5 Hour Activities

BIKE TO A FARM IN THE EAST END

  • Take a day to explore Regent’s Park, from West End to East
  • Bike along the canal and stop at one of the city’s oldest chartered markets
  • Visit a functional farm inside the city, complete with an on-site Italian café

With its rose-strewn Queen Mary’s Gardens, open-air theater, and full-fledged zoo (which hosts Sunset Safaris after hours come summer) you can easily spend a whole day in the Regent’s Park, no matter how old you are. But why not go off the beaten path? Make use of London’s Santander Cycles share program and bike along the Regent’s Canal, which—with its pleasantly car-free towpath—runs through the park while connecting the West End and the East. If it’s Saturday, stop for haggis toasties, salt-beef bagels, and other such treats at Broadway Market—one of the city’s oldest (and now trendiest) chartered markets—right beside London Fields; you’ll find an offshoot with stalls for handcrafted fashion, jewelry, and more in the adjacent schoolyard. Move on to Hackney City Farm, a family favorite across the canal, which has everything from chickens, pigs, goats, and donkeys to classes in beekeeping and even bike repair. Also of note: its popular Italian café, Frizzante, has live music on Thursday nights.

Bike along the Thames and head north to check out Regent’s Park, or continue biking east and wander up Goldsmith’s Row to experience Hackney City Farm and check out Broadway Market. It’s all within a 30 minute ride along the Thames.


RACHEL VOSPER
69 Kinnerton St.
+44-(0)20-7235-9666
rachelvosper.com

NAG’S HEAD
53 Kinnerton St.
+44-(0)20-7235-1135

BESPOKE CANDLES, EXPERTLY CREATED

  • Shop for artisanal candles, created by an expert chandler 
  • Grab a pint at a traditional neighborhood pub with a strict no cell phone policy

More than perhaps any other European city, London holds fast to its old-world traditions: that, after all, is key to its charms. And quiet Kinnerton Street—one of the best-kept secrets in posh Belgravia—is a delightful place to experience one of those quintessentially British artisanal pursuits. Begin by exploring the candlemaking studio of expert chandler Rachel Vosper. Her light-filled boutique, in a former horse stable, is filled with the heady scent of exquisitely fragranced tapers. Every single one of her candles is hand made and unique, and produced using the finest ingredients. If you happen to be there on the last Saturday of the month, you can even make your own candle at their candle making class. With your brand new beautifully etched candles in hand, it’s time for a well-earned pint. Rachel will direct you to her favorite neighborhood pub, the Dickensian Nag’s Head, just down the street. If it’s a nice day, grab your pint and head to one of the stand-up tables out front and chat with the neighborhood locals. If it’s a rainy day, no worries; there’s a roaring fire waiting inside. Just remember the two house rules: hang up your coat, and no cell phones allowed.

Make your way to Belgravia for Rachel Vosper’s candle boutique, which you can find on the quiet Kinnerton Street. You’ll find The Nags Head pub just steps away. It’s also on Kinnerton Street, just a few storefronts down.

RACHEL VOSPER
69 Kinnerton St.
+44-(0)20-7235-9666
rachelvosper.com

NAG’S HEAD
53 Kinnerton St.
+44-(0)20-7235-1135

EMBARK ON AN EAST-MEETS-WEST ADVENTURE

  • Spend the day in Greenwich, a must for families and sea-lovers alike
  • Hop on a boat and cruise the Thames to a museum inside a ship
  • Picnic on a rolling green or dine at a stylish, 3-floor British eatery

If you’re in the mood for something upscale, head to the Greenwich Peninsula (home of the O2 entertainment complex), which has been seeing a wave of exciting openings—chef Stevie Parle’s “New British” restaurant Craft London among them. Think seasonally inspired dishes with ingredients that are locally sourced, plucked from the adjacent orchard, and baked, smoked, or cured on site—a striking three-level space designed by interiors guru Tom Dixon with floor-to-ceiling windows and sweeping river views.

Visit Craft London, by heading down Pier Walk and making a right on Peninsula Square. Finally, hop aboard a cruise at the Westminster Pier, just north of the bridge.

CRAFT LONDON
Peninsula Sq.
44-(0)20-8465-5910
craft-london.co.uk

MALTBY STREET MARKET
Ropewalk
maltby.st

BAR TOZINO
Lassco Ropewalk, Maltby St.
tozino.co.uk

ST. JOHN MALTBY
41 Maltby Street
44-(0)20-7553-9842
stjohngroup.uk.com

BREW BY NUMBERS
79 Enid St.
44-(0)20-7237-9794
brewbynumbers.com

ANSPACH & HOBDAY
118 Druid St.
44-(0)20-8617-9510
anspachandhobday.com

CASSE-CROÛTE
109 Bermondsey St.
44-(0)20-7407-2140
cassecroute.co.uk

JOSÉ
104 Bermondsey St.
44-(0)20-7378-9455
josepizarro.com

WHITE CUBE
144-152 Bermondsey St.
44-(0)20-7930-5373
whitecube.com

DO AN ARTISANAL-FOOD-AND-BEER CRAWL

  • Explore the epicenter of London’s fast-growing food scene
  • Eat your way around the world at a street market with gourmet bites
  • Make your way down a mile of world-class microbreweries
  • Save room for a cozy French bistro or a Spanish tapas and sherry bar

In recent years, the Southeast London neighborhood of Bermondsey has emerged with one of the city’s buzziest food scenes. You can eat around the world on the weekend at Maltby Street Market—a vibrant offshoot of the tourist-ridden Borough—where Bar Tozino (London’s first jamón bodega, whose owners will carve you slices of Spanish ham and pour you a glass of sherry) and St. John Maltby (from father of nose-to-tail eating Fergus Henderson, who also makes delicious cream-filled doughnuts) have set up under the railway arches. Of course, you’ll have to find it first: Take the Tube to Tower Hill, cross the bridge and keep walking south before turning left at the overpass on Druid Street. Follow the tracks (and the hipsters) all the way down to Brew By Numbers and Anspach & Hobday, two favorites along the “Bermondsey Beer Mile.” Hungry again? Check out Bermondsey Street, with its tiny French bistro Casse-Croûte and perennially packed tapas bar José. And if you’re craving culture, too, there’s an outpost of the contemporary art gallery White Cube. 

