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Returning to London...British Pie Week

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Feb 15th, 2016, 03:12 PM
  #1
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Returning to London...British Pie Week

I'm visiting London March 6-11 and just noticed an event called British Pie Week during the same dates. I've already been to many of the popular tourist attractions and planning some different things for this trip. Some highlights include:
Staying at the Rosewood London
Garden tours...I wanted to visit Highgrove House gardens but it isn't open yet in early March.
Sir John Soane's ( I just realized it's very near the hotel)
Mansion House and Spencer House tour
St Martin-in-the-Fields (looking at performance options)
Happy hour and dinner at Cliveden House

It would be fun to include British Pie Week too. What is your favorite pie or favorite pub to order a pie? I've only had the traditional mince pie in the past but love trying new things. I found good reviews for these pubs near the hotel.
Ship Tavern
Cittie of Yorke
Ye Olde Mitre
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Feb 15th, 2016, 03:29 PM
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I had a game pie once, can't tell you exactly where, I was walking the Cotswold Way and stopped for lunch. It sounded interesting but I suspect the game in question had been hung a bit too long as queasy set in by evening. But as in all adventures, one must remember, it could have been worse. In any case, I doubt it will tempt me again.
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Feb 15th, 2016, 04:21 PM
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I love pies, of any type, despite their "healthful" reputation. We have gotten pies several times at the Battersea Pie Station, in Covent Garden. They have some lovely vegetarian options (and meat pies too); I think I had one with sweet potatoes.

Sir John Soane's house / museum, my entire family finds very interesting.
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Feb 15th, 2016, 06:25 PM
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I stayed at the Rosewood last year and it is a great choice.. Scarfes Bar is a beauty!

I am going on March 3 for a couple of days and will be at the Ham Yard hotel. Check it out if you have time. A mini village in Soho.
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Feb 15th, 2016, 06:58 PM
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Ooh -- weekender, Have you stayed at the Ham Yard before? I'm trying to squeeze in a short trip in late May and was thinking of staying there.
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Feb 15th, 2016, 10:10 PM
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Mince pie is sweet - not sure if you realze the pies will be meat usually and or vegetables .
I find John Soames house so overcrowded I didn't enjoy it but I am still glad I went to see what it's all about.
Many pubs have a pie of the night special .- fish pie, steak and kidney are 2 of my favs .
I recommend concert ar St Martin in the field - aside from the music the candle lit interior gave an amazing atmosphere .
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Feb 15th, 2016, 10:13 PM
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Plus Chelsea Physic garden is small but lovely to see - free tours , easy to get to as well .
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Feb 16th, 2016, 03:47 AM
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janisj:

Yes and it is fab. I am a huge fan of Firmdale hotels with Charlotte Street being another favorite of mine.
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Feb 16th, 2016, 04:48 AM
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A few recommendations for pies for you; for a quick lunchtime or early evening nosh, the Newman Arms on Rathbone St. is always good for pies and not too far from your hotel. The menu changes regularly and they have a good selection on an ever changing menu.

If your luck is in, St. John around the corner from Smithfield Market does amazing pies but usually only as a special as their "pie of the day". It's on more often than not, but if you do wend your way out there, anything else you eat there will have been worth the trip.

And also, a classic for when you want an absolutely sure thing, is the steak and kidney pie at Rules. Really can't go wrong with that one.

I've succeeded in making myself hungry thinking about that little lot...
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Feb 16th, 2016, 07:37 AM
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Thanks for all the replies...it has been very helpful! I'm definitely looking forward to trying some pies soon. : )

Lexma90 - I just looked at the Battersea Pie menu. Looks perfect!

Weekender - I'm very excited about the hotel and looking forward to Scarfes Bar. The cabaret performance sounds fun. I found a map of Ham Yard Village on the hotel website and will definitely stop by.

Northie - Thx for the recommendation! I saw a brief video of Chelsea Physic on the website and I've added it to the itinerary. I wanted to visit the Garden Museum too but noticed it's closed until 2017. Next time!

Jay_G - Thank you for all the great info. I just saw Newman Arms featured on the Fodors '5 Outstanding Food Experiences in London' article. St. John looks good...Hix nearby looks like a good dinner option too.
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Feb 16th, 2016, 09:34 AM
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stevtx - I'd disagree that the Newman Arms is 'outstanding' but it's still a good place to grab a pie and a pint.

Any of the Hix restaurants would be a good place for dinner. The Tramshed with its Damian Hirst pickled cow as decoration is good, but if you don't fancy the schlep out east, he also has restaurants in Soho and Mayfair which are very good too.

My favourite (for whatever that's worth) is the Soho outpost where I've eaten a few times and seen Mark Hix himself eating lunch, always with a large group. The bar downstairs is also not to be sniffed at, not overpriced and has a really good atmosphere.

Once again, I've made myself hungry...
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Feb 16th, 2016, 03:00 PM
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Hi STEVETX,

You mentioned "Mansion House and Spencer House tour."
You know that Mansion House tours start at 2 PM on Tuesdays only. I would suggest getting there a bit early. The queue is on the side street door not the elaborate front portico. Really enjoyed it.

I didn't make it to Spencer House (only open of Sundays) - maybe next time .... sigh...

