Alex Sims is a freelance writer and editor covering lifestyle trends, culture, food and everything in between. Formerly Time Out’s Things to Do editor, she has also worked and written for Stylist, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Refinery29 and The Independent. Alex moved from Yorkshire to south east London all the way back in 2010 and has since been on the hunt for chips and gravy that can rival the ones in Leeds.
London events in January
Hello, 2024! It is truly great to see you. January is the ideal time to discover London on a budget and without the crowds. Many of city's very best theatre and musicals, restaurants and bars – ranked definitively by Time Out's crew of expert local editors – offer discounted tickets and cheap meal deals. Spend cold, clear days walking off your post-Christmas malaise in glorious parks and spectacular walking routes. Cosy up with drinks on a beautiful heated winter terrace, or in one of the 100 best pubs in the city. And catch up on magical lights, winter wonderlands and Christmas shows before they disappear. Find out more here about how Time Out’s independent editors review and rate events and venues. Recommended: bookmark our regular weekend guide for even more things to do in the city.
The 16 best things we ate in London in 2023
Well, we ate a hell of a lot this year, didn’t we? As always, London got a whole load of brand-new restaurants, so we’ve been a little bit spoilt for choice for seriously good food. But if you’re anything like us, there’s a few dishes you just can’t shut up about. Here at Time Out, we’ve rounded up every fantastic thing we feasted on in 2023, so you can get out there and try ’em for yourself. You’ll find everything from Speedboat Bar’s insanely hot curry to Mount St’s cheese and haddock omelette. It’s spicy, it’s chewy, it’s saucy, and it’s right here for your viewing (and eating) pleasure. Here are the best things we ate this year. RECOMMENDED:😜 The best restaurants in London🎶 The best new albums of 2023🎤 The best new songs of 2023🎧 The best podcasts of 2023
London’s loveliest Christmas tree displays
Christmas is when London is at its glittering best. Everywhere you look, there are festive lights illuminating wintry skies, Yuletide markets offering mulled wine and kitschy trinkets, elaborate shop window decorations and gleaming ice rinks. But for true Christmas connoisseurs, London's fir tree displays are a highlight. The presents arrayed round them might be fake, but the magic of these Christmas trees is real. Trafalgar Square's towering fir is a prized London tradition. Covent Garden always goes all out on the festive glitz. You'll typically find an arty riff on a classic at Coal Drops Yard. And London's fanciest hotels often commission top designers to create oh-so-chic trees you could never emulate at home. Here's our rundown of London's best Christmas tree displays this year. RECOMMENDED: Where to buy a Christmas tree in London.
The 23 best songs of 2023
Following on from 2022, in which the ginormous wheels of the music industry fully churned back into action, 2023 has felt oddly... normal. Well, as normal as the musoworld gets. This year still featured film soundtrack tunes spinning off with their own wild success and a brand-new, AI-driven single by a band with two members who have, famously, been dead for a rather long time. So, perhaps 2023 hasn’t been the most typical year for music after all – but it’s certainly been a good one. And that’s pretty obvious from our list of the year’s best songs. Chosen by members of the Time Out team in offices around the world, 2023’s finest choons cover a vast range of styles and genres, from euphoric house and buoyant country to brutal death metal and UK garage-inflected K-pop. Prep your playlist for some brand-new bangers: these are the 23 tracks the Time Out team has had on repeat in 2023. RECOMMENDED: 🎬 The best movies of 2023📺 The best TV shows of 2023🎵 The 30 best albums of 2023
Things to do in London this weekend
London has suddenly had a glitzy makeover and is covered with Christmas lights, ice rinks and chalet-lined markets. All the big festive hitters are back this week, including Christmas at Kew, Skate at Somerset House and, the marmite of winter pop-ups, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. If you’d rather save all the yuletide glitz until December (and frankly, we don’t blame you) there’s there are plenty of other cultural treats happening in the city right now. Check out the Satanic Flea Market for decidedly un-Christmassy gifts, watch a powerful adaption of Lorca’s tragic classic ‘The House of Bernada Alba’ or see a load of body sculptures at Anthony Gormley’s new show at the White Cube. There’s summat for everyone. Still got gaps in your diary? Embrace the beginning of the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness at London’s best parks and green spaces or by treating yourself to a perfect autumnal day out in the city. If you’ve still got some gaps in your week, check out London’s best bars and restaurants, or take in one of these lesser-known London attractions. RECOMMENDED: listen and, most importantly, subscribe to Time Out’s brand new, weekly podcast ‘Love Thy Neighbourhood’ and hear famous Londoners show our editor Joe Mackertich around their favourite bits of London.
