El Pi­rata

Where London - - Best Of London Dining -

For more than 20 years, El Pi­rata has hit the spot as Lon­don’s top res­tau­rant for tra­di­tional Span­ish ta­pas. Lo­cated in the heart of May­fair, it’s the per­fect place for a true taste of the Mediter­ranean in a chic yet friendly set­ting. In­for­mal, in­ex­pen­sive and above all, au­then­tic – the res­tau­rant uses the finest Span­ish pro­duce, in­clud­ing jamón ibérico, to cre­ate its clas­sic dishes. Celebrity fans in­clude Brian May and Johnny Depp, and food crit­ics are unan­i­mous in their praise, de­scrib­ing it as a ‘Span­ish gem’ (Za­gat) with ‘sur­pris­ingly good prices’ (Hard­ens), and ‘a favourite with May­fair’s Span­ish com­mu­nity and con­verts to the new Ibe­rian cause’ (Square Meal). Mon-Fri noon-11.30pm, Sat 6pm-11.30pm, closed Sun.

TRA­DI­TIONAL PUBS The Black­friar

This Grade II-listed Art Nou­veau pub, which opened more than 100 years ago, of­fers tra­di­tional cask ales. www.nichol­son­spubs.co.uk. 174 Queen Vic­to­ria St, EC4V 4EG. T: 020-7236 5474. E9. Sta­tion: Black­fri­ars.

The Dog and Duck

A real-ale pub with reg­u­larly chang­ing cask beers as well as pub food and bar snacks. Fig­ures who have vis­ited in the past in­clude John Con­sta­ble and Ge­orge Or­well. www.nichol­son­spubs.co.uk. 18 Bate­man St, W1D 3AJ. T: 020-7494 0697. D7. Sta­tion: Tottenham Court Road.

The Flask

This 17th-cen­tury pub boasts By­ron and Shel­ley as past pa­trons and is al­legedly haunted! www.the­flaskhigh­gate.com. 77 High­gate West Hill, N6 6BU. T: 020- 8348 7346. Off map. Sta­tion: High­gate.

The French House

Cre­ative, bo­hemian types love this quirky pub in the heart of Soho. www.french­hous­esoho.com. 49 Dean St, W1D 5BG. T: 020-7437 2477. D7. Sta­tion: Tottenham Court Road.

The Ge­orge Inn

This his­toric pub was es­tab­lished dur­ing the Me­dieval pe­riod and still re­tains its orig­i­nal coach­ing houses. www.na­tion­al­trust.org.uk/ ge­orge-inn. 75-77 Bor­ough High St, SE1 1NH. T: 020-7407 2056. E10. Sta­tion: Lon­don Bridge.

The Mag­pie & Stump

This pub, op­po­site the Old Bai­ley, dates back to the 1500s, and once dou­bled up as a pub­lic view­ing spot for hang­ings at New­gate Prison. www.mag­pie­and­s­tump.com. 18 Old Bai­ley, EC4M 7EP. T: 020-7248 5085. B8. Sta­tion: St Paul’s.

The Punch­bowl

This pop­u­lar May­fair-based pub-cum-res­tau­rant was once owned by film di­rec­tor and Madonna’s ex-hus­band, Guy Ritchie. En­joy a va­ri­ety of ales in the unique, classy sur­round­ings. www.punch­bowl lon­don.com. 41 Farm St, W1J 5RP. T: 0207- 493 6841. E6. Sta­tion: Green Park.

The Spa­niards Inn

Fol­low in the foot­steps of past reg­u­lars, in­clud­ing high­way­man Dick Turpin and nov­el­ist Charles Dick­ens, at this his­toric pub, which is one of the old­est in Lon­don. www.thes­paniard­shamp­stead. co.uk. Spa­niard’s Rd, NW3 7JJ. T: 020- 8731 8406. Off map. Sta­tion: Hamp­stead.

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

This land­mark pub has wood-pan­elled walls and vaults that are thought to date back to a 13th-cen­tury Carmelite monastery which once stood here. If only its walls could talk! 145 Fleet St, EC4A 2BU. T: 020-7353 6170. D9. Sta­tion: Black­fri­ars.

