Sandwiched between Clerkenwell and the City, Farringdon is a popular after-work drinks destination. And to be fair the pubs are pretty decent around here. But don't limit yourself to the watering holes - this part of town is a world class food hub too, from the much lauded St John's (don't take your veggie first date here) to tiny tapas bar Morito and the atmospheric Quality Chop House. It's also the home of Smithfield Market - one of the largest meat markets in Europe and the little-known (and only occasionally open) Barts Pathology Museum. Plus for visitors to the city, it's a charming - and vibrant spot to stay. And a good alternative to well-trodden Soho or Covent Garden.
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Best bits of Farringdon
14 reasons to go to Leather Lane, EC1
Don’t be fooled by its sartorial-sounding name: leather is no longer readily available here. Instead this scenic street, nestled between the hustle and bustle of Gray’s Inn and Farringdon Roads, and running parallel to the jewellery trade hub of Hatton Garden, is a haven for food lovers. Leather Lane mixes the best of traditional London with the new. Its down-to-earth weekday market – which has been operating for a staggering 400 years – is one of the city’s best and is constantly evolving, these days feeding the suited lunchtime worker crowd. Meanwhile innovative, independent, and – dare I say it – kind of hipstery restaurants and coffee shops are springing up on the street all the time. Surprisingly for somewhere so central, Leather Lane is also majorly residential, which has fostered a greater sense of community than you’ll find in most parts of the City. The Friends of Leather Lane Market group and Leather Lane Stars project work hard to preserve this; it’s them you can thank for helping to retain the lane’s unique character and independent spirit. Okay, yes, there is a Pret, a Subway and a Greggs, so you’re sorted for sandwiches – but apart from that, you’d be hard pressed to find any major chains setting up shop here. Drink this A photo posted by Camylla Vitorio (@camytomylife) on Aug 5, 2016 at 8:16am PDT Microbrewed cask ales from the Sir Christopher Hatton, a cosy traditional pub with outdoor tables for those rare sunny days. Craft beer, obviously,
So you’ve never been to Barts Pathology Museum?
Here’s our guide to the most morbid museum in London, as it opens its doors for free this month. What’s the deal? Carla Valentine, technical curator at Barts Pathology Museum, is one of the pioneers of the ‘death positivity’ movement, which holds the idea that hiding death and dying behind closed doors does more harm than good. And, true to her ethos, she and her colleagues are inviting Londoners to explore this Victorian museum where the shelves are lined with human specimens in glass jars. Sounds terrifying. How do I get in? The museum’s archive is normally reserved for the nervous hands of medical students, who practise their slicing and dicing on cadavers. But London’s morbid secret is going to be accessible to the public for two rare open days this month. So what does this museum actually have on show? One vintage organ that calls Barts Pathology Museum home is a ‘tight lacer’s liver’ from 1907, deformed by the persistent tightening of corset strings. You can also see the photographs of Mia-Jane Harris, which capture the delicate minutiae of human eyes and other wet specimens suspended in preservative. Isn’t this all a bit too creepy? Barts isn’t about indulging in gallows humour. Valentine believes that seeing these remains can help ‘open up a dialogue about death, and what happens after we die’. So get ready for some cheery dinner-table chat. St Bartholomew’s Hospital. St Paul’s. Aug 8 and Aug 22, 1pm-4pm, reserve your place here. Free. Feeling adventurous? Try
Over its 16 years, Fabric has established itself as one of London's clubbing landmarks – a reputation built through consistently high quality programming that showcases all strands of the UK's electronic music underground. Located in a former meatpacking warehouse, the club's three rooms are brought to life every weekend with the finest low-frequencies and the deepest grooves in town, as the hip crowds that pack out the dancefloor will testify. FabricLive on Fridays is all about the bass, with regular sets from heavyweight drum 'n' bass don DJ Hype and his Playaz crew, alongside various other scene leaders from garage and dubstep, and rising UK bass producers playing throughout the club. Saturdays are usually led by long-standing Fabric DJs and programmers Craig Richards and Terry Francis, who bring in an A-list cast to relay techno, house, disco, Italo, minimal and other deep, hypnotic grooves. You might find Chilean-German techno warrior Ricardo Villalobos playing one of his legendary extended sets, or perhaps a Chicago house legend ripping things up, or even the finest new DJ talent from around the globe at parties like Daniel Avery's Divided Love.Things don't slow down on Sundays, either: Long-running weekly party WetYourSelf fires up at 11pm every Sunday, offering all kinds of deep house, funky techno, cosmic disco and Italo grooves until 8am on Monday morning. Whatever your taste in clubs and clubbing, Fabric is bound to have something for you, making it an essential s
Smithfield Market (also known as London Central Market) provides a colourful link to an age when the quality of British beef was a symbol of national virility and good humour. Designed by Horace Jones, Smithfield opened for business in 1868 and early risers will still find meat and poultry (though no livestock) traders setting up their stalls at first light inside the metal structure with its ornate arched ceiling and bizarre colour scheme (white, purple, blue and green). Nowadays Smithfield is also notable for its swanky eateries, odd neighbour, club Fabric.
