12 Hours In And Around Walthamstow




Walthamstow lies conveniently at the end of the Victoria Line, giving easy access to Central London. It’s flanked by Epping Forest — the largest green space in London — to the East and the Walthamstow Wetlands to the West. Having gone through a transformation in recent years, “#awesomestow” (as it’s known by Twitterrati) certainly has a lot to offer.

9.00 a.m.

Once you alight at Walthamstow Central station, you can either go straight into Walthamstow Village, the oldest part of present-day Walthamstow, or walk down Hoe Street, which divides the area smack down the centre between the Village and the slightly edgier part of Walthamstow (which also includes the acclaimed market).

Hoe Street has had a host of shops, restaurants, and yoga studios open up in the past few years. If you want to grab a quick coffee and toastie for breakfast, head to Today Bread, the local sourdough bakery and café. A five-minute walk from the station, the café is located in a historic post-war building that previously hosted a bank and council offices. They lay huge emphasis on shopping and eating local, and to that effect, the cheese for their famous cheese toastie is sourced from Buchanan’s, an artisan cheesemonger in Mayfair. And if you like their sourdough breads, you can even try your hand at their bread-making course.

Avocado Sandwich with Poached Egg - sliced avocado and egg on toasted bread for healthy breakfast or snack.

If you fancy walking the length of Hoe Street for a hearty veggie or vegan breakfast, try Buhler and Co. They serve up classics like avocado on toast with poached egg or feta, a vegan fry up which includes fried corn and polenta cake, Portobello mushroom, smokey bean spread, and parathas. If you’re looking for a community vibe, try the vegan Hornbeam Café, which prioritises sustainable and low-cost living.

Today Bread, 6-10 Central Parade, 137 Hoe Street, London E17 4RT. Phone: 07957 158184

Buhler and Co, 8 Chingford Road, London E17 4PJ. Phone: 020 8527 3652

Hornbeam Community Cafe & Environment Centre, 458 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, London E17 9AH. Phone: 020 8558 6880. Closed Mondays.

11:00 a.m.

Make your way to one of Walthamstow’s greatest treasures, William Morris Gallery. A short walk from Hoe Street, the gallery explores the legacy of textile designer, craftsman, poet, novelist, and socialist William Morris. Explore his life through the rooms of the house or have a look at some of the collections on display. The house, called “Water House” when William Morris lived there, leads to Lloyds Park that hosts the annual Walthamstow Garden Party by the Barbican.


If you’re in the mood to shop instead, head to Walthamstow Market, the longest outdoor street market in Europe! From Monday to Saturday, you’ll fine fruit and veg and household goods on sale. But come Sunday, it transforms into a farmers’ market with the best local produce on sale like organic eggs, artisanal cheeses, cooked sausages, and more. Skip to the close by Wood Street Indoor Market, in the shape of a horseshoe, which is filled with antiques, second hand books, old magazines, and other knick knacks.

William Morris Gallery, Lloyd Park, Forest Road, London E17 4PP. Phone: 020 8496 4390

Lloyd Park, Forest Road, Walthamstow, London E17 4PP. Phone: 020 8497 3000

Walthamstow Market, E17 7AH

Wood Street Indoor Market, 98-100 Wood Street, Walthamstow, London E17 3HX. Phone: 020 8521 0410

12.30 p.m.

After a long, relaxing walk at Lloyds Park or an amble at the markets, you will probably want to sit down for a bite to eat. There are plenty of options in Walthamstow, especially if you’re craving some rustic sourdough pizzas. Hop to Sodo, which lies in a former warehouse, or the more popular Yard Sale Pizza, for a bite. If you’d like something more substantial, Walthamstow High Street has plenty of options. You can try Turtle Bay for Caribbean food or Yum Yum E17 if you’re in the mood for Thai, and finally finish off with pancakes from Creams for dessert.

Sodo, 21 Hatherley Mews, Walthamstow, London E17 4QP. Phone: 020 8520 1244

Yard Sale Pizza, 105 Lower Clapton Road, London E5 0NP. Phone: 020 3602 9090

Turtle Bay, The Scene Cleveland Place, 269 High Street, London E17 7FD. Phone: 020 8520 7839

Yum Yum E17, 202 Hoe Street, E17 4BS London

2.00 p.m.

What better way to digest that lunch than to wander around London’s largest green space? Epping Forest covers a large part of North East London and Essex, including Walthamstow, and you can take several walking trails to explore this beautiful, largely untouched area. Mill Plain, especially, offers fantastic views of the London skyline.

Walthamstow Reservoir_001

If you want to explore nature but not wander in to the deep thickets of a forest, you could make your way towards the Walthamstow Wetlands. Hailed as Europe’s biggest urban wetlands, this reserve is important for all sorts of wildlife and wintering and breeding birds. Whichever one you choose, you’ll be right in the lap of Mother Nature.

Epping Forest, North East London & Essex

Walthamstow Wetlands, 2 Forest Road, London N17 9NH. Phone: 020 8496 2115

4:00 p.m.

As you make your way back from Epping Forest or the Wetlands, you have the choice of going to Walthamstow Village (to know a little bit more about the history and heritage of Waltham Forest in Vestry House Museum), or you could wander into the neon wonderland that is God’s Own Junkyard, an unassuming warehouse filled with old vintage movie signs. Situated in Ravenswood Industrial Estate, it’s probably the best place to be for evening drinks. There’s also a café inside the Junkyard if you’d like a pick-me-up while chilling on their sofas.

Vestry House Museum, Vestry Road, Walthamstow, London E17 9NH.

God’s Own Junkyard, Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall Street, Walthamstow, London E17 9HQ. Phone: 020 8521 8066

7.30 p.m.

Now is when Walthamstow well and truly comes alive. There’s been a surge in bars and breweries in the past few years in the area, and if you’re already at God’s Own Junkyard you just have to step out and enter Pillars Brewery that is best known for its lagers. You can also go around the corner to Wild Card Brewery, a microbrewery that as among the first watering holes to set up shop in Ravenswood Industrial Unit.

