London City airport (www.londoncityairport.com) is eight miles away, and runs regular flights to over 30 destinations, including Paris, New York, Edinburgh and Barcelona.
King's Cross St Pancras is less than two miles away, served by Virgin and First Capital Connect (www.nationalrail.co.uk). Farringdon tube station is just steps away (www.tfl.gov.uk).
With such great public transport connections (and bearing in mind the congestion charge), it makes no sense to bring a car; instead, live like the locals and zip around by bus, train or Tube.
Worth getting out of bed for
Explore the two-mile Clerkenwell Historic Trail; admire the mediaeval priory of St John, the nunnery of St Mary, Farringdon Road (which lies above Old Fleet River) and St. John Street, which was once the ancient drovers' route down to Smithfield Market. Speaking of which, Smithfield, or London Central Markets, has been the site of a livestock market for over 800 years. Navigate the walk yourself, or join a guided tour. Hop on the bus to Spitalfields Market and trawl the stalls: Thursdays are dedicated to antiques and vintage; Fridays are art- and fashion-focused; on weekends, it’s a mixed bag (no stalls on Saturday). Browse the exhibitions at Rainbird Fine Art gallery (+44 (0)20 7608 3333) at 114 Clerkenwell Road.
Fergus Henderson’s temple to nose-to-tail eating, St John Bar & Restaurant (+44 (0)20 3301 8069), is set in a former smokehouse just around the corner from Spitalfield’s market at 26 St John Street. Headline dishes include bone marrow on toast, lamb tongue salad, and chitterling chips. John Torode is famous for his TV appearances, but his London restaurant, Smiths of Smithfield (+44 (0)20 7251 7950), proves his culinary prowess. The three-floor building opposite the meat market houses a relaxed café-bar, elegant wine rooms serving home-made nibbles, a second-floor restaurant with a Mediterranean influence, and a top-floor dining room that celebrates rare-breed and organic British meats. Mark Hix heads up Hix Oyster & Chop House (+44 (0)20 7017 1930) at 36–37 Greenhill Rents, Cowcross Street. The building was once a sausage factory, then a fish restaurant; plenty of original features remain, including a marble and wooden oyster bar and the original wooden flooring and panelling. Don’t leave without sampling the eponymous shellfish, and don’t look too closely at the photos on the toilet door. Sample inventive British cuisine at Coach & Horses (+44 (0)20 7278 8990) at 26–28 Ray Street, Clerkenwell. Typical dishes include rabbit and pork terrine with medlar jelly and toast, roast mallard with red cabbage, and buttermilk pudding with elderberries and cinnamon doughnuts.
Pop along to Workshop Coffee Co (+44 (0)20 7253 5754) on Clerkenwell Road for amazing coffee and even-more-amazing brunches (we love the huge Mexican-style corn fritters with spinach, grilled halloumi and poached eggs).
Sip Portuguese wine and sample petiscos (Latin tapas) at Portal (+44 (0)20 7253 6950). The restaurant and wine bar are housed in a sleek glasshouse at 88 St John Street. Redhook (+44 (0)20 7065 6800) at 89 Turnmill Street has a cocktail and oyster bar, and serves up succulent seafood and steaks in its restaurant. Have a pint at Fox & Anchor (+44 (0)20 72 501300), a cosy pub at 115 Charterhouse Street; if you’re feeling hungry, nibble on Scotch eggs with curried mayonnaise or opt for a hearty main (typical offerings include rabbit and cider with thyme and bacon dumplings, and monkfish cheeks with cockles and mussels.)