Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Honey Honey Cafe and Crepery, Post Street, San Francisco

A slightly grungy diner near Union Square open from 7.30am, Honey Honey is a good place for a budget breakfast or lunch in the centre of San Francisco. You order at the counter, after perusing the lengthy menu, displayed on a large blackboard, which is awash with staples, such as pasta, crepes, bagels, soups and sandwiches. The tasty original crepe (about $6) is filled with melted, stringy orange cheese and onions, and is served with potatoes, salad or a small bowl of chunky fruit. The coffee is strong and cheap and there are free refills. You can help yourself to water from jugs flavoured with either lemon or orange. There is also free WiFi, accessible via a code on your receipt. Although the terracotta and green decor is a bit harsh and dated, there are a couple of tables outside where you can catch the sun in the mornings. Honey Honey is good value for this part of town and is understandably popular with both cash-conscious locals and tourists. 6/10

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

United Airlines, Economy Class London to San Francisco

United is one of only a handful of airlines flying direct from London to San Francisco. You depart from Heathrow Terminal 1, which feels old-fashioned, daylight-deprived and crowded compared with more modern airport terminals elsewhere. On the way out, it is a 10 hour daytime flight, so you can probably just about stomach economy class, which is cramped for anyone approaching six foot. For the night-time flight back, it is probably worth shelling out the extra to be in the large economy plus cabin, where the seats are fairly spacious and recline further. If you wait until you check-in online the day before, the upgrade might be quite cheap or there might not be any space left. If you are lucky, you might just get upgraded for nothing. In any case, check-in early, as you really don't want the middle seat in economy.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Grounds of Greys Court, Rotherfield Greys, Oxfordshire

If you are approaching Greys Court from Henley, this little piece of olde England can be hard to find - the brown signposts with the National Trust symbol are few and far between. Even so, you may have to queue to get into the car park as Greys Court can get very busy on summer weekends and you should arrive before lunch if you want to be sure of a timed ticket to go inside the handsome red-brick sixteenth century manor house. But even if you miss out, the gardens and the views of the rolling Oxfordshire countryside should make the trip worthwhile. From the main lawn, there is a lovely bucolic view across to another fine old country house on the other side of the picturesque valley.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Coram’s Fields, Guilford Street, central London

A large central London square dedicated to children, Coram's Fields is an oasis of fun in the otherwise refined and intellectual district of Bloomsbury. In these seven acres you'll find everything from astroturf football pitches to elaborate playgrounds to depressing cages occuped by goats, sheep, rabbits and birds. There is probably too much tarmac and concrete for some adult tastes, but children under twelve will be impressed. The main playground, padded with bark chippings, has an imposing and solid four-storey wooden climbing frame built to resemble a house. From the top, children can glide down a twisting, enclosed metal chute. It is surrounded by other large wooden contraptions, including frames for a large swinging tyre and a row of noisy bell chimes. There is also a disappointingly-sluggish zip wire, which needs an energtic adult to gain any momentum. Other smaller swings and slides are dotted around the patch of worn grass at the heart of Coram's Fields, which is fittingly off-limits to adults without children. Dogs are also barred. On a Sunday, most of the visitors are white middle class kids hurtling around the playgrounds and engaging in a bit of argy-bargy. 7/10