New Plans For London’s Huge Spherical Music Arena Unveiled

Photo: Madison Square Garden Company

A cathedral-sized black sphere, embedded in the middle of Stratford. There’s nothing ominous about this at all…

Plans have been unveiled for a future London music arena with a capacity of 21,500 — the MSG Sphere. MSG stands for Madison Square Garden Company, the team behind New York’s famous venue. It wants to get its claws into London, and sees Stratford as a target ripe for the picking. Word first emerged of the venue over a year ago, at which point it looked like a cathedral-sized floating golf ball.

The sphere won’t look like a sunken nightmare version of the Epcot Centre most the time. Instead it will be covered with LED panels, broadcasting high-definition concert footage or advertisements. Because yes, the future is going to turn out like Blade Runner, and we’re getting unavoidable adverts 90 metres up in the sky.

Photo: Madison Square Garden Company

There are questions about the necessity of such a venue in London. The city already has the O2 Arena and the Wembley Arena, to cater for such events. However in the structure’s planning document, MSG Company argues that New York has seven sizeable arenas that can host world tours, and has a similar population base to London. This seems to be failing to take into account that Wembley, the Emirates and the new Tottenham Hotspur stadiums are all viable options for some of the biggest music acts in the world.

The venue aims to be more than a music arena as the planning document also outlines its uses for theatre, immersive cinema, conferences, corporate events, ring sports and e-sports events. It also will contain a smaller music venue with a capacity of 500, which aims to support grassroots music.

Where the Sphere will fit into Stratford, on a 1.9 hectare site that’s currently a disused coach park. Photos: Madison Square Garden Company

This isn’t the only archaeologically brazen music venue that’s currently planned for London. There’s also The Centre For Music and its bold ziggurat design. Is this the future for London? Architecturally gimmicky venues?

The MSG Sphere is only at the planning stage so there’s still a lot that can change, but it has support from the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Culture Secretary Matt Hancock, which will be a boon to its chances of being built.

Some have voiced criticisms of the new venue, arguing it will block sunlight out of the area, and the brownfield site could instead be used to provide London with desperately needed houses. There’s a petition against the venue started by local residents, who also worry that the Sphere will cause overcrowding in an already-heaving area.

Not to end on a sour note, but one Twitter user pointed out the Sphere’s design similarities to the a scene of massive destruction from Japanese cult-classic Akira and now we can’t un-see it.

#londonist, #uk

57 seriously cool places to have brunch in London

Marie Claire’s guide to the best breakfasts and brunches in the Big Smoke

Brunches in London

From beautiful bowls of granola to hangover fry ups (and everything in between) we’ve rounded up London’s best breakfasts and brunches, where the food is both delicious and highly Instagrammable.

London’s best breakfast places

 

Chucs, Notting Hill

Located just off Portobello Road, on the ever-popular Westbourne Grove, Chucs is an Italian restaurant with a tantalising brunch menu and an amazing interior. The tall vases of flowers in the display window trick you into thinking you’re looking at the front of a high-end florist, but once you peek through the glass door, the 50s-inspired décor will lure you in (we’re talking retro-tiled floors, brass table lamps, crisp white table linen and vintage picture frame walls).

And the brunch options at Chucs is just as inviting. If you’re going for a late breakfast, there are classics such as fried eggs with tomato and basil (£8) and avocado and feta on sourdough (£11) to choose from. But it’s fair to say that the selection gets more appetising as the day progresses, offering an incredible tuna tartare (£16), langoustine risotto (£26) and pizza bianca with black truffle (£33).

In addition to its notable dessert menu (which includes a very creamy tiramisu), the restaurant also has outside seating areas worth mentioning. The smaller terrace upstairs is supplied with heaters and a wall-size painting of the Italian coast, while the patio downstairs is decorated with large mirrors and greenery. So definitely try and get a table outside, if the weather allows it.

Kaia, Bank

All-you-can eat offerings are sometimes a disappointment. Food quality can suffer at the hands of quantity, and there’s often a limit to what you’re actually allowed to eat (we all remember that Simpsons episode). However, the pan-Asian Sunday brunch on offer at Kaia at The Ned (£45 per person, including a welcome drink) ticks every box that such a feast is meant to offer.

Greeted with a welcome drink – we chose the delicious Grey Goose umami Bloody Mary – we spent the next two hours exploring the huge array of foods on offer at Kaia. From freshly prepared sushi to perfectly cooked and seasoned tangy lamb chops, there was something here for everyone. Big shout out to the crispy Japanese-style fried chicken, which we paired with the freshly-made matcha waffles and maple syrup for a wonderful meeting of sweet and savoury.

Desserts were equally as wide-ranging, but we especially loved the coconut and mango squares, with some fresh pineapple on the side for an added tropical taste. A couple of lipsmackingly strong black Americanos later, we left Kaia very full, and very happy.

Caravan, Fitzrovia

Based in the heart of Fitzrovia, Caravan is a well-loved address in central London for breakfast and lunch. On Saturdays and Sundays, the restaurant and coffee roastery offers brunch options such as a coconut, mango and banana smoothie bowl (£7.5) and chorizo, potato and cavolo nero hash (£12), as well as favoured classics like eggs (poached, scrambled or fried) on toast, porridge and the Caravan fry.

After midday, Caravan starts serving pizza – definitely one of the best sections of their brunch menu. You can order a traditional pizza with tomato, mozzarella and basil (£9), or opt for a funkier variation like the one with kale, porcini cream, mozzarella and oregano (£9.5) – it’s really good.

In addition to their tasty food, Caravan is also a good spot for coffee (they use their own blends) and cocktails. Or why not combine the two and order a Single Origin Negroni or Espresso Martini?

The Tiger Who Came To Tea at The Savoy, Strand

For the first time in its 129-year history, The Savoy is offering a children’s afternoon tea. The theme? Beloved children’s book The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.

Choose from various sandwiches, tiger-striped scones and pastries that reference the story, all served on gorgeous bespoke china featuring illustrations from the story. We particularly love the Treats With The Tiger section of the menu, where you can sample sumptuous options including The Milkman Special (vanilla yoghurt and raspberry compote) and Mummy’s Cookie Crumbs (a dark chocolate cookie dipped in chocolate).

Perfect for a half-term treat, become part of the iconic story and enjoy a delicious feast – just make sure you don’t get carried away and drink all the water in the taps, too.

