Notting Hill Carnival

35 Things to Do in Notting Hill

Notting Hill is one of the most diverse communities in London, and it’s one of the most exciting places to explore in the capital. Made famous by the rom-com hit Notting Hill, this is an eclectic district that’s known for its colourful houses and its vibrant yearly carnival.

You can indulge in wonderful food, see performances at the local theatres and shop and eat at Notting Hill’s bustling markets.

To inspire your trip to London, here are the best 35 things to do in Notting Hill.

The Best Sights and Attractions in Notting Hill

  1. The Colourful Houses of Notting Hill

Notting Hill is known for its wonderfully colourful streets, and it’s the vibrant coloured houses that really give the area its unique character.

You can find these lovely rows of terraced houses across Notting Hill, but the most famous are on Portobello Road, where much of the film Notting Hill was shot.

  1. Portobello Road

Portobello Road is one of the most famous locations in London, and you’ll find that it’s always a busy and bustling place to visit.

This is where you’ll find the most colourful houses in Notting Hill, as well as some of the best cafes and restaurants, and the iconic Portobello Road market. This is the centre of Notting Hill and one of the best places to visit for shopping and to find local market stalls

Portobello Road sign

  1. St Luke’s Mews

St Luke’s Mews is a historic part of Notting Hill between All Saints Road and St Luke’s Road.

Mews were originally designed as stables for travellers and coaches that were passing through.  Since that era of transportation has long since passed, St Luke’s Mews is now mostly housing but retain their unique, historic style.

  1. Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising

On Lancaster Road, you’ll find one of the most fascinating museums in London. The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising offers an insight into the history of consumerism in the UK.

You’ll be taken on a journey that starts in the Victorian era and looks at how famous household brands have evolved over the decades.

  1. Pottery Lane

For a look at the history behind Notting Hill, take a walk down to Pottery Lane, where you can see lasting evidence of how this whole area was once a slum.

Although Notting Hill is now one of London’s most affluent and sought-after areas, in the 19th century it was a notorious place to live, with squalid and dirty living conditions.

  1. Beehive Kiln

Pottery Lane was given its name because the street was originally used by brick makers. It was once lined with pottery and brick kilns, which were used to produce large quantities of bricks to fuel London’s expansion.

Tucked amongst the nice houses on Pottery Lane, you can still see one of the original brick kilns, known as the Beehive Kiln for its distinctive shape.

  1. Hyde Park

Notting Hill is located very centrally in London. Close to the district, you can visit many famous London sights and attractions, including Hyde Park.

The iconic park is the perfect place for a stroll or a picnic on a hot summer’s day.

  1. Kensington Palace

Located in Kensington Gardens, Kensington Palace is a wonderful place to learn about the Royal Family.

This is the residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with some of the minor royals. The grand stately rooms and gardens are open to the public.

Kensington Palace Gardens

  1. Graffik Gallery

Graffik Gallery is one of the best places to visit in Notting Hill because this is an art gallery dedicated to street art and graffiti.

The gallery has hosted some of the world’s most famous street artists, while they often hold art classes and graffiti workshops too.

  1. Temple Gallery

The Temple Gallery is another great art gallery to visit in Notting Hill. But rather than being devoted to street art, the focus is on ancient art instead.

A more traditional art space, at Temple Gallery you can see many works of religious art, with a heavy emphasis on Eastern Orthodox Christianity and sacred religious works.

  1. Tabernacle

The Tabernacle is a theatre in Notting Hill that works as a multipurpose events venue. It’s located within a heritage-listed building dating back to the 19th century.

The Tabernacle hosts a wide range of concerts, plays and workshops throughout the year, and is a fantastic venue for creatives in Notting Hill.

Shops and Markets

  1. Portobello Road Markets

There are some great markets in London and Portobello Road is one of them. It has a fantastic selection of shops, ranging from vintage retail outlets to local food stores. But it’s the local market that really attracts the crowds.

The markets are on every day, and technically many of the arcades and shops are part of them. On the weekends you’ll find more stalls and vendors on the street, as well as buskers, artists and performers.

  1. Golborne Road Market

At the far end of Portobello Road is Golborne Road, where you have an equally vibrant marketplace. Golborne Road Market is on every day of the week too and it’s best known for its antique and secondhand market stalls.

Notting Hill Market

  1. Lutyens and Rubinstein

If you are a lover of books and literature, then a visit to Lutyens and Rubinstein is a must. The quirky bookstore is one of the most legendary independent stores in London.

  1. Rough Trade

If you’re into music, then Rough Trade is a great place to visit in Notting Hill. This independent record store sells a fantastic selection of music, including old vinyl and rare LPs.

  1. Vintage Shops

Notting Hill’s unique character is represented well in the district’s shops, and some of the best are the vintage shops. You can find stores packed with antiques and souvenirs collected from around the world.

  1. Vegan Night Market

Notting Hill’s culinary creatives come to life at the Vegan Night Market, which is held intermittently throughout the year on Ladbroke Grove.

The focus is on plant-based food naturally, and it’s one of the best of its kind in London. It also stays open late into the night!

  1. Farmers’ Market

Every Saturday morning in a car park on Kensington Street, locals gather to buy produce from farmers and produce growers selling their wares at the Farmers’ Market.

It’s an intimate market, but the best place to buy local products, ranging from fruit and veg to freshly baked pies.

  1. Books for Cooks

A great local bookstore to visit is Books for Cooks, a shop that is dedicated to offering the best cookbooks and cooking related literature in London. As well as selling an enormous range of cookery books, they also run a lovely on-site cafe.

Books for Crooks Notting Hill

Kids

  1. Biscuiteers Icing Cafe

For a fun few hours, head over to Biscuiteers Icing Cafe with the kids, where they can get some hands-on practice icing their favourite cakes and biscuits. As well as being able to enjoy an amazing range of handcrafted sweet treats, the cafe runs special icing classes so you can try your hand at learning their techniques.

  1. Electric Cinema

The Electric Cinema first opened its doors to film lovers in 1910. Today it can proudly claim to be one of the oldest working cinemas in the capital.

While being a thoroughly historic place, the cinema is the perfect place to take kids to catch an afternoon showing or weekend film, as they have a great range of movies playing including classics and new releases.

Electric Cinema

  1. Holland Park

Holland Park on the edge of Notting Hill and Kensington is one of the best places to take kids in the area. This large public space has some lovely grassy areas, the famed Kyoto Gardens and waterfalls, and it’s usually much quieter than the more famous Hyde Park.

Food and Drink

  1. The Churchill Arms

Named for Britain’s Second World War Prime Minister, the Churchill Arms is easily the most iconic pub in Notting Hill. The interior is full of memorabilia celebrating Winston Churchill, but rather than serving classic pub food, the speciality here is Thai food.

  1. Electric Diner

The Electric Diner is a fine Notting Hill establishment that serves food all day. This American-inspired diner has an American-style menu with pancakes and bacon for breakfast, and hefty burgers for the rest of the day.

  1. Andina

True to Notting Hill’s diverse cultural influences, one of the best restaurants to visit is the Andina, which serves up Peruvian food. With a range of Peruvian classics on offer, you can enjoy everything from fresh ceviche to platters of slow-cooked pork.

  1. Acklam Village

If you love London’s ever-growing, laid-back street food vibes, then head over to Acklam Village where you can find Notting Hill’s trendiest food court. As well as hosting a bar and range of street food stalls, Acklam Village also hosts live music events.

Acklam Village Notting Hill

  1. The Chipping Forecast

For some of the best fish and chips in Notting Hill, head to All Saints Road where you can find the perfectly named Chipping Forecast.

They specialise in quality fish and chips, offering a range of batters from simple breadcrumbs to classic beer-batter.

  1. Gin Tonica Distillery

The Gin Tonica Distillery is an establishment dedicated to the best gin in Notting Hill. This is the home of Portobello Road Gin. As well as being able to see the distillation process first-hand, you can also try many a gin and tonic at their gin bar.

  1. Granger and Co

Another classic Notting Hill eatery is Granger and Co, which is one of the best places to go for an excellent breakfast or brunch. It’s the Aussie style here, so you can expect laid-back surroundings and plenty of avocados.

  1. Farm girl

Another classic eatery is Farm Girl, where you can pick up an excellent breakfast or brunch. It’s a health-conscious restaurant, but while it uses lots of fresh, local produce on its menu, the menu is inspired by cuisines from around the world.

Events and Activities

  1. The Coronet Theatre

Notting Hill is a wonderful place for artists and creatives alike. One of the best places to watch theatre in the area is at the Coronet Theatre.

