The best beaches near London for a sandy escape
So the British summer is finally getting going, and you're itching to catch some rays. There's a lot to be said for London's outdoor swimming spots, but why not get a bit more ambitious? The British seaside lets you pair your paddling with stunning views, tons of charm, and the promise of a hefty fish and chips as the sun sets. You've probably already taken a jaunt down to Brighton, but your feet deserve better than ouchy pebbles and overly cocky seagulls. Luckily, London is within easy reach of plenty of gorgeous seaside towns and scenic coastal walks – not to mention some of the best beaches in the UK. From the vast unbroken expanse of Camber Sands to the eerie other-worldly beauty of Dungeness, we’ve rounded up the 15 best beaches within two hours of the capital. Whether you’re after secluded spots or photogenic hotspots, we’ve got you covered. RECOMMENDED: The best day trips from London
Where to watch the King’s coronation in London, including big screens
Festive bunting? Check. Royal mugs, cushions and M&S-coronation-themed hamper? Check. Questionable Union Jack mani? Check. Sounds like you are ready for all the weekend celebrations marking the official investiture of King Charles III, taking place on Saturday May 6. But where exactly can you watch the actual coronation? Here’s what we know. RECPMMENDED: Here’s everything we know about the coronation procession route Where’s the coronation happening and can I go? The coronation ceremony itself will take place on the morning of Saturday, May 6, at Westminster Abbey, and is conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Traditionally every Monarch is crowned there; King Charles III will be the fortieth sovereign since 1066. The enthroning itself is for invitees only, with around 2,000 guests expected, so unless your gilt-edged summons is lost in the mail (ahem) you’ll have to join the rest of us hoi polloi. Where can I watch it from? We’ve picked the best vantage points along the route of the procession to and from Buckingham Palace below, plus the big screens around the capital showing it: read on for more info. What tube stations are nearest to the coronation procession? Green Park and Hyde Park Corner are the closest stations. On Saturday May 6, St James’s Park station will be closed and Hyde Park Corner will be exit-only. You'll also be able to get close to the action from Westminster, Charing Cross, Embankment, Victoria, Knightsbridge, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Tem
Easter activities for kids in London
Easter is one of the very best holidays. Why? Well, alongside the fact that most of season is dedicated to eating chocolate, we also get a whopping four-day bank holiday weekend (Friday April 7 to Monday April 10 this year) when we can go out and have fun with our family at a whole host of wholesome Easter activities. Stuck for ideas on how to fill all this free time? That’s where we come in. Below is a list of ideas for things you can get up to in London with the kids this Easter weekend – and the rest of the school holidays. RECOMMENDED: Crack open our full guide to the Easter weekend.
Nine amazing family days out this summer
Stuck for summer holiday inspo? Have you got little ones that need to be kept entertained? Well, you're in the right place. This is the ultimate guide to amazing days out with the family. Get stuck into interactive exhibitions, awe-inspiring street parties and incredible outdoor productions of childhood classics with our pick of nine unforgettable kid-friendly experiences in London this summer.
Nine ways to be at one with nature this summer
London is one fun place to be when summer rolls around. And while we can't always count on the weather (this is England, after all), the city's outdoor spaces are brimming with activity. From nature trails to immersive experiences and full-blown country fairs, these are the reasons why you should get outdoors and be at one with nature this summer.
Ten ways to fill your London summer with culture and creativity
When the days are longer, the breeze is flowing through your hair and you've got an iced coffee in hand, all you need to cap it off is somewhere amazing to go. And that's where we come in! Satisfy your curiosity with our list of ten arts and culture highlights of London this summer.
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Isaac Julien: ‘What Freedom Is to Me’
British artist and filmmaker Julien’s work is undeniably serious – his career started in the 1980s with an examination of the Black Atlantic – but he cannot resist making it beautiful. His indulgence of that urge leavens the message; it’s an unusual dynamic that has a devastating point. While Julien documents the wholesale pillage of African civilisation, he wreaks subtle revenge by elegantly raiding the iconography of European cinema. Here, a reference to Tarkovsky’s snowy birches, there a nod to Bergman profiles or Cocteau’s ‘Orphée. On entering 2022’s ‘Once Again… (Statues Never Die)’, Isaac Julien’s latest film here in this Tate Britain retrospective, you are plunged into a monochromatic art deco dreamspace: multiple large black-framed screens form a graceful semi-circle against a mirrored backdrop, leggy chrome vitrines housing sculptures punctuate the space. The sculptures by Richmond Barthé and Matthew Angelo-Harrison are a reference and a cultural response to the ‘trappings of imperialism’ described in the film, an exploration of the role of the museum in the spoils of colonialism. Projected on the screens, the film plays out against the backdrop of the Harlem Renaissance. Shot in hypnotic black and white with all the harsh edges smoothed off, we see a series of imagined conversations between cultural theorist Alain Locke, the first Black Rhodes scholar, and the US collector of African art Albert C. Barnes, offset by encounters fraught with erotic longing between Loc
Horniman Museum Spring Fair
Long established as one of the best south-east London places to take the kids, this gem of a museum and gardens has a lovely spring fair on April 8. Wow your wee'uns with towering stilt walkers and enchanting bubble performances, or battle it out on the green with UrbanCrazy minigolf. And there'll be an array of family-friendly fun including face painting, garden trails, arts and crafts, and live music.
