Expensive, busy, vibrant; London has something for all walks of life. Whether it be one of the many world class galleries, a slap-up meal at a stylish restaurant or a few beers in one of the many watering holes, you'll be sure to have an exciting time.
If this is your first time in London, it is advisable to carry traveller's cheques and keep your passport somewhere safe, as pickpocketting (theft) is on the increase. It is advisable to buy an A-Z map, which contains a detailed map of the London area, and will stop you getting lost. If you are intending to do a lot of travelling it may be worth buying a weekly travelcard for all zones, this should cover travel on buses, trams, trains and the underground in the whole of the London area.
If arriving by plane, you will probably come in via Heathrow or Gatwick, both are served by direct rail links to the centre of London (25 mins). Other airports like Stansted, City airport and Luton, are equally well connected.
Once in London, the best and cheapest way to travel is on the Underground ('the tube'), a one day travelcard costs just under £5, and gives you unlimited travel on buses, trains and the underground after 9.30am (it is a lot more expensive before). It is inadvisable to travel between 7.30-9.30am and 4.30-7.00pm as this is the peak of the 'rush' hour, when commuters are travelling to and from work. Also the Underground, when it was built just over a century ago, was not designed for such a large volume of people, so expect frequent overcrowding and line closures. Recent terrorist attacks have put London on alert and have brought widespread delays, but they are still a good safe way to travel.
Buses can be a good way to see London in the day, but be warned traffic in London rarely gets above 5mph! Overland trains are a good way to get to further destinations, be sure to check which station serves your destination, as it varies (e.g.Victoria mainly serves the south, Paddington the west). The prices are also pretty high, but if you are going a long way, it may be the only option.
Black cabs can be notoriously expensive, and to be quite honest, unless you have money to burn, isn't worth it. Minicab companies do operate, though, at slightly lower prices, expect to pay less the further out you go. A network of 'night buses' (Fare £1.20-£2.20) run throughout the night to transport late night revelers. As a guide, the tube stops at around 12.30am and starts about 6.30am, trains run between 5.30-12.30, with some services throughout the night (this is quite rare!). Another option if travelling further afield is to take a National Express coach (Victoria Coach station), they serve most destinations in Britain, are cheaper than trains and at the moment probably faster!
Expect London to be warm and sunny in the summer (60-70°F) and cold and wet the rest of the year, but more recently the weather has been unpredictable due to the effects of global warming, meaning London can have very warm spells a lot earlier nad later on into the year.
Hotels in London are very expensive, hostels are available, like anywhere the further out you go the cheaper you'll pay. Here are some useful places, I have no idea what they are like!
Youth Hostel beds can be booked in twin rooms or in dormitories, but be aware that if you are not a member of the International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF), you'll have to pay an extra £2 a night to stay at hostels, although after six nights you automatically become a member. Alternatively, you can join the IYHF for £12 (£6 for under-18s) at any hostel. It is a good idea to phone hostels first to check the availability of beds. Most hostels take MasterCard, Visa and travellers' cheques and you can become a member or book rooms through the IYHF's website .
City of London
36-8 Carter Lane, The City, EC4V 5AB (7236 4965/fax 7236 7681)
St Paul's tube. Beds 193. Reception open 7am-11pm daily; 24hr access. Rates (incl breakfast) £23.50-£26; £19.90-£21.50 under-18s.
38 Bolton Gardens, Earl's Court, SW5 0AQ (7373 7083/fax 7835 2034)
Earl's Court tube. Beds 154. Reception open 7am-11pm daily; 24hr access. Rates (incl breakfast) £18.95; £17.95 under-18s.
4 Wellgarth Road, Golders Green, NW11 7HR (8458 9054/fax 8209 0546)
Golders Green tube. Beds 199. Reception open 6.45am-11pm daily; 24hr access. Rates (incl breakfast) £19.90; £17.70 under-18s.
