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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Go Beyond Snout-to-Tail Dining in London


5. Oddball Day

Check out the Map Room at the Churchill War Rooms, which shows the Allied forces' island-hopping operations on large-scale maps.  

Awake predawn to go to the Columbia Road Flower Market, in East London, where serious florists gather as early as 4 a.m. in the dark to haggle over blossoms. As the sun rises, grab an espresso ($1) from U.K. champion barista Gwilym Davies's coffee cart at 78 Ezra Street and a free-range egg omelette ($8.30) from Jones Dairy. Then take your bouquet, jump on the tube to King's Cross, and head to the Foundling Museum (open at 10 a.m. daily), a bizarre but touching memorial to abandoned children housed in the former hospital. If you need lifting up—and you might—visit the Churchill War Rooms, kept by the Imperial War Museum, where you'll see the bed where the original English Bulldog slept and the onesie he liked to wear during the London Blitz. Stop for bangers and mash ($19) at nearby Tom's Kitchen Chelsea, celebrity chef Tom Aiken's casual bistro, then finish the afternoon strolling among literary giants. Cheyne Walk takes you past the houses of George Eliot (No. 4), Dante Gabriel Rossetti (No. 16), Hilaire Belloc (No. 104), Henry James at Carlyle Mansions, Mark Twain (23 Tedworth Square), and Bram Stoker (18 St. Leonard's Terrace). Head back to the hotel for a much-needed nap, and in the evening venture to the Bethnal Green WorkingMen's club, a union hangout during the day and a steamy burlesque club by night.

Published on Dec 9, 2010 as a web exclusive.

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