Visit London Blog » Eating Out http://blog.visitlondon.com Enjoy the very best of London Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 48 Hour Gay Guide to East London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/48-hour-gay-guide-to-east-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/48-hour-gay-guide-to-east-london/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 09:00:16 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38310 A guest blog post by Adam Groffman, author of travel blog Travels of Adam

London’s East End is one of the capital’s coolest neighborhoods. A longtime working class area, East London is now home to some of the city’s best restaurants and bars. And while London’s gay scene is traditionally in Soho, most hipsters have moved further afield to Shoreditch and Hackney. Here’s our guide to a fun weekend in East London, including gay nightlife and tourist attractions:

Shoreditch

FRIDAY NIGHT

Stay at The Boundary Hotel
A former Victorian warehouse, Shoreditch’s Boundary Hotel is a great place to stay if you’re visiting on a romantic weekend as it has a rooftop restaurant and bar, as well as a boutique style which make the place seem homely yet elegant. Rooms from £200 per night.

A Taste of the East
Rather than splurging on a meal at the rooftop bar in the hotel, visit the popular Indian restaurant across the street Dishoom. The garden and laid-back style make it a great place to chill out before heading out for the night.

Loungelover

Cocktails at Loungelover
For a Friday night nightcap, take a short stroll to the trendy Loungelover bar, which has won countless awards for its menu as well as its design. Every room is luxuriously decorated.

Shoreditch grafitti

SATURDAY

Enjoy a food tour
To get a taste of East London, skip breakfast at the hotel and instead make your way to Spitalfields Market. There, at 10am, the East End Food Tour begins. At £59, the walking food tour includes enough food to cover both breakfast and lunch taking in some of East London’s best eateries. It also covers Brick Lane and a bit of history about Jack the Ripper. On a budget? Free Tours by Foot offer pay-what-you-like food and history tours of the East End.

Vintage shopping at Broadway Market
Broadway Market takes place at the foot of London Fields park every Saturday. It’s basically a food market, though some of the shops along the street include bookstores and vintage shops. If you want to visit an authentic London pub, enjoy a pint at The Cat & Mutton.

Dining out in Shoreditch
After a long day of walking through East London, a relaxed dinner near Shoreditch High Street is in order. Keep an eye out for one of the food trucks to grab a light snack. Across the street from Shoreditch Box Park on the High Street is a canopied food hall (inside you’ll want to try Tulum Tacos or Yalla Yalla). Across the street is the trendy Hoi Polloi restaurant inside ACE Hotel. They’ve got a selection of small food plates and great cocktails to go with them.

Gay clubs in East London
For a proper night out, there are a few great options for gay clubs in East London. Dalston Superstore is a classic. Check their website for a calendar of events. East Bloc  is where all the indie boys and girls go — so you’ll be sure to get some good music and fun nights there. But if you’re after a more British setting, go to the George & Dragon pub on Hackney Street for a sample of the Shoreditch hipster scene.

Columbia Road

SUNDAY

Brick Lane and Columbia Road Markets
Sunday is arguably the best day to be hanging out in East London. With the Columbia Road Flower Market in Hackney and the massive Brick Lane market, there are more than enough things to do and see. Here you’ll find vendors selling everything from street food to vintage clothing.

Tramshed

Art gallery in a restaurant basement
To top off the weekend, make your way to the trendy Tramshed Restaurant on Rivington Street. In the basement is a small gallery space featuring a wide range of artists — not just established ones, but local up-and-coming ones as well.

TRAVELS OF ADAM focuses on the most hip and cool things to do around the world. Follow Adam on Instagram and Pinterest to discover his latest cool travel finds.

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London Bar and Restaurant News: Horse Meat Burgers, Caribbean Covent Garden and a Potential Michelin Farmyard http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/london-bar-and-restaurant-news-horse-meat-burgers-caribbean-covent-garden-and-a-potential-michelin-farmyard/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/london-bar-and-restaurant-news-horse-meat-burgers-caribbean-covent-garden-and-a-potential-michelin-farmyard/#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 09:00:14 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38253 London’s drinking and dining scene has been extremely busy of late. New bars and restaurants have been opening up all over London. One particular food craze and one specific area of London both seem to be flourishing at the moment.

