Visit London Blog » Pubs & Bars http://blog.visitlondon.com Enjoy the very best of London Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:31:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.4 Pets in London Pubs, Cafes and Shops http://blog.visitlondon.com/2015/03/pets-in-pubs-and-other-places/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2015/03/pets-in-pubs-and-other-places/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 10:00:36 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=39351 Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium

One of the residents of Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium

 

Londoners love animals, so it’s no surprise some people can’t resist taking their pets to work. Here are just some of London’s much-loved resident animals at some of the capital’s friendliest spots.

The cats at Lady Dinah’s
London’s first cat café, Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium combines two of the best things in life: a cup of tea and a purring feline. It’s actually a home for rescued cats, so your £6 entrance fee goes towards their welfare and care. And best of all, while you watch the 12 resident moggies enjoying their new home, you can tuck into a cake, light snack or Afternoon Tea. Purr-fect. Booking recommended.

Pearl at Rosewood London
As a pet-friendly hotel (cats and dogs of a certain size are warmly welcomed), it’s no surprise that Rosewood London in Holborn has its own resident hound. Golden Retriever Pearl was named after Pearl Assurance Company, who moved into the building when it was built in 1914. There are plenty of excuses to pay her a visit, from the sparkling Mirror Room restaurant to the cosy, book-lined Scarfes Bar, where you’ll find more than 200 single malts – and delicious Indian bar food.

Pearl the dog at Rosewood London

Pearl the dog at Rosewood London

Barney at the Bell & Crown
Barney the dog is a regular fixture at the Bell & Crown pub, perched perfectly along the river in picturesque Chiswick. It’s a great spot for a pint of real ale, spot of grub or cosy boardgame after a roam around the beautiful Kew Gardens just over the river. And you’re sure to meet Barney as he does his ’rounds’.

Lenny at the Pride of Spitalfield
A friendly locals pub, the Pride of Spitalfields is made even more welcoming by the addition of feline friends Patch and Lenny. These two cats are well-known and have something of their own fan club at the pub, which they make the most of by nabbing the comfiest seats and making themselves at home. Our suggestion? Grab a pint of Bold As Brass made by the local Truman’s Brewery and do the same.

Alice Through The Looking Glass

Alice Through The Looking Glass

 

Harley at Alice Through The Looking Glass
Walk along Cecil Court, just minutes from Trafalgar Square, and you may do a double take when you spot Alice Through The Looking Glass. For in the window of this delightful shop, selling first editions of Lewis Carol’s ‘Alice’ books and more, you may spy a large white rabbit. This is Harley. He’s only in once or twice a week but when he is you can usually find him in the window or in his hutch inside.

Bob at ScooterCaffè

As if it wasn’t already cosy enough with its delicious hot chocolates, quirky decor and soft lighting, ScooterCaffè on Lower Marsh (behind Waterloo Station) has its own resident cat, Bob. Pop in for a stroke and a spot of cake during the day; or a glass of something cold at the bar when the evening crowds flock in.

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Cosy Nooks To Go With a Book http://blog.visitlondon.com/2015/01/cosy-nooks-to-go-with-a-book/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2015/01/cosy-nooks-to-go-with-a-book/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 15:58:09 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=39292 London Review Cake Shop

London Review Cake Shop

Want a comfy corner where you can devour the latest bestseller? Snuggle up in one of these bookworm holes, scattered across London:

Downstairs at Curzon Soho
The Curzon Soho cinema on Shaftesbury Avenue is a great central spot for readers on the go. Pick up a delicious cake from in-house café Konditor & Cook upstairs, then head down to the subterranean bar area and snag a seat on one of the sofas. Beware, if you’re reading a book about film, a visiting cinema buff may engage you in conversation!

Benugo Bar at BFI Southbank
Walking past the British Film Institute along the Thames, you may think the Riverfront café is where all the action is – but head further in (or round the back) and you’ll find Benugo Bar. Next to the bright dining area is a cosy lounge bar, with comfy seats, soft lighting and an extensive drinks list. If you want something more intimate, ask for the secret door to The Drawing Room – a snug cocktail bar hidden just off the lounge area.

