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Mar
30

Cheap Flights to London-don’t get stuck on the tourist track

 

family travel london

family travel london

One of the worst things about taking the kids on a trip to London is the need for constant pit stops. It just never seems to end. The second you walk out of your hotel, it’s “I’m hungry!” “I’m thirsty!” And they never eat or drink a thing when it’s time to sit and eat. This all ends up to huge bills and major headaches- it’s just not the same there. Everything costs so much more and you get so much less. And if you’re not Beckham who the hell can afford it?

David-Victoria-Beckham

David-Victoria-Beckham

SO what’s a family intent on booking flights to catch the Olympics to do? Well, one good thing is we have cheap flights to London and with us you can plan your seats, which means you won’t get caught sitting separately from you 6-month old as so many readers are complaining of.

And the second thing to do is not to get caught in the tourist restaurants/cafes. Here’s a list of all the right places to go on your next flight to London.

Buckingham Palace

 

 buckingham palace

buckingham palace

Goya (34 Lupus Street) is about 15 minutes’ walk from the palace but its fantastic, authentic tapas (from around £5, mains from £14) and atmosphere is well worth the stroll.

L’Arco (79 Buckingham Palace Road), a family-run Italian restaurant, is much closer and has a delicious, big-hearted menu with lots of choice outside the pizza and pasta(starters from around £6, pizza and pasta £8, meat and fish £12).

jenny lo's

jenny lo's

Hidden at number 14 on quiet, nearby Eccleston Street is Jenny Lo’s Teahouse. Venture inside for the fresh, mainly Chinese menu (mains around £8) with some great stuff such as Sichuan aubergines and Vietnamese cold noodles.

St Paul’s Cathedral

 

St_Pauls_Cathedral_London

St_Pauls_Cathedral_London

If you’re visiting St Paul’s during the week, there’s always a line for food at lunchtime – people from the banking center come every day to the cafe and restaurant from 1pm-2pm.

But if you’re smart and eat a little earlier or later, there are tons of options. Tsuru Sushi is a great spot for varied Japanese food – the sushi is so fresh here, and the selection of hot bento boxes is great. Its most popular dish is a chicken katsu sandwich, which is almost worth travelling across town for. Fly to London and try it!

tsuru

tsuru

Exmouth Market (about 30 minutes away on foot. Here, as well as popular bars and restaurants such as  Moro, there is a lunchtime food market from noon-3pm Monday-Friday where you can eat anything from Ghanaian street food to crepes, Bangladeshi lunchboxes and salt-beef sandwiches from about £5.

Tate Modern

 

The-Table-restaurant

The-Table-restaurant

If the soggy sandwiches in the Tate Modern’s cafes leave you feeling flat, which they are sure to do, head to Elliot’s Cafe (12 Stoney Street) a bright, hip eatery about 10 minutes’ walk away. It offers regularly changing dishes from about £5, shaped by what’s available in the market, like terrines and fresh, interesting salads as well as heartier fare. You eat around a big communal cast-iron table, which is fun, although it can mean space is a little limited if you’re with your kids.

For somewhere a bit more family-friendly, though at times pricey, try The Table (83 Southwark Street), a modern canteen-style cafe that serves excellent brunch, like the sweet corn fritters at £10 until 4pm on Saturdays, is a good bet.

The Refinery (110 Southwark Street) is also a winner, with great sharing boards and a lot of salads. Mains go for around ten. If you just want a drink, its cocktail menu is one of the best in the area.

Harrods

 

harrods

harrods

If this is you’re first flight to London, the crowds at Harrods will blow your mind. Get out of the crowds and hit Zia Teresa (6 Hans Road) a charming, family-run Italian spot. There’s no haute cuisine here, which is great. The food is fresh, the portions generous and the house speciality, piccantina siciliana (veal in a sharp, sweet orange sauce, £16) is a thing of wonder.

London Dungeon

Zucca-restaurant

Zucca-restaurant

Bermondsey Street, a mere five-minute walk from the Dungeon, has become a foodie mecca over the past few years. José (104 Bermondsey Street) an intimate tapas bar run by chef José Pizarro is a must-visit. It doesn’t take bookings, but the top-quality food at great prices-around £5 a dish-is worth any wait. Order from the specials board for dishes such as fresh-off-the-boat sardines on toast or grilled razor clams, washed down with a glass of excellent anything.

Then there’s Zucca (184 Bermondsey Street) chef Sam Harris’s hugely popular modern Italian restaurant, offering terrific, unfussy food that won’t warp your credit card (starters around £5, mains £15). It’s almost worth going for the bread selection alone.

London Eye

 

Skylon grill

Skylon grill

Sweeping views across the river make Skylon Grill (Southbank Centre) make this the best choice of restaurant for maintaining the buzz of being on the London Eye, and the food’s not bad either. It’s the less-fussy offshoot of the fancy Skylon Restaurant and by far the better option for a relaxed meal, offering early meals for £22.50. Eat from the grill (steaks, lemon sole) or choose from an all-day menu of dishes such as roast cod with chickpea and chorizo ragout. Burgers are exemplary, too, as is the kid’s menu. If you’re taking your kids with you on your flight to london, be sure to bring them here.