Gin Tonic Cocktail with slice of lemon

If beer isn’t your thing, head to Mother’s Ruin Gin Palace for a whole variety of hand-crafted flavoured gins. It’s a definite favourite among the Stow locals! For something fancier, Mirth, Marvel, Maud is one to check out. Set in a Grade II listed building that was once a famous cinema frequented by Alfred Hitchcock, it’s the perfect place to kick back with some lip-smacking cocktails.

Mirth, Marvel, Maud, 186 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, London E17 4QH. Phone: 020 8520 8636

Wild Card Brewery, Unit 7, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall Street, Walthamstow, E17 9HQ. Phone: 020 8935 5560

Pillars Brewery, Unit 2 Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall Street, Walthamstow E17 9HQ. Phone: 020 8521 5552

Mother’s Ruin, Unit 18, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall St, London E17 9HQ. Phone: 07905 484711

9:00 p.m.

End your fantastic day with a truly delicious meal. Walthamstow has plenty to offer when it comes to dining, and it caters to a good range of budgets. If you’ve had one too many to drink and want something greasy and hearty to soak up all that alcohol, head to The Castle in Walthamstow Village where you’ll be served classic pub fare with a side of charming community vibe. Dogs and babies welcome. If meat is more your thing, go forth to Gokyuzu, a Turkish restaurant serving mixed grills and an array of mezze (for a large group, definitely get the mixed grills platter). For something more European, you will find Spanish tapas at Orford Saloon. But if you’re looking for some really good modern British food, go to the original Eat 17 in the Village that was started by two brothers from Walthamstow.

The Castle, 15 Grosvenor Rise E, Walthamstow, London E17 9LB. Phone: 020 8509 8095

Gokyuzu, 42D Selbourne Walk, Walthamstow, London, E17 7JR. Phone: 020 8520 2998

Orford Saloon Tapas Bar, 32 Orford Road, Walthamstow, London, E17 9NJ. Phone: 020 8503 6542

Eat 17, 28-30 Orford Road, Walthamstow, London E17 9NJ. Phone: 020 8521 5279


12 Hours In And Around Camden




The Borough of Camden is a rich seam of London, culturally, historically, and geographically. It stretches from just north of the River Thames, from Covent Garden’s famous Seven Dials and the Inns of Court, the city’s historic centre of training for Barristers, all the way north to the vast expanse of open parkland that is Hampstead Heath. On its western side, it touches the leafy Regent’s Park, while on the eastern side it meets the beautiful and bustling districts of Clerkenwell and Tufnell Park.

Within the borough’s large footprint, you’ll find the historic literary districts of Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia, famous institutions like the British Library, and at its centre Camden Town, best known for its lengthy association with rock and punk and its array of markets, bars, and restaurants. (To avoid confusion, remember that when most people say “Camden” they mean Camden Town specifically.)

9:00 a.m.

The ideal place to start exploring this borough is at its southern border in the heart of historic London. Catch the tube to Holborn Station, and if you haven’t eaten, stop by Fleet River Bakery on Gate Street for a fresh, healthy breakfast.

If you carry on along Gate Street, you’ll come to the beautiful grassy square known as Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Holborn has been associated with legal training since the 13th Century, and the precincts and chapel of Lincoln’s Inn — one of the Inns of Court, where barristers are called to the Bar – is open to visitors from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. On the northern side of Lincoln’s Inn Fields, you’ll find one of London’s most unusual and intriguing museums, Sir John Soane’s Museum.

sir john soane's museum camden

Sir John Soane (1753-1837) was a highly inventive architect, and famously designed the Bank of England. He was also an avid collector of antiques and the museum — formerly the house he lived in — is an incredible labyrinth full of paintings, Egyptian relics, classical statuary, and a host of other curiosities.

Fleet Kitchen, 7-11 Upper Woburn Place, Kings Cross, London WC1H 0JW. Phone: 20 7387 5544

Sir John Soane's Museum, 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3BP. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

11:00 a.m.

If you enjoy museums, then this is one of the best parts of London for you. On the other side of Lincoln’s Inn Fields is the Hunterian Museum (full of medical curiosities), and just a 15-minute walk away is the world-class British Museum with a vast collection of items from all times and places. You also have the Petrie Museum, the Cartoon Museum, and the Charles Dickens Museum all within walking distance!


If you’re not a fan of museums, then this is an ideal time to catch a train to the northern part of the Borough and explore Hampstead Heath. It’s an enormous space, some 320 hectares in size, and it’s easy to feel as though you’ve left the city completely! Kenwood House, a beautiful stately home with masterpieces on its walls and activities for the kids, overlooks the Heath. As you explore its magical gardens, keep your eyes peeled for the flock of bright green parrots that live here. There are numerous theories as to how they got here – including that they were released by Jimi Hendrix – but the commonly held view is that they’re an accumulation of escaped pets that have made the Heath their home.

British Museum, Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG

Hampstead Heath, Hampstead, London NW3 2QD

Kenwood House, Hampstead Lane, Highgate, London NW3 7JR

12:15 p.m.

If you decided to take the museum route in Holborn, then the Great Court Restaurant in the British Museum is an ideal place to have lunch, or even a traditional afternoon tea complete with cream, jams, and scones. If you’re up in Hampstead, you can grab a delicious bite to eat at the Brew House Café in Kenwood House or head into Hampstead itself and have a traditional British lunch at the Buttery Café in Burgh House (if it’s a Sunday, try the Sunday Roast) or amazing pizza at L’Antica.


After lunch, explore the delightful Hampstead Village, which is well-loved for its boutique shops and is the ideal place to pick up gifts. If you have a sweet tooth, be sure to stop by Venchi for fantastic ice cream and handmade chocolates. Oh, and if you’re a die-hard Harry Potter fan, you might want to make the pilgrimage to Kings Cross Station after lunch and visit Platform 9¾ and the Harry Potter shop.

