An Insider’s Guide to London

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Since 2002, Urban Junkies has been providing Londoners with news about the latest openings and trends, as well as insider guides to global destinations. The UJ guide for YOTEL London is our pick of where we would visit in the city. We’ve tried to give you a couple of recommendations that are close to the hotel, as well as a few picks further afield to explore. Follow us on Instagram for our latest global finds. Whatever you do, have a great trip!

 

Padella, Shoreditch

Pasta for sharing. If you’re a pasta lover, it doesn’t get better than Padella. Pull up a stool (we recommend bar dining over tables) or sit outside if the weather is nice, and get ready to dine. Favourite dishes include the pici…

Padella, Shoreditch

Pasta for sharing.

If you’re a pasta lover, it doesn’t get better than Padella. Pull up a stool (we recommend bar dining over tables) or sit outside if the weather is nice, and get ready to dine. Favourite dishes include the pici cacio e pepe, and pappardelle with eight-hour Dexter beef shin ragu. The mini martinis are a great way to start and they have wines on tap. Pasta dishes are extremely reasonable (from £4) and are meant for sharing; we say order two dishes each.

Top Tip
If you’re in Borough Market, their smaller, original location is there.

Details
1 Phipp St, Hackney, EC2A 4PS
@padella_pasta

Distance from YOTEL London
20 minute walk, 9 minute cycle or 15 minute Uber drive

Hoppers, Soho

Sri-Lankan inspired street food. This small restaurant has a lot of charm. If you’re lucky, get a table by the window and watch the world go by as you dine on street food-inspired hoppers and karis (curry), roasts and kothus (chop…

Hoppers, Soho

Sri-Lankan inspired street food.

This small restaurant has a lot of charm. If you’re lucky, get a table by the window and watch the world go by as you dine on street food-inspired hoppers and karis (curry), roasts and kothus (chopped roti with egg/veg/meat). The interiors are warm, with woods and copper, bricks, tile and soft lighting. Don’t leave without a hot butter chilli paneer.  Their cocktails, especially the Arrack Attack No 3, are great too.

Top Tip
There are a few Hoppers in London, but we like the Soho one best.

Details
49 Frith St, Soho, W1D 4SG
@hopperslondon

Distance from YOTEL London
31 minute walk, 12 minute cycle, 20 minute Uber drive

Lina Stores, Soho

Date night sorted. A mint and cream colour palette sets the stage for this mid-century Italian gem. The first restaurant for the 75+ year old Italian deli, here you’ll find pastas like taglioni with black truffles and parmesan and…

Lina Stores, Soho

Date night sorted.

A mint and cream colour palette sets the stage for this mid-century Italian gem. The first restaurant for the 75+ year old Italian deli, here you’ll find pastas like taglioni with black truffles and parmesan and linguine with fresh crab, as well as panini, antipasto and a range of gelati and sorbets. Sit at the 12-seater counter or dine downstairs; this is one of the few places where a basement isn’t depressing.

Top Tip
The best seats in the house on a good day are the three stools outside on the windowsill, looking in.

Details
51 Greek St, Soho, W1D 4EH
@linastores

Distance from YOTEL London
20 minute walk, 9 minute cycle or 15 minute Uber drive

Morito, Exmouth Market

Exmouth market gem. Sibling to the older, more formal Moro, Morito serves innovative Moorish cuisine in a small, bustling venue in the festoon-lit market. An orange formica bar is backdrop to flavourful cuisine including Spanish d…

Morito, Exmouth Market

Exmouth market gem.

Sibling to the older, more formal Moro, Morito serves innovative Moorish cuisine in a small, bustling venue in the festoon-lit market. An orange formica bar is backdrop to flavourful cuisine including Spanish dishes like padron peppers, patatas bravas and tortilla, and small plates like crispy aubergine with whipped feta and date molasses, grilled squid with garlic and parsley, and chicharrones. Come early and stay late.

Top Tip
We recommend facing outside over sitting at the main bar. They have a couple outdoor tables, too.

Details
32 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QE
@moritotapas

Distance from YOTEL London
10 minute walk, 15 minute bus journey

The Palomar, Chinatown

Lebanese with a side of stool dance. What do you get when you take siblings who are the ex-owners of the acclaimed End nightclub, a neon sign, great soundtrack and modern Jerusalem menu? A very good night out. Sit at the counter,…

The Palomar, Chinatown

Lebanese with a side of stool dance.

