Notting-Hill-Gate Tube

15 Delicious Places for Brunch in Notting Hill

Notting Hill is one of London’s most colourful and vibrant districts. It’s an area known for both its affluence and multiculturalism. With a variety of different communities and a reputation for creativity, it’s no wonder there are some excellent restaurants and eateries located in Notting Hill.

That creativity and diversity is passed onto those restaurants. With its relaxed vibes and laidback qualities, Notting Hill is the perfect place for a casual, yet refined brunch. From classic brunch establishments such as the Electric Diner to innovative egg-based establishments such as Egg Break, there’s a lot to choose between.

To inspire your mid-morning jaunt in London, here are 15 delicious places for brunch in Notting Hill.

  1. Electric Diner

The Electric Diner is Notting Hill’s most famous brunching institution. Located on the eclectic Portobello Road, the same road that was made famous by the classic rom-com film Notting Hill, the Electric Diner is the number one place to head to mid-morning.

With an unusual mix of American and French influences and themes, the Electric Diner sums up Notting Hill’s casual yet refined vibes. You can choose from a range of brunch items, from omelettes cooked with Gruyere cheese to a Philly chilli cheese dog. The brunch menu is a mix of breakfast and lunch, but the portions are decidedly hefty and you can go for the full English, or even the rib eye steak at 11 am.

It’s a great place to start the day late and an even better place to start the weekend. You can wake up by choosing from the coffee selection, or you can start the day in style with an Electric Diner Cocktail.

Rib eye

  1. The Dayrooms Cafe

Another eclectic brunch option in Notting Hill is the Dayrooms Cafe. This is a boutique cafe, run by the boutique team that owns the Dayrooms brand, which usually focuses on designer clothing.

With that in mind, you can expect the Dayrooms Cafe to be magnificently well designed – and it assuredly is. The décor is fantastic and the ambience is excellent. It’s cosy and space can be limited, but it’s by no means exclusive – this is Notting Hill after all.

The menu is inspired by Australian brunch, and if anyone knows how to do a solid brunch, then it’s the Aussies. You can expect plenty of eggs, lots of avocado and lots of fusion on the brunch menu at the Dayrooms Cafe.

  1. Eggbreak

Eggbreak has been literally breaking eggs and stirring things up as they’ve broken their way onto the Notting Hill brunch scene in London.

As the name suggests this is a restaurant that focuses almost exclusively on eggs, the finest of breakfast and brunch ingredients. Eggbreak though, isn’t just a breakfast or brunch option, because this quirky restaurant is actually open all day, for dinner and lunch too.

Their all-day menu has a wide range of items, especially considering everything is egg-based. If you’re trying to be healthy, then you can go for the avocado and eggs, but if you’re looking for a greasy start to the day then choose the McDonalds inspired sausage and egg muffin, which is dripping in cheese and sauce. Many of the items are also inspired by different parts of the world, and you can find sauces ranging from spicy sambal sauces from Asia to spicy Sriracha or classic Bernnaise.

  1. Snaps + Rye

For a real multicultural treat, then head on down to the excellent Snaps + Rye for a real taste of Denmark in Notting Hill.

Danish food isn’t exactly a go-to brunch for most Londoners, but that’s changing quickly in Notting Hill, as Snaps + Rye’s reputation goes from strength to strength. The main item on the menu is rye bread. The restaurant serves up a wonderful selection of Smorrebrod, a unique style of Danish sandwich where fillings are served on open rye bread.

Those fillings are superbly Danish too, with choices ranging from juicy meatballs to expertly smoked salmon. To accompany, there are seasonal soups, plenty of pickles, and plenty more pickled herring.

The snaps part of the restaurant’s name comes from the Danish alcoholic beverage, snaps, which is very similar to schnapps. There’s an extensive cocktail menu using snaps as a base and, of course, if you’re here for brunch then you can order those snaps-based beverages straight away.

  1. Granger & Co

Bill Granger is the chef behind Granger & Co, a minor celebrity from Australia who has hosted cooking shows and written a few books too. Granger and Co draw on his expertise and his Aussie background, and you can find several outlets across London. Each is designed to emulate that laidback Aussie atmosphere that the country is famous for.

In Notting Hill, you can find Granger & Co on Westbourne Grove, and it’s a great place for brunch. There’s no specific brunch menu at Granger & Co, but the breakfast menu runs until 12pm and from there the lunch menu takes over, so time your visit depending on which of the menus you’d rather eat from. Both are excellent, however.

You can find plenty of healthy options, with lots of avocado, salmon and quinoa found on the menu at Granger & Co.

breakfast bagel

  1. Farm Girl

Australians seem to flock to Notting Hill, and yet another Aussie offering is Farm Girl. Australian-owned and with branches in places like Chelsea and Knightsbridge, as well as on Portobello Road, this is a franchise aimed at the more affluent clientele in central London.

The ambience of Farm Girl though is hardly exclusive. Like many other Aussie-run establishments, it’s laidback, airy and refreshing. The menu is incredibly healthy, and the all-day selections comprise a range of delicious and nutritious brunch bowls.

The bowls include the likes of Acai Bowls or Dragon Bowls, as well as more lunch-style options including salmon and avocado (the River Bowl) or goats’ cheese and rice (the Billy Bowl).

  1. Pizza East

Also located on Portobello Road, a pizza restaurant might not seem like the first choice for brunch options. But actually, Pizza East takes brunch to a new and exciting level in Notting Hill.

This Italian restaurant is well known for its excellent pizza and pasta dishes, and it’s a popular dinner destination on Portobello Road. They also have an extensive breakfast menu, including their signature full Italian breakfast, which is really just a full English with focaccia bread.

On weekends they have a dedicated brunch menu too, to draw in the brunch-loving crowd on Saturdays and Sundays. You can enjoy the full Italian breakfast, or you can choose from pizzas and pasta. On Sundays, you can even jump right into the roast dinner at brunch time.

pizza

  1. Daylesford

If you are looking for fresh, organic farm produce, then look no further than Daylesford. Located on Westbourne Grove, this is both a farm shop and cafe, and the ingredients are brought in fresh from their farm in Daylesford, Gloucestershire.