Things to do in London this week
Somehow we’ve made it to the first full week of December. That means one thing: Christmas is coming. So, be it pop-up ice rinks, glittering Christmas lights, or Mariah-blasting markets and fun fairs it’s pretty much impossible to avoid all the festive frivolities dotted across the city at the moment. But, whether you’re ready to embrace all the yuletide cheer or not, London is ready to give you plenty to pre-occupy your time with. Feeling festive? Hit up cookie cityscape, The Gingerbread City, to see beautifully crafted buildings made of sugar paste and dough, head to Columbia Road which is serenading shoppers with carols at its Christmas lates or watch annual favourite ‘A Christmas Carol’ at the Old Vic, which stars Christopher Eccleston as the famous miser. Rather stick pins in your ears than hear another Christmas carol? Check out the Satanic Flea Market for decidedly un-Christmassy gifts, watch a powerful adaption of Lorca’s tragic classic ‘The House of Bernada Alba’ or see a load of body sculptures at Anthony Gormley’s new show at the White Cube. There’s summat for everyone. Still got gaps in your diary? Embrace the cold on a winter walk or shelter inside one of London’s cosiest pubs. If you’ve still got some gaps in your week, check out London’s best bars and restaurants, or take in one of these lesser-known London attractions. RECOMMENDED: listen and, most importantly, subscribe to Time Out’s brand new, weekly podcast ‘Love Thy Neighbourhood’ and hear famous London
Christmas pop-up cinema in London
Christmas is right around the corner and with it, near limitless opportunities to watch a yuletide classic from the snuggly comfort of your sofa. But if there’s one thing better than hygge-enhancing home viewing – an ‘Elf’ or a ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ with whatever family members can be rounded up at short notice – it’s getting down to your local cinema and sharing the festive spirit with a screen full of like-minded revellers. Because a stranger is just a friend you haven’t watched ‘Die Hard’ with yet. But where to start? This December London’s cinemas have a huge range of options in store. There’s singalong screenings of ‘Frozen’, eat-along screenings of ‘The Holiday’, a very special ‘Love Actually’ evening, and ‘Home Alone’ in concert – and, of course, ‘Wonka’ will be hitting the big screen too. Here’s the best of Christmas movies on offer. RECOMMENDED: 🎄 Read our full guide to Christmas in London.🍿 The 50 greatest Christmas movies.
London’s best sherry bars and restaurants
For years, sherry has found it difficult to shake off its reputation in Britain as your nan’s (and Dot Cotton’s) favourite drink. But the sherry movement is growing fast, and it’s no longer a bevvy best reserved for Christmas day. In fact, it’s a complex and rewarding fortified wine from Spain that pairs perfectly with tapas and salty snacks. Sales of the stuff are rocketing and there’s a wealth of producers making some top-notch tipple. So here are the best tapas joints, wine bars and surprisingly hip hangouts in London to knock back a little of the good stuff. RECOMMENDED: Read Time Out’s ultimate guide to the best bars in London.
The best luxury hotels in Berlin
With great food, lines of bars and clubs, incredible museums and epic architecture, Berlin should feature high on any list of top city breaks. Take the time to explore this multicultural metropolis, and stay in some of its most luxuriously appointed hotels. We’ve rounded up a selection of our favourites for when you’re after that high-end holiday feeling. From the classic Intercontinental to local luxury hoteliers’ outpost, Das Stue, we’re showcasing the best of where to spend the night, in serious style. Glance over our list below for some luxurious inspiration. Who makes the cut? While we might not stay in and review every hotel featured, we've based our list on our expert knowledge of the destination covered, editorial reviews, user reviews, hotel amenities and in-depth research to find you the best stays. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, see our affiliate guidelines. Looking for more options? Check out the best Berlin Airbnbs
Decades of diamonds, debauchery and dancing: an oral history of the Rivoli Ballroom
What do Tina Turner, The White Stripes and a tuxedo-wearing donkey have in common? They’ve all graced the glossy dance floor of the Rivoli Ballroom in south east London. Sat on traffic-clogged Brockley Road, you could easily pass its unassuming exterior without a second glance. Step inside, however, and it’s hard not to take a sharp intake of breath at its crimson velour walls and vast, barrel-vaulted gold ceiling, hung with rows of Austrian crystal chandeliers and red balloon-like Chinese lanterns. Walking through the foyer is like nestling into a velvet-lined jewellery box. The whole place shimmers with the promise of glamorous nights that won’t ever be forgotten. Before Crofton Park was littered with wine bars and tapas joints, the main reason people made the long journey south of the river was to dance in London’s last intact 1950’s ballroom. Its immaculate interior has attracted plenty of attention, with music videos including Elton John’s ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues’ and Tina Turner’s ‘Private Dancer’ filmed on site. There have been special gigs played there by Florence and the Machine, The White Stripes and Kings of Leon, and it’s a regular Hollywood film location, most recently for the soon-to-be-released ‘Wonka’. Photograph: UrbanImages / Alamy Locals, like me, are used to the sight of film trucks lining the residential streets around the place – in 2014 the area was buzzing with rumours that Scarlett Johansson had been spotted in Crofton Park Co-o
Dracula, graveyards and a live iguana: the most macabre things we saw at Whitby Goth Weekend