The V&A’s ambitious new exhibition is a triumphant attempt to complete the near-impossible task of capturing an entire continent through its fashion. Incorporating textiles, design and still and moving images, ‘Africa Fashion’ takes visitors on a compelling journey from the 1960s to the present day in a bid to reshape existing geographies and narratives of style. It feels like a glorious celebration. There’s joy in the key points that punctuate the show: a brilliant pink outfit of trousers and kinetic cape by Imane Ayissi from 2019 bams you straight in the eye as you enter. The second floor is dominated by Artsi Ifrach’s Maison Artc ‘A Dialogue Between Cultures’, with its organza, ribbon and plastic-fishbone crinoline, dress and mask at the top of the stairs, while James Barnor’s gorgeous Kodachrome photographs hail us like old friends in an embrace of colour. But there’s also pleasure in the quieter examples: a salt-crystal necklace by Ami Doshi Shah, Ibrahim Kamala’s loving 2022 photographic homage to trailblazing designer Chris Seydou’s 1980s ensemble, the assurance of Gouleh Ahmed’s images of non-binary people. While these moments accrue, there’s never a sense of being overwhelmed by content, there’s a confident restraint, a balance between the headliners and the new kids on the block which always keeps things fresh and unflagging. Identity and Blackness are core here, and while there’s a political dimension working through the narratives and choice of contemporary design
Admittedly any eggs might be bigger (and riskier) than the traditional Easter versions, but getting up close and personal with dinosaurs is a perennial crowd-pleaser with kids. In April, Dino Kingdom opens its gates to families with a host of projections, holograms, fossils, dino babies and, best of all, a number of fearsome lifelike moving dinosaurs, including a 16-metre-high T-rex ready to roar at those brave enough to say hello. Early-bird tickets are available with 20 percent off.
Next month’s Lizzy Line timetable changes could make your commute even faster
Full disclosure: as a south-east Londoner, it’s hard not to be a fan of the Lizzy Line. We’re now connected in ways never thought possible to far-flung parts of the capital. Which is why the news from Transport for London that a year on from its grand unveiling, London’s newest line will be operating to its final, peak timetable from May 21 is so damn exciting. You may not actually live that near the Lizzy Line, but if you regularly traverse the capital from Liverpool Street in the east out to Paddington in the west, then you’ll have no doubt enjoyed the benefits of the TfL service. And so we’re pretty gassed to see what the optimal timetable brings. Firstly, trains will be more regular, so you’ll barely have time to admire the slick new stations before a train arrives. At peak times, 24 trains an hour will run between Paddington and Whitechapel, up from a mere 22 previously. Twenty will run at off-peak times, with direct services once an hour between Shenfield and Heathrow. Travellers planning to catch the red-eye at London’s busiest airport can plump for an earlier start, as Paddington’s first westbound train for Heathrow will leave six minutes earlier at 4.36am and arrive at Terminal 5 ten minutes earlier at 4.42am. Journey times will be quicker too, as Paddington currently requires east and westbound trains to make a scheduled stop of around ten minutes before proceeding while they wait to join Network Rail’s system or enter Elizabeth Line tunnels. While these are built i
London is the UK’s official ‘nepo baby’ capital
With the spotlight on acting or music dynasties – or families famous for simply being famous – it can be easy to forget that nepotism doesn’t just exist in the world of showbiz. You don’t need to be a Coppola or a Beckham to get ahead. Londoners, nepo babies walk among us. That’s right, a recent survey of employees has revealed that, particularly in the capital, it’s not what you know, but who you know. The poll by Applied – a recruitment platform aiming to reduce bias, improve hires and increase diversity – has found that when it comes to nepotism in the UK, Londoners are the worst culprits. According to this article in The Evening Standard, of the 2,000 participants surveyed, exactly half got the role through personal connections. It doesn’t stop there, either: knowing someone not only gives you a foot in the door, but it also means that you are likely to get in further up the ladder, with more than a third entering a role at middle management level, and one in eight at senior level. Well, something had to explain Melissa in Visual Marketing’s recent promotion. It’s depressing, and sadly not new. You don’t even need family in the same industry, it’s all about their social network. Not to get all academic here, but this is what French sociologist Bourdieu back in the ’80s described as the power of cultural capital – ‘a familiarity with the legitimate culture within a society’. People are often educated with those of a similar background, and are taught to like the same thi
This London bridge could be the city’s first to charge a toll
