NFT Travel Guides: Pubs and Stinky Cheese in London

Ed Forteau's picture

One of our travel guides partners, Not For Tourists, has several unique offerings on their website this week. Check out the following
highlights from their London correspondents...


Pub of Yore

By Claire Storrow

Royal Exchange

You'll have to excuse the shoddy photo attached to this here report telling you about all that's good and fine about London but frankly I almost don't want to tell you about this place and if the picture is no clue to what it looks like, so much the better. Because, come closer dear traveller, this really is one of those pubs spoken of in legend, yeah, like in "the old days." Walk by this small corner tavern and you'll be forgiven for thinking the chalkboard listing beef and ale pie and roast lunches for somewhere around the £5 mark either lies or indicates nasty reheated, flabby mulch parading as a pub lunch. Nope, this pub is Irish and bejayzus the Irish ladies in the kitchen know how to cook. And their husbands know how to prop up the bar with lively banter (occasionally spoiling for a fight amongst themselves after one Murphy's too many but they mean no harm). If regulars like the crazy lady who drinks white wine and talks to herself are not your bag well fair do's I won't persuade you to make a visit. And I won't mention the salt beef sarnies on Fridays.


Sweet Smell of Success

By Trevor Baker

Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen

Many of the best music venues in London are old cinemas but this one, on the site of the old Lux Cinema, isn’t one of those grandiose Edwardian palaces. It’s a dark place that, since the smoking ban, smells slightly of vomit. This means that the best place to be is out on the terrace at the front, with its prime location right on the very cool Hoxton Square. Inside it’s much bigger than it looks with more rooms than seem possible from outside, and a very large music venue at the back. To fully appreciate the “kitchen” bit they’d probably have to do something about the smell but they’re getting much better at putting decent bands on with reasonable sound.



By Anne Seymour

Big Ben

There are some cultural icons which are worth sacrificing to the tourists. Let the visiting hordes whirr contentedly in the London Eye, and they'll keep their backpack-wearing, wrong-side-of-the-escalator-standing habits out of our way everywhere else. But Big Ben is another matter. It may be a flirt, with its phallic protrusion on the skyline and its seductive dongs making it the most popular symbol of London overseas, but really it's all ours--the ultimate Not For Tourists attraction. Yes, the tourists can block the traffic islands to get their hilarious photos of the clocktower coming out of their head, but going UP Big Ben? Dream on, Johnny Foreigner: that's a little treat just for UK citizens. Overseas visitors can't actually get inside it (an approach which a few more British girls may like to adopt). So if you ever fancy making a tourist drop their fish and chips in open-mouthed envy, just ask your MP to schedule a tour (they're obliged to help arrange bookings: tax well spent). The waiting list is between 3-6 months, but it's free, and it's BIG BEN.


Out of Place, Out of Sight

BY Claire Storrow

Le Beaujolais

Aaaah, le vin, le pain, le stinky cheese. Where in London can you find some genuine bonhomie, un peu de joie de vivre, and yes, some really stinky cheese? Slap bang in the middle of Soho of course! This little find reminds me of an expat's bar in the far-flung reaches of Africa or Far East. "But why is it in Centrale Londinium and run by thee cheese-eating surrender monkeys from across the Channel," ye cry? Because Continental Europeans have a marvellous way of setting up home in any part of the world--and it really could be anywhere, it makes no difference where, but they always manage to successfully transplant a piece of the motherland just as it is and annoyingly effortlessly. Perhaps it is a state of mind but all the food and wine here is also imported directly from France. At the bar you will jostle elbows with moustachioed Gallic regulars as well as the after-work crowd looking for a little je ne sais quoi. Good wine, good food, good conversation--what more do you want?  


House of Hos (and Arts)

By Trevor Baker

Lauderdale House

Highgate High Street has got two of those crap chain cafes where they sell dishwater coffee exclusively in large bucket, or small bucket sizes, so they can justify the ridiculous price tag. Luckily, walking up Highgate Hill, before you get to those dismal imitations of cafe culture, you come across the glorious Lauderdale House. A mini-stately home that once housed King Charles II's bit-on-the-side, comic actress and general ho-a-la-mode Nell Gwyne, it backs on to one of the most beautiful green spaces in London, Waterlow Park. It's also an arts centre and an occasional gallery. Forget all that though. They have a cafe, which sells coffee that actually tastes nice, as well as delicious Pecan Pie. 


For more London offerings, please see:



Check out their website - they have free downloadable guides, maps, gear, and of course, the travel guide books. Not to mention, they are pretty funny people. I am always laughing when I visit their site, or read their newsletter.

Not For Tourists has offered a coupon for Wandering Educators - please use the coupon code: WE for a 10% discount.


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