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The Time Out London blog

Your up-to-the-minute guide to London life, news, culture, pop-ups, and openings

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15 brilliant places you probably didn't know existed in London

There's so much more to London than big clocks, dildo-shaped skyscrapers, bridges and old Victorian tat. Ditch Zone 1 for a day and go explore London's awesome suburban wildernesses – the one-day travelcard will be so worth it. 1. Epping Forest Martin V Morris/Flickr A 6,000-acre forest home to ancient oak trees, peacocks, snakes and hundreds of species of flowers in London? SHUT UP. Closest station: Epping 2. Waterlow Park, Highgate    A photo posted by Britt Turner (@brittxrose22) on May 3, 2016 at 1:49pm PDT   You'll find quaint little meadows full of wildflowers (and maybe a few ducks) before stumbling upon a rather epic view of London town from the tippy top of the hill. Closest station: Archway  3. Morden Hall Park   A photo posted by Chloe Douglass (@chloeillustrates) on May 5, 2016 at 10:39am PDT  Thumbelina totally lives in this magical fairy land full of cute bunnies and stone bridges. Closest station: Morden 4. Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (Neasden temple)   A photo posted by Amol Pingate (@amolpingate) on Mar 30, 2016 at 1:59pm PDT   It's the largest Hindu temple outside of India – and isn't it just magnificent? Closest station: Stonebridge Park  5. Ruislip Lido   A photo posted by Kornela (@kornela55) on Jul 11, 2015 at 10:10am PDT London has a beach... AN ACTUAL BEACH (well kind of) where you can make sandcastles and bury dad in the sand (safely, of course) and do other beachy stuff. Cl

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Eight lovely floral alternatives to the Chelsea Flower Show

I’ve never been to the Chelsea Flower Show – too much pollen, and I’ve always mistrusted people who do weeding for fun – but I do love all the hoopla that surrounds it. It’s one of those quintessentially English things that must really cement foreigners’ opinion of us: ie. completely bonkers, but in a charming, eccentric way. Like 'Fawlty Towers'. If you too love flowers but not all the hard work that goes into producing them, show your appreciation with one of these fun floral fringe events.   A photo posted by Emily Gibson (@curiouslyemily) on May 13, 2016 at 3:20am PDT   Tuck into a Chelsea Flower Afternoon Tea at The Landmark Five-star hotel The Landmark is reinventing its afternoon menu just for Chelsea Flower Show with a selection of delicious (and highly photogenic) floral pastries, such as elderflower custard choux and chocolate and orange blossom macarons. Sip chilled champagne and indulge in bottomless finger sandwiches in the Winter Garden, a vast atrium with soaring glass ceilings and petrified palm trees, from £55 per person. Booking advised.   A photo posted by Flowers From Above™ (@flowersfromabove) on May 16, 2016 at 7:51am PDT Pick peonies with Bloom & Wild Everybody loves peonies. There are millions of the things on Instagram, making them social media’s most beloved flower, but, alas, these voluminous blooms are only in season for a month or so in the UK. You can catch them in all their glory at Bloom & Wild’s pick 'n' mix peony

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Seven reasons we all secretly love the tube

If the leading religions of the world have taught us anything, it is that hell is situated underground – a hot, horrible place full of writhing bodies, where you will see and experience things that can never be forgotte. And if that isn't an apt description of the Central line at rush hour then we don't know what is.  Yet, we are a city obsessed with the tube. The tube, it seems, is a bigger part of London life than novelty pop-ups, lost tourists and a hatred of estate agents. And we think we know why…   A photo posted by @beasweetbeauty on Jun 24, 2013 at 2:06am PDT 1. It's the perfect scapegoat  OK, so it’s Wednesday morning and you’ve woken up in a stranger’s bed on the other side of London. It happens to us all. Know what's going to get you out of this sticky situation? Well, firstly a trip to Boots and as much sample perfume and/or aftershave as you can get away with. But after that, it's London Underground that you'll need to turn to. Prone to delays, cancellations, and congestion, it’s the excuse that even the most suspicious boss can’t pick holes in. But maybe brush out the sex hair, just to be on the safe side…     A photo posted by tobueno (@tobueno) on Oct 15, 2014 at 1:14am PDT 2. It doesn't discriminate If you live in London and are not the Queen, Alan Sugar or one of those dickheads from 'Made in Chelsea', you will inevitably spend a fair chunk of your time on the Underground, pressed up against your fellow Londoners. The good ne

