Padella – Best pasta in town

Padella – Best pasta in town

If you’ve been in London for a while you are sure to have heard of the restaurant legend that is Padella in London Bridge. Situated right next to Borough Market, arguably the most foodie market in town, this gem is potentially my favourite eatery in the city.

This is a place that keeps it simple – the main course menu is limited to pasta, a few regulars and a changing list of specials. But this is not just any ordinary pasta. Freshly made in front of your eyes with eye-watering skill and mouth-watering fresh ingredients, they manage to make the best pasta I’ve eaten outside of Italy.

I would recommend going in a small group and sharing as many dishes as you can eat. Some personal favourites of mine are the nutmeg butter gnocci and the chili tagliarini. Their 8-hour beef shin ragu also attracts fans from far and wide.

Beware, the popularity of this joint usually makes for a guaranteed queue. No bookings are allowed, though in the evenings they take your name and give you a callback when your table is ready, meaning you can relax over a pint in one of the many local boozers while you wait.

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Ten Things to See at the Museum of London

Ten Things to See at the Museum of London

Front view of the Museum of London Location: MOL General View: Exterior Date: 2011

London’s only museum dedicated solely to itself, the Museum of London was born in 1965 out of the Museum of London Act.  When it opened in 1976, it featured the combined collections of the City of London at London Guildhall and the London Museum at Kensington Palace.  Its exhibits are dedicated to the city’s history and are separated into various eras from prehistoric London (London Before London) to the modern-day (World City).  From the death masks of famous Londoners to London symbols of hope, the Museum of London is home to some great artifacts, and we’ve identified ten we think you should see below.  Let us know your favorites in the comments.

Roman London

The Roman London part of the museum features a great number of artifacts from the Roman occupation that spanned from roughly 50 AD to 410 AD.  As the capital of Roman Britain, London certainly has produced more than its share of stunning museum exhibits.  These include pieces pulled from excavations such as coins to the Bucklersbury tiled floor mosaic that was discovered in 1869.

Beckett Pilgrimage Badges

Following the death of Thomas Becket in 1170, his body was interred in the crypt at Canterbury Cathedral.  Canterbury then became a major destination for Christian pilgrims (as depicted by The Canterbury Tales), many of whom would buy souvenirs of their journey.  These often took the form of badges that depicted Becket’s life.  The museum’s exhibits includes not only many of the badges but also facts about Becket’s time in London and his legacy.

Bronze Age Hoard

In a city such as London that’s always building something, these construction projects tend to uncover a lot of archaeological treasures.  A huge find of Bronze Age artifacts from Havering, including knives, sword fragments, daggers, ax handles, and more.  These items are helping archaeologists to solve the mystery of how people during this era lived.

Fire of London Experience

One of the biggest catastrophes in the city’s history, the Great Fire of London burned 90% of the City of London (not to be confused with Greater London).  The museum has a number of exhibits dedicated to the Fire, such as period firefighters’ equipment and items belonging to Samuel Pepys, whose first-person account of the Fire was recorded in his journal.  You should also check out the Fire! Fire! Multimedia exhibit that features the conspiracy theories of the Fire’s origin and a recreation of the city in Minecraft as it was in 1666.

Lord Mayor of London’s State Coach

While Greater London has the mayor most people know, the City of London has its own mayor, whose annual procession is part of their inauguration complete with a stately coach.  The museum is home to the State Coach when it is not in use for the Lord Mayor’s Show.  The coach has been in use since 1757 and is gorgeous with its gilded features and rococo design.

Pleasure Garden Recreation

The pleasure gardens of the 18th Century are dutifully recreated at the Museum of London, including many of the features that marked these places of respite in a bustling and dirty city.  The gardens feature real trees and mannequins dressed in period costume as Georgian Londoners would have used these places as an excuse to show off their best clothes.

Selfridges Lift

One of the best examples of art deco in the city, the Selfridges Lift, was originally in the department store in 1928 and was immaculately decorated in the style of the time.  The exterior features metalwork depicting Zodiac figures while the inside has gorgeous bronze panels.  The lift serves as a perfect example of how glamorous the shopping experience was and became part of the museum’s collection after a 1972 refurbishment.

Oliver Cromwell Death Mask

Arguably one of Britain’s most notorious figures, Oliver Cromwell served as Lord Protector of the United Kingdom following the English Civil War and execution of King Charles I.  His Protectorate did not last long after his death in 1658 and the mask on display shows him as he was, literal warts and all.

Victorian Walk

Another of the museum’s recreations, the Victorian Walk takes visitors down a typical late-19th Century street.  Shop windows show off the fashions and popular goods of the period along with the signs that advertised them.

2012 Olympic Cauldron

While most of us watched the 2012 Olympics on television, the Olympic Cauldron that once stood in London Stadium.  The cauldron was designed by Thomas Heatherwick and comprised of 204 separate “petals” to represent the individual countries participating in the games.  A grouping of the petals and mechanism that operated them as been part of the museum since 2014.

Ten Things to See at the Museum of LondonLondontopia – The Website for People Who Love London

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Incredible Places You Didn’t Know Exist – Part Two

Incredible Places You Didn’t Know Exist – Part Two

There are just too many places we wanted to add to this list, so we had to split in two. From the spooky forests of Poland to the beaches of Mozambique, here’s another five incredible places you didn’t know exist. The Crooked Forest, Gryfino, Poland In western Poland, right on the border with Germany is…

The post Incredible Places You Didn’t Know Exist – Part Two appeared first on London & UK blog .

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London’s first public art walk The Line goes online

London’s first public art walk The Line goes online

Five years ago, London’s first official and permanent public art walk was launched: The Line, a trail of sculptures running along three miles of waterways. Every year, artworks disappeared and new installations arrived in their place. As walks go The Line is neither straight nor straightforward, following the path of the Greenwich meridian between Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and The O2, with limited signage. 

Richard Wilson ‘A Slice of Reality’ by Matt Cuzner


Photograph: Richard Wilson ‘A Slice of Reality’ by Matt Cuzner


There is a now new way to walk the line without ever getting lost. To celebrate its fifth birthday, mark International Sculpture Day and cope with the obvious barrier of the lockdown, The Line is going online. In collaboration with children’s arts charity House of Fairy Tales, it has launched a new interactive map which will guide you through each art installation. Click on the numbered dots and you’ll be given the story behind sculptures like Alex Chinneck’s immense 35-metre-tall latticed steelwork ‘A Bullet from a Shooting Star’ or Laura Ford’s ’Bird Boy’, a lonely figure of a lost child in a bird costume that stands on the edge of a pontoon in the Royal Docks

Laura Ford, ‘Bird Boy’, by Vassilis Skopelitis


Photograph: Laura Ford, ‘Bird Boy’, by Vassilis Skopelitis


As The Line is as much about exploring the city’s docklands and waterways as it is about art, the map includes a guide to the area’s wildlife. You can find out about the seal population in the Thames or pay a digital visit to Bow Creek Ecology Park. There are little nuggets of history in there too, like the story of the 20 baby elephants who were imported to George V Dock, or the eighteenth-century pirate executions on Greenwich Peninsula. 

The map is a great way to plot your path for when you visit the trail post-lockdown. For now, you can use it to walk The Line, anytime.

Find the interactive map of The Line here

Miss looking at art? Try these virtual tours at London museums and galleries.  

Take a digital stroll through The Painted Hall in Greenwich

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Your Neighborhood Guide to Where to Stay in Prague

Your Neighborhood Guide to Where to Stay in Prague

Rest assured, there’s no shortage of great places to lay your traveling head in the Czech capital city. Pensions, apartments, hotels, boutique accommodation, hostels, “fusions”, B&Bs and Airbnb dwellings are everywhere. Furthermore, Prague has more districts and neighborhoods than can be counted with two hands, each with its own character and all connected by the city’s top-notch public transportation. Therefore, the challenge very well won’t be finding an available bed but choosing which neighborhood to make your Prague home-away-from-home.

There are so many neighborhoods in Prague, you’ll want to come back again and again…

That’s where we come in! We’ve outlined Prague’s central districts and neighborhoods, and provided some of our favorite accommodation recommendations for each, too. Of course, better advice (in our humble opinion) is that you keep returning to Prague to stay and experience first-hand as many of the districts and neighborhoods as possible!

Old Town / Staré Město (Prague 1)

Czech history, medieval architecture, restaurants, galleries and cafes are tucked along every-which-cobblestoned-way of Old Town. At the center is Prague’s historical Old Town Square, which draws nearly 6 million tourists annually. For those who like to be in the heart of it all and don’t mind crowds, Old Town is a magical place to stay.

Old Town Square is a tourist haven (for good reason)
Old Town Square is a tourist haven (for good reason)

Residence Agnes: 4-star boutique hotel (near Old Town Square)

Haštalská 19
+420 222 312 417

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Double rooms from €199 per night

Lesser Town / Little Quarter / Malá Strana (Prague 1)

On the other bank of the Vltava River, tucked beneath the Prague Castle, is Lesser Town. In addition to the castle, St. Nicholas Church, Petřín park and beautiful historic buildings, embassies, shops, and restaurants line the quaint streets. A lovely and charming place to stay – if budget allows, that is.

The beautiful view of Lesser Town
The beautiful view of Lesser Town

Golden Well: Luxury boutique hotel (near Prague Castle)

U Zlaté studně 4
+420 257 011 213

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Double rooms from €175 per night

New Town / Nové Město (Prague 2)

An abundance of restaurants, clubs and shops, a unique history of its own and minutes from Old Town by foot or public transportation, New Town keeps tourist throngs at bay yet still offers up its own dose of action. Sleeping and dining options are less touristy than in neighboring Old Town – typically with friendlier prices too.

Miss Sophie's, Prague
If you stay at Miss Sophie’s, you gotta do breakfast!

Miss Sophie’s: 3-star boutique hotel/hostel (near Karlovo náměstí & Náměstí Míru metro stations)

Melounova 3
+420 246 032 620

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Double rooms from €65 per night

Vinohrady (Prague 2)

The trendy residential haven in the Prague 2 district has architecture, parks, beer gardens, cafes and restaurants that ever charm visitors (and expats, as many choose to reside there). Speaking of charm, Vinohrady got its name from “vineyards”, a couple of which can still be visited.

Reigrovy sady park and beer garden bordering Vinohrady and Žižkov
Reigrovy sady park and beer garden bordering Vinohrady and Žižkov

 Le Palais Art Hotel Prague: 5-star luxury art hotel (near Wenceslas Square)

U Zvonarky 1
+420 228 883 721

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Double rooms from €165 per night

Vyšehrad / Albertov (Prague 2)

Situated at the base of the beautiful Vyšehrad complex, within walking distance of the Vltava River and the city’s newest hotspot and Saturday Farmer’s Market, Náplavka, Albertov is the best location for park, river and farmer’s market fans!

Naplavka near Vyšehrad and Albertov neighborhoods
Naplavka market is our favorite place to be in the Vyšehrad and Albertov neighborhoods!

Rezidence Vyšehrad: Luxury apartments (near Vyšehrad)

Lumírova 33
+420 234 724 200

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Studio apartments from €75 per night

Karlín (Prague 8)

A bit off the beaten path, tucked between the Vltava River and Vítkov Hill, the Karlin district gives visitors one of the best tastes (literally) of authentic Prague life. Locals’ favorite cafes, restaurants and bars are strewn all throughout the neighborhood, and the city center is just a short jaunt away.

Karlin neighborhood Prague
Karlin has nice streets lined with cafes and restaurants (and not a lot of tourists)

Hotel Alwyn: 4-star hotel (near Florenc metro station)

Vitkova 26
+420 222 334 200

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Double rooms from €100 per night

Holešovice & Letná (Prague 7)

Situated north along the Vltava River is the cool, industrial Prague 7 district, home to some of the city’s best art museums and largest park, Stromovka. For those who like to skirt the tourist hustle and bustle and are comfortable with public transportation, Prague 7’s Holešovice and Letná neighborhoods are a splendid choice.

Absolutum Hotel: 4-star boutique hotel (near Stromovka Park)

Jablonského 4
+420 222 541 406

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Double rooms from €64 per night

Smíchov (Prague 5)

Smíchov borders Malá Strana, Petřín Park and the Vltava River. At the district’s center is Anděl (“Angel” in English), where office complexes triumph, tramlines converge, and one of the city’s largest shopping centers resides. Bustling with activity at almost every hour, it’s a breeze to get anywhere in the city from here.

Anděl, Prague 5
Anděl, the busy hub of Prague 5

Andel’s Hotel: 4-star hotel (near Anděl metro station and Nový Smíchov shopping center)

Stroupežnického 21
+420 296 889 688

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Double rooms from €80 per night

Žižkov (Prague 3)

Perhaps the least touristy of all the districts listed, Žižkov is easily spotted by its colossal TV tower (the one with the weird babies). The ‘hood has an urban, edgy appeal said to have the most bars per capita in Europe, so stay here if that’s up your alley.

Louren Hotel: 4-star hotel (near Jiřího z Poděbrad metro station)

Slezská 55
+420 224-25-00-25

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Double rooms from €64 per night

Find more accommodation recommendations (and bonus: food too!) in our Travel Guide.

This post was originally published in August 2015 and updated in March 2020. 

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