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Ashleigh Arnott

Ashleigh Arnott

Ashleigh Arnott is Time Out's former London Things To Do Writer.

Articles (47)

The 13 best things to do in Reading

The 13 best things to do in Reading

Forever underrated, Berkshire’s biggest town is a celebration of stately homes, shire horses, street art and spa days, with a little Home Counties character thrown in for good measure. The best things to do in Reading traverse the centuries, from old abbeys and castles to new creations and innovative cuisines. Pubs, too, obviously, because this is the United Kingdom. Reading doesn’t get the attention that bigger neighbours are afforded, but that means more of it for you. 

The 20 best things to do in Naples

The 20 best things to do in Naples

Times are changing in Italy’s third most populous city. Naples is undergoing a renaissance, shedding a rogue reputation for violence and embracing its many charms instead. The best things to do in Naples all involve getting cosy with the place, a city with history oozing from every one of its pores. That history is palpable in the narrow streets and the restaurants, pizzerias and bars that dot the city. Naples has seen a lot, but that gives it a story to tell; it might just be Italy’s most authentic city. Naples lives and breathes in its streets, exactly as a city should. 

London’s best escape rooms

London’s best escape rooms

After being locked down for great swathes of 2020 and 2021, you may think that the last thing you want to do is voluntarily imprison yourself, but the great thing about escape games is that you have the power to release yourself if you keep your wits sharpened. So grab a bunch of thrill-seeking, puzzle-solving mates and sign up for one of the many live escape room experiences London has to offer. These range from the traditional locked-room escape mission to a ‘Sherlock’-themed mystery and an all-out recreation of the ’90s TV show ‘The Crystal Maze’. Whichever you choose, your group will have to help each other to solve puzzles within a strict time limit. Our advice? Pick your teammates wisely.  Start the fans, please! RECOMMENDED: 101 things to do in London.

The 11 best restaurants in Cape Town

The 11 best restaurants in Cape Town

Eating is one of the great joys of travel. Every new city is a fresh opportunity to devour delicious dishes of different origins, and Cape Town is a city that demands a position at the top table of culinary cities in the modern age. How could it not? Fresh, local ingredients dominate the menus and recipes, and South Africa’s cultural melting pot pours all of its influences into its meals. The best restaurants in Cape Town are a delight from start to finish, whether you’re picking up informal street eats or sitting down for some gourmet goodness. There are lots of great things to do here, and eating until you can eat no more is right up there. 

The 20 best friendship movies

The 20 best friendship movies

Want to celebrate your bestie? When it comes to relationships, it’s usually romantic films that grab the spotlight, but there’s something special about movies that celebrate mates. From true-­to-­life coming-­of-­age tales to workplace dramas, friendship is portrayed in many different ways on screen. Read on for our absolute favourite friendship movies.

The 14 best things to do in Cape Town right now

The 14 best things to do in Cape Town right now

There is something magical about Cape Town. It could be the iconic monolithic mountain that stands protectively over the city, or maybe even the sheer overwhelming nature of history in these parts. It could also be the Mother City’s engaging blend of African, European and Malay influences, all coming together to create one of the world’s great capital cities. In South African terms, that means legislative capital, but you get what we mean. Cape Town is a city that shines brightest at its most relaxed. Whether that means kicking back at the beach, feasting at one of the many first-rate restaurants or knocking back a glass of wine or four, it doesn’t matter. There is so much to do here that it is difficult to know where to begin. Check out our pick of the best things to do in Cape Town, and go from there; you can’t go wrong.

Boat hire in London

Boat hire in London

During the hotter months, it’s easy to start feeling sweaty and suffocated in London. Once restrictions have eased, you might want to plan a day trip to the seaside for some light relief from the heat, but sometimes city responsibilities mean escaping Zone 6 just isn’t possible. If you need to swap your stuffy flat for cooler climes, but only have a few hours to spare, a boat trip might be just what you need. Luckily London is full of rivers, lakes, ponds and canals to pedal across, row down or canoe around and loads of places to hire boats, too. Here’s our guide to the best boating spots in the city to help you cool down. Just try not to fall in! RECOMMENDED: London's best fountains