Two other suggestions if time permits - drop in at the Supreme Court building in Parliament Square and a tour of the British Library - well worth it.
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Feb 16th, 2016, 03:08 PM
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If you are arriving on the 6th - that is the only day Spencer House is open. Tickets are timed and only available on the day first come/first serve. If you are flying in you may not be able to get there before all the day's tickets are gone.
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Feb 16th, 2016, 04:05 PM
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Latedaytraveler/janisj - I did see the times for Spencer House on Sunday and realize it might be missed on our arrival date. They also host group tours on Monday. I've sent an email inquiry to see if there's a private group we could join as a plan B if we can't make it Sunday. I did something similar on my last trip and was allowed to join a private group to see Marlborough House. I loved the Marlborough tour and the history was very interesting. The Queen was attending a reception the same day but we missed seeing her arrival. Fingers crossed we Spencer House Sunday or Monday.

I just looked at the Supreme Court website and the tour does look interesting. Thank you! : )
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Feb 16th, 2016, 04:52 PM
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Jay_G - I can see why you're getting hungry talking about the restaurants. I didn't realize there were so many Hix locations until I looked at the list on the website. I wish I could visit each one! I'm trying to figure out when to scamper over to Mark's Bar...Leather chesterfields, ambient lighting, and a list full of historical curiosities. It sounds gorgeous. : )
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Feb 16th, 2016, 11:04 PM
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Just an aside - sorry. The best pies are from the north of England. Wigan is the pie capital although Baxenden home to Hollands pies may disagree. In Wigan the vans have signs saying: "No pies kept in this van overnight". The village of Denby Dale produce the worlds biggest pie on an annual basis but that's in Yorkshire so I cant vouch for its quality.
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Feb 17th, 2016, 12:23 AM
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If you can't get to Spencer House I'd suggest the nearby Apsley House.
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/v.../apsley-house/

I had no trouble getting into Spencer House on a rainy Sunday in May but it was quite cold and clearly everyone was staying home. My impression is that they open to the public only for tax purposes and to fulfill the agreement made when the Queen lent them several artworks. This is a corporate finance headquarters and today (as in the 18th century) it's designed to awe you with an ostentatious display of wealth and power.

You might enjoy a visit to the old Astor home at Two Temple Place, unusually they're only open in the winter and the current exhibition is on Beauty in Egyptian art. I enjoyed seeing the building and it's not far from the Soane on the Embankment.
http://www.twotempleplace.org

I blogged about it here
http://www.somuchmoretosee.com/2015/...ce-london.html

18 Stafford Terrace is a gem for anyone interested in domestic interiors from the 19th century and I highly recommend it as another alternative. Personally I enjoyed it far more than Spencer House which is almost entirely a recreation. Aastonishingly, 18 Stafford Terace is almost exactly as it was in the late 19th century. It combines wonderfully with the nearby Leighton House the extraordinary Orientalist home of Frederick, Lord Leighton for a great day out in Kensington.

http://www.somuchmoretosee.com/2015/...sambourne.html

The Soane is perhaps my favorite museum in London, they now have an extra tour of his bedroom and siting room at the top of the house where you can see Soane's collection of architectural models. When we went last spring the only offered it on certain days and you needed to book in advance.

Lots more London ideas on my blog, we spent three months in London last spring and I did a lot of running around....
http://www.somuchmoretosee.com/search/label/London

Have fun, we're just back from Vancouver and I have to say we were very impressed with the Rosewood there, the service was excellent.
We loved Highgrove which will be fun for another trip.
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Feb 17th, 2016, 12:27 AM
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Mince pies are indeed sweet - and usually only eaten around Christmas.
However I suspect the OP means he's only had a pie made of minced beef? Could be wrong here.
Pies tend to have a puff pastry or mashed potato topping. However, if you see one with a suet pastry topping then you've struck oil. I know the old Cheshire Cheese does good pies, but I'm afraid I don't know if this is near you. It's a lovely old building too.
http://www.cheshirecheeselondon.co.uk/
I'd say a beef and ale pie is probably the most popular 'meat' pie found in pubs - very typical pub fare. In this case the beef will be cubed rather than minced and will have had long, slow cooking before encased in pastry. It will often be listed as a 'steak and ale' pie. The gravy will be dark brown. This sort of pie is often served with a pile of chips and some plain veg.
Chicken pies are also popular - usually made of chicken breast and often including leeks or mushrooms. Usually in a creamy sauce - and white wine is also involved.
You are also bound to spot fish pies. These generally tend to be made with white fish but often have prawns in them too, or possibly some chunks of salmon. These generally have mashed potato on top.
Needless to say there are numerous other types - I've just listed the most popular.
And I completely agree with Stevelyon that the best pies are from the north of England.
If ever you are in Whitby (North Yorkshire) then don't miss Humble Pie and Mash where you get a full pie dinner for £5.99. The pictures on the link below will show you what you are missing!
http://humblepie.tccdev.com/menu.html
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Feb 17th, 2016, 12:39 AM
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Humble pie looks lovely - although in Whitby it would take a lot to tempt me away from the chippy - and I am rather tempted by the haggis and neeps ... do they put a pie crust around it?
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Feb 17th, 2016, 01:01 AM
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I've not dared go for the haggis and neeps! And I agree about the local fish and chips.
Lincoln has a wonderful pie shop too called Browns. Even serves rabbit pie. That's something I very rarely see on a menu these days.
http://www.brownspieshop.co.uk/
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