Sophie’s, Soho

Located just off Piccadilly Circus, Sophie’s Soho is the breakfast spot you didn’t know you needed to visit. The recently launched menu is limited – only offering six options – but pleases everyone. The Soho-based restaurant serves favourites such as a full English (£12), a brioche bap with breakfast sausage or thick cut bacon (£5) and Greek yoghurt with winter fruit compote and toasted hazelnut granola (£6) as well as sweet breakfast treats like croissants with butter and jam.

What really sets the tone for Sophie’s Soho is the interior. The blush tones, wooden floors, green foliage, marble tables and natural light (thanks to the glass roof) work well for the Gram. Even though that shouldn’t be the only reason for visiting this hidden breakfast venue – their Shakshuka (£9) is amazing too – it surely makes for a convincing factor.

Avobar, Covent Garden

Image by Jade Sarkhel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nestled in pretty Henrietta Street in the cosy weekend spot that is Covent Garden, sits Avobar: London’s first all-avo dining destination where green is the theme. Bringing the Cali lifestyle to our London streets, this cafe has dedicated itself to the popular superfood. The interior is complete with bright scatter cushions and house plants galore, making it the perfect spot to become your regular health brunch haunt.

There is of course the classic smashed avo on toast -done to perfection with a sprinkle of chilli. (£9.70) However must-tries include: matcha pancakes with avo butter and caramelised banana, (£9) spicy huevos rancheros with guacamole, (£10.50) and kimchi grilled cheese sandwiches with kewpie mayo and avo slices (£9.20). After something lighter? The avocado cobb salad (£14.30) or avo tuna poke bowl (£12.60) are ideal. Finally, dessert and yes, you guessed it – they include avocado too. Vegan white chocolate cheesecake (£6.30) or avo chocolate brownies with sweet potato syrup (£4.90) will convert even the most unlikely of avocado eaters into full on fans in just a few bites. Of course, no brunch would be complete without fresh juice and coffee. We’d suggest trying the speciality turmeric or beetroot lattes (£3.40) or the avo-sunshine smoothie (£5.50) packed full of protein and antioxidants.

Just to make you feel even better, all the avos used (and there are so many…) are all sourced sustainably from farmers around the world. Open from 8am- 10pm all week and 9am- 10pm on weekends on a walk-in basis, there is also a new evening menu coming at the beginning of February.

 

Café Forty One, Bayswater

Café Forty One

Located in a Georgian townhouse on the edge of Hyde Park, just a two-minute walk from Bayswater tube station, is vegan French patisserie Café Forty One. Offering an all-day dessert menu, as well as a mouth-watering breakfast and lunch menu, it’s the perfect brunch spot for anyone that follows a plant-based diet, even if it’s on a one-off basis.

From sweet foods such as brioche French toast with roasted plums (£9.50) and coconut Bircher muesli with caramelised bananas (£7.20), to savoury dishes like mushroom and black bean porridge (£7) and avocado on sourdough toast (£9.50), Café Forty One pleases all – and if you want to go for the full experience, there is the option of adding a side of vegan salmon.

Of course, breakfast wouldn’t be complete without pastries, it is a French patisserie after all, and their banana muffins and viennoiserie are a must-try. Plain or filled with jam, the croissants are just as buttery and flaky as their non-vegan counterparts, and accompanied with un café, it’s the perfect way to begin your day.

Plaquemine Lock, Angel

When you ask your server for their recommendations, and their answer is that ‘you come back, so you can try it all’, that’s a lot for your meal to live up to. Fortunately, Plaquemine-Lock, the brainchild of Bocca di Lupo chef patron Jacob Kenedy, more than lives up to that hype.

Bringing you the very best of Cajun and Creole cuisine in the heart of North London, you can expect everything from fried chicken and cornbread french toast (served with pineapple and maple syrup) and cherry-pecan brownie, to deliciously dangerous cocktails (we can particularly recommend the ‘Hurricane’ (£10) with its tropical fruitiness followed by a hearty kick of rum).

For main courses, we opted for the asparageggs (an exciting combo of asparagus, creole hollandaise and poached eggs, garnished with almonds flakes) and poached egg gumbo, but with vegetarian options and the iconic Louisiana ‘Po Boy’ sandwich (unfortunately only on weekdays) on offer too, you cannot go wrong.

Weekend brunch at Plaquemine-Lock, available from 11am until 3pm, is priced at £14/£21/£25 for 1, 2 or 3 courses.

Devonshire Club, City of London

London's best breakfasts

Hidden in a peaceful corner of Devonshire Square, just a two-minute walk from Liverpool Street, you’ll find Devonshire Club, a five star boutique hotel and private members club with an amazing new weekend brunch menu. Serving eggs in every way imaginable – the baked eggs with chorizo and ricotta are a must if you want to change up your usual Eggs Benedict order – as well as several American classics such as smoked salmon bagels and bacon and maple syrup pancakes – another indulgent dish – and even a full English breakfast.

For those who can’t decide, Devonshire Club offers its weekend brunch as a two-course (£25) and three-course (£30) menu. You can also add free-flowing Prosecco, Bellini, Bloody Mary or G&T for an extra charge. If you want to skip the alcohol, we’d suggest opting for one of their antioxidant juices – the matcha green tea, avocado and pineapple smoothie is simply delicious and the orange and carrot juice with turmeric and mint is packed with vitamin C. What better way to start the day?

Carte Blanche, Hackney

Located a stone’s throw away from London Fields in the heart of Hackney, Carte Blanche is officially the brunch spot to hit if you feel like you’re weekend is lacking that certain bit of decadence. The brainchild of Andy Taylor, co-founder of French-American burger bar Le Bun, Carte Blanche has seamlessly blended those two same cuisines to create the ultimate weekend brunch, designed with last night’s partiers in mind. Starters are meant for sharing, and with truffle mac’n’cheese (£4.50), fish tacos (£8), cauliflower buffalo wings (£5) on the menu, there is something for everyone. Big shout-out to the Nashville Fried Oyster (£4): trust us, you won’t even want to think about eating a raw one after this.

The (delicious) main dishes are inspired by American diner classics, but on top of this, Carte Blanche has created a future legend: behold, the fried chicken & caviar benedict (£12), Andy’s signature fried chicken, served on a buttery English muffin, topped with a caviar hollandaise. With the option of a bottomless Bloody Mary, French Spritz, Fizz or Mimosa for just £20, we couldn’t think of a better way to totally indulge this weekend.

 

Kettner’s Townhouse, Soho

You wouldn’t necessarily expect to find peace and tranquillity in Soho, but Kettner’s Townhouse offers exactly that. Less than five minutes away from Leicester Square tube station, the restaurant, champagne bar and 33 bedroom townhouse offers breakfast every day from 7am-12pm. Kettner’s serves classics such as Eggs Royale (£12) or a Full English (£8/£14), as well offering the particularly indulgent option of adding Exmoor caviar to the dishes.

We were blown away by the sheer number of freshly made juices and smoothies that Kettner’s offers, too – the Energy botanical (£4.50), with its mix of orange, mango, passionfruit, ginger, lime, cacao, maca perked us up and the Matcha shake (£5) was a delicious creamy healthy(ish) option to end our meal.

Christopher’s, Covent Garden

Nestled in the heart of Theatreland, Covent Garden staple Christopher’s has one of the most expansive brunch menus that this seasoned brunch fan has ever encountered – and quality is just as great as the quantity.

In the sun-filled dining room, we were treated to superlative riffs on brunch staples from all over the culinary map. The Superfood Brunch menu means that even those who don’t see weekends as a chance to indulge will be in heaven: we loved the Born To Be Green super smoothie (£7) and the Avocado and Tomato Toast, with its perfectly poached egg on top (£10).

If you fancy something more decadent, Christopher’s has also got your back here, too. The Lobster Benedict (£24) is generously laden with the most tender lobster, while the Milk Chocolate Brioche French Toast (£12) was out of this world… a heady combination of copious amounts of melted chocolate, brioche, ice cream. Combine this with the fact that a separate Build Your Own Pancake menu exists, and it’s clear that Christopher’s also caters for those with a sweet tooth.

Make sure you combine your meal with a cocktail – it would be frankly rude not to, thanks to Christopher’s famous Martini Bar. We tried an incredible signature dirty martini, as well as a Vesper (named after the character from Casino Royale), which managed to combine vodka and gin without either becoming overpowering. Thanks to its delicious food and brilliant service, Christopher’s, a dinner-must for over 25 years, is now definitely one of our go-tos for brunch.

Aqua Shard, London Bridge

It’s hard to beat the 360 views of London from level 31 of The Shard, home to its cavernous restaurant Aqua. And now there’s a brand new brunch menu to try as you drink in those uninterrupted views across St Paul’s and watch toy-sized trains far below sliding in and out of London Bridge.

The new brunch offering is a push-the-boat out affair featuring truffle, lobster and Wagyu beef. At £48 for 3 courses, it’s also one to be lingered over well into lunchtime, as smaller breakfast-friendly starters of buttermilk pancakes and a dinky eggs benedict lead into main courses of beef sirloin, Scottish lobster thermidor and a decadent truffle-laced bubble and squeak. If you’ve still got room to spare there’s a pudding menu of white chocolate and lime cheesecake, brownies and treacle tart.

Just as well there’s a lift to take you back down those 31 floors…

WOLF, Stoke Newington

For all you East Londoners, we have found your new go-to brunch spot. WOLF, located on super hip Stoke Newington High Street, celebrates authentic Italian food – and, boy, does it celebrate it in style.

Standard brunch ingredients like eggs and sausages are of course on the menu at WOLF, but head chef Karla Knowles (formerly of Petersham Nurseries) has turned these old favourites into new classics. Each element of our fennel sausage dish with deep fried egg, flat gnocchi and caramelised tropea onions (£10) was delicious both individually and combined, while my guest and I actually fought over each rich and salty morsel of the broken eggs with anchovies and capers (£7.00). We finished our meal with the banana bread (£7.50), where sour rhubarb and the comforting softness of the marscapone working together as the perfect foil for the banana.

We also have to give the drinks a huge shout out – not only does WOLF offer a ‘bottomless brunch’ with either their Aperol cocktail or takes on a Bloody Mary or Bellini, their cocktail menu is the stuff of dreams. Each drink was developed in house: the combination of cardamom-spiced rum, cinnamon and pineapple juice in the ‘Ananas Speziato’ (£9.00) was totally incredible.

WOLF also offers a dinner menu, so regardless of the time of day, you can savour a meal in a restaurant where food really is king.

Granary Square Brasserie, Kings Cross

If you haven’t done brunch at the Granary Square Brasserie – the new restaurant from the team behind The Ivy Collection -then get in now. Slap bang in the heart of Kings Cross, by the famous fountains next to Regent’s Canal, it’s the perfect pit stop to refuel in one of the City’s most vibrant locations.

It’s a place that celebrates, no, revels in its all-day dining concept seven days a week. The delicious all day brunch menu at weekends ranges from classic breakfast favourites  such as home-made granola and Eggs Benedict, to an exquisite range of lighter offerings (think Crispy duck salad to Tuna Carpaccio) and more substantial meals (classic Fish Pie with salmon, cod and smoked haddock, a Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder with roast vegetables and delicious steaks including an incredible Cote de Boeuf ). High on our recommendation list is The Hake – the best fish dish we’ve had in ages and the Shrimp and Scallop burger is to die for.

Go for the weekend brunch menu (until 4pm) and experience the resident DJ by the central cocktail bar in the heart of the restaurant as you settle into the sumptuous velvet banquette seats with a Bloody Mary. If dining ‘al fresco’ is your thing, check out the terrace for views across Regent’s Canal. With its coloured parasols you can almost believe you’re in the Riviera.

Pickled Fred, Shoreditch

What a little gem we’ve discovered hiding 20 seconds from Shoreditch’s Brick Lane. Opening in September Pickled Fred has been dishing up a new take on Asian food with dishes like the incredible roasted cauliflower or beef shin and bone marrow rending, there’s something for all – vegans, vegetarians, gluton-intolerants and carnivores.  So we were extremely pleased to hear they’ve just launched a less than ordinary brunch menu available from 11:30 to 3pm. If you need a change from Eggs Benedict (as delicious as it is) how does this sound – Halloumi Fries with harissa yoghurt and pomegranate; Chermoula Aubergine with labneh, dukkah, pickled cherry tomatoes, rocket, feta and cous cous or a Jackfruit Scotch Egg that will make you seriously question how something that good and convincing could really be meat-free.  Also on offer is a bottomless brunch for £25, you can have a flatbread of your choice with 90 minutes worth of unlimited Bloody Marys, Aperol Spritz or Prosecco.

Dishoom, Covent Garden

best breakfasts london

Dishoom, Covent Garden

The bacon naan has become the stuff of brunch legend in London, with eager queues of early bird city dwellers vying for a table. Luckily they serve coffee in the queue.

The Social Pantry, Clapham

best brunch london

There’s a friendly neighbourhood feel to this chic, award-winning independent cafe on Lavender Hill. It’s also a great compromise if the group you’re meeting up with includes both a hungover pal in need of a salty fry-up and a virtuous yogi who’s been up since seven and wants to mainline some grains. From the ‘something filling’ section of the menu there’s delicious chai-spiced French toast and the full English ‘Pantry’ breakfast, while your yogi friend will love the super-C smoothie bowl.

Ask for Janice, Farringdon

best breakfasts london

Take an early morning stroll (or jog, dare we suggest?!) around the Barbican before heading to the quirky Ask for Janice for brunch, where you can order a breakfast burger in between taking pictures of the kooky but cool interiors.

The Continental Pantry, Notting Hill

Best brunch London

Brunch at The Continental Pantry in Notting Hill

Run by old pals Kate and Maria, The Continental Pantry serves food inspired by the pair’s upbringings in Madrid and London. Pop in first thing for some fresh, crunchy sourdough with butter and jam, or mashed avocado on toast with lemon and smoked salmon.

100 Wardour Street, Wardour Street 

best brunch london

The party never really stops at this 8am – 3am breakfast/lunch/dinner/late night newcomer in the heart of Soho, and rightly so given the building’s history as the site of the old Marquee Club, where The Rolling Stones did their first ever live gig. Saturday brunch is a fun, buzzy affair where bottomless Prosecco is encouraged and the three-course menu mixes classic 11am favourites – smoked salmon and scrambled eggs – with dishes like harissa and agave roasted aubergine. Worth booking in for a long sitting.

Sexy FishBerkeley Square

Sexy Fish

Egg and soldiers, Sexy Fish style

Sometimes you need to go all out. And few places cater a more luxurious brunch than London’s hottest Asian eatery, Sexy Fish. The restaurant from the people who brought you The Ivy and J. Sheekey has launched a new brunch menu every Sunday, where the music, food and cocktails flow from 11.30 – 4pm (in case your hangover’s so bad you can’t face the world until mid-afternoon). There are plenty of bespoke twists on brunch classics to tempt you, like the asparagus egg and soldiers (above), but the real must-try is the ‘Sexy Benedict’, a spin on eggs benedict cut through with black charcoal muffin, lobster and truffle. It tastes and looks as decadent as it sounds.

Sartoria, Mayfair

best breakfasts london

Sartoria, Mayfair

Following an extensive refurbishment, Savile Row’s Sartoria re-opened its doors in late 2015 with a brand new breakfast menu to sink your teeth into. With classic Italian cooking – courtesy of renowned Italian chef Francesco Mazzai – our highlight has to be the Eggs Purgatorio, a rich egg baked in a spicy tomato sauce with freshly baked Italian breads on the side.

Village East, Bermondsey

best breakfasts london

Village East, Bermondsey

While it may not be your usual breakfast dish, confit turkey hash with poached eggs and spinach has become a firm favourite at Village East. If you’d rather save turkey for Christmas, then you can order up their Campfire breakfast or the protein-filled Steak & Eggs breakfast right up until 4pm on the weekends.

M Restaurants, Victoria

best breakfasts london

Aurélie Four @photobyA4 / Marcel @lecorgi

Want to go out for brunch but love your dog too much to leave him / her at home? M Restaurants has launched a weekend ‘Dine With Your Dog’ brunch menu at their branch in Victoria, where you and your furry pal can kick off the day together with a two-course brunch and some bottomless bellinis (for you). If you want total immersion in the dog-dining experience you can even partake in the ‘six legs brunch’ menu, which features a specially tailored menu of two courses each – two for you, two for your dog (no Pedigree Chum, we promise), but if that sounds a little close to the bone (sorry) you can leave your dog to the four legs menu and tuck into some quinoa porridge, followed by waffles with maple butter. We took Piper (below) to try it out and she licked the bowl so much she pushed it across the room with her nose. The dog equivalent of a five-star review.

best brunch london

Lobster Bar, Richmond Road

best breakfasts london

Lobster Bar, Richmond Road

Seafood lovers, rejoice! The Lobster Bar in Hackney serves up a variety of seafood brunches (beyond smoked salmon and scrambled eggs.) We recommend the indulgent Lobster Benedict.

Rawduck, Hackney

Best places to have brunch in London

Rawduck might be a cool Hackney breakfast hang-out, but the food shows there’s substance there as well as style. Make sure you order one of the ‘Sparkling Rhurbarb Shrub’ breakfast cocktails.

Urban Coterie, Shoreditch

best breakfasts london

Urban Coterie

On the 17th floor of the futuristic M Building in Shoreditch – which has been built to look like a giant triangular optical illusion – Urban Coterie‘s ‘Brunch with a view’ let’s you tuck into your duck scrambled eggs and hot smoked salmon while looking out across the East London skyline. Designed by Urban Coterie’s Anthony Demetre, a three-course brunch includes bottomless mimosas for £32 (warning: if you’re tucking into the drinks the building will look even weirder on your way out.)

The Clifton, St John’s Wood

the clifton

If you’re up north, dip off a side street on Abbey Road and make your way to The Clifton, a historic 19th century pub. While it was closed for a little while, it’s finally reopened as a modern gastropub and the menu is serious.You’ll get all the regular brunch staples with a dash of the uncommon – smoked hake, anybody?  – and if you’re feeling truly decadent then you can kick off the affair with a cheeky oyster and perfectly spiced Bloody Mary. The portions are pretty major – we had the waffles served with crispy Dingley Dell Bacon and fried duck eggs (naturally topped off with a generous helping of maple syrup) and it could have probably fed two people. There’s no place better than their glass conservatory on a sunny day.

ROKA Aldwych

Best places to have brunch in London

ROKA Aldwych

The best breakfasts London has to offer don’t always feature avocado and eggs. The Han Setto weekend brunch at ROKA is perfect if you’ve had enough of that to last you a lifetime. For £59 (which includes a bellini when you arrive and wine) or £43 if you’re off the booze, the brunch features some of the Japanese restaurant’s star dishes, like the raw salmon, avocado and wasabi tobiko maki and the beef, ginger and sesame dumplings. The first course is followed with a Japanese robata grill of fresh fish and meat and a dessert platter. Delish.

The Ivy Kensington Brasserie

Best places to have brunch in London

The Ivy Kensington Brasserie

If the setting for you is just as important as the food, then the beautifully plush Ivy Kensington Brasserie is definitely the place to go if it’s a special occasion. The weekday breakfast and weekend brunch menus are full of classic dishes with some luxurious additions. Truffled eggs, anyone?

Berners Tavern, Berners Street

Best places to have brunch in London

Berners Tavern, Berners Street

Step into The London EDITION for a taste of their renowned breakfast menu in a beautifully decorated restaurant. With high ceilings, walls covered in paintings and attentive waiters, this is a pretty special place to start the day. Sack off the healthy options (chilled citrus salad with ginger and lime is one) for the Hazelnut waffles, berries and cream.

Foxcroft & Ginger, Dalston, Soho and Whitechapel

Best places to have brunch in London

Foxcroft & Ginger, Dalston, Soho and Whitechapel

With a working bakery downstairs you can just be ‘popping out to buy some bread’ when you head to Foxcroft & Ginger. And while you’re there picking up your sourdough or rye, you might as well try something from the incredible breakfast menu. All the egg dishes are spot on.

BungaTINI, Covent Garden

Best brunch london

Italian-themed bar and restaurant Bunga Bunga has been running legendary party brunches in its Battersea branch for several years now. These generally feature loud music, a never-ending supply of prosecco and more breakfast-themed Italian food than you can finish, including the ‘Bunga Benedict’ and ‘Englishman’s Breakfast’ pizzas. If you’re not quite up for the noisy Battersea fiesta, Bunga Bunga’s Covent Garden sister restaurant BungaTINI has just launched a new ‘Wood-Fired Brunch’, which includes unlimited bellinis, wood-fired pizzas and a fun party atmosphere without the raucous crowd. Burrata for breakfast? Why not.

Bubbledogs, Charlotte Street

best brunch london

A really good hotdog is an underrated thing, perhaps unfairly getting less airtime than the ubiquitous burger. But champagne and hotdog joint Bubbledogs has been working to change all that since it launched in 2012, brainchild of Sandia Chang and her husband James Knappet, who now runs a Michelin starred restaurant called Kitchen Table at the back of the venue. This year Bubbledogs has branched out into the brunch market, teaming up with artisanal spirits company The86Co. for weekly brunch parties. There’s a Bloody Mary menu and the hotdogs are served with a sunny side up fried egg. We recommend the Jose (above) a hotdog topped with fresh tomato salsa, avocado, sour cream and pickled jalapenos.

Duck & Waffle, Heron Tower

best brunch london

Duck & Waffle, Heron Tower

With views stretching out over London, Duck & Waffle has become one of the most sought after reservations in the whole of the city. As the restaurant is open 24 hours, we suggest turning up before sunrise (whether that’s straight from bed or straight from the club) and settling in for breakfast with a view. Tip: order the restaurant’s eponymous dish, put it on Instagram and you’ll probably get a comment or two from the chefs. The new version of ‘compliments to the chef.’

Sketch, Soho

Fantastical, photogenic and bloody well brilliant, sketch may be a little bit out of your budget to become your ‘regular’ but this is definitely a place you can name-drop and Instagram to your heart’s content, which is what most of us want these days from a meal out, isn’t it? Once you’re there, you might as well hang around for their equally brilliant Afternoon Tea.

Bel-Air, Paul Street

best brunch london

Bel-Air, Paul Street

Billed as ‘feel good fast food’, Bel-Air founder Andrew Bredon aims to bring a bit of LA to EC2. The cafe serves up a selection of breakfast pots, including their appropriately named Muscle Beach which has grilled steak, smokey spinach, sweet potato and a poached egg. Perfect for those wanting to make some #GymGainz.

AndinaRedchurch Street

best brunch london

Andina, Redchurch Street

Currently daydreaming about spending your days on a beach somewhere with a wildly good looking man fanning you? Take a trip to Peru (while staying in Shoreditch) at Martin Morales’ Andina where you can eat Granola Andina and greek yoghurt or Peruanazo which is two fried eggs, tacu-tacu with rice and butterbeans, belly bacon and saltado criollo. Who needs the bright blue shores of Mancora?

Berber&Q, East London

best brunch london

Berber&Q, East London

With a permanent queue snaking outside of its door, Berber&Q has become the hot brunch spot in town. A newly launched menu will further cement its reputation for being one of the best places to start the day. We suggest getting there early.

BunnyChow, Wardour Street

best brunch london

BunnyChow, Wardour Street

South African Street Food concept BunnyChow serves up a particularly delicious veggie breakfast option with salsa beans, aubergine, peppers, spice-kicked red onions and a fried egg. Enough to tempt even the strongest carnivores.

Brew, Putney and Clapham

Best places to have brunch in London

Brew, Putney and Clapham

While Brew do an incredible take on Turkish Eggs, we’re more likely to order the soft-boiled eggs with soldiers – which come with a choice of Marmite or Vegemite, may we add – as an homage to our childhood days spent dipping soldiers into runny yolk.

Casa Brindisa, South Kensington

Best places to have brunch in London

Casa Brindisa, South Kensington

One of the best tapas restaurants around, Casa Brindisa also serves up a mean breakfast and brunch. Try their mushrooms, scrambled eggs, tomato and Manchego or just order like there’s no tomorrow and scoff a whole plate of Iberico ham yourself. We won’t judge you.

Carluccio’s, various locations

Best places to have brunch in London

Carluccio’s, various locations

Probably not the first place you may think of when your best friend suggests ‘breakfast?’, but Carluccio’s has got a pretty substantial morning menu and one you should definitely try out. With their handy little deli you can also pick up some lunch while you’re there. Easy like Sunday morning and all that…

Eelbrook, New King’s Road

Best places to have brunch in London

Eelbrook, New King’s Road

A favourite spot with the Chelsea lot, Eelbrook’s brunch should ideally be eaten al fresco on the terrace overlooking London’s Eel Brook Common so you can people-watch as you munch. We love the Baked Tilley’s Eggs with tomato, yoghurt, harissa and grilled flatbreads – a London brunch with a Middle Eastern twist.

Farm Girl, Portobello Road

best breakfasts london

Farm Girl, Portobello Road

Make like Julia Roberts and head to Notting Hill for a breakfast with a twist at Farm Girl. With naturopathic doctor (nope, us neither) Melly Lou of Liquorice Lifestyle advising on nutrition for the menu, you can guarantee you’ll come home feeling grrrreat.

Granger & Co, various locations

best brunch london

Granger & Co, various locations

Go healthy with the slick Granger & Co by ordering one of their fruit and grains dishes with a smoothie; we’re a big fan of the buckwheat bowl.

OPSO, Paddington Street

best brunch london

OPSO, Paddington Street

With a full range of breakfast dishes going on, OPSO is one of the most loved brunch and breakfast places in the Marylebone area (and, for that matter, the city). You can either choose to start your day off right with their Earl grey infused rice porridge or one of the granola dishes or indulge your naughty side with the pancakes. We like them covered in praline spread and hazelnuts.

OttolenghiVarious Locations

best breakfasts london

Ottolenghi, various locations

Famous around London for being one of the best delis around, Ottolenghi serves up a mean breakfast. While the whole menu is great, it would be wrong to go there and not order their signature Shakshuka. It’s seriously tasty.

Providores, Marylebone High Street

Best places to have brunch in London

Providores, Marylebone High Street

As one of the first restaurants to bring brunch to the capital, Providores pulls a big crowd and regularly has a queue of hungry punters outside. They’ll all be ordering Peter Gordon’s signature breakfast dish, the Turkish Eggs.

Street Kitchen, Parkgate Road

Best places to have brunch in London

Street Kitchen, Parkgate Road

Street Kitchen on the Broadgate Circle is run by Jun Tanaka and Mark Jankel with a mission to serve up ‘slow food, fast.’ Pick up a Caravan Roosters coffee from the barista before stuffing your face with one of their SkMuffins with farm sourced ingredients.

The Jam Tree, Clapham

Best places to have brunch in London

The Jam Tree, Clapham

The Jam Tree does classics with a twist (where doesn’t these days?). We suggest ordering the black pudding, apple and chutney on toast as well as one of their nine variants on a Bloody Mary.

The Modern Pantry, Clerkenwell

best brunch london

The Modern Pantry, Clerkenwell

Another name on the tip of every foodie Londoner’s tongue, The Modern Pantry is a place for those who like their breakfast healthy. We’d go for the Honey roast oats, seeds and nuts with grated apple, pomegranate and greek yoghurt if we were that way inclined… you know, you could just eat their less healthy sugar-cured omelette.

Tredwells, Upper St Martin’s Lane

London's best breakfasts

Tredwells, Upper St Martin’s Lane

Marcus Wareing’s informal restaurant in Covent Garden has a great brunch/breakfast offering with cheat day treats such as caramelized banana eggy bread with bacon, maple syrup or chorizo jam and slow cooked egg, avocado and toasted sourdough. If you’re sticking to the diet plan then you can order granola or a seasonal veggie frittata.

Whaam Banh Mi, Great Windmill Street

london's best breakfasts

Whaam Banh Mi, Great Windmill Street

If you’ve got a sweet tooth from the moment you wake up then Whaam Banh Mi have got you covered. Chocoholics should order the fresh, daily baked Banh Mi smothered in Nutella.

Coya, Mayfair

Best breakfasts london

Isn’t London amazing you can now enjoy the best of Latin American cuisine as a bottomless champagne brunch.   London’s first Peruvian restaurant that opened to critical acclaim in 2012 has launched a brand new menu including their new signature brunch cocktail the ‘Pisco Mary’.  Dine on Peruvian dishes such as Corvina Trufa (Corvina ceviche with truffle) and Arroz Nikkei (Chilean sea bass casuela) created by Executive Chef, Sanjay Dwivedi and served in the South American inspired dining room. As the DJ plays chilled house you can relax while the in-house nanny keeps the kids entertained (Sundays only FYI).  Situated opposite Green Park and 5 minute walk from Bond Street it’s the perfect location to take a break from some serious window shopping.

London best English breakfast

Two of our favourite spots for a trad fry-up…

Bibendum, Fulham Road

best brunch london

Bibendham, Fulham Road

There’s a bit of a story behind this one so bear with us: Bibendum is named after the Michelin man (yes, the Michelin man). He’s actually known as Monsieur Bibendum, a name which comes from the Latin phrase Nunc est Bibendum which translates as ‘now is the time to drink’. While this may be a slightly inappropriate name for a mascot used to advertise car tyres, it’s a bloody great name for a restaurant. With all that in mind, we’d recommend heading there for the two most important Bs in life: breakfast and a Bloody Mary.

Parlour, Regent Street

Best places to have brunch in London

Parlour, Regent Street

Parlour’s quirky breakfast menu features classics such as smoked salmon with scrambled eggs as well as their full English Parlour Breakfast. You can also DIY at their toast station with some fresh baked bread.

Have you got a favourite breakfast place in London? Tell us in the comments section below.

The post 57 seriously cool places to have brunch in London appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Things To Do Today In London: Wednesday 27 March 2019

The opening gala of the UK Asian Film Festival takes place tonight

Things to do

ASIAN FILM FEST: The UK Asian Film Festival begins today, launched with an opening gala eventstarring actress Zeenat Aman chatting about her career in Indian cinema. Other events throughout the festival include UK premiere screenings and industry networking events. Various locations and prices, book ahead27 March-7 April

MARX AT 201: Which of Marx’s ideas remain relevant and which are redundant, 201 years after his birth? Leading scholars from across the disciplines of economics, political theory, sociology and law discuss his legacy is this free panel debate. LSE (Holborn), free, just turn up, 6.30pm-8pm

WITHOUT A HOME: Film producer and director Paul Atherton has many achievements to his name, including being the first person to have screened a film on the Coca Cola screen at Piccadilly Circus, and having a video diary he made with his son added to the permanent collection of the Museum of London. He’s also homeless, and has been for 10 years. Tonight, he talks about his experiences, to debunk the myth that homelessness doesn’t happen to ordinary people. 17 Triton Street (Regent’s Park), £3, book ahead6.30pm-9pm

Science Museum stays open late

MUSEUM LATES: Yep, it’s that time of the month again. Science Museum stays open late, for an evening theme on UNESCO World Heritage sites. Talks and workshops cover topics as diverse as deep-sea diving to Stonehenge to time travel, and there’s also a silent disco and museum highlights tours. Age 18+. Science Museum (South Kensington), free, book ahead6.45pm-10pm

REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL: Author Nina Stibbe chats to fellow writer Cathy Rentzenbrink about Stibbe’s new novel, Reasons To Be Cheerful. Her previous book Love, Nina, won Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the 2014 National Book Awards, so we’re expecting great things. Lutyens Rubinstein (Notting Hill), £20 with book/£10 without, book ahead7pm

SH!TFACED SHOWTIME: It’s Oliver, but not as you know it. The theatre company behind Sh!tfaced Shakespeare turns its attention to Charles Dickens’ novel, Oliver Twist. The whole production is powered by booze (glorious booze), as the cast drink throughout the show, getting increasingly tipsy. Leicester Square Theatre, £13.25-£17.25, book ahead7pm (until 12 April)

Sh!tfaced Showtime comes to Leicester Square Theatre

CRICK CRACK CLUB: Acclaimed storyteller Jan Blake and drummer John Predare pair up for tonight’s Crick Crack Club. They tell the story of The Birth of Sundiata Keita, legendary founder of the great Malian Empire of West Africa. Kings Place (King’s Cross), £14.50, book ahead7.30pm

SMOKE COMEDY: Upcoming sketch duo Moon showcase early preparations for this year’s Edinburgh Fringe show in tonight’s Smoke Comedy. Also on the line-up are Olga Koch, Michael Capozzola, and Patrick Spicer. The Sekforde (Clerkenwell), £5, book ahead, 7.30pm-10pm

EUROPE’S BORDERS: We’re still hokey-cokeying over the EU, but in the week that we were due to leave, Dash Cafe focuses on Europe’s borders. Berlin based author Fabian Saul talks about his Traces of Resistance project on the borders of Europe, plus there are performances by visual artist Mariana Gordan, economist Martin Sandbu, singer Lori Secanska and guitarist Iakovos Loukas. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), £5, book ahead7.30pm-11pm

Catch a screening of Shoplifters in south London

SHOPLIFTERS: Acclaimed 2018 Japanese drama film Shoplifters, depicts a poor Tokyo family living off petty crime and low-paying jobs take in five year old Yuri, a young girl who’s suffering physical abuse at the hands of her own family. Local film and media writer David Dent introduces this screening of the film. Harris Academy South Norwood, £8.50/£7/£5, book ahead7.45pm-10pm

BOOK SLAM: Enjoy an evening of words, music and comedy to celebrate ten years of the Wellcome Book Prize. Salena Godden hosts the evening, with appearances by singer Sam Lee, novelist and activist Elif Shafak and writer and performer Rob Auton. Wellcome Collection (Euston), £8, book ahead8pm

Tube ponderings with Barry Heck

Our resident tube fancier dishes out daily thoughts on the London Underground.

A tube carriage with power sockets? How can that be? There is a rational explanation, and all will be revealed in tomorrow’s Tube Ponderings. Follow Barry Heck on Twitter @HeckTube.

Good cause of the day

Book ahead for Podfest for Mental Health, taking place this Saturday to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation. Five podcast recordings take place in front of a live audience, including I am. I have with special guests and co hosts of You, Me and The Big C, Lauren Mahon and Deborah James. Find out more and book tickets.

#uk

Beasts Of London: Lions, Foxes And Fleas Tell Their Stories At Museum Of London

Beasts of London animal history exhibition at Museum of London
Image: Museum of London

The history of London’s animal residents — from pigeons to lions, elephants, horses and rats — is told in a new event at Museum of London. Beasts of London gives animals their own voices to tell their stories of living in the capital, dating as far back as the Roman Londinium.

What is Beasts of London?

Beasts of London animal history exhibition at Museum of London
Image: Museum of London

Rather than being an exhibition, Beasts of London is described as an ‘immersive tour through London’s history’, voiced by the animals who witnessed it, and showing how their existence contributed to making the capital what it is today. Museum of London worked with Guildhall School of Music & Drama to create Beasts of London, using ‘video projection mapping’ to bring it to life.

The mighty lions of the Roman Empire, and the humble rabbit — which the Romans introduced to Britain as a food source — are represented, along with the rats who were thought to be responsible for the Great Plague, and the fleas who were actually responsible for spreading it. Modern day residents including foxes and parakeets also feature.

Beasts of London animal history exhibition at Museum of London
Image: Museum of London

We’re promised tales of ‘cruelty and companionship’, suggesting a truthful — if often brutal — and un-sugarcoated account of humans’ relationship with animals throughout London’s history. Watch the trailer for more idea of what to expect.

Which celebrities are voicing Beasts of London?

Like most Londoners, we don’t speak lion or pigeon, so thankfully the animals’ stories have been translated into human, with celebrities voicing their thoughts. Brian Blessed, Pam Ferris, Kate Moss, Nish Kumar, Stephen Mangan, Angellica Bell and Joe Pasquale have all been named as taking part so far.

Beasts of London animal history exhibition at Museum of London
The bacterium, voiced by Brian Blessed. Image: Museum of London

You might expect Blessed’s inimitable boom to emit from a lion or elephant, but he’s been assigned the role of… Bacterium — London’s smallest creature, and the source of the Great Plague. Ferris voices Aquila the eagle, who guides visitors through Roman London, while Pasquale voices a dormouse. The full cast list can be seen on the Museum of London website.

Is Beasts of London suitable for children?

Beasts of London animal history exhibition at Museum of London
Image: Museum of London

Museum of London recommends Beasts of London for anyone aged 7+, due to scenes that may be upsetting to anyone younger than this. That said, they won’t stop younger children attending — it’s at the discretion of parents and carers. The experience takes about an hour.

How much are tickets for Beasts of London?

Beasts of London animal history exhibition at Museum of London
Image: Museum of London

Adults tickets start at £8, and concessions at £6.40. Tickets are available to book at half-hour intervals, and it’s expected to be a popular event so we do recommend that you book — particular if you’re planning to visit in the first few weeks, or at weekends or school holidays.

When does Beasts of London open at Museum of London?

Beasts of London animal history exhibition at Museum of London
Image: Museum of London

Beasts of London opens at Museum of London on Friday 5 April 2019 and runs until 5 January 2020.

#londonist, #uk

Two More Cherished Pubs Closing In Mayfair And Brentford

Good pubs are dropping like (bar)flies with the demise of two more much-loved boozers.

The imminent closure of The Water Poet in Spitalfields on 29 March 2019 has already been noted widely. But it’s not alone.

Magpie and Crown, Brentford

Over in Brentford, the Magpie and Crown breathed its last over the weekend (24 March). This CAMRA favourite was noted for its superb range of ales, a trait it has boasted for decades. It even has literary connections, as one of the possible models for The Flying Swan in the novels of Robert Rankin. The building will remain mothballed while the neighbouring blocks are redeveloped.

Other pubs in Brentford may be on borrowed time. The football stadium famously includes a pub at each of its four corners. It’s not yet clear if the quartet will survive when the club shifts to its new ground in 2020.

The Audley, Mayfair

Meanwhile, The Audley appears to be closing on 15 April, according to its website. The ornate corner house has been sold to developers who will convert it to a hotel with a pub or bar at ground level (see approved planning application). Owners Greene King initially confirmed the closure, but later backtracked. Even so, a message saying that the pub will cease trading on 15 April still appears prominently on its website.

The Audley is noted for its elegant interiors and terracotta exteriors. It’s a touch of class, and yet still a relatively grounded pub among the way-above-your-pay-grade Mayfair neighbours. Its loss may be mourned by Michelle Obama, who paid a visit in 2009.

Image: Shutterstock

With thanks to Mike Paterson and Joanna Moncrieff, members of the Londonist Pub People Facebook page. Let us know on this group, or in the comments if you’ve heard about any other good pubs that face closure.

#londonist, #uk

Things To Do Today In London: Tuesday 26 March 2019

Northern Ballet tells the story of Queen Victoria

Things to do

NORTHERN BALLET: The story of Queen Victoria is told through dance in Northern Ballet’s latest production, which comes to London for just one week. Her love for Albert and her grief at his untimely death are depicted through passionate and powerful choreography. Sadlers Wells, £15-£60, book ahead26-30 March

QUEEN OF SOHO: Margaret Thatcher as a cabaret superstar. Not something you see every day, but 1980s drag cabaret show Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho imagines the former prime minister getting lost in Soho on the eve of a crucial vote and discovering a talent for cabaret. Wiltons (Limehouse), £10.50-£20, book ahead26-30 March

THINK SPACE: The latest in the Royal Observatory’s Think Space lectures focuses on Jupiter’s X-Ray Aurorae. It’s the gas planet’s equivalent to our own Northern Lights, and is a permanent feature due to Jupiter’s fast rotational period. Royal Observatory (Greenwich), £10.30, book ahead5.15pm-6.15pm

TWILIGHT ARCHITECTURE: Join an expert guide for an architecture themed tour of Barbican by twilight, learning about the construction and design of the estate as you go. The evening finished with a three-course meal at Osteria, an Italian restaurant within the Barbican complex. Barbican, £35, book ahead6pm

MOTHER’S DAY CARDS: With Mother’s Day coming up this Sunday, add a personal touch to your mum’s day by making a personalised handmade card. All materials are provided, but the design… that’s all you. Drink, Shop & Do (King’s Cross), free when you buy a drink, book aheadfrom 6pm

Take a twilight architecture tour of Barbican

AN IMPECCABLE SPY: Author Owen Matthews discusses his new book, An Impeccable Spy, the true story of spy Richard Sorge who was a German journalist and Soviet military intelligence officer during the second world war. Hatchards (Piccadilly), £6, book ahead6.30pm

POETRY WORKSHOP: Poet Ian MacLachlan leads free workshops for page poets wanting to improve their performance skills, and performance poets who want to hone their writing. Poet and performance poets come together to share their skills and experience with each other. Wembley Library, free, book ahead6.30pm-8.30pm

SPRING CONCERT: The LSE Choir and Orchestra perform a spring concert, showcasing works including Requiem by Mozart. Dvorak’s 2 Slavonic Dances, Bruch’s Violin Concerto No.1 and Schumann’s Overture , Scherzo and Finale. St Clement Danes Church (Strand), £7, book ahead7pm

Create a bouquet at this masterclass

HEDGEHOG ART: Attend the launch of a new exhibition of hedgehog themed art. As well as getting a preview of the work on display, hear from Michel Birkenwald of Barnes Hedgehogs about the Barnes Hedgehogs campaign. OSO Arts Centre (Barnes), free, book ahead7pm

AMERICAN MEMORIAL: The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial on an island in the Potomac River is America’s largest presidential memorial, and is the subject of new documentary The Man On The Island which looks at why the unusual location was chosen. Michael Patrick Cullinane, professor of US History at the University of Roehampton, introduces a screening.  British Library, £8/£5, book ahead7.15pm-8.30pm

EDIBLE BOUQUET: Learn how to make your own bouquet… with edible ingredients. Rosemary, olive and mint are just some of the components used in this floristry class, led by London florist Rebel Rebel. ASK Italian (Paddington), £21.86, book ahead7.30pm-9.30pm

Tube ponderings with Barry Heck

Our resident tube fancier dishes out daily thoughts on the London Underground.

Victoria line's 50th anniversary

The Victoria line is 50 years old this month. Amazing thought, isn’t it: humans could travel unimpeded from Walthamstow to Brixton a whole four months before we could land on the Moon. But do you know how its stations got their names? Find out in Londonist’s guide to Victoria line etymology.

Follow Barry Heck on Twitter @HeckTube.

Good cause of the day

Ivo Graham, Olga Koch and Eleanor Morton are just some of the comedians performing at tonight’s Comedy Grotto, which is raising money in aid of Syrian refugees. Find out more and book tickets.

#londonist, #uk

These Trains Will Take You From London To Edinburgh For £25

For more transport chat, join our popular Facebook group, Londonist Roundel Ramblings.

King’s Cross to Edinburgh for £25? Keep talking. Image: Shutterstock

A new train service is promising £25 tickets between London and Edinburgh — plus a faster service.

FirstGroup has announced that it will operate trains on a new high-speed, low cost service, using a fleet of five new Hitachi AT300 intercity electric trains.

But are tickets really £25?

Adult singles for the service — due to start running in autumn 2021 — will average £25, while even cheaper fares will be available.

That’s a far cry from some fares on the east coast route at the moment (a quick search for single fares today, brings up singles for over £160 for standard class, although it’s not clear how far you’ll need to book in advance to get the best FirstGroup fares).

A couple of AT300s at King’s Cross. The service won’t be in action till 2021 though. Image: Hitachi

Will the trains really be quicker?

Sort of. The average journey time of London-Edinburgh jaunts will be 4 hours 15 minutes. That’s a saving of 29 minutes against some similar journeys currently running from King’s Cross. Although it’s only a minute or two shaved off some of the other London-Edinburgh rail journeys already available.

The new Hitachi trains can reach speed of up to 125mph, and will be using the revised 2021 timetable, which by then, other east coast services will be running to, as well.

Five trains a day will run each way from King’s Cross to Edinburgh, via intermediate stations at Stevenage, Newcastle and Morpeth.

The promised land. Image: Shutterstock

Are the trains going to be any good?

You may have already ridden on a Hitachi AT300; they run on the Transpennine Express, and the 395 Javelins running between London and Kent are very similar. The new trains promise:

  • An additional 400 seats per train on the route
  • Air conditioning, Wi-Fi, power sockets
  • A quieter and more environmentally friendly ride, thanks to the electric power

Classless travel

One other thing: there won’t be any First Class on these trains. Which means no grumbling about how you’ve got to stand for the whole journey while carriages remain half-empty. We can get onboard with that.

#londonist, #uk