Formerly known as the Print Room, the theatre prides itself on hosting off-West End productions with a focus on independent and niche theatre and film that you won’t find on show in many other places in London.

  1. The Gate Theatre

For a real theatre treat, head to the Gate Theatre in Notting Hill. Located above a pub, the Gate Theatre has the distinction of being one of the smallest theatres in London, with just 75 seats inside the venue.

The theatre has hosted a number of award-winning shows over the years and has seen a surprising number of actors working here who then went on to become household names.

  1. Bay 66 Skatepark

One of the most famous skate parks in London is the Bay 66 Skatepark, which is located in Notting Hill. If you’re into skateboarding or simply just want to watch some semi-pros in action, then swing by for a visit.

  1. Walking Tour

There are lots of walking tours devoted to helping you to discover the best of Notting Hill. One of the best ways to uncover the area’s hidden past and quirky secrets is on one of these tours, which range from history to movie-filming locations.

  1. Notting Hill Carnival

The biggest event in the Notting Hill calendar – and one of the biggest events of the year anywhere in London – is the world-famous Notting Hill Carnival.

This is a lively celebration of Notting Hill’s fantastically diverse community, held on the August bank holiday weekend. You can join in as thousands descend onto the streets to celebrate life with music, good food and the famed Notting Hill parade.

Crowded Notting Hill Carnival

As London specialists, we know a thing or two about the best things to do in Notting Hill, as well as the rest of the capital. While you’re in town, check out Premium Tours’ range of London Tours. We’ll show you the best of the city.

Hamleys London

47 Things to Do in London with Kids

London is easily one of the most exciting cities in the world to take kids, with a wide range of sights and activities that you can enjoy with the whole family.

From watching the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside of Buckingham Palace to exploring the capital’s child-friendly museums, there’s loads of fun to be had in London with children.

Here are 47 of our favourite things to do in London with kids.

  1. Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is one of London’s most famous sights, and it’s the perfect place to take children. While you can only go inside when guided tours are held at certain times of the year, the kids will love the ceremony and appearance of the palace and its surroundings from outside.

buckingham-palace

  1. Changing of the Guard Ceremony

Outside Buckingham Palace, children can enjoy one of the city’s most exciting ceremonies: the Changing of the Guard. Held at 11 am from Monday through Saturday and 10 am on Sundays, the Changing of the Guard sees the royal troopers dressed in their extravagant uniforms marching as they change shifts.

  1. Platform 9 and ¾

At Kings Cross Station children can also take their picture at the world-famous Platform 9 and ¾. This is the hidden, magical platform that leads to the Hogwarts Express, and you’ll find it marked at the station. Possibly the most famous platform in London, there’s often a queue so allow plenty of time.

  1. Harry Potter Tours

If the kids are into Harry Potter, then you can treat them to a Harry Potter tour of the capital. You’ll get to see all the most famous filming locations across London, including iconic destinations such as Diagon Alley.

  1. Warner Bros Studio Tour

One of the best things to do in London with kids is to take a Warner Bros Studio Tour. Located outside of Central London, this is a great day out for anyone interested in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. The Warner Bros Studio is where many scenes were filmed, and you can find a permanent exhibition dedicated to the making of the Harry Potter films.

harry-studio-potter-tour

  1. Hamleys

Hamleys is one of the biggest and oldest toyshops in the world. Located on Regent Street, this extravagant shop is a treasure trove of fun and games for kids. You can spend hours exploring the different floors of Hamleys, but just be careful not to spend too much money!

  1. The London Eye

Get a bird’s eye view of the capital and the famed London skyline by taking a trip on the London Eye. The enormous Ferris wheel offers excellent views as you slowly revolve around.

  1. The Shard

For an even better view of London, then take the kids high above the city to the viewing deck of the Shard. The panoramas from the top floors will amaze everyone.

  1. Emirates Airline

Fly high above the River Thames and take a journey on the Emirates Airline. This cable car is a great way to get across the river!

  1. London Bridge

Of course, you can also take a more traditional route across the river. Walk across London Bridge to show your children the city’s most famous bridge! If you arrive early, there are some fantastic places for breakfast near London Bridge.

  1. Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is another famous landmark in the city located near the Tower of London. If you’re lucky you might see the iconic drawbridge being raised.

  1. Tower of London

Children will love exploring the Tower of London, where they can enjoy guided tours run by the Beefeaters, the guards of the castle. You can see the Royal Crown Jewels and learn about the castle’s dark history, while visiting one of the capital’s best attractions

  1. London Dungeon

If it’s gruesome tales of horrible histories that your kids want to know more about, then take them to the London Dungeon. Here you can learn all about London’s dark stories and characters like Jack the Ripper.

  1. Big Ben

If it’s famous landmarks you want to see, then bring the family to Westminster Palace, where you can see Big Ben. The famous clock tower is the most recognisable landmark in the city.

westminster-Big Ben-thames bridge

  1. Hyde Park

Not far from Westminster, the kids can enjoy Hyde Park. This large, open space is perfect for picnics and walks.

  1. Richmond Park

Another beautiful public park to visit is Richmond Park. Located south of the river and outside of the centre, the park is best known for its large deer population.

  1. Hampton Court Palace

Kids will love visiting Hampton Court Palace, too. The grand palace was the residence of Henry VIII, but it’s the dizzying outdoor maze that will capture the attention of children.

  1. Windsor Castle

Slightly out of Central London, a day trip to Windsor Castle is sure to entertain your children. This is one of the Queen’s main residences, where she spends many weekends. It’s a grand and exciting place to explore!

Windsor-Castle

  1. Legoland Windsor

Also in Windsor, one of the best days out for kids can be found at Legoland. This fun-filled theme park is dedicated to all things Lego, and you can find rides and Lego-building opportunities across the park.

  1. Open Top Hop-on Hop-off Bus

Give your children an exciting chance to see the capital from an open-topped Hop-on Hop-off Bus. Enjoy the best sights and attractions as you feel the wind in your hair! Of course, you can hop off at various stops around the capital to explore the main sights and attractions.

  1. HMS Belfast

Moored on the River Thames, HMS Belfast is an old navy ship that fought in World War II. It’s both a great educational experience and a chance to see the city from the river.

  1. Covent Garden

Covent Garden is a wonderful place to visit with the kids. You can take the family through the market stalls and shops, and be entertained by the street performers.

  1. The Moomin Store

The Moomins are much-loved Scandinavian children’s cartoon characters. In Covent Garden, you can visit the colourful and wacky Moomin shop, where you can purchase plenty of souvenirs and Moomin gifts.

  1. The British Transport Museum

The British Transport Museum is close to Covent Garden, and it’s a fantastic place to visit with the children. You can tour through classic London buses, and see old bicycles and cars.

  1. The Science Museum

Another great museum to visit with the family is the Science Museum. Here you can delve deep into the scientific world, and there are lots of hands-on, educational experiences.

  1. The Natural History Museum

Take the kids to the Natural History Museum in London, for more educational experiences. The iconic museum is home to enormous dinosaur skeletons and many more relics from the natural world.

Inside the Natural History Museum

  1. London Zoo

London Zoo makes for a classic day out with the kids. You can spend hours exploring and visiting the different enclosures to see animals from all over the world.

  1. London Aquarium

After visiting London Zoo, it’s time to learn about the underwater world with a trip to the London Aquarium.

  1. Hackney City Farm

Hackney City Farm is another great place to learn about the animal kingdom, but this time with a more local, English feel. Here kids can pet and feed farmyard animals.

  1. Thames River Cruise

The River Thames is the biggest landmark in London and the best way to see it is on a river cruise. Take a boat down the Thames and enjoy the fabulous London skyline.

london-eye-Thames-Cruise Boats

  1. The British Museum

The British Museum is one of the most detailed museums in London, but there are plenty of opportunities for the children to enjoy themselves too with different exhibits and hands-on learning experiences.

  1. The Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum is another of London’s best museums, and it’s a good place to take your children if you want them to learn more about British history.

  1. The Postal Museum

At the Postal Museum, you can learn all about the history of the Royal Mail in Britain. The highlight of the museum is riding the postal train, a driverless electric train – sure to delight the little ones!

  1. Greenwich

Greenwich is a great place to take kids, as you can show them the GMT line and the Royal Observatory in the middle of Greenwich Park.

  1. The Cutty Sark

Also located in Greenwich, the Cutty Sark is a famous landmark by the River Thames.

The Cutty Sark is an old ship that was once one of the fastest vessels on the seas. It’s a great opportunity to teach the kids more about Britain’s long seafaring history.

  1. O2 Climb

The O2 Arena is the distinctive building in Greenwich that was formerly known as the Millennium Dome. For older kids, there’s a rooftop climb that allows you to walk, attached to ropes and harnesses, across the top of the arena for impressive views over London.