Holland House, Holland Walk, Kensington, W8 7QU (7937 0748/fax 7376 0667)
High Street Kensington tube. Beds 201. Reception open 7am-11pm daily; 24hr access. Rates (incl breakfast) £20.50; £18.50 under-18s.
14 Noel Street, Soho, W1F 8GJ (7734 1618/fax 7734 1657)
Oxford Circus tube. Beds 75. Reception open 7am-11pm daily; 24hr access. Rates £21.50-£23.50; £16.85-£17.50 under-18s.
79-81 Euston Road, King's Cross, NW1 2QS (7388 9998/fax 7388 6766)
King's Cross tube/rail. Beds 152. Reception open 7am-11pm daily; 24hr access. Rates £23.50; £19.90 under-18s.
To stay at a YMCA you may have to book months in advance and many specialise in long-term accommodation. Here are a few of the larger hostels but the YMCA website will be sure to have a complete list. Prices are around £25-£30 per night for a single room and £40-£45 for a double.
2 Fann Street, The City, EC2Y 8BR (7628 0697/fax 7638 2420)
Barbican tube. Beds 240.
8 Errol Street, The City, EC1Y 8SE (7628 8832/fax 7628 4080)
Barbican tube/ Old Street tube/rail. Beds 111.
200 The Broadway, Wimbledon, SW19 1RY (8542 9055/fax 8540 2526)
South Wimbledon tube/Wimbledon tube/rail/. Beds 110.
Belgrave Hostel (9-13 Clapham Rd, Oval UND, SW9, 0207-793-0142)
British Hostel Association (23 Thrale Rd, Off Mitcham Lane, Streatham BR, SW16, 07000-611611)
Casa Della Studente (174 Clapham Rd, Stockwell UND, 0207-735-3058)
Eurotower (Courland Grove, Stockwell UND, SW8, 0207-720-5191
It is also possible to stay in University halls during the summer break, some of the London Universities that offer this service, include City University, South Bank University, University of London, University of North London and University of Westminster. Please contact them personally to find out more.
London Metropolitan University are offering a great deal on accommodation this summer, £91 per person a week or £23 a night non-students pay a bit more). Click here to go to their booking form
For more hostels in London please click here
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If you need to send or check email, you can find a list of cybercafes on the TravelLondon site
Food and Drink
London has a wide variety of restaurants bridging a wealth of different cultures, whether it be a curry in Brick Lane, French, Italian, the choice is yours. There is a wide variety of fast food places, all serving typical fare. For traditional English food, there are Steak houses, pubs serving typical meals and, of course, the fish and chip shop. I will add a list of recommended eateries soon. For budget travellers, express supermarkets can be found in the centre (more expensive than usual) which sell food to cook, or ready made food. Markets away from the centre may also be a good source of cheap food.
Britain is renowned for it's drinking culture, it is a popular past-time to unwind after work and enjoy more than a few beers! In London, there are clubs open every night of the week. If you are looking for a traditional English experience, head towards one of the many public houses, expect to pay between £2.20-£3.20 for a pint of beer (London is the most expensive place in England to buy beer). Pubs generally shut at 11.30, with last orders at 11pm, this is due to archaic licensing laws that have existed since the last world war. Plans are afoot to extend the hours, but local residents have objected, so whether this will happen remains to be seen. However, if you want to drink into the early hours, there are many bars/clubs that stay open till the early hours, you may have to pay to get in (unless you get there really early), and expect prices to be even higher than the pubs. If you want to buy your own beer to take out, buy it early (before 10pm) from an 'off license' or a supermarket. Police tend to frown on drinking on the street, but unless there are signs up, it is not illegal.
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British Library (Euston Rd, Kings Cross UND)
British Museum (Great Russell Street, Tottenham Court Road/Russell Square UND) - Housing rare antiquities, archeological finds etc
Faraday Museum (Albermarle St, Green Park UND)
Geffereye Museum (Geffrye Street, Shoreditch UND) - Focussing on the Victorian era
Greenwich Observatory (Greenwich Park, Greenwich/Maze Hill BR) - Sitting on the Greenwich Meridian line (GMT), in the peaceful surroundings of Greenwich Park, there is a museum on the history of astronomy and time.
