Having lived in London for years we used to know the city pretty well. However, since dipping in and out of Rachel Felder’s splendid book ‘Insider London’ we realise that we are sadly out of touch with what is going on in this vibrant, exciting city.
Following a short Introduction ‘Insider London’ is divided into three sections – City Essentials, Shops, and Food & Drink.
‘City Essentials’ covers Hotels, Museums and Galleries, Parks…Open Spaces, Live Music and Theatres. There aren’t any pictures in this section but the excellent précis of each of the various attractions more than compensates.
‘Shops’ takes us from the world of Department Stores through a number of specialist retail outlets and boutiques to Markets.
We will be making a bee-line for several of them including Postcard Teas in Dering St for their delicious selection of teas.
Whilst we are not into bell-ringing we will be heading for the historic Whitechapel Bell Foundry (where the Liberty Bell was made).
Evidently the Foundry not only offers occasional tours of the workshop but also some original gifts. Neither do we smoke but we do have some friends who enjoy a cigar. A visit to Sautter Cigars in Mount Street might solve one or two Christmas present problems.
Food and Drink
The ‘Food and Drink’ section had our name written right across the pages. Where to try first?
Clarke’s in Kensington Church Street must be investigated not only for the restaurant but also for its bakery and grocery across the road. And whilst we have walked past the Newman Arms in Rathbone St, several times we have not yet called in. The pub dates back to 1730 but it is the lure of their partnership with the Cornwall Project supplying fresh first class produce from Cornwall which is what is attracting us.
And if it is a coffee or cup of tea we are in need of Rachel Felder has a selection of coffee and tea bars for us too. Perfect.
Finally at the end of each entry not only is the website, phone number and address included but also the nearest tube station. We approve.
Insider London, Rachel Felder. ISBN: 978-0-06-244446-2. UK £16.99; USA $26.99; CAN $33.50. Harper Design / Harper Collins Publishers. www.hc.com