  1. Clip n Climb

For more adventurous climbing experiences head to Clip n Climb, an indoor climbing centre geared towards children. There are climbing walls and vertical drop slides, as well as a cafe and other facilities. It’s suitable for all ages and makes for an active day out in London with the kids.

  1. Musicals

A great chance for entertainment is to visit the West End Theatres, where you can watch many popular musicals. The kids will love being taken to such classic shows as the Lion King, where they can sing along to great songs.

  1. Leicester Square

Leicester Square is a fab place to visit too, because not only can you enjoy the street performers and the sights of this famous part of London, but you can take the kids to the classic London cinemas where many of the country’s best movies have their premiers.

  1. Shakespeare’s Globe

You can also take your children to Shakespeare’s Globe, where you can give them an introduction to more classic forms of entertainment.

Not only is Shakespeare’s Globe a lovely theatre to visit, but you can watch performances of the English Baird’s best plays. Perhaps not one for young kids, but definitely great for the older children when they start to study Shakespeare at school.

  1. Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussauds is a fantastic waxwork museum where you can see wax statues of famous figures from history and the contemporary world. Have your photograph taken next to Nelson Mandela or Winston Churchill, and many more famous people.

Madame Tussauds London

  1. M&M World

In Leicester Square, there’s a giant store dedicated entirely to M&Ms and all their delicious chocolatey goodness! You can try the whole spectrum of flavours and fillings, and come home with shopping bags full of M&Ms.

  1. Go Ape

Take the youngsters out for an adventure-filled day at one of London’s Go Ape experiences. At Go Ape, you are strapped into a harness as you navigate high rope courses that are set up in tall trees.

  1. V&A Museum of Childhood

In Bethnal Green, you can visit the V&A Museum of Childhood, which offers a lovely insight into what it was like to be a child through different eras of history.

  1. Discovery Children’s Story Centre

Another wonderful place to take the kids is the Discovery Children’s Story Centre. This fascinating place is a world of storytelling where children are immersed in imaginative and creative fairy tales.

  1. Ragged School Museum

The Ragged School Museum in Tower Hamlets allows children to experience what it would have been like going to school in the Victorian era. The living museum offers an authentic Victorian atmosphere and is a great place for kids to learn how different schooling was in the 19th century in contrast to conditions today.

  1. Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens is one of the most popular tourist attractions in London, and it’s a great place for the whole family. This large botanical garden is set in Richmond-upon-Thames. You can spend all day exploring the different climate zones and areas in the gardens and greenhouses of Kew, and the kids are guaranteed to enjoy themselves!

For more inspiration on fun-filled family days out in London, check out Premium Tours’ fantastic range of London tours.

veggie brunch

14 Brunch Spots You Need to Try in Shoreditch

If you are searching for the best brunch spots in London there are few better places to be in the late morning or early afternoon than Shoreditch, because this eclectic part of the capital has endless opportunities for brunching.

In fact, Shoreditch takes brunch to a new level. This trendy district is home to a range of eateries, offering everything from a casual late breakfast to a full-on boozy brunch on the weekends. The vibrant, multicultural nature of Shoreditch also means that, if you desire, you can eat at a different brunch spot every day of the week, and try a new style of cuisine every day of the week too.

From Bottomless Brunches to Peruvian breakfasts, here are the 14 best brunch spots you need to try in Shoreditch.

  1. The Book Club

Shoreditch is well known for its vibrancy and culture, and one of the best brunch spots in the area that will fuel your love of both food and cultural experiences is The Book Club.

This unique cafe and restaurant serve brunch on the weekends and serves breakfast until midday on weekdays. The menu is potato and egg heavy but, as good as the food is, it’s not just the brunch that’s the main focus here, because the Book Club is also one of Shoreditch’s best events venues.

The Book Club hosts music events and cultural demonstrations, and there’s a different schedule every week. There are art exhibitions strung across The Book Club’s two different floors, and it’s easily one of the most creative places in Shoreditch. As a bonus, after breakfasting or brunching, you can even take to the Ping-Pong tables or challenge your fellow diners to a table tennis battle.

  1. Andina Shoreditch

Peruvian food might not be high on your brunching list, but that’s probably because you’ve never visited Andina Shoreditch. Located on Redchurch Street just off Shoreditch High Street, Andina Shoreditch brings the unique tastes of South America to London.

This innovative restaurant has made a name for itself by fusing British ingredients with traditional Peruvian methods of cooking, brought from the Andes to Shoreditch.

Andina Shoreditch is open all day, serving breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner to anyone searching for new flavours or returning for their Peruvian fix. On the weekends, brunch is served from 10 am until 4 pm, and it’s the perfect way to kick-start your day or to nurse that hangover from the night before.

On the brunch menu at Andina Shoreditch, you’ll find healthy doses of avocado, as well as Peruvian chocolate that’s served on pancakes. The Chicharron sandwich is great if you need more of a lunchtime-brunchtime boost for the rest of the day, while if you want to keep things healthy, nothing beats the Andean granola.

  1. Hoi Polloi

If you’re looking for one of Shoreditch’s trendiest brunching locations, then look no further than a visit to Hoi Polloi. This inspired restaurant is found within the Ace Hotel, a hotel chain that is found in other locales such as New York and which has a reputation for being a hangout for hipsters and trendsetters.

Hoi Polloi means the ‘people’. While this is a modern and sleek restaurant, there’s also a minimalist look and feel to the place, which complements the food exceptionally well.

On weekdays, there’s a breakfast menu that is served until midday where you can choose from a range of breakfast items, from simple plates of seasonal fruits to a full-on English breakfast. You can even start your day with a Bloody Mary if you’re looking to really kick things off at Hoi Polloi.

On weekends, brunch runs from midday until 4 pm, and this is the real deal at Hoi Polloi. On the brunch menu, you can order everything from pancakes or eggs to a hefty roast dinner that includes roast beef and all the trimmings. You can even go for the rib-eye steak and wash it down with a few of Hoi Polloi’s signature cocktails.

Hoi Polloi

  1. The Breakfast Club

With branches all over London and across the country, The Breakfast Club is one of the capital’s most beloved breakfast and brunch spots, and the branch in Hoxton is one of the most popular in the city.

The Hoxton branch was one of the first Breakfast Clubs to be opened in London, and it’s a fantastic place to enjoy a beautiful brunch when you are in the area.

This is a restaurant that specialises in breakfast, and they serve nothing but breakfast all day long in their sleek, modern eateries that have an open and airy feel to feel them. It’s a good place to start the day, no matter whether you’re starting the day at 8 am or 4 pm.

The Breakfast Club menu is extensive, and they take inspiration from across the world. You can order a classic full English, you can go for a vegan breakfast or you can order the Breakfast burrito, to name just a few of the items available.

  1. The Barge House

The Barge House is a fantastic place for brunch if you’re looking for scenic views and outdoor seating because this fabulous eatery is found overlooking the canal in a beautiful waterside location.

In summer especially, there are few better places to enjoy a spot of brunch, as you can sit out and take in the refreshing canal-side air and bathe in the Shoreditch sunlight while it’s there.

The Barge House has a full-service kitchen as well as a popular bar, and they are open all through the day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can find classic items such as eggs on toast, or more international breakfasts such as Shakshuka.

The Barge House is famed for its freshly prepared sourdough bread, and on the weekends it’s their exceptional brunch that is the real reason to visit. Their most popular item on brunch days is what they call Breakfast in Bread. A large sourdough loaf is hollowed out and the interior of the bread is filled with all manner of breakfast items.

There are several fillings of Breakfast in Bread, with the most popular being what is essentially a full English breakfast, when your sourdough will be served with bacon, eggs, mushrooms and more. They also offer veggie and vegan Breakfast in Bread, as well as a salmon variety and a spicy chorizo and chilli filling, too.

To accompany these unique bread brunches, the Barge House serves up Bloody Marys and Breakfast Martinis, as well as excellent tea and even better coffee.

  1. Pizza East

A pizza restaurant might not be your first choice for brunch in Shoreditch, but on the weekends Pizza East serves up a fine breakfast and brunch for hungry patrons.

Of course, they are best known for their signature pizzas, as well as their huge range of antipasti, but visit on the weekend and you can delve into the brunch menu. This is Italian breakfast at its best, and while you could just order a pizza for brunch if you’re really hungry, the more rustic brunch items are truly exquisite.

You can try a full Italian breakfast, beef ragu, cured hams, or frittatas, amongst many more breakfast and brunch items on the menu.

