'One of the many delights of home exchange is that your house swap partners will provide suggestions for tried and tested bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants close to home. Our visitors have enjoyed the varied delights of eating out in Tooting but dining in Central London can be an expensive disappointment. Below are a few of our favourites which we return to again and again (Borough Market in photo):
We love the bar and restaurant in the Haymarket Hotel. Comfortable, classy, and although pricey there's always a dish of the day and a set price theatre menu. They serve a great afternoon tea here as well. Straight over the road, for the more budget conscious is Assaggetti, where you can graze on small plates of food, ordering as you go.
Afternoon tea is also good at the National Dining Room in the National Gallery, especially if you get a table overlooking Trafalgar Square, and we enjoy drinks, tea and meals at the nearby Charing Cross Hotel, a good place to relax amid the hustle of London. Also in this vicinity is the marvellous Cafe in the Crypt at St. Martin's in the Fields.
If you're shopping in Oxford Street head down James Street towards Marylebone High Street for a wider, and cheaper, selection of eateries.
Then to the South Bank. Head in one direction from London Bridge towards City Hall and, as well as amazing views of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge and a lovely meander through the now gentrified dockland warehouses, you can eat at the wonderful Le Pont de La Tour (wonderful wine shop attached) or head further on to the cheaper Browns which has a large terrace with great views across the river.
In the other direction, towards the Globe and Tate Modern, there are a couple of good pubs with outdoor seating and Pizza Express. See if you can get a table upstairs by the window. A cheap meal, a priceless view.
In this area too is the amazing Borough Market (above). Lots of goodies to take home with you and so many options for wraps, burgers and other hot food you won't know what to choose. Eat them on the seats set out in the adjacent Southwark Cathedral Churchyard.
If you opt for the Marriott Hotel in the Old County Hall you can sup in the old Members' Bar with great views of The Houses of Parliament and eat your food in the adjacent dining room.
And finally to my especial favourite, the delightful Oxo Tower restaurant. This is for red letter days, like birthdays, and you must book for opening time to be able to specify a window table, but the sight of St Paul's, especially as the sky darkens, will remain with you for ever.
Maybe a bit biased towards south of the river, but I'm a South London girl.' - Sandra Newnham, London
Sandra and Paul are very experienced home swappers and Sandra is a regular contributor to our newsletter and blog. See her home exchange offer in London.