City Extras: London


Clued In London – The Concise and Opinionated Guide to the City


Grab the 2023 ebook soon!


The Pub Report – March 2023

   Our readers know that we include a concise but helpful segment in our UK travel books called The Pub Report.  For London it means a historic pub crawl, for Edinburgh it means a haunted pub crawl.  Here is an excerpt from our Clued In London book…

You can hardly plan a visit to London without giving some thought as to which pubs (short for public house) you should patronize. The number of pubs in London is actually astounding; there seems to be one every few blocks. You’ll undoubtedly end up inside one, probably one that happens to be where you are at the time or whichever is nearest your accommodation. If you’re staying in Westminster then be sure to stop at The Red Lion which gets our vote for prettiest pub.

For a more intense experience, we present The Pub Report (unique to this edition of our Clued In Travel series.)  This is a recommended pub crawl of four historic and fun pubs. We think it’s great for several reasons… first, all of these pubs are very old and very famous; second, they’re all conveniently within a few blocks of each other near the north side of Blackfriar’s Bridge; and third, they all serve food.  So if you get hungry –or too tipsy– along the way, don’t fret. By the way, it doesn’t really matter which one you start at but we think it works best in the order listed.

1)  Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese:  By all accounts this is the oldest pub in London. Though established in 1538, it had to be completely rebuilt after the great fire of 1666. Today it still stands and harkens back to the days when Charles Dickens used to drink his ale there. There’s evidence that the top level was used as a brothel in the 1700’s. Dark and gloomy to some, we love its interior… seemingly untouched by time. Have the first beer here and pray you don’t run into Sweeny Todd. 

2)   Ye Olde London:   Yes, Benjamin Franklin really did drink at this pub during his visit to London. Today it looks old but feels new, its cheerful interior persuading guests to belly up to the bar for real London ale. Yes Americans, they do serve nachos.

3) The Cockpit:   This tiny corner pub is as historic as it gets, and folks from the neighborhood happily crowd up to the bar for a beer. In the early 1600’s, Shakespeare owned and lived in a building on this very spot. When a pub was built here instead, a gallery was installed so that spectators could view and gamble on the cock fights which were regularly held. The brutal fights were banned in 1849.

4)  The Black Friar Public House:  If you’re not too drunk by the time you get to The Black Friar then take a moment to notice how absolutely gorgeous it is. Handpicked ales from the best breweries in Britain can be savored here, under stunning décor which looks properly old but in a royal kind of way. The friar sculptures are by Henry Poole. Superb!

Cultural Clue:   These historic pubs are open everyday but close by 11pm, earlier on Sundays.  Do your crawl in the late afternoon if you can.


Mealtime Clue:   Some pubs in The City area don’t serve food on the weekend. People just want to drink and that’s all.

Pro Tip:   There are basically two kinds of beer: lagers and ales. Lagers are brewed with bottom-fermenting yeast and have a lighter, smoother quality…ales are brewed with top-fermenting yeast and are more robust and intense. Ale has been around for more than 2,000 years while lager first appeared sometime in the eighteenth-century. A Pilsner, by the way, is a lager with those spicy hops added to it. And that’s all you need to know about beer.

The Black Friar’s Pub, London


In Focus:  Dennis Severs House – February 2023

  When other websites are touting where to eat on Valentine’s Day, we’ve opted to send our readers in another direction.  We love London’s super-famous sights but we love some quite unknown ones too, like the Dennis Severs House. We have never come across anything like it in any other city and it’s so brilliant that we simply must give it a February shout-out. So, who is Dennis Severs and what’s the big deal about his house?  Travelers who have the 2023 edition of Clued In London already know but here’s the skinny on it for everyone else…

In the 1970’s a man named Dennis Severs bought a property in the Spitalfields area of London and over time filled it top to bottom with his passion: items from past centuries that he had fondly collected. Today visitors to his house can experience it a very unusual way. The house is open to guests with a reservation and while it is open during the day, we recommend a nighttime visit.

A silent walk-through of this house is nothing less than a surreal experience. There will be moments when you feel as if you have gone back in time. Everything inside is arranged as if the family who lives there is nearby –perhaps just in the next room. You can occasionally hear them, and their dinner is still on the table as if they were suddenly interrupted. Candles and fireplaces throughout are lit and yet you seem to be the only one there. Does that make you a ghost? An intruder? It’s hard to say.

Call it a living museum, call it a historic experience. It is difficult to define this unusual sight but it’s completely delightful to visit.  Other sensory experiences are part of it as well, like scents and sounds, which makes it all the more mysterious and wonderful.  As Mr. Severs himself used to say, You either see it or you don’t.  We see it.  


Pastry obsession solved – London – January 2023

   There’s nothing that can fill a cold, empty feeling in the tummy like pastry… really good pastry.  It’s true that our local obsession with it switches around depending on the season, but right now it lies firmly at Bageriet in Covent Garden.  Ohhh that Swedish princess cake covered in marzipan; ohhh those scrumptious almond and hazelnut cookies.  It’s almost too much to bear!  If you can find the little alleyway called Rose Street then you’re almost there.  The goodies here change with the seasons and that keeps us coming back again and again!  Closed Sundays. 



