Visit London Blog » pubs Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 16 Sep 2014 10:29:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Top 5 Pie Restaurants in London Mon, 03 Mar 2014 09:00:05 +0000 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

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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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What’s On This Weekend: 8-9 February Mon, 03 Feb 2014 10:00:18 +0000

A mixed bag of events spread across this weekend range from the all-out madness that comes with Winter Pride and the Six Nations, to the more serene prospects of a David Hockney exhibition in the Dulwich Picture Gallery or admiring orchids at Kew Gardens.

David Hockney, Printmaker at the Dulwich Picture Gallery

The lovely Dulwich Picture Gallery opens its latest exhibition this weekend as Hockney, Printmaker celebrates the career of one of Britain’s most loved artists. The exhibition features over 100 carefully chosen works concentrating on two of Hockney’s favoured techniques: etching and lithography. Classics such as A Rake’s Progress (1961-63) and Illustrations for Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm (1969) are included in this must-see collection. Opens 5 Feb

“Though she be but little, she is fierce!”

From the creative team that brought the spectacle that is War Horse to the London stage (Bristol’s Old Vic artistic director Tom Morris and the Handspring Puppet Company) comes this innovative adaptation of Shakespeare’s much loved comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Expect a combination of puppetry and general stage wizardry alongside the bard’s fantastical prose when this opens for a short run at the Barbican Centre. 6-15 Feb

Flying the flag (indoors)

This year marks the first ever indoor Winter Pride event, hosted at the Tobacco Dock. As many as 3,000 revellers from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community can party away from the elements, with music coming from big LGBT club brands and international DJs, including Bear Necessities, East Bloc, MINT, One Love and Popstarz. Also inside will be fairground attractions, cultural and charitable stands and a Victorian marketplace. 8 Feb

Keep dancin’! at The O2

Cue that catchy tune from the opening credits, as there are still tickets available for the four live Strictly Come Dancing shows at The O2 this weekend. Confirmed stars for this live version of the much loved BBC show include the model Abbey Clancy, former Dragon Deborah Meaden, Westlife’s Nicky Byrne and rugby World Cup winner Ben Cohen. 8-9 Feb

The season of beer and bruising tackles is upon us

The Six Nations returned last weekend, as rugby fans descend once again upon the best pubs and bars across the city (or mostly south of the river really). The rivalry between the Six Nations (England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales) is fierce but this makes for a great atmosphere as fans watch shoulder to shoulder and banter the afternoon away under a haze of Guinness and pride, the only thing to do is join the scrum. 1 Feb – 15 Mar

A tropical treat at Kew Gardens

For an altogether more tranquil weekend activity head to the warmth of the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew Gardens for the annual celebration of Orchids. Explore the tropical plants and orchids inside the conservatory and witness some of the rarest specimens in the world at this botanical wonderland. 8 Feb – 9 Mar

Next week this blog will be relocating to its new permanent home on, stay tuned for details.

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Things To Do in London on Christmas Day 2013 Tue, 03 Dec 2013 16:00:21 +0000

London isn’t often described as quiet, but Christmas Day is the one day of the year when the capital can feel that way. But there’s actually no shortage of things to do and Christmas Day is a rare chance to explore and experience a different side of London.

There’s no public transport on Christmas Day, but you could opt for a Boris bike to explore Central London with much less traffic around. There will also be a few taxis and mini-cabs for hire.

With limited transport options, and thousands of Christmas calories consumed, walking might be your best bet. You’ll have London’s beautiful architecture, street art and Christmas lights largely to yourself, and walking is the best way to experience it. Take a look at these photos of London on Christmas morning by IanVisits, which include Trafalgar Square, Oxford Street and Hyde Park Corner.


You can even go on a guided walking tour. London Walks hosts two walks on Christmas Day: The London of Samuel Pepys at 11am and Charles Dickens’ London Walk at 2pm. Both walks start at the big Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square and last for two hours.

Westminster guide Peter Berthoud is offering three walking tours on Christmas Day, with the first at 6am for anyone who wants to experience an eerie 28 Days Later-style London! If you’re keen on a Christmas lie-in, you can opt for a post-lunch walk at 3pm.

Fancy a more relaxing tour? Push the boat out and have your Christmas dinner on the Thames, enjoying the sights of the river on a cruise. Or take a luxury coach tour of London with a professional guide.


Almost all of London’s attractions are closed on Christmas Day. However, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and the Charles Dickens Museum are both open.

Ripley’s is open from 10am until 10pm, with last admission at 8.30pm on Christmas Day. The Charles Dickens Museum is open 10am to 5pm, with last admission at 4pm.