A local’s guide to living in Tottenham

A local’s guide to living in Tottenham

Essential information Average property prices: Flats £350k, houses £450k Average rent: £670pcm per person Nearest tube: Tottenham Hale Transport links: Overground and Stansted Express Bus routes: Too many to list!  Local MP: David Lammy (Labour) Tell me about the local tribe A megamix of ages and races with a lust for life. Tottenham has experienced its share of riots and unrest over the years, but its community is super-loyal. Any neighbourhood heroes? Skepta’s a good lad. Other surnamefree performers from Tottenham include Adele and Lemar. Whatís new in the area? The brand new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium glints like a sporty beacon at the top of the High Road, and is finally hosting matches. But there’s more to N17 than Spurs. The most recent addition is Roller Nation, a skating rink with a roll-in diner. Are there any community spaces? In an industrial estate just north of Tottenham Hale, Grow community garden teaches school groups about veggies. By night, they put their 5am licence and soundproof room to good use. Profits made from club nights fund more gardening. Can I grab a morning latte? Grow’s café Pluma has excellent coffee. But the earliest it opens is 11am. Good for freelancers, though. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Photograph: Adam Davy Is Tottenham family-friendly? For babyccinos and pregnancy yoga you may be better off over the marshes in Walthamstow. What’s the nearest green space? There’s Tottenham Marshes, a bucolic tangle of walking paths, canals, brambles and a

Outdoor exercise classes in London

Outdoor exercise classes in London

Looking at the sunshine through the window of the gym is just depressing, especially with all the lush green space that London has to offer. Instead, sign up for one of these outdoor exercise classes to get a breath of fresh air while you work out. Whether you’re a gym bunny, a bendy yogi, or hardcore into HIIT, check out our pick of great outdoor activities in London to help get your body moving and your heart pumping. Ready to get sweaty in the sunshine? Turning away from the treadmill has never sounded better. RECOMMENDED: Our guide to outdoor London

The 13 best things to do in Monaco

The 13 best things to do in Monaco

It’s difficult to get your head around just how teeny this country in Europe is, and that the city of Monte Carlo takes up essentially all of it, so don't be shocked by the sheer amount of fun things to do in Monaco. The fact that it only takes an hour to walk across it is surely a blessing for both locals and visitors, though, as even a weekend trip could see you completing this list if you really tried. The things the principality is famous for—fast cars, yachts, casinos, princes— are all present and correct, of course, but there are also many everyday ways to enjoy this most pristine of seaside towns. Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere. Find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world.

The 13 best things to do in Pretoria

The 13 best things to do in Pretoria

The administrative capital of South Africa is a low-key city—it doesn’t compete with its Gauteng Province neighbour Johannesburg in size or cultural clout—but there are oh-so-many fun things to do in Pretoria. Fewer tourists means more space to explore, and more chances to feel a part of South African everyday life. The city is still largely Afrikaans and you’ll hear plenty of the language being spoken around town (though you’re unlikely to meet a person in Pretoria who doesn’t speak English). As in all South African destinations, visitors must err on the side of caution, but generally this is a laid-back city that feels like a sprawling home town, and its attractions are accordingly eclectic. Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere. Find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world.

The 13 best things to do in Johannesburg

The 13 best things to do in Johannesburg

This South African city has so many claims to fame, it's no wonder the best things to do in Johannseburg are all so exciting. A few fun fact: it’s the biggest city in the world not built on a water source—it was actually built on a goldmine—and the second biggest on the entire continent of Africa (after Cairo, obvs). For all its success on paper, the place is far from trouble-free and a notoriously risky destination for tourists. The advent of controversial cab provider Uber has done the area a lot of good, though: suddenly, anyone with a smartphone can book safe, affordable transport from door to door. The rewards of this characterful city far outweigh the risks. Do some exploring, meet some great people and discover a town that really feels like it’s being reborn when tackling the best things to do in Johannesburg. Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere. Find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world.