Burger Crazy
The hunt for the best burgers in London continues: Tommi’s Burger Joint has opened a second restaurant on the King’s Road in Chelsea; StreetFeast regulars, Baba G’s will be dishing up their Bhangra Burger sliders at Apples & Pears on Brick Lane from 10 April; Psychic Burger will open their second outlet at The Old Queen’s Head in Angel on 24 April (with a menu that will feature a burger made from 100% ethically-sourced horse meat); and Patty & Bun open restaurant number two on Liverpool Street in the City of London on 23 April. In other burger related news, Honky Tonk Chelsea are creating a dessert burger for Easter made from a brioche bun and warm chocolate mousse; and Honest Burger recently teamed up with BrewDog bar to create a limited edition burger that required customers to show ID before ordering due to the alcoholic amber ale glaze on the burger.

Covent Garden is Blooming
Possibly London’s most prolific area for new bar and restaurant activity at the moment is Covent Garden in the West End. The American-inspired Big Easy now has a second London location where diners can enjoy their BBQ meats and seafood. Thai beer brand Singha has opened its first European restaurant Pacata in Covent Garden recently and Asian street food dominates the menu that was created by the first Michelin starred Ramen Chef. Following the recent Notting Hill opening of Boom Burger, Caribbean food now also has two new Covent Garden restaurants to boast: Jamaica Patty Company, headed by the twice-voted Caribbean Chef of the Year, and Dub Jam, a colourful BBQ and rum shack located in a former cloakroom. Dub Jam’s signature punch is pumped through the restaurant’s speakers to infuse the drink with authentic reggae sounds! On the Covent Garden horizon, keep an eye out for the new venture from popular Spanish restaurant, Barrafina (also of Soho) which opens in May.

Further New Bar and Restaurant Openings
One Kensington is the glamorous new hangout for lunch, dinner, cocktails and late supper overlooking Kensington Palace Gardens.

Chef Rainer Becker is back once again with yet more contemporary Japanese Robatayaki cuisine at Roka Mayfair.

Traditional Georgian cuisine served in the most splendid of Mayfair settings at Marani.

Michelin-starred chef Ollie Dabbous goes rustic with his second London restaurant Barnyard, which is decorated to match its name.

Bravas is a new Spanish restaurant in St Katharine Docks, only minutes from Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.

Holborn Dining Room and Delicatessen sees high class British dishes set amongst historical elegance in the new, ultra-luxury, five-star Rosewood London hotel.

Find more bars and restaurants in London

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Top 5 Things to See And Do In Wandsworth, London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/top-5-things-to-see-and-do-in-wandsworth-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/top-5-things-to-see-and-do-in-wandsworth-london/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 10:44:16 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38182 The London Borough of Wandsworth in South London extends southwards from the River Thames. Geopgraphically, it includes the towns of Clapham, Balham, Tooting, Wandsworth, Putney, Battersea and Earlsfield. It is also one of the most lush boroughs in London, boasting 670 hectares (1,700 acres) of green space.