It’s lashing with rain on the first day of Whitby’s legendary Goth Weekend. Water cascades down the streets, landlords sweep puddles out of pub doorways and bedraggled people huddle at bus stops after severe weather wreaks havoc on the public transport. But it’s not enough to stop the goths. Figures in long black frock coats and Dickensian skirts roam the sopping streets under umbrellas and women in black veils brave the horizontal downpours to pose for pictures in St Mary’s Church’s cliff-top graveyard. I’ve been coming to Whitby since I was a child and always wondered what it would be like to see thousands of goths – surely one of the most beach-adverse tribes – descend on the tiny seaside town with its kitsch arcades and funfair rides. When the sun finally comes out for the festival’s second day, it feels incongruous to see people in black corsets, ‘Hellraiser’ masks and Siouxsie Sioux makeup wandering down the pier with fish and chips, and playing on the seaside arcade penny machines. But this mishmash of aesthetics is all in the spirit of the weekend. Whitby has long been a destination for people interested in goth culture, thanks to the fact Bram Stoker set many scenes of his vampire novel ‘Dracula’ here, after being inspired by the spectral splendour of the 1,360-year-old ruins of Whitby Abbey. The Goth Weekend started in 1994 when a woman called Jo Hampshire from Barnsley put an advert in ‘NME’ magazine asking if any goths fancied meeting in Whitby on Halloween week
The best Halloween events in London
Halloween falls on Tuesday October 31 2023, and while Tuesday nights don’t always lend themselves to spooky, spine-chilling fun, you can always count on the capital to provide you with the biggest, baddest events for the occasion. There’s plenty of fright-filled fun to be had throughout October, whether you want to watch horror films on the big screen, join a lantern-lit ghost tour, learn about London’s graveyards, carve pumpkins, or let your synthetic wigs down over themed cocktails. So when you’re after something strange in your neighbourhood, who ya gonna call? Time Out London, that’s who! We might not be so great at ghost-busting, but we’ve got everything else covered this ‘scary szn’ with our whopper list of the very best Halloween events in London for 2023. RECOMMENDED: Your ultimate guide to Halloween in London
Listings and reviews (12)
Armathwaite Hall Hotel & Spa
It’s not until you get to the very northernmost reaches of England that you realise just how big and varied the country really is. Perched at the top of Cumbria, not far from the Scottish borders, it’s a long, winding adventure through pretty villages and remote country lanes to reach Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa, a grand stone pile deep in the wild and much less touristy northern Lake District. Sandwiched between Bassenthwaite Lake (the fourth largest watery landmark in this part of the world and the only one to use ‘Lake’ in its name), Skiddaw Mountain and the Lake District Fells, the 15th-century manor house is a little pearl of glamour among the craggy surroundings. Inside there are oak-panelled dining rooms that look straight out of a BBC period drama, lobbies with mounted deer heads on the walls and fireplaces as big as a small car, as well as billard rooms lined with framed ‘Punch’ magazine drawings. I stayed in one of the newly refurbished garden suite rooms which are cosy little hideaways with pillowy king-sized beds, mid-century inspired furnishings, private terraces and glamorous touches like soft dressing gowns, slippers, sweet-smelling toiletries and Cumbrian snacks. The spa is in an extension off the main house with a hydrotherapy pool with plenty of nozels and settings to target different muscles and a thermal suite with a sauna, steam room, aroma room and various fancy showers with different temperatures and sprays. A real highlight is the outdoor hot tub
More often than not in London, cultural institutions close down only to turn into luxury flats or some other kind of corporate hellhole. Finally, the reverse is true. The old big Ikea in Tottenham has been transformed into a multi-level, multi-room cultural space. The meatballs and Billy bookcases have been swept away (although the royal blue exterior remains) to make room for three separate dancefloors, five different bars – including a 25,000 sqft bar in the main 15,000 capacity room – 48-metre-long LED screens and an outdoor terrace and food court. Broadwick Live are behind the new venue, whose previous ventures have included the much-missed Printworks and the og Drumsheds by Lee Navigational Canal. They’re also the folks behind Depot Mayfield in Manchester where you’ll find The Warehouse Project. So, high hopes for the ‘festivals, large-scale entertainment, private parties, fashion [and] exhibitions’ they’ve promised the space will be used for. The whole site comes in at a whopping 608,000 sq ft and they’ve kept Ikea’s escalators that will transport partygoers up from 35 security and ticket lanes into the cavernous party den. While Drumsheds will mostly be a clubber’s paradise to begin with – its opening season features shows from Bicep, Marcel Dettmann, Marco Corola, Kelly Lee Owens, Loco Dice, Girls Don’t Sync, Sherelle, Skepta and Jammer, DJ EZ and Todd Edwards, along with takeovers from BuggedOut! The Hydra and Piano People – Broadwick Live has also said it will be
Late at the Library: Drexciyan Realms
Do you know Drexclya? In the 90s and 00s, the electronic music duo from Detroit imagined sub-aquatic Afrofuturistic worlds through their hypnotic techno-soundscapes. To kick off new biennial arts festival Black to the Future, the British Library will be conjuring up these cutting-edge sounds influenced by Black history and mythology. Expect performances by band Dopplereffekt, psychedelic visuals and a conversation between Drexciya collaborator-artist Abdul Qadim Haqq and DJ Josey Rebelle at this atmospheric late.