BARS & CLUBS 68 & Bos­ton

So­phis­ti­cated Soho venue with sep­a­rate cock­tail and wine bars. The ground-floor wine bar boasts many va­ri­eties from lesser-known re­gions, and all bot­tles are £20. Nightly food menu. www.68and­boston.com. 5 Greek St, W1D 4DD. T: 020-7287 3713. Sta­tion: Le­ices­ter Square.

The Bar at Bel­lamy’s

Cock­tails and wines served in a chic set­ting, which is dec­o­rated with vin­tage ski posters. www.bel­lamys res­tau­rant.co.uk. 18/18a Bru­ton Place, W1J 6LY. T: 020-7491 2727. E6. Sta­tion: Ox­ford Cir­cus.

Book­ing Of­fice Bar

The ground floor of the St Pan­cras Re­nais­sance Ho­tel has a 95ft-long bar sur­rounded by cav­ernous arched ceil­ings and stone walls dat­ing back to 1873. www.bookingof­fice­bar.com. Eus­ton Rd, NW1 2AR. T: 020-7841 3566. C7. Sta­tion: King’s Cross.

Brook­lyn Bowl

This fun mu­sic venue at The O2 arena boasts a 12-lane bowl­ing al­ley, three bars and a res­tau­rant serv­ing US favourites, from de­li­cious burg­ers to fried chicken. www.brook­lyn­bowl.com. The O2, Penin­sula Square, SE10 0DX. T: 020-7412 8778. Off map. Sta­tion: North Green­wich.


At ‘Bring Your Own Cock­tail’ sim­ply pay £25, bring a spirit of your choice and the mixol­o­gist will cre­ate cock­tails for you. You are ad­vised to book in ad­vance to avoid dis­ap­point­ment. www.byoc.co.uk. 9-11 Base­ment, Cam­den High St, NW1 7JE. T: 020-3441 2424. Off map. Sta­tion: Morn­ing­ton Cres­cent.

Car­tizze Bar

Time­less lux­ury Bellini and cock­tail des­ti­na­tion with Art Deco sur­round­ings and ex­cel­lent ser­vice. www.car­tizze­bar.com. 4 Lan­cashire Court, W1S 1EY. E6. Sta­tion: Bond Street.

City So­cial

Ja­son Ather­ton of­fers spec­tac­u­lar food and drink sur­rounded by breath­tak­ing views of Lon­don. The bar is impressive, with its amaz­ing Art Deco in­te­rior and Pro­hi­bi­tion-in­spired cock­tail list. www.cityso­cial­lon­don.com. Tower 42, 25 Old Broad St, EC2N 1HQ. T: 020-7877 7703. D11. Sta­tion: Liver­pool Street.

C.O.L.D Bar (The City of Lon­don Dis­tillery)

A well-stocked, retro-styled cock­tail bar. Tast­ings, classes and tours are avail­able. www.cityof lon­dondis­tillery.com. 22-24 Bride Lane, EC4Y 8DT. T: 020-7936 3446. D9. Sta­tion: Black­fri­ars.

The Dolls House

This stylish cock­tail bar and pri­vate mem­bers’ club of­fers mixed drinks in The Par­lour and is taste­fully fur­nished. There is also a first-rate food menu. www.thedead­dollsclub.com. 181 Up­per St, N1 1RQ. T: 020-7288 1470. D7. Sta­tion: High­bury & Is­ling­ton.

Drakes Ta­banco

A Span­ish-style bar that serves rare sher­ries which have been aged in an­cient oak bar­rels. There are also craft beers, a range of nat­u­ral wines and a se­lec­tion of An­dalu­cian ta­pas dishes to choose from. www.drakesta­banco.com. 3 Wind­mill St, W1T 2HY. T: 020-7637 9388. D7. Sta­tion: Goodge Street.

Ex­per­i­men­tal Cock­tail Club

This bar in an old Chi­na­town town­house is tucked away but worth the search for its stylish cock­tails. Book­ing is rec­om­mended. www.ex­per­i­men­tal cock­tail­clublon­don.com. 13a Ger­rard St, W1D 5PS. T: 020-7434 3559. E7. Sta­tion: Le­ices­ter Square.