It’s a taste of the English countryside in the centre of London, and it’s a marvellous effort at bringing fresh, homegrown food to the capital.

The cafe has a fantastic breakfast and lunch menu, with dedicated brunch offerings on the weekend. The menus are very seasonal, but you can rest assured they always include a fresh range of fruit and vegetables and plenty of artisanal cheeses.

  1. Bluebelles of Portobello

The charming Bluebelles of Portobello, located on Portobello Road, is one of Notting Hill’s most lovable brunch offerings. This quirky little cafe draws in customers with its affable and personable style and decor, and fresh food.

Bluebelles of Portobello offers a classic range of brunching items, from bacon sandwiches to eggs benedict, while there’s a great selection of coffees, teas and other drinks to accompany it all.

They also pride themselves on their cakes and baguettes. If you are in a rush and don’t have time to sit down for lunch, then you can easily take away a slice of cake or a fresh filled baguette to eat on the road.

  1. Lowry and Baker

Also on Portobello Road, Lowry and Baker is another fantastic little cafe that offers a fine selection of brunching items. This is one of the most popular cafes in Notting Hill and on weekends, it can be incredibly busy. If you can get a table though, you’ll be able to see what all the fuss is about!

The menu isn’t extensive and it’s not over the top, and everything is incredibly well priced given the location of Lowry and Baker. In a world of over-the-top restaurants and flashy cafes, the simple concept behind this independently run cafe is a welcome relief. This is back to basics when it comes to brunch, but everything on the small menu is truly superb.

portobello-road

  1. Farmacy

Farmacy, as the intriguing name might suggest, is a Notting Hill restaurant that’s dedicated to serving healthy, fresh food.

The vast majority of the menu at Farmacy – which is located on Westbourne Grove – is vegan, with the remainder being vegetarian. If you’re not a meat-eater, then this is the place for you in Notting Hill.

The setting is glorious too, and the clean and airy restaurant atmosphere adds to the clean and healthy food on the menus. The food itself is mostly sourced from a single farm on the Kent countryside, and the ingredients are fresh and seasonal.

  1. Beach Blanket Babylon

Beach Blanket Babylon is best known as a cocktail bar, and a cocktail bar that describes itself as ‘decadent’. The restaurant and bar is found in a converted Georgian-era mansion, and it’s well known for its classic English overtones and extravagance.

While they have a popular dinner menu, they also have a brunch menu on the weekends. This though is not your average brunch, but it’s a boozy brunch, in true Beach Blanket Babylon style.

Get your weekend to an early start with plenty of drinks and plenty of food to keep you going through the morning and into the afternoon.

  1. Pix

Pix is a restaurant that serves up simple Spanish style pintxos, a type of tapas that’s popular across Spain, but particularly so in the north and Basque country.

Pintxos are usually served up on small slices of bread with cocktails sticks, making them easy to eat and even easier to eat in abundance. At Pix – which has several locations around London – you can enjoy a big selection of hot and cold pintxos and tapas, but the real draw is the bottomless brunch they offer on the weekends.

This is what pintxos and tapas were made for, and you can eat as much as you like!

  1. Ottolenghi

Run by Yotam Ottolenghi, the famous chef who specialises in Mediterranean cuisine, Ottolenghi in Notting Hill is a small establishment that serves up a fine selection of salads and pastries.

This is fresh, light food and it’s perfect for brunch. It’s mostly takeaway fare as the cafe itself is very small in Notting Hill, but it’s perfect if you’re looking for a working brunch or to snack on the move during the week.

Alternatively, you can order in a salad or a selection of pastries for brunch if you’re in a real hurry or if you find yourself too busy to get down to Ledbury Road.

  1. The Little Yellow Door

The Little Yellow Door is one of Notting Hill’s best-loved establishments because this is not just a restaurant and a bar, but a unique concept. The idea behind The Little Yellow Door is that you are eating and drinking with friends in their flat. The atmosphere is friendly and cosy – it literally is in someone’s flat – and the food and drink are absolutely superb.

They throw parties, they have games to play and they have great deals. The best deal is the bottomless brunch, which is on offer on the weekends!

Exploring a big city like London can be tiring, so stopping for brunch is the perfect way to refuel so you can continue your sightseeing or shopping adventures. While sampling Notting Hill’s famous brunches, why not check out Premium Tours’ fantastic selection of London tours to top off a superb trip to the UK’s capital.

london buildings

A Guide to the Best Neighbourhoods to Stay in London

London is a sprawling metropolis, a huge city that stretches for mile upon mile on either side of the River Thames, where millions of people live and many millions more tourists visit each year.

London can be a challenge to navigate. Even if it’s not your first time visiting the capital, it can be difficult figuring out one district from the next and deciding where to base yourself during your stay.

The city has many different and unique neighbourhoods to choose between, from the high-class properties and expensive accommodation in the likes of Chelsea or Kensington, to the boutique and happening streets of Shoreditch or Camden. There’s somewhere to suit every style in the capital. To help you to decide, here’s our guide to the best neighbourhoods to stay in London.

Victoria

If you are planning on enjoying a really touristy trip to London, then one of the best places to stay in the city is Victoria. This is central London, and there are few other neighbourhoods that are quite so conveniently placed as this.

Victoria has excellent transport connections – numerous buses and trains connect you to the rest of the country, while London’s airports are easily reached too. If it’s your first time in London or you’re just looking to see the most popular sights, then in Victoria you are close to classic and iconic landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park.

You’re never more than a short walk away from London’s best places, and you can easily get to Westminster to see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben or cross over the River Thames to explore Southbank. You can see the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace, or stroll through the corridors and stately rooms of Kensington Palace. St James’s Park is always a beautiful place for a walk, particularly when the sun is out, while there are museums and art galleries to browse if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

buckingham palace london

Kensington

Kensington is the famous London district located close to palaces, museums and art galleries, and that’s known for its upscale accommodation and association with royalty.

