The Best Wine Bars and Pubs in London

London is a thriving city with numerous tourist attractions and restaurants, museums, galleries, shops – the list is endless. English pubs are well known across the world and wine bars in London have started to become popular over recent years. Even if you had 3 months visiting the big city, it would be difficult to be able to go to every pub and wine bar so below is a selection of interesting wine bars and pubs to get you started:

Planet of the Grapes is a fantastic place to go to learn and taste through a diverse range of wines. They see themselves as a specialist wine and spirit shop with a shop in New Oxford Street and wine bars in Bow Lane and Leadenhall. Planet of the Grapes has a range of over 300 wines and on top of that offer wines by the glass. If you want to buy the wine in the wine bar to consumer on the premises all you need to do is add £10 to the retail price. Often you find that in restaurants they will charge twice or three times the retail price but here the prices are clear – just add £10 so a bottle of Louis Roederer NV Champagne is £35 retail and £45 to drink in the bar. They focus on wine but they have a tasty menu that changes each week.

Kensington Wine Rooms is perfect for an afternoon or evening meet. This is divided into a bar area in the front half of the restaurant consisting of a mixture of high and banquettes seating serving tapas-style bar snacks. Then towards the back there is a full dining restaurant. If you want to sample the wines (which I recommend you do) you will need to buy a card and top it up with  £5, £10, £15 – however much you’d like to spend in order to trial the wines. If you don’t use it up one your first visit, you can keep it until your second (providing you don’t leave it years in between!!) You use this card to then pay for the samples of wines you’d like to try. This can be as little as under £1.50 for the smallest sample depending on the wine to over £6 for a full glass. The price you pay depends on the wine you choose. Of course a Grand Cru Burgundy will cost more than a village wine from Provence.  They have a selection of 150 bins with 40 wines by the glass. In November 2010, Fulham Wine Rooms opened and similar to the Kensington Wine Rooms, is divided into a bar area and a restaurant with plenty of wines to try.

Gordon’s Wine Bar located just by Charring Cross station is steeped in history and is thought to be the oldest bar in London. It has been in its current form since 1890.  There’s a fantastic atmosphere here – with its dark corners lit by candle light and old wooden walls covered with newspaper cuttings and old photos. There is no music in the bar (so you’ll be able to hear each other without having to shout! and they focus on selling a list of interesting wines (including sherries, madeiras and ports all served from the barrel) and traditional pub grub which include homemade pies and a range of mature cheese.

The Anchor and Hope in Southwark, just by the tube offers some great British food. But make sure you book early (on the weekend) to avoid having to wait for a table as this gastro pub has become very popular over recent years. The Sunday roasts are delicious accompanies by a good wine list and real ales.

The Roebuck in Richmond is a fantastic watering hole if you have just been for a walk/ride in Richmond Park. Just a few hundred meters from the Richmond gate, this small pub offers great beer, friendly service and you can take your pint outside, across the road to enjoy the Thames’ panorama.

The Waterfront in Battersea is a must. It is a gastro pub with an excellent location, right on the Thames’ river front it is amongst a new luxury property development of many new London apartments and thus attracts a fairly upmarket clientele. The food is good, there is a wide selection of draught beers and the seating outside during summer is glorious. This is certainly not the cheapest pub in London but worth a visit nonetheless.

Next time you are heading over to Europe, why not rent one of Worldwide Accom’s London apartments .There are many within the city centre, giving you easy access to all the London attractions.

London has some of the biggest parks for a capital city and it has 8 parks within Greater London.  This means you will never be too far from green and open space.   Here are just four of the eight Royal Parks in the city.

Green Park

Called “green” after the Queen ordered all the roses to be cut from the park when she found out her husband Charles II had picked flowers from the park, giving them to another woman.  Green Park is located right next to St James’s Park and borders Buckingham Palace. Green Park is right in the centre of town and people often come here at lunchtime and rent one of the many deck chairs during summer. Commuters cut through the park on the way to and from work (makes a nice change from the dull office). The tube station has recently undergone improvement works and now has step free access from the park to the Victoria, Piccadilly and Jubilee line. The park is open all year round and never closes at night unlike some of the others.