Horniman Museum (London Rd, Forest Hill BR via Charing X/London Bridge BR) - Museum exploring exotic cultures from native indians to totem poles
Imperial War Museum (Kennington Rd, Lambeth North UND) - Charting the history of war
Kensington Palace (Palace Av, High St Kensington UND)
London Aquarium (York Rd, Waterloo UND/BR)
London Dungeon (Tooley Street, London Bridge UND/BR) - Torture and the macabre
London Transport Museum (Covent Garden UND) - History of London's transport systems
London Zoo (Regents Park, St. John's Wood UND)
Madame Tussuads (Marylebone Rd, Baker Street UND) - Famous waxworks, extremely touristy, expect long queues.
Museum of the Moving Image (South Bank, Embankment UND) - The history of TV and film
National Film Theatre (South Bank, Embankment UND)
Natural History Museum (Cromwell Road, South Kensington UND) - Dinosaur bones, animals, plants, almost everything covering natural history.
Planetarium (Marylebone Rd, Baker Street UND) - All about the sky at night
Science Museum (Exhibition Road, South Kensington UND) - Informative, interactive recently refurbished museum
Victoria and Albert Museum (Cromwell Gardens, South Kensington UND)
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Barbican Centre (Silk Street, Barbican/Moorgate UND) - Art Gallery, exhibtion space and conference centre
ICA (The Mall, Charing X UND/BR) -The Institute for Contemporary Art has exhibitions, new media centre with Internet, a bar and a cinema showing art films.
LUX (Hoxton Square, Old Street UND) - New media centre, art centre, restaurant/bar and cinema in the trendy Hoxton Square.
National Gallery/Portrait Gallery (Trafalgar Square, Charing X UND/BR) - Deals with less contemporary art, more portrait/landscape and classical sculpture
Royal Academy of Arts (Piccadilly, Green Park/Piccadilly UND)
Royal Festival Hall (South Bank, Embankment/Waterloo UND) - Has concerts, exhibitions, bar and cultural events
Saatchi Gallery(County Hall, South Bank, Embankment/Waterloo UND) - Large white space gallery owned by advertising mogul, Charles Saatchi, has excellent exhibitions with Richard Wilson's famous 'oil' piece a permanent exhibit.
Serpentine Gallery (West Carriage Drive, Kensington Gardens, Lancaster Gate/South Kensington UND) - Newly renovated contemporary art space
Tate Britain (Millbank, Pimlico UND) - The original Tate Gallery houses a permanent collection of art through to the present day with temporary exhibitions and Art Now, focussing on up and coming artists.
Tate Modern (Off Southwark St, London Bridge UND/BR) - Newly opened in the awesome setting of Bankside Power Station, this has to be the most impressive gallery for modern art in the world. Has an extensive collection of contemporary art, with the emphasis on modern.
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Billingsgate Fish Market (New) (Billingsgate rd, West India Quay DLR)
Billingsgate Fish Market (Old) (Lower Thames St, Monument UND)
Brick Lane (Brick Lane, E1, Aldgate East UND, Liverpool Street UND/BR)
Buckingham Palace (St.James Park/Green Park/Hyde Park Corner UND) - Queen's official residence
Canary Wharf Tower (Canary Wharf DLR) - Tallest tower in London at moment within a newly developing business/commerce district)
Chistlehurst Caves (Chistlehurst BR from Charing X BR) - Network of caves with guided tour
Cutty Sark (Greenwich BR/Cutty Sark DLR) - Famous old 'clipper' gives an insight into life on a seafaring vessel.
Earls Court Exhibition Centre (Off Lillie Rd, Earls Court/West Brompton UND) - Check listings, has regular exhibitions/conferences
Globe Theatre (Mansion House UND) - Shakespearian theatre built to original design
Greenwich Park (Greenwich BR) - Large picturesque park offering spectacular view of London and Canary Wharf, including the Royal Observatory at exactly O° Longitude on the Meridian Line.