What do you get when you take siblings who are the ex-owners of the acclaimed End nightclub, a neon sign, great soundtrack and modern Jerusalem menu? A very good night out. Sit at the counter, start with a kubaneh (a fresh out-of-the oven popover-style bread), move on to glazed octopus, fennel and chilli salad, polenta with truffle, and for dessert, a spicy chocolate ganache. This is truly one of our absolute favourite spots.

Top Tip
Insider info: Layo, one of the owners, is the DJ of Layo and Bushwacka! fame, hence the amazing music and vibes.

Details
34 Rupert St, West End, W1D 6DN
@palomarsoho

Distance from YOTEL London
34 minute walk, 30 minute bus journey, 30 minute Uber drive

P. Franco, Clapton

Small plates and natural wines. This tiny Clapton wine shop and bar serves natural vinos, with small plates by guest chefs. This is a foodie’s fave and a great neighbourhood spot – check to see who’s cooking before you go. They al…

P. Franco, Clapton

Small plates and natural wines.

This tiny Clapton wine shop and bar serves natural vinos, with small plates by guest chefs. This is a foodie’s fave and a great neighbourhood spot – check to see who’s cooking before you go. They also own Peg, Noble Fine Liquor and Bright.

Top Tip
Do get a bottle or bag of wine to takeaway.

Details
107 Lower Clapton Rd, Lower Clapton, E5 0NP
@pfranco_e5

Distance from YOTEL London
46 minute bus, 30 minute Uber drive

Bistrotheque, Bethnal Green

A long-standing fave. Some places don’t date, and Bistrotheque is one of them. For a work breakfast, long lunch or late candlelit dinner, this is the spot. White tablecloths and warehouse vibes are a great foundation to the ever-i…

Bistrotheque, Bethnal Green

A long-standing fave.

Some places don’t date, and Bistrotheque is one of them. For a work breakfast, long lunch or late candlelit dinner, this is the spot. White tablecloths and warehouse vibes are a great foundation to the ever-inspiring menu. For brunch, it’s baked polenta with burrata, and for dinner it’s a ribeye with mushrooms and truffle or schnitzel. Great classics, with excellent cocktails.

Top Tip
Do try their other restaurant, Hoi Polloi, on Shoreditch High Street.

Details

23-27 Wadeson St, London E2 9DR
@bistrotheque

Distance from YOTEL London
31 minute tube journey, 22 minute Uber drive

Angelina, Dalston

Japanese-Italian in Dalston. Japanese-Italian, it’s a thing. Don’t believe us? Then get yourself to Angelina for their 10-course small plate menu with optional pairings. Dishes include things like Sicilian red prawns with roasted…

Angelina, Dalston

Japanese-Italian in Dalston.

Japanese-Italian, it’s a thing. Don’t believe us? Then get yourself to Angelina for their 10-course small plate menu with optional pairings. Dishes include things like Sicilian red prawns with roasted rice powder, tomato tempura with anchovy pesto, and unagi risotto. The dining room is minimal east London chic with Japanese touches, and the hidden bar at the back is worth staying on after for a cocktail.

Top Tip
As always, we recommend you sit at the bar to watch the chefs do their thing.

Details
56 Dalston Lane, Dalston, E8 3AH
@angelina_dalston

Distance from YOTEL London
44 minute tube journey, 23 minute Uber drive

Quality Chop House

These chips…! This 151-year-old ex-working men’s ‘eating house’-turned-mod British dining room, wine bar and provisions shop just keeps getting better. Come here for a meat-heavy menu in a cosy environment – they have a great wine…

Quality Chop House

These chips…!

This 151-year-old ex-working men’s ‘eating house’-turned-mod British dining room, wine bar and provisions shop just keeps getting better. Come here for a meat-heavy menu in a cosy environment – they have a great wine selection, and always have specials by the glass. Don’t leave without trying their confit potatoes.

Top Tip
Try their two- (£29) or three-course (£35) Sunday menu.