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In pictures: the Tweed Run 2016

Did hundreds of tweed-clad cyclists ride past you on Saturday? No, you didn’t go back in time – you were witnessing the eighth annual Tweed Run, the most polite, stylish bike ride in town. Starting from the Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings in Clerkenwell, the 14-mile jaunt took in the sights of London, stopping at Kensington’s Albert Memorial for a spot lunch and a group picture before heading back to Clerkenwell for a grand garden party in Spa Fields. Caps were doffed, the most enviable picnic baskets were produced, rides were pimped, and good gosh, everyone was so darn dapper. Tweed Run 2016, we salute you.  Jude Brosnan  There was music. Jude Brosnan Plenty of cork-popping ensured riders were kept refreshed. Jude Brosnan  There was always time for tea.  Jude Brosnan  Riders wished 'good day' to all around. Jude Brosnan  They hung with old friends. Jude Brosnan   Jude Brosnan And phoned those who couldn't make it (just like the old days). Jude Brosnan There were some beautiful bikes including lots of penny-farthings. You should see their dismounting skills. Jude Brosnan And plenty of tandems. Jude Brosnan Rides were pimped.  Totally on brand. Even hired rides were tweeded up. Jude Brosnan  The picnics were on-point. Jude Brosnan  And there were dogs. Jude Brosnan    Jude Brosnan   Jude Brosnan   Jude Brosnan Some good old fashioned, wholesome family fun.   Jude Brosn

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Video: here's how they make rainbow bagels

The rainbow bagel is here and it's taking over Instagram. Originally created at The Bagel Store in Brooklyn, it was only a matter of time before someone in London started making them.   Rob Greig       The first place to bust out the food colouring was The Beigel Shop (the yellow one on Brick Lane), so we went behind the scenes to find out how they make the Play Doh-style boiled beauties and if they actually taste any good. Here's the technicolour baking process – watch to the end to find out whether they actually do taste like a rainbow.    

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Trendy fried chicken vs cheapo: Which is better? (And other foodstuffs)

Thanks to the gentrification of humble takeaway fare in London, there are kebab restaurants run by ex-Le Gavroche chefs and chippies that do fizz with your fish. But is gourmet junk food actually better than the cheap and cheerful originals? There’s only one way to find out… Fish and chips Cheap: Haddock and chips, The Fryer’s Delight, Holborn. £7.95 This old-school chippy has been on the scene since 1968, so it’s had plenty of time to hone its craft: crispy batter, light and flaky fish, crunchy chips with fluffy insides – and not too much guilt-inducing grease on the plate afterwards. An oldie and a goodie. Posh: Haddock and chips, Vintage Salt, Islington. £12 As with The Fryer’s Delight, you get perfectly executed fish and chips here, but it comes with a heftier price tag. What you’re really paying for is the experience. This place is nice: brasserie feel, stonkingly good cocktail list (pickle-juice martini, anyone?) and proper fabric napkins. Now that is posh. VERDICT: It’s a draw. The fish and chips aren’t an awful lot nicer at the posh place, but it gets bonus points for the trimmings. Fried chicken Cheap: Spicy ‘M’ wings, Morley’s, Camberwell. £2.30 for eight wings   As every connoisseur of post-pub munchies knows, it isn’t Red Bull that gives you wings, it’s five pints of strong IPA followed by a stagger through the delicious meaty aroma of your local chicken shop. The batter at Morley’s sings with spice, the wings are deliciously greasy, and they cost