Hampton Court Palace (Hampton Court BR) - Palace of King Henry VIII with gardens and maze
HMS Belfast (Off Tooley St, moored on riverside) - Famous warship, now a fully functional visitor centre
Houses of Parliament (Westminster UND) - Hub of English government, tours are possible, but book well in advance
Hyde Park (Hyde Park Corner UND)
Kew Gardens (Lower Kew Rd, Kew Gardens UND) - Extensive collection of plants, shrubs and trees from all over the world, including the famous 'lotus' plant from Egypt.
Little Venice (Bloomfield Rd, Warwick Av UND)
Lords Cricket Ground (St. John's Wood Rd, St. John's Wood UND) - Catch a game in the summer months
Marble Arch (Marble Arch UND) - Includes Speaker's Corner, where anyone can make a speech to the passing public
Millenium Wheel (Chicheley St, Waterloo UND/BR) - Giant ferris wheel giving spectacular views of London
National Theatre (Royal) (South Bank, Embankment UND)
Oxo Tower Wharf (Barge House St, Waterloo BR/UND) - Includes shops, classy restuarants and exhibition space
Petticoat Lane Market (Middlesex St, Liverpool St BR/UND)
Portobello Rd Market (Portobello Rd, Ladbroke Grove UND)
Royal Albert Hall (Kensington Rd, Gloucester Rd/South kensington UND) - Hosts opera, classical and rock concerts
Smithfield Market (Charterhouse St, Farringdon UND)
St. James Palace (The Mall, Green Park UND)
St. Pauls (St.Pauls UND) - Once the tallest building in London, now eclipsed by modern development. Has the famous whispering gallery.
Tower Bridge (Tower Bridge Rd, London Bridge BR/UND
Tower of London (Tower Hill UND) - Houses the crown jewels collection
Trafalgar Square (Charing X BR/UND)
Trocadero (Windmill St, Piccadilly Circus UND) - Houses Guinness Book of Records, aswell as a multiplude of shops and amusements.
Westminster Abbey (Parliament Square, St. James Park UND)
Westminster Cathedral (Cathedral Piazza, Victoria BR/UND)
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93 Feet East Bar (Brick Lane) - Chilled bar opposite the Vibe Bar
Bar Soho (Old Compton Street) - Nice bar in the centre of Soho
Blue Anchor (13 Lower Mall, Hammersmith, London, W6 9DJ) - Small, cosy traditional pub on the riverfront
Bradley's Spanish Wine Bar (Hanley Street) - Spanish Bar serving up a good selection of drinks with live music in the downstairs bar
Bricklayers Arms (Charlotte Street) - Bustling friendly pub popular with artists, thai food restaurant upstairs
Cantaloupe (35-42 Charlotte Road, Shoreditch) - Bar/restaurant. Interesting range of tapas and excellent Bloody Mary's. Gets considerably rammed in the evening, but is a good place to start off from. European feel.
Churchill Arms ( 119 Kensington Church Street, London, W8 7LN ) - As British as it can be, and then you move to the back and there is a room full of plants like the jungle. Unique place where they also serve traditional pub food and Excellent Thai Food. The food is excellent, quite cheap (around £6 for a main course) and good atmosphere.
De Hems (Macclesfield Street) - Excellent Dutch Pub in Central London dating back to the 19th Century with oyster shells adhorning the walls. Beer Prices are surprisingly reasonable for the centre of Soho. Open till 12am Saturdays.
Devonshire Arms (37 Marloes Road, London, W8 6LA ) - Beautiful Pub, good live music, nice food.
EDT (East Dulwich Tavern) - Wonderful atmosphere. Not an old style pub, but not in the style of a soulless chain, such as Wetherspoons. Has a tiled floor and open fires, with vases of flowers everywhere, which is a great touch. Jo Brand is a co-owner and they have an excellent comedy club upstairs.