Explorers Family Festival: Black Natural History
From managing environmental disasters and studying marine animals to researching alpine plants and trying to decolonise the climate crisis, the Natural History Museum’s Black scientists will be explaining how they’re helping to save the planet at this fascinating day of curator-led tours and talks catering to kids of all ages. Ticketed events will be prioritised for those from racially marginalised backgrounds, but there are plenty of drop-in sessions too.
Pride in London Parade
This weekend, London’s getting its annual helping of rainbow flags, fun-loving crowds, and LGBTQ+ spirit with the Pride in London Parade on Saturday July 1, marking the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots. With 35,000 people marching and over 1.5 million expected attendees, it's set to be a technicolour bonanza in the heart of London. Registration to take part is now closed, but you're guaranteed to have just as much fun from the sidelines. Recommended: the full Time Out guide to Pride in London. The day usually culminates in a big party in Trafalgar Square, with a line-up of pop-tastic entertainment. And all day long, Soho Square and the surrounding streets will be filled with members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies gathering to celebrate (and continue) the battle for equal rights. Details of the Parade route and the main acts haven’t been announced yet, but check the website for updates on the full line-up and times, as well as important information about road closures. And if you’re new to Pride, here’s our beginner’s guide to having a great time. Pride in numbers: 19 things you didn't know about Pride
Not many bookshops organise stock by colour, via signs reading ‘mix of old and new but like trending stuff’ or have hand-drawn floor plans tacked to the wall, but organised chaos is the vibe at Crofton Books in SE4. Set up by local poet Jason Shelley, it sells predominantly secondhand and antiquarian literature. Books tumble from shelves and rise from the floor like Jenga bricks in precarious-looking stacks that spill on to the street. Depending on which day you visit, you might find a metal shopping basket full of ‘yellow books’, a shelf full of old school Penguin classics or a hardback with a bizarre inscription scrawled in the sleeve from the Occult section. Whenever you go, you’re guaranteed to stumble across something strange and fantastic – and for an absolute steal (most books are £2). Like Paris’s Shakespeare and Co, it oozes literary magic. Don’t pass up a chance to visit, and bring a few empty tote bags when you do, you’ll definitely need them.
There’ll be a point on the epic journey it takes to get to Red House when it seems you’ve come to the wrong place or turned the wrong way at the Bexleyheath Toby Carvery. But somewhere among the pebbledash and cul-de-sacs of deep south London suburbia you’ll find this fairytale red brick pile: the former home of artist, socialist and the brains behind all that flowery wallpaper, William Morris. The National Trust-owned propery is full of Rapunzel-style turrets, sweet-smelling gardens and dazzling stained glass. The more you explore, the more secrets you discover like the hidden smiley face on the painted hallway ceiling and phenomenal gilded murals painted by Morris’s Pre-Raphaelite mates Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Elizabeth Siddal and Edward Burne-Jones, while the garden features a striking centre-piece intended by Morris to be the social centre of the house. If it all sounds a bit twee, bear in mind the house was essentialy an artists’ commune in its heyday, the place of Pre-Raphelite parties, drug taking and everything in between. Whether or not you’re an Arts and Crafts stan, a day trip here is a great chance to get up close to some rare work by iconic artists while escaping from the bustle of central London for a few hours. A win all round.
The UK offshoot of Robert Redford’s Utah film behemoth, Sundance London may be small but it’s still chockablock with indie cinematic magic. There are ten feature films on the programme, including new offerings from Nicole Holofcener, Ira Sachs and a much-buzzed-about debut from Londoner Charlotte Regan. Look out, too, for a three-film retrospective of New Queer Cinema legend Gregg Araki’s work, as well as docs, shorts, Q&As and friendly get-togethers of like-minded movielovers. Oh, and there’s a special screening of the year’s must-see romcom ‘Rye Lane’.
