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The Time Out London blog

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

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London totally stinks and these 'smell maps' prove it

Out of all of our senses - sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, clairvoyance - which is the most under-appreciated? The answer, clearly, is smell. Now four researchers have taken it upon themselves to address this by creating an amazing 'smell map' of London. 'What the hell' is a 'smell map?' we hear you sniff. Well, let us tell you: it's a map of London's smells. Daniele Quercia, Luca Maria Aiello, Rossano Schifanella and Kate McLean compiled the map by scouring social media for smell-related words used about specific places in London. They matched each word to a colour using an 'aroma wheel' [above], then plotted the colours on to the streets of the capital. The resulting olfactory pictures beautifully map out all the odours that Londoners are smelling and talking about. Take a deep breath... Animals   <img id="c3b32b85-46fd-baaf-24b9-90dae3c62aed" class="photo lazy inline" src="http://media.timeout.com/images/102639854/image.jpg" alt="Stink map - animal emmisions" data-caption="" data-credit="" data-width-class="100" data-mce-src="http://media.timeout.com/images/102639854/image.jpg"> This map highlights all the bits of the city that smell like animals. So, obviously, London Zoo is pretty prominent up there by Regent's Park. But dots appear all over the city - maybe what they're smelling is party animals? We all get that pungent party musk. Emissions   <img id="7e8066cf-e9bf-c65a-16fa-71fe7576dc10" data-caption="" data-credit="" data-

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Go nuts for your fave doughnuts in London

The best of a jammy bunch, as picked by you. Bread Ahead: Borough Market   A photo posted by Bread Ahead Bakery & School (@breadaheadboroughmarket) on Jul 12, 2015 at 3:12am PDT 'Fantastic vanilla, honeycomb, jam and chocolate doughnuts. My favourite!' Matt David, via Facebook Crosstown Doughnuts: various locations   A photo posted by Crosstown Doughnuts (@crosstowndoughnuts) on Jun 26, 2015 at 2:56am PDT 'Crosstown Doughnuts every time. Faves include the Belgian chocolate truffle doughnut and the summer fruit crumble. They're always super fresh, the dough is really light and airy and the range of choice is great.' Rosy H, via www.timeout.com Flesh & Buns: Covent Garden   A photo posted by Flesh&Buns (@fleshandbuns) on May 20, 2015 at 11:42am PDT 'The kinako doughnuts, filled with black sugar custard, are fantastic.' Yasmine Omari, via Facebook You Doughnut: At Dinerama, Shoreditch   A photo posted by FATTY MOUNTAIN (@fattymountain) on Jun 26, 2015 at 12:02pm PDT 'Top cinnamon-coated dough balls with banana ice cream and pecan nuts. Yum.' Gail T, via www.timeout.com Bird: Shoreditch   A photo posted by BIRD (@bird_restaurant) on Jul 11, 2015 at 6:52am PDT 'They do the best doug

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Overheard in London: this week’s #wordonthestreet

    Every week you share the weird things you’ve overheard in London. Above, a few perplexing snippets from the past seven days – don’t forget to tweet us your own! Like Word on the Street? We’ve now made a book of these little beauties!  ‘Word on the Street: Ridiculous Things We’ve Overheard in London’ is out now, £6.99. To buy a copy, visit timeout.com/wotsbook​.  

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Top five worst things in parks

          If you're heading to the park this weekend, beware of untethered children running around covered in ice cream and even worse, the obnoxious Red Stripe louts. 1. Untethered children Yes, they're too young to know better, but that's exactly why we ask all parents: please, please, in the name of God, please - keep them close to hand. They invariably escape their three-wheeled prisons and invade our picnics - screeching, butt-naked, with outstretched hands covered in the dripping remains of (what we hope is) chocolate ice cream. The taramasalata is ruined!  2. Noise pollution Nothing ruins your love for technology like sitting in a park near someone who owns portable speakers. The whole reason you’ve come here is to escape the neighbours who have Jessie J on at full blast. Now, thanks to these 100-decibel monstrosities, gone are the days when you could retreat to one of London’s green havens safe in the knowledge you wouldn’t have your ears carpet-bombed with someone else’s idea of bangin' choons. Not only that - they’re streaming Spotify and won’t cough up for Premium.   3. Rogue barbecues The fact that there aren’t many parks and open spaces around London where barbecues are permitted is a great injustice, you may argue