The famous towers of Battersea Power Station stand at the water’s edge of the river. The iconic structure is currently under redevelopment with lots of exciting prospects planned to emerge, so watch this space (and the video above). Meanwhile, here are five more things to do when exploring Wandsworth.
Battersea Park Pagoda
Battersea Park and the Thames Path
Situated on the banks of the river Thames, the 200-acre Battersea Park has a variety of activities on offer. Families are entertained at the Battersea Park Children’s Zoo and the children’s playground. Cyclists, runners, and skaters utilise the circular road around the park and as well as the sports fields, tennis courts and athletics stadium. For a slower pace of London life, check out the Buddhist Peace Pagoda, water fountains, and Pump House art gallery. The park is connected to the Thames Path which is well worth following for as long as your legs can handle.
Tooting Lido
Tooting Bec Lido
At 91.5 metres in length, Tooting Bec Lido is England’s biggest fresh water, open air swimming pool. The multi-coloured changing cubicles offer a glimpse into what leisure time was like for London’s ancestors. The pool is open for public use from late May until the end of September. There is a children’s paddling pool and a café onsite making it a great day out for families.
Chez Bruce
Chez Bruce
There are many beer garden pubs, cocktail bars, and Indian curry houses in Wandsworth. However, Chez Bruce takes the top spot in Wandsworth’s eating and drinking guide because it’s one of the best restaurants in the UK. The casual, Michelin-starred French restaurant can be found just across the road from Wandsworth Common, one of London’s many green spaces. Prices are of Michelin standard too, so if you’re on a budget, maybe opt for a lunchtime booking and only order a glass of wine.
Putney
The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race
The beginning of the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race takes place on the river Thames at Putney on Sunday 6 April 2014. As this is one of the world’s oldest and closely contested rowing races, the atmosphere is excitable, to say the least. It’s therefore worth arriving well in advance of the actual start of the race in order to get a good spot either on Putney Bridge or along the Thames Path on Putney Embankment. The Dukes Head pub is a good places to station yourself for the action.

Battersea Arts Centre
Wandsworth’s beating heart of culture can be found at the Battersea Arts Centre in Clapham Junction. The diverse range of events taking place at the “BAC” include cabaret, poetry, interactive theatre, spoken word, comedy, workshops, talks, classes and debates. The space is seen as a place to nurture new, unfinished theatrical and musical works. This means that whatever performance you see, it will be creative and probably unconventional. There’s also a cool bar and café onsite which makes for an interesting place to simply hang out and soak up the atmosphere.

Images courtesy of Flickr users Ndecam, Bod, Rolyatam, Nevalenx and squeezeomatic.

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Top 5 Alternative Mother’s Day Treats http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/top-5-alternative-mothers-day-treats/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/top-5-alternative-mothers-day-treats/#comments Thu, 20 Mar 2014 10:00:48 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38162 If you want to treat your mum to a memorable Mother’s Day that oozes wow factor, check out some of these alternative ways to spend Sunday 30 March.

British Pullman

Take a nostalgic train journey
Step back in time to the golden age of travel by spoiling your mum with a ride on a British Pullman or Northern Belle, sister trains to the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Your mum can expect vintage 1920s wood-panelled carriages, gourmet cuisine, lashings of Champagne and liveried stewards. Perfect for those with cash to splash, a one-day round trip from London Victoria is £310 and includes a five-course lunch with champagne and half a bottle of wine per person.

A Taste of Honey

See a play
For a dose of culture, take your mum to see taboo-breaking play A Taste of Honey at the National Theatre, which stars Lesley Sharp (Clocking Off) and Dean Lennox Kelly (Shameless). The play tells the story of a feisty teenager whose mother elopes with a car salesman. Left alone, the teen begins a relationship with a sailor who promises to marry her, before fleeing to sea and leaving her pregnant.

London Jewellery School

Make jewellery
Treat your mum to a jewellery-making class at the London Jewellery School. Taster classes cost from £50 and vary from making chandelier earrings to upcycling jewellery.

Florimania

See a flower show
Taking place over the Mother’s Day weekend at Hampton Court Palace, Florimania features colourful Georgian-style floral displays. This annual event is included in the entrance price to Hampton Court Palace.

The London Eye

Indulge on the London Eye
Live the high life by enjoying a double rotation in a private capsule on the EDF Energy London Eye, while feasting on an afternoon tea with Champagne or a chocolate tasting experience, which includes two glasses of prosecco. From £44.75 per person.

More Mother’s Day ideas

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Mother’s Day in London: Top 5 Afternoon Teas and Restaurant Treats For Mums http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/mothers-day-in-london-top-5-afternoon-teas-and-restaurant-treats-for-mums/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/mothers-day-in-london-top-5-afternoon-teas-and-restaurant-treats-for-mums/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 09:00:20 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38016 You know the story: you’ve arranged the Mother’s Day flowers and baked the Mother’s Day cake, but still want to treat your mum to something special on Mother’s Day itself.

