A day out, taking in Madame Tussauds.
Walking east to Smithfield for breakfast.
A short amble round the Hotel.
South to Soho and Chinatown.
In the footsteps of artists and writers in Fitzrovia.

WALKING TOURS - 1.
A day out, taking in Madame Tussauds.
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Walk over Tottenham Court Road, along Howland Street (past Charlotte Street, with all its restaurants) and along the back streets running parallel with Oxford Street. Turn right along Portland Place and left or right around Park Crescent, across the Euston Road and into Regent's Park.

The most direct route through the Park goes straight past one of the Royal Parks cafes; after about 25 minutes walking, this is a good place to rest.  In the Summer, the Rose Garden is worth a detour, in the centre of the Park, with its own cafe next to the Open Air Theatre.  A larger detour takes in the Boating Lake for a really hot day.  There is also the new state-of-the-art glass pavilion with a view over the games pitches for sports fans.  London Zoo's entrance is at the other side of the park and is well signposted.

Leave the Zoo at the top end by the birdcages and turn left and right into Primrose Hill.  The view from the top is fantastic, especially at night. At the other side of Primrose Hill Park is the Village, with boutique shopping and foody pubs - The Queens, The Lansdowne or the Engineer amongst others, also pizza parlours and Greek restaurants.  (Primrose Hill is expensive compared to Camden, so it may be worth waiting to eat and shop!) Opposite the Engineer on Gloucester Avenue is a path leading down to the canal; turn left onto the canal under two bridges and left into Camden Market's main square (most lively at weekends).  There is normally a barge parked by the entrance serving hot chocolate.  Explore the Market - the old stables housing the furniture shops are worth a visit.

Lord's Cricket Ground is a short walk from Regent's Park; and canal boats run from Camden Market to Little Venice. Madame Tussauds and the Planetarium are close to the Euston Road side of the Park; and Marylebone High Street and Oxford Street are within easy walking distance.

Walk back through Regent's Park, past Madame Tussauds or the Planetarium by the Baker Street entrance.  Down Marylebone High Street there is great shopping and a farmers' market on Sunday mornings.  Walk along Oxford Street and back to the Hotel.  Alternatively, you can take the tube from Camden Town straight to Russell Square.
 
WALKING TOURS - 2.
Walking East to Smithfield for breakfast.

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This involves an early start to take in the meat market at Smithfield.  7.00am departure! Good for those with jet lag. Head down Theobolds Road, taking in the sights of Gray's Inn on the way.  Then onto Clerkenwell Road; take a right down Turnmill Street to Farringdon. At Cowcross Street, take a left. Follow the road round to Smithfield and see London's main meat market in action. Stop for a drink and a snack at one of the surrounding coffee shops. Smiths of Smithfield is good on the ground floor.  Or there is a small Austrian coffee house on west Smithfield.  While you are in the area, take in Charterhouse Square and the Barbican Centre.

Leave Smithfield and head down Little Britain onto King Edward then St.Paul's Cathedral.  Take a tour round St.Paul's.  Then head across the Millennium Footbridge to the Tate Modern - you could have lunch there or one of the many restaurants on the South Bank.

Walk along the South Bank to Blackfriars Bridge and cross at Blackfriars - drop down onto the Embankment.  Cross the road and go into the Temple, cutting up to the Strand and then through Lincoln's Inn Field, where you can visit Sir John Soane's Museum.  Then go up to Gray's Inn.  Cross Theobolds Road, turn left and walk until you see Lamb's Conduit Street on the right. There are a number of coffee houses, restaurants, wine bars and interesting shops.  Or stop at the Lamb pub for a traditional ale.  Turn left onto Guildford Street and straight down onto Russell Square. 

WALKING TOURS - 3.
A short amble round the Hotel.

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Head down Guildford Street and then left onto Greville Street through Brunswick Square Gardens to the Coram's Fields Foundling Museum. There is a nice coffee shop there.  For those with children, visit Coram's Fields with its play facilities and farmyard animals. There are often art classes or music events taking place in the morning - and children can take part.  Make enquiries on your arrival.

Go back onto Guildford Street and down to Doughty Street - take a right to 48 and the Dickens Museum.

Then head back onto Guildford Street and take a left down Lamb's Conduit Street.  Either take in the shops and restaurants here or take a right down Great Ormond Street into Queen Square. Go down Cosmo Place and onto Southampton Row. Turn left and cross the road. Head down Great Russell Street. Go past Bloomsbury Square.  Up on the right hand side is the British Museum.

For those feeling energetic, take a left out of the Museum, then first left down Montague Street onto Russell Square. Go into Russell Square and cross to the other side. Leave Russell Square and head down Bedford Way. At the end on the right hand side is Bloomsbury Bowling, where you can enjoy a relaxing drink, food or ten pin bowling. 