Or, head to The Serpentine (lake) at Hyde Park where the hardy members of the Serpentine Swimming Club take part in the annual Peter Pan Cup swimming race. The race starts at 9am.

Christmas Services

Most London churches will have Christmas Day services. It’s best to check with the individual church in advance but Central London churches with Christmas Day services include:

Eating and Drinking

Many restaurants close on Christmas Day but check our blog post for Christmas dinner options in London.

Some pubs open for a few hours around lunchtime but most will be closed or ticketed in the evening. Make sure you check in advance for opening hours. Hotel bars are a good bet for a drink on Christmas Day, but again, check with the hotel in advance.

Do you have any advice or suggestions for spending Christmas Day in London?

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Where To Watch The Olympic Opening Ceremony in London Tue, 24 Jul 2012 15:00:56 +0000

Sheep, a huge bell, a miniature Stonehenge, David Beckham and some NHS nurses. This much we know will be in the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony on Friday evening. A global audience of four billion people are expected to tune into the show which is called Isles of Wonder, inspired by a line in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Artistic director Danny Boyle has kept most details under wraps, but we can say with certainty that it starts at 9pm, and that you’d be mad not to watch it.

London Live
Friday is the opening night for the Olympic London Live sites at Hyde Park and Victoria Park. In Hyde Park, the ceremony will be shown on screens alongside a celebration concert with acts representing each part of the UK – Snow Patrol from Northern Ireland, Stereophonics for Wales, Duran Duran representing England and Paolo Nutini waving the flag for Scotland. Tickets are £60 and are still available. If you just want to watch the ceremony in a crowd, you can head to the Victoria Park site which is free entry.

Tower of London
If you’re feeling flush, you could pay for an exciting Opening Ceremony dinner at the Tower of London House of Nations for just £139. Hosted by four-time record breaking swimmer and Strictly Come Dancing star, Mark Foster, you’ll enjoy a champagne and Pimm’s reception in the Tower of London’s moat, an exclusive private tour of the Crown Jewels, a delicious three-course meal with all inclusive drinks, footage of the Opening Ceremony and live entertainment.

You can also catch all the Opening Ceremony action at Greenwich Summer Festival’s Gala Weekend. As well as the big screens, there’ll be live entertainment, starting with music on the bandstand at 6pm. Greenwich’s very own Hangar Arts Trust will then perform a cabaret of aerial circus in a high-impact, thrilling show full of beautiful and apparently impossible human feats, before the Opening Ceremony kicks off at 9pm.

General Gordon Square, Woolwich
General Gordon Square in Woolwich is hosting one of two big screens set up by the BBC in London for outdoor summer screenings. It will show the ceremony outside for free in the newly landscaped square, which offers bench seating and food stalls and street performers to get you in the party mood.

Walthamstow Town Square
Another BBC big screen will be beaming the ceremony to Walthamstow Town Square in North London. Seating will be set up so crowds can watch in comfort.

The Broadgate development in the Square Mile is home to some of the world’s biggest companies, and this summer it is also the base for three big screens which will all show the Opening Ceremony. Take your pick from Exchange Square, Broadgate Circle and Finsbury Avenue.

Novikov’s Beach Party at Waterside House
Top Mayfair restaurant Novikov is heading east this Friday to set up an all-day Opening Ceremony beach party – complete with sand and beach loungers – at Waterside House in Royal Victoria Dock. You can watch the show while sipping cocktails and listening to DJ sets. Tickets are £25.

In The Pub
Hundreds of top London pubs will be showing the all action on big screens, so have a look at the watering holes near you. We suggest The Hanbury Arms in Islington, The Lauriston in Hackney, the Water Poet in Spitalfields and the Clapham Grand in Clapham Junction, all of which will be putting on amazing parties.

Where will you be watching? Let us know below.

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London: City of Beer Fri, 04 May 2012 08:44:59 +0000 Written by Caroline Roddis

London’s history is dripping with beer. Alehouses have been present in the capital since Roman times and the impure state of London water always guaranteed that beer was in constant demand.

You can trace this history by visiting buildings like the Old Truman Brewery, or examining the codestone lions on Westminster Bridge, which originally graced the entrance of the Old Red Lion Brewery on the South Bank.

Although there are few survivors of London’s original brewing industry, a new generation of artisan brewers has taken up the mantle and there has never been a better time to visit London pubs to taste the best of what the capital produces.