London Review Bookshop
A bookshop with a café is an inspired mix. Bring your own or buy a book from the London Review Bookshop, then settle down to a good read over a pot of tea in the bright and welcoming Cake Shop. As the name suggests, you’ll find all sorts of baked treats here – plus savoury snacks too – to enjoy with your book.

The Cinnamon Club

The Cinnamon Club

The Library Bar at The Cinnamon Club
The Cinnamon Club is known for its delicious modern Indian food, but not everybody knows about its cosy bar. A nod to the building’s former life as the old Westminster Library, the aptly named Library Bar used to be the reading room. Today it’s a great spot to devour a book – before devouring lunch or dinner.

The Dove
The Dove in Hammersmith is a pub with a lot of nooks and crannies – ideal for a bookworm to squirrel away in. The place has a fair few stories of its own – for one, Charles II is said to have wined and dined his mistress Nell Gwynne here. So if you finish your book, you won’t be short of a tale or two to go with your pint!

The Martini Library at The Arch
It sounds like somewhere James Bond would hang out. And well he might, because this bar at the exclusive Arch London Hotel near Marble Arch is just the sort of place 007 might retire to after a hard day’s spying. Take a seat in an armchair by the roaring fire, flick through the stylish coffee-table books and sip on a glass of your own favourite Martini speciality.

Southbank Centre
If you want to read without spending a single penny, pop into the Southbank Centre along the River Thames. It may be a huge, world-leading arts centre, but it’s also a welcoming public space – with tables and chairs on every level, from the bustling Clore Ballroom to the more peaceful Saison Poetry Library.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Five Highlights Of The City of London Festival http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/five-highlights-of-the-city-of-london-festival/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/five-highlights-of-the-city-of-london-festival/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 08:08:05 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38900 Guest blog by City of London Festival Director Paul Gudgin

The City of London Festival brings more than 250 events to the amazing buildings and spaces of the City of London from 22 June.  It is one of the biggest and broadest programmes in the festival’s 52-year history with music, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret and even a Korean production of Hamlet to whet the appetite.

FLOWN_PiratesOfTheCarabina_ Bowler Hat

The centrepiece this year will be the Bowler Hat; the iconic piece of City headwear has been turned into a large inflatable 200-seat theatre just beside St Paul’s Cathedral in Paternoster Square.

With so many events to choose from, here are a few festival highlights:

1. Immerse yourself in one of our 9th Symphony epics at St Paul’s Cathedral with the London Symphony Orchestra – Bruckner’s 9th Symphony (3 July) and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (15 July). Seeing a massive orchestral concert under the dome of St Paul’s is an experience everyone should try, and tickets start at just £5.

St Paul's Cathedral

2. Soak up outstanding City views and great jazz with our ‘Jazz with a View’ series. Choose from Clare Teal at Unilever House (6 Jun), Kit Downes at The Gherkin (29 Jun) and Roberto Pla on the Roof Terrace of One New Change (8 Jul). This idea was inspired by Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Lincoln Center in New York… we think our views are easily as good as their Manhattan skyline!

3. Enjoy music and beer in the Guildhall Yard with our City Beerfest (3 Jul). Sample a selection of beers from over a dozen of Britain’s most popular breweries while listening to live American bluegrass, folk and Old Appalachian music, overlooking the City’s ancient HQ.

Beerfest
4. See breathtaking circus performed in a giant Bowler Hat with exceptional contemporary circus companies PSiRC, Silver Lining and Pirates of the Carabina.

5. Have a good laugh with our comedy programme in the Bowler Hat – Doc Brown, Adam Kay, Russell Kane, Katherine Ryan, Andy Zaltzman, Richard Herring and many more well-known and up-and-coming comics.

Book events for The City of London Festival

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London Video of the Week: How to Do London Weather http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/london-video-of-the-week-how-to-do-london-weather/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/london-video-of-the-week-how-to-do-london-weather/#comments Fri, 06 Jun 2014 09:00:10 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38911

Confused by London’s weather? Find out how you can enjoy fantastic London experiences all year-round by watching this fun video. Guides Tasha and Mennar will show you how London offers something wonderful every day of the year, from boating to street food.