Hyde Park

This was London’s first park, given to London by King James I in the early 17 th century.  Many concert such as “Party in the park” and “Hyde park Calling” occur in the summer months.  People take advantage of the warm weather and even take a dip in the Serpentine, a man made lake in the middle of the park.  The Race for Life Runs also occurs in the park and it will feature in the Olympics this summer.  The Household Cavalry ride through Hyde Park on their way from Hyde Park Barracks to Buckingham Palace every morning. The nearest station is Hyde Park Corner on the Central Line, on Oxford Street.

Richmond Park

The largest of the Royal Parks is just outside of London, in zone 4. The park has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest as well as a National Nature Reserve. As a result the landscape within the park has changed little over the past centuries and it is still home to red and fallow deer. Richmond park borders Richmond, Roehampton, Sheen and Kingston and has six car parks. It is a popular place to come on the weekends and many run races and cycle rides start and finish in this park.

Regent’s Park

Situated just north of Euston Road, the park covers an area of nearly 410 acres.  Like the other parks in London, this one is also used for run races such as the Race for Life and other charity 5km and 10km races.  Regent’s Park has a lake with a boating area, playgrounds for children and also sports pitches.  It is also home to London Zoo.  During the summer time, the Open Air Theatre in the Queen Mary’s Gardens host various plays.  North of the park is Primrose Hill, the trendy and nice area of London where many celebrities have taken up residence in traditional Victorian houses or now converted but chic London apartments . The nearest station to Regent’s Park is Great Portland Street, Baker Street and Marylebone and Regent’s Park.

Next time you are heading over to Europe, why not rent one of Worldwide Accom’s London apartments . There are many within the city centre, giving you easy access to all the London attractions, including the parks.

Navigating your way to the London Olympic Games

2012 is the year for Londoners – it’s the first time the Olympics is being hosted in London since 1948. The only other time it was hosted in London was 1908. With the 2012 Olympic games this year, it makes London the only city to have hosted the modern Olympics three times.

For those of you who might need reminding, the 2012 Summer Olympics will take place between 27 July 2012 and 12 August 2012. The 2012 fourteenth Summer Paralympics Games s will occur between 29 August 2012 and 9 September 2012. The Olympics in London will consist of 26 sports, 10,500 athletes and millions upon millions of spectators. For those of you lucky enough to have tickets, you will be heading off, to the different venues in London or across the UK. However even if you haven’t been able to secure a ticket, you will still be able to become a spectator at the outdoor events such as sailing and road cycling.

You might need some help to get your bearings on where each sport is located. For the aquatics centre, the basketball arena and bmx track to name a few you’ll be heading to the Olympic park which is located across East London in Stratford, Bow, Leyton and Homerton. For boxing, fencing, judo, table tennis, taekwondo, weightlifting and wrestling head over to you Excel in the Docklands. If you have seats to watch volleyball, head north west along the District Line to Earls Court. Alternatively to watch the archery you’ll need to get onto the Jubilee line and hop off at St John’s Wood for Lord’s Cricket Ground. Other areas hosting the Olympics are:

  • Greenwich Park for equestrian and modern pentathlon
  • North Greenwich Arena for gymnastics, artistic trampoline, basketball
  • Hampton Court Palace cyling on the road
  • Horse Guards Parade for beach volleyball
  • Hyde Park for triathlon and swimming
  • The Royal Artillery Barracks for shooting
  • The Mall for athletics, cycling on the road
  • Wembley Arena for badminton and gymnastics rhythmic
  • Wembley Stadium for football
  • Wimbledon for tennis

There are a few events that will be hosted outside of London. These include Box Hill in Dorking for the cycling, City of Coventry Stadium in Coventry about 100 miles north of London for the football and Eton Dorney, 25 miles west of London for canoeing and rowing. Other areas include:

  • Hadleigh Farm to the east of London in Essex for mountain biking
  • Lee Valley White Water Centre just north of the M25 near Waltham Abbey for canoe slalom
  • Weymouth and Portland both in Dorset on the south coast for sailing
  • Millennium Stadium in Cardiff Wales, Hampden Park in Glasgow Scotland, Old Trafford in Manchester and St James’ Park in north-east England for the football

If you’re only in London for a short time, you’ll also want to make sure you don’t spend all your time travelling. In such a large city, there is plenty of choice for accommodation from apartments, hotels and youth hostels.

For those on budget try staying at a selection of the city’s youth hostels. Many are based in central London such as Piccadilly’s Backpackers on Lower James’ Street behind Piccadilly Circus or the YHA on Bolsover Street, just north of Oxford Circus tube. If sharing a room or a kitchen with strangers isn’t your thing, you could try staying in one of the many London apartments located throughout the city. If you want luxury and no fuss, then hotels will the be way to go but you’ll need at least £200 per night for many of them.

Renting apartments in London can sometimes work out cheaper than staying in a hotel especially if there is a large group of you.

You Are Better Off By Boat

The river Thames flows straight through the centre of London. Instead of taking the bus or tube around London, hop on one of the many boat tours and see London by boat.  The clipper is one of the best ways and at £12.00 per adult, (which is less when presenting a travel card), it makes an enjoyable day trip out without breaking the bank. Here are some of the places to visit next time you are taking a trip down the river.

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Top Attractions in London

View of Big Ben from the Southbank

Whatever time of the year you go to London, there is plenty to see, do in England’s capital. There is no need to hire a car if you’re staying in London because with the option of tubes, buses or trains or even black cabs you’ll be able to get to your destination without the stress of finding a car space. The underground is one of the oldest tube networks in the world and services Greater London and some parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex. With so many sights to see, you might end up a little lost of where to start.  Here is a summary of what you should not miss out when you next come to London.

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London apartments London is one of Europe’s largest cities, in order to explore it you’re going to need to be staying in a fantastic location. The problem with great locations is of course, the better the location, the more expensive the hotel. London is no exception, the closer to the cities sights or popular districts the more expensive and smaller the hotel room. If you’re serious about getting the most out of London, of becoming a Londoner if only for a litle while, consider taking an apartment for the duration of your London experience.

Using the Tube and Oyster Card System

London has a fantastic transport system, that through the wonders of modern technology only requires one ticket. Even if you’re traveling to London from overseas, you can pre-order an Oyster Card, loaded with as much credit as you desire, to use as your access pass to London’s transport network. Just go to the Transport for London website , head to the Oyster section and under ‘visitors’ you can order your Oyster card and have it delivered to your home before you even leave for the airport. [Read more…]

The London Pass

The main complaint about sightseeing in London is the expense, seeing some of the cities most famous locations like St Pauls Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court and Kew Gardens all cost money and it all adds up. Thankfully, there is a way to still see all of these and more, while saving on costs and avoiding queues – The London Pass. [Read more…]

Staying Safe in London

London is generally considered to be a safe city for travellers and locals alike. With a large number of CCTV cameras in operation (one of the highest numbers in the world) and a strong police presence there is a strong deterrent for crime that does actually work. All things considered though, this is still a large urban city and crime still happens, and there are always things travellers can do to minimise their risk. [Read more…]

London Weather

London Weather London has a temperate marine climate, it stay relatively mild and doesn’t go towards either extreme of hot or cold. That being said, it does get overcast or ‘a bit grey’ as the locals call it, and yes it probably will rain during your stay regardless of when you travel. London, however, is always at its best and is not defined by the weather you’ll always find something to do whatever the time of year. The biggest factor affecting when to visit it actually the number of daylight hours, as these vary considerably between the seasons. [Read more…]