This historic part of the city borders Hyde Park and is where you can find Kensington Palace, the royal residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge amongst other members of the Royal family. Don’t expect to find any budget accommodation here though, as this is the realm of London’s elite, although if money is no object then you can find an exceptional array of both hotels and serviced apartments in what is one of the flashiest parts of the capital.

In Kensington, as well as being able to rub shoulders with royalty, you would also be staying close to London’s best museums. This is where you can find some of London’s oldest institutions. You can visit the Natural History Museum to learn about the world around us and to marvel at the impressive dinosaur skeletons on display here. After that, head down the road to the Science Museum, where you can delve into both the history and future of science and technology. Finally, you can visit the Victoria and Albert Museum, which since the mid 19th century has been amassing the world’s largest collection of exhibits focusing on art and design.

Chelsea

South of Kensington, you can find the equally flamboyant and high-end streets of Chelsea. This is another of London’s most affluent areas, and you can expect to find a high level of accommodation here although, of course, you’ll also need to pay for the privilege of staying in this swanky part of the city.

In recent years, Chelsea was made famous by the reality TV show, Made in Chelsea, which follows the lavish lifestyles of the neighbourhood’s rich and young, and you’ll quickly find that this is a district of wealth and extravagance. You can enjoy some of London’s most elite bars, cafes and restaurants in Chelsea, as well as some of the city’s most high-end shopping.

The district is also incredibly close to central London, but it’s far removed from the crowds and a welcome escape from the chaos of the city centre and from the city’s most popular tourist attractions. If you can afford the price tag that comes with it, then staying in Chelsea is one of the best options for your trip to London.

Covent Garden

Another fantastically central location to stay in during your time in London is Covent Garden. It’s hard to pin down what exactly counts as central London, such is the city’s sprawl and size, but one of the centres for all things shopping, eating and entertainment is most definitely the Covent Garden area.

This is the perfect place to stay if you are visiting London to immerse yourself in its culture, as if you’re in Covent Garden then you are just a short walk away from iconic locations such as Leicester Square and the Royal Opera House. This is the best place for lovers of the theatre, movies and musicals, and you can spend your evenings enjoying the best of the city’s shows and performances, be it at the cinema or at the opera.

As the home of London’s most important entertainment institutions, Covent Garden also has a huge range of accommodation to go with it. You’ll find an impressive array of international hotels on offer, ranging in price from budget options right through to five-star establishments.

Across the district you have a fine range of dining options too, from historic pubs and taverns serving up traditional English pub grub and plenty of drinks, to fine dining and everything else in between. From Covent Garden, it’s easy to get to the rest of London’s most well-known sights and districts too, with Buckingham Palace just a short walk away in one direction and St Paul’s Cathedral just a stroll in the other direction.

covent garden

Shoreditch

Shoreditch is in London’s East End, and this happening neighbourhood has a very different look and feel to it in comparison to the likes of Kensington or Chelsea.

This is London’s so-called ‘hipster’ district, a place at the forefront of the city’s new trends, be it fashion, food or drink, and it’s always a lively, vibrant place to stay. If you want to be in the heart of London’s contemporary cultural scene, then this is the place to be.

Shoreditch has a great range of accommodation, and being located further out from central London you’ll find that the prices are much more reasonable here, especially given the value on offer. You can find excellent hotels at good prices, and plenty of bustling hostels filled with budget travellers.

Shoreditch is known for its nightlife too. If you are looking for a fun-filled evening, late night parties and great drink deals, then this is the place to stay. Every night of the week you can find something happening in Shoreditch, and it’s a fantastic place if you’re up for a few drinks.

Camden

Camden is also a neighbourhood that has a big reputation when it comes to being at the forefront of trends. This bustling part of London is a fantastic place to stay if you are looking to be immersed in both London’s multi-cultural atmosphere and contemporary culture.

Camden is known for its canals and its markets. The beautiful Regent’s Canal flows through the neighbourhood, and you can walk along its banks and enjoy the local pubs that line the waterway.

Camden Market is a dense collection of lively market stalls and shops, and you can find almost anything imaginable for sale here. The market is also home to some excellent food, from busy restaurants and bars to simple yet delicious street food vendors. You can find food from across the world here, from Jamaican Jerk Chicken to authentic Indian curries, reflecting the interesting mix of communities that call North London home.

Like Shoreditch, as Camden is a little further out from central London, you can expect to find cheaper accommodation here, including plenty of budget hotels and hostels. Camden also has a lively nightlife too and is well regarded for its music scene. You’ll find bands and musicians performing at local pubs and venues all through the week.

camden town

Bermondsey

Located on the south side of the Thames just over the iconic London Bridge, Bermondsey is one of the best neighbourhoods to stay in London if you are looking to be close to the action, but don’t want to spend a fortune.

Bermondsey was traditionally very much a working-class area, and it was historically a place of industry and factories. Much has changed though, and today many of the old warehouses and factory buildings have now been renovated and redesigned as flats, venues and even bars and restaurants, making this very much a revitalised place to visit.

The mix of old and new in Bermondsey is wonderful and you’ll find excellent boutique accommodation as well as budget options, while the area is never too far from central London and from some of the city’s best sights. You can easily walk to the fantastic Borough Market, where you’ll find some of London’s best food. You can explore old cathedrals, the Tower of London is just across the river, and there’s plenty more to do, too.

Notting Hill

One of London’s most famous areas is Notting Hill, the district made world famous by the film of the same name, which brought the neighbourhood to international attention in the 1990s.

Notting Hill is a great place to stay if you love colourful houses, charming cafes and enjoy both the vibrancy and creativity of London. You can explore filming locations from Notting Hill if you’re a movie fan, and you can enjoy the fact that the neighbourhood is far enough out from the city to make it an enjoyable place to stay, yet close enough to still get around easily.

On weekends Notting Hill is the site of Portobello Market, which attracts people from across the city, while once a year the neighbourhood hosts the epic Notting Hill Carnival, a celebration of the area’s incredible diversity, tolerance and multiculturalism that’s become one of the biggest events of its kind in Europe.