Fluid (40 Charterhouse St, Farringdon) - Japanese influnced bar with Asahi and Kirin on tap, DJs play cool tunes in relaxing bar upstairs, more raucous club down some spiral steps.
Freedom (near Covent Garden) - A bar with some cool authentic american beers - ranging from modern day pils to olde recipe prehobition red beers. Good jukebox and always showing the cartoon network on the big screen! ..and you can watch the beer brewing in the background!
The Falcon (near Clapham North UND) - Laid back vibe with good seating in the front and out the back in the garden. Non-evasive music and scrumptious Thai food, reasonably priced.
The Foundry (Great Eastern Street) - Arts bar with gallery putting on regular shows. Regular live DJs and everchanging installed artworks
Garlic and Shots (Soho) - Interesting little pokey gothic bar with normal looking old style pub upstairs, with the vodka downstairs, there are over a hundred different variations of the Vodka drink to try, probably not advisable to try them all in one night, or you'll end up in the coffin in the crypt alcove! (Go there to see what I mean!)
The Good Mixer (30 Inverness Street, Camden) - One of the best pubs in Camden to enjoy a lazy Sunday, playing pool, listening to music and chatting with the locals.
Golden Hart (Commercial Street, E1) - Typical East End pub popular with the contemporary art community including Tracy Emin and the Chapman brothers.
Gossips (69 Dean Street, W1) - Downstairs bar/cavern with live music/club and 50p for pool last time I was there
The Gun (Brushfield St, E1) - 1930s style pub decorated with, yes you've guessed it, guns and tankards! Pool table and honest meat fayre, just a stones throw from Spitalfields Market.
Halfway House (2 Kentish Town Rd, Camden) - Situated right in the middle of the road opposite the tube station, this pub is a great place to wait for people, watch the drug dealers outside or keep up to date with the football scores
Hawley Arms (2 Castlehaven Rd, Camden) - A nice little pub to enjoy a few drinks with large sofas, food menu is limited.
Indi (Whitechapel High Street, E1) - Continental style arts bar where you relax into sofas or sit on a church pew and drink the hours by
The Landor (Landor Road) - Great old pub with a theatre upstairs, pool tables and a sizeable beer garden. Can get busy when big footie games are on.
The Railway (Clapham High St) - Relaxed pub serving great thai food, extra tables upstairs and seating outside, plays good music. Comedy nights 1st sunday of every month.
The Bierodrome (Clapham High St) - Popular bar with a large selection of european beers and a bistro next door, gets very busy on the weekends with DJs, open till 3AM.
The Alexandra (opp Clapham Common Tube) - Massive old pub very popular with Australians and Kiwis, as a result it is very sports orientated but it makes a great place to start a night off.
Pentagon (Clapham High St) - Small but trendy bar with good atmosphere, DJs
Revolution Bar (Clapham High St) - Extremely busy and young bar with drinks promotions, very loud awful music!
The Clapham North (409 Clapham Rd) - Pretentious overpriced modern bar that always seems packed, someone must like it
The Falcon (Bedford Road) - Stand out yellow colour and late opening hours make this pub popular, beer isn't great but the beer garden does have its uses.
The White House (65 Clapham Park Road) - Bar, club and restaurant all in one
The Windmill (Clapham Common) - Big, popular pub right on the common, good for replenishing supplies if on the common or if you need the loo!
Cafe Cairo (Landor Road) - Great bar off the beaten track where you can smoke Shisha pipes in authentic surroundings, they also serve good Mezze dishes and there is a room downstairs available to hire for parties. It remains to be seen what will happen after the July no-smoking law comes into place.
Arch 635 (15-16 Lendal Terrace) - Situated under the railway arches this cool bar gets popular on weekends when DJs spin their stuff, bit empty at other times.
Bar Local (4 Clapham Common Southside) - Excellent continental style bar that gets very popular and very crammed because of its size, good DJs.