A su­per-club that cham­pi­ons cut­ting-edge dance mu­sic. The venue at­tracts fans of dance, house, techno and dub­step played by some of the most pop­u­lar DJs in the world. www.fab­ri­clon­don.com. 77a Char­ter­house St, EC1M 6HJ. T: 020-7336 8898. D9. Sta­tion: Far­ring­don.


This pop­u­lar gay-friendly venue at­tracts a trendy crowd to the stylish cock­tail bar and the night­club un­der­neath. It is well worth a visit. www.free­dom­bar­soho.com. 60- 66 War­dour St, W1F 0TA. T: 020-7734 0071. D7. Sta­tion: Tottenham Court Road.


Lo­cated in The Shard, Gong is one of the high­est Cham­pagne bars in Lon­don and the ideal place for sun­set cock­tails and late-night drinks. www.shangri-la.com. 31 St Thomas St, SE1 9QU. T: 020-7234 8000. F10. Sta­tion: Lon­don Bridge.

Gor­don’s Wine Bar

Lon­don’s old­est wine bar has been un­cork­ing bot­tles since 1890 in this stone-walled base­ment. It is very pop­u­lar and wel­com­ing. www.gor­don­swinebar.com. 47 Vil­liers St, WC2N 6NE. T: 020-7930 1408. E8. Sta­tion: Em­bank­ment.

Hix­ter Bank­side

Mark Hix’s bar shows off his trade­mark in­ter­est in mod­ern art – see an in­stal­la­tion by He­len Chad­wick of an Un­der­ground train car­riage. www.hixrestau­rants.co.uk. 16 Great Guild­ford St, SE1 0HS. T: 020-7921 9508. E9. Sta­tion: South­wark.

Mews Cock­tail Bar

Deep leather so­fas and an 18th-cen­tury chan­de­lier set the tone for ex­quis­ite wines, fresh fruit cock­tails and light dishes. www.mew­sof­may­fair.com. 10 Lan­cashire Court, W1S 1EY. T: 020-7518 9388. E6. Sta­tion: Bond Street.

The Night­jar

En­joy Pro­hi­bi­tion-era cock­tails in this base­ment bar in Shored­itch, with live mu­sic most nights. www.barnight­jar.com. 129 City Rd, EC1V 1JB. T: 020-7253 4101. C10. Sta­tion: Old Street.

Old Ben­gal Bar

This place is con­verted from a for­mer ware­house lo­cated in a quiet back street, with orig­i­nal brick walls and leather so­fas. En­joy clas­sic cock­tails. www.old­ben­gal­bar.com. 16A New St, EC2M 4TR. T: 020-3503 0780. D11. Sta­tion: Liver­pool Street.

Opium Cock­tail Bar

This stylish up­stairs bar tucked away in Chi­na­town serves in­no­va­tive Chi­nese-in­spired cock­tails. www.opi­um­chi­na­town.com. 15 Ger­rard St, W1D 6JE. T: 020-7734 7276. E7. Sta­tion: Le­ices­ter Square.


Spa­cious cock­tail bar hid­den be­neath Smith­field Mar­ket, with live swing, jazz and blues mu­sic most nights. Beau­ti­ful in­te­ri­ors and in­cred­i­ble drinks in­spired by the old world, new world and Ori­ent. www.ori­ole­bar.com. Smith­field Mar­kets, East Poultry Av­enue, EC1A 9LH. T: 0203457 8099. D9. Sta­tion: Far­ring­don.

Primo Bar

En­joy a range of cock­tails at this laid-back bar, which stages free live mu­sic ev­ery night. www.pri­mo­bar. co.uk. Park Plaza West­min­ster Bridge, SE1 7UT. T: 020-7620 7282. F8. Sta­tion: Water­loo.

Rev­erend JW Simp­son

This cock­tail bar is a real slice of ‘shabby chic’ – and is the gen­uine ex-abode of the good Rev­erend, proved by the Blue Plaque out­side. Scruffy so­fas and a laid-back vibe are its hall­mark. www.revjwsimp­son.com. 32 Goodge St, W1T 2QJ. T: 020-3174 1155. E7. Sta­tion: Goodge Street.