Update on London’s National Portrait Gallery

  As one of our top sights in London, we were upset to see that the NPG was suddenly closed to visitors but happy to see that it was because it’s going through a much-needed renovation which will include an educational center and a grand new entrance. While currently excluded from our Clued In London book, we thought we should mention that it will return to our pages in July 2023 after it has reopened. If you’ll be going to London this summer or fall, be sure to add it to your itinerary. The Tudor paintings are incredible!


Where to have a tasty meal on Christmas Day- December 2022

  If you want a fancy meal worthy of holiday dining, book a table right now at Whitcomb’s inside the centrally-located Londoner Hotel. Their gorgeous Mediterranean menu will leave you absolutely breathless. If you want something less extravagant but still delicious and special, book one of the amazing tasting menus or prix fixe offerings at our favorite Thai restaurant in the world, Thai Square at Trafalgar Square. Thank goodness that both of them will be open on December 25 because we like to have choices. Merry Christmas!

Juicy lamb chops at Whitcomb’s



In Focus: The Jugged Hare/ November 2022

   Our favorite restaurant in all of London is still The Jugged Hare. After a quick September renovation, it has now reopened with a new menu. Their every-changing seasonal offerings currently include a tender spatchcocked Wood Pigeon with English cherries and pigeon jus –the only way to eat pigeon. There’s also a gloriously flaky fish pie of smoked haddock, wild sea trout, mussels, cod, and spinach… and for vegetarians they’ve created a flamed cauliflower “steak” with capers, raisins, hazelnuts, and foraged costal herbs.  It’s all incredibly creative and tasty!

Their name reflects one of their seasonal specialties, jugged hare. (Think coq au vin but with rabbit.)  It’s true that they specialize in game but if that’s not your thing, there are plenty of other delicious main courses to choose from -and all are amazing due to their very talented culinary team!  Be sure to check out their holiday menus and make a reservation soon if you’ll be visiting London.

jugged hare feast



In Focus: Where to brunch in London – October 2022

   Dishoom is practically an institution in London and it’s the only restaurant offering an authentic India-style breakfast and brunch. It’s hard to find true Bombay-style bistros anymore, even in Bombay!  Lucky for you, Dishoom in Covent Garden is open early and serving up some awesome stick-to-your-ribs fare daily.  It’ll wake you right up and give you the energy to get out and enjoy the rest of the city.  Don’t miss their incredibly delectable Chai tea; it’s the best we’ve ever had.

breakfast at Dishoom



The Queen is dead. Long live the King – September 8, 2022

Our sincere condolences and prayers for the family of Queen Elizabeth II. May she rest in peace. 


Have a new experience while you’re on vacation – September 2022

   If you’re looking to do something completely different while you’re away from your daily grind, consider dining in pitch darkness at Restaurant Dans le Noir in London.  We can’t say enough about it… it’s sensual, it’s fascinating, it’s mind-blowing, and the flavors of the food taste more intense! All of this while also giving you a new appreciation of what those without sight have to deal with. Learn more about the experience on their informative website. Reservations are usually necessary. Details can also be found in our new Bored in London book. 



Join a nighttime outing on the River Thames – August 2022

    Do you want to see London from a completely different perspective? Kayaking at night on the river could be just the thing. The guides at Kayaking London will point out historic buildings and points of interest as you glide along this surprising clean tidal waterway. Excursions can be booked on most nights, and they offer daytime tours as well. Even visitors who have never kayaked before will have a wonderful time.  For more incredible experiences, grab a copy of our new Bored in London guide.



Where to grab a delicious lunch on the cheap – July 2022

  If you’re like us and have a lot to see and do while enjoying London, have a lunch that’s central, quick, easy, and delicious.  At the Seven Dials Market, everyone in your party can get exactly what they want (from each food counter) and then sit together in the spacious dining area. Most of its offerings are well priced and we haven’t found any that aren’t tasty. From great burgers to bao buns, this two-level eatery will satisfy.  You’ll find it in a former warehouse in the northern section of Covent Garden at 35 Earlham Street.



The UK and USA have removed all Covid restrictions for travelers – June 12, 2022

   It’s time to plan that trip to London!  The UK now has no Health Pass (aka Vaccination Certificate) requirement for entering restaurants and museums.  In addition, all incoming travelers can enter England without having to follow additional entry rules. As of today, the same is true with the USA.


Visit something special that’s probably off your radar – June 2022

   This month, all of our City-Extras  will highlight an awesome local sight that you’ve probably never heard of.  (If you have, kudos to you!)  In London that has to be the ruins of Saint Dunstan in the East church. Located in The City near the northern end of London Bridge, this Christopher Wren gem was originally built around 1100 AD but was updated and rebuilt by the famous architect.  The church was badly damaged in both the great fire of London in 1666 and again in the blitz in 1941. Its ruins are now overgrown with greenery, like a garden oasis in the middle of the urban sprawl. Take a moment to enter and admire what is has now become. Entry is free but note that its gates are locked at dusk.