Listings and reviews (55)

Mona’s Bar

Mona’s Bar

3 out of 5 stars

Squished in among a strip of shops that, by day, let’s be honest, have a bit of the Shane Meadows about them, from the outside Mona’s Bar looks like a strong example of accidental hipster. But when the tinted glass doors open for business, it’s clear that the tan leather chairs and plush floor-length curtains are aspects of an expertly curated look, rather than relics of a business that the 1970s forgot. Tottenham is not afraid of serving up a night out to its dwellers, but largely offers boozers and spots for an all-night sesh. Mona’s is a welcome in-betweener. At the weekends, DJs playing everything from funk and soul to deep house tempt in crowds of fashionable locals. But before it becomes the most chic house party you ever saw, make sure to appreciate the cocktail menu. It offers several concoctions (each at a very reasonable £8.50): the Chelsea Girl – rose gin, triple sec, rhubarb bitters, simple syrup and lemon – tasted a little more basic than it sounded on paper but was well balanced and beautifully presented. If it’s not a cocktail kind of night there’s a small selection of local craft beers – Brewheadz often feature and do their brewing less than a mile away. The bar snack options were totally overpriced but undeniably delicious, like the pizza-flavoured pretzel pieces for £3 each. But it’s more of a liquid dinner kind of place anyway. Claim a stool near the suitably serious but fabulous bar staff and watch how the party plays out.

Butifarra

Butifarra

Please note, Butifarra is now closed. Time Out Food & Drink Editors, July 2017. Squished between Soho’s all-day buffets and grubby, perennially packed pubs is Butifarra, a casual all-day café specialising in the eponymous South American snack. In truth, they specialise in just a few things; the brief menu only includes food that they make very well indeed. A ‘butifarra’ is a Peruvian ham sandwich. They’re traditionally made with slices of spiced ‘jamón del país’ and a sort of red onion relish called ‘salsa criolla’. Here, you’ll choose from hot options beef short rib and roast pork or from a few cold-cut combinations, each of which is topped with a generous spread of sweet potato mayonnaise, fresh lettuce and that sharp, crisp red onion. Soft bread, quality fillings, a gentle crunch; everything you want in a filled roll. It even comes with crisps. They do corn bread just as well; a chicken and chorizo arepa from the all-day brunch menu is essentially a delicious, squidgy club sarnie. Weirdly, though, given the name, it’s Butifarra’s ceviche you should visit for. Perfectly fresh, not too sharp and very affordable at £6 a portion, it’s an unpretentious taste of Peru that the owners are clearly very proud of. It’s a shame they’re not as bothered about pudding, but do pick up a crumbly little ‘alfajor’ biscuit, if only for the dulce de leche filling. There’s no booze on the menu but for £5 corkage you can bring a bottle of wine, making it a bargain dinner spot, especially in spen

London Shell Co.

London Shell Co.

4 out of 5 stars

Given that it involves a cruise, award-winning wine and oysters, you might assume that London Shell Co is the capital’s fanciest supperclub. Then you realise that two dozen tourists are watching you over their neon noodles as the barge navigates Camden Lock and you feel like a right ponce. But while it’s an unquestionably posh affair, this is an event born of a love of food, wine and good times, something that’s apparent from the moment you climb aboard. Siblings Harry and Leah Lobek decided last year that serving seafood dinners with perfectly paired booze would be much more fun than their day jobs. Several successful sittings and a booze cruise or two later, they realised they were going to need a bigger boat. London Shell Co’s current incarnation sees guests board a drab-but-comfortable barge in Camden which chugs out to Little Venice and back again, accompanied by sweet-voiced jazz standards and the odd sea-related poem. The food is excellent, particularly a creamy clam chowder that arrived in a hollowed bread roll as if we were in the Hamptons in 1984. A word of warning, though: do not come hungry. Portions were small enough that there was talk of going to the local chippy among the disembarking passengers. But at £40 for a three-course lunch and rather too much wine (and dangerously moreish cider brandy), it’s still great value. And still the classiest floating seafood boozathon in town.