Details
88-94 Farringdon Rd, Farringdon, EC1R 3EA
@qualitychop

Distance from YOTEL London
9 minute walk

Sadler’s Wells

Dance, dance, dance. Even if you’re not a dance fan, dance here is as good as it gets, and a great way to spend an evening. Book in advance as these shows sell out and make sure you book at Sadler’s Wells (not their other location…

Sadler’s Wells

Dance, dance, dance.

Even if you’re not a dance fan, dance here is as good as it gets, and a great way to spend an evening. Book in advance as these shows sell out and make sure you book at Sadler’s Wells (not their other locations, Peacock Theatre and Lilian Baylis Studios) if you want to be close to the hotel.

Top Tip
Have dinner at Exmouth Market first (Moro or Morito) and then walk over to Sadler’s.

Details
Rosebery Ave, Clerkenwell, EC1R 4TN
@Sadlers_Wells

Distance from YOTEL London
10 minute walk

magCulture

Print’s not dead! Love magazines? Then make sure you pop into magCulture. With over 500 different international magazines, if you can’t find it here, we’re not sure it’s worth having; these guys know their titles! They make custom…

magCulture

Print’s not dead!

Love magazines? Then make sure you pop into magCulture. With over 500 different international magazines, if you can’t find it here, we’re not sure it’s worth having; these guys know their titles! They make custom magazines too, should you be looking for someone to collaborate with.

Top Tip
If you’re in Marylebone and want to check out another print great, visit Shreeji Newsagents, a London fave since ‘82.

Details
270 St John St, Clerkenwell, EC1V 4PE
@magculture

Distance from YOTEL London
10 minute walk, 15 minute bus

The Barbican Centre

A brutalist institution. The building alone is worth a visit, but here you’ll also find an arts centre that includes a concert hall for 2,000, a theatre, cinemas, a library and several wining and dining options including a martini…

The Barbican Centre

A brutalist institution.

The building alone is worth a visit, but here you’ll also find an arts centre that includes a concert hall for 2,000, a theatre, cinemas, a library and several wining and dining options including a martini bar and Italian restaurant, Osteria.

Top Tip
Don’t leave without visiting their shop – their prints are wall-worthy.

Details
Silk St, Barbican, EC2Y 8DS
@barbicancentre

Distance from YOTEL London
14 minute walk, 18 minute bus journey

Satan’s Whiskers, Bethnal Green

Bethnal Green cocktail bar. If you ask anyone who knows their drinks in London, this will likely come up as one of their favourite venues. Laid-back, with good music (usually hip hop), low lighting, a great industry crowd, and, of…

Satan’s Whiskers, Bethnal Green

Bethnal Green cocktail bar.

If you ask anyone who knows their drinks in London, this will likely come up as one of their favourite venues. Laid-back, with good music (usually hip hop), low lighting, a great industry crowd, and, of course, excellent drinks that focus on top spirits and ingredients. This is one small, spirited spot.

Top Tip

They have a snack menu here, but if you’re hungry for dinner, make a reservation at the Town Hall’s restaurant, Corner Room, across the street.

Details
343 Cambridge Heath Rd, E2 9RA
@satans_whiskers

Distance from YOTEL London
20 minute tube journey, 22 minute Uber drive

Sager + Wilde, Hackney Road

Wine and toasties. Numerous wine bars have come and gone in London, but this is a constant fave: low-key and always bustling, with an excellent wine list and great toasties (do not leave without eating a toastie).  If it’s a nice…

Sager + Wilde, Hackney Road

Wine and toasties.

Numerous wine bars have come and gone in London, but this is a constant fave: low-key and always bustling, with an excellent wine list and great toasties (do not leave without eating a toastie).  If it’s a nice day, try to get a table outside (there are only a couple), or if it’s late, squeeze in and take advantage of the cosy, low lit, exposed-brick atmosphere.

Top Tip
If you’d like to try something new, tell the staff what you like, and see what they recommend.

Details
193 Hackney Rd, E2 8JL
@sagerandwilde

Distance from YOTEL London
24 minute bus journey, 17 minute Uber drive

The Horseshoe, Farringdon

Traditional pub with hipster crowd. This is exactly as it says on the tin: an old English pub with the largest local beer garden. They also have a good selection of ales on tap, dartboards upstairs, and live music on some nights.…

The Horseshoe, Farringdon

Traditional pub with hipster crowd.