Reserve a table at the incredible Nightjar speakeasy – May 2022

   Experience the best mixology in the world at the fabulous Nightjar speakeasy in London’s Shoreditch neighborhood.  We can’t say enough about this place, except to insist that it’s worth the short taxi ride from wherever you’re staying.  Everything about it is utterly fantastic, from its unique (and sometimes crazy) drinks, to the amazing service and 1920’s ambience. Their exquisite and unusual elixirs are house-made and then used to create truly great cocktails. Don’t be surprised if your drink has a cotton candy accent, is smoking profusely, or has chocolate around the outside of the glass… it’s all part of the fun. Their live, jazzy piano music only adds to the festive atmosphere.

This is one of our favorite places in all of London and we are not that easily pleased. Look for the plain wooden door that’s situated next to Café Arena and KFC and head down the stairs. If you don’t make a reservation in advance then you’ll probably be out of luck. Book it through the website above, or call: (011) 44-20-7253-4101



Sharing our new spring advertising campaign.

   Yes, you really do deserve one.  Grab a copy of our Clued In London interactive ebook today. It’s easy when you download the free Amazon Kindle app first so that your ebook “knows” where to go. This app enables you to actually read the book, turn the pages, connect to the live links, and even adjust font sizes to your preferences. It’s so fun!  Note: If you already have this app on your smart phone (or have a Kindle device) then you’re all set.



The only civilized way to get to Windsor Castle – April 2022

   Have you always wanted to visit Windsor Castle but weren’t sure about schlepping over there with other tourists on a crowded train?  Have you dreamed of something better than an Uber Car? If so, we have a fabulous suggestion:  book a ticket on the very bougie Royal Windsor Steam Express. Yes, we said steam and express. You’ll be whisked in grand comfort from London’s Victoria Station right to the Windsor Station near the infamous 11th century castle.  It’s not a long trip but while you’re onboard you can expect to be served a Champagne Brunch or Afternoon Tea depending on the date and time.  The only downside is that this stylish train only runs seasonally and we think that’s a shame.

The Royal Windsor Steam Express runs on Tuesdays only, from May 10 through August 23rd, 2022. Book your online ticket here. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience… choose either one way or round trip!



Grab our newest [fun] guide to London!  March 2022

   Our new “companion book” to Clued In London is finally here. Get your copy of Bored in London – Awesome Experiences for the Repeat Visitor before you wrap up your plans and itinerary for that trip to England.  It’ll change the way you think about how you’re going to use your time while you’re here.  We think it’s a must-have, even for first-time visitors.  We offer it in both paperback or eBook and you can grab it here.



New High-Speed Train between London and Edinburgh– March 2022

   Yearning for an easy Scottish side trip? A super affordable, direct train route between London and Edinburgh is now operational and tickets start at around £20.  (Competition from Easy Jet and other budget airlines is the reason; it used to cost five times as much to travel between the two capitals by train compared to the cheapy-cheap airlines.)

Now you can just hop on-board one of Lumo’s new, electric-powered trains right from London’s Kings Cross Station. Trains feature a catering service, free WiFi, entertainment systems, and paperless ticketing.  The route ends at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station which just happens to be smack dab in the very center of town.  Let’s go get a wee bit o’ Scottish love.  Slangevar!



Great news out of the UK – February 2022

    “Vaccinated travelers can now enter Britain without taking any Covid tests.  Visitors who have had at least two doses of an approved Covid vaccine need only  fill out a passenger locator form before traveling to to Britain and Scotland.  This means the U.K. now has one of the most free-flowing borders in the world — hopefully sending a clear message that we are open for business.”  (Note: Unvaccinated people still must take tests before and after arriving, but no longer need to self-isolate until they get a negative result.)


Warm your cockles with a specialty cocktail or two  – February 2022

    And we know just the place. Oriole is cocktail bar like no other and serves up original mixology in an artistic and creative way. It’s centrally located in the Smithfield district and offers incredible bar bites and small plates to compliment their cocktails. Live jazz completes the evening. It’s like you’ve entered a different world… don’t wait, just go. Reservations can be made through their website.  Details in Clued In London for 2022.



Plan ahead for the trip of a lifetime  – January 2022

    You might not think so right now, but travel will be returning in a big way and those who plan now will reap the benefits. As the pandemic fades, try to be one of the first to make a trip to London and enjoy it in a blissfully uncrowded way. Try making a detailed yet fluid itinerary without precise dates. Pencil in the days of the week only, noting which of your preferred sights are closed on Sundays or Mondays, etc. This will give you a basic framework on which to build your dream journey.  