Town Hall Hotel

Town Hall Hotel

4 out of 5 stars

A monochrome greyhound pads down the grand central staircase towards reception. She’s meant to be there: Dizzy is the hotel dog, and her casual confidence is a good fit for the Town Hall Hotel, which is every bit as cool as it is handsome. The classy cocktail bar, the flawless service, the beautiful furniture and the DAB radios on the bedside tables (set to BBC 6 Music, natch) all point to the fact that this is a grown-up hotel intended for bright young things. The grand building is quite the anomaly on Cambridge Heath Road. Its neighbours are mainly chicken shops, taxi offices and pubs of varying quality, but a generous dose of gentrification has ensured that the discerning consumer can still feel at home. Hidden behind the local petrol station, for instance, you’ll find a cobbled strip of railway arches that’s home to excellent restaurants Sager + Wilde and Paradise Garage and craft beer emporium (and bar) Mother Kelly’s. But you don’t really need to leave the hotel – The Typing Room restaurant serves a fairly spectacular tasting menu of modern British creations; the gorgeous Corner Room serves a more affordable but still inventive à la carte at both lunch and dinner. A well-crafted nightcap can be found at the sultry Peg + Patriot cocktail bar.   I didn’t see a piece of furniture I didn’t covet while staying there. Midcentury teal sideboards and upholstered chairs sit appealingly alongside modern conveniences such as espresso machines and swift wi-fi. The bed, though marve

Molly Bakes

Molly Bakes

Please note, Molly Bakes is now closed. Time Out Food editors, November 2017. The heart-attack-in-a-cup that has taken Instagram by storm has its home in Dalston at a cute little coffee shop called Molly Bakes. If you have a family history of diabetes, this place is not for you. There’s a counter full of cupcakes, brownies and cookies, and not a savoury in sight, but it doesn’t matter because your first visit is always for the same reason: to order one particular monster dessert. A freakshake is actually just a massive milkshake, albeit one topped with an insanely daunting pile of squirty cream, chocolate sauce, wafer sprinkles, Oreo chunks and a cookie/brownie topper. As frozen, sugary, milky drinks go, it’s a market leader: the shake itself is delicious. Chocolate is the most popular flavour, unsurprisingly; peanut butter brings a welcome saltiness to the equation; caramel is for those who use Sensodyne; and raspberry is, according to the waitress on my visit, ‘pink!’. The staff are as chirpy as you’d need to be to blend unnecessarily gluttonous drinks all day. On a rainy Friday lunchtime, half the customers were locals dropping in for a coffee, so it’s not just about the gimmicks. But as good-looking, affordable and welcoming as Molly Bakes is, ultimately it’s all about the freak show.

Lady Mildmay

Lady Mildmay

4 out of 5 stars

Mildmay Park, a road now home to little more than a former railway station and a big tiled library, was the namesake of the HIV hospital that Princess Diana made famous in the ’80s. It’s also home to a different Lady: the Lady Mildmay. Welcoming staff, good booze and an irresistible menu are making this spacious pub a favourite with locals, but it’s worth a journey from other parts of town too. On a warm day the Lady’s many side doors are left wide open, and when it’s woolly jumper weather there’s a real fire to curl up next to. This commitment to comfort is typical of the pub’s approach. Staff are subtly eager to please, talking you through any toss-ups between the house gin of the day or that craft lager you’ve not tried before. The Med-leaning gastropubby menu is exotic enough to make you feel they know what they’re doing but not so exotic that your gran would be forced to ask for ‘just chips’. Dogs are allowed – always a good sign – as are board games, though it’s best to bring your own (at least that way you’ll know the Scrabble will still have all the Bs). And one final jewel in the already sparkly crown is the Sunday roast which could please even the Duke of Edinburgh. With its fluffy Yorkshires, tender meat, rich gravy and cauliflower cheese, it’s so desirable that you’d be wise to call ahead and pre-order. So go out in Newington Green this weekend. This Lady may be next in line as queen of our hearts.

H.en

H.en

Please note, H.en is now closed. Time Out Food editors.  Hen, an Upper Street restaurant most noticeable for the giant egg painted around its door, is the second outlet of a much-loved Brighton spot serving good-quality chicken in trend-conscious but never ground-breaking ways; fried with Memphis-style barbecue sauce, grilled with Korean glaze, that sort of thing. But for London – a city that really knows its chicken – this is a pretty poultry offering. Despite the decor being a tad ‘Ikea showroom’, the restaurant is comfortable, and staff greet you with smiles as bright as the colour scheme. At £9 a go, including chips, the vast chicken burgers offer undeniably great value for money, but look more exciting than they taste. Everything on the table needed more seasoning and most of it was supposed to taste of something more than it did. The sweetcorn’s promised ‘chicken skin butter and paprika’ was, heartbreakingly, undetectable. Trying chicken feet for the first time has made me want to order them again, albeit only to establish whether or not they’re actually supposed to taste of chip shop scraps. The service – enthusiastic at first – became more and more difficult to attract as the restaurant filled up. I had to come over all meerkat to get hold of a dessert menu; these efforts were quickly regretted, as the puddings all turned out to be either stodgy or gluey. If you’re looking for an unchallenging belly-filler then Hen can provide – but given the many excellent meal optio