CAMRA’s London: City of Beer is a new website aiming to enhance your experience of beer in London. At the launch, we learned that the city now has 24 breweries that are creating a phenomenal range of exciting brews. Many of them do guided tours and tastings: try Sambrooks in Battersea or the Fuller’s Griffin Brewery in Chiswick.

Fortunately for those who can’t make it down to the breweries themselves, many London pubs offer a wide selection of real ales and other London beers. From smooth malty Porters made at Meantime in Greenwich to intensely hoppy pale ales from Bermondsey’s The Kernel, there is something to suit everyone’s taste.

London also has a fantastic range of beer-related events and you can search for upcoming festivals, tastings and walks on the City of Beer site A particular highlight will be the Great British Beer Festival, which runs from 7 to 11 August at Olympia and offers over 800 different beers.

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London’s Most Haunted on the London Ghost Walk Thu, 09 Dec 2010 12:15:00 +0000 The most haunted pub in London. Photo: Claire Doble St Bartholomews Hospital. Photo: Claire Doble A spooky tree in the churchyard of St Sepulchre Without Newgate. Photo: Claire Doble Graveyard. Photo: Claire Doble A medieval house from which Bloody Mary allegedly watched protestants being burned. Photo: Claire Doble Section of The London Wall and original Barbican. Photo: Claire Doble

Last Friday a couple of friends and I wrapped up warm to take the London Ghost Walk. Starting near St Pauls, the walk takes in some of the City’s most haunted spots.

The fact Central London was covered in snow that night added an extra Dickensian dimension to the walk, which took in spooky old pubs, haunted hospitals, creepy churchyards and grisly grounds such as the ex-public hanging spot near Smithfield Market.

Our guide was veteran ghost-hunter Richard Jones. I found his commentary compelling and entertaining, plus he erred nicely on the side of historical and quirky tales, rather than trying to creep us out too much, which, being rather a wuss, I thoroughly appreciated!

The London Ghost Tour is a great way to explore some of the City’s history and at just £8 for nearly 2 hours, it’s a bargain night out in London.

Read our guide to more Haunted London Walks

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Visit London Asks: Where Is London’s Best Beer Garden? Mon, 26 Jul 2010 09:42:39 +0000

With the beautiful weekend weather, there weren’t many better places to be than sipping a cold drink in one of London’s great beer gardens.

There are so many to choose between. From the Edinboro Castle‘s huge beer garden in Camden, to the Avalon‘s pretty outdoor space with a fountain in Clapham. Or how about taking a break from shopping in Portobello at the Sun in Splendour‘s outdoor lounge?

Tell us where is London’s best beer garden?

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The Coach & Horses in Farringdon Thu, 15 Apr 2010 17:00:21 +0000 I stumbled across a fantastic hidden gem in Farringdon this week, called The Coach & Horses.

The venue maintains the charm of an old-school pub – extremely well kept with Cask Marque approved beers, lovely staff, excellent bar snacks (including duck hearts and what must surely be London’s best Scotch eggs), with the added delights of a restaurant.

The Coach & Horses is actually billed as a pub and dining room, which is a fairer description. The menu consists of some classic fare with the occasional playful twist and the head chef makes his own excellent charcuterie and delicious bread – yum!

It’s proper food in a proper boozer, and even comes with an award-winning wine list (it’s currently Harpers Wine Pub of the Year, which is about as high an industry accolade as you’ll find).

Scotch eggs as a starter may seem an odd choice but these are something else. Home-made and served warm, the yoke oozes out when you cut into it, a Ginsters offering will never hit the mark from now on!

As a main I had the Elwy Valley lamb rump with pearl barley and wild garlic. My partner had the Bourgeois snapper with mussels, prawns and mouclade. Both were superb and accompanied with buttered leeks and delicious crunchy chips. Followed by a cheese board and a meringue dish that was possibly bigger than my head. Naughty – but very, very nice!

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Visit London Asks: What Cheers You Up in London? Mon, 18 Jan 2010 11:41:51 +0000

The third Monday in January (today!) is thought by some to be the most depressing day of the year.

(There’s some scientific formula about the distance between Christmas and payday, and people having depressing New Year’s Resolutions like giving up chocolate and fun…)

So, in case anyone is suffering from a bout of the blues today, we want to help them out. We want to know: what cheers you up in London? When it’s cold and grey outside, what is it in London that never fails to put a smile on your face?

Whether it’s London’s fantastic comedy scene, fun musicals, enjoying a meal with friends in a cosy pub, or wrapping up warm and heading out into London’s green spaces, we want your tips on getting over a glum spell.

Let us know in the comments below. And smile while you’re doing it!

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