museum

If you’re visiting London this September, don’t miss the Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta. Over five days (from 5 to 9 September), some 50 majestic tall ships will be arriving from the coast of Cornwall. But don’t worry if you miss out, one ship that’s not going anywhere is Cutty Sark – the last surviving tea clipper and the fastest and greatest of its time – now permanently docked in Greenwich. Don’t forget to pop into the nearby National Maritime Museum too to hear more fantastic sea tales – and see the coat Admiral Nelson wore at the Battle of Trafalgar (complete with bullet hole).
While you’re there… Eat lunch at The Trafalgar Tavern, a historic 19th century pub overlooking the River Thames.

2. See Time and Space at the Royal Observatory and Planetarium

Royal Observatory. Courtesy of Visit Greenwich

Sitting high above Greenwich town centre is the Royal Observatory, home of not only Greenwich Mean Time, but also the Prime Meridian of the world (the zero point of longitude), London’s only planetarium and the UK’s largest refracting telescope. Take in a show at the planetarium, marvel at Harrison’s timekeepers and stand astride the Prime Meridian line – with one foot in the east, the other in the west. Look out for new exhibitions too, such as Longitude Punk’d – featuring modern-day versions of the weird, wonderful and somewhat wacky inventions submitted during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
While you’re there… Go on a ramble around Greenwich Park. This rolling green space is popular with locals and tourists alike for picnics, team games, strolls, boating-lake rides and squirrel spotting.

3. Soak up the view from a cable car or on top of The O2

Emirates Air Line

Get a bird’s eye view of Greenwich and across London from on top of The O2. How do you get up there? You climb of course. It’s all part of the Up At The O2 experience, a 90-minute journey to a 360-degree viewing platform atop the famous domed venue. Alternatively head to the nearby south terminal of the Emirates Air Line and take a cable car across the river to the north stop, Emirates Royal Docks. Or if you prefer to have your head in the clouds but your feet firmly on the ground, don’t miss the new Emirates Aviation Experience, where you can get a feel for life in the skies with the help of flight simulators and interactive aviation displays.
While you’re there… Experience another unusual form of London transport and travel back to Central London by boat with City Cruises or Thames Clippers.

4. Visit A Royal Residence

Queen's House. Courtesy of Visit Greenwich

Picturesquely located along the river, Queen’s House has ironically not housed many queens. Queen Anne (wife of James I) died before the building she commissioned was completed, and Henrietta Maria (wife of Charles I) spent little time there before the Civil War forced her to exile to France. It’s since fared better as an orphanage and then fine-art gallery – which it remains today. For something more off the beaten track, jump on the train to Eltham and visit the childhood home of Henry VIII, Eltham Palace – and the 1930s Art Deco mansion built next to the remains of this medieval royal palace.
While you’re there… Sample one of the homegrown, limited-edition beers at The Old Brewery, a working brewery with a restaurant/cafe and bar on the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College.

5.  Browse Greenwich Market

Greenwich Market stall

You don’t need to leave Greenwich to find great treasures, like maritime explorers of past, there are plenty of gems to uncover at Greenwich Market. Here, artists and craftspeople from the local area and beyond gather to sell their creations – from fashion to gifts, homemade candles and jewellery. There’s also a food section that’s always packed full of stalls selling street snacks from around the world. Head down on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for antiques and collectibles, and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and weekends for arts and crafts.

While you’re there… If it’s the weekend (or a bank holiday) don’t forget to pay a visit to Greenwich’s other market, the Greenwich Clocktower Market, where you’ll find quirky antique and vintage pieces.

See the Visit Greenwich website for more things to do in Greenwich.

]]>
http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/top-5-things-to-do-in-the-london-borough-of-greenwich/feed/ 0
Where To Take A Toddler in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/where-to-take-a-toddler-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/where-to-take-a-toddler-in-london/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 08:00:33 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38272 In The Night Garden Live

Want to entertain your toddler in London but need something suitable for their age – and your wallet? We’ve got a few suggestions to get you started…

In The Night Garden Live

Just like Peppa Pig and CBeebies, In The Night Garden is making the transition from the small screen to the big stage, with live shows at The O2 and Richmond Park this spring. Taking place inside a special show dome, the performance uses costumes, puppets and all sorts of technical trickery to magically bring Igglepigle, Upsy Daisy and Makka Pakka to life.

Discover

Discover Children’s Story Centre

Take a wander along the story trail at Discover in Stratford, where you and your little one can explore a secret cave, have a tea party, dress up in a crazy costume… and let your imaginations run wild! There’s also a garden, café and studio featuring multi-sensory installations and exhibitions. And best of all, it’s free for under 2s!

National Maritime Museum

The fascinating National Maritime Museum in historic Greenwich has something for all ages. The Children’s Gallery and Ship Simulator may be too old for your toddler, but they’ll definitely enjoy scooting around the Great Map on a plastic boat and the many family events, such as Play Tuesdays – where under 5s can explore the museum through crafts, music, dance and stories. The museum is free but the activities do have a small charge.

Diana Princess of Wales Memorial

Tumbling Bay Playground

Within the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park lies a fantastic kids playground, Tumbling Bay. There’s plenty to explore here: rock pools, sandpits, slides, swings… plus an adjoining community centre and café, the Timber Lodge, for when you need to refuel or change nappies. Other great outdoor spots for toddlers in London include the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens (complete with pirate ship); London’s many city farms; and Coram’s Fields, a seven-acre playground close to the British Museum.

Unicorn Theatre

Alongside its programme for older children, the Unicorn Theatre in London Bridge puts on special productions for younger visitors. Upcoming toddler-friendly shows include Not Now, Bernard (for ages 2+), based on the much-loved children’s book, and Sensacional (for ages 18 months to 3 years), a colourful sound-and-light show in which your toddler dresses in a white suit and becomes part of the experience!

London Transport Museum

Many toddlers have a fascination with public transport; indulge their obsession at the London Transport Museum. Particularly good for this age group is the All Aboard! area, with its pint-sized versions of a bus, train, Tube and taxi. There’s also a play table with a miniature model of London and toy trains. Though chances are they’ll want to ‘have a go’ on the full-size buses and Tube trains too.

Toddler Time at Picturehouse Cinemas

Many cinemas now have kids clubs or parent-and-baby screenings, Picturehouse goes one up with Toddler Time: 30-minute shows to introduce children to the big screen. Admission is £3 per child, free for under 1s.

London Aquarium

Plus: toddlers go free at…

Which toddler-friendly attractions have proved a hit with your little one? Share your top tips in the comments section below.

More family-friendly attractions in London

]]>
http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/where-to-take-a-toddler-in-london/feed/ 2