Lorelei is the most charming little pizza place in Soho - (great) pizzas for £6, BYO booze, a waving naked mermaid mural and only two people who work there to get to know, the chef and his wife - it must be one of the only places like this that is surviving in such a central location and every time I go I breathe a sign of relief that it still hasn't been turned into a boring white-walled minimalist overpriced hangout for people with more money than sense.
21 Bateman Street, W1D
The hidden gem that is the Regent's Canal goes from Angel right out to Limehouse.
The western end of the canal gives you Camden and Little Venice... the eastern end gives you London's industrial heritage, the amazing Victoria Park, Bow, a quick detour for the Colombia Road flower market on a Sunday and Broadway Market on a Saturday.
But now I'm having second thoughts about posting this because it's a rare treat and we don't want too many people bounding down the tow path...
Angel Tube, then turn down the street next to The York pub. Walk as far as you want...
The best way to view London is from the river and the Thames Clippers river taxi does the job. For £8 you can buy a River Roamer (after 10am weekdays and anytime weekends), and get on and off the boats all day. There is no garbled commentary (that's so common on the leisure boats) and it runs from Millbank (Tate Britain) to O2 at Greenwich stopping at all the usual sights (Tower of London, London Eye, The Globe, Greenwich etc).
The seats are comfortable, all seats have good views and there is a bar serving snacks, coffee, soft drinks, wine and beer at reasonable prices. The boats get busy towards the end of the day, especially travelling east. You may have to wait for the next boat, or make your way home by bus or tube. Even so, if you start early, the River Roamer ticket is good value.
This fabulous Japanese restaurant is tucked down an unlikely alley at the back of the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton. Benches are crammed into the diminutive space like edamame beans in a pod, and customers sharpen their elbows while wielding their chopsticks in anticipation.
Tempura prawns are fluffy-light and crispy, and the yasai soba is almost enough to transport you to Tokyo. Other, bigger Japanese restaurants may lead the field in terms of popularity and market share, but Fujiyama wins hands down on quality, tastiness and value for money.
5 Vining Street, Brixton, London SW9 8QA
Nearest tube: Brixton
Fancy flying through the air at tree level? You don't have to go to Kew Gardens or Alton Towers, this can be found in one of London's oldest forests. Even better - it's free and uncommercialised. Some anonymous tree enthusiasts have erected a series of swings from the ancient trees of this hidden wood. Scramble up one slope inside the wood, jump onto the rope and swing 50ft high into the air. Go any time - you are unlikely to find a queue. Oh, and there's a lovely family-run cafe nearby in the wood.
Queens Wood Road London N10
Fabulous, friendly museum... free entry, free lockers, lovely staff.
This is a lovely Almshouse and museum of interiors for the 'Middling Sort' or middle classes. Living space from the year 1500 to 2000 is set out along a very long corridor. Great fun looking at carpets, wallpaper, lighting and doors and how people lived through the ages. The Edwardian room is my favourite - lovely relaxing reading area with lots of current issues of interior magazines and books. Very child-friendly too.
Lovely reasonable spacious cafe and herb garden outside. A lovely oasis and never busy. Catch it in Nov/Dec when all the room s are decorated in period style for Christmas. Great shop too!
Liverpool St station (20 min walk towards Hackney).
The museum is housed in a former ice warehouse and features the history of the ice trade, ice cream and the canals! You can get a barge trip through Islington tunnel and down to Camden, it is hidden away in Kings Cross and is a perfect place to take the kids for an afternoon.
12-13 New Wharf Road
Four-nights-a-week topical comedy show. Very close to the bone and possibly libellous humour! The Canal Cafe Theatre is in a great location above the Bridge House pub in Little Venice, which is a gorgeous, off the tourist rat-run part of London.
