One of the best things about London is that it’s a mash-up of more cultural influences than you could name in a lifetime. Can’t afford to visit Venice? Head over to Maida Vale for the evening. Don’t want to take a chance on China? Our West End can give you a taste of it. But how easy is it for overseas visitors to negotiate the nooks and crannies of our city? Jorge Ruiz’s blog Guirilandia sets out to make it a little easier for Spanish-speakers in the Big Smoke to fit in and find stuff they’ll love. He’s chosen us five secret London spots that he’s found on his travels.
Whitecross Street Market (pictured above)
‘This is a street food market for the hungry, rather than for Instagram hunters. It has dozens of stalls offering food from all around the planet and, during the week, hordes of ravenous office workers take over during their lunch break. I’m particularly fond of a place that serves falafel wraps with aubergine (follow a long, narrow queue to find it) and the scotch eggs from “Eat My Pies”, served by one of those ladies who call you “darling”.’
‘It’s an oasis in the middle of the City, a place right in the heart of the Square Mile where you feel miles away from the financial sharks. This little public garden grows over the ruins of a church tired of being rebuilt and is one of the most photogenic spots in town. Luckily the tourists don’t know that yet. Let’s keep it that way.’
‘Just one minute from Portobello Road, this is where I discovered the concept of ‘brunch’. And what a place to discover it! They arguably serve the best eggs benedict in London. Their smoothies are not bad either, and all this in a trendy-snobby-Frenchy style that, like Marmite, you will love or you will hate.’
‘The British Film Institute on the South bank, underneath Waterloo Bridge, is definitely my favourite free-wifi place in town. Their café is perfect for co-working, full of sofas, tables and a few plugs, with really good atmosphere. Not too loud but not too quiet. The little library is ideal if you need more concentration or have no friends and the mediatheque will allow you to explore the National archive. A film buff’s dream come true and all for free.’
Ye Olde Mitre Tavern
‘I discovered this place reading a great review somewhere that said: “I will walk a long mile or two, passing many pubs, so that I can whet my whistle at this fantastic pub”. My medieval ale drinker instinct took me there two hours later. It’s quite hard to find unless you are really looking for its tiny alley, but it has everything you expect from an English traditional pub: dark wooden panels, a good selection of ales, plenty of stuff hanging from the walls and ceiling, cheap pickle, ham and cheese toasties and a long and interesting history.’