L'Antica Pizzeria, 66 Heath Street, London NW3 1DN. Phone: 020 7431 8516

Buttery Café, Burgh House, New End Square, Hampstead, London NW3 1LT

The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 ¾, London King's Cross, Pancras Road, Kings Cross, London N1 9AP. Phone: 20 3196 7375

Venchi Chocolate and Gelato, 65 Hampstead High St, London NW3 1QP. Phone: 020 7794 7894

2:00 p.m.

For a unique London experience and a taste of the city’s past, be sure to visit the grand Victorian cemetary at Highgate, the final resting place of a number of a number of well known figures from Karl Marx to poet Christina Rosetti and scientist Michael Faraday. It’s a peaceful and historic place, with highly-crafted funerary architecture, making it a memorable experience. It’s divided into two halves, Eastern and Western, and while both are captivating, the Western side has the more grandiose architecture and can only be seen on a guided tour. If you’re visiting on a weekend, there’s no need to book; they happen every half an hour, so just turn up. On weekdays however, booking is essential. You can explore the Eastern cemetery at your leisure.

highgate cemetery camden

If you prefer something a bit less sombre, then head over to Primrose Hill and take in the fantastic view over London before heading into Camden Town. Camden Town has a long and fascinating music history, which takes in all genres and a host of iconic figures, from Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie to the Sex Pistols and, more recently, Amy Winehouse. A great way to get to know Camden Town is to take one of the many available walking tours, several of which focus on the area’s musical history.

Highgate Cemetery, Swain's Lane, Highgate, London N6 6PJ

Primrose Hill, Regent’s Park, Chester Rd, London NW1 4NR

4:00 p.m.

If you like shopping for interesting bits and pieces, the best place to start is the Camden Stables Market, so called because it was formerly a stables and horse hospital looking after the horses that pulled barges along the canal throughout the first half of the 20th Century. You’ll find an enormous selection of boutiques and stalls selling everything from taxidermy to chain-mail underwear as well as everyday things. Alternatively, take a walk alongside Regents Canal, which runs right through the heart of Camden, or stop in one of the many pubs and bars for a pint and a bite to eat. The Lock Tavern, The Black Heart, and The Hawley Arms are all steeped in atmosphere and musical history and are iconic Camden institutions in their own right.

Camden Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, Camden Town, London NW1 8AH. Phone: 020 7285 5511

The Hawley Arms, 2 Castlehaven Road, Camden Town, London NW1 8QU. Phone: 020 7428 5979

The Black Heart, 3 Greenland Place, Camden Town, London NW1 0AP. Phone: 020 7428 9730

The Lock Tavern, 35 Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8AJ. Phone: 020 7846 8219

7:30 p.m.

Several of the aforementioned pubs host live music nights, so if you’ve stopped in for a drink, you might want to make plans to return later and catch a band or stay put and make a boozy afternoon of it. They all serve food, so you’ll be well looked after. If you want more options to choose from, though, Camden has plenty. Mildreds serves incredible vegan food; Karavas offers a delicious Greek menu; if you’re looking for traditional fish and chips, Poppies does just that.

Fish and chips

If you like to mix food and music, The Blues Kitchen will keep you fed and entertained with spicy Cajun food and live blues. If you’re looking to eat out somewhere a little fancier, your best option is to head towards Regents Park to Gordon Ramsay’s York & Albany gastropub or further out to Primrose Hill for Bryn William’s Odette’s. Both are iconic eateries run by world famous chefs.

Mildreds, 9 Jamestown Road, Camden Town, London NW1 7BW. Phone: 020 7482 4200

Karavas Restaurant, 87-88 Plender Street, London NW1 0JN. Phone: 020 7388 4121

Poppie’s Fish and Chips, 30 Hawley Crescent, Camden Town, London NW1 8NP. Phone: 020 7267 0440

The Blues Kitchen, 111-113 Camden High St, London NW1 7JN. Phone: 020 7387 5277

Odette's, 130 Regent's Park Road, Primrose Hill, London NW1 8XL. Phone: 020 7586 8569

York & Albany Restaurant, 127-129 Parkway, Primrose Hill, London NW1 7PS. Phone: 20 7387 5700

9:00 p.m.

One of the best things to do in Camden is to go to a concert! You’re surrounded by world-famous venues that cater to all tastes. Roundhouse, a hotbed for underground music through the 1960s (hosting everyone from Pink Floyd and The Doors to Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stonesm and David Bowie), is one of London’s largest and best-known venues for live music. You’ll find live jazz at The Jazz Café, punk and metal at The Underworld, and everything in between at venues like Electric Ballroom and Camden Assembly.

electric ballroom camden

If you don’t fancy a night of gigs and prefer the theatre, you’ll need to head back down to Holborn where you have a great selection of theatres showing large scale musicals: the Cambridge, the Gillian Lynne, and the Shaftesbury.

Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, Camden Town, London NW1 8EH

The Jazz Café, 5 Parkway, Camden Town, London NW1 7PG. Phone: 020 7485 6834

The Underworld, 174 Camden High Street, Camden Town, London NW1 0NE. Phone: 020 7267 3939

The Camden Assembly, 49 Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8AN. Phone: 020 7424 0800

Electric Ballroom, 84 Camden High Street, Camden Town, London NW1 8QP. Phone: 020 7485 9006

Gillian Lynne Theatre, 166 Drury Lane, London WC2B 5PW

Shaftesbury Theatre, 210 Shaftesbury Aveue, London WC2H 8DP

Cambridge Theatre, Earlham Street, London WC2H 9HU


12 Hours In And Around Tooting




South London gets a bit of a bad rep when compared to the northern half of the capital. Some of this distain is justified (South London’s transportation system leaves a lot to be desired), but it is largely down to ignorance: it is impossible for a person to visit a place like Tooting and come away complaining about the paucity of things on offer in South London. In Tooting, at least, there are a ton of things to do.

9:00 a.m.

Presumably it’s coffee you’re after at this hour, in which case you could do worse than head on down to Brickwood Coffee & Bread, situated inside Tooting Market near Tooting Broadway tube station. It isn’t just coffee that’s on offer at Brickwood; a tasty brunch and salad menu caters to those feeling peckish. Brickwood offers a pleasant setting to imbibe some much-needed fuel before taking on the day ahead. On Friday and Saturday nights, Brickwood transforms into a venue that sells cocktails, beer, and other alcoholic drinks, so if you like it that much you can always head back again later when night falls.