Good and Proper Tea Leather Lane

Good and Proper Tea Leather Lane

4 out of 5 stars

Gingham tablecloths and teapots that look like cottages have no place in the Leather Lane branch of Good & Proper Tea, which is the second permanent outlet for Emilie Holmes’s booze-free-brew-focused business, and the first with indoor tables. She started out peddling her perfect brews from a van at London street food markets, before putting down roots in a dinky Old Street unit, followed by this modern central spot. It’s a haven of calm compared to the mania of lunchtime Leather Lane just outside. A winning combination of wooden shelving, exposed filaments, spiky houseplants and plush grey cushions make it feel a bit like you’ve ordered tea in a Swedish bookshop; most soothing. Given that it’s competing with dozens of market traders, it’s probably wise that Good & Proper Tea only offers one savoury dish at a time (not counting the excellent homemade sourdough crumpets and hefty sausage rolls), but it was a bit disappointing that the tuna Niçoise salad was no better than something a targeted fridge forage could produce. It’s not really about the food, though. The tea truly is the star here. Charming staff can guide you through a choice of 25 varieties. It should be obvious from the name of the place, but it took me two visits to twig that there isn’t any coffee here. Bean geeks will nevertheless enjoy the use of the scientific Steampunk Brewer machines, all pre-programmed to know exactly how long each tea blend should be bubbled and soaked for. And flat whites are replaced by

Casa Tua King's Cross

Casa Tua King's Cross

3 out of 5 stars

Italian restaurants often do pretty much nothing to dispel the stereotypes of their own menus: all pasta, focaccia, mozzarella and Parma ham. There are pros and cons to this; Italian food is delicious by nature so it’s hard to mess it up, but it’s also unlikely to blow your tastebuds’ socks off. This cute little café-bar on a King’s Cross backstreet is a good example of this Italo-limbo. It’s a lovely place to linger over a light lunch and a good coffee thanks to its handful of pavement tables exceptionally friendly owner. Their traditional Roman carbonara comes with beautifully fresh pasta and meaty guanciale, but little flavour to coat them. From Wednesday to Saturday evenings you can stop for aperitivo, sipping an exemplary Aperol spritz as they bring a selection of snacks to the table. You can’t go wrong with pistachios, bresaola, taleggio and the like but the dinky bite-size sandwiches had been on the counter too long, and crispy squid needed seasoning. And aioli. Despite the hit-and-miss menu, it’s easy to get fond of this place. Prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is more cosy than a hug from Pavarotti. Because when it comes to Italian food, let’s face it, their mid-range is always far more desirable than ours.  

Zia Lucia

Zia Lucia

4 out of 5 stars

Zia Lucia is your new favourite non-family member. The name is Italian for ‘Aunt Lucy’, and the kindly looking lady smiling out at you from its logo was the inspiration for this lovely neighbourhood pizzeria, opened by Highbury locals Gianluca and Claudio in June 2016. While its branding, flavours and atmosphere are bang on-point, the place still pulses with the sort of old-fashioned charm you only find at an Italian family feast. Different doughs give the menu its USP: there’s a deliciously nutty wholemeal option, an impressive-looking vegetable charcoal one that’s said to ease digestion, and a gluten-free crust that’s been getting rave reviews from those avoiding nature’s elastic. They’re interesting, but they don’t exactly transform the flavour, and at £1.50 extra per pizza, quietly push the bill away from bargain status. Toppings are mostly the more interesting classics – ’nduja, aubergines, broccoli and speck ham (not all at once) – but the pizza chef has added a couple of haute Italian options: the Arianna with mozzarella, sausage, taleggio, pecorino and truffle honey could almost be Caesar’s breakfast buffet. It doesn’t matter what you end up ordering, because every last ingredient is of the utmost quality. Even the flour is the most expensive on the market. This attention to flavour is particularly apparent in the ‘Tagliere’, a sharing board of meats and cheeses that are all cut to order and marvellously fresh. The mortadella is sourced from Bologna, and is the best I