London seems to be, well, immersed in immersive art right now. From multi-sensory exhibitions animating the work of Frida Kahlo and Gustav Klimt to numerous Van Gogh ‘experiences’, the city is awash with retina-battering, virtual-reality art. What you think of these shows will probably depend on whether you’ve managed to catch one of the better, thought-provoking exhibits or one that makes you wonder why you didn’t just go to the National Gallery to see it for free instead. But, unlike many of the new slew of immersive exhibitions, the newly founded immersive art gallery Frameless is not temporary. It’s a permanent gallery dedicated to the art of submersion. Having taken over the old Odeon at Marble Arch in late 2022, the former subterranean cinema rooms have been converted into four multi-sensory galleries featuring iconic masterpieces from the greatest artists of our time. Well, sort of. As its name suggests you won’t find any physical paintings here. Rather each of the rooms across the 30,000 sq foot site contains a mini show where some of the most famous and recognisable art in the world are stripped down to their base colours and then reconstructed in dazzling 3D animations that dance across mirrored ceilings and swirl across the floors and walls, all set to rousing soundtracks. The big hitter is ‘The World Around Us’ gallery dedicated to iconic landscape paintings, which the top-notch projectors turn into something that’s genuinely jaw-dropping. In fact, I hear multip
Eurovision Party hosted by Felix le Freak
As well as screening all the action live from Liverpool, Signature Brew’s Eurovision celebrations will culminate in a huge pop party hosted by drag star Felix le Freak. After watching the performances on the big screen le Freak will be serenading you through the results with a cheesy tune-filled DJ set. The ‘glitter, glam, cocktails and tunes’ will continue on until 1am.
Descending into the gloom of Temper Shoreditch’s basement restaurant is like entering a cult club night. Thudding disco and raucous chatter envelop you as you walk in from Great Eastern Street straight downstairs into a dark, smoky, neon-lit subterranean world. But instead of a DJ, the star of the show here is a huge smoldering fire pit that takes pride of place behind open bar seating. The fourth restaurant in the Temper family, the Shoreditch incarnation of these steakhouse and barbeque spots is cut from the same cloth as its older Soho sibling (there are two other joints in Bank and Covent Garden). It has the same pitch-black walls and ceilings and illuminated fridges full of glistening slabs of raw steak. Like the W1 spot, hunks of charring meat hanging over the glowing coals are visible across the restaurant floor in various blackened states, sending scents of searing fat into the air. Every now and then a rush of flames erupts as the chefs flambé smoking cuts of meat. It’s wonderfully theatrical and flashy – something that feels straight from the mind of a gout-ridden Tudor king. In fact, the concept was the brainchild of restauranter Sam Lee and chef Neil Rankin who founded the mini-chain. Rankin’s since left and now David Lagonell heads up the menu. While the restaurants still pride themselves on butchering steaks in-house from rare breed cattle, it’s moved on from each site having its own specialism (Soho concentrated on tacos; the City site on curry). Now they sha
If you lived in southeast London over lockdown, you may have spotted a lone pink and turquoise van pootling down the empty streets. It belongs to wine bar and restaurant Peckham Cellars, which, even when we weren’t allowed to leave the house, kept on resolutely delivering tasty bottles of wine to our doors. For me, seeing those little vans at the height of the pandemic was a small sign of hope: proof there was still life in our shuttered city and that neighbourhoods all over London were looking out for the independent businesses that make them shine. Looking after locals is still very much in Peckham Cellars’ soul. A friendly cloud of chatter drifts down the street as you approach the place along Queen’s Road as people loll about on wooden benches on the pavement outside, hands clasped around wine glasses and forks hungrily diving into an assortment of small plates. This is a neighbourhood joint so relaxed and laidback, you’d think nothing of popping in for a drink and snack on any day of the week. But, unlike many local joints, it manages to pair this breezy atmosphere with exceptional food and an impressive wine list worth making a long journey on the Overground for. (It’s officially a Michelin Bib Gourmand-winning spot, if you needed any convincing.) It’s no surprise the place has attracted such attention. The collected CVs of the three friends who started it up in 2019 read like an anthology of London’s hottest restaurants: Spring, Quo Vadis, BAO, Rovi and Morito are al
Where to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau Day 2023 in London
