Looking for some tips on the area? Our Charing Cross taxi driver’s guide is here to help. For example – here’s a good bit of pub quiz knowledge. When people say ‘central London’, have you ever wondered just where they mean? In most people’s minds central London is just a concept; a cluster of streets and famous attractions combined to forge a sort of convenient mass. But of course in reality, everywhere has a centre. Even if – as London does – you span an astonishing 607 square miles. And in the case of our beloved capital, that centre’s in Charing Cross. Home to a (now replica) cross that was lain to mourn the death of King Edward’s wife, Eleanor in 1290. Charing Cross station is where every geographical marker outside the city points and counts down to. What makes this a unique decision is the fact that of course geographically speaking, Charing Cross isn’t at the centre of London. Firm believers in the ‘conceptual centre of London’, we feel that when all is said and done, it’s a good a place to call centre as any. After all, Charing Cross is perched so perfectly between the Thames Embankment and The Strand – with Covent garden and Trafalgar Square to its North – that you’d be hard pressed to find a place with so many glamorous and quintessentially London places nearby. What are you waiting for? London’s just a click away. Follow our Charing Cross taxi driver’s guide to the area and discover all the most popular local haunts to eat, drink and visit. All within the reach of our knowledgeable and friendly drivers.
Where to drink
The American Bar at The Savoy
Established over 120 years ago, the American Bar has slaked the thirst of some of the world’s foremost raconteurs and barflies. Counting Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich and Errol Flynn amongst their plentiful number. Of course, as one of the two bars in the iconic Savoy Hotel, it’s hardly surprising that this is a place with a special history. What is a little surprising is the near chintzy decor that still regales the place semi-ironically today.
The Savoy, WC2R 0EW
Gordon’s Wine Bar
Wine Bars exist in their droves across London, so it’s nice to able to pin down the one true original. Gordon’s Wine Bar was established in 1890 and is still run by the same family today. Seemingly carved out of the ground as a network of cellars. The bar embraces its own heritage joyously, serve wine exclusively, so don’t even ask for a beer or mixer. While they pride themselves on having nothing short of a stunning cellar.
47 Villiers Street, WC2N 6NE
Another wine bar (trust us, we could fill the entire page talking about them in Charing Cross). The reason we’ve included it though is for a little ‘vinersity’. Where Gordon’s is the old friendly stalwart, Terroirs is the precocious young upstart. Home to a range of wines to make the old guard shudder, this bar-cum-bistro almost exclusively serves organic and biodynamic plonk for your quaffing pleasure. Don’t be put off though, everything in here is delightfully moreish and incredibly guzzle-able.
5 William IV Street, WC2N 4DW
Where to eat
Herman ze German
The name is ludicrous. There’s no getting away from that. But push past the playful marketing of this tiny German delicatessen, and you’re likely to find one of central London’s most favourite grazing spots. Granted this branch only serves to takeaway but their special brand of German wurst sausages with delicious crispy onions and pretzels have already seen them open two more sites around the city. Go on, get one down you!
19 Villiers St, WC2N 6NE
Buried deep in the heart of Somerset House’s stunning neoclassical alcoves is the seasonally impervious Spring. Even if you discounted the lavish setting that houses this admirable restaurant, its largely Italian menu is a real treat. With a heavy lean on fresh, light and rustic ingredients it won’t come cheap. But it does offer a reasonable lunchtime set menu for those with slightly shallower pockets.
Somerset House, Lancaster Pl, WC2R 1LA
While it is ostensibly more of a wine bar than a restaurant. Champagne Charlie’s is still a great place to get a proper meal. As the name gives away, this is a haunt where the focus is as much on the bubbles as it is on the squeek. But don’t let that put you off. The grub focuses on using local and seasonal fare to create a menu that’ll warm even the most rainsoked cockles. While the interior is equally snug.
The Arches, 17 Villiers St, WC2N 6NG
What to do
At the very heart of Charing Cross is the world renowned Trafalgar Square. Built and named to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar, the square is the home of Nelson’s Column, the ever changing vacant Fourth Plinth, an enormous fountain and of course, hundreds of exceptionally plump pigeons. At its head is the National Gallery, truly the beating heart of London.
A bit of a stroll from Charing Cross Station but well worth the visit is Covent Garden. Often thought of as just being the square and former farmer’s market at its centre, Covent Garden is actually an area which includes Neal’s Yard (a real treasure) and Seven Dials. What this area offers is fundamentally lots and lots of shopping, with the strong possibility of finding somewhere to destress afterwards. But it’s worth it for that alone.
There are many ways to view London. From great heights or even from the underground. But nothing quite beats seeing the capital from the river. Offering a unique window to the city’s most treasured icons, the Thames Rib is a speedboat that zooms up and down the river (where it’s allowed) drawing in London’s most famous sights. There are slower, more civilised boats on the Thames that do the same but they’re not half as fun.
Embankment Pier, Victoria Embankment, WC2N 6NU