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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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Eight weird and wonderful toilets in London you must have a wee in
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Eight weird and wonderful toilets in London you must have a wee in

Just over a hundred years ago, Victorian plumber Thomas Crapper (real name) invented the modern-day toilet. Known for the great quality of his products – the royals adored him – he and his company Crapper & Co not only gave Londoners fabulous pissers, they also gave this glorious city many firsts, including the world’s first bath, toilet and sink showroom on the King’s Road. Fancy. So what better way is there to salute Crapper and his loo-loving posse than by visiting one of London’s finest WCs? From a pee with a view to swanky spaceship shitters in Mayfair, here’s where to plant your fabulous tush in style.  A post shared by A N N A 🌵 (@annavmitchell) on Apr 23, 2017 at 10:38am PDT Crazy Bear, Fitzrovia  Two words: mega bling. The toilets in this very fine and posh hotel are kitted out with mirrored walls that not only dazzle but also allow plenty of ops for selfies.  A post shared by Morena 🌏🍴 (@mformorena) on Mar 22, 2017 at 1:46pm PDT Sketch, Mayfair  These spaceship pods are all over Instagram. Why, you ask? Well, just look at them! Hashtags for days. If you’ve never been to this posh Mayfair establishment, you’re in for a real treat. Incredible vintage and art deco-style rooms await you (and your phone), along with the futuristic toilets where birdsong calms you while you

Seven types of people to look out for at the London Marathon
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Seven types of people to look out for at the London Marathon

Want to witness history in the making? It’s the thirty-seventh London Marathon this weekend so make sure you get down early with a collapsible chair and a packed lunch to catch a glimpse of these fascinating running types. The Mufti Day Runners Alongside queueing, 8C barbecues and saying sorry when sorry is the last thing that you intend to say, dressing up is one of our national sports. London Marathon runners therefore have a God-given right to look utterly ridiculous in the name of Britishness. Previous marathons have witnessed a man lugging around a 42kg fridge on his back, human telephone boxes and countless mankinis that left precious little to the imagination. This year, we’re expecting a sea of orange botox and hairpieces that resemble frozen strands of piss. The Five Minutes of Fame Runners Some people will do anything to get into the spotlight, whether that be faking a kidnapping, starring in a sex tape or just making an excruciatingly bad viral video. Marathon runners can join in on the action by making a lung-bursting effort at the beginning of the race to be amongst the leading pack. Keep your eyes peeled for those passing out, although you’ll probably see re-runs on TV as it’s shown in almost 200 countries worldwide. Not to mention the countless memes. A post shared by Virgin Money London Marathon (@londonmarathon) on Mar 15, 2017 at 4:57am PDT The Golden Oldie Runners These absolute troupers have been

Five unbelievable conversations that really happened in a London bookshop
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Five unbelievable conversations that really happened in a London bookshop

If you want to get your hands on a book, you’re spoilt for choice in London. Bookshops such as Daunts, Hatchards, Persephone, Foyles and Stanfords are filled to the brim with lovely literature and patient, knowledgeable staff. They are also visited by some of the most puzzling, contradictory, stubborn, confused and irritating people walking around today. Here are five conversations that really happened in a certain bookshop in Hampstead, north London.   Everyone’s an author… Customer: ‘Hi there! I’m looking for a book about a man who sails down the Nile on a journey of self-discovery only accompanied by a small squirrel and some sultanas. He meets the girl of his dreams on the way and they end up starting a cult together in Yorkshire.’ Staff: ‘Sure, do you know who wrote it? Let me search for it.’ Customer: ‘Oh, I don’t know if it exists, I’d just really like to read a book about something like that.’ A post shared by Jeff Howard (@londontransportgeek) on Mar 12, 2017 at 11:55am PDT Lost property Customer: ‘I left my book on the Hammersmith and City Line.’ Staff: ‘Sorry to hear that, which book is it? Hopefully we have it.’ Customer: ‘Oh no, I don’t want to buy it again, I just wondered if anyone had handed it in?’   Who needs a title anyway? Customer: ‘Hello! My friend was reading a really good book at the weekend and I’d like to buy it!’ Staff: ‘Great! What was it called? Let me see if I have it in stock.’ Cust

12 places to spot cherry blossom in London
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12 places to spot cherry blossom in London

Our Instagram feeds have got a whole lot flowery – and pink – this spring, thanks to the cherry blossom trees that are blooming all across the city. Seriously, if you can pass by these without snapping a photo... wait, why would you pass these without taking a photo? Here are the 12 places in London where you can capture them all their rose-y glory: no filter required.  A post shared by Henrik Knudsen (@knudsen.henrik) on Apr 4, 2017 at 12:10am PDT Kew Gardens Here’s where you’ll find the most of the cherry blossoms to snap in London. The Cherry Walk starts at Kew’s Rose Garden behind the Palm House with a collection of Japanese cherries, including white single flowers, the pink-blossomed, and the Great White Cherry. Your tour then takes you through King William’s Temple and the Temperate House, ending with a row of 15 cherry blossom trees. A post shared by K. O. 💋 (@kristina_ostrovska) on Apr 5, 2017 at 10:07am PDT St Paul’s Cathedral Literally right outside, you’ll spot the most perfect pink cherry blossom.  A post shared by brooklyn wood (@brooklynwoody) on Apr 2, 2017 at 11:33am PDT   Kensington Gardens Next to Hyde Park is Kensington Gardens, where you’ll find and a beautiful blooming grove of pink and white trees near the Lancaster Gate entrance. A post shared by Livia Abraham

