24 hours in the heart of London
Insider Guide by Ginza co-founder Sarah Ahern
Many moons ago, when I was a student, I lived on High Holborn, and though the area is constantly changing, this part of the city will always have a very special place in my heart. From Holborn underground station you can explore Covent Garden, Soho, Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia by foot - so it’s great place to start a day of exploring.
Breakfast: try the popular-for-a-reason Hubbard & Bell menu
Hubbard & Bell serves a comforting selection of breakfast classics, ranging from fluffy buttermilk pancakes to mouth-watering steak and eggs (if you prefer to start the day on a more savoury note).
Insider tip: The delicious Origin Coffee and the selection of cold-pressed juices, including botanical concoctions such as the “Glow”, which contains pomegranate, red grape, guava, ginger, lime, rose and collagen.
Morning: check out the latest exhibition at the British Museum
Samuel Johnson may as well have written that “when a man is tired of the London’s museums, he is tired of life”. The city’s world class museums and exhibitions are numerous, and, unlike in Paris or New York, the permanent collections at the city’s national museums are all free to visit. In addition, the British Museum always has exciting limited-time only exhibitions to keep me coming back.
Lunch: get hooked on Taiwanese buns at BAO Fitzrovia
London is experiencing a bao-craze and BAO is one of the best places to sample the spongy, sweet and savoury Taiwanese buns. I recommend booking ahead to avoid disappointment.
Insider tip: I love all the items on the menu, but I have a special soft spot for the fried chicken bao.
Afternoon: discover the garden squares and striking architecture of Bloomsbury
To see the less touristy side of Bloomsbury, spend the afternoon exploring the neighbourhood’s many charming squares and landmark buildings. Click on the map below to discover some of my favourite spots for strolling and people watching.
Dinner: grab a seat at the counter at tapas-bar Barrafina
Barrafina has been delighting foodies and tapas-lovers for years now. The restaurant group has a couple of venues in the West End, but the closest one to The Hoxton, Holborn is on Great Queen Street, just off Drury Lane in Covent Garden. The place is bijou and they don’t take bookings, but don’t be put off by a wait for a table - it will be worth it.
Insider tip: Everything is delicious and there are daily specials, so my advice is just to go with your gut (excuse the pun).
Drinks: nightcap at Freud Bar
Popular with postgraduate students at the nearby London School of Economics, this bar is small, minimalist and a whole lot of fun. Also, the walk back to The Hoxton, Holborn cannot be beat at exactly five minutes.
And when you do get back you might consider one last drink before bed in The Hoxton’s always lively lounge…