The Bermondsey beer and food mile starts just south of Abbey Street and continues south along Druid. The best thing to do is to start by the Bermondsey station. Then, you can eat and drink your way through different cuisines and brews.

MALTBY STREET MARKET
Ropewalk
maltby.st

BAR TOZINO
Lassco Ropewalk, Maltby St.
tozino.co.uk

ST. JOHN MALTBY
41 Maltby Street
44-(0)20-7553-9842
stjohngroup.uk.com

BREW BY NUMBERS
79 Enid St.
44-(0)20-7237-9794
brewbynumbers.com

ANSPACH & HOBDAY
118 Druid St.
44-(0)20-8617-9510
anspachandhobday.com

CASSE-CROÛTE
109 Bermondsey St.
44-(0)20-7407-2140
cassecroute.co.uk

JOSÉ
104 Bermondsey St.
44-(0)20-7378-9455
josepizarro.com

WHITE CUBE
144-152 Bermondsey St.
44-(0)20-7930-5373
whitecube.com

HIT THE PUB AND EXPLORE LITERARY HISTORY

  • Escape the big city and experience a taste of the countryside in Hampstead 
  • Hear this, live poetry readings at a celebrated poet’s country home
  • Have a classic pub lunch and enjoy a pint in a 16th century Spanish Inn

One of London’s most underrated perks is that you can take a bucolic country break without leaving the big city. Hop on the Tube and head north to Hampstead, which—thanks to the wild meadows and woodlands of Hampstead Heath (not to mention its summer swimming ponds)—has attracted many an artist over the years. Among them: the Romantic poet John Keats, whose former home has been turned into Keats House, a small museum with live poetry performances. These days, you might bump into residents like Ricky Gervais and Ridley Scott in one of the village’s old-fashioned gastropubs. Built in the 1700s as the studio of painter George Romney, the cozy Holly Bush now serves a classic pub lunch (pulled pork sandwich; fish and chips) using seasonal ingredients. Go for a pint at the 16th-century Spaniards Inn, which makes an appearance in Charles Dickens’s The Pickwick Papers; apparently Keats penned “Ode to a Nightingale” in the lovely enclosed garden.

From the Kentish Town station, walk north 5 minutes through the park. Enjoy the rolling hills and get lost in historical literature or take a break at one of the pubs.


WRIGHT BROTHERS OYSTER AND PORTER HOUSE
11 Stoney St.
44-(0)20-7403-9554
thewrightbrothers.co.uk

TATE MODERN
Bankside
44-(0)20-7887-8888
tate.org.uk

SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE
21 New Globe Walk
44-(0)20-7902-1400
shakespearesglobe.com
Tour £13.50

NATIONAL THEATRE
Upper Ground
44-(0)20-7452-3000
nationaltheatre.org.uk

STROLL THE SOUTH BANK AT SUNDOWN

  • Spend the evening along the Thames, in the very heart of London
  • Grab an outdoor table and enjoy fresh oysters and wine
  • Stroll through an iconic museum and tour a brilliant open-air theatre
  • Finish the night with a performance at a revamped British landmark

Whether you’re there to see what’s on in its renowned cultural institutions or are simply looking to kill time, the southern bank of the Thames is endlessly strollable—especially in the evening, when the bridges are neon-lit and the buskers are out in full force. Start with a dozen Cornish oysters and a glass of porter or wine at the counter of Wright Brothers in Borough Market. Move on to the iconic Tate Modern, with its rotating program of visual and live art exhibits in the former Bankside Power Station—all of it open until 10pm on weekends. It’s worth popping in for a tour at the historic, open-air Shakespeare’s Globe—which has introduced its indoor and entirely candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, modeled after those from Jacobean times—even if you haven’t booked to see a show (tip: if a production is sold out, visit the box office an hour before showtime, when returned tickets are resold at face value). And while there are ways to get last-minute tickets at the recently revamped Brutalist landmark that is the National Theatre (it reserves a limited number of tickets to most performances for those who queue up that morning, and releases an allocation of £20 tickets online every Friday at 1pm), you can also take a free tour of their workshops on the newly opened Sherling High-Level Walkway.

All just south of the Millennium Bridge, get off the tube at Mansion. Stroll down the bank to catch a theatrical performance, check out some contemporary art or dine over wine and oysters.

WRIGHT BROTHERS OYSTER AND PORTER HOUSE
11 Stoney St.
44-(0)20-7403-9554
thewrightbrothers.co.uk

TATE MODERN
Bankside
44-(0)20-7887-8888
tate.org.uk

SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE
21 New Globe Walk
44-(0)20-7902-1400
shakespearesglobe.com
Tour £13.50

NATIONAL THEATRE
Upper Ground
44-(0)20-7452-3000
nationaltheatre.org.uk