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Four places in London for the totally tea-obsessed

Can't get enough of a good cuppa? Head to one of these lovely spots to get your tea fix. The pub Stoke Newington Tea House    A photo posted by Anne (em) Cortez (@mariemontclair) on Jan 7, 2016 at 2:25pm PST Describing itself as ‘a British pub with some twists’, this newly opened drinking spot – formerly The Daniel Defoe – allows you to sip on the leafy stuff in the setting of a traditional boozer. More than 100 types of loose leaf tea are available, as well as a range of cocktails, beer and wine. 102 Stoke Newington Church St, N16 0LA. Stoke Newington rail. The café Tiosk   A photo posted by Irene Michaelides (@ireney10) on Mar 5, 2016 at 7:34am PST There are many minimalist cafés in east London but few that have shunned coffee in favour of London’s original caffeinated drink. Broadway Market’s Tiosk has more teas than you can shake a stirrer at, along with a sumptuous-looking selection of salads, stews and wholesome soups. 33 Broadway Market, E8 4PH. Cambridge Heath rail. The bar Jarr Kombucha   A photo posted by @jarrkombucha on Nov 27, 2015 at 9:10am PST In case you’re not au fait with this Californian health craze, kombucha is a bitter-tasting fermented tea drink packed with supposedly beneficial microbes. Hackney Wick’s Jarr Kombucha bar is dedicated to the ‘live’ stuff and even does a fine line in kombucha cocktails. So you can be healthy while being, er... unhealthy. Mick’s Garage, Queen’s Yard, E9 5EN. Hackney Wick Overgr

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In pictures: behind the scenes at London's theatres

Photographer Matt Humphrey has spent the last year living a theatre buff's dream, hanging out backstage at over 50 productions including 'Hamlet' at the Barbican Theatre, 'American Buffalo' at Wyndham’s Theatre and 'As You Like It' at the Globe. He's taken a whopping 18,000 behind the scenes photographs, including snaps of Damian Lewis, Benedict Cumberbatch and Dame Helen Mirren getting ready to go on stage as her Maj in 'The Audience' – and you can now see the best of them in his new book, 'A Year Backstage In London Theatre'.  The book is out on March 28 but we've got a sneak peek of the backstage snaps: Matt Humphrey       Matt Humphrey   Matt Humphrey   Matt Humphrey   Matt Humphrey   Matt Humphrey   Matt Humphrey Matt Humphrey     'A Year Backstage In London Theatre' is £45 and available for pre-order here. Check out the top ten theatre openings in London this March.

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Five maps that quantify exactly how rammed London is

London – it's quite busy, isn't it? But maybe more than you even realise. As of this time last year, 8.6 million people call Greater London their home. That makes London a LOT bigger than other UK cities. You could fit people from all these city districts into London, for example: Admittedly we're cheating a little, because just as 'London' is much bigger than just the central district, so 'Greater Manchester' is much bigger than just the middle bit of Manchester. But even if you take entire metropolitan counties, you can still fit everyone from five of the country's biggest into Greater London: See? There's loads of us. Who else could you fit in London? Yep, there are more Londoners than Scottish (5.3 million) and Welsh people (3.0 million) put together. How about some American cities? You could fit the citizens from these all places comfortably inside the Big Smoke:  In fact, we're even bigger than all these countries combined: Come to think of it, London is also more populous than Israel, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, New Zealand and Jamaica... to name but a few. (If we became our own country, we'd be the 96th largest – just a few thousand people smaller than Austria.) If this is all making your blood pressure rise, just be glad you don't live in Shanghai, which at 24 million people (nearly three times the size of London) is the largest city in the world:  Finally, a snappy demographic fact to impress someone on a first date: if you drained

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Where is the best Nando's in London?