There’s a good range of accommodation too, including lots of guesthouses, B&Bs and boutique-style accommodation. Notting Hill can get busy when events are on, particularly the carnival, so make sure to book in advance if the dates of your trip coincide with this.

notting hill

Greenwich

Often overlooked, particularly by first-time visitors to London, Greenwich is a little further out from the centre of the city than other neighbourhoods you could stay in, but it offers you the chance to see a different side of the capital.

Greenwich is on the eastern side of the city, stretching along the south of the River Thames, and it’s one of the capital’s most historic destinations. This is where Greenwich Mean Time begins, where you can find the important Greenwich Observatory, and where you can explore the intriguing Cutty Sark Museum. You can stroll along the banks of the river or take the lengthy Greenwich Foot Tunnel, which runs under the Thames itself and connects both sides of the river together.

As well as the Cutty Sark – an old merchant ship that’s been beautifully restored – you can also learn more about Greenwich’s fascinating maritime history at the excellent National Maritime Museum, where you’ll be given an insight into the area’s long association with the oceans.

Greenwich is also home to the Millennium Dome, the iconic building that was constructed to celebrate the year 2000.  Today it’s one of London’s premier events arenas, where you can watch bands and shows throughout the year.

There are markets, pubs, restaurants and everything else you might need for your stay in London, and with an excellent range of accommodation available, from small family run B&Bs to international hotels, you might find that Greenwich keeps you in the city for longer than you were expecting.

To discover more about the culture, history and attractions of London, check out Premium Tours’ fantastic range of London tours

live concert

Here Are the Best Places to See Live Music in Shoreditch

Shoreditch is London’s classic entertainment district, a historic part of the city that has been the domain of theatregoers and play lovers since the days when Shakespeare first began holding performances in the 16th century.

These days the scene might be a little different, but the heart and soul of Shoreditch have never really changed. Shoreditch has always been at the forefront of trends and it’s always been at the forefront of the music scene.

While you won’t find huge music arenas or sell-out stadium tours in Shoreditch, you will find iconic venues tucked away down narrow alleys and intimate performances in packed-out pubs. This is where the best up-and-coming acts play to be discovered, and where those that have already made it return for nostalgic performances.

From the Old Blue Last to the Queen of Hoxton, here are the best places to see live music in Shoreditch.

  1. The Old Blue Last

The Old Blue Last is one of the most iconic pubs in Shoreditch, and it’s a venue that has become legendary over the years. This is a pub that has done more than anywhere else to give Shoreditch its hipster image; The Old Blue Last is actually owned by the infamous trendsetters that run Vice magazine.

This is a pub that’s steeped in history too, being over 300 years old. But despite its age, it attracts one of the younger crowds in Shoreditch. Over the last decade, since Vice turned a dilapidated pub into a stellar music venue, The Old Blue Last has seen the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Amy Winehouse, the Klaxons, Florence + the Machine, and many, many more famous acts play when they were trying to break into the music scene.

If you are looking to see the best up-and-coming artists, then visit The Old Blue Last on one of their gig nights. Any other time, it’s still a great pub for a night out, even if there’s no music on!

Hipster Beers

  1. Queen of Hoxton

The Queen of Hoxton is another legendary Shoreditch venue that’s one of the best places to catch some live music. Found on Curtain Road in the heart of the district, this is a multi-level and multi-purpose venue that’s always hosting interesting events and nights out.

The Queen of Hoxton is both a bar and a pub, and there are three different levels, including an open-air rooftop that gets packed out in the summer evenings. The venue hosts movie screenings, dance nights and even ukulele lessons, and there’s always something different going on any night of the week.

It’s best known for its club and live music nights though, and parties on the weekends go on well into the early, early hours of the morning.

  1. Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen

Tucked away in Shoreditch, the Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen is a famous venue that puts on both club nights and live music events through the week. Hoxton Square has a solid reputation on the party scene in Shoreditch, and it’s one of the most popular venues in the area.

Despite this, it’s actually a rather laidback venue too. The outdoor terrace gives you the chance to sit out in the sun or to enjoy the cool evening air, while the first room is perfect for simply relaxing with cocktails or with some food in a great ambience.

The real fun happens in the second room though, as this opens up late at night for clubbing or is used for live music in the evenings. Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen has it all really, and it’s perfect for any kind of night out that you’re looking for in Shoreditch.

  1. Village Underground

Village Underground is a venue and cultural space that is just about as quintessentially Shoreditch as you could imagine. This is East London at its best, and the entire place screams hipster from the rooftops.

The venue is housed inside a renovated warehouse that dates back to the 19th century, and on the roof, there’s an iconic Shoreditch sight. Decommissioned tube trains that have painted and covered in murals and graffiti have been installed on top of the building, and have become somewhat of a landmark in the area.

Inside the warehouse, there is a large concert area that hosts DJs and live music events in what is an atmospheric and loud venue. A huge array of different genres and artists play here, and every night can be totally different from the last.

  1. 93 Feet East

Located on Brick Lane, one of Shoreditch’s liveliest streets, 93 Feet East is a popular bar, club and live music venue.

For two decades, 93 Feet East has been entertaining crowds with its excellent array of events, ranging from intense DJ sets to up-and-coming music nights. 93 Feet East is part of the Old Truman Brewery complex, which is the most comprehensive events and entertainment venue in East London.

The old brewery was converted into a business and artistic space. As well as 93 Feet East, there are regular markets, events, shows and exhibitions held here throughout the year.

  1. Oslo

No, not the Norwegian capital, but a bar and restaurant in Hackney that puts on great live music events. Oslo claims to be inspired by Nordic traditions and culture, and that shines through in the chic surroundings and innovative drinks and food menus.

What really makes Oslo great though is its unique location within a disused train station. The venue is next to Hackney Central Station, in a Victorian-era building that was put out of service and left to crumble many years ago, until it was taken over and redeveloped into Oslo.

They have live music several times a week, and if there are no bands playing on the weekends, they host club nights too on their cavernous music floor.

  1. Cargo

Cargo is located just off Shoreditch High Street, and it’s a fantastic place to spend your evenings and weekends if you are looking to find new bands and music acts to listen to.