Here are the best Mother’s day ideas for mums who’ll be in London on Sunday 30 March 2014, including Mother’s Day afternoon tea and Mother’s Day brunch.


Fortnum and Mason
As well as a mother-daughter pampering session in the beauty rooms, Fortnum and Mason is hosting a classic Mother’s Day afternoon tea in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon (from £45 per person) on 30 March. This afternoon tea is set in the quintessentially British environment of the famous department store and includes sandwiches, scones, and an array of sweet treats. Plus, for all those extra special mums on Mothering Sunday, there’s a free gift to take home.

The Royal Academy of Arts
Here’s a great gift for mothers who have (a) a fondness for art, and (b) a fondness for London and will therefore return to the city throughout the year. Purchase an annual Friends of RA membership as a Mother’s Day gift (£90) – giving mum unlimited access to world class exhibits and a host of other goodies at The Royal Academy of Arts – and you’ll receive a free cream tea for two at the exclusive members-only Keepers House.


Kensington Palace

On Sunday 30 March, mothers can take a regal trip through history with the Georgian Tea Party at Kensington Palace. After taking a royal stroll through the splendid gardens, mums will be invited to partake in ladylike pursuits in the palace. A special afternoon tea will also be served in the 18th century Orangery restaurant. The Georgian Tea Party is included as part of the normal entrance ticket price but tea at The Orangery is not.


Chelsea Riverside Brasserie
The Chelsea Riverside Brasserie at the Wyndham Grand London Chelsea Harbour hotel is a secluded hidden gem. The view out across the boats and the Thames creates a tranquil backdrop for spoiling mums. If you want to go grand with your Mother’s Day gift, treat her to an overnight stay, Champagne afternoon tea, chocolate truffles on arrival and full English breakfast (Mother’s Dearest Package from £330 per room per night). Alternatively, simply enjoy a leisurely brunch with unlimited Champagne for £55 per person on Sunday 30 March. If four or more adults dine, mums go for free.

Planet Hollywood and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! London
For families visiting London with younger children, there’s an opportunity to combine two of the West End’s most exciting experiences on Mother’s Day. For £36 per adult and £34 per child, you can enjoy the bizarre world of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! London (pictured right), home to exhibits like the mirror maze and a full size knitted Ferrari. The fun doesn’t stop there because included in the price is a two-course lunch or dinner with drink at movie memorabilia restaurant, Planet Hollywood.

More Mother’s Day ideas

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London Video of the Week: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Stars Share London Tips http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/dirty-rotten-scoundrels-stars-give-their-london-tips/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/dirty-rotten-scoundrels-stars-give-their-london-tips/#comments Fri, 07 Mar 2014 09:45:42 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38005

We ask Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ stars for their thoughts on the musical and top London tips ahead of the show’s opening at The Savoy Theatre on Monday.

Robert Lindsay (Lawrence Jameson) and Rufus Hound (Freddy Benson)

Dirty Rotten ScoundrelsHow would you describe your character?

RL: I’m the older guy who’s done very well, reached the top of his game, getting slightly bored who wants a bit of chaos in his life.

RH: I’m doing the same thing as Lawrence (a con man), but he’s doing it on a far grander, more professional scale. My character is so overwhelmed he wants to learn at the feet of the master.

Describe the show in a few words…

RL: It’s essentially a great story. People love a con man, they love a rogue. There are two wonderful rogues.

RH: Great big stuff…It’s a full-on, full-out class show…It’s so perfect for people who love a good West End musical.

What would you recommend for a first-time visitor?

RL: Book a ticket for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels!

RH: Go to the pub. Nowhere has pubs like London. Sit in one of those for 10 minutes and try some London Pride or something like that.

Samantha Bond (Muriel Eubanks) and John Marquez (Andre Thibault)

How would you describe your character?Samantha Bond and John Marquez

SB: I play Muriel, a very wealthy divorcee who has gone to France in search of love.