Ghetto Grillz

Ghetto Grillz

3 out of 5 stars

This ain't how they do bagels on Brick Lane but we're Ok with it; the Ghetto Grillz signature is a New York Reuben bagel melt. They pile their chewy dough-loops high with salt beef brisket, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and a LOT of cheddar, then grill it until the cheese has formed a melty, crispy crown around its edges. A melt so filthy that Reuben himself would probably drool over it.

Other Side

Other Side

The chicken in these burgers comes in such big portions you might wonder where they're raising giant birds. It comes on top of perfectly crunchy pickles and, if you can handle it, drenched in smoked honey butter.

News (54)

Nine of London’s foodiest festive treats for kids

Nine of London’s foodiest festive treats for kids

Try as you might to avoid it, you will end up running around London doing last-minute Christmas shopping, and if you have the kids with you, it will be even more difficult and painful. But what will make it bearable is tracking down these indulgent festive treats from across town as you dash from shop to shop. They’re delicious enough to keep the little’uns satisfied (and quiet) while you panic about trying to find suitable gifts. Merry Christmas, you. Classic Fondue at Androuet, £13 No human can refuse fondue – its warm, gooey state makes your very stomach demand more. Kids in particular are obsessed with it, because it’s basically exceptionally delicious hook-a-duck. So grab your long stabbing-stick-slash-fork and dive right in.Why kids will love it It’s imperative to shame the grown-ups when they lose their bread in the thick cheese gloop. Old Spitalfields Market, 10a Lamb St, E1 6EA. Tube: Liverpool St.  Mini Chanukah Doughnuts at Carmelli Bakery, 65p Given that Chanukah is a celebration of oil, then the least we can do is eat deep-fried food to celebrate. Kosher bakery Carmelli has been frying seasonal treats for 30 years now, but their array of doughnuts is still super-fresh.Why kids will love it: Even if you’re not lighting eight candles you may eat eight doughnuts. 126-128 Golders Green Rd, NW11 8HB. Tube: Golders Green. Santa Religieuse at Dominique Ansel, £7.50  Claim a seat in this world-famous pâtissier’s London branch to tackle this double cream puff. Trad

Fowl play: find a chicken and get your burger for free at Byron

Fowl play: find a chicken and get your burger for free at Byron

Why did the burger-lover cross the road? To find one of the tiny toy chickens hidden near Byron restaurants this weekend. The eagle-eyed punter hunters who find the little birds and bring them into their nearest Byron will be rewarded with a free 'Clucky Balboa', the new chicken burger special. The sandwich sounds far from fowl: buttermilk-fried (or chargrilled) chicken breast, piled with guacamole, sriracha mayonnaise, pickled red onion, pickles and iceberg lettuce. Go ruffle some feathers. The Byron chickens will be hidden near London restaurants on Friday October 7, Saturday October 8 and Sunday October 9.

Tuck into a two-course dinner at Chicken Shop or Dirty Burger for less than a tenner

Tuck into a two-course dinner at Chicken Shop or Dirty Burger for less than a tenner

We've loved Chicken Shop's juicy rotisserie birds and the exemplary patties at Dirty Burger ever since they first roosted in Kentish Town, and now that there are branches all over London they're a go-to for a delicious, affordable neighbourhood meal. So this special offer is both exciting and dangerous, because getting a chicken/burger plus a side for £6 makes this meal out cheaper than your average trip to Pret. For £3 extra you can add on one of their puddings, too. I'll be the girl in the Holloway branch with my face in the apple pie. Get the Chicken Shop and Dirty Burger deal.

