Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

In a couple of weeks, five of us girls are heading to Barcelona for a weekend to celebrate a friend’s 40th birthday. To be honest, I really didn’t think this would happen at all, given their husbands’ and kids’ schedules but it’s all been bought and paid for. We’re actually going!

We decided to meet last night to talk about the trip, what we wanted to do, where to go – we’re only there for two nights and it’s going to be difficult to do everything – eating, drinking, sightseeing, shopping, relaxing. Where do you start? We’re flying with Easyjet – none of us is happy with the baggage restrictions, so instead of taking just hand luggage we’ve decided to share a suitcase or two – that way if we do end up shopping (which I’m sure some of us will) we won’t have to worry about how to bring things back. But, I digress…

We decided to have dinner at The Spaniards Inn (isn’t that appropriate?). I’ve gone past it countless times in the last 25 years but had never actually been inside.


The Spaniards Inn, dating back to 1585, is one of the most famous pubs in the world. It’s located by Hampstead Heath and is popular with tourists and locals alike. The pub is quaint – with oak panels and lots of nooks and crannies. I can imagine the pub garden being full on a hot summer’s day! On a clear day you can apparently see all the way to Windsor Castle.

The pub also hosted many great literary figures – Keats, Shelley, Byron. It’s mentioned in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and also in Dickens’ Pickwick Papers (which I intend to read some day)… 

Across the road from the pub is the tollhouse on the Finchley boundary. Interestingly, the pub is in Barnet and the tollhouse is in Camden! 

The menu is traditional British pub food – sausages and mash, Shepherd’s pie, fish cakes, and so on – which I thought was just average. None of us was particularly wowed by the main courses, and the dessert menu didn’t appeal at all. 

But I’d definitely go back for a pint… and some ghost-hunting! Any building as old as this is bound to have a resident ghost or two – the cloaked figure of Dick Turpin is said to appear inside the pub (legend has it he was born at the pub; his ghost has also been seen on Hampstead Heath on a black horse) and horses have been heard galloping across the car park in the middle of the night. How exciting!! 

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