Surf Shop, Surf Hire, Cafe, sea view. Fabulous food including vegetarian options. Chill out in this fantastic cafe. They serve alcohol and sell the most amazing cakes. You can buy an appropriately named breakfast like the half pipe and sit and read the local newspapers or surf the internet on their internet cafe pc's. Really friendly staff. Cash only but will accept cards for purchases over £20.00. Amazing sea views, fabulous food, really chilled.
Nr St Ives
This fantastic B&B is in the beautiful fishing village of Mevagissey on the south coast of Cornwall, perched on a hill overlooking the harbour.
We recently spent my 50th birthday there and believe it must be the best B&B in Cornwall!
The rooms are immaculate and beautifully furnished, oozing with quality and good taste. Breakfast was delicious and a very happy friendly affair. We sat on the most incredible patio sipping champagne with an awesome sea view stretching over 40 miles. There are car parking spaces too (do not stay anywhere without a car park in Mevagissey)!
Without question the best place I have ever visited.
Three of us ate at Christy's Fish Restaurant last night and we had a superb meal at very reasonable prices. We chose from the fish specials on the board - two of us had lemon sole, deep fried in batter and one had scampi and chips - the fish was very fresh and moist. We were given a dish of smoked fish pate and shrimp to enjoy while ordering. An excellent bottle of wine completed the meal - none of us could manage a dessert afterwards. We will be back soon to sample the fish pie and skate wings! The dining room is tucked away at the back of a takeaway fish bar and unless you knew it was there, I guess you would drive past, but the dining room was very pretty with a bistro atmosphere, and I should imagine that at the weekends it would be buzzing with fish addicts like us.
1 Portsmouth Road, Thames Ditton, Surrey
This hotel is located perfectly close to Hyde Park. This makes it a great place to stay if you want to be very central, which we did. Everything that we wanted to see was close by.
It is in the heart of Paddington close to the train station.
Although the Rose Court was not the Ritz, it was good value for money. It cost us very little and all we really wanted was somewhere close to Hyde Park to crash out. It was perfect for that.
I would also recommend it for business travellers. If you are trying to make money in London and not spend it you won't find better value and location.
1 - 3 Talbot Square, Paddington, London
Charming independent hostel a stone's throw away from the magnificent Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. Chris and Sue offer a warm welcome to families and non-families alike! The Old School is 'green' in many respects (recycling, use of public transport etc) but not in a preachy way.
great section on getting there by car AND public transport
This website offers a web-based cycle route planner you can use to search cycle routes anywhere in Europe. The planner combines several existing, described routes to make your cycle route complete. It's a Dutch site originally, but with the English translation you can use it anyway.
Edgar Street, home of Hereford United, is a great day out. OK, so it's certainly not Old Trafford or the Emirates, but it shows true history as the team has grown and excelled in recent years as well as being the location of their famous FA Cup giant-killing of Newcastle United in 1972.
A day out watching Hereford United is great fun for the whole family and certainly doesn't cost as much as Premiership teams.
Edgar Street, Hereford
This is a karaoke place where you can rent a private room with your friends and sing your favourite songs. It's much better than doing it in front of a crowd of strangers. It can't remember the last time I laughed so much!
A relatively new development of high quality self-catering lodges.
We stayed in a very well-equipped four bedroom bedroom property, ideal for a large family like ours or multiple groups.
Given that the weather was truly awful for virtually the whole week, the standard of the accommodation, the onsite facilities and the friendly, helpful staff saved the holiday.
The only gripe with the facilities was the poor quality 'golf' course.
Easy access to Padstow (we took a taxi when going for an evening meal) and surrounding beaches / amenities (if only the rain had relented).
More pricey than our usual haunts but well worth it.
Catered very well to our diverse requirements - two adults, two older children and two younger ones, including someone allergic to seafood.
Excellent friendly service. The food was fresh and well presented. Were able to enjoy coffee in the reading room waiting for the obligatory summer rainfall to subside.
Leave plenty of time prior to your reservation to find a parking space and for walking.
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