Breakfast Pizza

  1. Blues Kitchen

The Blues Kitchen in Shoreditch is renowned for its bluesy vibes, live music and an excellent menu that’s inspired by the soul of the southern USA.

On the weekend, The Blues Kitchen serves up a somewhat infamous boozy brunch, that’s complete with delicious food and endless drinks.

You order your favourite brunch item, be it a brisket burger or the big bluesy breakfast, and then you pick your favoured drink, be it bloody Marys, mimosas or Prosecco. The food is finite, but for two hours, the drinks are unlimited.

  1. Rascals

If it’s a boozy bottomless brunch that you’re after, then spend your weekend enjoying the delights of Rascals, which has made somewhat of a name for itself as being one of London’s most infamous brunching spots.

The food and drink are bottomless at Rascals. While you eat and drink the morning and afternoon away, you’ll be entertained by Rascal’s infamous entertainers. It’s all fun and games and entertainment while you drink and eat, and you’ll be getting stuck into the atmosphere of Rascals for many hours to come.

  1. Dirty Bones

Another great place to enjoy the delights of a boozy brunch is Dirty Bones. Available on the weekends, from 11 am until 4 pm, the Dirty Bones brunch offers you the chance to indulge in New York-inspired food in a heritage-listed London building in Shoreditch.

Dirty Bones has a brunch menu that’s packed with flavour; you can take on the big steak and eggs to set you up for the day or order a huge portion of ribs and crumpets. Of course, at Dirty Bones, as good as the food is, it’s not all about the food, because alongside the brunch items you can order unlimited cocktails.

Drinks to choose from include a Bloody Mary or Uptown Spritz and, for one and a half hours, your drink of choice is endless.

  1. Red Rooster

If it’s American-style food you’re looking for in Shoreditch, then head on over to Red Rooster. This USA-inspired eatery serves up a huge array of American food, ranging from New York to the southern states, but they are best known for their Red Rooster Gospel Brunch.

Held every Sunday, you’ll be able to jump into the delicious brunch menu while a local choir performs Harlem-style gospel to the hungry diners.

It’s a unique experience, and alongside excellent food, you’ll enjoy an excellent performance of gospel songs at Red Rooster.

Red Rooster

  1. The Diner Shoreditch

The Diner Shoreditch is another fantastic restaurant to visit if you are on the search for American-inspired brunch, as this fantastic eatery serves up an all-day breakfast menu.

The Diner Shoreditch is a truly American experience, and the restaurant is set up exactly how you would imagine a classic American diner to be.

All-day breakfast includes such dishes as the Lumberjack Breakfast, and the Hungry Man Breakfast, while you can also order stack after stack of delicious pancakes, with an endless variety of toppings.

  1. Hoxton Grill

One of the best brunch spots to try in Shoreditch is undoubtedly Hoxton Grill. Yet again, this is another restaurant that’s inspired by American-style food, and they serve up a glorious breakfast and brunch.

The brunch menu includes a diverse selection of dishes to order, including simple bowls of muesli or pancakes, to a huge range of different eggs. You can even start your day with a huge cut of steak, while of course there are plenty of cocktails to choose from on the brunch menu too.

  1. Lantana

If you’ve had your fair fill of American-style diners and brunches, then in multicultural Shoreditch you have many more options too. One of the best places to visit is Lantana, a delightful cafe that serves up an excellent Aussie-style breakfast and brunch.

On weekends, they open at 9 am and serve until 4 pm, and you’ll find a vast array of breakfast and brunch items. Expect plenty of halloumi and avocado on the menu, while the coffee is simply excellent as well. There are fruit smoothies too, and you can always start your day out in Shoreditch with a brunch cocktail.

Lanatana

  1. Bird

Our final pick for the best brunch spots in Shoreditch goes to Bird. This simple restaurant is designed with an open-air in mind, perhaps because Bird is proud of their use of free-range poultry.

Bird specialises in two things, and two things only. That’s chicken and waffles, and yes, the two are more often than not combined together. That makes this an excellent brunching spot, combining a waffle breakfast and a chicken lunch or dinner, to set you up for a day in London.

Of course, to complement your waffle and fried chicken brunch, Bird has a wide range of cocktails and other beverages to offer too.

As London experts, we know a thing or two about the best brunch spots across the city, including the trendy Shoreditch area. While you’re in touch, check out our fantastic range of London tours and open-top bus trips to see the very best of the city.

Yoga Pose

These Are the Best Yoga Classes in London

London has no shortage of places to learn and practise the art of yoga. But finding the best yoga classes in the capital can be a challenge, given the fierce competition. You can find classes and sessions in almost any leisure centre or community hall, while there are more and more dedicated yoga spaces opening up each year.

Finding the best yoga classes in London for you will also depend on the style of yoga you are looking for. Across the capital, you can find many different variations of yoga being practised and taught, and you can try out different classes each week to discover which style truly suits you.

From the sweaty moves of hot yoga and Bikram to the spirituality of Kundalini or the classic moves of Ashtanga, there are a lot of places to practise yoga. Here are our favourite yoga classes in London.

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga is the most classic form of yoga you can find being practised in London, and there are plenty of different places to try it across the capital. Ashtanga yoga was designed by Indian yogi K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore in the 20th century. This famous yogi took traditional, historic yoga poses and traditions and created a new form of yoga for the modern era. His techniques helped popularise yoga across the world, while still keeping close to the heritage of ancient yoga.

Ashtanga yoga involves individual poses being linked by Vinyasa, or flowing poses. It can be hot and sweaty, and it’s good for your strength and breathing.

Ashtanga Yoga

Good Vibes

One of the best places in London to try Ashtanga yoga is Good Vibes. This excellent fitness studio has its base in Fitzrovia on Tottenham Street, and they focus on offering positive fitness classes that empower you with energy, positivity and, above all, good vibes.

Some of their most popular classes are their yoga classes. They have a range of different classes catering to different levels, be it beginner lessons or intense sessions for experienced yoga lovers.

Their focus is on Ashtanga yoga; if you’ve never tried yoga before, then this classic variety is the perfect way to ease into the pursuit. You can join their beginner classes, where you’ll learn the basics, and once you’ve got the moves down you can move into their more intense Vinyasa sessions, where you’ll leave sweaty but refreshed.

The Good Vibes yoga studio offers a temperature-controlled space that’s great for Vinyasa. During the cold winter months, they heat the room to the level of an Indian summer’s day where you can escape the chill and practise yoga as it’s meant to be done, amongst the heat and humidity.

Triyoga

Triyoga is one of London’s most well-known yoga centres, and they have excellent classes dedicated to the practice of Ashtanga yoga, amongst many other varieties and forms.

They have studios in Camden, Chelsea, Ealing, Shoreditch and Soho, and they cater to a wide range of clients and abilities. Across their different locations, they teach hundreds of classes each week. If you’re looking to either learn the Ashtanga ropes or to delve deeper into the world of yoga, then Triyoga is one of the best places in London to do it.

Their beginner courses and introductory offers are great. You can have private lessons with one-to-one tuition, or you can join group sessions with like-minded, wannabe yogis. If you’re looking to develop your Ashtanga techniques further, then there are a range of classes offered for mid-level and experienced yoga lovers, while if you truly want to take your yoga skills to the next level, then you can even learn how to be a yoga instructor at Triyoga.

Ashtanga Yoga London

If you’re looking for a more personal studio and smaller classes, then one of the best places to go in the capital is Ashtanga Yoga London. Run by a handful of dedicated instructors, the studio focuses almost entirely on Ashtanga Yoga, and few other places can match it for personalised service and commitment to the practice.

Their studio is called Dharma Shala, and it’s located in King’s Cross. This is more than just a yoga space, as Ashtanga Yoga London has become more of a community than just a commercial enterprise. If you are searching for like-minded yoga lovers, then this is the place to be.

At Ashtanga Yoga London, you can learn the basic moves of the Mysore-style yoga sequences, before moving onto the more experienced, free-flowing Vinyasa classes that are typical of Ashtanga.

There are classes all through the week, and you can pay per session or become part of the Ashtanga community and purchase monthly packages for the different classes.

Hot Yoga

Hot yoga is one of the most popular, modern forms of yoga you can find being practised in studios across London. Hot yoga is so-called because the idea is literally to get hot and to work up a huge sweat during your routines. The idea is to sweat and to sweat hard. Hot yoga is performed in hot and humid conditions, which are designed to replicate those found on the Indian subcontinent where yoga originated.

There are different types and styles of hot yoga, but most originated in the mid 20th century and became popularised as a way to dispel impurities in the body as well as to lose weight and to strengthen core muscles.

Hot Yoga is intense and vigorous, and you need a basic level of fitness at the very least to survive your first few classes, before stepping it up as you progress while you learn the different techniques and styles.

