Worldwide icon-chevron-right Europe icon-chevron-right United Kingdom icon-chevron-right England icon-chevron-right London icon-chevron-right Curated: Insider guides to London’s best bits

Heads up! We’re working hard to be accurate – but these are unusual times, so please always check before heading out.

Curated
Image: Time Out

Curated: Insider guides to London’s best bits

The best of life, food, shopping and culture in our city, picked by locals who know it inside-out

By Kate Lloyd
Advertising

We don’t mean to brag, but here at Time Out we have lots of Very Important Friends. Some are chefs at super exciting restaurants. Some are curators at our city’s biggest museums. Some aren’t really friends, they’re just celebrities we have PR contacts for. But all of them have one thing in common: they know something we don’t. So, we thought, why not ask them to tell us about it?

That’s what curated is: a new content thread where we ask the goodest good people of London to give us a guide to something, anything they like doing in the city. So far we’ve asked wildlife experts where to spots cool birds, trees and butterflies, and astronomers where to get a decent glimpse of some stars. We’ve even cornered top chefs and asked them which cornershops they’re a regular at. And we’ve got loads more coming.

Join us on our exciting to journey to a place we call… finding out more about London than we knew already.

Curated

Photograph: Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock
Photograph: Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock

A London tour bus guide reveals three underrated gems of the city

News City Life

All parks have blurred into one. Canal towpaths are boring. There are only so many times you can say ‘ah, that’s a nice bird’ or ‘I’ve not noticed that building before’ until you want to drop to your knees and scream for so long your tonsils get signed off with burnout...

What we’re saying is: it’s hard to get excited about ‘going for a walk’ these days. Sure, it might once have sounded like a joyful concept – a nice way to get a bit of nature in after a hard day at work – but now that we have done that for 365+, nothing feels duller. That’s why we've asked one of the people who knows London best to share secret spots to discover on lockdown walks with us. No, not a city planner or historian, one of those open-top bus tour guides. Phil Harris is the lead guide at Big Bus Tours

1. The Olde Cheshire Cheese step

‘The Olde Cheshire Cheese is a famous pub on Fleet Street rebuilt in 1667. For more than three and a half centuries it has been frequented by famous writers as well as journalists, City workers and even a US President (Theodore Roosevelt). As you enter, you step on a metal grille that covers the worn step below. If you step on the worn step you have literally stepped on the same step as Charles Dickens (you can sit in his chair in the chop room) Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr Samuel Johnson to name but a few. It’s 354 years of history in one step.’

2. John Snow’s water pump (and the cure for cholera)

‘If you happen to be around the Carnaby Street area, take a two-minute walk to The John Snow pub on Broadwick Street (formally Broad Street). Outside is the water pump that John Snow, the eminent epidemiologist, in 1854 discovered was the source of the local cholera epidemic. He subsequently found the vaccine for cholera. Millions of lives have been saved because of one man and a pump.’

3. The Tyburn tree plaque

‘In the traffic triangle at the junction of Marble Arch and Edgware Road is a small plaque. It notes the area of an execution gallows that stood here from 1571 to 1783. 1,100 people were executed, mostly for highway robbery and murder but also for other crimes such as theft and treason. Oliver Cromwell was hanged here for treason. When Jack Shepherd, a thief famous for escaping from prison numerous times, was hanged here in 1724 – up to 200,000 people, one third of London’s population, attended.’

 A film scout shares his favourite filming locations

A principal ballet dancer on three albums to walk around London to

Foraged plants
Image: Shutterstock

A horticultural expert on things you can forage

News City Life

When you live in a big, largely grey, city it can be easy to feel a bit like: What the hell would I even go looking for if I went foraging here? Here's Amanda Brame, the horticultural director at iconic restaurant/garden centre Petersham Nurseries for her top tips on snacks you can easily find in London’s woodland, hedgerows and fields.

Advertising
Photograph: Shutterstock/Time Out
Photograph: Shutterstock/Time Out

A drawing teacher on the London statues to sketch

News City Life

There are many reasons to head out into the city with drawing pencils and a sketchpad. The main one being that it makes you look sexy and intellectual even if you can barely draw a stick figure. We asked Brixton Life Drawing's Anya and Bex for their top tips for the best London statues to spend an afternoon sketching.

Advertising
Photograph: Tristram Kenton
Photograph: Tristram Kenton

A principal ballet dancer selects three albums to walk around London to

News City Life

We think it's pretty fair to say that, when you spend hours dancing every day, you're going to hear some songs. Long songs, short songs, fast songs, slow songs – you're going to discover songs that are good to move to and songs that are bad. That's certainly the case for Sarah Lamb, a principal dancer with The Royal Ballet. 

 

Photograph: Shutterstock
Photograph: Shutterstock

Deliveroo riders reveal their favourite places to cycle in London

News City Life

Who knows London's cycle lanes and shortcuts better than anyone else in the city? Bike couriers and takeaway riders, that's who. While many of us have spent the past year looping the same route around our neighbourhood again and again, like hamsters in a giant wheel, they've been racing through streets across town, getting all our lockdown impulse purchases to us on time.

Advertising
Advertising
Curated cornershops
Photograph: Andy Parsons

Top chefs select their favourite cornershops in London

Shopping

We’ve asked some of our favourite chefs to reveal the cornershops, local stores and mini-supermarket they love. Their answers reveal hidden gems on London’s high streets – from sustainability heroes to spots with top fruit and veg to places to go for unusual ingredients 

Advertising
Advertising
Recommended

    You may also like

      Support Time Out

      We see you’re using an ad-blocker. Ad revenue is Time Out’s main source of income. The content you’re reading is made by independent, expert local journalists.

      Support Time Out directly today and help us champion the people and places which make the city tick. Cheers!

      Donate now
      Advertising