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Top of the world: the best rooftop restaurants in London

Get closer to the sun at one of these rooftop restaurants. South: OXO Tower Brasserie The outdoor terrace of the eighth floor of the Oxo Tower has river-spanning views and a Modern European menu. Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House St, SE1 9PH. Nearest tube: Waterloo. North: The Grafton A revamped Kentish Town pub with good roof terrace. 20 Prince of Wales Rd, NW5 3LG. Nearest tube: Kentish Town. East: Coq d'Argent The expansive and verdant roof garden squeezed amid City skyscrapers also serves good French-leaning food from D&D London. No 1 Poultry, EC2R 8EJ. Nearest tube: Bank. Central: The Angler D&D London’s swanky City restaurant offers the best in alfresco altitude. South Place Hotel, 3 South Place, EC2M 2AF. Nearest tube: Moorgate. West: Babylon This seventh-floor rooftop will sweep you off your feet. The gardens are the real draw. The Roof Gardens, 99 Kensington High St, W8 5SA. Nearest tube: High St Kensington. Take a look at the best new restaurants in London.  Want tp get up high? Here's the summer's best rooftop pop-ups!

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Map: see the boroughs in London with the worst food hygiene

A little while ago we revealed the six London boroughs that have the most establishments with below-par food hygiene scores. Now, an infographic genius has laid all that data out on a lovely map. Using data from the Food Hygiene Agency, the graphic reveals how hygiene in schools, hospitals, restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and pubs rates on a scale from one to five (one = bad, five = good). You search by type of establishment and hygiene score to find out how many establishments got that mark in each borough. For example, we found out that Barnet has the most five-star hospitals for food hygiene. Neat. A score of two or less means that an establishment is sub-satisfactory. The map reveals that 107 hospitals and 92 schools from across the city fell in that bracket. Plus, 25 percent of restaurants and 11 percent of pubs and bars. Find out more at caelumcontracts.com.

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Watch the 'Race the Tube' guys attempt a relay race against the DLR

First they took on the Circle line, then the Thames Clipper and now the 'Race the Tube' guys are trying to beat the DLR in a relay race, because why the heck not? Back in September last year, athletes James Heptonstall and Noel Carroll successfully beat the tube on foot and since then, they've been donning their running shoes to race pretty much anything – they even ventured across the pond to take on the New York subway. Now, they're back in London and they've called in extra forces from more freakishly fit people – ultra marathon runner Rob Bell and England touch rugby player Will Serocold – to tackle a 1,500-metre relay race against the DLR. Spoiler alert: in their first attempt, the DLR had the edge by a frustratingly close 20 seconds. But not wanting to be defeated by a driverless train, they got back out there and did it again straight away. If at first you don't succeed and all that. But did they do it? Damn right they did. Watch their first attempt here: Aaaand here's where they actually did it: Want to take on your own tube challenge? Take a look at the ten most pleasantly surprising pubs on the London Tube Pub Challenge.  

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Quit your job, become a… braider

      Joel Benjamin, 29, freelance hairstylist and braider explains how he got into the braiding business     How did you make the braid? I mean, grade. 'I met a guy at a house party who worked for Cut, a cult hair salon in Soho that's been around since the '80s - Boy George and lots of famous people went there. Cut [subsequently rechristened We Are Cuts] offered me a job and that's where I first trained. I worked there for three years.' Sounds like a fun place to work. Why did you move on? 'I wanted to pursue styling rather than cutting. It's more creative. So I went to the Aveda Institute in Holborn. It was more corporate than Cuts! Then I got a job as an assistant with [world-famous hairdresser] Johnnie Sapong. By industry standards that was a big break, but being a permanent assistant isn't really my thing. I have a bit of an ego!' Okay, so you love yourself. Do you love your job? 'I like the freedom it gives me to do what I want, when I want. I get to create hairstyles that make people look and feel good, and I get paid quite well for what I do. I also get to venture into different parts of London and see different things. It doesn't feel like work.' You specialise in braiding, right? 'Yeah, I descr