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Pizza the action: eight of London's top pizza toppings
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Pizza the action: eight of London's top pizza toppings

What are this town's top toppings? Which pizza players whack the whackiest things onto their dough in the most brilliant ways? Take a bite out of these bad boys available by the slice or pie...  1. The Full Moon Slice at Voodoo Ray’s Photo: Andy Parsons       It sounds like something your flatmate’s friend who slept on the sofa for five months and tried to grow mushrooms in the bath would have cooked up for Glastonbury. But no: the mayonnaise pizza is real, and a slice of it can be yours. Voodoo Ray’s wildcard option (it’s only available after midnight, for obvious reasons) features bacon sprinkles, marinated tomatoes and mozzarella, all held together by splodges of cult Japanese mayo brand Kewpie. The one for… Mayonnaise-loving werewolves. £4 (slice). Get a 22" pizza and four cocktails for £35 at www.timeout.com/raysbaroffer.          2. TSB at Yard Sale Pizza   A post shared by Yard Sale Pizza (@yardsalepizza) on Aug 28, 2016 at 8:20am PDT     Not to be confused with the banking giant, Yard Sale’s TSB is all the reason you need to eat your greens. Manchego and pine nuts are the supporting acts for leggy florets of tenderstem broccoli (hence TSB), gorgeously charred. And if you finish your veg, it’s totally fine to have one of their freshly baked brownies for dessert. The one for… Chlorophyl nuts. From £9.50.     3. XO pig cheek, collard greens and crackling furikake at Homeslice   A post shared by Homeslice (@homesliceldn) on

Londoners reveal the most embarrassing things that have happened to them at work
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Londoners reveal the most embarrassing things that have happened to them at work

  Nathan James Page     We asked you to share the most embarrassing things that have happened to you in the work place. Get ready to blush. 'I vommed into my handbag, and a colleague unwittingly offered to carry it. He then proceeded to ask me out while carrying a bag of puked-up curry.' I pushed my boss into a swimming pool.' 'I vomited and shat myself in front of a class full of students.' 'I was having a catch-up with my boss in the canteen when they started playing Salt-N-Pepa's 'Let's Talk About Sex'. Very loudly.' 'Working late, I walked into the boardroom to find two male, married senior executives pleasuring each other.' 'IT picked up a group email I'd sent asking who was buying the MDMA for the office Christmas party.' 'I shouted "Oh fuck!" on a conference call to thousands of my fellow employees.' 'I got caught going for the five-knuckle shuffle in the office darkroom.' 'I had a sex toy delivered to my office on the day that the admin decided to open everyone's post for them.' Now tell us: what's your most heartwarming London story?

Nine lovely photos of London's overlooked neighbourhoods
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Nine lovely photos of London's overlooked neighbourhoods

Even before Arcade Fire spent an entire album bemoaning the 'endless suburbs stretched out thin and dead' the 'burbs have had a bad rep, but one German photographer has managed to find beauty in towering pylons, low terraced brick houses and overused sports fields.  Philipp Ebeling did a ten-day, 250km circular walk around London's outskirts to document the places 'too far from the inner city to feature in the story of London, not far enough out to be leafy suburb and commuter land'. He captures the bits of the city where you can probably still get a coffee for under £2, where the sky isn't reflected in glass-paneled skyscrapers and abandoned spaces aren't turned into street-food markets (yet).  'London Ends' is a love letter to places like Tottenham, Barking, Catford, Woolwich and other areas forgotten by the guidebooks but inescapably real to the great swathes of people who live here. Ebeling told Time Out that when he first arrived in London, at 19, from a small village in Germany he found the city overwhelming: 'You never feel like you really know the city because it is so spread out and the many centres are very disconnected. It took me years of exploring until I had a more complete picture of the city in my head. The crazy thing about London is you can always find a new and different neighbourhood or street where there is something new to discover.' 'London Ends' is available to buy from FishBar, a gallery in an old fish and chip shop. Check out some of the photos b

Most Googled: How did Soho get its name?
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Most Googled: How did Soho get its name?

It's been a hot spot for sex shops, gay clubbing and posh restaurants, but Soho might owe its weird name to another, older London pastime. ‘The origin is uncertain,’ says Hazel Forsyth, senior curator at the Museum of London, ‘but according to popular mythology, “so-ho!” or “so-hoe!” was originally the cry of the huntsman.’Hundreds of years ago, the area now covered by Soho was uninhabited land, and a popular hunting spot for the capital’s great and good. In a 1563 account, historian John Stow describes how the Lord Mayor and his hunting party caught a hare, ate it for dinner at the chamberlain’s banqueting house then went back out to chase a fox just for fun. There is another Soho, of course. But New York’s SoHo is boringly named after its location in Manhattan, south of Houston Street. Would they have chosen that particular name if ours hadn’t existed already? I think not. Copycats. Check out the best restaurants in Soho.

