London City airport 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 Lever Gallery on Goswell Road – make sure you plan ahead, as the gallery is appointment-only. The Barbican lies to the south, where a vast entertainment complex covers film, dance, art, live music and more. And, Bounce Farringdon is a bar for ballers (ping-pong ballers, that is…).
Fergus Henderson’s temple to nose-to-tail eating, St John Bar & Restaurant, 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, proves his culinary prowess. The three-floor building opposite the meat market houses a relaxed café-bar, elegant wine rooms serving homemade nibbles, a second-floor restaurant with a Mediterranean influence, and a top-floor dining room that celebrates rare-breed and organic British meats. Russell Norman heads up Brutto at 35-37 Greenhill Rents, Cowcross Street. Offering a Florence-meets-New-York inspired menu, Brutto offers a modern take on traditional Italian cuisine. Don’t leave without samping the pork tonnato and tuscan beef.
You’ll instantly feel at home in Bench Cafe, a stylish space with an open courtyard in the heart of Clerkenwell, where you can enjoy homemade rolls, avocado toast, and expertly crafted coffee.
Have a pint at Fox & Anchor, 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.) The Holy Tavern is a delightfully ricketty drinkery housed in an 18th-century building; it has impeccable taste in craft ales. Sink a few pints there then stop into the Zetter Townhouse Clerkenwell for a quirky nightcap: perhaps a Woodland Realm with elf oil and Cognac? Or the sparkling Eternal Martini? Amble along to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese for another historic night out, a 17th-century pub where the likes of Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used to wet their whistles.