     The more you can plan beforehand, the better it will be. At Clued In Travel Books we are big believers in having reservations at the restaurants we most desire rather than settling for our second or third choices. Dinner reservations are especially likely to fill up if not made in advance. As for the best sights, well, these must be booked ahead (due to the requirements of contactless service.) And with absolutely everyone now booking ahead, these too are more likely to sell out.

    Travelers visiting our particular website probably understand this so we won’t beat a dead horse. If you are the type of traveler who likes to go somewhere with no plans or reservations in order to just see where fate takes you, we say, “Good luck and bless your heart.”

    So, grab one of our travel books and peruse through it to the end. You’ll be shocked at how a city you knew nothing about is suddenly as familiar as can be.  It’s almost magical.  


Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

    The folks here at Clued In Travel Books wish you and yours a wonderful and safe holiday season filled with lots of love and lots of food. If you avoid conversations about religion, politics, and mask mandates you’ll be just fine! Let’s hope we get back to some normalcy in 2022, especially in regard to travel. It’s what we live for.

All the best to all of you, Dean & Andie

Christmas in London


Our brand new edition for 2022 is on Amazon now! – December 2021

   Some things have changed in the UK, but much has stayed the same.  We think it’s actually better than ever and are very happy to announce our brand new version of Clued In London for 2022. Use the link above to see its dedicated product page because it’s super-fun and has some new surprises.  Let’s just call it the best one  we’ve ever written!    And don’t forget to check out its little sister, Bored in London – Awesome Experiences for the Repeat Visitor here


The United Kingdom implements new entry rules – December 2021

    To enter Great Britain you now must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test even if you are vaccinated. This is due to their current surge. The result can be from the rapid antigen test but must be taken within 48 hours of your flight time. Before you fly you must also fill in their official “locater form” as well as reserve and pay for a Covid test ahead of time for your first or second full day after arrival. The all-important info can be found here. By the way, London’s BOOTS PHARMACY happily accepts non-British visitors for the rapid test. They have many locations so book ahead through their website.


Gloria Ristorante is featured in our new 2022 edition of Clued In London– November 2021

    There will be a tasty refresh to our British Feasting chapter which will be up on very soon. During our October visit to London, we were enthralled by several dining spots one of which must be revealed to our readers right now.  In the very hip neighborhood of Shoreditch is a devastatingly tasty (and fun) two level restaurant called Gloria.  It’s a creation from the almost-legendary Big Mamma group which means it is serving up Italian cuisine. At Gloria, the old favorites are transformed into something decidedly new. Creative twists on dishes with some very silly names are the stars here, and the surprisingly friendly service makes you wonder if you are actually in Italy instead of England. If you want to experience it during peak dinner times, be sure to make a proper reservation three weeks in advance. (This is when tables open up on their website.) Guests are also welcome to come without a reservation and simply await their turn, usually while sipping a fabulous cocktail at the bar. Delicious!




    To those who are fully vaccinated: you no longer have to take and prove a negative Covid test in order to enter the United Kingdom. They do ask visitors to take a test once there (within two days of arriving) to make sure that Covid is not being brought in. Their “passenger locater form” is still required as well.


Summer Happenings – July 2021

   London’s Royal Opera House (at Covent Garden) is in full swing once again and boasting performances of Don Giovanni as well as a spattering of mixed bill programs.  Details can be found through their website here, which also lists their streaming events if you won’t be in London quite yet!  It’s truly wonderful to see things slowly returning to normal.

roh1 alan



In Focus: St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel/ August 2021

     We love blogging about hotels that aren’t included in our travel books, and the perfect hotel for travelers coming from or going to Paris by train is definitely the St. Pancras Renaissance. It just so happens that the only train station offering international travel in and out of Great Britain is the St. Pancras station, so anyone planning to take the “chunnel” train must use this station. Lucky for you, the gorgeous, old-world St. Pancras Hotel is just steps away from the station entrance. Think of the wear and tear you’ll save on your luggage; it won’t even cool off. Convenience and beauty are the reasons you stay here. (This hotel is farther from the River Thames than we usually recommend but for those particular train travelers, it really is terrific.)

st-pancras st-pancras2



Taxi Clues for London – March 2020 

     Since some travelers are looking to avoid crowds and mass transit this spring, we’re providing at-a-glace info regarding official taxi cabs in London. While not as inexpensive, a taxi will make you feel more confident and get you where you’re going in style. And if your party is more than a single rider, it can be a great value. We always budget it in!

  • Official taxis in London can be any color, but most are black.
  • They have a sign on top of the vehicle displaying “TAXI” and have a working meter inside showing the cost as you go. If the vehicle’s sign is lit then it’s available for hire. For your own safety accept a ride from an unauthorized driver.
  • Taxis can be hailed from anywhere, or can be found in taxi queues near popular areas and at all major train stations. Watch for ones with their taxi light on.
  • The minimum cost is £3.  Rides to the airport, or rides on Christmas or New Year’s Day, will come with a supplemental fee. (There are no fixed rates between London and the airports in either direction.)
  • A taxi booked by phone (even by your hotel or restaurant) will also have a supplemental fee. This is normal so don’t panic.
  • Some London taxis accept credit cards but ask the driver before you ride.
  • No tip is expected but it’s polite to simply round up the amount on the meter.