  London is filled with amazing independent cafés, Michelin-starred restaurants and quirky street food pop-ups, but you know what? Sometimes you don't want any of that. Sometimes you just want a Nando's (cheeky or otherwise). And because it's a chain, it doesn't matter which one you go to – they're all the same, right? Wrong. The folks at The Mirror have taken it upon themselves to find out once and for all which are the best and worst Nando's restaurants in the country. They looked at every Nando's UK branch that had more than 20 reviews on Trip Advisor – and apparently it's something people feel pretty strongly about, as there were 308 branches that made the cut. Each branch was ranked by its average star rating and then by the total number of reviews submitted. If you're really committed to getting the best Nando's experience, you better hop on a train to the north-east as the most-loved branch is in a town called Boldon, just south of Newcastle. But the good news is that four of the top ten best Nando's are in London. Next time you want to get your poultry and peri peri fix, head to the King's Cross branch, which came third in the country. Or failing that, branches in Earl's Court, Victoria Wilton Road and Covent Garden all made the top ten, too. Prefer your chicken fried? We lift the lid on London's obsession with fried chicken. Or find out which fared better in our taste test of trendy fried chicken vs cheapo.

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Quit your job, become a... yoga instructor

© Rob Greig   Olga Allon, 39, director and head teacher at Hot Yoga Society Why did you decide to pursue hot yoga instead of normal cold yoga? ‘I fell in love with it. Ten years ago there weren’t many hot yoga studios around and I felt huge benefits from doing it, so I thought it was the right decision. But I’m also a qualified architect.’ Whoa. Was it a tough transition from architecture to yoga? ‘It was incredibly hard to move away from the security of a nine-to-five job and a salary, but it was becoming increasingly frustrating being in an office environment. I also knew that at some point I wanted to have a family. The unknown was definitely daunting, but it was exciting at the same time because I knew I wanted to have that freedom to choose how I spent my days.’ What's an average day like now that you're the boss? ‘The day normally starts about 6.30am with mindful meditation, then it’s straight to the yoga studio, taking classes, teaching, meeting people to develop the business, spending time with my staff and teachers, and trialling new classes.’ Do you have to maintain a healthy lifestyle for this job? ‘Absolutely. If I’m going to preach about that lifestyle and have a studio that’s effectively all about health and wellbeing, I need to live it myself.’ Are there ever any awkward lol moments in your class? ‘We have a posture called “wind- removing pose” and it does what exactly it says on the package. It’s supposed to clear out your intestines, so you tend

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25 photos that prove London is just a cute little village

It's a popular misconception that London is a bustling global metropolis with a population of over 8 million. But in fact, it's simply a twee-as-fuck village consisting purely of cobbled streets and charming attractions. These photos prove our point. 1) All the museums are tiny:   A photo posted by @anya_alaska on Jan 17, 2016 at 10:15am PST 2) The streets are all small:   A photo posted by Erica Siegel (@ericasiegel) on Jan 12, 2016 at 2:36am PST 3) The village garden is well turned out: Patrizia Ilaria Sechi" data-width-class="" /> © Patrizia Ilaria Sechi  4) And the local pub is ridiculously pretty:   A photo posted by {رو لولو} ȓŭė ℒʊℒʊ (@ruelulu) on Jul 30, 2015 at 12:50am PDT 5) There are pretty little cottages: Patrizia Ilaria Sechi" data-width-class="" /> © Patrizia Ilaria Sechi 6) Winding roads everywhere:   A photo posted by @jamesleach on Jan 10, 2016 at 9:14am PST 7) A sweet local greengrocer:    A photo posted by @t3j1 on Dec 8, 2015 at 12:06pm PST 8)  Wide open spaces are never far away: Mark, Flickr" data-width-class="" /> © Mark, Flickr  9) There are colourful facades:   A photo posted by JAMES HENRY / (@getjimbo) on Oct 1, 2015 at 10:08am PDT 10) Street stalls:   A photo posted by #prettycitylondon (@prettycitylondon) on Oct 17, 2015 at 1:24am PDT 11) The two main modes of transport are VINTAGE CAR:   A photo posted by K S E N I A (@kseniaskos) on Jan 24, 2016

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