Scar­fes Bar

Part of the lux­ury ho­tel Rose­wood Lon­don, this el­e­gant bar is named af­ter Ger­ald Scarfe, the car­toon­ist fa­mous for his satir­i­cal il­lus­tra­tions. He was com­mis­sioned to cre­ate car­toons of iconic Bri­tish fig­ures, which are cast on pan­els around the room. En­joy cock­tails and In­dian-in­spired snacks. www.scar­fes­bar.com. 252 High Hol­born, WC1V 7EN. T: 020-3747 8611. Sta­tion: Hol­born.

Searcys Cham­pagne Bar

Europe’s long­est Cham­pagne bar has a huge se­lec­tion of bubbly, plus seafood plat­ters. www.searcyscham­pag­nebars.co.uk. St Pan­cras In­ter­na­tional, Eus­ton Rd, N1C 4QL. T: 020-7870 9900. C8. Sta­tion: King’s Cross St Pan­cras.

Trader Vic’s

This Tiki-style base­ment bar and res­tau­rant is more than 50 years old. Try the Mai Tai cock­tail in an ex­otic set­ting. www.trader­vic­slon­don.com. Lon­don Hil­ton on Park Lane, 22 Park Lane, W1K 1BE. T: 020-7208 4113. E6. Sta­tion: Hyde Park Cor­ner.

The Whisky Bar

This spe­cial­ist bar, at the Athenaeum ho­tel in May­fair, has 270 dif­fer­ent types of whisky along­side other spir­its, cock­tails and Cham­pagne. www.athenaeumho­tel.com. 116 Pic­cadilly, W1J 7BJ. T: 020-7640 3333. E6. Sta­tion: Green Park.

The Zet­ter Town­house

Tony Conigliaro, known for his amaz­ing blends, brings his mixol­ogy magic to this in­ti­mate cock­tail lounge (p. 73). www.thezetter­town­house.com. 49-50 St John’s Square, EC1V 4JJ. T: 020-7324 4567. Off map. Sta­tion: Far­ring­don.

CASI­NOS The Casino at the Em­pire

There is a ded­i­cated poker room and the lat­est ta­ble and elec­tronic games at this spec­tac­u­lar venue, hous­ing a con­tem­po­rary Asian res­tau­rant and several bars. www.the­casi­nolsq.com. 5- 6 Le­ices­ter Square, WC2H 7NA. T: 020-3733 1315. E7. Sta­tion: Le­ices­ter Square.

Hip­po­drome Casino

This land­mark venue has gam­ing on three floors, plus the He­liot Steak House. It also hosts live mu­sic, such as The Late Jazz Jam (ev­ery Thur from 11pm). www.hip­po­drome­casino.com. Cran­bourn St, Le­ices­ter Square, WC2H 7JH. T: 020-7769 8888. E7. Sta­tion: Le­ices­ter Square.

The Sportsman Casino

Tra­di­tional and elec­tronic gam­ing, in­clud­ing three-card poker and Amer­i­can roulette. En­joy the poker lounge, sports bar, in­for­mal din­ing and el­e­gant res­tau­rant. www.thes­ports­man­casino.com. Old Que­bec St, W1H 7AF. T: 020-3051 4616. D6. Sta­tion: Marble Arch.


A re­laxed mem­bers’ jazz cel­lar and res­tau­rant, spe­cial­is­ing in Bri­tish-based artists, play­ing blues, r’n’b and soul. The food is great, too. www.606 club.co.uk. 90 Lots Rd, SW10 0QD. T: 020-7352 5953. Off map. Sta­tion: Ful­ham Broad­way.

An­gels Gentle­men’s Club Soho

Six show and cock­tail stages plus Red Rooms, VIP booths and the Leop­ard Room where Peter Stringfel­low’s ‘An­gels’ dance at your ta­ble. The venue in­cludes the An­gel Bar and res­tau­rant. www.stringfel­lows.co.uk. 201 War­dour St, W1F 8ZH. T: 020-7758 0670. D7. Sta­tion: Ox­ford Cir­cus.