For those who just want straight up coffee or tea (though you can usually get a toastie at these places too) try Walker Wyatt Coffee, Mud, or JOE’s.

Brickwood Coffee & Bread, Tooting Market, 21-23 Tooting High St, London SW17 0SN. Phone: 020 8672 2668

Walker Wyatt Coffee, 3 Upper Tooting Rd, London SW17 7TS. Phone: 020 8767 8687.

JOE’s, 217A Tooting High Street, London SW17 0SZ. Phone: 020 3581 9642.

11:00 a.m.

Now you’ve refuelled, so to speak, it’s time to explore Tooting a little. Despite playing host to Europe’s largest Chicken Cottage, there’s more to this part of South London than just food. For one thing, there’s shopping. Whether it’s searching for bargains in the charity shops along the high street or exploring the eclectic offerings on display in Tooting Market, there is something to suit a variety of tastes. And hey, if you get bored you can always stop and eat again, because why the hell not? The market stays open until 10:30 p.m., so by all means take your time.

Tooting Market, 21-23 Tooting High St, London SW17 0SN. Phone: 020 8672 4760.

12:15 p.m.

With a bag stuffed full of bargains and a stomach full of carbohydrates, head over to Tooting Bec Common. For the more active, the common is an ideal place to burn off some of what you’ve consumed. If that’s not your thing, it’s still an extremely pleasant setting and the closest you’re going to get to countryside in this part of the world. There’s even a lake with ducks, swans, and other sentient creatures. Another underappreciated way to pass the time on Tooting Bec Common is to simply walk around, gazing up at the many magnificent oak trees scattered around the place. It’s much more interesting than I make it sound.

Tooting Bec Common, Doctor Johnson Avenue, Tooting, London SW17 8JU.


2:00 p.m.

After you’re done exploring the green you may want to cool off. What better way to do that than to take a swim? If you’re up for that, pay a visit to Tooting Bec Lido, an open-air fresh water swimming pool situated just off Tooting Bec road next to the common. An adult swim costs £7.50.

Tooting Bec Lido, Tooting Bec Rd, London SW16 1RU. Phone: 020 8871 7198.

tooting bec lido

4:00 p.m.

Four o’clock is pub time. It doesn’t have to be, but it’s a good time to relax a little and reflect on the day that’s just gone as well as prepare yourself for the forthcoming evening. You don’t have to drink alcohol by any means, but this is the time to administer an aperitif for those that like such things. Directly opposite Tooting Bec Station stands The Wheatsheaf, an independent boozer that also serves food. The Wheatsheaf feels modern without shedding all the charm of an old-fashioned boozer. It tends to get busy in the evening, but 4 o’clock is the ideal time to drop in for a quiet pint.

the castle pub tooting

The Castle offers something slightly different. A Young’s pub that dates back to 1832, the Castle has a contemporary “gastro pub” feel to it. This may not be to everybody’s taste, but if you like that sort of thing then pop in for a drink in this huge and airy pub.

The Wheatsheaf, 2 Upper Tooting Rd, London SW17 7PG. Phone: 020 8672 2805.

The Castle, 38 Tooting High Street, London, SW17 0RG. Phone: 020 8672 7018.

7:30 p.m.

Early evening marks the highlight of a day spent in Tooting – for me at any rate. It’s at this hour that you perhaps want to think about getting something to eat, and in Tooting you are genuinely spoilt for choice, especially if you like spicy food. Even if you don’t, there is so much on offer that you are bound to find something to suite your own palate.

Some of the best South Asian cuisine can be found at Dawat. The restaurant operates a no alcohol policy, but it does offer takeaway if you’d rather drink with your meal. The food is highly rated, so it’s worth eschewing the booze and simply appreciating what’s on offer. On a Friday or Saturday evening, it’s wise to book a table as it can get very busy. That in itself reveals a lot about the place.


Lahore Karahi Express is another top-quality South Asian restaurant in Tooting, as is Mirch Masala. For those who want to cast their net more widely, it’s worth heading back to Tooting Market, where a wide variety of food outlets dish up cuisine from around the world. There is literally something here for everybody.

Dawat, 256-258 Upper Tooting Rd, London SW17 0DN. Phone: 020 8682 9777.

Lahore Karahi Express, 1 Tooting High St, London SW17 0SN. Phone: 020 8767 2477.

Mirch Masala, 213 Upper Tooting Rd, London SW17 7TG. Phone: 020 8767 8638.

9:00 p.m.

Tooting Tram and Social hosts a wide selection of bands and DJs, meaning you can dance the night away or prop up the bar looking cool. Either way, who can seriously say that South London has little to offer after all of this? Tuesday is open mic night at the social, and on Fridays and Saturdays it stays open until 2:00 a.m. And what you going to do at the end of the night? Head to the massive Chicken Cottage, obviously; though you better leave the Tram and Social before closing time as Chicken Cottage also stops serving at 2:00 a.m.

Tooting Tram and Social, 46-48 Mitcham Road, London, SW17 9NA. Phone: 020 8767 0278.

Chicken Cottage, 38-42, Upper Tooting Road, London SW17 7PD. Phone: 020 8767 9229.


12 Hours In Islington




The Borough of Islington covers a surprisingly large portion of central London, taking in many of the city’s most bustling, beautiful, and culturally interesting bits, not to mention more than its fair share of parks and gardens. It stretches from the northernmost edge of the historic Smithfields Market (just north of the historic Chancery Lane), west to Kings Cross, east to the bars and restaurants of Dalston, and north as far as Archway and Crouch Hill, the heartland of Arsenal football club. Within its limits it covers a miniature version of London as a whole, bringing together great nightspots, shopping districts, theatres, restaurants, a sports stadium and music venues, not to mention the beautiful Regents Canal, which gives the middle of the borough a lovely waterside atmosphere.

9:00 a.m.

