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.
It's a tiny space - decked out in retro burlesque style, entered by a dramatic (if small) glass entrance just in front of the Lyceum. A former men's loo it is now rammed with high-tech stuff (sms jukebox, automatically opaque loo doors) and ambitiously holds shows (can't imagine how) every night at 10.
We went in for an early evening cocktail - all drinks 1/3rd off before 8pm. Cocktails strong but chemical, though the wine list looked okay. To be honest it's just feels like a pleasantly odd place to be drinking - huddled beneath the pavement sitting on leather seats which are shaped like buttocks. Maybe I wouldn't go back, but if you are in the area it's worth a visit.
London WC2r 0HT
A lovely new branch of an all-day dim sum restaurant. Really fantastic staff, truly great food, excellent, good quality and not too pricey cocktails.
Plus, order the Jasmine Flower tea - beautifully served, art in a glass that tastes lovely. Our food (a lot of it) was served a gentle but constant pace to our table on the patio outdoors. And when we left we were shocked that the bill was only just over £40 inc. service, drinks and far too many dim sum. Fantastic. The drinks were nice enough to justify just going for a couple of pre-theatre/ post-shopping cocktails (made with fresh fruits, herbs and al ot of ice - ideal for summer).
On the new Festival Terrace, South Bank centre (above Giraffe et al.). Walk past Le Pain Quotidien - great for informal brunch- away from the river. 020 7960 4160, www.pingpongdimsum.com
Hotonearth.co.uk is a gobal warming awareness site which includes a shopping directory featuring travel companies. For every purchase you make from one of these retailers via the site, a percentage of your payment is passed onto a carbon offsetting scheme. You pay no extra than you would from shopping from this travel company normally; the donation comes from the store themselves.
You can even choose from a list of Project Partners which scheme you support.
Debate rages about the effectiveness of Carbon Offsetting - but every little helps.
I think it is becoming essential to protect yourself against being refused your pre-booked hotel room. After a long flight I arrived at a south Kensington hotel to be told I had no booking and they were full. In future, I will call beforehand to make sure it's all OK. I have found a website page that lists the reasons so you can be prepared.
A quiet Indian restaurant specialising in food from Kerala ('God's own country') in South India.
The food is authentic and tastes home-made. Every time I feel home sick, I head to Oxford Circus. A little shopping followed by a delicious hot meal is the cure for my blues!
Try the buffet (different prices depending on whether you choose dessert or not). I love the 'Mango Lassi' as a refreshing drink on a hot summers day.
Kerala Restaurant, 15 Great Castle Street, London, W1W 8LT. Nearest tube Oxford Circus
Rasa vegetarian restaurant in Stoke Newington is great - delicious variety of interesting Keralan dishes and all completely vegetarian. For carnivores, there's a non-veggie version opposite.
Church Street, Stoke Newington, Hackney, London
Tucked away in a converted church near Hammersmith tube, this is the best British veggie restaurant we've found. Particularly fantastic are the wild food menus, which include everything from nettles and wild mushrooms to strange salad ingredients and inventive elderflower puddings. It's pretty good value for top-notch food and even has an original mural covering one wall!
It's a favourite haunt. It does a really nice buffet with a good variety. Plenty of nice vegetables. Polite and pleasant staff. The 'meat' dishes look and taste authentic. We took some devoted-meat-eating friends there a few months back and bundled them in without their seeing the word 'vegan' on the outside. They didn't believe us when we confessed they'd just heartily enjoyed a vegan meal!! Great! A recommended evening would be to go there for the main and then over Soho Square to Soho Street and Govinda's for desert (very yummy!), though the latter closes at 8pm.
Old Compton Street, Soho.
Slate-top tabled, concrete-walled, shabby-chic gem of a bar, always filled with Londoners after a day's slog at work. Hard to find (probably why there's never any tourists), it's underground below a sailing shop on Shaftesbury avenue just past Neil St. Great for a post-shopping bevvie, or just to people-watch and soak up the chilled but funky atmosphere. A London must.
Nearest tube - Covent Garden, walk to the top of Neil St then turn right onto Shaftsbury Ave. It's downstairs about five doors down.
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
I visited this restaurant a few times recently and was really impressed. Situated next to some of the most interesting history in London (Brunel museum, Mayflower etc), the restaurant offers great British grub.
I've had the full English breakfast and the evening menu is just fantastic.
St Marychurch Street
Nearest tube: Rotherhithe
Disappointed that Sabor do Brasil has closed, as I love Brazillian food and hoped to visit it on a visit from Lancashire, but I discovered Brazillian café, Pizzico, 289 Regents Park Road N3 3JY near Finchley Central Station (formerly an Italian deli/café recently taken over by a Brazillian who cooks like an angel).
I have heard it said that it is better than Sabor used to be, and the prices are really good too. So if, like me, anyone is disappointed to lose Sabor, I recommend they try Pizzico.
289 Regents Park Road, N3 3JY
Tel: 020 8371 1999
An Italian restaurant and ice cream parlour.
The best ice cream in London if not the UK, stroll off Primrose Hill and towards Camden town and there it is. Amazing flavour and amazing sundaes. Can't beat it.
Chalk Farm Road, towards Camden Town from Chalk Farm station on the left hand side as you walk south.
I know it's a naff choice but honestly the ice cream there is worth the visit. These Italian guys run it and you can request a flavour you want in advance and they'll prepare it for you. Last time I went I tried blood orange sorbet which was amazing!
Harrod's, London. Knightsbridge Tube Station
Greenwich Observatory was built to look at the stars. But it's a fantastic place to look at London, too.
You look past the green lawns and Palladian architecture below, across the Thames, past the Dome and Canary Wharf, to the whole of north London spread out on its hills above the metropolis. Nowhere else do you get this feeling of the sheer scale of the city, and binding it all together, the sluggish grey ribbon of the river.
From Cutty Sark DLR station - it's an uphill walk so come motivated!
A smallish comedy club (capacity is around 120) with a high proportion of students from nearby Goldsmith's College, Happy Mondays Comedy Club manages to consistently pull in a variety of big-name UK comedians for a low price (£6 / £4 conc).
Russell Brand, Daniel Kitson, Phil Nichol, Russell Howard, Stewart Lee and more have all graced the stage in recent months, usually accompanied by some suprising talent from less well known acts.
It's just one stop by train from London Bridge, so pretty easy to get to for a cheap and entertaining night out.
The Amersham Arms, New Cross Road, South London.
Right over the road from New Cross station (BR/underground: East London Line).
More info and line-ups: www.pappysfunclub.co.uk/happymondays
Map to venue: maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=SE14%2B6TY
Beautiful historic Dutch bar in Soho. The interior is amazing and the atmosphere is buzzing. Good selection of Dutch and Belgian beers, and a superb food menu with lots of yummy Dutch snacks. The bar has a long history which adds to the vibe inside.
11 Macclesfield Street, Soho.
Piccadilly/Leicester Square tube
Situated right next to the city and the bars, cafes and markets of Spitalfields and Brick Lane, the location is ideal. Tube station right next door also. Rooms are basic, but spotless, clean and comfortable. For £65/night at the weekend it's a bargain. Unusually for a hotel, the bar is buzzing and comfortable. The staff are so friendly. Definitely worth checking out.
Commercial Street, E1. Aldgate East tube station.
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