The Blues Kitchen

This busy mu­sic venue stages blues, soul and jazz mu­sic most nights, plus a DJ at week­ends. There are more than 80 va­ri­eties of bour­bon and rye. www.the­blueskitchen.com. 111 Cam­den High St, NW1 7JN. T: 020-7387 5277. Off map. Sta­tion: Cam­den Town.

The Com­edy Store

One of the coun­try’s best and most fa­mous venues for stand-up and im­pro­vised com­edy. www.the com­e­dy­s­tore.co.uk. 1a Ox­en­don St, SW1Y 4EE. T: 0844- 847 1728. E7. Sta­tion: Pic­cadilly Cir­cus.

Ron­nie Scott’s

The world-fa­mous jazz venue has hosted top mu­si­cians for more than 50 years in­clud­ing Prince and Ella Fitzger­ald. The venue has a res­tau­rant and bar. The weekly Sun­day Jazz lunch has no min­i­mum age, so it’s per­fect for fam­i­lies. There are acts ev­ery night, plus Sat and Sun lunch. More in­ti­mate gigs Wed. www.ron­ni­escotts.co.uk. 47 Frith St, W1D 4HT. T: 020-7439 0747. D7. Sta­tion: Tottenham Court Road.


Over the years, a vast num­ber of celebri­ties and mem­bers of the pub­lic have en­joyed a mem­o­rable evening of en­ter­tain­ment sup­plied by more than 80 ‘An­gels’ danc­ing at their ta­bles at Peter Stringfel­low’s world-fa­mous Gentle­men’s Club and res­tau­rant, which is lo­cated very close to Le­ices­ter Square in the heart of the cap­i­tal. Make sure you visit the op­u­lent, vel­vet-adorned Red Rooms. En­try is free to Stringfel­lows if you are din­ing – a visit to the res­tau­rant is highly rec­om­mended as the food is ex­tremely impressive. www.stringfel­lows.co.uk. 16-19 Up­per St Martin’s Lane, WC2H 9EF. T: 020-7240 5534. E8. Sta­tion: Le­ices­ter Square.

Oils, masks, serums and deep con­di­tion­ers – the world of hair treat­ments can of­ten seem con­fus­ing.

Look­ing af­ter your hair isn’t just about wash­ing it reg­u­larly, it’s also about hav­ing a healthy scalp.

Over the past decade, has be­come the holy grail of hair oils. Ar­gan oil, a nat­u­ral oil from Morocco that is used for cook­ing and in cos­met­ics, is also loved as a hair and skin treat­ment. When sa­lon owner Car­men Tal had a hair disas­ter – a colour treat­ment that went wrong – she tried out the oil on her hair and it worked won­ders. Tal launched the prod­uct to a rous­ing suc­cess: it is now used in sa­lons, fashion shows and by celebri­ties.

in May­fair, which was awarded Day Spa of the Year by Condé Nast, of­fers lux­u­ri­ous hair treat­ments: the Moroc­can Voy­age (£75; 45 min­utes) ap­plies warm Moroc­canoil to your scalp, fol­lowed by a scalp mas­sage, then fin­ishes with a hy­drat­ing mask; while is an award-win­ning Span­ish cos­met­ics brand that has just en­tered

Spa Il­lu­mi­nata Moroc­canoil Miriam Quevedo

the UK mar­ket. Its Scalp and Hair Treat­ment (£65; 45 min­utes) is made with caviar to re­store elas­tic­ity and shine to age­ing hair.

has col­lab­o­rated with Daniel Galvin to of­fer two new treat­ments: the Ex­press Hair Treat­ment (£24; 15 min­utes) and the ESPA Hair Ritual (£50; 30 min­utes). Daniel Galvin is one of the coun­try’s lead­ing hair­dressers: he was awarded an OBE in 2006, and his past clients in­clude Madonna and Mar­garet Thatcher. He was also Princess Diana’s hair colourist for 10 years.