Our London NTK – February 2020

     Every so often, we like to add a Need-to-Know for our favorite cities. With a new year and new decade upon us, we thought you should know about an exciting new route from Eurostar trains, the same folks who offer the amazing high-speed Channel Train known as the “chunnel.”  Officially beginning on April 30th, a direct route will run from London to Amsterdam, and it’s quite affordable! It’s one of the outcomes of the recent “Brexit” separation from the rest of Europe and will eventually go non-stop in both directions. If you want to be one of the first to ride, and visit the Netherlands during your upcoming London stay, you’ll need to book soon. Visit the Eurostar website for more info here.

amsterdam centraal station

Amsterdam’s “Centraal” Station is in the heart of the city


A Shout-out to London’s Natural History Museum – January 2020

     The incredible NHM in London is just a stone’s throw from Kensington Palace & Hyde Park and will definitely be included in our next edition. In the meantime, we want our readers to know about so we’re giving it a shout-out right here, right now. What a place! There’s an enormous blue whale skeleton right inside the grand hall but the architecture is so astounding that you might not even notice the whale. This place is great for families because adults will enjoy it as much as their kids. Don’t miss the exhibits showcasing dinosaurs, the oceans, and of course, outer space. Everything there is top notch, and you can even relax and regroup in their charming (but a bit scary) T-Rex Grill, or one of the other four restaurants that they offer.

blue-whale at the London NHM

London NHM



Where to enjoy an amazing holiday dinner – December 2019

     We love having a meal with a festive menu at holiday time, and in London that means the Jugged Hare Restaurant north of the Museum of London. Their special three-course menu will be offered especially for Christmas dining, but must be booked as soon as possible while tables are still available. Here are the main courses offered on their “Christmas Feast” menu:

Whole free-range Lincolnshire turkey, chestnut stuffing, bread sauce, roasting juices Whole roast Tamworth suckling pig, apple, Boulangère potatoes, sage gravy Whole roast fore-rib of Angus beef, roast marrow bone, bacon potatoes, roasting juices Braised venison haunch, Dauphinoise potatoes, red cabbage, glazed onions Whole Scottish salmon ‘en croute’, parsley potatoes, creamed leeks, chive butter sauce Root vegetable ‘Wellington’, chestnuts, field mushroom sauce

Jugged Hare Christmas.jpg



Hampton Court’s Very Special Exhibit – November 2019

     Have you ever wondered if Elizabeth I’s elaborate gowns were totally lost to history? Scholars recently discovered that one of her most famous was gifted to a Lady-in-Waiting who gave the main yardage from it to a church in England who used it for centuries as an altar cloth. The Virgin Queen can be seen wearing it in the famous Rainbow Portrait by Isaac Oliver (below.)  A large, embroidered section of the skirt can now be viewed at Hampton Court Palace, but only through February 2020.  This is a rare chance to see a piece of history up-close and examine its fine workmanship for yourself. It is the only surviving example from her incredible wardrobe. Amazing!

The Rainbow Portrait c.1600



Visit a creepy London cemetery – October 2019

     Our recommendations for travelers going to London in the fall are usually about new gallery openings, but our newest series of “bored in” travel books have inspired us to go in a spookier direction this year. Our upcoming Bored in London –Awesome Experiences for the Repeat Visitor has an entire chapter on chilling and thrilling things to do here and so we’ve chosen a special one to share with our readers…

     A tour the city’s infamous Highgate Victorian Cemetery is the perfect thing to do around Halloween.  After all, there’s nothing like a good haunted graveyard to send a chill up your spine.  Apparitions with glowing red eyes have been reported, as well as the ringing of chapel bells from nowhere in the middle of the night. Located in a northern section of London, everyone from Karl Marx to George Michael is buried there. For history buffs, this is a must see and there are several guided tours offered. If you prefer an independent visit, check out their website.  There are six other Victorian cemeteries in London but Highgate is the largest.

london cemetery



It’s the start of the social season in London – September 2019

    There’s a lot going on in the British capital so if you’re planning to visit during the fall season, snag a ticket to something soon.  We recommend Manon at the Royal Opera House, being performed by the illustrious Royal Ballet. It’s an amazing full-length ballet that’s completely different in style and choreography from the usual fare. As of this posting there are still tickets available.

    In addition, the annual Open House London event is happening on September 21st and 22nd. It gives the more curious a chance to get inside many of the capital’s most renowned and secretive addresses. Even No. 10 Downing Street is taking part. It’s all free but for more information on how to get inside the best places, check out this website.