The best place to start exploring Islington is Angel. So-called after the 1903 Angel Hotel Building on the corner of Islington High Street and Pentonville Road, Angel today is a charming city centre unto itself, loved particularly for its huge selection of cafés, bars, and restaurants, along with some irresistible alleyways — notably Camden Passage — full of curiosity shops and antiques market stalls. At 9 a.m., breakfast is probably a good idea, so try Kipferl — an Austrian café with a wonderful mix of Tyrolean hams, rye bread, fruit, cinnamon, and Austrian bacon. If you prefer a more rustic woodland cabin feel, try the Elk in The Woods. Here you’ll be greeted with oak smoked bacon, vanilla pancakes, poached eggs, pickled beetroorts, and more. Both of these are on the aforementioned Camden Passage, and you’ll find this a great place to start exploring.

Kipferl, 20 Camden Passage, London N1 8ED. Phone: 020 7704 1555

The Elk In The Woods, 37-39 Camden Passage, London N1 8EA. Phone: 020 7226 3535

Islington Guide_003

11:00 a.m.

After breakfast, you can either take a stroll through the nearby shops of Camden Passage and beyond, or head east along the Regent’s Canal and see the city from what feels like a secret vantage, tucked away from the traffic, flanked by one of London’s historic waterways, and generally submerged in a more natural setting. You can follow the canal all the way to the edge of the borough, which conveniently ends at a pub — The Rosemary Branch, a charming Victorian ale-house which was formely a music hall — just across the water from the beautiful green expanse of Shoreditch Park. Theatre lovers might want to stop by the Almeida Theatre or Sadler’s Wells and pick up some tickets for an evening performance. Sadlers Wells is the number one place in London for dance performances, from ballet to flamenco, while the Almeida focuses on cutting edge drama from up and coming actors.

Camden Passage, London N1 8EA

Regent’s Canal

The Rosemary Branch, 2 Shepperton Road, London N1 3DT. Phone: 020 7704 2730

Almeida Theatre, Almeida Street, London N1 1TA. Phone: 020 7359 4404

Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Rosebery Ave, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 4TN. Phone: 020 7863 8000

Islington Guide_006

12:15 p.m.

If you’re ready to eat at midday, you have an array of choices before you in Islington. Either stay in Angel to experience the famous creations of Ottolenghi — delicious North-African and Middle Eastern flavours, not to mention unbelievable cakes — or catch a bus a little way south into Clerkenwell and make for Exmouth Market. Clerkenwell is one of London’s ancient parishes, once famous for its watchmakers and a centre of activity thanks to the well from which it takes its name, which was rediscoverd in the 1920s. It has a historic, Victorian elegance, and Exmouth Market is one of its central thoroughfares, best known for its rich selection of restaurants and street food vendors, food boutiques, and hip cafes, not to mention delightful old pubs. Try Caravan for a huge range of modern cuisine, all day brunch, or just a coffee. After lunch, head over to St Luke’s Church for a lunchtime concert. The London Symphony Orchestra rehearse here, and entry is often free. Most begin between 12:30 and 1 p.m., so bear this in mind when you’re having lunch.

Ottolenghi, 287 Upper Street, London N1 2TZ. Phone: 020 7288 1454

Caravan, 11-13 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 4QD. Phone: 020 7833 8115

St Lukes, 161 Old Street, London EC1V 9NG. Phone: 020 7490 3939

Islington Guide_007

2:00 p.m.

If you’re a fan of literature, or find you can’t resist a historic cemetary, make a stop at Bunhill Fields, where famous poet and artist William Blake is buried. Or, if you feel like some live music, pay a visit to the Piano Works, a non-stop music venue where pianists play requests given to them by the audience, all day and night! At weekends, the music starts from 12 p.m., or 1 p.m. on Sundays.

Bunhill Fields, 38 City Road, London EC1Y 2BG. Phone: 020 7374 4127

Piano Works, 113-117 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3BX. Phone: 020 7278 1966

Islington Guide_004

3:30 p.m.

Around 3:30 p.m. you can take in one of the lesser-known museums or galleries of Islington. From Piano Works, you’re very close to The Charterhouse, a medieval priory that dates back to the 14th Century. It resisted Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, was a medieval school, and was even a burial place for victims of the Black Death. It’s extremely atmospheric, and the gardens are an ideal place to unwind if you have a spare hour. After it closes, head to Modern Art, a gallery that showcases up and coming modern artists.

Modern Art, 4-8 Helmet Row, London EC1V 3QJ. Phone: 020 7299 7950

The Charterhouse, Charterhouse Square, London, EC1M 6AN. Phone: 020 3818 8873

Islington Guide_002

7:30 p.m.

To start your evening, a trip to the secluded Nightjar is a must. An underground cocktail bar with a great speakeasy feel, it’s rich in atmosphere and magnificent décor and has a host of inventive cocktails. Be warned though – once you stop by, you’ll find it hard to leave. Of course, if you’ve made plans at the Barbican, Sadlers Wells, the Almeida or any of the other major arts venues in Islington, this would be a good time to head across to their respectives bars and cafés and grab a drink and a bite to eat before the show. The Slaughtered Lamb is a delightful gastro pub that’s nicely equidistant from the first two, but for the Almeida you’ll want to head back into Angel and grab something to eat at The King’s Head, another stunning historic pub decked with Victorian fittings and full of theatre memorabilia.

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If you’re more of a music person, Islington is home to some of London’s biggest and best music venues. Islington Assembly Hall, Union Chapel, the O2 Academy, The Garage, XOYO, and The Lexington all hold live music events — they’re all large venues, with the exception of the Lexington, which is the place to go for smaller, more intimate gigs. Of this selection, the Union Chapel is the most majestic, so book a concert here for a truly special experience.