ESPA Life at Corinthia

The Ex­press Hair Treat­ment uses the spa’s new sham­poo and con­di­tioner, both of which have been cre­ated us­ing pro­tein-rich plant ex­tracts and are free from sil­i­cone, while the ESPA Hair Ritual com­bines the Hair Treat­ment with a shoul­der, neck and head mas­sage. Fancy a lit­tle pri­vacy? Book the Movie Makeover Room – a pri­vate space that has 100 films to watch on de­mand, an iPad, wi-fi and Skype.

The newly opened near The Shard, of­fers treat­ments that range from a blow dry to a mas­sage, while the hair treat­ment (from £15) is a quick and ef­fec­tive way of tar­get­ing your hair con­cerns. The ses­sion be­gins with a con­sul­ta­tion, where the stylist uses a de­vice to zoom into your hair 600 times. Want your hair stronger, shinier or smoother? No wor­ries, as the stylists will mix a per­son­alised Fu­sio-Dose – there are 20 tai­lor-made op­tions – to give you health­ier hair. Spa Il­lu­mi­nata, 63 South Aud­ley St, W1K 2QS. ESPA Life at Corinthia, Whitehall Place, SW1A 2BD. O’Sul­li­van’s, 6 Shard Ar­cade, SE1 9SG

O’Sul­li­van’s, Kéras­tase

TICKET IN­FOR­MA­TION Oys­ter cards & Trav­el­cards

An Oys­ter card is a pre-paid travel smart card. It’s the cheap­est way to pay for sin­gle jour­neys by bus, Tube, tram, DLR, Lon­don Over­ground and most Na­tional Rail train ser­vices in Lon­don.

You can buy a Vis­i­tor Oys­ter card be­fore you leave home for a £3 fee and pre-load it with credit at vis­i­tor­shop.tfl.gov.uk. The sys­tem has nine zones. Zone 1 is in cen­tral Lon­don.

Vis­i­tors can buy Oys­ter cards and Day Trav­el­cards from sta­tions, Vis­i­tor Cen­tres and any Oys­ter Ticket Shop. UK vis­i­tors can also pay for their travel with a UK-is­sued con­tact­less payment card. See tfl.gov.uk/vis­it­in­glon­don.

An Oys­ter card also gives you a 25 per cent dis­count on Lon­don’s ca­ble car, the Emi­rates Air Line, and a 10 per cent dis­count on sin­gle jour­neys on most MBNA Thames Clippers river buses. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit vis­i­tor­shop.tfl.gov.uk.


For 24-hour travel in­for­ma­tion, visit the Trans­port for Lon­don ( TfL) web­site tfl.gov.uk/ vis­it­in­glon­don or call T: 0343-222 1234.

Lon­don Un­der­ground (The Tube)

tfl.gov.uk. See Lon­don Un­der­ground Map (op­po­site). Ser­vices run Mon-Sat 5am-12.30am and Sun 7.30am-11.30pm on most routes. Sub­ject to de­lays, night Tube ser­vices should soon run all night Fri-Sat on the Ju­bilee, Vic­to­ria and most of the Cen­tral, North­ern and Pic­cadilly lines. Fares vary; a Zone 1 adult fare costs £4.80 (£2.30 with an Oys­ter card).

Lon­don Buses

Lon­don buses run 5am-12.30am. Night buses (mid­night- 4.30am) op­er­ate on main routes (several ser­vices are 24-hour). You can’t pay for a Lon­don bus fare with cash, so use a Vis­i­tor Oys­ter card, Oys­ter card, Trav­el­card, UK-is­sued con­tact­less payment card or the Where Pass. Visit tfl.gov.uk/buses. Sin­gle fare is £1.50 with an Oys­ter card or UK-is­sued con­tact­less payment card.

Lon­don Over­ground

tfl.gov.uk. See Lon­don Un­der­ground Map op­po­site. Trains run Mon-Sat 5am-mid­night and Sun 7am-11.30pm on most routes.

Dock­lands Light Rail­way

Trains run ap­prox­i­mately ev­ery three-anda-half to 10 mins. Mon-Sat 5.30am-12.30am; Sun 7am-11pm. T: 020-7363 9700.