10 downing street



Stay in London’s Greatest Police Station – August 2019

     And to do so, you won’t even have to get arrested. We’re speaking of course about the newest chic hotel in Westminster which is taking reservations now for a grand opening in October. Hyatt’s stunning £110 million renovation of the former Scotland Yard Police Headquarters has transformed the famous 1812 townhouses into London’s most anticipated boutique hotel. The Great Scotland Yard hotel will have design touches you won’t find anywhere else and will offer top notch dining as well as a whiskey bar. If you want to be one of the first, book soon.

gsy hotel



In focus: “Red Farm” now open in Covent Garden – July 2019

     We thought this day would never come… our favorite restaurant in NYC, the infamous Red Farm, has finally opened across the pond.  Located literally around the corner from the Royal Opera House, this Russel Street location should fit the bill nicely when you need a lovely meal before or after the ballet or theatre. Unlike the ones in New York, the London location offers a bottomless-champagne Dim Sum brunch!  So jealous.

Red Farm London

Pac Man Dumplings might look silly, but thar be lobster in ’em matie!



Where to have a royal picnic in London– June 2019

     Now that summer has arrived you may want to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors rather than be inside a cramped restaurant. Between London’s fantastic cheese shops and huge food labyrinths like Borough Market, there are plenty of places where you can put together a finger-food feast. British meat pies make the perfect picnic treat; pair them with a good wine and some little pastries from Paul and lunch is done!  (Don’t forget the plastic cups.) We like St. James Park, which is right in central London and boasts a lake and palaces. You can even see Buckingham Palace from certain sections of it. It’s an official “royal park” but picnicking is allowed. In fact, it’s encouraged… you know, to keep the masses happy. There are a few rules but they are simple enough, like no erecting tents or cooking food on an hibachi. Also, the Queen asks that you keep any music to a lower volume and that alcohol is not given to picnickers under eighteen. And tidy up afterwards. Cheerio!

st james park 



London Cheese Month – May 2019

     London will once again celebrate its love for cheese with special tastings, talks, and events throughout the month of May, with a special focus on artisan British cheeses and Cheesemongers. Events include a raw milk cheese workshop, a cheese and wine pairing (tasting) by the Academy of Cheese, cheese-making classes, a beer and cheese festival at Paxton & Whitfield, a meet-the-maker event, and even a French cheese classification-training.  And if you’ve never tried ewe’s milk, now’s your chance. For ticket and more information, visit the official website here.

cheese month



In Focus: Secrets of the V & A – March 2019

          This month we’re featuring local sights that are lesser-known but which are a must-see in our very opinionated view.  In London, that’s a difficult feat because everything is in fact well-known. Instead, we thought we’d let our readers in on some little-known items inside the amazing Victoria and Albert Museum.  This place is gigantic and has so many interesting collections that you could spend the rest of your life visiting it and still miss things.  When you go there, see if you can find some of our favorite items listed here…

       We adore Henry VIII’s gorgeous writing box crafted around 1520.  It’s harder to find than the velvet draped bed from the State Bedroom at Melville which was undoubtedly slept on at some point by Charles II.  There’s a men’s shirt from 1540, which makes it the oldest garment in the museum. But for a truly impressive moment, find the Imperial Throne made for the Chinese Emperor in 1736. Need something more relatable? Find the oldest photograph in existence of a London street. Details and hours for the V & A Museum can be found in Clued In London.



Update – February 2019 

If you’re heading to London and missed seeing the hilarious production (in New York) of The Play That Goes Wrong then you’re in luck!  This award-winning comedy continues its run at the Duchess Theatre in central London. This wonderful performance work is a bit hard to describe but could be thought of as Monty Python meets Sherlock Holmes. Even so, that doesn’t begin to explain the antics of this show where indeed everything does go wrong. Don’t miss it! There’s a wide range of ticket prices and many performances a week to choose from. More details can be found at this website: London performances

the play that goes wrong



In Focus: Where to shop the sales – January 2019

      Like many stores in the U.S., England puts its best designer items on sale after the holidays. If you’re visiting London in January and have the urge to do some shopping (or just want to come home with one really special item) now is the time.  The most expensive shopping street in London is New Bond Street, which runs north/south through the lovely Mayfair neighborhood. For those who are unfamiliar with London, this means that the chicest shopping can be found smack-dab in the city center, just northwest of the city’s main sights.  This may be helpful to know even if you don’t plan on hitting the boutiques… being aware of this type of location also tells you precisely where a city’s most desirable neighborhood is.  That’s usually where you’ll also find some of the best hotels, and some top-notch restaurants too.

New Bond Street.jpg



In Focus: New Year’s Eve in London – December 2018

       If you are one of the lucky ones who’ll be spending New Year’s Eve in London then you’d better start making plans now. This city embraces big celebrations and the last night of the year is no exception. From the local pubs to the big dance clubs, people here know how to party.  We like to book an early table at the elegant Indian restaurant, Veeraswamy  and then head over to the north embankment of the Thames, near the Westminster Bridge, to see the city’s fireworks. They are now shot off from the area of  the London Eye.  To be close you would need a ticket, but from the opposite side of the bridge you’ll be beyond the ticketed area. Free is a good thing, especially if you had an expensive meal! 


