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Locals’ LONDON

How do we Lonely Planet staf spend our weekends in our hometown? We reveal our favourite experiences and places to hang out in London


Hampstead Wanderings

One of my favourite things to do at the weekend is to set of from the very southwest end of Hampstead Heath (pictured opposite) and ramble a vaguely diagonal route north, until one of us remembers the way to the Spaniard’s Inn, right at the northwest tip. We will almost always get lost on the way. The Spaniards is one of those gloriously ancient London pubs, built as a tollgate in the 16th century and featuring in Dickens’ Pickwick Papers. It’s also, apparently, where Keats wrote Ode to a Nightingale, presumably over a pint of lovely citrus IPA.


All Change at King’s Cross

When I moved to London 25 years ago, the only time I’d go to King’s Cross was between midnight and 6am on a Sunday, in an attempt to ruin myself in clubs – Bagley’s or The Cross. Those legendary venues are long gone – and King’s Cross these days is a space for decidedly more grown-up pursuits. Granary Square is a good place to start – there’s normally something on at the weekend, maybe a food market, classic-car show or art installation, and the House of Illustration has a schedule of intriguing exhibitions. You’re not short on decent food and drink here either. The newly redeveloped Coal Drops Yard has a Middle Eastern restaurant and a vermouth bar among its many wonders, though I would head back towards St Pancras station to the German Gymnasium – I can never resist a schnitzel and this place serves one of London’s best.;;

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