Padding­ton serves the West Coun­try, Wales and the South Mid­lands.

Liver­pool Street and Fenchurch Street serve East Anglia and Es­sex. Eus­ton King’s Cross St Pan­cras Maryle­bone and St Pan­cras In­ter­na­tional (con­nects to King’s Cross St Pan­cras) serve north and cen­tral Bri­tain, and south­east Eng­land. Char­ing Cross

Lon­don Bridge Water­loo and Vic­to­ria serve south­ern Eng­land.

For times and tick­ets, visit na­tion­al­rail.co.uk or call T: 0845-748 4950.

Eurostar uses St Pan­cras In­ter­na­tional. Go to eurostar.com for more in­for­ma­tion, times and ticket prices. Call T: 0344-822 4777 (or if you’re out­side the UK, call T: 01233- 617 575).


You can hail a black cab (taxi) in the street. Fares in­crease af­ter 8pm. You can­not hail pri­vate-hire ve­hi­cles or mini­cabs, which you must book. We strongly ad­vise against you us­ing any ve­hi­cle that ap­proaches you in the street, ex­cept for li­censed black cabs. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit tfl.gov.uk.

Car hire

Make sure your driv­ing li­cence is valid for the UK and see ‘Con­ges­tion Charge’ be­low. Hertz T: 0870- 844 8844. hertz.co.uk. Ken­dall Cars Ltd T: 020- 8542 0403. kendall­cars.com. En­ter­prise Rent-A-Car T: 0800- 800 227. en­ter­prise.co.uk.

Con­ges­tion Charge

There is a con­ges­tion charge to drive into cen­tral Lon­don, Mon-Fri 7am- 6pm. Payable in ad­vance or on the day of travel (£11.50), or the day af­ter (£14). UK: T: 034-3222 2222. In­ter­na­tional: T: +44 20-7649 9122. cclon­don.com.

On foot

It’s of­ten quicker to get around Lon­don by walk­ing. Look out for blue and yel­low Leg­i­ble Lon­don street maps. tfl.gov.uk/leg­i­blelon­don.

San­tander Cy­cles

There are 10,000 bi­cy­cles for hire from 700 dock­ing sta­tions through­out cen­tral Lon­don. For de­tails, visit tfl.gov.uk/san­tander­cy­cles or call T: 0343-222 6666.


Lon­don’s main coach ser­vices use Vic­to­ria Coach Sta­tion, which of­fers travel to UK des­ti­na­tions and some parts of Europe. SW1W 9TP. T: 0843-222 1234. tfl.gov.uk/coaches Vic­to­ria.

River ser­vices

tfl.gov.uk/river. MBNA Thames Clippers: T: 020-7001 2200. thamesclip­pers.com. Cata­ma­rans leave ma­jor piers ev­ery 20 mins. Ser­vices run between Water­loo Pier and The O2 (North Green­wich Pier) and on to Royal Ar­se­nal Wool­wich Pier, stop­ping at 20 main piers. Adult sin­gle fare starts at £3.90 with an Oys­ter or Vis­i­tor Oys­ter card. River Roamer day pass gives un­lim­ited hop-on, hop-off travel from £17.35.

Emi­rates Air Line ca­ble car

Lon­don’s only ca­ble car runs between Green­wich Penin­sula ( The O2) and the Royal Docks (Ex­Cel Lon­don). tfl.gov.uk/emi­rate­sair­line.

Ac­ces­si­ble Lon­don

Deaf and dis­abled trav­ellers should visit Dis­abledGo at vis­it­lon­don.com/ac­cess and openbri­tain.net.

AirPortr (Lug­gage de­liv­ery ser­vice)

Same-day lug­gage trans­fer between Lon­don’s air­ports and ho­tels – travel bag-free and make the most of your time here. Prices start at £15 for one bag plus £5 for each additional item (any size or weight). T: 020-3384 6677. portr.com.

How would you start your day?

I’d get up at the crack of dawn and do yoga.

Where would you have break­fast?

Duck & Waf­fle in Bish­ops­gate. I’d prob­a­bly have truf­fled eggs and mush­rooms, with a bit of smoked salmon and avocado. The res­tau­rant has gor­geous views and is beau­ti­ful in the morn­ing.

