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Royal Institution of Great Britain
The Royal Institution was founded in 1799 for ‘diffusing the knowledge… and application of science to the common purposes of life’; from behind its neoclassical façade, it’s been at the forefront of London’s scientific achievements ever since. In 2008, Sir Terry Farrell completed a £22m rebuild, inside and out, with the brief of improving accessibility and finding ways to lure people inside. The result is a more open frontage, a restaurant, a bar and a café. The Michael Faraday Laboratory, a complete replica of Faraday’s former workspace, is in the basement, alongside a working laboratory in which RI scientists can be observed researching their current projects. Some 1,000 of the RI’s 7,000-odd scientific objects are on display, including the world’s first electric transformer, a prototype Davy lamp and, from 1858, a print of the first transatlantic telegraph signal. The RI also holds a terrific rolling programme of talks and demonstrations in its lecture theatre, most famously at Christmas.
What's on in Mayfair this week
Voluptuous folds of colourful gelato undulate across Scoop’s freezer cabinet like rows of love handles. If you can settle on just one, you’re possibly not human. Scoop has been wowing Londoners with first-rate gelato since its first slip of a shop opened in Covent Garden. Expansion has been slow and modest; now there’s also an appealing Soho parlour (with more tables) and another in South Ken. Flavours are classic Italian (biscotto, fiordilatte, malaga, pistachio), but made from brag-worthy ingredients including Tonda Gentile hazelnuts from Piedmont, Sicilian black cherries and a changing range of single-origin chocolates and coffees. It’s always hard to resist the cioccolato extra fondente sorbet, which is super-dark rather than bitter in taste and far smoother than a chocolate bar. Sugar seekers should try the coconut gelato. We like the choice of cones and friendly service too. There are a few sweet pies, cakes and meringues in the window, and you can also order crêpes, waffles and vegan churros.
Venue says: “Our gelato is natural luxury!”