Westminster

Inn-the-Park

Inn-the-Park

For £25 (for three set courses), you can enjoy a fantastic lunch at the Northall restaurant in the grand Corinthia Hotel. The room is a show-stopper: ceilings high, tables immaculately dressed and the best-of-British food at affordable prices. The nearby Royal Horseguards hotel has a great Anglo-French restaurant, One Twenty One Two (named after Scotland Yard’s old phone number), with two courses for £15 at lunchtime, and a lovely terrace. For something less formal, take a short, scenic walk to St James’s Park and Inn The Park. You can’t miss it – it resembles something between a Swiss ski chalet and a potting shed. The menu is simple, with a strong focus on British produce.

Trafalgar Square

Terroirs-restaurant

Terroirs-restaurant

Terroirs (5 William IV Street) is the best lunch spot around here. Its simple, smart French cooking with  terrines, rich stews and hearty salads are great. Its a small-plates affair (from £6 each) make it so you can easily nip in for a nibble. You should book at peak times, but if you show up for an early lunch midweek you’ll almost certainly get a table. The wine list is extensive, and often cited as one of the capital’s best.

A five-minute walk into Covent Garden will bring you to da Polpo (6 Maiden Lane) restaurateur-of-the-moment Russell Norman’s most recent Venetian bacaro joint. Like many places, it doesn’t take reservations at dinner, but the small plates costing about £5 (think fritto misto, pizzette, meatballs and arancini) are worth a short wait in the bar. They do take reservations for lunch.

British Museum

 

You might walk straight past Abeno (47 Museum Street, 020-740). Its plain outside doesn’t say much, but inside, you’ll eat some of the best, most authentic Japanese food in central London. It’s always full of young Japanese people, and it’s fun. The drill is simple: you pick your ingredients (pork, squid, bacon, prawns, vegetables, cheese) which are added to a batter base with ginger and spring onions before being entertainingly tossed around on a hotplate in front of you. Their yaki-soba noodles are delicious. It’s worth booking a cheap flight to London for this alone.

For a post-museum drink, try the terrace bar at the Montague Hotel (15 Montague Street). It’s a classy yet relaxed old-school drinking den (tartan walls and soft leather armchairs) and does the best classic cocktails in the area.

British Library

Sliced-beef-Sichuan-style

Sliced-beef-Sichuan-style

The area around the British Library and Kings Cross is dominated by kind of gross chain eateries and greasy kebab shops, you have to duck into the smaller streets there are some gems, like Sichuan restaurant Chilli Cool (15 Leigh Street). It’s not for the faint-hearted: this is complex-flavored, nose-to-tail eating with a serious chilli (mains from £6.80).

If you’re in the area from Wednesday-Friday, the new Eat St Market (Kings Boulevard, behind King’s Cross station) is cheap and cheerful. Banhi mi, slow-cooked pork yum buns and burritos. Camden is just 20 minutes away.

Science Museum/Natural History Museum /V&A

 

casa-brindisa

casa-brindisa

The great tapas (from £3.75 a plate) at Casa Brindisa (7-9 Exhibition Road) aside, the restaurants on Exhibition Road near the big museums can be majorly boring. Head round the corner to Le Bistrot at the Institut Français (17 Queensberry Place). A smart, monochrome hideout that is more St Germain than South Kensington. A big self-service buffet has delicious quiches, charcuterie, soups, patisserie and over 15 different salads, from £6.75. It’s great for kids if you’ve brought them with you on on your flight to london.

Oxford Street

 

dead hippie burger

dead hippie burger

Meat Liquor (74 Welbeck Street), a burger joint just north of Oxford Street (a hungry skip from Selfridges) was one of 2011′s most hyped openings. Nestled below an ugly car park, exposed light bulbs and graffiti walls give a grungy Lower East Side feel. But that’s part of the appeal – you will not get a better burger in London, full stop from £7.

For something cleaner, head for Soho and Koya (49 Frith Street), a tiny Japanese noodle house. Its speciality is udon (from £6.70), made on the premises the traditional way (kneaded by foot, yikes) and served either cold with dipping sauce, or in big bowls of delicious broth. Daily specials are brilliant: look out for “fish and chips” – tempura monkfish with lotus root chips.

Camden

 

camden market

camden market

If pot isn’t your thing, steer away from Camden Market for something to eat. The Crown & Goose gastropub (100 Arlington Road) is far from the main tourist crowds, and is a good choice. Framed butterflies create a backdrop to a well-stocked bar with a great selection of British ales, continental beers and whiskies, and staff that favor 1960s psychedelia and soul on the music system. The food’s decent, too – fish and chips £11, burger, salad and fries £10.50.

If you’re in the mood for something more exotic head over the road to Le Mignon (98 Arlington Road) a great little Lebanese restaurant with mains from £9.50, and try its kafta khashkhash-minced lamb with herbs, garlic and spices, grilled on skewers.

Book your cheap flights to London before they run out!

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