Being a tourist can be thirsty and tiring work and you may want to sit in front of a fire with a great big slice of chocolate cake or drink an ice cold beer in a pub garden. I am always being asked to recommend somewhere a little bit “different” and “special” so here are my top 5.
1) For a fun pint – the Sherlock Holmes pub. A visit to Britain would not be complete without a trip to the pub for a pint! Despite being in Europe we have clung desperately to our traditional pint and a bottle or European sized glass simply will not do. The Sherlock Holmes is a lovely Victorian style pub conveniently located on Northumberland Avenue, just 2 minutes walk from Trafalgar Square. It is always beautifully turned out with hanging baskets outside and shiny taps inside. As the name suggests, the pub is Sherlock Holmes themed and the walls are covered in Sherlock memorabilia. The pub’s claim to fame is that at the end of the 19th century, when known as the Northumberland Arms, it was the model for the hotel in which Sir Henry Baskerville stayed in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel “The Hound of the Baskervilles”. Upstairs there is a recreation of Sherlock’s rooms at 221B Baker St. They also serve a very good fish and chips.
2) For a literary beer or cider – The George Inn on Borough High Street. An inn is known to have stood on this site since at least the 16th century and today’s building dates from 1676. It is a traditional galleried inn and plays would have been performed in the courtyard with theatre goers watching the performance from the galleries above. Indeed both Shakespeare and Dickens frequented the inn and it is so important it is owned by the National Trust (a charity dedicated to preserving Britain’s heritage) who still run it as an inn (2 minutes walk from London Bridge tube)
3) For tea and scones – The National Portrait Gallery rooftop restaurant. Afternoon tea is as English as rainy days and cricket! All the top hotels in London will offer you an excellent afternoon tea, but for somewhere with a fabulous view across Trafalgar Square and down Whitehall to Big Ben, head up to the 3rd floor of the National Portrait Gallery. You can relax with finger sandwiches, cake, tea and. of course, scones with jam and clotted cream. There’s only 1 rule – the more cream the better! (Charing Cross Road overlooking Trafalgar Square)
4) For a hot summer’s day – The Prospect of Whitby on Wapping Wall. Head a little out of London to the Docklands area and enjoy a refreshing drink overlooking the Thames. One of the handful of pubs that claim to be the oldest riverside inns in London, The Prospect of Whitby has fabulous views and reminds you that first and foremost London was always a port. (Wapping Wall, 2 minutes walk from Wapping overground station)
5) For a sit down in central London – Tate modern cafe. Most visitors to London will at some point explore St Paul’s Cathedral or the area opposite it in Southwark, on the south side of the river. If you want the perfect place to sit down and rejuvenate whilst also enjoying some of the best views in London across to the dome of St Paul’s then head to the cafe at the Tate Modern, located on the top floor at the base of its dramatic brick tower.