JM: Andre, chief of police. He’s not very good with women, but then…

Describe the show in a few words…

SB: I think it’s brilliant. Thrilling, exciting, funny, sexy. It’s phenomenal

JM: Hilarious, quality.

What would you recommend for a first-time visitor?

SB: You need to see architecture, go to art galleries, walk in our beautiful parks – there are hidden parts of St James’s Park that I only discovered last year. The London Eye is glorious. I also love the Duck Toursriver boats are great ways to see London.

JM: The thing that always strikes me is the history. I love going to the streets around London Bridge and Borough, standing looking around and imagining what actually went on there.

Do you have a secret hangout in London?

SB: I like to be in Covent Garden Piazza watching everything. There are also some fantastic walking tours to see the hidden parts of London.

JM: I always like to go to Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden, just to sit and have some food there.

Where would you go for a post-show meal?

SB: Three of my favourites are: J. Sheekey, The Ivy and The Delaunay.

JM: I just did a play near J. Sheekey. I’m not a big one at eating but I did get into having a few oysters and champagne there after the show.

Katherine Kingsley (Christine Colgate) and Jerry Mitchell (director)

How would you describe your character?

Katherine Kingsley and Jerry Mitchell

KK: She’s the heiress of a soap company from America. She’s goes to the South of France where she meets two men who turn out to be con men.

Describe the show in a few words…

JM: A big, fun musical comedy where you get a chance to meet some fabulous people and get conned along the way.

KK: Fun, sexy, classy.

What would you recommend for a first-time visitor to London?

JM: The London EDITION  hotel has a wonderful bar called the Punch Room; but you can only get in with a reservation – I also recommend the Berners Tavern restaurant in the hotel. I’m a fan of J. Sheekey – it’s the theatre hangout, and you might even see a star or two.

KK. You could start off with a cocktail at The Savoy.

Where would you go for a post-theatre meal?

JM: J. Sheekey. But I’m dying to eat in The Savoy’s Grill, and there’s also Joe Allen and Orso.

KK: Joe Allen is probably easier to get a booking and not quite as expensive – it’s so theatrical, a great place.

Do you have a secret hangout in London?

JM: The thing that’s different about London from America is you have all these private clubs. I would also give a shout out to The Coal Hole, which is right next to the Savoy Theatre.

KK: Private clubs are really nice because they’re quite quiet so you don’t have to shout over people. Sometimes if you go to a pub after doing a show you can lose your voice.

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Top 5 Pie Restaurants in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/top-5-pie-restaurants-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/top-5-pie-restaurants-in-london/#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 09:00:05 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=37942 The Windmill

Pies have been served across the capital for centuries, whether in the East End by bakers on carts or in the west at Twickenham, where there’s even an island named after the eel pies that were served to passing boatmen.

To celebrate the start of British Pie Week, we look into one of London’s age-old but often underrated dishes with our pick of London’s best places for pies.

The Windmill – Mayfair

The Windmill's game pieAlthough many pubs claim to be ‘pie specialists’, The Windmill is one such establishment that can safely stand by its love for the pastry-cased delicacy. Boasting its own pie club with thousands of members, not one but two dedicated pie rooms, and even a pie-focused YouTube channel sharing their talents in pie making, this is definitely a place for pie enthusiasts. Try the award-winning steak and kidney version for a warming, meaty hug.

Old Bank of England – The City of London

It’s no surprise this spacious City pub serves demon pies considering the Victorian legend of its Fleet Street site – it was allegedly flanked by Sweeny Todd’s barber shop and the house of his mistress, Mrs. Lovett. As the fictional story goes, Todd murdered his clients below in the tunnels and vaults and used their bodies as pie fillings with help from his lover. Today, the Old Bank of England has less barbaric neighbours, and serves far more appetising pies with revived classic British fillings.

The Newman Arms – Marylebone

The Newman ArmsThis pie-focused pub in Marylebone is another with a special pie room upstairs, where you can tuck into one of the pies or suet puddings featuring the likes of chicken, gammon and leek or stilton and mushroom; each lovingly crafted from locally sourced ingredients. Once a regular haunt of Dylan Thomas and George Orwell, The Newman Arms has a long history in serving fine beer; this continues to this day with a number of ales on tap.

