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Liam Hylands

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Dry and soulless

London Bridge is a rather dry area. It's dominated by the big train station and the bridge for which the location is known isn't pretty or interesting.

It's a handy transport hub of course and home to Guy's hospital, which is an amazing place. It's also close to other, more interesting areas such as Borough and Bermondsey on either side.

But sadly there's little of interest in the area itself. Tooley Street and the Hays Gallery area are simply dull, featuring mainly chain bars and restaurants such as Cote and Gaucho.

You can walk along the river here, either in the direction of Tower Bridge or west towards the Southbank. But there isn't much to keep you here once you exit the station.

30 Jul 2022

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Actually very nice

Famous Covent Garden is a tourist hotspot and somewhere many Londoners avoid as a result. But to be fair to the place, it is actually really nice.

The old Covent Garden arcade area is pretty special to have a walk around and look at the boutique shops. The area of streets coming off the Seven Dials roundabout is lovely too and a pleasant place to go shopping. In that sense Covent Garden is much nicer that Oxford Street, although no doubt a more expensive place to shop. Oxford Street has all your big high street brands where as Covent Garden is more a place of independent shops. Catering for tourists that visit London with money to spend, I think the prices in these shops reflect that.

30 Jul 2022

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Bounce

Holborn - it's not exactly a nightlife hotspot but Bounce is good fun and open quite late, if you find yourself in the area looking for a late drink. It's a big bar and table tennis hall with tables for hire

https://www.bouncepingpong.com/locations/farringdon

30 Jul 2022

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Spectacular Cathedral

This area is worth a visit to for St Paul's Cathedral, which is truly spectacular. Wander around both outside and in to get a sense of the scale of the place.

Aside from that, the area is a bit lacking in interest. It's on the edge of London's financial district and can feel a bit officey. Having said that, the recently revamped Paternoster Square is quite pleasant.

There's a string of restaurants in front of the cathedral but it's all a bit chainy. Personally I wouldn't come into London and eat at a Pizza Express.

Head down into the backstreets behind the row of restaurants and the area is a bit more interesting. There are a couple of decent pubs there - the Rising Sun and Shaw's Booksellers.

Wander down to the river and cross the Millennium footbridge to reach the Southbank area.

27 Jul 2022

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Dull and ugly

Given it's location on the river you'd think there might be a bit more to Blackfriars than a station and a huge traffic intersection that dominates this drab central London location.

The station, largely built on bridge crossing the Thames, is actually quite impressive. But it's a disappointing place once you step outside. You're immediately confronted with several lanes of traffic heading in various directions. As you stand waiting for the lights to change, with trucks and black cabs crawling past, you see the old Blackfriar pub which gives a flavour of what this area might have been like before it was overdeveloped.

On the plus side, it's possible to catch river ferries here, which can be a fun activity.

Cycling has also become safer with better lanes put in, following a number of deaths over the years around the Ludgate Circus area.

27 Jul 2022

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Snore!

Probably the most boring place in London. What do you find in Bank? Banks and bankers.

Basically the place is crawling with suits and all the cafes and restaurants etc cater for them. Unsurprisingly they all seem to have white table cloths and ridiculous prices that only these low lives could afford to pay.

26 Jul 2022

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Lively little area just south of the river

One stop along down the northern line from London Bridge, Borough is one of those south of the river locations that many tourists, and indeed many Londoners, never make it to.

Borough market and borough high street combine to make a very cool London spot that’s a hive of activity with a huge choice of vibrant pubs, bars and restaurants to visit.

Borough market itself is well worth a visit during the day time for the stalls selling all sorts of food and drink.

26 Jul 2022

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London's Intellectual Quarter

Bloomsbury isn't a part of London you head to if you're looking for a big night out. During the day it can draw some big crowds of tourists to attractions such as the British Museum. But all-in-all Bloomsbury is a relatively quiet London neighbourhood.

Aside from the magnificent British Museum, Bloomsbury is home to an array of smaller, lesser-known museums such as the Charles Dickens Museum ( www.dickensmuseum.com ) and the Foundling Museum ( www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk ), to mention just a couple.

Bloomsbury is also home to a number of universities, such as University College London and the SOAS University and these institutions, along with the students that attend them, have a real impact on the atmosphere in Bloomsbury, whether that be in the pubs and cafes of the area or the green spaces such as Russell Square or Coram's fields.

Personally I love to visit the Lamb pub ( www.thelamblondon.com ) or the lovely Ciao Bella restaurant ( www.ciaobellarestaurant.co.uk ) on Guildford Place before watching a film at the Renoir arthouse cinema.

26 Jul 2022

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Secret finds tucked away in a Grand setting

Fitzrovia isn't the most well known part of the city. It's heavily overshadowed by Soho, it's famous and much more popular neighbour to the south. Personally, however, I love Fitzrovia and find it to be the most enjoyable part of central London.

The streets are lined with grand mansion blocks and stucco-fronted Georgian town houses. There are lovely quiet spots to while away the afternoon, such as Fitzroy Square.

Wander the streets and you'll find great restaurants such as the Italian Conchiglia ( www.conchigliaitalian.co.uk ) on Great Titchfield Street. I'd also highly recommend a drink at the beautifully stylish Wigmore ( www.the-wigmore.co.uk ), attached to the Langham hotel.

22 Jul 2022

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Tourists central

I suppose if you're a tourist visiting London then you're likely to make your way along to Piccadilly. Part of me does wonder why though.

Trafalgar square and the National Gallery are pretty impressive, as is St Martin in the Fields (get yourselves tickets to see a live classical music performance. Tickets are often available and sometimes not so expensive). Beyond that, I don't think I would bother and I certainly wouldn't linger in this part of London.

What is there to see at Piccadilly Circus? A big traffic gyratory, the modernised London Trocadero and some crappy shops selling tat. And if shops where everything is entirely unaffordable is more your thing then head down Piccadilly towards the Burlington Arcade and the Ritz hotel. I mean, really?

Then there is Leicester Square with it's terrible overpriced restaurants and bars. Packed with pickpockets.

Unless you have a pretty unlimited amount of time to spend in London I'd suggest you don't waste it around here

22 Jul 2022

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Decent nightlife despite city location

You might expect it to be pretty dull around here, given where it is. However, there are some pretty decent bars and restaurants in the Farringdon area, particularly around the old Smithfields Market. One of London's most famous clubs, Fabric, can be found here. To help dispel fears about the area being full of suits, Fabric won't even let you in if you're wearing one!

20 Jul 2022

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Increasingly trendy in spots but still pretty bleak

Being just north of Shoreditch, Hoxton is inevitably pretty cool. In some of the better known parts, particularly towards Shoreditch it's even quite nice. Hoxton Square is an attractive garden surrounded by handsome industrial buildings housing some great restaurants and bars such as Gigi's and Colours.

Over on the eastern edge, Kingsland Road is also very happening with lively bars and clubs.

Much of the area is still pretty rough though. Walking up the Hoxton Road street market area, with neglected council blocks towering over from either side, can feel downright grim.

As a neighbourhood Hoxton has definitely been on the up. Local businesses work hard and the creative types that have come in have been a massive positive. But Hoxton feels as though it's crying out for more council investment to make life better for the local people.

18 Jul 2022

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