The Nightjar, 129 City Road, Hoxton, London EC1V 1JB. Phone: 020 7253 4101

The Kings Head Theatre Pub, 115 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 1QN. Phone: 020 7226 4443

The Slaughtered Lamb, 34-35 Great Sutton Street, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 0DX. Phone: 020 7253 1516

XOYO, 32-37 Cowper Street, London EC2A 4AP. Phone: 020 7608 2878

Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, London N1 2UN. Phone: 020 7226 1686

The Lexington, 96-98 Pentonville Road, London N1 9JB. Phone: 020 7837 5371

O2 Academy Islington, 16 Parkfield Street, London N1 0PS. Phone: 020 7288 4400

The Garage, 20-22 Highbury Corner, Highbury East, London N5 1RD. Phone: 020 7619 6721

Islington Assembly Hall, Upper Street, London N1 2UD. Phone: 020 7527 8900

9:00 p.m.

If you’ve gone to a concert or a performance, you may well be there until 10 or 11 p.m. But if you haven’t, or the show ends early, it’s a safe bet that by 9 p.m. you’ll want some food or drink. The best hubs for nightime eating and drinking in Islington are without a doubt Clerkenwell, Upper Street, and the area surrounding Old Street.

For great restaurants on Upper Street, try MEATliquor for an extensive burger menu (vegan and vegetarian options available), and Rök for delicious smoked and fermented dishes,drawing on historic Northern European cooking techniques. On Old Street, The Clove Club is a must for high-end, gourmet dining.

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In Clerkenwell, the famous St John Restaurant serves traditional British fare done to perfection, although beware, it definitely errs on the side meaty, so vegetarians might prefer Mildreds, toward the north of Clerkenwell, which serves an incredible array of vegan food.

If you’ve already eaten your fill and just want to hit the bars, The New Rose on Essex Road is a lively pub with great ambience, while The Green in Clerkenwell is great for some cosy drinking in a relaxed setting.

The Clove Club, Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, London EC1V 9LT. Phone: 020 7729 6496

St John, 26 St John Street, Clerkenwell, London EC1M 4AY. Phone: 020 7251 0848

Rök Islington, 149 Upper Street, London N1 1RA. Phone: 020 7686 8024

The Green, 29 Clerkenwell Green, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0DU. Phone: 20 7490 1258

The New Rose, 84-86 Essex Road, London N1 8LU. Phone: 020 7226 1082

MEATliquor, 133B Upper Street, London N1 1QP. Phone: 020 3711 0104


  1. Feature photo by Juhi Pande
  2. Breakfast photo copyright grinchh - stock.adobe.com
  3. Regent's Canal photo by Mark Hogan from London, UK, USA (Islington TunnelUploaded by Snowmanradio) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
  4. Caravan photo by Ewan Munro from London, UK (Caravan, Clerkenwell, EC1Uploaded by Oxyman) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
  5. Bunhill Fields photo by Jim Linwood [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr
  6. Nightjar photo by Jerome Courtial (courtesy Nightjar)
  7. MEATliquor N1 photo courtesy MEATliquor

12 Hours In And Around Brixton

david bowie memorial mural tunstall road brixton morleys



Brixton sits at one end of the Victoria line on the London Underground. It is in the south of the city and is represented by a long light blue line on the tube map that appears to stop abruptly in zone two. South London is famously poorly served by the tube system: there are 250 stations on the north side of the river but just 29 stations on the south side. Fortunately for us, Brixton has its own station; and this is where we will start on our journey around this multicultural district of the capital.

9:00 a.m.

Emerging from the London Underground into the frost-bitten air at the height of rush hour can be a reviving experience. Down there, under the ground with its undulating tide of commuters, can be a claustrophobic and suffocating experience. Emerging from Brixton station and taking that first gasp of air can feel a little like tearing off a strip of parcel tape from your mouth. You can breathe again, finally – and once you have calibrated yourself to your new surroundings you can start to think about re-fuelling.

Like many of London’s multi-ethnic areas, you are spoilt for choice in Brixton. There are also the more prosaic and familiar options. Heading right out of the tube station you will come across a couple of chain coffee houses about 100 yards down, one on either side of the road. It’s the usual stuff – bang-average hot drinks with the ancillary option of a sandwich or muffin on the side. Then again, sometimes that’s precisely what you want, especially if you’re in a hurry.

There are Pret A Manger, Costa, and McDonalds, plus a couple of smaller independent shops that all do speedy snacks and breakfasts for the traveller on the go – or the traveller who simply wants the basics done well.

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For something a little fancier, try Federation Coffee inside Brixton Market’s covered arcade. As well as the selection of hot beverages, there’s the chance to try the smashed avocado on sourdough or banana bread if you’re feeling peckish. A selection of grilled sandwiches are also available, as are yogurts with granola.

Federation Coffee, 77-78 Brixton Village and Market Row Markets, Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8PS.

If you want something a little more daring on the weekend, head down to The Blues Kitchen on Acre Lane. Here you can get everything from a traditional full English breakfast to pancakes to Huevos Rancheros (fried eggs Mexican style).

The Blues Kitchen, 40 Acre Lane, Brixton, London SW2 5SP. Phone: 020 7274 0591

11:00 a.m.

Now that you’ve satisfied your appetite, it’s time to get yourself acquainted with the neighbourhood. If the weather is good, you might want to go for a stroll amidst the greenery at Brockwell Park, a tranquil expanse with an impressive view of the city. Opened to the public in 1891, Brockwell Park is home to the famous Lido, one of the most impressive outdoor public swimming pools in all of London. That’s right, it’s an outdoor swimming pool. Probably best therefore to visit in the summer, although the park is good for a relaxing stroll at any time of the year.

Brockwell Park, Norwood Road, London SE24 9BJ

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12:15 p.m.

For lunch, you could do worse than sample some of the West Indian street food. With this in mind, Brixton Market is an ideal place to start. Over 80 street sellers ply their trade in the famous market, different parts of which can be reached via Electric Avenue, Brixton Station Road, or Pope’s Road. There are several stalls that sell dinner boxes of things like jerk chicken, rice, and plantains to take away. “Authentic” is a word that is bandied around to sell all sorts nowadays, however the Brixton Market is the genuine article for those looking for genuine Caribbean food and a host of other enchanting cultural trinkets.