M. Manze – Southwark

The Manze family pie dynasty – at one point the family owned 14 pie and mash shops in London – started here at 87 Tower Bridge Road in 1902, when Michele Manze set up his self-titled shop, M. Manze. Now run by Michele’s grandsons, London’s longest continuously opened pie and mash shop serves homemade pies, mash and the classic green liquor; as well as cockney classic, jellied eels.

Goddard’s at Greenwich – Greenwich

Get your pie fix every day at this restaurant that also serves eels, mash and liquor as were traditionally plated up in the Victorian era – the original family shop in Deptford opened in 1890 and has since closed, but the family name lives on in its location just a few steps away from the Royal Museums Greenwich. ForFamily-run Goddard's at Greenwich those not so keen on river-dwelling delicacy, try Goddard’s at Greenwich‘s pies with fillings such as steak and kidney, chicken and mushroom or the veggie Banks pie.

Pie Week Events 2014

Make sure to look out for British Pie Week events, such as a charity pork pie-off at Princess Victoria and a pie-filling competition and pie-eating rewards at The Water Poet in Spitalfields. The Windmill, unsurprisingly, is not skipping the fun, with a special quiz night and dinner featuring a new Spicy Chicken & Chorizo Pie.

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St Patrick’s Day 2014: Top 5 Irish Bars and Restaurants in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/st-patricks-day-2014-top-5-irish-bars-and-restaurants-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/st-patricks-day-2014-top-5-irish-bars-and-restaurants-in-london/#comments Thu, 27 Feb 2014 10:00:35 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=37872 On 17 March each year, London adopts a decidedly Irish attitude to celebrating the patron saint of Ireland, St Patrick. In addition to the free St Patrick’s Day parade and Irish festival in Trafalgar Square (this year on Sunday 16 March) many London bars and restaurants take the opportunity to become Irish for a day.

There is usually a sharp rise in Guinness sales during the St Patrick’s Day weekend and the experience of having fun with friends over a beer is often referred to as “the craic”. When raising your glass, it is also polite to say “Sláinte” (pronounced “slawnt-yeh”). Here are our Top 5 Irish bars and restaurants in London for celebrating St Patrick’s Day 2014.


Vinopolis
London’s top wine tasting attraction, Vinopolis, is hosting two St Patrick’s Day events in March. On Friday 14 March. a Celtic Céilí will take place under the railway arches. This will include dancing and a live céilí bands performing Celtic and Irish tunes; an ideal opportunity to try Irish dances such as Walls of Limerick and Waves of Tory. You can enjoy a wine tasting experience plus entry to the event (with free Irish whiskey cocktail) for £35 per person. For those who like to celebrate the Irish at a slower pace, there is also an Irish whiskey masterclass on Monday 17 March.

Porterhouse
The Porterhouse is probably one of the biggest and most authentic Irish bars in London. This multi-level bar in Covent Garden is filled with an array of interesting beers, stouts, ales and porters, each lovingly hand-crafted in Dublin, then exported to London. There is also a basement bar where live music is performed on Sunday afternoons.

Waxy O’Connors
Another Central London bar that has strong connections with Ireland is Waxy O’Connor’s in Chinatown. This unique rabbit warren bar is popular with many London visitors due to its West End location and unusual décor. The bar will be hosting a week of Irish-themed, St Patrick’s Day events with drinks promotions, whiskey tastings, live music, St Patrick’s Day menu, live Six Nations rugby (France Vs Ireland producing probably the biggest crowd), plus a St Patrick’s Day parade party on Sunday 16 March.

Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill
Mayfair restaurant Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill is run by celebrity chef and Irishman, Richard Corrigan. On Monday 17 March, Richard himself will be hosting a special three-course menu (£60) from 12:30pm which will be accompanied by live Irish music. Bentley’s still stands in the same Victorian building where it first opened back in 1916, providing a traditional backdrop to this St Patrick’s Day feast.