While Cargo originally earned itself a reputation for being primarily a clubbing venue with late-night DJ sets and big parties, it’s also begun to earn a reputation for its excellent live music nights.

Of course it’s still very much a club venue too, but on live music nights, you can find a big music scene, and many up-and-coming acts performing. Cargo is found in an old railway yard and is a fantastic example of repurposing. As well as the event space, there are bars, a restaurant and a popular outdoor terrace. You can even find modern art on display at Cargo, including the odd Banksy piece.

Banksy

  1. Rich Mix

If you’re looking for a truly alternative and creative hub in Shoreditch, then head down to Bethnal Green Road, where you can find Rich Mix.

This popular events space is much more than just a live music venue. Rich Mix is best described as a cultural hub. It’s an art space, a creative centre, and even a charity, and they help to support Shoreditch’s rich diversity through their venue and initiatives.

At Rich Mix, you can enjoy new galleries and alternative exhibitions from local artists, catch screenings of both new and classic movies at the cinema, and listen to fantastic live acts in the entertainment venue. Many of the musicians and artists are from London’s more marginalised communities, and it offers a fantastic chance to learn more about the area’s incredible multicultural makeup.

  1. The Macbeth

The Macbeth is a more traditional Shoreditch pub that also hosts plenty of live music evenings. With a name alluding to Shoreditch’s Shakespearian past, The Macbeth has been here for well over a century, serving drinks and providing entertainment in the East End of London.

A century of drinking and partying has left The Macbeth with a sterling reputation in London, and it has a rich cultural history that few other venues in the area can match, apart from perhaps the infamous The Old Blue Last.

The darkened exterior might seem a little run down from the outside but don’t worry, it’s all part of the rustic charm. Inside, you’ll find a modern bar serving a surprisingly cosmopolitan selection of drinks and cocktails, rather than just the pints of ale you might expect from first impressions.

Cocktails

  1. The Blues Kitchen

Located on Curtain Road, The Blues Kitchen is the place to go if you’re looking for Deep South style food and an evening of blues music.

The restaurant has live acts playing blues, country music, soul and funk every single night of the week, and you’ll find the decor and atmosphere will transport you instantly to the southern states of America. On weekends, the music goes on late into the night, too.

You could be in Louisiana or Tennessee, not in the middle of Shoreditch. While the musicians do their thing on stage, you can order from the extensive food and drink menus. The Blues Kitchen serves up everything from lobster and brisket, to southern fried chicken and bean burgers.

  1. The Shacklewell Arms

If the culture of America’s Deep South isn’t quite your thing, then head to The Shacklewell Arms where you can have a taste of something a little closer to home.

Found on Shacklewell Lane close to the Dalston Downs, this is a classic London pub that hosts regular live acts in intimate surroundings. The pub serves up a selection of burgers and hot dogs, keeping things simple on the menu front, and they have a solid range of drinks too.

There’s nothing too fancy about this venue, but that’s part of the draw. Most importantly, they have a surprisingly packed schedule of bands and artists from the local area playing all through the week.

  1. The Auld Shillelagh

Just north of Dalston in Stoke Newington, you can find what’s often claimed to be one of the best Irish pubs in London. The Auld Shillelagh is stereotypically Irish. There’s Guinness on tap, Jameson Whiskey behind the bar, and green decor everywhere.

It’s a great place to enjoy plenty of drinks and to eat some hearty, traditional Irish pub grub too. The pub has a huge reputation but, surprisingly, it’s actually a rather small venue. That doesn’t stop them packing the place in with musicians though, and you’ll be able to dance your night away to traditional Irish folk songs and ballads while you drink Guinness after Guinness.

  1. Cafe Oto

Cafe Oto forms the heart of the Dalston music scene to the north of Shoreditch High Street. If you’re searching for a unique venue and unique place to listen to music, then head here.

During the day, this is a simple cafe serving up coffees and light lunches, but come evening time the space is transformed into an intimate music venue. Cafe Oto is a community project, and the venue helps to showcase and to fund local musicians from a variety of backgrounds, who offer a variety of styles and genres.

Tickets can sell out for the evening events, so grab then when you can!

Jazz Club

  1. Vortex Jazz Club

If you’re looking for an evening of jazz entertainment then head to Dalston and call in at the Vortex Jazz Club.

This classic jazz venue has been around since the 1980s and has hosted some of the very best in both British and international performers over the last three decades. This is a place to see both established and up-and-coming jazz acts, and the company that runs the venue frequently signs performers to their own record label as well.

There are regular events all through the week from a variety of groups and artists, and there’s always a great atmosphere. If you’re into jazz, then there are few other venues anywhere in London that have as good a reputation as the Vortex Jazz Club amongst jazz fans.

As London experts we know a thing or two about where to find the best live music in Shoreditch – and around the capital. While you’re in town, check out Premium Tours’ fantastic range of London tours to get more inside information on this superb city.

london-eye

These Are the Best Restaurants Near the London Eye

The London Eye is one of the British capital’s most enduring attractions. Built in the year 2000 to celebrate the start of the new millennium and to represent a modern London, in the two decades since it opened the London Eye has become an icon of the city’s skyline.

It’s an unmistakable landmark, and it’s an unmissable attraction for anyone visiting the city. Book yourself a ticket and enjoy an unrivalled experience as you soar into the sky in the unique 360-degree viewing capsules that slowly spin around above the River Thames.

Once you get back down to earth, you’ll find that the London Eye is in a prime location on the Southbank, with Westminster just across the river and many more famous attractions a short walk away. Before you wander away you might want to hang around for a bite to eat, be it time for breakfast, lunch or dinner, because there are some excellent restaurants nearby.

From floating pubs to street food markets, here are the best restaurants near the London Eye.

  1. The Library at County Hall

After an incredible trip around the London Eye, you might be feeling in the mood for more classic London antics. There’s nothing more quintessentially English than enjoying a spot of high tea.

Located just before Westminster Bridge is the shamelessly upmarket Marriott Hotel County Hall, and inside this elegant building and classic hotel, you’ll find The Library. This is perfect for anyone looking to indulge in some excellent afternoon tea especially as, on the upper floors, The Library offers wonderful views over the River Thames.