Brixton Market, 16B Electric Avenue, Brixton, London SW9 8JX (Click here to view a map of the market)

On Saturdays, be sure to check out the Brixton Brewery, an independent brewery that produces craft beer using local ingredients. You can enjoy a pint or two in the tap room or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even take a full tour, complete with a beer tasting session.

Brixton Brewery, Arch 547, Brixton Station Road, Brixton, London SW9 8PF. Phone: 020 3609 8880

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2:00 p.m.

How about a quick beverage before we forge ahead into the critical hours of the afternoon?

Whether you want a pint of fizzy lager or a softer drink, The Beehive – a straightforward JD Wetherspoon pub – is located mid-way up the Brixton Road near the train station. A quiet place at this hour of the day, The Beehive resembles its namesake if you pop back at 5 o’clock. However, mid-afternoon is a good time to slow things down, park yourself at one of the wooden tables, unfold your paper, and peruse the day’s events. The Beehive in the daytime is also a good place to meet some of the locals.

The Beehive, 407-409 Brixton Road, Brixton, London, SW9 7DG. Phone: 020 7738 3643

4:00 p.m.

Catch a movie at the centrally located Ritzy Cinema, a building that was recently restored from a picture house first built in 1911. In addition to five screens, the cinema complex contains a couple of bars, and a café. As with most cinemas, it’s wise to eat your snacks – or at least to buy them – before you get into the cinema itself, where the food and drink prices are apt to unsettle the discerning spender.

Ritzy Cinema, Brixton Oval, Coldharbour Lane, London, SW2 1JG

Another option for the afternoon – which will especially suit those with a sweet tooth – is a visit to the Brixton chocolate museum. You can drop in and make your own chocolatey creations in group or individual sessions, or you can visit the chocolate museum’s free exhibition and learn about the process of chocolate making.

The Chocolate Museum, 187 Ferndale Road, Brixton, London SW9 8BA. Phone: 07723 434235 (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

7:30 p.m.

There are a ton of options in Brixton for those who like to eat before they head out for an evening’s entertainment. You can get pizza at Made of Dough or plates of tapas in Boqueria. There’s also the option of Mama’s Jerk, Khamsa (Algerian/BYO wine, beer, or champagne), or Nanban, which serves something intriguingly called “Japanese soul food”. On weekends, you can get spicy Pakistani street food at the Elephant in Brixton Village.

Made of Dough, Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road, London, SW9 8PQ.

Boqueria, 192 Acre Lane, Brixton, London SW2 5UL. Phone: 020 7733 4408

Mama’s Jerk, 49 Brixton Station Road, London, SW9 8PQ.

Khamsa, 140 Acre Lane, Brixton, London, SW2 5UT. Phone: 020 7733 3150

Nanban, 426 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London, SW9 8LF. Phone: 020 7346 0098.

Elephant, 55 Granville Arcade, Brixton Village Market, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8PS. Phone: 7715 439857 (open for dinner Thursday to Saturday)

9:00 p.m.

After all that food, you might not feel like doing much other than lying down, but should you still be up for venturing out where better than the Brixton Academy, one of the best live music venues in London. Many world-famous bands have graced the stage at the academy over the years, from Madonna to The Clash to Rita Ora, so it’s worth checking who’s on when you’re in town.

The O2 Academy, Brixton, 211 Stockwell Road, Brixton, London SW9 9SL

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If a gig isn’t for you, then why not check out some of the local bars? The Shrub and Shutter, Three Eight Four, and Salon all offer a range of beers, cocktails, and mocktails to suit every palate.

The Shrub and Shutter, 336 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8QH. Phone: 020 7326 0643 (closed Sunday and Monday)

Three Eight Four, 384 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8LF. Phone: 020 3417 7309

Salon, 18 Market Row, Brixton, London SW9 8LD. Phone: 020 7501 9152 (closed Sunday evenings and all day Monday)


Pick From A Plethora Of Antiques At Portobello Road Market


portobello road market


Although you can find everything from fruit and veg to vintage clothing at Portobello Road Market, it is most famous for its antiques section – the largest antiques market in the UK. Immortalised in films such as Notting Hill and A Hard Day’s Night, it is busiest on Saturdays.

Portobello Road Market, 306 Portobello Road, London W10 5TA. Phone: 020 7361 3001


Of London’s many street markets, Portobello Road Market is perhaps the most famous. It’s appeared in films as diverse as Notting Hill and the 1971 musical Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and it’s as much a part of London’s identity as the Houses of Parliament are. Today, it’s best known for its antiques and fashion markets and as the thrumming central hub of the Notting Hill region. Thousands of visitors flock here every day to explore its shops and stalls, browsing for everything from antiques to designer jewellery, vintage fashion, and more.

Before the 1940s, Portobello was much like many of London’s markets and mostly sold food and essentials. But towards the end of the Second World War, the market attracted more “rag and bone” men, selling all manner of goods. These were joined by diverse traders bringing antiques and bric a brac, and gradually the market became known as a place where you could pick up almost anything, though it became best known for antiques.

During the 1960s, the Notting Hill region became strongly associated with the best-known bands of the era and, though it might be hard to believe today, an edgy bohemianism that went hand-in-hand with the music and artists of the 1960s. Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones lived in a flat on Powis Square, a few minutes walk away, while The Beatles, who moved to London in 1964, immortalised the street in the film A Hard Day’s Night. Before you visit Portobello Road, check out just how many times it’s appeared throughout British culture, from the classic ’Stones movie Performance to the Donovan Song “Sunny South Kensington”.

Feature photograph copyright Alexey Fedorenko - stock.adobe.com


Visit Lyric Square Food Market For Fresh, Handmade Food


lyric square food market


Located next to Hammersmith’s famous Lyric Theatre is Lyric Square Food Market. You can find fresh coffee, quality cheeses, artisan breads, and healthy food in a variety of world cuisines. The market is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Lyric Square Food Market, Lyric Square, London W6 0NB


If you’re looking for a bite to eat and are tired of the usual chain cafés and supermarkets, head to Lyric Square Food Market for fresh, handmade food made by locals and small businesses. You can pick up fresh coffee, quality cheeses, artisan breads, and plenty of healthy dishes in a wide variety of world cuisines, from falafel to Thai curries, Carribean-style salads, fresh pasta, Mexican food, slow-cooked French meats, Indian food, Ethiopean food... Yes, as you’ve probably gathered, there’s an enormous variety here, and eating your way around the options is part of the fun.