O’Neill’s
The Irish bar group, O’Neill’s, has a number of pubs around London. O’Neill’s Soho is hosting a week of events in celebration of St Patrick’s Day starting on 12 March with two Irish bands playing until 3am. Other highlights of the week-long party include dancing, lots of Guinness, comedy hats, live football, live GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association), live Six Nations rugby, and an all-day party on St Patrick’s Day itself.

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Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: What’s Opening When? http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/queen-elizabeth-olympic-park-whats-opening-when/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/queen-elizabeth-olympic-park-whats-opening-when/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 09:00:33 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=37868 Aerial shoot over Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

For the first time since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, people will be able to explore more of what is now known as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as most of the venues are poised to officially re-open on 5 April. Find out what is opening when and what is already open:

Aquatics Centre

Swim in the wake of champions

Where? Aquatics Centre
When is it opening? 1 March 2014.
Famous for its wave-like roof, the spectacular Aquatics Centre will soon be open to the public, offering a huge range of activities for all ages and abilities, from water polo to synchronised swimming, diving to triathlon. Designed by architect Zaha Hadid, the venue will have a 50m x 10-lane Olympic competition pool and a 50m x 8-lane training pool.

ArcelorMittal Orbit

Go up the UK’s Tallest Sculpture

Where? Arcelormittal Orbit
When is it opening? 5 April 2014.
Enjoy eye-popping views of London’s skyline, the Stadium and the Olympic Park from the UK’s tallest sculpture. Created by artist Sir Anish Kapoor, engineer Cecil Balmond and steel company ArcelorMittal, visitors will be able to climb up the 114.5m-tall tower to two viewing platforms, at 76m and 80m.

Velopark

Cycle in a world-class venue

Where? Lee Valley Velopark
When is it opening? 1 March 2014.
The award-winning Velodrome has been transformed into the Lee Valley Velopark, a hub for cyclists of all disciplines with a one-mile, floodlit road cycle circuit, a remodelled and floodlit Olympic BMX track and 8km of mountain bike trails.

Monica Bonvicini's free-standing mirror sculpture, RUN, one of the park's 25 public artworks

Relax in beautiful parklands

Where? In the south of the park
When is it opening? 5 April.
The new parklands in the south of the park are home to woods, hedgerows and wildlife habitats.

Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre

Watch or play hockey and tennis

Where? Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre
When is it opening? May.
As well as boasting two hockey pitches, four indoor tennis court and six outdoor courts – which can be hired by the public all year round – the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre also has a £30 million clubhouse which will offer changing rooms and a bar. Since it hosted the Wheelchair Tennis at London 2012, the venue will continue to serve the sport by providing coaching and facilities for local and national players. It will also host the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters from 2014-2016 and the 2015 EuroHockey Championships.

The Timber Lodge Cafe

What is already open?

  • The Copper Box Arena, where you can use the gym or see live sport
  • The northern parklands with their riverside wetlands and lawns
  • The Timber Lodge Café, which has been cleverly designed to blend into the natural landscape and produce its own green energy from solar panels
  • The Tumbling Bay playground, which has a sandpit and walkways among the treetops. It can be found next to the Timber Lodge Café.

 The Copper Box Arena

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Shrove Tuesday: Pancake Day Events in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/shrove-tuesday-pancake-day-fun-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/shrove-tuesday-pancake-day-fun-in-london/#comments Mon, 24 Feb 2014 09:00:23 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=37842 Great Spitalfields Pancake Race

Shrove Tuesday is on 4 March and across London people will be busy mixing, flipping and eating pancakes to celebrate. Whether you’re a fan of the experimental filling, a traditionalist (nothing but lemon and sugar!) or just enjoy a good pancake race you’ll find plenty to satsify you.

Here are just a few of the most fun and unusual pancake day events taking place this year, from pancake races to a pop-up pancake pantry.

Complimentary crepes at Lowndes Bar & Kitchen

Passing through Belgravia on Shrove Tuesday between 8.30am and 10am? Pop into Lowndes Bar & Kitchen to enjoy a free crepe. If you miss the slot, fear not: you can still enjoy the restaurant’s menu of sweet and savoury crepes – including cinnamon and sugar, seafood with parmesan cream sauce and beef bolognaise in a rich tomato sauce.