Restaurants in Farringdon
High-end cuisine, new bistronomy… call it what you will, the food at this pared-back City restaurant pushes plenty of envelopes in its pursuit of gustatory satisfaction. Seasonal British ingredients take centre-stage as the kitchen presents a cavalcade of masterful compositions that will put your Instagram account into overdrive. How about dark chocolate délice with beer and ceps for pud? Ooh-aah!
Ask for Janice
Named after an obscure Beastie Boys track, this super-friendly, all-day bar/café is a Brooklyn-esque mishmash of vintage classroom chairs and tacked-on polaroids. With more than 40 gins, countless cocktails and good coffee on offer, it’s a favoured lair for the laptop-tapping crowd, although the voguish sharing-plates menu is a big pull too: we liked the plump carrot fritters.
Berber & Q Shawarma Bar
A pocket-sized offshoot of Haggerston’s feted Middle Eastern grill, Berber & Q’s Exmouth Market outpost is great for a boozy catch-up over some dirty cocktails and spit-roasted meat (with a rice bowl or pita). Veggies fear not – the menu is also stuffed with flesh-free mezze and dishes such as blackened aubergine or a shawarma riff involving cauliflower and juicy sultanas. Lush ice-cream desserts too.
Former pop-up Breddos is now in the big time – and making the most of its dinky Clerkenwell hideaway. Ogle the wall of disco records while you sit elbow-to-elbow at a communal table – no worries, the food will get you talking. Creative global tacos are the headline acts, and they’re mould-breakers: honey-glazed smoked aubergine with chocolate nut mole and feta, anyone?
Bars and pubs in Farringdon
Cafes in Farringdon
Hotels in Farringdon
The Zetter Hotel
Zetter is a fun, laid-back, modern hotel with some interesting design notes. There’s a refreshing lack of attitude and a forward-looking approach, with friendly staff and firm eco-credentials (such as free Brompton bikes for guests’ use). The rooms, stacked up on five galleried storeys around an impressive atrium, look into an intimate and recently refreshed bar area. They are smoothly functional, but cosied up with choice home comforts such as hot-water bottles and old Penguin paperbacks, as well as having walk-in showers with REN smellies. The downstairs is home to Club Zetter, while the fabulous Zetter Townhouse, in a historic building just across the square, has a fantastic cocktail bar and far cuddlier rooms with a hip vintage feel.
The Clerk & Well Pub and Rooms
Located in the trendy area of Clerkenwell, The Clerk & Well Pub and Rooms offers a restaurant, a bar and en suite accommodation with free WiFi. The property is just 8 minutes’ walk from Farringdon Station. All the rooms at The Clerk & Well Pub and Rooms feature a seating area and a Smart TV with free Netflix movies. The en suite bathrooms come with free toiletries, bathrobes and slippers. Tea/coffee making facilities are also available in the rooms. Excellent Pan-Asian food is served for lunch and dinner at the restaurant. Guests can also unwind enjoying a drink at the pub. Local market and amenities can be found in the area. Nearby popular attractions include St Paul’s Cathedral and the British Museum, both within 18 minutes’ walk. London Heathrow Airport is just over 1 hour away by public transport.
Fox & Anchor
Check in at the handsome attached boozer and you’ll be pointed to the separate front entrance for the hotel, with its lovely floor mosaic, leading to a handful of well-appointed, atmospheric and surprisingly luxurious rooms. All are different, but the high-spec facilities (big flatscreen TV, roll-top bath and drench shower) and quirky attention to detail (bottles of ale in the minibar, the ‘Nursing hangover’ privacy signs) are common throughout. Expect some clanking noise in the early mornings as the traders roll in, but proximity to the historic Smithfield meat market also means you get a feisty fry-up in the morning in the pub.
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Purpose-built in 1998 on the site of the original seventeenth-century theatre of the same name, this dazzling complex is home to an impressive line-up of local and international dance talent. While remaining accessible in its programme, Sadler's Wells puts on strong, often critically acclaimed, shows that cover tango, flamenco (watch out for the annual Flamenco Festival), hip hop, classical and contemporary ballet as well as Matthew Bourne's special brand of populist dance. The Angel venue's name dates back to the 1680s when the theatre discovered a medicinal well whose water was said to have health-giving properties. You can still look down the well today, though the days of taking a quick dip before a show are long gone. In addition to the main theatre, the smaller Lilian Baylis Studio offers smaller-scale new works and works in progress, while the Peacock Theatre (on Portugal Street in Holborn) operates as a satellite venue.