Fancy yourself a bit of an oenophile? Then you’ll probably already know that this coming Thursday is a pretty big day in the wine world. That’s because the third Thursday of November is Beaujolais Nouveau Day, i.e. the first day on which this year’s bottles of the good stuff are allowed to be sold. A gamay grape wine from the Beaujolais district of Burgundy, Beaujolais Nouveau is one of the few varieties of plonk that’s sold during the same year in which it’s produced. The juicy red has gained a bit of a following in London in recent years, with many of the capital’s favourite wine bars throwing special events to celebrate the cult cuvée. Here are some we especially like the look of. Gordon’s Beaujolais Breakfast If Beaujolais Nouveau Day is the equivalent of Christmas in your world, then Gordon’s should be the first place you head to on the Big Day. London’s oldest wine bar is playing every oenophile’s St Nick, letting you sip on glasses of the good stuff bright and early from 8am on, so you can sample this year’s crop before everyone else. They’ll be serving up Full English brekkies to soak up all the booze, and nice strong coffees for anyone needing to sober up quickly. All the same, we’d probably still advise going into the office on this particular Thursday. Gordon’s Wine Bar. Thu Nov 16. Free entry. Top Cuvée Beaujolais Nouveau Masterclass If there’s a burgeoning trend on the British wine scene, you can bet that London’s most ‘banter’ wine merchants will be heavily i
The 6 best fortified wine cocktails in London to try for National Sherry Week
Like NFTs and Orlando Bloom, sherry has long been tipped by those in the know to be due its big moment of glory, but somehow the giddy heights of ultimate popularity never came. No matter how successfully the fortified wine has shaken off its reputation as the sickly sweet drink your Gran would drag out every Christmas, unlike port or tequila, sherry has never fully experienced its moment in the sun. But, passing over the Spanish delicacy is a big fat miss on the part of any discerning oenophile. ‘Sherry is actually the driest wine in the world because of the way it's made,’ says Sandra, bar manager at Spanish importer and restaurant group Brindisa. ‘There are lots of completely different styles that are dry, fresh, salty and refreshing.’ The Jerez-made wine also has a far more storied heritage than you might think. ‘Sherry is a super classic ingredient in traditional mixology,’ says Sandra. ‘If you go to that golden era of mixology in the 18th and early 19th centuries you get a lot of sherry and old recipe books feature a lot of it too.’ A drink called the ‘Sherry Cobbler’ became hugely popular in the 1840s coinciding with the invention of the drinking straw, while another sherry cocktail, the ‘Artist’s Special’, was invented in Paris in the 1930s, becoming a favourite with Picasso and other artists living in the city at the time. This week – November 6 to 12 – marks National Sherry Week and in celebration of its glitzy history we’ve rounded up the very best sherry cocktail
Can you handle the zen? Europe’s first competitive relaxing event comes to London this month
London is pretty stressful, right? In fact, complaining about stress – that annoying neighbour playing hardcore techno right under your bedroom ceiling every night or the mindfuck of trying to exit any Central line platform at Oxford Circus – is a time-honoured London pastime. But if you were forced to relax and then timed on how long it takes you to reach a calm level of zen? Well, that might well sound like the most disquieting experience of them all. However, in the name of peace and tranquillity, that’s exactly what’s coming to London this month. The Extreme Relaxing UK Championships will be landing in the Kia Oval, a venue usually known for anxiety-inducing cricket matches. It’s Europe’s first-ever competitive event dedicated to relaxing and involves 30 frazzled people going head-to-head to see who can achieve a relaxed state against the clock in the face of stressful ‘obstacles’. Each contestant will have their resting heart rate taken before competing in three heats. They’ll be tested, scientifically, for their speed at relaxing and their ability to recover from stressful surprises like car alarms and jarring TV clips, presumably playing scenes like accidentally cc’ing the wrong person into a *sensitive* email chain or being made to re-watch the Lionesses’ penalty shootout against Nigeria in the Fifa World Cup this week. The winner will be able to take these fraught experiences in their stride and reach a state of calm in the fastest time possible. It may all sound
London is getting a new women’s museum later this year
London is already doing its bit to reassess the patriarchy. The city is home to The Women’s Library at the London School of Economics and The Feminist Library in Peckham, and now a new glass-ceiling mashing institution is about to join the feminist fold. Barking and Dagenham Council has announced plans to open a Women’s Museum later this year. If you live around Barking Wharf Square you may have already spotted the future site which is covered with a mural designed by artist Clare Mason displaying a timeline of local women’s history stretching from 600AD to the present day and featuring female trailblazers such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Muriel Lester and Doris Lester, Sandie Shaw and Zara McFarlane. Psst! There’s no better day than #InternationalWomensDay to share a little SNEAK PEAK of what we're working on to celebrate the amazing women from our borough. Keep your eyes peeled 👀 for more info coming soon. #WomensMuseum pic.twitter.com/V70MgpdjsU — Barking and Dagenham (@lbbdcouncil) March 8, 2023 The space, which is linked to the local history service at timber-beamed Tudor manor Valence House Museum and Archives, aims to ‘showcase the history, heritage, stories and role of women from the local area and beyond.’ Due to open in late 2023, the programming will kick off with an exhibition by curator and artist Nephertiti Oboshie Schandorf on the Abbesses of Barking Abbey, exploring how the former Royal Monastery was home to radical and highly-educated women
Is this the end of the line for the Heathrow Express?
