My Favourite Places to Eat, Drink and Be in London

I’ve lived in London for 4 1/2 years at six addresses, had four jobs and visited many, many bars, restaurants and cool sites. One might say, ‘I’ve been around’. I often get asked for my top tips for London and what the best things to do in the Big Smoke are, and under pressure I usually draw a blank. For my own hazy memory, and so I can offer something back from my close to five years here, I thought I’d collate my tried and tested hot tips for London on everything from where to picnic, to where to get a Sunday lunch and how to ensure a quality night out before booking into one of the budget friendly hotels around London.

Breakfast

Without a doubt this has to be the Breakfast Club either in Hoxton or Liverpool Street. The Angel one always has a mile-long queue outside and feels a little stuffy, and I haven’t been to the Soho branch yet. I love this place. The decor is cool, it’s a great way to impress anyone who hasn’t been before and the food is just spot on. So much choice, so little time.

I live in St John’s Wood/Kilburn so if I can’t move that far to Breakfast Club, Queen’s Cottage on Maida Vale Road is a prince among thieves. This is a proper greasy spooner that knows how to make a good quality (huge) breakfast under a fiver. They’ll even throw in a cup of tea for you too.

Sunday lunch

Best things to do in London

Always a difficult task for me, finding a good Sunday lunch. Once you’ve tasted a Sunday lunch cooked by my mum, grandma or auntie, it’s hard to even come close. And to be honest, no where has. The best of the rest include The Clifton in St John’s Wood and The Windmill on Clapham Common. The Three Crowns in Stoke Newington is always cited as a top place to go, but I wasn’t impressed.

Dinner

Little Bay in Kilburn is incredible. You can get a dinner and a starter for less than £10, throw in a bottle of wine and it won’t be increased by much more. The interior is dark red with low lighting and you can even climb up a ladder to the top booths, if you get your request in early.

Honest Burger in Soho sells the best burgers you’ll ever have the pleasure to eat, try Kimchee on High Holborn for a tasty Bimibap and if you’re after a tasty bite knocked back with a few cocktails Barrio Central in Soho is a definite.

Food markets

All the greats seem to start in Brixton Village: Franco Manca for pizzas, Honest Burger, and Lab G for the best Salted Caramel ice cream, ever.

I loved Leather Lane Market when I worked in Holborn. You could get deli salads, tasty burritos from Daddy Donkey, falafel wraps and food from every part of the world. The most underrated market in London, but only open on weekdays. Borough Market is always good, although overpriced, same with Spitalfields.

Party time

amazing london

My favourite place to go out has always been Camden. I had a minor obsession with the area before I moved to London, two of my homes have been there and I just know that I’ll have a good night there. Although, after my recent trip to Proud where the staff were complete douchebags I’ll never go there again. Shame they’re ruining such a cool place.

The Good Mixer is great for a dirty night out, Joe’s is a cool cocktail bar with ‘vintage sounds’, The Edinboro Castle is cool, as is the Dublin Castle (secret room out the back great for crazy dancing when you were ‘only going out for one’) and The Monarch is severely underrated.

I’ve been out in Soho more than a few times and the only place that stands out is G.A.Y. Angel can be fun, but it’s all fancy cocktail bars, avoid Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square at all costs…

Views

Nothing can beat the view from Primrose Hill. I’ve recently climbed Tower Bridge, taken a boat ride down the Thames and visited the Sky Bar at the top of Double Tree Hilton, and although I loved them all, the view from Primrose Hill just pips them  to the post. I could sit and watch the park surrounded by city life all day.

Shopping

I love Kilburn, Holloway or Brixton for shopping. Mainly because Holloway has the brilliant shopping centre ‘Selbys’, which stocks all the high street favourites in a more accessible and less mind bending way than the actual shops on Oxford Street. Brixton has the same in Morleys. Kilburn is great for Primark, TKMaxx, Peacocks, Poundland (there’s two) and a whole host of one off shops where you can get some great unique bargains, rather than spending all your hard earned cash on River Island and the like.

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15 Comments

  1. by Delhi Guide on November 26, 2012  12:02 pm Reply

    Oh my god! We share similar obsessions! I can't leave London without visiting Camden, literally! But I loved your breakfast, lunch & dinner tips. All of them seems delicious places. Excited to try them soon.

    • by Vicky on January 12, 2013  7:06 pm Reply

      Thanks! Let me know how you get on :)

  2. by Andy on November 28, 2012  6:47 pm Reply

    Ok, The Breakfast Club is good, but you really have to experience the Regency Cafe while in London. It's something else, has featured in many films (Layer Cake) for example, and is a real London landmark. You should also give Meat Liquor a go, the burgers are great but the chili cheese fries are just amazing...

    • by Vicky on January 12, 2013  7:05 pm Reply

      Ooo I tried to go to Meat Liquor once actually, the queue was epic so we had to give up. I'll definitely try and give the Regency Cafe a go, thanks for the tip :)

  3. by Becky Padmore on November 30, 2012  9:29 am Reply

    Great list Vicky, it makes me really miss living in London. Living in the 'burbs isn't quite the same!

    • by Vicky on January 12, 2013  7:04 pm Reply

      Yeah, I'm not actually sure I could ever leave London – love it here! Although I went to Brighton today and that's definitely in the running as a plan B :)

  4. by Mike on December 1, 2012  5:50 pm Reply

    Hi Vicky,

    Love the site! You have some great stories and photographs. If you're ever interested in entering any of them with BarrelHopping, we have ongoing contests where you can win cash and will get exposure to your site. Check us out when you have time and safe travels!

    • by Vicky on January 12, 2013  7:02 pm Reply

      Thanks Mike – just checking out the site now :)

  5. by Kar on December 3, 2012  10:09 am Reply

    Can I add Shoreditch to this list as well?! Well, if you're looking for food make sure you check out the white cross street Market round those ends....

    • by Vicky on January 12, 2013  6:59 pm Reply

      Of course you can! Thanks for the tip – I'll make sure to check that one out...

    • by Julia Chan on January 24, 2013  5:35 pm Reply

      I second that! Whitecross Street Market is the best street food market I've come across in London so far! Just round the corner from where I work! Vicky, if you go, try the Chicken Tikka Wrap there!

  6. by Travel Tamed on December 5, 2012  5:50 pm Reply

    Hi, Vicky - i was only once in London, and from now on i can say this was my fav city from all over the Europe(of course places ive been). Can you check my blog and if you wish become a partener/writer maybe?
    Thanks alot - PS. nice article and very very cool design here;)

    • by Vicky on January 12, 2013  6:57 pm Reply

      Thanks. I checked out your site, but it says you're no longer accepting guest posts?

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