You may remember that back in the summer of 2020, Hammersmith Bridge was closed on public safety grounds (though what with the pandemic and lockdowns and all that, we’d forgive you if you didn’t). Micro-fractures had been discovered in the Victorian structure in 2019, and it was deemed unsafe for traffic, due to the threat of collapse. Then in 2021, it reopened but only to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic while stabilisation works were undertaken. Unfortunately, these works have sparked an ongoing row between the two councils on either side. One proposes to charge users to cross, while the other is protesting it is unfair on its local residents and will put additional pressure on its own highways and bridge. Hammersmith and City Council (HFC) propose installing a toll gate on the bridge once it reopens to traffic, while Conservative councillors for Wandsworth want HFC to drop the charge. Wandsworth Conservatives have an ongoing petition against the move which states: ‘When Hammersmith Bridge was closed some 22,000 daily river crossings have been displaced. Many have been forced to use Putney bridge which has put additional pressure on already busy roads such as Upper Richmond Road, Putney Hill and the High Street. As part of their plans to fix the bridge, Labour-run Hammersmith & Fulham Council are looking at introducing a charge to cross the bridge. A £3 per crossing toll would cost local motorists over £2,000 per year. It would also mean some of that shift in traffic
Three London Wetherspoons have been named among England’s best
We Londoners love a good pub. They’re very much part of the fabric of our city, a crucial element of our history and our culture. And you know what that also means? We also dig a good list of pubs: we love to rank them from best to worst, considering very crucial criteria like fireside nook, pub garden, dog action, even crisp options. It’s no surprise that recent rankings abound, including Time Out’s definitive list of the 50 best London boozers (lovingly researched by our tireless food and drink editor Leonie Cooper). But it seems that others are in on the action and in a recent list of the best UK Wetherspoons compiled by The Daily Express from customer reviews on TripAdvisor, no fewer than three of the top ten are in London. So, given that pub chain ’Spoons is a byword for value and manages to thrive when other pub chains are struggling – as our recent story about the brand-new £3 million Wetherspoons boozer at the O2 Arena reveals – what is it about these London pubs in particular that has captured hearts and minds? The highest ranking, at number two in England, is south-east London’s The Brockley Barge. Despite its distinct lack of water nowadays, Brockley was once the site of a section of the Croydon Canal, hence the name, and the pub has reference to its history, both in its boaty curved frontage and interior decor. Boasting real ales and a friendly vibe, it fits right in with the café and dining culture of leafy SE4. The Brockley Barge #pub a
Wait, are TfL making the tube cheaper on Fridays or not?
It’s no surprise that Londoners love a bargain. After all, with today’s rising prices and the eye-watering cost of living, we’re looking for savings when and where we can. Let’s face it, we can’t even contemplate ordering an avo on a paltry slice of sourdough or a decent coffee, without criticism that we are splurging. So, of course any rumours of changes to ticket prices on London Underground have therefore understandably got us all of a flutter. That those prices may be going down, rather than on an upward trajectory have sent collective pulses soaring. But wait a moment, what is the story? And is there any actual truth to it? At the weekend reports emerged in the press, including the i paper that Transport for London in consultation with Mayor Sadiq Khan has plans to consider making Fridays an off-peak day for London Underground in a bid to boost numbers and get people using the tube once more. The rumoured proposal was seen as a response to a growing decline in commuters on Mondays and Fridays, as our post Covid hybrid working culture means that many employees who WFH do, on those days and part-timers will also plump for the middle of the week. Midweek travel on TfL now sees 25% more passengers commuting than the start and end of the week and overall capacity is still lower than pre-pandemic, averaging around 82% of 2019 levels. All this, plus the revenue lost through fare dodging means that income from travel for TfL is down significantly, This has led to rising fare p
Live in style, above a former art deco London cinema
Jostling for top spot in many Londoners’ ‘dream places to live’ is a really swishy modernist apartment, you know, with views, plus some outdoor space so you can swan around outside in your ’30s style kaftan clutching a slender glass of something chilled, like you are in an old Hollywood film or something. Courtesy of Knight Frank a new location of lust has hit the market that exactly fits the bill. It’s a duplex ( estate agent speak for two floor) penthouse apartment, on level six and seven of a former art deco cinema in Holland Park. The Poirot-worthy apartment, features an extensive outdoor terrace which encircles the entire sixth floor, boasting extensive views of Kensington and Chelsea. Priced at £32.5 million, there are four bedrooms, five bathrooms and 5,500 feet in total to trip around in your fluffy mules. It’s probably out of most people’s price range with an agreed mortgage lender if we’re honest, but we can dream, right? The apartment is part of an exclusive development called Holland Park Gate, which offers residents access to a 24 hour concierge service, exclusive gym, pool, sauna, screening room, even library for the full Agatha Christie experience. It's also just across the road from The Design Museum and Kensington High Street. The art deco movie house itself opened in 1926, back in the silent era, before films even had sound and was originally known as the Kensington Kinema. Recently restored, it features a neo-classical deco facade built from Portland Ston