WALKING TOURS - 4.
South to Soho and Chinatown.

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Walk down Tottenham Court Road until it reaches the junction with Oxford Street.  Turn right onto Oxford Street and stay on the south side.  Turn left on to Soho Street, which leads into Soho Square. 

On the right in the corner is the French Huguenot Church.  While on the left, the red brick tower is part of the Chinese Catholic Church.  These two buildings are clues to the history of Soho - home to a rich and diverse culture expressed in some of London's most fascinating buildings, shops, clubs, bars and restaurants.  Oh, and the area is renowned (notorious?) as the Capital's red light district.

Crossing the square, there may be a scrum of reporters and camera crews on the left - they will be standing outside the headquarters of the Football Association, waiting for a statement from an England official!  Carry on down to Greek Street and note the Gay Hussar, a long-established Hungarian restaurant that's the old home of Britain's left-wing historians, writers and union officials.  Also spotted there is Ian Hislop, the Editor of the satirical magazine 'Private Eye' - worth reading to find out what's really going on in the country.  Also note 'Milroy's', a shop specialising in whiskies and fine wines, for souvenirs perhaps.  Under the arch next to the Pillars of Hercules pub can be spied the signage for 'Borders' on Charing Cross Road, which is famous for its scores of book and music shops.

At the next junction, turn right onto Old Compton Street - London's gay capital.  It's a great street for those who like trendy shoes and clothes.  For those who haven't breakfasted, or who fancy "elevenses", pop into Patisserie Valerie, which since 1926 has served the finest coffee and pastries.  Carrying on to the end of Old Compton Street, there is Wardour Street, the base for Britain's film and TV industries.  Sex shops are in plentiful supply around here, but also nearby is the open-air food market in Berwick Street, and in the adjoining streets, tailors, fabric shops and several specialists in vinyl records.

Soho is an area to explore, and even sometimes get lost in its shady alleyways.  Going back along Old Compton Street, look out for the turning right on to Dean Street and a pub called the French House.  It gained its name as the unofficial headquarters of the Free French during World War II.  Carry on down this street and cross Shaftesbury Avenue.  Go past the Dutch pub De Hems on the left and you will be entering Chinatown - signposted by the red and gold of its street furniture.  The main place for eating and shopping is the pedestrianised Gerrard Street.

Retrace your steps back up to Soho and turn right on to Romilly Street.  On the corner is Kettners, one of London's oldest restaurants; it also has a fabulous Champagne Bar.  This is a great place to stop with a glass in hand and think about how to spend the evening - at a show, play or opera, dancing, or if it's Summer, just finding a table outside a cafe or restaurant and watching the world go by.

WALKING TOURS - 5.
In the footsteps of artists and writers in Fitzrovia.

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Walk westwards over Tottenham Court Road on Grafton Way, and at the end of the street is Fitzroy Square. The Square was first developed by the soldier and statesman Charles Fitzroy, who purchased the land in the 1700s.  He commissioned the Adam brothers to design the neo-classical buildings now seen on the east and south sides.  The other two sides were added by 1830.

A century later, the area around the Square had established itself as the haunt of artists, architects, writers, political activists and bohemian characters.  They probably invented the term "Fitzrovia", in ironic imitation of well-heeled "Belgravia", one evening in the Fitzroy Tavern, on Charlotte Street, south of the Square.  Downstairs at this pub is the Writers' Bar, named in honour of poets and novelists. The Newman Arms on Rathbone Street is also proud of its associations with famous authors.  Both hostelries have cosy corners in which to sit and enjoy a classic work of fiction or polemic. 

George Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf, Ford Madox Brown, Roger Fry, Roland Collins, George Orwell, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Aneurin Bevan, Karl Marx and Julian Maclaren-Ross all lived in or frequented the Fitzrovia area.

The artistic spirit of the area lives on in the form of a number of small, independent art galleries.  Look out for Contemporary Applied Arts on Percy Street, left at the bottom end of Charlotte Street.

Wandering around the Square and sampling one or two pubs may have worked up a healthy appetite. Fortunately, Charlotte and the adjoining streets are also famous for their vast number and variety of restaurants, serving the tastes and budgets of local residents, medical students from UCLH, and the clients of nearby advertising and legal firms.  There is a choice of French, Italian, Greek, Indian, Spanish, Japanese, Mexican, Thai, Filipino, Scandinavian!  While at the bottom of Whitfield Street (east and parallel with Charlotte Street) is the long-established Gig's fish and chip shop.

And for those in search of gifts and souvenirs, stop by the corner of Whitfield and Scala streets and pop into the extraordinarily charming Pollock's Toy Museum.  
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