London: 10 Things to Do

9. Smithfield Pub Crawl

London Pub Crawl Graeme Robertson / Getty
  • Print
  • Email
  • Share
  • Single Page

London is far from being a 24-hour city. Alcohol licensing laws were relaxed in 2003, but finding a late-night drink still requires ingenuity. There is one part of city, however, that doesn't sleep: Smithfield. The neighborhood is home to a historic meat market, which operates in ornate Victorian halls weekdays from 4 a.m. to noon — and many of the local pubs and cafes open early to serve pints and hefty fry-ups to the market workers.

Start your evening at Ye Olde Mitre, an 18th-century pub in the jewelry district adjacent to Smithfield; then, head east through Ely Place to the market, on the way passing St Etheldreda's the oldest Catholic church in England. Taste the wines of southwestern France at the Cellar Gascon bar and Comptoir Gascon restaurant; their posh sister, Club Gascon, has bagged a Michelin star for its exceptional cooking. The Fox and Anchor boasts the tastiest scotch eggs in the country — and keenly priced accommodations. Catch a nap in one of the designer rooms above the bar or go straight back out to dance off the calories at the so-hip-it-hurts nightclub Fabric. You may want to refuel at Kurz & Lang, a tiny joint selling German bratwurst and beers; it's open until 11:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and never closes on Friday and Saturday.

Before daybreak, try The Hope for your early morning pint, and Ferrari's Snack Bar for an artery-clogging full English breakfast. Just what the doctor didn't order.

Connect to this TIME Story

Interact with
this story

  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Linkedin

From our

Get the Latest News from
Sign up to get the latest news and headlines delivered straight to your inbox.