Frame

One of London’s best hot yoga spots is Frame, a yoga company that has six separate locations across the capital offering thousands of classes a week. Frame is an all-encompassing yoga business, and they offer classes and tuition in almost every conceivable style of yoga possible.

Frame likes to focus on getting you hot and sweaty in all their classes, and they really take the meaning of hot yoga to a new level. Whichever classes you choose, be it beginner or advanced sessions or free-flow or power yoga, you’ll be leaving in a sweat, but also leaving revitalised and restored. Alongside traditional yoga classes, they also offer their own unique brand of hot yoga, which is simply called Frame Yoga, where different techniques and styles are combined to leave you with the ultimate hot yoga sweats.

Another Space 

Another Space is one of London’s most infamous hot yoga spots; any class you take at this well-known establishment will leave you painfully sweaty and aching for days.

Their classes aren’t for the faint-hearted, but they are excellent if you are looking to push yourself above and beyond and to take hot yoga to a higher level while improving your strength, stamina and fitness.

With locations in Covent Garden and Bank, this is one of the most intense yoga centres in central London. Perhaps knowing this, they have a great policy with no joining fees and no hidden costs.

Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga is a form of hot yoga that has several distinct differences and attributes. This is one of the most popular forms of hot yoga that you’ll find across the world. In London, there are many classes dedicated solely to the art of Bikram.

Founded by Bikram Choudhury, this modern form of yoga follows a specified set of poses and techniques that are performed in sequence in a hot and humid environment.

Bikram Yoga

Fierce Grace

One of London’s best-known studios for bringing the heat, Fierce Grace has seven studios across the capital and is a forerunner of the hot yoga revolution in the city.

Established by a student of Bikram Choudhury, Michele Pernetta, Fierce Grace has eight different classes designed to suit every schedule, level and mood. Standouts include the eponymous ‘Fierce Grace’ class, ‘Wild’ which combines strength poses, and the advanced ‘Fierce’, also known as ‘the Beast’.

If you’re injured, stiff, unfit or in rehabilitation, the S.O.B class – which stands for Stiff, Old or Broken – is a powerful way to get you moving again.

The Hot Spot Yoga

The Hot Spot Yoga is well known for its focus on hot yoga and Bikram yoga, and it’s one of London’s best spots if you’re looking for intense Bikram sessions. Their classic classes include long Bikram yoga routines, where you’ll be immersed in the heat of the Indian subcontinent while never leaving London.

Prepare to get hot and prepare to get really sweaty, because The Hot Spot Yoga can help you take your yoga game to a more intense level than ever before. They offer a heavy schedule of classes through the week, and with sessions lasting for 90-minutes at a time you’ll be left aching, yet thoroughly versed in the techniques and poses that Bikram yoga comprises.

You might want a good grounding in less intense hot yoga techniques before venturing into this yoga centre though, or you’ll leave your first session aching and hurting for the next few days.

Hot Yoga

Kundalini 

Kundalini Yoga is a more niche form of yoga, and there are fewer studios offering classes and sessions across the capital. It’s a more spiritual form of yoga, and the idea isn’t to get hot and sweaty but to focus on breathing and technique in order to awaken the spiritual energy that’s found within you.

It’s a unique and calming form of yoga to practice and a wonderful form of relaxation and meditation.

Joy

Joy is a yoga centre dedicated to Kundalini Yoga, and it’s easily one of the best places in the capital to try it out.

It’s a relatively new studio having only opened its doors in 2018, but they are already the preferred choice for many spiritual seekers in London. You can join their Kundalini and meditation sessions to awaken your own inner spirituality, and to learn more about the meditative and healing processes involved in this particular form of yoga.

Kundalini Yoga London

Located in Fitzrovia, Kundalini Yoga London is another great space to learn all about this meditative form of yoga.

With a focus on small class sizes and a personalised teaching style, this is the place to really begin to connect with your inner Kundalini spirituality and power. Run by a single instructor, there are only a few classes a week, so book in quick to secure your spot if this is the style of yoga you are looking to learn more about.

Free Yoga Classes in London

Yoga is a relatively inexpensive hobby to take up, but most classes, instructors and companies charge fees for their sessions. You can save money by purchasing memberships, once you find the best classes for you and the instructors that suit you best. Many studios offer multiple-session packages or unlimited monthly subscriptions that will give you hefty savings on paying individually.

Group lessons and classes are always cheaper than private lessons too and are a great way to make new friends and delve into the wider yoga community and lifestyle.

If you are looking for free or heavily discounted yoga classes, then many studios offer excellent introductory rates for beginners, where you can join either sample lessons or where you can take advantage of low rates for the first few sessions or even months of your membership.

On International Yoga Day – a day dedicated purely to the pursuit of all things yoga – almost all studios offer free sessions to celebrate the beauty of yoga and to spread its good vibes.

Many new or small-time instructors working on more of a hobby basis will also offer group or community sessions for free or for minimal costs. Many of these classes run in summer, as they take place outside, in parks or public spaces.

Yoga in London

If you’re visiting London to take advantage of the wonderful range and variety of yoga classes across the capital, check out Premium Tours’ fantastic range of London tours. As London experts, we show you the best the city has to offer in terms of major tourist attractions and museums, though we know a good deal about eating, nightlife and lifestyle, too!

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.

comedy clubs london

Fancy a Giggle? Here Are the Top Comedy Clubs in London

There’s nothing better than the live experience of comedy – guffawing with friends and family, cheeks and faces aching from all the laughing and smiling, then sharing those funny moments again afterwards together, because you ‘had to be there’. London’s comedy scene is thriving, so where better to enjoy a hysterical night out with a wide and eccentric array of venues to choose between.

Rambunctious hilarity abounds with national, international and newbie comedians to suit every taste. There are plenty of options for tickets that include dinner, from your basic pub fare to international cuisine. You can even party on into the night, with some venues also hosting nightclubs.

Here are twelve of the finest comedy clubs the capital has to offer.

  1. 99 Club, Leicester Square

Hosting high quality comedy seven nights a week, The 99 Club has won Best London Comedy Club (Chortle Awards) for the past eight years in a row. The club features acclaimed international comedians, including those from shows such as Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week, and Have I Got News For You. The usual format at Leicester Square is three comedians per night for a reasonable £10-£15 given the high level of talent.

If you want to splash out and make an evening of it, you can also purchase food at the venue with good quality ‘pub style’ food (burgers, pasta, salads and classic desserts such as cheesecake or brownie). You can end the night dancing in the nightclub at the same venue. The 99 Club also runs comedy at other venues in Covent Garden and Soho.

Info: 7 days per week, Ruby Blue, 2nd Floor 1 Leicester Place, Leicester Square, London WC2H 7BP

Leicester Square

  1. Live at the Chapel, Union Chapel

The architecturally stunning Union Chapel is the most beautiful venue to enjoy comedy gigs. As it hosts many different kinds of events – from music gigs to actual church services – comedy is usually only found here once a month. But it’s well worth waiting for, with innovative supporting comedians and big-name headliners, plus a top-notch live band to add even more atmosphere.

Food-wise you can support social justice issues whilst eating at the Margins Cafe, with profits going to The Margins Project (based at the Chapel) working with people who face issues of homelessness and crisis. You can even sample the Chapel’s own beer – the 1877 Union Chapel Pale Ale – at the licensed bar, or grab yourself some sweeties, a Tunnock’s teacake and a nice cup of tea from the gorgeously old-fashioned kiosk.

Info: Monthly gigs, Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, Islington, London, N1 2UN.

  1. Hoopla Impro, London Bridge

If you like comedy that is spontaneous, dynamic and fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, then why not try Hoopla Impro, featuring the best in improvised comedy in London. You’ll find a huge array of styles, from short-form games, improvised plays, musical inspired comedy, and stand-up routines. Experimental is the order of the day, and there’s plenty of opportunity to try out this style with free tickets being offered for many events, and others at a very reasonable £10 or less.

Fancy yourself as a bit of a comedian? Hoopla also offers improv beginner classes and workshops, plus ‘improv jams’ so you can test out your own gags on the fly.

Info: Mon to Sat, Hoopla’s London Improv Comedy Club at The Miller, 96 Snowsfields Road, London Bridge, London, SE1 3SS. Sundays only: The Comedy Pub, 7 Oxendon St, London SW1Y 4EE. Check the website for additional shows at other venues.

  1. Old Rope Comedy Club at the Phoenix, Cavendish Square

Featuring brand spanking new and innovative comedy, Old Rope is a weekly night where comedians test out their latest material. There’s a good mix of established names and up-and-coming talent, with the night being hosted by Tiff Stevenson (Mock the Week, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, 8 out of 10 Cats) in this West East pub. And the noose that hangs over the stage during the show? If their new gags are sinking like a lead balloon, comics can grab the noose and rely on their more tried-and-tested material to get them through.