Scoop Gelato’s Pancake Day

Ice cream specialists Scoop Gelato are branching into pancakes for Shrove Tuesday, with what they call ‘the ultimate menu for chocoholics’. There are eight chocolate flavours to choose from, using cocoa from Venezuela, Ecuador, Grenada, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Ghana, Madagascar, Sao Tome and Java. Visit Scoop Gelato’s parlours in Soho, South Kensington and Covent Garden for your chocolate hit.

The Griffin cocktail at Strip Bar & Steak

Pancake cocktail at Strip Bar & Steak

Yes, you read correctly. A pancake cocktail. Well, an American pancake-infused Amaretto to be exact. It’s the latest innovative cocktail from Arminas ‘Junior’ Girtavicius at Strip Bar & Steak (other varieties include popcorn-infused vodka and custard vanilla foams). The cocktail, named The Griffin, is a twist on the Amaretto sour and is made up of pancake-infused Amaretto, fresh lemon juice, maple syrup, egg white and angostura bitters.

Rehab Parliamentary Pancake Race 2014

Parliamentary Pancake Race 2014

It’s back! Every year MPs, Lords and members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery take part in a good old-fashioned Parliamentary Pancake Race to raise money for Rehab, helping those with brain injuries, mental health issues and a range of disabilities. Head on down to Victoria Tower Gardens in Westminster at 10am to watch the political powers of Parliament battle it out for the Magnificent Tin Cup.

Great Spitalfields Pancake Race

You don’t have to be an MP to be an expert flipper, all dextrous pan wielders are welcome to join the Great Spitalfields Pancake Race. This lively event sees teams of four race up and down Dray Walk at the Old Truman Brewery (heats start at 12.30pm) to raise money for London’s Air Ambulance service. Pancakes are provided courtesy of Csaba’s Hungarian Creperie, with prizes from Cath Kidston, music from the Lost Marbles Strong Band and clowns from the E Team. It’s free to enter the race but you need to apply first, visit Alternative Arts for contact details.

Pancake at Tefal's Ingenio pop-up restaurant at John Lewis

Pop-up pancakes: Ingenio Restaurant at John Lewis Oxford Street

Cookware specialists Tefal have teamed up with leading department store John Lewis on Oxford Street to open the first ever pop-up restaurant in a shop window. This limited-edition eaterie will be open for two days only (3-4 March), serving up free gourmet savoury pancakes to lucky visitors. To book your place at the chef’s table visit www.tefalingenio.co.uk.

Shutterbug pancake

Pancake Day Carnival Party at Shutterbug

Shoreditch cocktail bar and creperie Shutterbug is getting in the Caribbean carnival vibe for Shrove Tuesday with a Mardi Gras-style pancake carnival. There’ll be sweet and savoury crepes and rum cocktails, plus carnival dancing and live music courtesy of the Trinidad & Tobago Tourist Board. All the fun starts at 6.30pm (though you can pop in for a pancake anytime from 9am)

Greenwich Market Shrove Tuesday Pancake Race

Greenwich Market marks Shrove Tuesday with a charity Pancake Race (in aid of Macmillan). Teams of four will take part, flipping their Dutch Dippers pancakes and competing to win the prizes for winning team and best fancy dress. So expect to see a few odd outfits around! Heats start at 1pm with children’s races at 4pm. Pop down to cheer along the teams and sample tasty pancakes from the market’s food stalls.

Shorthorn fillet pancake ‘Wellington’ at The Botanist on Sloane Square, with seared foie gras, truffle and bone marrow sauce

Hog roast pancake at The Gun

Pig in blankets aren’t just for Christmas. At The Gun in Docklands you can celebrate Shrove Tuesday with a pig in a pancake: that’s hog roast, apple, watercress and smoked paprika. The Gun is part of the ETM Group of restaurants, and delicious and unique pancake fillings can be found at each (other varieties available too):

More on Pancake Day in London.

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