Secretly brilliant bits of London: Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory

Secretly brilliant bits of London: Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory

Hold up. We're growing cocoa beans in Shoreditch now? Not quite; most of the beans are grown in Madagascar and Tanzania, but the team from Mast Brothers work closely with the farmers then complete the whole bean-to-bar process right here in London.  So east London's good for more than jellied eels... Seems that way. The company’s award-winning recipes and bespoke bits of equipment were developed by Rick and Michael Mast at their New York headquarters, but all of the Mast Brothers chocolate that’s sold in the UK is made here. Will they let me shove my face into a vat of chocolate? Obviously not – we all know what happened to Augustus Gloop. But their fortnightly Tasting Room sessions involve plenty of cocoa rich mouthfuls. As well as the bars, they’ve got a fine line in drinks, including collaborations with local companies Square Root soda and Goodbeans, who make cold brew coffee. There’s even a non-alcoholic chocolate beer.         But can I at least get my hands dirty? With the relevant gloves and hairnets, sure; they run monthly chocolate-making workshops, during which you’ll handle and taste fresh cocoa pods, grind nibs and see the bars into their wrappers ready to fill the onsite shop (or your belly). You could just skip the hard work and buy a bar, of course. The flavours – everything from smoke to toasted milk – are as enticing as the beautiful packaging.         Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory is at 19-29 Redchurch St, E2 7DJ the nearest station is Shoreditch High

East London goes Gaga: Lady Gaga played a secret show at Moth Club last night

East London goes Gaga: Lady Gaga played a secret show at Moth Club last night

The ever-ridiculous Lady Gaga graced Hackney with her presence last night (Friday) in a surprise performance at Moth Club.   A photo posted by Jenn Five (@jennfive) on Sep 9, 2016 at 9:19pm PDT The pop star's new single 'Perfect Illusion', which has a production credit for Mark Ronson, was released first thing Friday morning, and by the afternoon online rumours were flying regarding the launch party.   A video posted by Dine (@plantagerie) on Sep 9, 2016 at 5:27pm PDT In reality the gig was more of a guest appearance – the Lady herself only performed the new single and her mega-hit 'Bad Romance' – but when you're wearing micro-shorts as sparkly as the stage you're on does it even matter?   A video posted by Ashleigh Kirkland (@ashleighlouisek) on Sep 10, 2016 at 3:17am PDT The hot, sweaty crowd had been waiting for nearly two hours by the time she appeared, so it was no small mercy that she'd brought Ronson along to DJ as the warm-up act. He played 'Uptown Funk' twice, but then it is an absolute banger.   A photo posted by Dine (@plantagerie) on Sep 9, 2016 at 4:26pm PDT Hopefully Gaga now has a taste for our Eastern nightspots. The meat dress would go down a storm in The Dolphin.   A video posted by April Showerzzz🐬 (@aprilshowerrrzzz) on Sep 10, 2016 at 3:53am PDT In the mood for music? Check out our guide to over 600 gigs still to come in September...   A photo posted by daisy hawkins (@popsthecatt) on Sep 9, 2016 at 5:58pm PDT    

Kerb your enthusiasm: the top ten traders at Kerb's Camden market

Kerb your enthusiasm: the top ten traders at Kerb's Camden market

Camden Market’s West Yard has had a street food makeover courtesy of Kerb. Ashleigh Arnott eats her way through every stall I've loved Camden ever since a Punkyfish hoodie was the only thing on my teenage wishlist. I’ve lived in or near NW1 my whole London life, and I remember the day I realised, with sadness, that the only food stall in the market I liked had been replaced by another chippy. It had been years since I’d visited, but in the past week I’ve been three times. All because of Kerb. A street food collective championing independent London traders, Kerb runs lunch markets all over town. High standards and well-tuned tastebuds mean their roster is second-to-none. I have never had a dud lunch from a stand bearing their logo. The fact that they’ve revamped the West Yard (the cobbled bit next to the canal and behind Lock 17) is a big deal for both the traders – with some existing stalls displaced – and the locals, who will be seeing many new faces, dozens of dishes and some party-friendly opening hours. With 34 stands trading seven days a week, choosing just one dish is a challenge. So we’ve eaten our way through the lot and here are our top ten traders. If you still can’t choose, go on a Friday or Saturday for an all-dayer. They’re open 11am-11pm, which means at least three meals, right? 1. Kimchinary   A photo posted by Hanna Söderlund (@kimchinary) on Aug 2, 2016 at 3:42am PDT   2. BBQ Dreamz   A photo posted by BBQ Dreamz (@bbqdreamz) on Jan 28, 2016 at 12:4