London has one of the best public transport systems in the world. But anyone who’s spent a hot, sticky journey on the coach to Luton Airport or faced a long meandering trundle down the Piccadilly Line stressing about making a flight at Heathrow knows that travelling to the capital’s airports can be a trying experience. That’s where the Heathrow Express comes in: the Uber executive of train journeys, the snazzy express service whisks passengers from Paddington Station to Heathrow Airport in just 15 minutes, making it the fastest direct rail route between central London and the UK’s biggest airport. But there’s a hefty price to pay for the speedy journey. The Heathrow Express is the second most expensive rail journey in Britain, costing £25, or £1.50 per mile for the 16.5-mile trip. This didn’t stop the Heathrow Express from generating a whopping £31 million in revenue in the first quarter of 2019, with people opting to pay a premium for stress-free travel. But things might be about to change for the high-speed service. According to reports seen by The Times, the opening of the Elizabeth Line appears to have made a dent in the Express’s revenues. Heathrow Express’s passenger numbers apparently haven’t returned to pre-pandemic levels despite flights at the airport being pretty much back to normal. Heathrow said revenues from Heathrow Express in the first three months of 2023 were at £22 million – a third less than during the first quarter of 2019. The new Lizzy Line gets you t
Michelin-starred restaurants 2023: the winners and losers in London
It’s that time of year again when the Michelin Guide bestows its shiny stars on the great and the good of the British and Irish restaurant scene. Yep, it’s Michelin awards ceremony day when chefs across the two nations wait in anticipation to see who has received new stars (and retained them) for 2023. Whether or not you think that the awards are too highbrow, too European or too dwindling in relevancy, there’s no denying the clout that the big fat white man mascot still holds. Plus, those little stars can have a huge impact on a restaurant’s footfall, which is especially important right now after years of turbulence thanks to the pandemic, not to mention inflation, and rising food and energy costs. As any proud London foodie knows, the capital is home to a wealth of brilliant restaurants. So it’s no surprise that London’s dining rooms usually occupy a good chunk of Michelin’s list. This year, there are four new one-star restaurants in the capital and two new two-stars. No new three stars were awarded in London this year. Only one restaurant has been given the proverbial chop and lost a star: Seven Park Place in Mayfair. Sadly one of the restaurants that held a Michelin star in 2022 has permanently closed: The Glasshouse in Kew. Here’s the full list of new Michelin stars for London restaurants, and who’s in, and who’s out. Which London restaurants have won a 2023 Michelin star? NEW ONE-STARS Cycene, Shoreditch – Theo Clench Luca, Clerkenwell – Robert Chambers St Ba
The UK’s most popular indoor attraction is in London
It rains in London. Lots. Even in the summer. It can also be quite chilly. This means you’ll frequently find Londoners on the hunt for interesting places to hide away from the elements. So, it’s sweet relief to know that our fine capital city houses the UK’s most popular indoor attraction, which surely makes it the UK’s very best indoor attraction (that’s what we’re claiming, anyway). A ranking of visitor numbers by The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions has crowned the much-loved Natural History Museum in South Kensington the most-visited indoor attraction in the country. According to the data, a whopping 4,654,608 people passed through the grand doors of Alfred Waterhouse’s landmark romanesque building in 2022. It’s no wonder that visitors flock to the capital’s cathedral of nature. The 142-year-old museum and research centre is home to more than 80 million items, including a cup made from a human skull, a life-size animated T-Rex, an earthquake simulator, cabinets full of sparkling gemstones and beautiful glass models of marine invertebrates. Even the entrance hall has a massive 25-metre-long blue whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling (called Hope, fyi). What’s more, it’s totally free to see all the main collections making it the perfect spot for a family-friendly day out or a fun pitstop to hide away from the weather on a day out. The Cromwell Road institution isn’t the only indoor attraction in London to make the list. Ranked close behind it are the British
Waterloo Station is getting gender-neutral toilets this year
Huge news for anyone with a bladder who travels through London Waterloo Station on the reg: the UK’s busiest rail terminus is getting a massive toilet refresh, which will include the addition of gender-neutral lavs to ‘improve inclusivity’. It’s all part of a big project to make the passenger experience at the station better. It involves giving the bathrooms a complete revamp with new and improved facilities and the installation of a ‘balanced number of female and male facilities’ as well as the new gender-neutral loos. Extra baby-changing areas and better access for those with reduced mobility are also promised. Network Rail has even released a fancy CGI graphic of what the new lavs will look like. Photograph: Network Rail Construction of the new WCs is due to start in mid-February and be completed during the summer. Cem Davis, Network Rail’s London Waterloo station manager, hoped the new facilities ‘will make journeys a lot more pleasant and comfortable’. Ironically, given its name, Waterloo needs a real lav spruce-up. It’s repeatedly crowned the busiest railway station in the UK (an estimated 41 million passengers passed through its concourse in the 12 months to the end of March 2022). And it’s pretty clear that London is long overdue better toilets in general. A report from The London Assembly in 2021 found 90 percent of Londoners thought there weren’t enough public toilets in the capital, while another survey from the same year found 30 percent of the city’s so-call
