Come visit some of our favorite places in Amsterdam!
Salon Boat: “The Tourist”, Boot (Boat) in Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS
“Our boat is so old, we call it a ‘floating monument.’ We’ve even welcomed Sir Winston Churchill and Queen Wilhelmina on board back in 1946 to celebrate the end of WW2!”
– Imco Bruné
One of the most famous and beautiful salon boats in Amsterdam, the “Tourist” (as the boat is named) is generally moored outside one of Amsterdam’s most prestigious hotels: the Pulitzer. The boat’s owner, Imco, loves showing guests around the city from the unique vantage point of the canals. Of course, we enjoy plenty of refreshments while on board the boat: from local Dutch cider and cheeses from de Kaaskamer, to bitterballen from famous bakery Holtkamp, to a refreshing beer from local brewery Brouwerij ‘t IJ.
If you’re among the hordes of London shoppers – residents and visitors alike – who’ve recoiled in horror at the souvenir shops on Oxford Street and the like, bear with me for a second: this is no ordinary souvenir emporium. No postcards of Kate and Wills here (though a line of socks known as Kate Middle-Toe is said to do well). The souvenirs and London-related articles on sale here are many and varied, but they’re all original, tasteful, often hilarious and a thoroughly welcome antidote to what’s on offer elsewhere.
I love the maps – there are hand-drawn maps of London, novelty but informative Tube maps of various types, beautiful renditions of specific areas of London, and even special-interest maps such as wild London and a map of film-related sites. But there’s a whole range of other art too, along with often smile-inducing interpretations of all the usual tourist-shop fare.
One of the best things to have with a good drink is a view. Lots of places out there have rooftop bars or observation towers where one can get a cocktail, a pint, or a glass of wine and gaze out over the horizon. London certainly has its share of high-altitude drinking establishments that rank amongst the highest in the UK and in Europe. Whatever you’re in the mood for, each of the five places below can guarantee that you’ll have the best view of any bar patron in London. Let us know your own favorite high-altitude bars in the comments.
Formerly known as The Rumpus Room, 12th Knot is perhaps the highest rooftop bar in London, sitting on the 12th floor of the Sea Containers building in South Bank. As such, it puts patrons just about level with most London buildings and landmarks, providing excellent views of St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Gherkin, and the Leadenhall Building. 12th Knot has a smart casual dress code, so be sure to dress appropriately, and you can go without a reservation, but it won’t guarantee entry.
About one-third up the Shard’s 95 floors, Aqua on the 31st floor is a smaller bar and restaurant that offers panoramic views of the city along with cocktails, beer, and wine. Food is served in the main part of the restaurant, although the atrium bar is the place to go, especially since no reservations are taken to sit there. You can still order some of the modern British cuisine here, though, but it makes for a better spot to have a drink. The dress code is stated to be smart casual, same as 12th Knot, so trainers (that’s tennis shoes for us Americans) are not allowed.
Found at the top of 20 Fenchurch Street, above the 35 floors used for offices and such, is Sky Pod. While technically a rooftop bar, the Sky Garden on top of the tower isn’t exactly open to the air, so you won’t feel the wind on your face like you might at 12th Knot. However, the view more than makes up for it, and the drinks are some of the tastiest at any altitude. The dress code isn’t as fancy, but as Sky Garden is naturally ventilated, you’ll want to make sure you’re wearing appropriately warm clothing.
Duck & Waffle
The second-highest bar on the list, Duck & Waffle can be found on the 40th floor of the 46-story Heron Tower. Besides the grand view of London from such a height, perhaps the most notable part of Duck & Waffle is that it is the only one of these listed establishments that’s open twenty-four-hours-per-day. The cocktails are a bit pricier than most places, but the bar serves sharable snacks that are quite affordable. D&W is quite possibly the most affordable and best dining option you’ll find so far up in the London sky, so be sure to make your reservation.
And now we reach the highest point of this list of altitude-defying bars. Of the 47 floors in Tower 42, 42 of them are open to the public and Vertigo 42 right at the top. The champagne bar at Vertigo 42 is the highest of its kind in the city, and it is open not only to the tower’s residents but also the public, considering you make a reservation beforehand. Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s, and the length of the River Thames are visible from high atop this drinking perch. Of course, smart dress is required for such a fancy establishment.
As much as we love the buzz of the city, there’s nothing quite like a lunch break in a leafy park.
And now, finding a quiet corner of grass could get a little easier, thanks to a huge new park that aims to open near Liverpool Street station.
Plans have been submitted for a 6,000-square-metre green space to take over Exchange Square, featuring lush planting, grassy banks and rows of trees.
The proposal – which is the work of DSDHA architects on behalf of British Land – also boasts a restaurant unit with a green roof, an events space and a playful water feature.
The park in Exchange Square is just one of the projects in the £1.5 billion investment into the Broadgate neighbourhood, which will ultimately include a whopping 4.9 million square feet of new workplaces, retail units and restaurants.
Last week I had the pleasure of staying at Abbey Hotel Bath and spending some time in this beautiful city. I’d been invited by the hotel to celebrate World Sleep Day and stay in one of their newly renovated boutique bedrooms. What better place to get a good night’s sleep than between crisp, luxury…
Thanks to a new wave of hip vegan and vegetarian restaurants popping up in Paris, it’s now easier than ever to enjoy veggie-friendly dining in the French capital. Whether you’re vegan or just want some healthier options, here are some of our favourite spots to enjoy vegetarian and vegan food in Paris.
Launched back in 2014, Hank Burger was one of the first restaurants to help kick off the Vegan Paris scene. It’s been so successful that the team has now branched out with a second burger joint as well as Hank Pizza to satisfy all your comfort food cravings. Describing themselves as a “fast good restaurant” rather than fast food, the idea at Hank is simple; just queue up, pick a menu, and then create your meal, starting with your sauce for your burger or how many slices you want for your pizza.
Hank has thought of everything else, from the vegan pizza base and burger buns to the vegan mayonnaise. There are also vegan desserts for those with a sweet tooth, and the option to swop Hank’s own tofu-based burger patty for the vegan meat “Beyond Meat” for a couple of extra euros. The place is very casual but its shabby chic décor and friendly crowd makes it a great spot for a quick and affordable bite to eat and a beer.
55 rue des Archives, 75003 Paris
8 rue de Rochechouart, 75009 Paris
In addition to its four veggie-friendly Thai restaurants, the Kapunka group also goes fully animal-free at Kapunka Vegan. With a slightly more expensive menu and just six tables this intimate little vegan restaurant is more for a date night or a special occasion, but worth splashing out on. Kapunka’s small and talented team serve up flavourful Thai dishes with a focus on fresh, healthy vegetables, herbs, and a little kick of spice.
Expect Thai-style desserts – think mango, sticky rice and coconut milk – but there is also a very good vegan moelleux au chocolat for those who like to finish with something sweeter. The wine list is small but all organic and, even better, all vegan.
Possibly the cutest vegan-friendly place in Paris, the original Café Pinson can be found tucked away on a quiet street in the fashionable Le Marais area, with a newer outpost located in the equally oh-so-cool 10th arrondissement (you can learn more about this area of Paris on our Hips Eats Backstreets tour).
Everything is home-made, right down to the bread, with a focus on seasonal ingredients, superfoods and raw foods such as spirulina and raw cacao. But there is also an indulgent side to Café Pinson, with comfort dishes such as risotto and vegan chocolate fondant also making an appearance on the menu. In addition to offering breakfast, lunch or a goûter – the French tradition of an afternoon slice of cake with tea or coffee – Café Pinson Marais is also open during the evening for a relaxed and healthy dinner, and on Sundays for a vegan-friendly brunch.
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Located in the bobo area of Canal Saint-Martin (the term used to describe a group of fashionable young Parisians who, fittingly, also have a thing for organic food), Sol Semilla might be one of the healthiest places you can eat in Paris. As specialists in superfoods, everything here is organic, vegan, gluten-free and absolutely delicious.
It’s so good at what it does that Sol Semilla even has its own brand of products, which you can buy to take home or find in organic shops around Paris. The specialty is the assiette du jour (plate of the day), which includes mini-portions of cereals, salad, lentils, beans, crudites, and seasonal veggies with a liberal helping of herbs and spices for a real pop of flavour. There is also a raw version for those who want to be extra virtuous, as well as plenty of supercharged juices and a selection of natural and organic wines.
A popular weekend brunch spot, Janine Loves Sunday is in the style of a traditional French brasserie, but without any of the meat-heavy traditional French dishes. In fact, it makes the bold claim of being the world’s first vegan Parisian brasserie. The varied menu offers a little bit of everything – from pizzas to pad thai – that along with their generous portions makes it also popular with everyone – not just vegans!
It might be a go-to for a late breakfast but it’s also open during the week for lunch and dinner, and gets extra points for having a large outdoor terrace on a car-free street.
It’s far from impossible to be vegetarian – or even vegan – in Paris! You just need to know where to go so you can still enjoy the fantastic food scene the city has to offer. If you’re heading to Paris and currently planning your eating itinerary, then make sure you don’t miss our recommendations on the 8 best bakeries in Paris.