If you are on a camper van tour, or taking a road trip through Europe and camping along the way, you can get specialist insurance that will cover you through pretty much all of Europe and some other countries too (North Africa, Turkey).
It is ideal for travellers as you don't need a permanent address, and you can arrange cover for just as long as you need.
If you are heading to London and want to save some of your precious pennies for something other than accommodation, I recommmend checking out www.hostellondon.com.
It's got heaps of cheap accommodation and all of it is reviewed by former customers meaning you won't end up in a total kip!
A really good web resource I’ve been using to expand my repertoire of riding is a website called www.bikely.com. It’s a global community site for logging routes and sharing them with others. I’ve been using it for everything from holidays to training rides.
You can draw your proposed route on the map and it’ll work out distance, height gains and you can even export it to Google Earth for a pre ride fly through. Great fun for planning your own Tour De France in the lunch hour with some really good local knowledge on a lot of the routes.
You don't have to go far to enjoy cycling, do it all year round by commuting. If you do you will find your holiday cycling even more enjoyable. We even have great routes and climbs here in London. Try Highgate Hill West about 1km long and steep. Yes it's hard work but the joy of having done it at the top is great. And in our recent weather what better way to travel London.
528272,186369 on the street map
Brilliant, cheap little live blues joint right in the centre of town, fiver on the door and drinks promotions. Drinkable house red, horrid little loos, great clientele. Fight for a table near the band.
20 Kingly Street, Soho, London W1B 5PZ Tel: 020 7287 0514
The best mexican food in all of London. The restaurant has been here since 1982, so it must have something going for it!
I can recommend the chimichangas, especially washed down with a bottle (or two) of Dos Equis!
5 Langley Street, 2 minutes walk from Covent Garden tube
A cycle (or walk) along the canals in London will give you a different view of the city, and there are some great places to stop off along the way: start with a coffee in Angel, stop for a stroll around Victoria Park, and end up in Limehouse, from where you can cycle on to Canary Wharf, and even Greenwich, if you want - where you could have a nice lunch.
More info on www.tfl.gov.uk/cycles/routes/leisure-routes.shtml
Fantasic pub by the river Thames. Great location/setting and excellent food and drink. Recently done up and plenty of outside tables, decks etc. Only drawback is the goose poo on some of the tables!
Queens Road, Thames Ditton - just outside Kingston.
The stretch of Kingsland Road between Shoreditch and Hackney can seem barren at the best of times, with little more than car mechanics and tool hire shops to stop for, but a sure sign that things are changing is The Fox, a gastropub ripe for serving the new cluster of flats springing up in the area.
The menu is organic, and changes monthly, and they have a special menu for kids. Sunday morning is a real family-fest. When I visited the patrons seemed to span in age from 8 months to 80 years.
372 Kingsland Road, London E8; tel: 020 7254 4012
One of the best gay pubs in London. More laid-back than leering, with a nice mix of men and women. Tiny, which means lots of close-ups of people's backs/armpits/ears, but still great. Eclectic mix of eighties (think Stevie Nicks) and electro on the turntable. Follow the crowd to the Joiner's Arms down the road afterwards if you're still up for fun.
2 Hackney Road, London, E2 7NS;
tel: 0207 012 1100;
Underground: Old Street
This loungy bar has one of the best views of the Thames.
The cocktails and drinks are fabulous, and very reasonable for London!
2a Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 (between Southwark Bridge and Millennium Bridge);
tel: 0207 021 0085;
This is a big, friendly event - in fact it's one of Central London's largest environmentally-friendly festivals. It's held on the first Sunday of every June in Regents Park.
At the festival you'll find many stalls offering options for the environmentally conscious consumer, with everything from herbs to green electricity and eco-holidays. Another aim of the event is to reduce its environmental impact each year.
The Bikefest allows punters to try out all sorts of bicycles and find out about cycling activities going on in London.