This is exactly as it says on the tin: an old English pub with the largest local beer garden. They also have a good selection of ales on tap, dartboards upstairs, and live music on some nights. People love this place, and the clientele mixes a skater/hip crowd with local and city workers.

Top Tip
They are only open Monday-Friday.

Details
24 Clerkenwell Close, Farringdon, EC1R 0AG

Distance from YOTEL London
5 minute walk

Columbia Road Flower Market

Sunday spot. Even if you’re not in the market for flowers (i.e. you’re travelling), this is a great place to spend a Sunday morning. Open from 8AM to approx. 2PM, come here for Bloody Marys and a stroll. Here you’ll find antique a…

Columbia Road Flower Market

Sunday spot.

Even if you’re not in the market for flowers (i.e. you’re travelling), this is a great place to spend a Sunday morning. Open from 8AM to approx. 2PM, come here for Bloody Marys and a stroll. Here you’ll find antique and record shops and smaller independent boutiques, with pubs and restaurants along the main strip. The flowers here are also the best deals around.

Top Tip
Do barter for your flowers; it’s part of the fun (and if you’re looking for deals, come right before they close). And if you see a table at Campania and Jones, grab it!

Details
Columbia Rd, E2 7RG

Distance from YOTEL London
23 minute bus journey, 17 minute Uber drive

Design Museum, Kensington

If you visit one museum… Winner of the 2018 European Museum Award, this architecturally stunning building is dedicated to contemporary design. From product, industrial and graphic to fashion and architectural design, you’ll find i…

Design Museum, Kensington

If you visit one museum

Winner of the 2018 European Museum Award, this architecturally stunning building is dedicated to contemporary design. From product, industrial and graphic to fashion and architectural design, you’ll find it all here. There are exhibitions, talks, workshops and, of course, an excellent museum shop, too.

Top Tip

Don’t feel like carrying a souvenir around all day? Buy from their online shop.

Details
224-238 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8
@designmuseum

Distance from YOTEL London
47 minute tube journey

Phonica Records, Soho

Vinyl for days! Any DJ worth their salt passes through Phonica when they’re in London. Flip through the rows of vinyl and then settle into a listening station to go through your selection. The staff are extremely knowledgeable and…

Phonica Records, Soho

Vinyl for days!

Any DJ worth their salt passes through Phonica when they’re in London. Flip through the rows of vinyl and then settle into a listening station to go through your selection. The staff are extremely knowledgeable and we like their Phonica Ts, too.

Top Tip
There are other record stores in the neighbourhood, but this is the best. There are always interesting people in here, too, so keep your eyes peeled.

Details
51 Poland St, Soho, W1F 7LZ
@phonicarecords

Distance from YOTEL London
29 minute bus and tube journey

Regent’s Canal

London by foot. Want to get some exercise? Then walk or bike the canals. Our favourite route is from Westbourne Grove to King’s Cross (stop at Coal Drops Yard), and if you still have energy, continue on to Columbia Road Flower Mar…

Regent’s Canal

London by foot.

Want to get some exercise? Then walk or bike the canals. Our favourite route is from Westbourne Grove to King’s Cross (stop at Coal Drops Yard), and if you still have energy, continue on to Columbia Road Flower Market. The routes get very busy on the weekends, so go early or late, and bring water if it’s hot. Oh, and don’t fall in – this water does not look appealing.

Top Tip
Rather boat than walk? Try the London Shell Co. for lunch/dinner and a cruise. We have it on good authority that this is a great way to spend the day.

Distance from YOTEL London
19 minute walk, 21 minute bus journey

Dover Street Market, St James

Multi-level fashion emporium. If you love clothes, you can’t miss DSM on a London visit. Founded by Rei Kawakubo and her husband, Comme des Garçons president Adrian Joffe, they stock well-known designers as well as up-and-coming g…

Dover Street Market, St James

Multi-level fashion emporium.

If you love clothes, you can’t miss DSM on a London visit. Founded by Rei Kawakubo and her husband, Comme des Garçons president Adrian Joffe, they stock well-known designers as well as up-and-coming greats; this is where we go to discover new names. Product launches and limited-edition collabs are often released here, so do check their site before you go to make sure you don’t miss something.

