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)
A small, "independent" cinema just up the road from the larger and more obvious Odeon and Filmhouse. It has an old-fashioned entrance, with the films and times chalked up on a blackboard on the way in. Shows a mix of independent, art-house and cultish mainstream films, with midnight specials and Sunday double-bill matinees. Friendly young staff (apparently there's a waiting list to work there), old-fashioned foyet snack shop, and a small bar/cafe in the back. A really nice cinema experience.
Home Street (top end of Lothian Road).
0131 228 4141
Served by buses: 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 23, 27, 37 to Tollcross
or the 23, 27 to Lauriston Place.
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
An Edinburgh institution for 40 years, Henderson's sells all sorts of nutritious and comforting vegetarian food in a very friendly environment. The Bistro is the smaller, more intimate restaurant attached to the main salad bar and shop. Practically everything is homemade, such as delicious soups,curries, cakes, bread, veggie pates and pastries and the fruit and veg is bought from local farmers. They also are able to cater for any special diets - all you need to do is ask!
26 Thistle Street, just off Hanover St.
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
This area of Belfast, around the district of St Anne's cathedral, features the best of bars that Belfast has to offer. The Spaniard is a small and friendly new bar which plays great music. The John Hewitt usually has live music and is run by the Unemployed Resource centre. The Duke of York is also a veritable Belfast institution. Just stay clear of the Northern Whig on a Friday or Saturday night, last time I was there it was full of drunken stags and hens!
The Monro does amazing food that is in my opinion better than some of the top restaurants in the city. Featuring rabbit, wild boar and Welsh buffalo they create really special dishes at great prices.
Also don't be fooled by their bar snacks blackboard on the way in. This is more memorable food that's ingenious and cheap.
A lovely small bistro/restaurant, it's not too expensive and has all kinds of cuisine including modern Irish. It's in an old artist's studio, opposite the Ulster Museum. I would definitely recommend it.
Stranmillis Road, Belfast BT7
If you want to have drink spoiled by camera-wielding tourists, this is the place for you! Hopefully you will have no need to avail of toilet facilities - they are still in the Victorian age. This establishment's claim to fame is that it's "unspoiled" since it was built - do you really want to drink in Dickens' time?
Victoria Street - opposite Europa Hotel
This fantastic old pub is on The Side but should be central to any trip to Newcastle. Top tap - stic real ales, kept properly, a gramophone and stained glass windows in a tiny pub split into a snug that really is and a long thin bar. Just do not wander in to take a photo and then leave as some tightwads have been observed doing!
The Crown Posada
Newcastle upon Tyne
Sit on the beach and look at the sun setting - (my favoured spot is in between the two piers, looking just over the burnt out one ...) call me a freak but if it's a good day for weather - you could almost be anywhere in the world.
The beach at Brighton
A wonderful vegetarian cafe in the Northern Quarter with excellent coffee, imaginative and tasty food and friendly staff. There is a quirky shop at the back and a collection of excellent DVDs which you can borrow.
Across the road from the famous Earth Cafe
Small wooden hut selling genuinely fresh fish at good (but not great) prices. Not just a salesman, his knifework was exemplary. The two fillets extracted from an enormous seabass were absolutely delicious later that evening.
Far better to give your custom here than at the Tesco megabore on Church Road. And there is no chance of getting fish that fresh from the supermarkets.
Literally on the beachside directly behind the Bowls club at Hove. About 100 yards west of the King Alfred Sports Centre. A small wooden sign points the way down the footpath from Kingsway, between 2 of the bowling greens
A fantastic shopping emporium located just off the main shopping area. An array of unusual furniture and clothes shops - make sure you go to the flea market at the back of the ground floor. Quiggins has been around for years and is under threat of closure by the council, so see it before it goes.
12-16 School Lane, Liverpool, L1 3BT
Tucked away in the West End this great restaurant serves contemporary Scottish food in a great setting. The Bothy manages to have staff in kilts and irn-bru sorbet on the menu, but still has an upmarket, elegant feel.
Ruthven Lane, Off Byres Road. Opposite Hillhead Subway station
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