The Royal Oak (Clapham High Street) - Don't be put off by the exterior, this is a nice cosy modern pub. Can get busy
The Manor Arms (128 Clapham Manor Street) - Great small pub just away from the bustle of the high street, great comfy sofas!
Bread and Roses (Clapham Manor Street) - Worker's Beer Company pub which puts on monthly comedy nights, cabaret, burlesque and other events. There is outdoor seating at the back and the pub is kid friendly before 6pm.
The Fine Line (Clapham High St) - Busy chain style pub devoid of any atmosphere.
Infernos (Clapham High St) - Utterly dreadful, tacky nightclub with 3 floors playing cheesy 70s and 80s music. Be careful your feet don't stick to the floor!
The Abbeville (67 Abbeville Road) - Gastropub on two levels serving great sunday lunches and a good beer selection
The Calf (87 The Rectory) - Good place for a few drinks and a game of pool, I heard the food is best avoided though.
The Prince of Wales POW POW POW (34 Old Town) - Great pub full of brickabrack with outdoor seating.
Exhibit B (13 Old Town) - Modern bar/restaurant appealing to a the more trendy drinker, prices to match the surroundings!
The Falcon (2 St. Johns Hill) - Large, smoky old pub just outside the entrance to the station as a result can get very busy especially just after work hours
The Goat (66a-66c Battersea Rise) - Interestingly decorated pub with good selection of continental beers and various sofas/armchairs to reside in. Food wasn't tried but I heard bad reports.
The Northcote (2 Northcote Road) - Popular open style pub serving food
Dixies (25 Battersea Rise) - American style diner with some of the best homemade burgers in the area, great bar area with very cheap happy hour drinks all night!
The Holy Drinker (59 Northcote Road) - Small cosy atmospheric bar worth getting there early to get a seat.
The Jerusalem Tavern (55 Britton Street) - Quaint, oldy worldy pub tucked away in back streets with a good selection of ales and a guest cider, prices are reasonable. Smokers can enjoy the delights of the side alley!
Living (443 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton) - Chilled bar set up as, you've guessed it, a living room, DJs play at night, watch your step outside though
Lupo (Dean Street, Soho) - Cool bar halfway down Dean Street with a small bar downstairs with little alcoves.
Market Porter (9 Stoney St, Southwark) Old style homely market pub with walls covered in bizarre and unusual beer mats like Bear's Ass! They also serve good Sunday dinners.
Monkey Chews (Queens Terrace, Chalk Farm) - Situated just 5 mins walk from Chalk Farm UND, Monkey Chews is a little oasis in the middle of suburbia. A blend of oriental design and traditional pub with dimly lit lights giving a homely feel. The restaurant at the back serves up some of the best food I have ever sampled in a pub before. Oh and should you like Jack Daniels there is a whole wall of the stuff!
Medicine Bar (Upper Street, Islington) - Trendy dimly lit bar with DJs and outside drinking area ideal for summer
Montunos Jazz Club (Shoreditch High Street, corner of Rivington St) - Newly opened Montunos has an elegant upstairs bar with a jazz venue downstairs. Its probably best to phone to find out whats on as they also host private parties. Expect this place to develop into a great place to see up and coming jazz acts.
Nelly Dean (Dean Street, Soho) - Small, homely pub in the heart of Soho that seems out of place with all the overpriced trendy joints nearby. Pool room upstairs that is open occasionally.
New Inn (New Inn Yard, Hackney) - Busy pub/bar with a downstairs rooms, offers board games and DJs at night
N20 (Wardour Street) - Modern late night bar with DJs that is not as pricey as some of the other late night bars in the area.
O2 (Bethal Green Road) - European Brasserie syle bar with waitress service, watch the world go by reclining on one of the large couches and enjoy complimentary nuts!