Top Tip
This is one big space! Have a break mid-way through your shop in their cafe, Rose Bakery. 

Details
18-22 Haymarket, SW1Y 4DG
@doverstreetmarket

Distance from YOTEL London
37 minute walk, 35 minute tube journey, 22 minute Uber drive

Goodhood, Shoreditch

Men’s and women’s streetwear. This split-level store is London cool at its finest. The latest brands and stuff for grown-up hipsters, from clothing (men’s and women’s) and homewares to beauty, shoes, accessories – we could go on. …

Goodhood, Shoreditch

Men’s and women’s streetwear.

This split-level store is London cool at its finest. The latest brands and stuff for grown-up hipsters, from clothing (men’s and women’s) and homewares to beauty, shoes, accessories – we could go on.  Not surprisingly, there are lots of limited editions here, and it’s another place that’s great for newbies and established brands alike.

Top Tip
You’re in the heart of Shoreditch here, so start at Goodhood, then continue to explore.  They also frequently have contests online for limited-edition things, so do check their site if you’re into this sort of thing.

Details
151 Curtain Rd, Hackney, EC2A 3QE
@goodhood

Distance from YOTEL London
24 minute walk, 20 minute bus journey, 17 minute Uber drive

Glow Bar, Marylebone

Sweat it out! By now you likely know the benefits of infrared saunas – sweating is good for you! Here, they have four pods, two for single-use and two that can be used in pairs. After a long flight (or night), there really is no b…

Glow Bar, Marylebone

Sweat it out!

By now you likely know the benefits of infrared saunas – sweating is good for you! Here, they have four pods, two for single-use and two that can be used in pairs. After a long flight (or night), there really is no better rejuvenation cure than to sweat it out. They also have feel-good smoothies and elixirs to buy, too.

Top Tip
Make a booking – this is one popular spot.

Details
70 Mortimer St, Marylebone, W1W 7RY
@glowbarldn

Distance from YOTEL London
27 minute tube journey, 22 minute Uber drive

FaceGym (several locations)

Instant pick-me-up! Want a quick, non-invasive skin refresher? Then FaceGym is a good place to start. With the motto, ‘This is not a facial’, what they do is work out your face using the latest tools (rollers, gua shas, etc.) and…

FaceGym (several locations)

Instant pick-me-up!

Want a quick, non-invasive skin refresher? Then FaceGym is a good place to start. With the motto, ‘This is not a facial’, what they do is work out your face using the latest tools (rollers, gua shas, etc.) and techniques to sculpt, drain and contour your visage. Instant lift.  

Top Tip
Their Training Sticks are a great concept – just roll on and their ingredients are activated by your workout. The activated charcoal one is good for assisting a detox.

Details
Studio Finder
@facegym

GoBoats, Paddington

Cruise up the canal. Now this is a good time. Starting from Paddington, these boats can take up to eight people and travel up the canal. No boat licence is necessary and you can choose the length of time you’d like to go for (one,…

GoBoats, Paddington

Cruise up the canal.

Now this is a good time. Starting from Paddington, these boats can take up to eight people and travel up the canal. No boat licence is necessary and you can choose the length of time you’d like to go for (one, two, or three hours). Bring a picnic and make a day of it.  And if you get stuck, never fear: they come and rescue you. Truly a great day out.

Top Tip
A nautical dress code is highly recommended.

 Details
Merchant Square, Paddington, London W2 1AS

Distance from YOTEL London
30 minute tube journey

The Cinema at Selfridges, Marylebone

Posh screenings. If you like to treat yourself when you go to the cinema, then Selfridges is your spot. Book one of their plush seats and buy elevated cinema snacks like wine and cheese, flavoured popcorns and baked goods. Top Tip…

The Cinema at Selfridges, Marylebone

Posh screenings.

If you like to treat yourself when you go to the cinema, then Selfridges is your spot. Book one of their plush seats and buy elevated cinema snacks like wine and cheese, flavoured popcorns and baked goods.

Top Tip
Head to the Brasserie of Light after to drink/dine and to see the Damien Hirst crystal-encrusted, 24-foot flying Pegasus (it’s worth the walk upstairs).

Details
40 Duke St, Marylebone, W1U 1AT
@theofficialselfridges

Distance from YOTEL London
27 minute tube journey