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City Travel Guide: Prosecco on tap, Pub Food, Parks and Photography in London

- Joy Pecknold, Passport blog editor

A trip to London as autumn meanders into winter is less busy, but no less fun—it’s all about brisk walks then warming up with cocktails, comfort food and invigorating culture. Click in for our latest itinerary.

Brunch at Caravan
The first of this coffee roastery-cum-restaurant’s outposts fell in Farringdon’s Exmouth Market, and since that was such a hit, it’s branched out to a revived King’s Cross. Located in the same Granary Building that’s the new home to a branch of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, and as such eye candy abounds—in both the form of young, creative types and the brick and beam interior. Delightfully, the food is worth taking in too, including the satsouki sausage and poached eggs embellished with aubergine puree, yogurt, sumac and parsley. May we recommend you warm up with a coffee and wind down with Prosecco on tap.

Shop the Photographer’s Gallery
When you need a moment of respite from the circus that is Oxford Street, duck down a pedestrian path to the recently reopened Photographer’s Gallery on Ramillies Street. While it’s well worth it to take a look at what they’re showing, it’s also a great place to find a less obvious gift. Make a fellow snap-happy sojourner happy with one of the late ‘60s model Olympus Trip 35mm cameras refurbished and reskinned in colored leathers they sell, or “The Guvnor” Edition La Sardina Lomo camera emblazoned with London landmarks.

See the Tim Walker exhibit
For fans of fashion and fantasy, the Tim Walker exhibit at Somerset House—home to London Fashion Week—doesn’t disappoint. What bolsters his collection of photographs are all the wild props from them peppered throughout the rooms, such as a giant doll, skeleton and cello-playing honeybee. You have until January 27, 2013 to check it out.

Wander Hampstead Heath
When the city stimuli becomes too much, make like a cliché and head out to the Heath for 790 acres of green space. If you bought one of the aforementioned film cameras for yourself, this would be an excellent place to try it out. Cute dogs taking walks, funny fowl and kite flyers abound. A note for those thinking of trekking all the way around to Kenwood House, it’s closed for repairs until Autumn 2013. But do wander off the grounds to check out Keats House where the Romantic poet fell in love with Fanny Brawne (might help to watch Bright Star before you go).

Drink at Duck & Waffle
High, high up in Heron Tower, this new restaurant offers astounding views of the city (that is, as long as it isn’t fogged in). The food is interesting (duck and waffle is their signature dish), but not out-of-this-world, and it can be difficult to get a reservation, so opt for a post-work tipple. The cocktails are curiously made, at an outward-facing bar, and uniquely served—the Dark & Stormy comes in a beer bottle wrapped in brown paper and the Julep in an aluminum can.

Dine at The Harwood Arms
There are lots of pubs in London, obviously, and heaps of them are fine, but of those we stumbled into The Harwood Arms is where we had our best meal, by far. The clean white walls and pale grey wainscoting paired with palate-pleasing, melt-in-your-mouth meat dishes makes it the sort of place you expect to see Gwyneth Paltrow on a casual Friday. Their brown sugar doughnuts with sea buckthorn curd and sour cream makes for the best shared dessert.

Where to Stay:
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Read more on London:
City Travel Guide: There’s More to London than the Olympics, Part One
Daniel’s London Discoveries: Paxton & Whitfield
Fresh Picks: London Calling
Hotel Intel: The Race for 2012 Olympics Overnighters, London Hotel Properties Prepare

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