While you dine on a platter of cucumber sandwiches, pastries and some excellent English tea, you can gaze out across the water and marvel at the Houses of Parliament on the banks opposite. Dress well and book in advance though, because high tea at The Library is truly an experience you don’t want to be turned away from.

County Hall

  1. Tattershall Castle

On the opposite side of the River Thames to the London Eye, you’ll see an old passenger steamer floating on the water. This is Tattershall Castle, a boat that dates back to the 1930s that’s been uniquely preserved as a restaurant and pub.

That’s right, you can board this class steamboat that lies moored in the shadows of Westminster and Southbank, and enjoy a drink or a meal as you watch the river traffic cruise past on the Thames.

This is one of the best spots to visit in the summer when the sun is out because you can sit out on the deck with cold drinks and enjoy the warm weather. The food menu is classic British pub grub – you can order steak and ale pies, fish and chips and much, much more at the Tattershall Castle.

  1. Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar

If you’re looking for a solid steak after you step off the London Eye, then look no further than Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar. Found in the County Hall building overlooking the Thames just a short stroll from the London Eye itself, Gillray’s serves up some of the capital’s finest steaks.

Gillray’s Steakhouse prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients from across Britain. In particular, they are renowned for their marvellous Aberdeen Angus steaks. Surprisingly, although the plush decor and reserved 19th century furnishings would make Gillray’s appear as if it’s been here for generations, the steakhouse only opened a few years ago. Already though, it’s earned itself an unprecedented reputation for quality.

As well as serving up supreme steaks, Gillray’s also has an extensive gin bar, stocking well over 100 different types of gin – as well as other drinks too of course – from all across the world.

  1. Terrace Restaurant at the National Theatre

Southbank is home to many more iconic London institutions aside from the London Eye. Just a short walk along the riverside will bring you to the National Theatre.

This is one of the premier locations to catch a play, but you can find an excellent restaurant – Terrace Restaurant – here too. You don’t need to be waiting for a performance to dine here either, plus you’ll find that the setting, overlooking Southbank, is rather grand.

When the weather is good you can eat out in the sun too, making the Terrace Restaurant a great spot to eat and drink in summer. There’s a mix of contemporary cuisines available and a wide selection of cocktails and wines, too.

National Theatre

  1. Bao Fa Garden Chinese Restaurant

For a taste of something a little bit more international, head to Bao Fa Garden Chinese Restaurant, which is a short stroll from the London Eye, again located in the County Hall building.

This flashy Chinese restaurant not only has a fantastic ambience and setting, but they have fantastic food to match too. The open kitchen adds a sense of intimacy to the proceedings, as you can see, smell and hear the sizzling sounds and sights of the cooking process.

There’s a wide range of dishes on offer from the Orient, including classic stir-fries, dim sum and the ever-welcome bao buns. Alongside the food, there’s an extensive wine list too.

  1. Ping Pong Southbank

If dim sum is your thing, then head to Ping Pong Southbank, which is tucked away by the Royal Festival Hall. This is one of London’s most popular dim sum restaurant chains, and you can find outlets in the city’s most vibrant neighbourhoods.

The restaurant in Southbank is as good as any, and it’s perfect if you’re visiting the London Eye and looking to indulge in a heavy quantity of dim sum.

Ping Pong tries to be as authentic as possible, and their dim sum is all hand made. There is classic Hong Kong-style dim sum, a wide range of Chinese dumplings, Japanese gyoza and much more, including bao buns too. You can mix and match and, on certain days of the week, you can even enjoy bottomless dim sum.

As well as the dumplings, Ping Pong has an impressive and creative cocktail menu, making this a great place for a few drinks too.

Ping pong

  1. Crust Bros

A 10-minute walk from the London Eye towards Waterloo Station, you can find one of the best pizza joints in the area. Crust Bros started life as a humble food stand in Shoreditch, but quickly grew a huge following and moved to a permanent location close to Southbank.

Using truly authentic Italian ingredients and inspired directly by Italian cooking, Crust Bros serves up enormous pizzas with extravagant crusts. These aren’t the greasy, deep-pan pizzas that you might find at a takeaway though; these are light, airy and fresh pizzas.

The pizzas are cooked in wood-fired ovens the classic way, and there’s a wonderful range of toppings on offer. You can even mix and match the fresh toppings to create a pizza tailored to your tastes. The pizzas are great value and they’re served up quickly, too. If you’re looking for a fast but delicious lunch for less than a tenner, then Crust Bros is the place to go.

  1. Southbank Centre Food Market

If cheap eats are what you’re looking for, then the Southbank Centre Food Market is where you need to go. If you’re visiting the London Eye on the weekend, then your timing is perfect, because this street food market is only open from Friday through to Sunday.

It’s well worth timing a trip to coincide with the market though because the range of food on offer is simply astonishing. The entirety of London’s diverse culture is represented at the Southbank Centre Food Market, and you’ll be utterly spoilt for choice.

You can choose from Indian curries, Turkish kebabs, Israeli falafel, or Caribbean jerk chicken. You can gorge on katsu curry from Japan, devour huge burgers inspired by the deep south of America, or go for a hefty portion of paella. There’s much more than this too, and you’ll find it difficult deciding just what, exactly, you want to try.

Everything is great value, the food tastes great and it’s all served up instantly.

  1. Tandoor Chop House

For an excellent Indian-inspired meal, head across the river to Charing Cross where you can find the spicy aromas of the Tandoor Chop House.

From the London Eye it’s just a 15-minute walk over Jubilee Bridge, and it’s easily one of the best Indian restaurants in the area. The Tandoor Chop House fuses Indian tandoori styles with British meat chop cooking to create a uniquely London establishment

They use tandoor ovens to cook the meat and naan dishes, and the spices and flavours are simply superb. There’s a great range of sides to go with the meat too, from masala-flavoured fries to black dhal. If there’s a group of you, you might want to order the impressive thali sets, which are huge sharing platters that give you a chance to try almost everything on the menu!