Titanosaur: check out the gigantic new dinosaur at the Natural History Museum
It may be that the words ‘Patagotitan mayorum’ don’t trip lightly off the tongue, but after a trip to the Natural History Museum, that’s all about to change. That’s because the Patagotitan is a massive new dinosaur that has taken up residence in the salubrious surroundings of the South Kensington gallery for the first time ever in Europe, and it’s a BIG deal. Why? Well firstly because the Titanosaur isn’t just a bit sizeable; it makes former heavy Dippy the Diplodocus look like a bantamweight, tipping the scales four times over at an immense 57,000 kg (still within a healthy BMI for this dinosaur). Plus, the megasaurus positively dwarfs ‘Hope’, the museum’s much-loved 25.2-metre blue-whale skeleton. Its thigh bone alone is 2.38 metres long and the skeleton overall measures more than 37 metres. That’s longer than three double-deckers back to back, Londoners. So before the monstrous lizard popped up in South Ken, when and where was it hanging out? Approximately 101 million years ago, during the Early Cretaceous period in Argentina, apparently. The dinosaur wasn’t a huge fan of the Argentinian steak scene, favouring a herbivorous diet of leaves and fibrous vegetation instead. The Patagotitan is a titanosaur, a type of sauropod, and although they are not always large, this colossal beauty certainly is. It’s so-called because it was discovered in 2010 at La Flecha Ranch in Patagonia, Argentina, after extensive flooding in the area, when a ranch worker spotted part of the skeleton
Londoners want to stop more pollution of the Thames with sewage
After recent news that the River Thames was sparking concerns with rising raw sewage overflows going directly into the water, another story bobs to the (rather murky) surface of a petition that has gathered more than 13k signatures to stop Thames Water from turning river water polluted with sewage into drinking water. The petition was created by Fiona Jones and is a call to stop the proposed abstraction plant at Teddington Weir, in the south-west of London and prevent the water company from releasing treated sewage into the river. The abstraction scheme seems to not only involve the malodorous but a lot of watery to-ing and fro-ing. It involves draining more than 70 million litres of water daily from the Thames a little upstream of the weir at Teddington and transferring it via an existing underground tunnel to north London’s Lee Valley Reservoir, 21.5 miles away, to be replaced with treated effluent (that’s sewage, folks) from the Mogden sewage works, which would then be transported more than nine miles through a new pipeline, back to Teddington. Keeping up so far? As well as the implications for humans, there are fears that the scheme will have a profound impact on local wildlife, because of the potential effect on the biodiversity of the river. The scheme was rejected back in 2019 by the Environment Agency (EA), for that very reason. The 2023 version of the proposal shows ‘substantial improvements’ according to the Environment Agency but it still has reservations about the
Head to Harrods for a pop-up café from fashion label Prada
The end of March sees Harrods customers able to sample a bit of Italian style with their chit-chat (or should that be chiacchiere?) while taking their ease, with the launch of a new pop-up: the Prada Caffè. If you are not familiar with the brand, Prada is a fashion powerhouse founded in 1913 that sums up the Italian notion of sprezzatura – the art of performing a difficult task so gracefully that it looks effortless. Prada’s elegant monochrome aesthetic with hints of pale green is carried into the new café’s interior, which pays homage to the label’s historic boutique on Corso Vittorio Emmanuele II in Milan, with its black-and-white chequered floor and green velvet upholstery. The tastefully restrained environment extends to the tableware with pale-blue Japanese porcelain with black detailing along with blown-crystal glassware featuring the signature Prada triangular patterning. Opening on March 31 and keeping London shoppers stylishly Milanese until January 7 2024, the Prada Caffé is open seven days a week serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, light bites and aperitivi. As you might expect, the menu has a distinct Italian slant, but with a modern flavour, with starters such as burrata and zucchini, and mains including spinach and ricotta cannelloni with black truffle. To complement the cocktails and Italian wines, there are tramezzini (little dainty sandwiches) and pizzettes (miniature puff pizzas) plus for sweet-lovers there are pastries such as an indulgent cake laden with pis
Want to buy an abandoned mansion in Hampstead for £22.5 million?
If you’ve been inspired by the latest TV adaptation of ‘Great Expectations’ to make like Miss Havisham and rattle around a ruined, cobwebby mansion in your wedding dress, because, y’know it’s a lifestyle, then we might have found the perfect des res for you. Be warned, though, you’ll need a cool £22.5 million, plus the requisite cash to make it actually liveable in, rather than a health-and-safety nightmare. The listing says, ominously that ‘The existing buildings are in extremely poor condition and are currently uninhabitable’, and you don’t want to be tripping over your bridal veil on the massive gap in the stairs. The six-bedroom mansion in question, which you can find on Zoopla, is on Compton Avenue, a private gated street with 24-hour security, that nestles between Hampstead Heath and Highgate Golf Course, in case you fancy a bit of putting in between overseeing an extensive demolition and some Victorian cos-play. You do get the option to build a brand-new mansion on site, as planning permission has been obtained for the freehold to extend, with plans that include a separate pavilion or art studio, underground parking, plus the ubiquitous pool, gym and home cinema, plus you’d have a huge walled and gated garden which might politely be described as ‘mature’, ie completely and utterly overgrown with weeds. Abandoned mansion for sale on Compton Avenue, N6 | Photograph @ZooplaAbandoned mansion for sale on Compton Avenue, N6 The leafy avenue is filled with large detached pr
Five London boroughs are reducing the speed limit to 20mph
If you regularly drive through Camden, Islington, Hackney, Haringey or Tower Hamlets, as of the start of April 2023, you’re going to have to slow down. The five London boroughs have been targeted by Transport for London as part of a capital-wide initiative to reduce speed on the road for cars to 20mph in order to make the capital’s highways safer. The initiative, developed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan is the Vision Zero policy which aims to see no one killed or seriously injured on our roads by 2041. The policy is based on reports that speed was a factor in 48 percent of fatal collisions in London in 2020. Extensive data demonstrates that the faster a vehicle is travelling, the more likely it is that a collision will occur because the driver has less time to react, stop or avoid the danger, which increases the likelihood that any injuries will be more severe as a result. The stats are eye-opening: for example, if you hit someone at 30mph they’re five times more likely to die than if you hit them at 20 mph. Three years ago, just as we entered lockdown part one, TfL introduced a 20mph speed limit on its roads in central London. The next phase sees the speed limit lowered by 10mph along 20 miles of roads in the five selected boroughs which will be closely monitored over the next few months, with the aim that it is extended to a further 70 miles in London by May 2024. Now 20mph is not actually that fast. For comparison, a good, but not elite, sprinter can run at that speed. Usain
Airbnb is paying Londoners £100 to rent out a room for the King’s coronation
Bring out the bunting: if you are lucky enough to be a homeowner with rooms that you can legitimately rent out for cash money, and your des res is scheduled to be a bit empty this May 5-8, then it’s time to book out the calendar and get vacuuming (and laminating a very detailed instruction manual). The King’s coronation falls on Saturday May 6 and in a bid to encourage Londoners to get in on the expected huge demand for tourist accommodation that weekend, Airbnb has launched a bonus initiative where you can earn £100 in travel coupons, just by hosting your first guest on those dates. Last year’s Platty Jubes saw a massive uplift in visitors keen to do some royal flag-waving in the capital, and, anticipating demand, Airbnb launched a similar bonus incentive for new hosts. It turned out to be pretty lucrative for London hosts, who collectively earned more than £7 million just over the Jubilee weekend, with the average booking earning more than £500 between June 2-5 2022. That’s the cost of several new laminators. Amanda Cupples, general manager for Northern Europe at Airbnb explains the rationale: ‘When it comes to significant events this year, it doesn’t get bigger than King Charles’s coronation. As celebrations sweep across the UK and families visit loved ones over the additional bank holiday, Airbnb offers a unique opportunity for locals to benefit by opening their homes. Home sharing helps cities use existing space to scale up their capacity, welcome visitors during peak d