What is your favourite build­ing?

The Royal Al­bert Hall. The first con­cert I played there, in 2001, was sold out. It was re­ally spe­cial. I re­mem­ber walk­ing out and see­ing a full house – it was an emo­tional and pow­er­ful mo­ment.

What mu­se­ums and gal­leries do you like?

I like go­ing to the Sci­ence Mu­seum and the Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum. At the mo­ment, there is Other­worlds:Vi­sion­sofOurSo­larSys­tem ex­hi­bi­tion at the Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum, which has a sound­track by Brian Eno.

Where do you like to shop?

Den­mark Street in the West End, where most of the mu­sic shops are based. It used to be known as Tin Pan Al­ley. You have all of these in­spir­ing mu­sic shops: you can buy great gui­tars at Hanks Gui­tar Shop, and Rose Mor­ris sells a com­bi­na­tion of gui­tars and key­boards. One of my favourite pos­ses­sions is a Na­tional Steel-res­onator gui­tar I got in Den­mark Street.

Which green spa­ces do you like?

I lived in Wandsworth for 15 years and ran on Wandsworth Com­mon a lot. There’s a lake with ducks and swans. It’s pretty chilled.

What places in the city in­spire you?

Since Jude Kelly came in as artis­tic di­rec­tor, she has done a lot for the South­bank Cen­tre. I love walk­ing around that area. I like eclec­tic venues, too, such as the Royal Fes­ti­val Hall and the Bar­bican Cen­tre. Som­er­set House never fails to sur­prise, ei­ther. I’m even on the board!

Where do you like hav­ing lunch?

Donos­tia So­cial Club in Pop Brix­ton. It’s a bit like be­ing on the set of BladeRun­ner – imag­ine a shanty town with old ship­ping con­tain­ers. I love eat­ing the ta­pas – it’s in­cred­i­ble!

What would you do as an ex­trav­a­gance?

My ideal in­dul­gence would in­volve see­ing a great show ev­ery night for a week. There has been some great stuff on re­cently: I saw the English Na­tional Opera’s TheMag­icF­lute at The Coli­seum, and the next day I went to see TheEn­counter by Si­mon McBur­ney.

Where would you stop for tea?

I’d have a cof­fee at Bar Italia in Soho. It’s open all hours, and I don’t sleep very much.

What pubs or bars would you go to?

Af­ter Bar Italia, I’d pop over the road to Ron­nie Scott’s Jazz Club.

Where would you go for din­ner?

I’m a big fan of Dishoom – I’d go to the King’s Cross branch. I did a yoga project with them a while ago and know the res­tau­rants re­ally well. I love the black daal and the rose lassi.

Who would be your ideal din­ing part­ner?

Noam Chom­sky. He is one of the finest po­lit­i­cal writ­ers of our time. He’d prob­a­bly shed light on in­for­ma­tion we are of­ten mis­fed – or fed.

What would you do in the evening?

My per­fect evening would be see­ing Si­mon McBur­ney, founder of the the­atre com­pany Com­plicite, on stage say­ing what­ever comes into his head. I know him well, but he is one of the most en­ter­tain­ing peo­ple I have met.

What makes Lon­don stand out?

Lon­don is a hub of cre­ativ­ity. There are so many move­ments, es­pe­cially mu­si­cal ones such as UK garage, drum and bass, dub­step and punk. From a mu­si­cian’s point of view, Lon­don is a re­ally ex­cit­ing place. Peo­ple come from all over the world to play in its venues.

Where would you spend the night?

I would spend the night at the Plan­e­tar­ium in Green­wich. I would love to sleep un­der the stars, even if they are not real! The Big Dance Pledge. 20 May. South­bank Cen­tre, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX. www.south­bank­cen­tre. co.uk. T: 020-7960 4200 Wandsworth Com­mon; Nitin Sawh­ney; Ron­nie Scott’s Jazz Club; the Plan­e­tar­ium; the Royal Al­bert Hall; Donos­tia So­cial Club in Brix­ton

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