  1. Skylon

Located in the Royal Festival Hall a short walk from the London Eye, Skylon is a fantastic restaurant with excellent views over Southbank and the River Thames. The restaurant is on the third floor and with wide windows, Skylon has a really open and atmospheric feel to it.

The food is great too, with Skylon focusing on serving contemporary British cuisine using fresh ingredients. You’ll find such dishes as Suffolk pork chop and Devon monkfish on the menu, while you can share a lamb rack or even split a beef wellington.

Skylon stays true to British heritage and you can also book in for an excellent afternoon tea if you want to feel particularly English after your jaunt on the London Eye.

st-pauls

  1. OXO Tower Restaurant

If you haven’t been satisfied by the views from the London Eye, then head down the river to the OXO Tower Restaurant, which is a 15-minute walk along the Thames. This is one of London’s most iconic towers, and for decades it’s stood over the city and formed an integral part of the skyline.

Located high up on the 8th floor of the OXO Tower, this is a restaurant with marvellous views across to St Paul’s Cathedral and all along the Southbank. There’s a beautiful open-air terrace, while the interior has wide windows that help to turn the entire restaurant floor into a viewing platform.

You can enjoy afternoon tea high above London, or you can partake from the extensive restaurant menu that focuses on British and European cuisine with more than a dash of fusion involved.

If you aren’t looking for a full meal though, then you can just call into the ever-popular OXO Bar, where you’ll find the same views and a huge list of expertly crafted cocktails to work your way through.

  1. Florentine Restaurant and Bar

Just a short stroll towards Waterloo Station and you can dine at the Florentine Restaurant and Bar, a seemingly normal European-style eatery that serves up one of the more peculiar breakfasts in London.

The Florentine is far from normal though. It has one of the most extensive European menus in the city, which is simple but certainly a little eclectic! Their unusual breakfasts are aimed at groups of four people, so get your friends together, head to the Florentine, and try the intriguing ostrich egg breakfast. This involves a giant ostrich egg to share, accompanied by all manner of other breakfast items.

  1. Le Pain Quotidien

Head to the Royal Festival Hall, where you can find a taste of Belgian baking at Le Pain Quotidien. The name translates into English as The Daily Bread, because everything about this restaurant revolves around bread and pastry.

You can enjoy a huge range of baguettes and different styles of baked bread, as well as jams and marmalades to go with them. They also serve waffles, scones and brioche, as well as classic eggy breakfasts. For lunch and dinner, you can enjoy light, seasonal salads and fresh quiches, or you can dip into pies or the open-faced tartine-style sandwiches.

If you’re heading to London, check out Premium Tours’ fantastic selection of tours that include a trip on the London Eye. As London experts, we’ll ensure you’re entertained and that you eat well when you visit the capital, as our guides have the lowdown on the best places to eat near the London Eye and around the city.

Garden Maze

These Are the Coolest Mazes in and around London

England has a long history when it comes to mazes. These mind-boggling attractions have for centuries amused, confused and baffled those brave enough to enter their twists and turns.

A maze is designed to confuse and to entertain, and they became popular amongst royalty and the rich in the 16th century. Indeed, many of the best mazes around today are still found in old country estates. Some of the best are found in and around London, including the iconic hedge maze at Hampton Court Palace that has been there for 300 years. It is undoubtedly a great thing to do whilst in London.

But in London, you can also find a new wave of labyrinths and mazes aiming to test your nerve and your intellect. Escape rooms are well and truly booming across the capital, while you can even enter the revered Crystal Maze, for an experience like no other.

Here are the coolest mazes in and around London.

  1. Hampton Court Palace Maze

Hampton Court Palace Maze is easily the most well known maze in the United Kingdom. Over the centuries it’s confused and baffled many an intrepid maze-goer with its high hedges and elaborate design.

In fact, as far as mazes go this one is legendary because Hampton Court Palace Maze has the distinction of being the oldest hedge maze in the world. It claims to be the most famous maze in the world too, and they probably aren’t wrong about that either.

The maze began life in the late 17th century, meaning that today it’s well over 300 years old. For centuries, people have been trying to find their way around the maze. It was originally designed for William III of Orange, the King of England at the time, and, in the beginning, only a select few royals and guests would have been allowed to enter this labyrinth.

It’s now open to the general public. While you can purchase maze-only tickets, you will want to explore the palace itself too, if you’ve never visited before. Hampton Court Palace is one of the most fascinating royal palaces, particularly given its association with the infamous Henry VIII and his many wives.

The maze has around half a mile of different pathways, all surrounded by expertly maintained hedgerows. It generally takes around 20 minutes to half an hour to reach the centre point from the entrance, but that, of course, depends on your maze talents.

green-tunnel Hampton Court

  1. Crystal Palace Park Maze 

Not the Crystal Maze – we’ll get to that one later – but the Crystal Palace Park Maze, which is one of London’s best, and easily a competitor for the title of coolest maze.

This is another legendary hedge maze. Although it’s not quite as old as the one at Hampton Court Palace, it still dates back to the 1870s and can claim to be one of the largest of its type in the United Kingdom.

It’s located within the lovely grounds of Crystal Palace Park and is a throwback to the Victorian Era. The Crystal Palace area was named for the Crystal Palace Exhibition Building, which formed the centrepiece of the Great Exhibition in the 1850s. The maze became another addition to the park, as it entertained and amazed the Victorian citizens of London, alongside life-size statues of dinosaurs that were also placed – and can still be found today – in Crystal Palace Park.

The maze is free to explore, and it covers an area of around 1,500 square metres, being 50 metres across in diameter. This is a true labyrinth of hedgerows, so be prepared to get lost time after time, as you turn the corner only to find dead end, after a dead end.

Crystal Palace Park is located in southeast London, an easy train or bus ride from London’s city centre.

crystal-palace

  1. Brent Lodge Park Millennium Maze

Head into the suburbs of London, west of the centre towards Wembley, and you’ll find the little known Brent Lodge Park Millennium Maze.