The market was opened by the City and Country Farmers’ Markets over 10 years ago as a way to bring small food producers and customers together and to provide a source of affordable, ethically-sourced food in London. Now, it’s one of London’s longest running markets and has become a famous part of the Hammersmith landscape. Beyond the food, it’s become one of the best places in London to meet other people, chat with traders, and involve yourself in the community hubbub while tucking into something tasty. Lyric Square is right in the heart of Hammersmith, so it’s ideal if you want to stop by before exploring the rest of the area. It’s also right next to Hammersmith’s famous Lyric Theatre, so if you’re in the area to see a performance, swing by the market for lunch beforehand.

Feature photograph copyright milazvereva - stock.adobe.com


Spitalfields Market Has Something For Everyone


spitalfields market


At Spitalfields Market, you can shop for apparels and accessories, indulge in some delicious street food and people-watching or even set up a stall of your own. Milling with crowds on most days, this bustling market is a hotbed of activity for locals and tourists alike.

Spitalfields Market, 16 Horner Square, London E1 6EW. Phone: 020 7375 2963


It’s a whole world out there in Spitalfields: food and drink, stalls of apparel, handmade jewellery and art prints, community events, and more. You can’t go wrong with spending an afternoon (or the whole day) in this trendy lively East End area. Granted, it has become more popular over the years and you almost don’t want to head there on your “chill out” weekend. But working near Liverpool Street has its perks; Spitalfields Market is my lunch time treat every Friday. I pick up my Spicy Mediterranean Box from Badolina, sit at the entrance of the market, opposite Patisserie Valerie, and watch the crowds go by. It’s not all office-goers out during their lunch break either. You can spot tourists, families, couples, and groups of friends from across the Channel. It’s a treat to watch – and that’s just from outside!

Divided into roughly three types of markets, Spitalfields devotes itself to independent artists who sell their wares at the Spitalfields Arts Market. At the Saturday Style Market, you’ll see traders selling apparel, accessories, homeware, and other goods, and the Traders Market at Crispin Place is open all seven days. Let’s not forget the plethora of sit-down restaurants plus food stalls. As the saying goes, there’s something for everyone in this glorious melange of shops. If none of this pleases you, Brick Lane is just a short walk away, with food and vintage shops nearly spilling onto its streets.

P.S.: If you’re an independent artist or a trader, you can get in touch with Spitalfields Market to set up a stall.

Feature photograph by Alan Stanton [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Flickr


Leadenhall Market Is A Cinematic Landmark


leadenhall market city of london


It’s one thing to spot the ornate Victorian roof on screen and another to actually walk on the cobbled floors of Leadenhall Market. The covered lanes, vintage lamps, and uniformly gilded shop signs at one of London’s oldest markets make the experience of shopping here a rather magical one.

Leadenhall Market, Gracechurch Street, London EC3V 1LT. Phone: 020 7332 1523


Rich in history, Leadenhall Market dates back to the 14th Century when it was established for the sale of game and poultry but, like everything in Central London, it’s had a major makeover since then. You’ll be hard pressed to see a butcher operating there today. The market is more along the lines of an upscale mall with high street shops catering to affluent city folk who wear Barbour coats, drink fine wine, and eat a Chop’d salad for lunch.

As a covered market with a magnificent Victorian roof, Leadenhall Market has had its share of hardships, the biggest being the Great Fire of London of 1666. Since being redesigned and revamped, Leadenhall Market has been granted Grade II Heritage listed status. Like with most iconic places in London, the best time to visit Leadenhall Market is during Christmas. The Victorian structure never has as much appeal as it does when the festive lights are switched on, the halls are decked with holly, and there’s a great big Christmas tree adorning the entrance. Not to mention the carolers and last minute Christmas shoppers.

For those of you who jump at any Harry Potter trivia, Leadenhall Market was used as Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. So next time you’re up there enjoying a bit of retail therapy, look around at the stunning market and picture Harry and Co. buying their first wands.

Feature photograph by Diliff at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons


Thrift Shopping and Delicious Food At Petticoat Lane Market


petticoat lane market


Petticoat Lane Market was set up in the mid-1700s in what was then called Petticoat Lane; since the 1800s, the street has been known as Middlesex Street. Although you may or may not be able to buy vintage skirts at Petticoat Lane Market anymore, you can certainly walk through the bustling lanes of East End with a shopping bag in one hand and a falafel roll in the other.

Petticoat Lane Market, 119-121 Middlesex Street, London E1 7JF


There are plenty of markets in London that deserve to be ticked off the “must-see” list, but there are some that sit quietly and confidently in the shadows, moving along yet barely changing with the years, waiting to be discovered. Say “aye” into your coffee mug if you’ve been to Petticoat Lane Market. You’re probably in the minority.

You’d be forgiven to think that Petticoat Lane Market in the East End of London actually sits in Petticoat Lane. The name of the street no longer exists, having changed to Middlesex Street in the 1800s. Sadly, for whatever reason (not hipster enough?), Petticoat Lane Market is not on most tourists’ radar. It holds many clues to the history of London’s East End, like when it was (illegally) set up in the mid-1700s and slowly became a centre for manufacturing clothes. Or when it became a safe haven for Jewish immigrants fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe in the late 1800s.

A few hundred yards away from Spitalfields Market, Petticoat Lane Market is still thriving today. On Sundays, you’ll see stalls upon stalls selling clothes and (super cheap) woven goods. On the other six days, it’s the venue for lunch time trade with hawkers selling Katsu curry and rolls, chana masala with rice, falafel rolls, coffee on wheels, and more.

PS: If you’re a fan of The Apprentice, you should know that Alan Sugar started his business with his first stall smack in the middle of Petticoat Lane Market.

Feature photograph by Andrew Dunn [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons