Head for central London and then take a bus, any double decker, head for the top deck and sit at the front. You'll see the intricacies of London architecture and street life that you wouldn't see at any other angle. I've heard that these buses are being phased out which is a huge shame. So do it now while you have the chance.
Restaurant situated down a side street between Barkers and Gap. It looks like an office block from the side but if you look carefully, you will see the entrance for the restaurant. Provides lovely views over the gardens and the south side of west london, but the restaurant is expensive in the evenings. however, the lunchtime weekday special is an absolute bargain for the location.
Kensington High St station, exit, turn right onto High St and right again at Gap. Entrance is on the right just before the square
The National trail along the banks of the Thames has a few interruptions but provides a chance to see the river at its best. A highlight is to cycle from Putney Bridge to Weybridge taking in Richmond Park and Hampton Court - do it on a weekday and the path is virtually deserted. Too tired to cycle back? Stick your bike on the train and head back into town.
Beside the river. www.sustrans.org.uk. Various tube/rail along the route.
Make sure after you have mooched around Spitalfields and Brick Lane on a Sunday that you take the time to have a few drinks around Dray Walk, just off Brick Lane under the Truman Brewery. In the summer it is always buzzing and is a great place to people watch (or be watched).
There are open air BBQs at 1001 and gorgeous cocktails at the Big Chill. In winter it is quieter but still worth the effort. Just remember to wear your trendiest garments because the fashion stakes are set pretty high!
Great mid-price hotel that feels like a five-star posh one. Prices start from 99 quid for a double. Restaurant is excellent and the location, next to the Tate, is fairly central.
30, John Islip Street, London SW1P 4DD, Tel.: 0207 630 1000, nearest tube: Pimlico (handy for Liverpool Street)
100% real Greek food, they say. Well, even if that's not strictly true, it's pretty damn good. Order some mezedes (small dishes) to start - gigandes beans, aubergine dip, tzatziki, houmos, octopus, etc - with some pitta bread to share.
Then, as the name suggests, you have to tuck into a souvlaki, be it lamb, pork or chicken, and wash it down with a Mythos beer. And, of course, you can't leave without having some loukoumia (otherwise known as Turkish delight) and a piece of baklava or two.
It's not the cheapest place in the world, which is why I recommend getting your boss to take you there for lunch. As often as possible. Even if you are just about to go to Athens, where they really do have 100% Greek food.
140-142 St John Street, EC1V 4UA
Nearest tube: Farringdon or Barbican
To really appreciate the city in style, either take a canal boat from Little Venice to Camden, or cycle from Maida Vale all the way to Kings Cross along the canals. Or go the slow way, by foot! You can stop off at any point to appreciate cafes, pubs, parks, city streets, London Zoo or Camden Market. Lush!
Nice place to start the journey is from the top of Golbourne Road near Portobello, or get on from Westbourne Park Tube and then just keep going until you can´t take it anymore!
All the deep joy of karaoke without having to get up in public or inflict your singing on the rest of the pub. You get your own little room, machine, and a couple of mikes. Not cheap (about £25 an hour all in), you have to book ahead and it can feel a little grubby. But worth it.
18 Frith St. Tel: 020 7494 3878
Anthony Bourdain, the New York chef turned best-selling author, is moving to Vietnam because he loves Vietnamese food so much.
Fortunately, Londoners without his resources can find excellent Vietnamese nosh in Hackney. The section of Kingsland Road just past Shoreditch is a veritable gauntlet of Vietnamese restaurants, but the Loong Kee Cafe is a standout.
Like most Vietnamese restaurants, the decor is simple, although it has had to up its game with the plethora of competition. The formica tops have been replaced by a more inviting matt surface and the walls have been repainted. But you do not come here for the interior design.
Besides the excellent pho, a hearty soup of flat rice noodles, brisket and thin red slices of steak that cook in the broth before your very eyes, Loong Kee makes a Vietnamese treat rarely found in London.
A northern dish, Banh cuon consists of very fine minced pork and black mushroom, wrapped in a white thin, translucent layer made of rice flour. The delicate creatures are sprinkled with dried onions, which have been fried so that you get a wonderful contrast between the velvety smoothness of the rice wrapping and the crunchiness of the onions.
Cha lua, a thick sort of mortadella and fish sauce complete the dish. If you don't meat, there is the prawn version, not unlike the long white steamed dumplings with prawn in the middle that is a staple of dim sum. The difference is that the Vietnamese rice wrapping is much more delicate.
Loong Kee does banh cuon to perfection and is the only restaurant I know in the area that does this dish. That's why you'll see plenty of Vietnamese customers tucking into banh cuon for Sunday lunch. It's also fun to see non-Vietnamese trying to eat banh cuon with chopsticks. They are very slippery and seem to take on a life of their own.
There is an added bonus to Loong Kee. If you fancy some culture afterwards, pop into the Geffrye museum literally next door, a quirky museum with a large garden, which traces the history of English living rooms from 1600.
134 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8DY; Tel: 020 7729 8344
A secret walled garden beside the river in Chelsea. The second oldest botanic garden in the UK, it was founded by the Society of Apothecaries in 1673 and has been growing plants with medicinal uses ever since.
It's sheltered, sunny and dry enough to grow plants from the Canary Islands, Madeira and South Africa - and is a great place to escape from the fast pace of city living for an hour or two.
Note, it's only open to the public on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons
It was once my local pub. I was born and bred in London Fields, and this was a beacon of the community: good beer, a boules pit in the back garden and, during the summer, local cricket or football. Someone generally has a guitar or sings a song and people listen while chilling on the grass.
It was an intimate, friendly place - it's lost its intimacy because it's more popular now, but its still a great place for a summer day's relaxing. Take a picnic...
Pub On The Park
The Temperate House is the largest of the glasshouses at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; in fact it's the largest, extant Victorian glasshouse in the world. Despite this fact, many visitors never reach it because it's a fair way from the main gate and it's hidden from view until you're almost upon it.
This is a shame because the Temperate House contains some fabulous specimens, including the world's rarest plant - a cycad called Encephalartos woodii - and the world's largest indoor plant, the 52-foot high Chilean Wine Palm.
A quirky museum detailing the 400-year-old history of tea and coffee, from the British persepective. It's quaint rather than hi-tech but you won't find many places that serve up a better cuppa.
Near London Bridge. www.bramahmuseum.co.uk/tea/index.htm
A remnant of the Great North Wood that used to extend from Deptford to Selhurst, this is a great place for a sunday afternoon stroll. There were once large Victorian villas in the area, so along with oak, beech and cedar trees, you'll find bamboo and rhododendrons. Cox's Walk is an avenue of oaks that is fabulous in autumn. London Wildlife Trust manages the wood and runs various guided walks such as bat watches and dawn chorus patrols.
South-east London between Dulwich Village and East Dulwich
London Wildlife Trust - Email email@example.com
This is the best kebab shop I have ever been too. It is always packed even at four in the morning and you often have to wait a while, but it's worth it. The shish kebabs and koftes are amazing and are served at decent prices. It is also a mini restaurant, serving up tasty caserole dishes. Even the doners are reasonably wholesome and soak up alcohol wonderfully after a hard night on the lash.
Holloway Road, 3 mins north of Seven Sisters Road.
The world - like life, is not a candy coated pudding! You can't simply read some non-sense from some guy who sat in a bar one afternoon in some foreign place and had 'such a fabulous' time!! If this is what you're looking for then you've missed the whole point of travel and indeed life itself! The greatest moments come when they're least expected, in places you'd never dream of enjoying. The moments in life that stay with us, the most profound and valuable, are those in which we had an emotional link, a bond with special people around us - it's called poetry / art / life / love. You have to get out there and find it for yourself - not sit in front of a computer screen or walk around with your nose in a guide book hoping paradise and 'the most amazing experience of your life' can be reached on the number 56 bus!! My recommendation? Burn the guide books and walk with your eyes and heart open. Find your own moments and places which are special. Other people can not live your life for you!
Look around you!
In its day one of the most painfully trendy bars in London, set-up by the record label of the same name. A great upstairs with intimate booths that you need to grab early to nab; a downstairs with very eclectic DJs and bands. All this plus fantastic White Russians and one of the best juke boxes in town.
Little Portland Street: tube to Oxford Cricus - head to Tottenham Ct Rd, take the 1st road on the leftm then Little Portland is on the left.
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