Info: Monday nights, The Phoenix 37 Cavendish Square, London, W1G 0PP

  1. Comedy Carnival, Leicester Square and Covent Garden

If you’re after no nonsense big names on the comedy scene – such as those from Live at The Apollo and Mock the Week – then Comedy Carnival won’t disappoint. Shows run on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at Leicester Square and on Saturday nights in Covent Garden. There are plenty of food options to choose between with dinner ticket deals including Pizza Express Covent Garden, fine dining at the Sicilian Enzo’s Kitchen or Peruvian Leicester Square Kitchen.

Info: Thurs, Fri and Sat nights at Leicester Square: Bar Rumba, 36 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 7EP. Saturdays at Covent Garden: Seven Dials Club, 42 Earlham Street, London, WC2H 9LA

london covent garden

  1. The Boat Show, Victoria Embankment

If you’re taking a trip to the London Eye then why not spend the evening at a floating comedy club, to enjoy a more unusual venue. Established over 20 years ago, The Boat Show takes place in a gorgeous refurbished paddle steamer permanently moored just opposite the London Eye. You’ll get a number of comedians at each show – usually three with an MC – so there’s good variety, and many of the names are well-known on the UK and International scene, including those from top TV comedy shows.

On Tuesdays, The Boat Show features ‘The Guinea Pig Club’ where you can sample new material from both established and new comedians with at least seven acts performing. For under a tenner, it’s seriously good value. At the weekend, your ticket price also includes the after-show Popworld nightclub, so you can end the evening dancing your socks off. Dinner deals are also available with classic pub food fare.

Info: Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturday nights. The Boat Show, Tattershall Castle, Victoria Embankment, London SW1A 2HR

london eye

  1. Angel Comedy Club, Islington

Angel Comedy is all about the sheer joy of comedy. This is a comedy club run by comedians and there to support comedians, with an aim to offer high quality, innovative and experimental comedy with no admission charge – all totally free. The emphasis is on how comedy really can be embedded in the local community, so it’s a project with a lot of heart.

The Camden Head in Islington is the main venue where the club began – in a room above the pub – and its reputation as London’s most beloved comedy gig means shows there are always packed out, seven nights a week. Get there early to avoid disappointment.

Angel also has a new and exciting venue – they’ve bought the lease on a pub called the Bill Murray (see their successful kickstarter campaign for the inspiring story) – and have big dreams to transform this into a base for comedians to come together to rehearse and work together. At the Bill Murray, they have a diverse programme of events (note admission charges apply at this venue) including comedy courses and community projects.

Info: Seven nights a week (free admission) at The Camden Head 2 Camden Walk, London, N1 8DY and seven nights a week (varied admission charges) The Bill Murray, 39 Queens Head Street, London, N1 8NQ

  1. Soho Theatre

This longstanding venue for innovative theatre, comedy and cabaret provides outstanding access to stellar comedians in a purpose-built theatre setting. Unlike most comedy clubs, the Soho Theatre lends itself better to single comedian events (rather than the usual three or more turns in an evening), so you get the chance to immerse yourself in the weird and wonderful world of a comic for a full evening.

Soho Theatre is a charity and social enterprise, and the focus is on supporting high quality work and nurturing up-and-coming talent, with artist development being high on their list of priorities. So there’s a rich mix to choose between from highly touted newbies to Edinburgh favourites, and more. The bar at Dean Street offers a great range of drinks – including gluten-free, vegan, alcohol-free and low-alcoholic options – and food-wise there’s light fare on offer, such as ciabattas, salads and snacks.

Info: Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, London W1D 3NE

soho theatre

  1. The Comedy Store, Soho

A review of the top comedy clubs in London wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the bastion of comedy talent, the Comedy Store. Established forty years ago, in a room over a strip club in Soho, it now has a purpose-built venue with over 3,500 visitors each week. The ‘recently played’ list is a who’s who of national and international comedy superstars, with this venue being a ‘rite of passage’ into the big league of comedy.

If you like sharp, uncensored and topical comedy, try the ‘The Cutting Edge’ regular show every Tuesday night, featuring a panel of famous comedians taking on issues from the week’s news. Wednesdays and Sundays also feature wickedly funny improvisation from highly skilled Comedy Store Players. A must for any comedy fan.

Info: Most nights, The Comedy Store, 1a Oxendon Street, London, SW1Y 4EE

  1. Knock2bag, Hackney and Bethnal Green

Whilst this venue also hosts high-level comics, there’s more eccentricity, innovation and surrealism here, with a wider range of comedic styles than in some other venues. Knock2bag also host ‘Cardinal Burns presents…’ – what they describe as an ‘impulsive’ and ‘anything goes’ show hosted by Channel 4 stars Dustin Demri-Burns and Seb Cardinal. The show had a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016 and regularly sells out, so get your tickets early. For all things wild and whimsical, you can’t go wrong with Knock2bag.

Info: Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at Moth Club, Old Trades Hall, Valette Street, E9 6NU and Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, E1 6LA

  1. Up the Creek, Greenwich

Once known for its ruthless crowd who accept nothing but the best, Up the Creek is an iconic venue offering premium comedy, establishing its reputation as a classic London comedy club. From touring shows to club gigs, there’s a good range of comedy of high quality here.

On Thursday nights they’ve developed the open mic format into an exciting, interactive comedy evening called ‘The Blackout’. Featuring 15-17 comedians, they each get two minutes on stage to wow the audience, three of whom are given a ‘blackout card’. If all three hold up their cards, the stage is plunged into darkness and the comedian has to leave. If the comedians survive, they get a full five minutes and have ‘beaten the Blackout’!

Food and drink here is great – Roxburgers provides a gorgeous selection of burgers, including veggie and vegan options, and you can get freshly brewed craft beer from independent microbrewery Greenwich Brewery. Shows run on Wednesdays to Sundays in the evening and after the comedy is done, you can get on the dance floor and enjoy busting some moves to classic hits until 2am.

Info: Wednesday to Sunday evenings, Up the Creek, 302 Creek Rd, London, SE10 9SW

Up the Creek comedy club

  1. Banana Cabaret Club, Balham

Banana Cabaret Club is a respected and well-loved comedy club that’s hosted classic comedians for the past thirty years, and is still going strong in the iconic round Club room at The Bedford. There’s everyone from comedy superstars, to touted newbies and those on the touring circuit, with an annual Comedy Festival in July. The nine-day Festival features star turns testing out their material before the Edinburgh Festival and the touring circuit starts, so it’s as fresh and new as you can get.

The Bedford’s restaurant serves delicious gastropub fare, which is a step above the usual burger and fries comedy combo. Banana Cabaret is noted for a friendly, welcoming and unpretentious attitude, and that carries on with dancing post-show until 2am.

Info: Fridays and Saturdays, The Bedford, 77 Bedford Hill, SW12 9HD

From big name superstars to up-and-coming newbies, improv and topical to surreal and hard-hitting, there’s a comedy show in London for everyone. To explore London in all its glory, contact the experts Premium Tours to discuss our extensive range of exciting tours.

st pauls cathedral london

The Ultimate Guide to St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral is easily one of the most recognisable landmarks on the London skyline, as the historic church and its iconic dome rise high in the centre of the city.

The cathedral has been the focus of Christianity in London since the 6th century AD. However, St Paul’s went through many different designs and suffered destruction and fires before the dramatic church you see today, which was built by the famous architect Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London in 1666.

St Paul’s Cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of London. While it’s very much a functioning, working Anglican church, it’s also become one of the capital’s most important tourist attractions and sees millions of visitors every year.

That means that the church can get busy, but with our ultimate guide to St Paul’s Cathedral you’ll be equipped with the best insider tips and tricks to beat the crowds. Discover the best times to visit, how to buy tickets, and you might even learn a few quirky pieces of history, too.

st pauls cathedral

Where Is St Paul’s Cathedral?

St Paul’s Cathedral is located in the City of London, in the centre of the capital. The cathedral is built on Ludgate Hill, one of London’s most prominent hilltops. Given its central location, St Paul’s is easy to travel to.

Driving in the city or even taking a taxi is inadvisable, but public transport to St Paul’s is convenient, although, in peak times both the underground and buses can be busy. The nearest tube station is St Paul’s, which is just a few minutes’ walk from the cathedral. As soon as you exit the station, you’ll quickly spot the dome towering over the surrounding buildings. St Paul’s tube stop is found on the Central Line, in Zone 1.