Amanda from ‘The Traitors’ is hosting a ‘betray ball’ at Two Brewers tonight
Not since Bimini Bon Boulash sashayed down the runway on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’ back in 2021 has anyone become a nationally revered gay icon as fast as Amanda Lovett from ‘The Traitors’. The BBC reality TV show described as ‘the ultimate game of detection, backstabbing and trust’ became an unlikely hit at the end of last year. The premise: 22 people are taken to a remote castle in the Scottish Highlands. Among their number are three ‘traitors’ – a group of contestants selected by host Claudia Winkleman and tasked with covertly ‘murdering’ the other players – the ‘faithfuls’ – without being detected to steal a £120,000 prize fund for themselves. Basically, it’s a chaotic, long and very emotional version of ‘wink murder’. Out of all the players, Welsh grandmother Amanda – who was picked as a ‘traitor’ on the first day of the contest – quickly stole our hearts. Her camp mix of warm, maternal energy and merciless ability to mastermind the perfect game-playing strategy made it feel like she’d wandered straight out of a Love of Huns Insta post. It was only a matter of time before Amanda – aka the Welsh Dragon – did the rounds of the UK’s premier LGBTQ+ venues and tonight you’ll find her at Clapham’s long-established gay pub and club The Two Brewers. She’ll be appearing at The Betray Ball alongside drag queen host Poppycock (who may or may not be channelling Winkleman in an overly chunky knitted jumper) for a meet and greet where guests can snap a picture with the star and catc
That hyped £11 milk bread has arrived in London
Move over sourdough – who wants to be reminded of that soggy starter you nursed like a Tamagotchi in deepest, darkest lockdown anyway? A new doughy delight has started flying off the shelves of bakeries around the world and now it’s arrived in London. Sweet and pillowy soft, shokupan (aka Japanese milk bread) is taking over sourdough and focaccia as the internet’s bread du jour. Incredibly photogenic – you’ve probably seen your feed filling up with pictures of intricately sliced ‘sandos’ packed with neat stripes of rainbow-hued fillings – and with a unique, chewy texture, the bread sits somewhere between a bog-standard white loaf and brioche on the taste and texture scale and it’s now selling out in specialist bakeries everywhere from LA to Australia. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Happy Sky Bakery (@happyskybakery) In Tokyo, scores of cafes and bakeries churn out hundreds of the squishy white loaves daily where they’re served plain, toasted, in sandwiches, or shaped into cute animals and decorated with fruit. Its cloud-like fluffiness and milky sweetness are down to something called the ‘tangzhong’ method, where the baking process begins by mixing a tiny amount of flour with water or milk to create a base and give the bread a unique chewy bite, a bit like mochi. Now Londoners can get their teeth into a slice at Hammersmith’s artisan Japanese bakery, Happy Sky. The only catch? It’ll set you back a bit at £11.40 per loaf.
This ‘Emily in Paris’ heart-throb star has just opened a north London dive bar
Following in the footsteps of Ed Sheeran, Mark Wahlberg and Krept & Konan, ‘Emily in Paris’ actor Lucien Laviscount is the latest celebrity to join the London hospitality scene. The 30-year-old who plays Alfie in the series has teamed up with restauranter Zac Lichman and head chef Gareth Drew (formerly of Nobu and Buddha Bar) to open The Wealthy Beggar in Kensal Rise. View this post on Instagram A post shared by The Wealthy Beggar (@wealthybeggar.london) Described as a ‘five star dive bar’, the new joint has a speakeasy atmos, a menu packed with tropical cocktails and Pan-Asian tapas to soak them up with. Tipples include the ‘Loaded Dice’ – a piña colada style concoction with watermelon, banana, coconut, pineapple and three types of rum, and the ‘Velvet Hand’ which mixes together fresh pomegranate cordial, sparkling wine and apple-infused brandy. And from the kitchen, there’s an opulent selection of snacks including wagyu tartare with whipped foie gras and cheeseburger dumplings with kimchi ketchup. Fancy. View this post on Instagram A post shared by The Wealthy Beggar (@wealthybeggar.london) But, perhaps the most exciting news is that they’ve teamed up with none other than dub and reggae legend Don Letts, who‘ll be overseeing the programming for the new venue, including live music every Wednesday, DJ sets and weekend parties. There’s even a recording studio on the bar’s lower floor. View this
Alexandra Palace’s future is under threat
Alexandra Palace has been through a lot over its 149-year history. Just 16 days after opening in 1873 the whole building was gutted by a huge fire (before being quickly rebuilt and reopened with – what else? – a massive fireworks display). It also survived another big blaze in 1980 that burnt large chunks of it to the ground. In between these flaming disasters, the ‘People’s Palace’ has also been used as a refugee centre and an internment camp during WWI, all the while working its way into London’s heart with its annual bonfire displays, roster of electrifying gigs and a whole load of whacky events from the World Darts Championship to Red Bull’s whacky races style soapbox run. But now Ally Pally is facing taxing times again. As if we needed any more reasons to be bitter about the cost-of-living crisis, it looks like the UK’s crap economic situation is taking its toll on the finances of the Haringey landmark. Turns out massive Grade-II listed Victorian buildings are quite hard to heat and rapidly rising energy costs mean the price of keeping the drafty pile warm has surged. A recent report from The Alexandra Park and Palace Charity Trust, seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, said costs to run the building have rocketed by 132 percent, largely due to soaring energy prices. It warned the building may run up an operating deficit of £1.1 million this year. A pretty terrifying figure that may even reach £2 million next year. The venue has said it’s putting in cost-cuttin