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This alternative tube map shows how many calories you burn walking between stations

  Click here for the full-sized map Some people can manage to hit up a 6am spin class and whizz up an Instagram-worthy green smoothie before we've even had a chance to hit snooze on our alarm. To those people, we say: good for you. But for us mere mortals, getting off the tube a couple of stops early seems like a much more civilised way to squeeze in a vague attempt at exercise before work. And now you can quantify your efforts with this handy map, which shows how many calories you could burn by walking between stations instead of taking the tube. The alternative tube map was created by online pharmacy Treated.com and GP Wayne Osborne, who says that once you get into central London, most stations are about two minutes apart on tube or 10-15 minutes on foot. So while you might not fancy tackling your entire commute on foot, once you get into Zone 1 it's probably worth getting off a couple of stops early. Even if you couldn't care less about calories, at least you'll be able to escape from being awkwardly

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This map shows how many people commute into London

No, this isn't a screenshot from the final scene of some incredible sci-fi epic, this is London. Alasdair Rae at the University of Sheffield has plotted a year's worth of capital commutes on to this eye-searing map. What's most striking about it is the amount of people travelling into (and then out of) the capital for work. Rae thinks this may say something about the economic state of the city, equating the whole thing to a supernova. He explains: 'The definition of a supernova is "A star that suddenly increases greatly in brightness because of a catastrophic explosion that ejects most of its mass." Given the displacement of people from London, this might actually be spot on.' Okay, so this may not be the most cheery conclusion, but ooh, look! Pretty colours! 

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Art attack: political graffiti from the 1970's

There was a time when graffiti artists did something other than write their own names on other people's walls. Back in the '70s, graffiti had a political purpose and - whisper it - a conscience. A new exhibition at The Horse Hospital (open until Aug 1) is showing brilliantly angry political daubings from that era, from Roger Perry's recently republished book 'The Writing on the Wall'. Check out more of this polemical sloganeering (and Eric Clapton worshipping) here.  Take a look at more pics from the exhibition:               See more here. Want more street art? Check out this graffiti artist's year-long battle with the council.  

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Top five things that annoy Londoners on holiday

Holidays are the best, aren't they? It's all sun, sand and blue skies - just don't think about the inferior bus services and don't even mention the bloody wifi. 1. ‘Bloody table service’ There’s undeniably a lot wrong with British drinking culture, but when it comes to the actual act of ordering booze, we’re world class. In the States you’re expected to leave half your change on the bar and in most of Europe there’s the added, dreadful faff of table service, wherein you’re forced to sit around awkwardly until staff translate your anxious stares and furious arm-flapping into a demand for delicious, cooling booze. In a Wetherspoons you’d be pissed by now. 2. ‘Bloody tourists’ Appreciating the Seven Wonders of the World isn’t so easy when you’re surrounded by Birkenstock-ed Germans intent on photobombing you into next summer. So by day three you set off in search of a 'real' experience, which invariably finds you in a seriously shady part of town, fending off the local crackheads with a selfie stick. Cheers, Klaus.    3. 'Bloody buses' God, it's a drag, isn't it - living in a city with such an unfathomably sophisticated public transport system, capable of delivering you from one side of a heaving, overpopulated metropolis to the other in a matter of minutes? Can you believe the escalator wasn’t working at Camden Town the other day? Bloody disgrace, isn’t it? Not to worry - the only bus into town from your cute little Airbnb on the Costa Del Bellend only runs once a fort

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This map shows how many people commute into London

No, this isn't a screenshot from the final scene of some incredible sci-fi epic, this is London. Alasdair Rae at the University of Sheffield has plotted a year's worth of capital commutes on to this eye-searing map. What's most striking about it is the amount of people travelling into (and then out of) the capital for work. Rae thinks this may say something about the economic state of the city, equating the whole thing to a supernova. He explains: 'The definition of a supernova is "A star that suddenly increases greatly in brightness because of a catastrophic explosion that ejects most of its mass." Given the displacement of people from London, this might actually be spot on.' Okay, so this may not be the most cheery conclusion, but ooh, look! Pretty colours! 