The nearest train station is the City Thameslink Railway Station, which is just a short stroll away and has several entrances around Ludgate Hill. There are services across the city and further afield to places such as Gatwick and Luton Airports.

There are also plenty of nearby bus stops giving quick access to the cathedral. You can also join a classic Hop on Hop off sightseeing tour and jump off by St Paul’s, before exploring the rest of London’s best attractions too.

The Best Time to Visit St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral is open all year round, although sightseeing is restricted during important religious holidays, such as Easter and Christmas. Tourists are allowed to visit the cathedral from Monday through to Saturday. However on Sundays, the cathedral is only open to worshippers and sightseeing is not permitted.

Throughout the day, there are several services held for worshippers within the cathedral, and there are different special events held in the evenings too, such as choir recitals or organ performances. You can check the St Paul’s Cathedral website for details of any upcoming events.

The cathedral is open to visitors from 8.30am, with the last entrance being allowed at 4.00pm. The first service for worshippers is the morning prayer, which is held at 7.30am each day.

If you can, then you’ll want to get here early. Arrive after the first prayer to beat the crowds, and to give you maximum time to explore before any large coach tours might arrive later in the day.

If you arrive late in the day and find that there’s a large queue, you might risk being turned away if you’re still waiting once the last entrance time has passed, so give yourself plenty of time if you plan on visiting in the afternoon.

In summer when London is in the middle of its peak tourism season, the cathedral can be particularly busy, but it does stay open for an hour longer, with last entrance moved back to 5.00pm.

london st pauls

How Much Does It Cost to Visit St Paul’s Cathedral?

While worshippers may join services in the cathedral for free, if you really want to explore everything within St Paul’s, you’ll need to purchase a sightseeing ticket. This will give you access to many different areas during opening times.

Tickets can be purchased on the door or in advance online. It’s recommended to buy your ticket online if you can, as you get a small discount and are given fast track entrance into the cathedral, allowing you to skip the worst of the queues.

As of spring 2019, adults pay £17 online or £20 on the door. A child’s ticket costs £7.20 online or £8.50 on the door. If you are a family, then there are different family tickets on offer that can help you to save money, while there are also special rates for students and senior citizens.

A Brief History of St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the capital’s oldest places of religious worship, although throughout history several different buildings have stood on this hilltop in the centre of the City of London.

For centuries, St Paul’s was the tallest building in London, and its dramatic dome and spires could be seen rising high above the skyline from almost anywhere in the city. It was only in 1967 when modern skyscrapers began to become a feature of London, that other buildings took over the cathedral in terms of height.

It’s thought that there may have been a Roman temple on the same hilltop where the cathedral now stands, although evidence for this is shaky. What is known is that the first Christian church was built on Ludgate Hill in 604 AD. This church was dedicated to St Paul the Apostle. Ever since, subsequent churches or cathedrals in this spot have always been dedicated to this important Christian figure.

When the Normans conquered England, they built a new, much grander cathedral on the hill, which is generally known as Old St Paul’s. Many fires would cause damage and the need for rebuilding and redesign throughout the cathedral’s life, before it was burnt to the ground in 1666.

The architect Sir Christopher Wren designed the elaborate cathedral you see today, with the first service in the new St Paul’s held three decades after the fire, in 1697.

st pauls

Facts About St Paul’s

  • Until 1967, St Paul’s was the tallest building in London, measuring up to 111 metres in height.
  • St Paul’s is an Anglican Cathedral and the seat of the City of London’s Bishopric.
  • Many important historical characters have had their funerals held here, including the likes of the Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill, as well as the cathedral’s architect, Sir Christopher Wren.
  • St Paul’s Cathedral is designed in the shape of a cross, and it’s the second largest religious centre in the United Kingdom and the largest in London.

What to See at St Paul’s Cathedral

The Cathedral Floor

When you first step through the entrance of St Paul’s Cathedral, you’ll be instantly mesmerised by the beautiful sight of the cathedral floor. This is the main corridor of the cathedral, where you’ll find pews, ornate sculptures and intricate artwork. At the far end, there’s a lavish altar where services are conducted.

Look up from ground level and you’ll be able to see spectacular designs on the ceiling and the dome rising up above the cathedral, which is supported from below by huge, stone pillars.

The High Altar

St Paul’s high altar is the main focus of many religious ceremonies in the cathedral. Walk along the floor, under the dome, and continue past the choir and you’ll find the intricate designs of the altar at the far end of the cathedral.

While the cathedral has had many different altars throughout its history with many being very humble, wooden tables, the current high altar gleams and shimmers in gold. The altar dates only to 1958, as the previous one was destroyed by German bombing during World War II.

The Dome

The dome is the most iconic part of the cathedral’s design, and this massive structure turned St Paul’s into a dramatic feature of the London skyline. The dome is over 80 metres tall and 30 metres wide, and weighs over 60,000 tonnes, while it consists of both an inner and outer component.

The inner dome can even be climbed, with a total of 528 steps leading to the top. Along the way, you’ll pass through the three famous galleries within the dome, the Whispering Gallery, the Stone Gallery and the Golden Gallery. There are platforms built on the outer dome that you can access through the galleries, and that offer exceptional views over the rest of London.

london st pauls cathedral

The Whispering Gallery

The Whispering Gallery is the first gallery that you’ll encounter on your climb to the top of the dome.

You’ll need to tackle 259 steps from the cathedral floor to reach the gallery, which is named for its marvellous acoustics that allow you to hear even the faintest of whispers from afar.

The Whispering Gallery offers great views of the floor below and is one of the most famous parts of the cathedral.

The Stone Gallery

Above the Whispering Gallery, more steps lead upwards to the Stone Gallery. 378 steps lead from the cathedral floor to this gallery, where you’ll find a beautiful terrace.

That terrace extends around the exterior of the dome, and you’ll be treated to a 360-degree view if you walk around the circumference.

The Golden Gallery

The Golden Gallery is found at the top of the dome. Although it’s the smallest of the three major galleries, it’s arguably the most spectacular.

This gallery offers the best view out over London, as you’ll be atop the highest point in the cathedral, and will have the best panorama of the city.

The Crypt

After heading high up to the top of the dome, on your return to ground level it’s time to go below the cathedral. St Paul’s was designed with a large crypt beneath its floor, and it’s here that you’ll find the grave of Sir Christopher Wren, who made those designs as the cathedral’s architect.

This is the largest cathedral crypt in Europe, and it’s the resting place of some of Britain’s most well-known and important historical figures including Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington.

Oculus

In the crypt, you can find one of the latest additions to St Paul’s Cathedral. The Oculus is a unique multimedia experience that allows you to see first-hand the development and history of the cathedral through the ages.

On a 270º large television screen, you can watch the history of St Paul’s unfold before you. You’ll be transported from the early churches to the great fire of 1666, before seeing Sir Christopher Wren’s design and construction of the cathedral you see today, and its iconic survival and symbolism during the Blitz in World War II.

cathedral st pauls

Insider Tips When Visiting St Paul’s Cathedral

  • Arrive early to beat the crowds, and purchase your ticket online to not only save money but to skip the queues with fast track entrance to St Paul’s.
  • Join a Hop on Hop off Bus Tour if you are pressed for time in London, and want to see all the best sights, quickly. St Paul’s Cathedral will always be a stop, and you’ll learn some interesting history while you’re on the bus.
  • If you don’t fancy paying the entrance price, then you can join a service in the cathedral, but you won’t have access to all the other, unique areas in St Paul’s.
  • For a totally free and spectacular view of St Paul’s and the iconic dome from the outside, then head to the nearby shopping centre at One New Change, where you can find a rooftop terrace that’s open to the public and that offers an unrivalled panoramic of the cathedral.
  • Audio tours in a variety of different languages are included in the ticket price. Just remember to pick up your audio guide at the entrance.
  • Free tours are also provided throughout the day by knowledgeable staff, but you’ll need to book on when you arrive, as places are always limited.

As London specialists, we offer a superb range of London tours, many of which involve a trip to iconic St Paul’s Cathedral. We visit the cathedral early to avoid large crowds and offer fast-track entry. To find out more or to book your London tour, contact Premium Tours today.

ice skating

Want to Know Where to Go Ice Skating in London? Look No Further…

England might be known for its cold and rainy weather. But it’s not exactly known for snow, ice or winter sports.

Surprisingly though, London can be a great city to go ice skating, as there is a huge range of ice rinks found across the capital.

Some of these ice rinks, like those found at Alexandra Palace or Lee Valley, are permanent and can be visited all year round. You can strap on the skates and cool down on the ice during London’s fleeting summer months, or you can enjoy evening disco skating sessions that continue long into the night.