In Focus: Autumn in London – November 2018

     If you’ll be one of the clever travelers coming to London before the onslaught of visitors who descend upon it for Christmas and New Year’s then good for you. You may not have the opportunity to spend your actual holiday in this historic city, but you’ll get a taste of what this incredible place is really like for its local residents. Dine at the exotic newcomer near St. Paul’s Cathedral called Kym’s or finally see the musical, The Book of Mormon. If the perfect facial or massage is what you want, book with the best at the Bvlgari Spa. All will make for great memories, and before you go we hope you’ll grab a copy of Clued In London.  It has info not found in other guides which is exactly why it stands apart from the rest! 

Kyms London

Kym’s is a new restaurant by renowned chef Andrew Wong



In Focus: Special Event – October 2018

     If you’re planning an October visit to London, come ready to eat! The city will be having its month-long Restaurant Festival and will feature top chefs from all over the world coming to cook up specialties in over 400 restaurants.  Tasting menus, restaurant tours, and food events all over town will round out the festivities, just going to prove that London is officially now one of the great gastro-cities in Europe. For more information, visit their website here.

london restaurant festival



In Focus:  The Black Friar Public House – September 2018

     Wow. All you have to do is glance at a pic of the Black Friar to know this is a special place.  Featured in Clued In London as part of our famous “pub crawl” it holds the honorable position of the finale. Here’s an excerpt:

If you’re not too drunk by the time you get to The Black Friar then take a moment to notice how absolutely gorgeous it is. Handpicked ales from the best breweries in Britain can be savored here, under stunning décor which looks properly old but in a royal kind of way. The friar sculptures are by Henry Poole. Superb!

For a truly historic pub visit, don’t miss it!  Since there are no photos of it in our London guide, we thought we should share some here. Visit their website for more information.



In Focus: Cocktails with a view – August 2018

         If you just crave a first-rate cocktail with a view, London’s Rumpus Room is the place for you. Situated at the top of the Southbank’s Mondrian Hotel, this is a rooftop bar that rivals the best in the world. London’s most famous landmarks surround you as you sip the night away.  They even offer delicious bites in case you get peckish along the way. While they do accept walk-ins, it’s always best to book through their website (above.) Note that the indoor section is open late, but their outdoor seating is only until 10pm.  The dress code is smart-casual so don’t show up in a tank top and shorts. You must be 21 or over to enter. Rumpus Room is open everyday except Sundays and Mondays but sometimes has private events. Call or book ahead to make sure!

rumpus room



In Focus: The Fielding Hotel – July 2018

      This summer we’re featuring some of our favorite hotels and in London that means The Fielding.  Located right in the heart of the Covent Garden neighborhood, this unassuming (and quite inexpensive) little hotel will put the city’s best shopping, restaurants, and theatre at your disposal. The simple but comfortable rooms even include complimentary passes to a great spa and gym just up the block.  London can be expensive, and the British Pound never seems to give the US Dollar a break. For that reason, it makes sense to stay at The Fielding. In our humble opinion it’s the best location for the price of any hotel in London!



In Focus: Touring Buckingham Palace from 7/21 – 9/30 (2018)

       It’s summertime, and on the third week of July the Queen will be going to her castle in Scotland. That’s great news for London visitors because her regular residence, namely Buckingham Palace, will open its staterooms for guided tours. You can buy entrance tickets for any day from July 21 to September 30 (ten weeks) and see the true royal opulence of the place for yourself. Why are we telling you this in a June update? Because the tickets will sell out! You can reserve them now at the official Royal Collection Trust website. Pip pip cheerio and all that sort of rot.


In Focus: : London Wine Week/ April 2018

wine week.jpg

       London Wine Week is a seven day summer festival of tastings, pop-up wine bars, special dinners, and over one-hundred of London’s dedicated wine bars offering food pairings to try.  Even the pubs will be serving wine!  It will be held this year from May 14th through the 20th.  To get the obligatory “Festival Pass,” just visit the official website here and pay a small fee.  The pass will load right onto your smart phone gaining you entrance all of the week’s special events. There will also be master-classes, supper clubs, meet-the-maker evenings, and other parties. Sommeliers will create bespoke flights designed to showcase a diversity of wines.  Don’t miss it!


In Focus:  St. Patrick’s Day in London/ March 2018 

london st patricks day

      Dublin, Ireland might be the only city that does St. Paddy’s day better than London. Londoners go all out on this one, way beyond sharing pints of ale in order to celebrate the March 17th holiday.  It’s high energy, super fun, and great for anyone Irish or Irish-at-heart.  There’s a splendid parade complete with dancers and floats, leprechauns galore, a spirited crowd celebrating in Trafalgar Square, and even a week-long calendar of events at many of the city’s pubs and nightclubs.  Since the actual holiday falls on a Saturday in 2018, it will be better than ever and is set to be officially celebrated over three days, March 16-18.  There’s even an Irish Street Food Market set up so you can enjoy some typical fare.  (The Parade will run from Piccadilly Square to Trafalgar Square.)