The Owl and the Pussy Cat (Redchurch Street) - Traditional pub with bar billiards and restaurant upstairs
Pentagon (Clapham High St) - Trendy chilled bar
Pop! (Soho Street) - Large, open trendy bar, open late but very expensive
Queen Mary (Embankment) - A boat bar on the Thames with spectacular views of the river. Sit outside and sun yourself before adjourning to the late night disco. Free entry to the disco if your already in.
Rockett (Off New Bond Street) - Very chilled, quiet up market bar off the beaten track which never seems to get over busy. Relax back on the comfortable sofas, enjoy a beer and sample the food. Recommended are the large bowls of prawn crackers and the delicious potato wedges.
Ten Bells (Commercial Street, E1) - Jack the Ripper's last victims local popular with American tourists who will descend in hoardes every hour or two, nevertheless its a nice trendy chilled pub.
The Beerodrome (Islington) - Massive selections of, er, beer amongst other things
The Couch (Dean St, Soho) - Trendy bar playing the latest grooves, get there early to get a seat, be warned the bar staff like to keep your change!
The Dove (London Fields) - Belgian Pub serving up a large selection of beers and loads of nooks and crannies to hide away in
The George Inn (Borough High St) Located just off the High St, the George Inn is London's only galleried pub and is broken up into a restaurant and pub section. The building dates back to the 16th Century and you can really truly escape from the reminders of the modern age here. In winter time they sell mulled wine
The Intrepid Fox (Soho) - Old pub popular with the rock/metal crowd, with loads of music memorabilia scattered everywhere, has an upstairs bar with pool table.
The Lounge (Bedford Hill, Balham) - A funky little bar with great tunes, djs on the weekend and food served from 6-10. Occasional bands and other acts and they have great drinks including various interesting vodkas from around the world.
The Pool (104-108 Curtain Road, EC2) - Luxurious lounge bar with cool tunes and free pool on Sundays
The Ring (72 Blackfriars Road, Southwark) - Airy and friendly little pub suitable for whiling away the hours, also serves great Thai food.
The Riverside Inn (Bankside) - Roomy pub on the Thames with tables on the terrace and just down the road from Tate Modern and The Globe Theatre.
The Salmon and Compasses (58 Penton St, Islington) - Small but packed bar with pool and DJs spinning local sounds.
The Ship (High Street, Croydon) - Possibly the only reason to warrant a visit to Croydon, but one of the oldest pubs in the area, is popular with the rock/metal crowd with DJs playing classic rock/metal fri/sat, sundays the DJs plays jazz,soul and funk while the resident magician dazzles the punters with an array of tricks. Pop quiz on Mondays and drinks are very cheaped compared to all the other pubs in the area
The Vibe Bar (Brick Lane) - Chilled bar with an arty crowd, with DJs and Internet. Has seating outside, can be quite expensive.
Two Floors (Back of Liberty's, Regent St) - Great candlelit atmosphere, nice food and big, comfy, beaten-up, leather sofas. Great in the week - avoid the 'IT' crowd at the weekend at all costs!! Fairly pricey.
The Union (56 Royal Hill, Greenwich) - Home of the meantime brewing company, this laid back cool bar serves a wonderful range of affordable organic beers including raspeberry flavour and chocolate flavour.
Walkabout (Shaftesbury Avenue, near Charing X Rd junction) - Extremely noisy aussie themed bar with a multitude of screens showing sport. You'll be hard pressed to have a conversation here, as most of the sound disappears up into the domed roof.
Waxy's Little Sister (20 Wardour St, Soho, London) - Beautifully presented old style pub with seating upstairs looking down on the bar. If you ask the bar staff nicely they may send your beer up in the food lift!
Ye Old Mitre (1 Ely Court, Ely Place) - Tiny old pub that is a mission to find, good selection of ales and pub snacks including tiny cheese and pickles sandwiches and pork pies!
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12 Bar Club (Denmark Street, Leicester Sq UND) - Small, pokey music venue in London's 'music' street. The stage seems strangely split between two floors, they also serve food and are open till 1.30am.
Brixton Academy - Famous venue featuring big acts and club nights, excellent acoustically.