This hostel is so unexpectedly swish that you have to stay there once if only to realise that budget accomodation is not as bad as you
think. It's packed full of facilities, including a free all-you-can-eat breakfast, 24 hour reception and a ludicrously cheap,
buzzy bar - and it's only £10 a night. Not bad for a hostel slap bang in the middle of London (between Euston and Kings Cross).
The Generator, Compton Place (off 31 Tavistock Place), London, WC1H 9SE
020 7388 7666 www.generatorhostels.com/london/
A well-established Shoreditch favourite that consistently manages to remain just the right side of cool to keep the style-conscious local crowd happy, yet relaxed enough to still be welcoming to out of town incomers to EC2. Inventively taking the name from its previous incarnation as a leather goods store, this bar has ever-changing murals inside which keep the decor evolving. It’s a fairly small place with an additional bar and seating area downstairs. Local DJs ensure things are busier and more lively on the weekends.
34 - 36 Kingsland Road, Shoreditch
(Nearest tubes: Old Street or Liverpool Street)
You couldn't get much more central in London than this hostel off Piccadilly Circus, meaning you can cut down on transport costs. Some rooms have been refurbished recently with new pod-style dorms, individually painted by selected artists. The style is eclectic but fun. Pod bed prices start at £12.
12 Sherwood Street, London W1F 7BR,
www.piccadillybackpackers.com, 0207 434 9009. Nearest tube is Piccadilly Circus
Wow. For the definitive view of London, reserve a place at Vertigo 42, the champagne bar at the top of Tower 42. The bar is located on the 42nd floor and gives great views over the city.
Remember to book upfront, the bar does not accept walk-ins. Also remember to dress smartly, there’s lots of city folk in suits. Over 18s only.
Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, London, EC2N 1HQ; Nearest tube: Bank; www.vertigo42.co.uk
This is a great bar/venue. Dispite its small size it rocks BIG. You can get up close to up and coming bands, and rock on till the early hours of the morning. If you get tired, you can always chill out in the bar downstairs. It is a great night out whoever you are. Also you usually get to see three bands for less then a tenner. Coldplay, Electric Six, Badly Drawn Boy, The Vines and The Darkness have all played here.
Cutting-edge non-mainstream music.
49 Chalk Farm Road, Camden, LONDON, NW1 8AN
from Camden Town tube station - 5 Mins
From Chalk farm tube station - 3 Mins
A three-floored restaurant on the north side of the Smithfield meat market. Downstairs is a lively cocktail bar and restaurant, which does a very good bacon sandwich and chips for breakfast, on the middle level is a brasserie serving good food and at the top is one of London's top restaurants with a great (and pricey) menu where the meat is superb and the fish is delicious too. It also has a terrace which makes it a great spot in the summer.
If you're low on cash and keen on jazz, this family-run community arts space - located in a converted railway arch under Herne Hill station - hosts a free jazz night every Thursday. The musicians - of quite a decent calibre - usually play from around 9.30pm to midnight. The studio also hosts poetry nights, like Penned in the Margins, which include open mic sessions. There's a little bar, local art and lounges.
Milkwood Road, Herne Hill
Train: Herne Hill station
Nearest tube: Brixton
If you're in Shoreditch and feel like getting away from the hyperactivity of most of the bars and crowds in the area (especially on a Friday night), this is a fantastic option. The owners are adept at creating an intimate and personal space (they also own the more swanky basement bar, Friendly Society, in Soho).
The Commercial's interior is cosy but far from claustrophobic, quirky and comfortable, having been lovingly decked out with retro and hand-painted furniture. The choice of music is always startlingly suitable for a quiet drink (last time I was there they were playing the theme from Taxi Driver) and the bar staff are unusually friendly.
Oh, and historically it's associated with the Elephant Man, who is said to have lived in the caverns beneath.
142-144 Commercial Street, Shoreditch
Nearest tubes: Liverpool Street, Shoreditch, Whitechapel
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