Go ahead, join in a sing-along, don your greenest sweater, and make memories you will never forget in London this March.  The airfares are reasonable!


 In Focus: London’s pre-Lenten celebration/ January  2018

   Yes, Venice has its Carnivale and New Orleans has Mardi Gras, but in London it’s all about Pancake Day!  If you’re planning a visit there this year over Tuesday, February 13th (the day before Lent begins) don’t miss the famous Pancake Race, a charity event that’s free to watch where local politicians and members of the press compete in a race while flipping pancakes in a skillet. (We can’t make this stuff up.) In addition, many restaurants will be flipping them too, some with a true gourmet touch.  We like the zaniness at My Old Dutch in the Holborn section, or grab some of London’s best pancakes at the Breakfast Club diner which boasts several locations throughout the city.  Yummy!




Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from London, 2017!

     We just adore Christmas in London and know you will too. Whether its a fine meal at The Jugged Hare, an evening of creative cocktails at Nightjar Bar, or a visit to the always intriguing National Portrait Gallery, the holidays are just shinier here!  Find that perfect gift at Harrods or Harvey Nichols on Knightsbridge street, and don’t forget to pop into the fabulous Victoria & Albert Museum while you’re over there. (Remember, museums in London are all free!)  Be sure to ring in the New Year like a local… head over to Trafalgar Square before 11pm.

Christmas london

London has a special vibe at Christmastime



In Focus: Halloween in London/ October 2017  


    When it comes to spooky, you don’t have to search far in this ancient city. The streets of London hold more secrets than a prostitute on Sunday.  Even so, there are three fun activities we recommend you check out if you’re going Brit-side for Halloween this year.

A visit to one of London’s Victorian cemeteries is always a thrill, and you can take an official guided tour through many of them. Headless angels, crumbling tombstones, Gothic mausoleums, and secrets galore await you, especially at Brompton Cemetery. Visit their website for details.

If hanging out in a cemetery is too much for you, consider visiting a couple of haunted pubs. The Ten Bells (of Jack the Ripper fame) and The Spaniard’s Inn (from Stoker’s Dracula) are two of London’s oldest and are both hotbeds of paranormal activity.

If you’re really into such things, try the Dusk til Dawn Sleepover at Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace. England of the 17th-century will come alive around you, where witch-hunts, superstitions, and fear were the order of the day. Held on October 28th only, so click here for details. Includes dinner, a tour, haunted stories, and breakfast!


Curious travelers, take note!   August 2017 update:

Banquet Hall Hindu Temple London

     Want to take part in an annual celebration of design and architecture? Make plans now to visit to London so you can catch the LONDON OPEN HOUSE. We love this mid-September weekend event because it allows visitors into usually off-limit places including some renowned homes and awesome buildings, quirky courtyards, and many other secret spots. And it’s all free! This year’s entries already include at least 832 different locations, like the Westminster Banqueting Hall (designed by Inigo Jones,) a Hindu Temple, an ancient Roman bath, the Queen’s Chapel in St. James Palace, and even #10 Downing Street!   If you’ve ever wondered, Hey what’s behind that wall? then this is your chance to find out.  Some sites will be open one day or the other (or both) so check the official website here for specifics. While there’s no charge, the more popular locations will require you to sign up beforehand. One weekend only: September 16 & 17


In Focus: Summer in London 2017


Cocktails with fresh herbs and spices at the Brunel

     Wow! Finding really great mixology in London is getting easier and easier. Gone are the days when the best choices were a list of ales.  If you’ve already tried our favorite speakeasy Nightjar (in the Shoreditch neighborhood,) then take a car service to the summer pop-up bar at the Brunel Museum. This hot spot is called the Midnight Apothecary and is only open on Friday and Saturday nights from 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm, through September 30, 2017. 


Update: London in June

london naked bike

    Yes, the Brits go all out (or all off) for the London observance of World Naked Bike Day. To catch this spectacle, make sure to be near Regent’s Park on June 10th beginning at 2:30 pm. This clothing-optional event symbolizes unease regarding oil and automobile dependency.  

If naked blokes on bikes are not your thing, never fear… June is also the month when London throws its biggest food festival. Also set in and around Regent’s Park, visitors sample savory and sweet fare from some of the newest restaurants in the capital, June 14th to 18th. There’s even entertainment offered. For more information on the Taste of London Festival, click here.



Update: Spring 2017   


    If the warmer weather in London is causing you to have some cravings for Spanish food, don’t despair. Brood eatery inside the south bank’s Borough Market has some yummy, authentic paella for take-away in cute little boxes. Snag an outdoor table or bench at the neighboring 800 year-old Southwark Cathedral and enjoy!



Update: March 2017      ELiz I

      We believe that a visit to London’s National Portrait Gallery is always in order. There’s nothing quite like seeing a very famous painting hanging right in front of you, mere inches away. We especially love this one of Elizabeth I which can be found upstairs in the Tudor rooms.



Merry Christmas and happy holidays from the Clued In Travel Books team!