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Nearly every London borough is above the legal pollution limit

Our city is a smelly smogfest at the best of times, but when the heat is on - like it was last week, thanks to summer deciding to finally show up to the party - the pollution gets even worse. While exploring just how choking it can get out there, we stumbled across this awesome map of London’s most polluted areas from Place I Live. Central London: bad. A12: bad. North Circular: bad. The pollution represented here is coarse dust particles between 2.5 to 10 micrometres in diameter. Gross. In other pollution news, almost every single London borough failed the air pollution limit for toxic NO2 gas, with only Bromley and Sutton coming out clean. Speaking of which, Clean Air London has produced an app that reports the health impact of 'exposure to dangerous airborne particles'. It does that by displaying the 'time to the next attributable death'. Want to know when someone’s about to die of pollution-related illness? There really is an app for that. Get it here. Enjoy the sunshine! Want to inhale something other than smog? A walk-in cocktail cloud is opening at Borough Market where you can inhale booze.

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Top five types of London student

                1. The art student Taking full advantage of being the only kid in her year from Swanage to get into a London college, Alexandra Bignall has reinvented herself as Inbox Full, an intersex art meme whose work involves comping herself into other people’s Instagram pics, printing them out, then burning them. Her band, 75p Vase, performs at all gallery events, private views and degree shows, whether anyone wants them to or not. Privately, Inbox is quite unhappy, and longs for the rugged beauty of her coastal home. 2. The LSE politico-berk Conan’s neo-centre-right political blog Barbarian? is going great guns. He’ll be part of a Eurosceptic think tank in no time. Then he’ll be a Treasury advisor before he’s 30. Then his book will be in the window of the LSE Waterstone’s (‘Provocative’ – The FT). That’ll show his dad, with his simplistic left-wing politics from the past. Can’t he see that it’s all just the market adjusting itself, like it’s settling down for a big economic shit? Genius! That’s one for the blog.            3. The young farmer Graham is a long way from Shropshire, but Mum was adamant that he should spend some time in London, having been at secretarial college here in the early ’80s before meeting Graham’s future dad at a wedding. He’s looking forward to managing the family’s huge acreage, and has created a Facebook page for Giles the bull. In the meantime, he can be found in the union bar with his good mate Joggs, or on Gumtree, fr

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How 12 tube stations got their names

Ever sat on the tube staring at the station names wondering what it all means? New book ‘Why Do Shepherds Need A Bush?’ by David Hilliam has got the answers. And it turns out we were waaaaay off. Aldwych What we’d always assumed: Something to do with an old witch who lives in the station. That’s why it’s now closed – she got battered one night and turned a load of commuters into pigeons.    But actually… When the Saxon King Alfred (871–899) defeated the invading Danes, he generously allowed some of them to live on in this area, under his rule. The settlement was known as Aldwic – the ‘old village’.    Canada Water   What we’d always assumed: Named after the many Canadians who once enjoyed drinking in London’s only ice hockey-themed bar, now an All Bar One.   But actually… Canada Water is a lake and wildlife refuge in Rotherhithe. The lake is named after Canada Dock, which used to be on this site and was principally used by ships importing and exporting goods from Canada.   Goodge Street   What we’d always assumed: Named after legendary England batsman Graham Gooch, who was too polite to point out TfL's spelling error.   But actually… In the eighteenth century this land was called Crab Tree Field and Walnut Tree Field. It belonged to a carpenter called John Goodge. On his death in 1748, his nephews developed the land for building.   High Barnet    What we’d always assumed: Static electricity built up in the ticket halls during peak commuting hours causes ev

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