The Electric Ballroom (Next to Camden Town UND) - Features Indie/Goth/techno/Industrial with The Electric Ballroom on Saturday and the heavier Full Tilt on the Friday. Quite cheap, friendly and an interesting mix of people. The World's End Pub nearby (opp tube) is a good starting point.
Cargo (Under the railway bridge on Old Street) - Live music every night ranging from Jazz through to Drum'n'Bass and hip hop. Cost varies from free to £10 depending on the act. Very chilled and trendy and not too expensive on the drinks front. www.cargo-london.com
Club 333 (333 Old Street) - Small but cool club offering up a mixture of live acts and DJs, small basement bar with a larger bar upstairs
Oliver's Wine Bar (9 Nevada Street, Greenwich) - Great little basement jazz bar that feels more Prague than London, cover depends on whose playing.
The Fridge (Brixton) - Cool club spinning trance/techno most Fridays.
The 100 Club (Oxford Street) - Very friendly jazz/music venue with cheap drinks compared to other places in the centre. Check listings for whats on, but they feature a lot of old style Jazz which must be experienced if you're a fan. There is also a nice mixture of age groups. Entrance fee usually about £10.
The Bedford (77 Bedford Hill, Balham) - Popular comedy club (Banana Cabaret) with excellent acts, food and drink. Recently won the Evening Standard Pub of the Year.
The Venue (2A Clifton Rise, New Cross) - Live music and a club with three floors of music, student discounts and cheap prices
Turnmills (Farringdon) - Chilled club with class acts www.turnmills.co.uk/turnmills/clubs/
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Carluccio's Cafe (8 Market Place, Oxford Circus) - Modern Italian restaurant/deli with very reasonably priced dishes. Be sure to sample the rice ball starters.
Cayote Cafe (Chiswick) - Reasonably priced mexican restaurant with great atmos and margherittas
Crispy Duck (Chinatown, Soho) - Very typical chinese restaurant. Wonderful food and very reasonable price, open very late. Snack bar downstairs, the restaurant can be found on 3 separate levels upstairs.
Giraffe (27 Battersea Rise, Clapham) - Friendly world themed restaurant serving up fresh milk shakes, healthy vegetarian food options aswell as special world music nights. The goats cheese and mushroom starter is recommended.
Golden Dragon (Gerrard Street, Chinatown) - One of the better restaurants in Chinatown serving excellent food, expect to pay £20 a head for a set meal plus a drink. Worth booking ahead.
Pangea Restaurant (Under the arches near Brixton BR) - Seriously hearty Italian food, friendly staff, and great atmosphere
Pollo (Old Compton St. Charring Cross Rd end) - Italian restaurant. No frills honest to goodness italgrub. Prices range from £3.95 pasta £4.00 pizza £3.90 half carafe of house vino. Always busy, best for a quickie, in & out style of eatery
Strada (9-10 Market Place, London, W1W 8AQ, Oxford Circus UND) - Excellent Italian restaurant with great service and delicious food at affordable prices
The Naked Turtle (Upper Richmond Rd, Sheen) - Live piano jazz, beautiful waitresses sing along between serving topnotch food. Bison steaks, pheasant available. Ambient vibes, Busy at weekends, £12.95-£20.00 a head, wine £11.00 upwards. Can be a little bit snobby
Trattoria Da Aldo (51 Greek St, Soho W1) - Italian cusine. Another cheap and cheerful basic italian eatery. Good Italian atmosphere. Inexspensive. Gets very busy 6.00pm onwards
Villandry (170 Great Portland St, W1) - Cafe/Deli. Upmarket quite expensive continental food, superb daily specials. Deli attatched so get yerself a posh picnic instead. Ohh olives, cheeses, hams & booze.
Wagamamas (14A Irving St, WC2H 7AF, Leicester Sq/Charing X UND) - Popular noodle bar operating on a first come first served basis, the food is top notch and the atmosphere isn't bad either.
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