Other ice skating rinks are seasonal. During winter, and particularly over the festive Christmas period, many more will pop up across London. Many of these are found in iconic locations, with classic attractions such as the Natural History Museum or the Tower of London hosting the city’s most famous ice rinks. You can visit the city’s best landmarks, and then go ice skating too.

If you want to go ice skating in London, then look no further than our detailed guide!

london ice skating

Alexandra Palace

Alexandra Palace is one of London’s oldest and most well-known recreation centres. The historic, heritage-listed building dates back to the 1860s when it was built in the Victorian era.

While Alexandra Palace might be better known for hosting music concerts and sports tournaments, it’s also home to one of the best ice rinks in London.

The ice rink is indoors and is open all through the year, making this a great place to go skating. As well as free skating sessions, through the week you can also join skating lessons or even try your hand at ice hockey.

The ice rink at Alexandra Palace even hosts late night club sessions, where you can skate and dance on the ice in the evenings.

Lee Valley Ice Centre

Another great ice rink to visit in London is the Lee Valley Ice Centre, which is also a permanent rink that’s open all through the year.

The Lee Valley is a bit of a journey from the centre of London, found in the northern suburbs of the city, but the ice rink and its facilities are some of the best in the capital, making it well worth the journey.

The rink has sessions every day of the week, while on weekends there are even late night disco parties which are held on the ice.

If you like figure skating or ice hockey, then Lee Valley is the home of several teams, and you can watch training sessions or even live hockey matches at the venue.

Queens Skate Dine Bowl

If you’re looking for somewhere a bit closer to central London to hit the ice, then in Bayswater right next to Hyde Park and Kensington Palace, you can find Queens Skate Dine Bowl.

This permanent ice rink is not only a great place to go skating any time of the year, but it’s also a large entertainment complex too.

After an intense ice skating session, then, if you still have the energy, you can even go bowling. If you don’t have the energy, you can refuel at the restaurant or relax at the bar with a few drinks.

Queens Skate Dine Bowl is also a place to try unique ice sports, other than skating. The venue holds curling events and you can also learn how to play this somewhat unusual sport, while thrill-seekers can even race ice karts around the rink.

ice skating

Streatham Ice and Leisure Centre

Serious skaters won’t want to miss out on a trip to Streatham Ice and Leisure Centre, because this is a mega, Olympic-standard ice rink.

In the south of London, the ice rink is a bit of a journey from the city centre, but being the largest in the capital it makes for a fantastic place to skate.

There’s been an ice rink here for decades, but in the last few years, the centre was completely refurbished. Consequently, its facilities are almost brand new and of excellent quality.

Being the only Olympic-sized venue in the capital, Streatham is a hotbed for ice hockey and figure skating, and it’s a great place to learn how to skate or to take your skills to the next level, with excellent coaching opportunities on offer.

The local ice hockey team, the Streatham RedHawks, are one of England’s oldest teams, and you can catch packed matches on the weekends or on selected evenings at the venue.

The Natural History Museum

One of London’s most beloved temporary ice rinks pops up in the winter outside the Natural History Museum.

The ice rink isn’t just for Christmas, as it’s open for skating as early as the end of October and doesn’t close until the end of January.

The Natural History Museum is one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious museums, and it’s a fantastic place to explore when you are in the capital.

After browsing through the famous dinosaur skeletons and exhibits in the museum and learning all about the natural world, then strap on your skates and skate across the ice with the dramatic building behind you.

The museum is free to enter, but of course, it does cost money to hire the skates and to enjoy the ice rink. Wrap up warm, because the rink is open air, but you can warm up again on the sides with a steaming hot coffee or perhaps even some mulled wine.

ice rink natural history museum

Canary Wharf

From November through to January, head over to Canary Wharf for one of the best ice rinks in London.

Canary Wharf is one of the capital’s most important financial districts and business centres, and its modern skyscrapers and flashy high rises on the river are a great sight to see by themselves.

The district is bustling at the best of times but even more so come winter when Londoners flock to Canary Wharf to jump on the ice.

The ice rink is one of the city’s largest temporary skating venues. At Christmas time, it’s ablaze with colours and decorations that complement the dazzling lights of the surrounding skyscrapers.

The rink is found in Canada Square Park, and you couldn’t ask for a better location. After skating across the ice, you can enjoy drinks at the popular bar found by the side of the rink, which is open late into the evening.

The ice rink is semi-covered by a high glass roof, making this one of the best places to skate in winter if you don’t want to brave the full force of the elements while the weather in England is at its most unpredictable.

The Tower of London

Built on the orders of William the Conqueror after the Norman conquest of England in 1066, the Tower of London is one of the city’s most historic sights.

The iconic castle is one of London’s most visited attractions, and when you are in the capital, it’s a must see. You can explore the high walls and towers, see where and how the kings and queens of the medieval era lived, and even see the majestic Crown Jewels.

In the winter, the Tower of London also becomes home to a fantastic ice skating rink, which generally opens at the end of November and closes just after the New Year.

It’s not open for as long as many of London’s other iconic, temporary skating rinks, so get in fast while you have the chance to visit.

This has to be one of the most striking locations for an ice rink. Here, you can skate in the shadow of the Tower of London, with beautiful views of the castle.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

From November to January, Hyde Park in London is transformed into the country’s biggest and best Winter Wonderland.

The enormous Christmas event sees the park decked out with elaborate decorations and Christmas trees, while you’ll be able to shop at the Christmas markets and drink mulled wine late into the night.

There are festive-themed restaurants, Bavarian-style bars, and live shows and fairground rides, but one of the highlights is, of course, the huge ice skating rink.

The outdoor rink is the largest temporary rink found in London over the Christmas period. But despite its size, you’ll soon see how quickly the ice fills with skaters.

It’s busy, but it’s festive, and Winter Wonderland is one of the funniest rinks to skate at over Christmas, as you dance across the ice to classic Christmas tunes before overindulging in too much food and drink afterwards.

ice skating london

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace is the lavish estate that’s best known for being one of King Henry VIII’s royal residences during the Tudor era.

The beautiful mansion dates back several hundred years, and it’s no longer used by the royal family, but offers visitors a chance to step back in time to see how the monarchy used to live.

You can explore stately rooms, walk through the extensive gardens and tackle the famous outdoor maze. In winter, you can also experience the festive delights of the ice skating rink.

The ice rink is open from the end of November and into the first week of January, and few other skating arenas have such a dramatic backdrop as this.

The rink is right in front of the palace itself, and while you’re skating across the ice you’ll have the best view of Hampton Court, as you listen to festive music and enjoy the wonderful sights around you.

Somerset House

Somerset House is one of Central London’s most distinctive buildings. It’s found on the Strand, by the River Thames and dates back to the Tudor era.

Somerset House has a spectacular neoclassical design, with huge pillars and elaborate statues found on the outside. The large open square that the different wings of the house are built around also makes for the perfect location for one of London’s best seasonal ice skating rinks.

The ice skating rink is set up from the middle of November through to the middle of January, and it’s one of the most spectacular places to skate in London.

You’ll be surrounded by the classical architecture of Somerset House, which over Christmas is lit up and decorated vibrantly in festive colours.

As well as a skating rink, over Christmas Somerset House is also home to an array of fantastic food and drink stalls, selling all sorts of festive treats that you can enjoy when you’ve finished ice skating.

somerset house ice skating

Skylight

Skylight is one of London’s best rooftop bars, and it offers sweeping views over the Thames and the city from Tobacco Dock.

While many of London’s rooftop venues are best enjoyed in the summer months when the sun is shining and the evenings are warm and long, Skylight is a little bit different.

The rooftop bar is just as popular in the winter as it is in the summer, because Skylight becomes the site of a great ice skating rink over Christmas.

You can hit the ice and indulge in festive cocktails and food, while Skylight also hosts plenty of unique events and parties to complement the Christmas cheer.

Clapham Common

Clapham Common is transformed into Christmas heaven at the end of the year, as the famous public space becomes home to the ever-popular Winterville event.

This is one of London’s busiest winter fairs, and you’ll find a huge array of delicious food stands and more than enough bars to keep you coming back every week that Winterville is open.

As well as the food and drink, Winterville has a great ice skating rink and a roller skating rink.

Winterville is more alternative than other winter fairs in London, and you’ll find that there are DJ sets and music being played while you skate late into the night, making this one of the best places for adults to hit the skating rink over Christmas.

As London experts, we know a thing or two about the best ice skating rinks in London, whether you’re looking for a festive treat or want to skate all year round. While you’re in town, check out Premium Tours’ superb range of London tours, where you’ll learn lots more about where to have fun in the capital.