The maze was commissioned to commemorate the start of the new millennium in the year 2000, and for the past two decades, it’s been successfully confusing and frustrating those who enter its rows.

This is a modern hedge maze, but it’s one that’s really designed for kids because the hedges have yet to grow to the same high heights as those of Crystal Palace or Hampton Court. Tall adults can easily see over the top, which, of course, is perfect if you don’t actually want to get lost!

The twists and turns are still confusing enough to disrupt your sense of space and judgement though. Even if you can see over the hedges, you might still find yourself more perplexed than you imagined possible. Don’t be too confident when you start making your way through the maze!

Within Brent Lodge Park you can also find a range of other activities and sights aimed at kids, including the charming Hanwell Zoo, a conservation area where you can find exotic animals from around the world, including marmosets.

  1. Hall Place and Gardens

On the opposite side of London in the far eastern suburbs, you can find the glorious grounds of Hall Place and Gardens. This is a little known county estate that was eventually surrounded by the ever-expanding mass of London, but it’s still a welcome retreat from the outside world.

The maze here is a small affair – and in all honesty, it’s got nothing on the likes of Hampton Court Palace – but it is still a lovely place to visit, especially given the expansive grounds and gardens. You’ll also find that few people visit Hall Place, especially in comparison to Hampton Court Palace.

Hall Place dates back to 1537 and is an often-overlooked piece of history in the London suburbs. This is a heritage-listed house and it’s remarkably well preserved. Inside the house, you can find an eclectic collection of exhibits telling the tale of the house and the former lords and ladies who lived within its walls.

The gardens are the crowning achievement of Hall Place, and you can find some marvellous topiary hedges, shaped into the form of heraldic lions, as well as the beautiful maze.

  1. Blenheim Palace Maze

Take a day trip from London and head out west to Oxfordshire, where you can try out your maze navigation skills at Blenheim Palace. Jump on the train or take the bus from London to Oxford, then make your way into the countryside to one of England’s grandest stately homes.

Blenheim Palace is the home of the Duke of Marlborough and his family, although much of the estate is open to the public. The palace dates back to the early 18th century and its historic importance has led the estate to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The grounds are marvellous and the history held within the palace walls is fascinating, but the real draw of a visit here is, of course, its maze.

Within the vast grounds, you can find the Marlborough Maze, which could be one of the most complicated hedge mazes in the country. The maze stretches for at least two miles, covering many turns, dead ends and false routes towards its elegant centre.

There are even several viewing platforms that you can climb up for an overhead view if you get stuck, which is very common in this maze. When you’ve been wandering around lost for what seems to be an eternity, you’ll welcome a bird’s eye view of the maze!blenheim-palace maze

  1. Hever Castle and Gardens

Just outside London, you can find the historic grounds of Hever Castle and Gardens, which lies close to Tunbridge Wells in the county of Kent.

This wonderful castle dates back over 700 years to the 13th century, and over the years was the home of many infamous characters, including the unfortunate Anne Boleyn, the executed wife of Henry VIII.

There’s a lot of heritage waiting to be uncovered at Hever Castle but, more importantly, there are also two mazes to be completed. You’ll certainly get your money’s worth at Hever Castle, with a Yew Maze and a Water Maze.

The Yew Maze is a classic English hedge maze, and it dates back over a century to when the wealthy owner of the castle decided he needed some outdoor entertainment. It’s marvellously well trimmed, and you’ll need around half an hour to get from the entrance to the centre, and then to find your way back out again.

More impressive even than the Yew Maze is the fabulous Water Maze. This is about as unusual as it gets when it comes to the world of mazes, and the Water Maze at Hever Castle is often sought out by maze enthusiasts. Found on an island, stepping stones and walkways have been raised above the water and lead to a small stone ruin in the middle.

The aim is to get to the stone ruin without getting wet because if you step on the wrong stone you’ll unleash jets of water that can soak the unwary maze-goer. It’s an unusual maze concept, and it adds a whole new level of excitement to the game. Be sure to bring a towel though, and be careful taking your children over the water too!

  1. The Crystal Maze Live Experience

For many years, through the 1990s and now again in its rebooted form, audiences have been mesmerised by the eccentricities of the Crystal Maze, a TV show that forces teams to solve puzzles as they make their way through an exotic labyrinth.

The cult TV show had a huge comeback recently when a live version of the maze was created in London. Fans can now immerse themselves in a real-life Crystal Maze, and try to complete what could easily be the coolest maze in London.

Just like in the TV show, you’ll need a team of friends with you to complete this maze, and together you’ll need to work your way through the different zones while you complete the different challenges to score points.

Each zone has a different theme – Futuristic, Industrial, Medieval and Aztec – and each zone is faithful to the original. You’ll be timed as you enter the different rooms in search of the crystals, and at the end of the maze, you’ll even get to enter the famous Crystal Dome, as you hurry to collect the tokens needed to win the game.

The Crystal Maze has become hugely popular in its live experience form, and can currently be found in the West End. You will need to make reservations in advance though, and ensure that you’ve assembled the best team that you can to complete the maze!

live-escape-game

  1. Escape Rooms

Mazes, while being a lot of fun, might seem outdated to some, a vestige of the Victorian Era and of day’s past. But the spirit of the maze never gets old. It lives on, and the challenge and intrigue can be found in its most modern form in Escape Rooms.

Escape Rooms have surged in popularity in recent years, and the concept is very much the same as a maze, just with more narrative and with more problems to solve. Escape Rooms can be found all over London, and the concept is simple. You are locked in a room, or indeed a maze of different rooms, and you have to escape within an allotted time period. To get out, you have to solve clues and figure out puzzles, while navigating your way around the room, and any other rooms that might be attached too.

Escape Rooms have different themes and backstories, and you have to work as a team to get out. They are modern-day labyrinths, and they couldn’t be more fun. Plus, being inside you don’t need the sun to be shining to complete an Escape Room, as you might want it to be for an outdoor hedge maze!

While you’re in London, getting lost in mazes and seeking a way out from Escape Rooms, check out Premium Tours’ fantastic selection of London tours. As London experts, we know how to make your London experience truly memorable.