Given how much of the area is taken up by office space, unless you work here, you’d be forgiven for never having much cause to visit Farringdon. In fact, ask most people where it is and they might even shrug back at you, a little clueless. And so the long trudge to find an expensive Farringdon taxi often begins. But with our guide you to the area, you’ll not only know where you’re going, but also how to get there – 30% cheaper than a black taxi and without any of those pesky ‘surge fares’. A lot of the ignorance surrounding Farringdon comes from it being shoehorned in between better known parts of London. To one side you’ll find the City, on another Clerkenwell. Venture a little further along and bang, you’re in Shoreditch. And yet it’s a place with so much to offer. As with so many areas where people come to work, Farringdon is teeming with great bars, coffee shops, restaurants and stores. Nearby Clerkenwell hosts a yearly Design Week and when you see how many art galleries and design spaces line its weaving streets, it’s clear this place has a life of its own. But it’s also a place that’s packed with history. The name Farringdon – quite a common one in England – means ‘fern covered hill’. Look deeper into its etymology and you’ll discover that there was once “Farringdon Within” and “Farringdon Without” – a reference to the way it used to straddle London’s ancient inner city wall. What’s so lovely about Farringdon is the way it seems to have created its own, charming identity. The archways, alleys and ginnels that make it up have become endemic to the alluring contradiction that is Farringdon; a district with antiquity and culture at its heart but also now houses a wealth of modern tech-based businesses. Addison Lee have been providing London with a reliable, affordable service for over 30 years now. Getting people where they need to go over 20,000 times each and every single day. Follow our Farringdon taxi driver’s for the inside scoop on where to go, what to do and all the best places to eat and drink while you’re here.
Where to drink
One of the newest spots in Farringdon, 7 Tales is the basement bar attached to London restaurateur Jason Atherton’s most recent venture, Socharu (also well worth checking out). As with everything this guy does, it would seem that the Midas touch hasn’t deserted him. Embracing the theme of the Japanese restaurant above it, 7 Tales is decked out in a near perfect homage to everything Oriental and everything slightly retro. For a ar of this calibre it’s incredible how seriously they don’t take themselves and despite the fact it’ll probably be decked out with trendy local types, make sure you just enjoy yourself. The cocktails are nothing short of perfect and don’t be afraid to be guided by the bar staff.
64 Turnmill St, EC1M 5RR
Another bar that’s completely off the chart (in a good way) for cocktails and sheer exuberant style is the Zetter Townhouse. As one of two spectacular hotels of the same name (the other’s in Marylebone), this place has drinks and ambience in spades. Fortunately though, you don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to use its bar. Which is a relief given that the man behind those drinks is London cocktail guru Tony Conigliaro (more on him later). Set in a Georgian style townhouse, th drinks here are exactly what you’d expect if you had a team of manservants slaving (literally) over each and every one of them. Utterly resplendent and slightly pricey, but well worth the coin.
49-50 St John's Square, EC1V 4JJ
The Jerusalem Tavern
We’ve taken you through the most fancy places to drink in Farringdon – where are the salt of the earth pubs. The spit and sawdust boozers? Well, The Jerusalem may not be as grubby and antique as it pretends to be but it makes a pretty good fist of it. The pub itself is actually a relatviely recent development in what is a very old building, and the owners (St. Peter’s Brewery) have certainly made the effort to keep it looking that way. Don’t be put off though, it’s a class act through and through, and there’s a reason it’s considered a terrific local secret.
55 Britton St, EC1M 5UQ
Where to eat
If you like Belgian food and beer and – let’s face it – who doesn’t? Then get yourself over to the ever fantastic Dovetail. Serving up a heady mix of strong trappist beers and moules marinieres to heaps of hungry lunch-ers every single day, this place is something of a local gem. Claiming to stock over 100 different beers (the list is three times the size of the actual menu), they take pleasure in doing the most utterly gluttonous things so very right. Steaks, burgers, sausage and mash – these are all things you can expect to toast your lambic ale with and we have to say, we’ve never seen anyone leave looking anything less than completely satisfied.
9-10 Jerusalem Passage, EC1V 4JP
Just around the corner from the Dovetail is Artisan. A sort of bar/restaurant/bistro, this place is usually filled with local office types throughout lunch (and often long into the afternoon as well) because of its quality gnosh and reasonable prices. The laid back decor and simple, gastropub type food makes for an excellent location for a long lunch of your own. They do all the classics like burgers, fish and chips, pulled pork and even sharing boards to the best of their abilities, espcially given the cost. And aren’t averse to finding you a decent wine or beer to match your lunch or dinner either.
53 St John's Square, EC1V 4JL
We’ve cheated a little bit here as Workshop is less a restaurant and more a cafe, but that doesn’t preclude them from knocking out some excellent breakfast/brunch/lunch. It should be said that above all Workshop specialise in coffee – really good coffee. In fact they roast their own before your very eyes while you drink it. Set around a square island bar, Workshop industriously blend, make and sell their own coffee of all sorts of forms. The place is almost always busy with a mix of freelance types, local office workers and the occasional customer looking to relax with lunch. The food is nothing you wouldn’t expect but comes well served and with a heavy onus on fresh produce.
27 Clerkenwell Road, EC1M 5RN
What to do
Looking for a splash of culture while you’re in Farringdon? Look no further than the achingly trendy book, film and art shop Magma. Whether you’re searching for a gift, or just fancy something for yourself, this design based store has anything and everything to make your inner child’s eyes light up. They sell clothing, arty prints, trinkets and toys by the absolute shelf-load so even if you’re not in the mood to make a purchase you can at least while away a few hours browsing.
117-119 Clerkenwell Rd, EC1R 5BY
Farringdon has enjoyed a long love affair with meat. In the 1950s and 60s it was the site of a famous cattle market. Today it has Smithfield Market – the UK’s biggest wholesale meat market. Open until lunchtime every weekday, this is the ideal place to see London’s inner city at work. The sheer volume of meat that gets handled here can be overwhelming and vegans are warned to stay well away. But if you fancy a glimpse into the underbelly of London’s restaurant world, it mustn’t be missed.
225, Central Markets, EC1A 9LH
If you stay up to date with current affairs then the name Hatton Garden is probably ringing huge alarm bells right now (excuse the pun). As it was the site of a rather famous jewel heist in 2015. And while those particular thieves made a rather large underground dent in one part of the area’s famous jewel trade, it hasn’t stopped this from being a great place to go if you’re in need of some precious gems. Whether you’re looking to get that special someone in your life a giant rock, or you just fancy a gander, this is a fascinating insight into how the other half live.