See our five-day London weather forecast.

Want more travel guide tips? Head to the Visit London website!

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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.

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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’s Top 10 Bizarre Places http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/londons-top-10-bizarre-places/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/londons-top-10-bizarre-places/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2014 10:00:01 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38137 Guest Post by David Long, Author of Bizarre London

From the time of Boudicca to the Boris Bike, in a sprawling metropolis covering 600 square miles – a city where eight million Londoners speak 300 different languages – it’s only right to expect places which are unexplained, unusual or just plain odd. Here are 10 of our favourites:

The Wapping Project

London Hydraulic Power Company
For more than 100 years the turbines here sent pressurised water through 200 miles of pipes all over London to power hotel lifts, theatre curtains and even dockyard cranes. One of the turbines has now been transformed into a restaurant and art gallery called The Wapping Project.

Kensal Green Cemetery
This Victorian cemetery with its huge elaborate tombs and beautiful landscaping is the final resting place of Thackeray, Trollope, Brunel and the great showman Blondin. Also two of George III’s children, Princess Sophia and Augustus, Duke of Sussex, were laid to rest here.

Fortnum & Mason
Far from the Highlands, the so-called Scotch Egg was actually invented in 1738 by upmarket grocers Fortnum & Mason. The store also sold Britain’s first-ever baked beans (after buying H.J.Heinz’s entire stock in 1866) and silver-plated ‘sporks’ – a combined spoon and fork – for soldiers to use in the trenches.

Dans Le Noir

Dans Le Noir
The great Victorian engineer Marc Brunel once held a banquet under the River Thames to show his tunnel was safe (it wasn’t and flooded soon afterwards) and in 1843 several stonemasons had supper at the top of Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square. Today, the Dans Le Noir restaurant offers guests the chance to eat in total darkness, allowing the food’s taste and texture to be appreciated without distraction.

 Burlington Arcade

Burlington Arcade
Opened in 1819, Burlington Arcade is one of London’s oldest shopping centres. Uniformed beadles are still on hand to enforce an old bylaw forbidding visitors to run, sing, whistle or open their umbrellas.

Christchurch Greyfriars Garden

Christchurch Greyfriars
The converted tower of a ruined Christopher Wren is London’s tallest house, with three bedrooms spread over 11 storeys. Christchurch Greyfriars Garden – open to the public and free to enter – is the burial place of no fewer than three queens.

Churchill War Rooms

Cabinet War Rooms
Winston Churchill’s wartime bunker is just a tiny portion of a vast, top secret government complex hidden under Whitehall. In the 1930s, more than six acres of bomb-proof offices were excavated beneath ministry buildings, shielded by a 17’ layer of concrete which can still be seen from the road outside. Visitors can explore this wartime bunker at the Churchill War Rooms.

The Mason’s Arms
This Central London pub was where condemned prisoners could enjoy a last pint free of charge on their way to the gallows at Tyburn. On hanging days it was traditional to deal with highwaymen first, as the ‘aristocrats of crime’, then common thieves and finally anyone convicted of treason. The gallows are long gone but the pub is still said to be haunted by at least one of the poor unfortunates. Enjoy a drink at the pub at 51 Upper Berkeley Street, W1.

The Travellers’ Club
Unique among London’s traditionally secretive gentleman’s clubs, The Travellers’ Club offers occasional guided tours for the public. It was founded in 1819 when new members were required to have travelled at least 500 miles from London.

Berry Bros & Rudd

Berry Bros. & Rudd
This 17th-century wine merchants is a veritable museum of viniculture, and is still family-run after more than 300 years. Giant leather-bound ledgers contain the personal details of distinguished customers. Not just Byron, Beau Brummell and George IV but Frenchmen too, including King Louis-Philippe and Napoleon III.

David Long is author of Bizarre London: Discover the Capital’s Secrets & Surprises

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