London's favourite emoji has been revealed
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London's favourite emoji has been revealed

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so it's no surprise that time-pushed and communication-averse Londoners are relying on emojis to get the message across. After all, why pick up the telephone when a tiny picture of two glasses clinking will do the trick? But which emojis are Londoners using the most? Perhaps the eye roll for Underground delays, an umbrella to represent the city's standard weather, or the aubergine for... y'know. Surprisingly it's none of these – the most popular emoji in London is the 'crying with laughter' face. You know the one – usually preceded with 'lol' and named as Oxford Dictionaries 'Word of the Year' in 2015. 😂 According to Emojipedia, other popular emojis that Londoners search for on their online archive include the Union Jack flag, love heart, smirking face and party popper. Can we blame Brexit for the number of people using the Union Jack flag emoji? We'll never know. But judging by these findings, Londoners are a flirtatious and patriotic party crowd.  Did you know you can now get London emojis including Sadiq Khan and the tube roundel?

The seats on seven London Underground lines are never washed
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The seats on seven London Underground lines are never washed

Apologies in advance to the majority of you who’d rather not think about the levels of filth floating about in the tubes you board, but we’ve got new figures to share with you, and they ain’t pretty! Responding to a Freedom of Information request, TfL has recently revealed that seats on seven of the tube lines never get washed with shampoo. Those using the District, Circle, Northern, Piccadilly, Hammersmith and City, Jubilee and Metropolitan lines, you’re in for a dirty ride. The only lines to get a little scrub are the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines, and even they only get shampooed every six months to a year. If that’s brought you out in a cold sweat, find solace in the knowledge that carriages get a basic clean every night, seats are hoovered regularly, and covers are replaced if soiled. The floors get a sweep and the poles a spot clean every night, and mopping takes place every two to three days along with a thorough wipe down on the poles. A TfL spokesperson said: 'We’re committed to providing the best possible service on London’s transport network. 'Although cleaning regimes vary across the Underground, each line has a rigorous cleaning schedule in place, for both the interior and exterior of the trains, to provide a pleasant environment for our customers.' Still, maybe getting a seat on the tube isn't that appealing after all.  A few years back, Time Out set out to find out how clean the tube was. Watch the dusty results below:   In other underground ne

Three ways you can get to know your neighbours in London
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Three ways you can get to know your neighbours in London

Between all the passive-aggressive notes and the hallway grunting, a quality relationship with your neighbour can be hard to come by. But it's not totally impossible. Check out these three websites that can help rebuild neighbourhood morale, one click at a time.   A post shared by Streetbank (@streetbank_share) on Nov 20, 2014 at 8:53am PST Streetbank So you’re hosting a party next week and you could really do with your neighbour’s barbecue set (not that you’ve been peeking into their garden or anything like that). Streetbank has you covered, listing all manner of tools and whatnot available to borrow in the local area. The exchange of services is also encouraged, which may include language tuition or advice on a range of interests, so even budding competitive dog groomers can find inspiration. Users are also able to declutter their cupboards of forgotten items, such as that dust-covered film projector you haven't used since 'Finding Nemo' came out on DVD. Team London Want to make a difference but don’t have the time or money to fly halfway across the world? With Team London, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own borough. There’s a wide selection of roles on offer, such as child mentors, conservation workers and choppers/stirrers of nutritious surplus food for the homeless. It doubles up as a handy platform for charities to enlist local help. You’re guaranteed to meet fantastic, like-minded people and you can even collect badges to show off about your vo

Vodka, dumplings and revolutionary art: it’s the best of Russian London
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Vodka, dumplings and revolutionary art: it’s the best of Russian London

London’s got Russia on the brain, and not just because of world politics or the centenary of the Russian Revolution. Grumbling about oligarchs is a major pastime these days, but Russian London isn’t all posh bars and mansions in Belgravia. There’s also a young, creative, trust-fund-free Russian community running dumpling-obsessed supperclubs, film pop-ups, art shows and start-ups. Of the 300,000-odd people of Russian descent in London, about half were born in Russia. The expat population has spiked in the last decade, leading to the jokey name Londongrad. But we’re an internationally minded bunch. When we do hang out together it’s usually to enjoy a nostalgic meal of pelmeni, or to do good. The London-based charity Gift of Life, for instance, helps cancer patients with fundraising events starring Russian classical music and theatre stars. It’s a long way from ‘Meet the Russians’. Sasha Raspopina Did you know? The Russian spring festival Maslenitsa, also known as ‘pancake week’, is widely celebrated in London in the last week of February. It’s a great time to feast on blini! Sasha’s favourite Russian places in London Home to Russian and post-Soviet art and photography, Calvert 22 Foundation in Shoreditch also has a bookshop stuffed with publications on everything New East, from brutalist architecture to Gosha Rubchinskiy. If you’re hungry and adventurous, look out for appearances by the Mince & Dough Russian Canteen, a pop-up serving some of the best Russian dumplings in

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