We feathered up for Notting Hill Carnival with the mas-making pros

We feathered up for Notting Hill Carnival with the mas-making pros

Mas Making? What's that?  Basically, sticking loads of shiny stuff together with a glue gun. Once there are enough sequin braids, feathers and bright colours to pimp a circus tent they are combined to create costumes for the mas parade at Notting Hill Carnival. It's a technicolour fashion-cum-craft-athon. I'm familiar with the feathers, but what did you call it? 'Mas' comes from masquerade – the mas band from Sunshine International Arts, who run these workshops from their Loughborough Junction base, have been a part of the Notting Hill Carnival parade for over a decade, led by the fantastically creative Ray Mahabir, a designer originally from Trinidad. Every year his costumes which express a different theme, so that the dancers represent a message while they party their way around west London. Is their workshop like a drag queen's mind palace? It's actually surprisingly calm and organised, though naturally there are plenty of impressive headdresses and other accessories to admire, from parades past as well as this year's work in progress. Though if you do want to help out you may end up sporting an accidental feather or two. There are 30,000 of them in the 2016 design, so chances are pretty high. Especially as I'm not that crafty... Don't worry if you were the kind of kid that ate the PVA glue; the help required is all easy enough that you can shimmy to the Soca music while you glue. Ray's intricate design are cleverly built from many simple parts, so even the least creative

Celebrate Lola's Cupcakes' tenth birthday with FREE CAKE!

Celebrate Lola's Cupcakes' tenth birthday with FREE CAKE!

Is it really ten years since cute, colourful, sugar-laden cupcakes took the treat world by storm? It must be about that, because London favourite Lola's Cupcakes will celebrate its tenth birthday on August 15, and they'll be celebrating by handing out freebies. Every branch in London will have a '10' made out of cake and will be giving away slices of it on a first-come-first-served basis until there's not a crumb more to be shared. Which I guess means cake for breakfast? Woohoo! Visit any branch of Lola's Cupcakes on Monday August 15 for your free cake

Get your food book fix at Whet this summer

Get your food book fix at Whet this summer

Do your bookshelves heave with the works of Delia, Hugh, Jamie and Nigella? Was the last novel you read called 'Toast'? Do you skip straight to the 'Cook' section of the weekend paper? Get thee to Whet, a pop-up bookshop selling only food-related publications. As well as classic and modern cookbooks that will improve any cook's repertoire, there's a selection of food history books, some more general food writing, novels that are obsessed with what their characters are eating and a colourful collection of independent magazines. The stock is beautifully curated by Sarah Lo, who normally works at a nearby bakery, and who can help you to choose if you need the help (and make you feel less guilty when you pick up more than you intended to). Your commute entertainment just got a lot more delicious. Whet is open 11am-5pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until the end of September at the back of TripKitchen in Haggerston.

Secretly brilliant bits of London: London Centre for Book Arts

Secretly brilliant bits of London: London Centre for Book Arts

'Book Arts' as in illustration? More the art of making a book. This artist-run studio offers access to printing and binding facilities as well as the instruction you’ll need to become a dab hand at using them. Want to lay out your own letterpress Christmas cards, or use a trendy risograph to print your long-awaited zine? This place will help your design abilities turn over a new leaf. But I can barely even manage the colouring-in trend! Don’t panic – you don’t need to be arty to create something beautiful here. Use the collection of antique lettering to create anything from invites to banners on the letterpress printers, mix your own psychedelic masterpiece in a paper-marbling workshop or make your memoirs look magnificent with an introduction to bookbinding.     Actually I did do a lot of paper-marbling in the '90s... No problem, craft friend. The studio is open access so if you already know how to use the equipment you can buy a studio pass, or even become a member. There are always experts on hand to help you find what you need, and you can use the little kitchen to make as much tea as your creative juices require. I'm not good with commitment, can I just look at everyone else's prints instead? Pop by any time to browse the lovely little shop and watch the members at work. Hopefully you’ll be tempted into booking (wahey!) into one of their introductory courses, most of which cost £85 for non-members. London Centre for Book Arts is at Unit 18, Britannia Works, 56 Dace Rd

Secretly brilliant bits of London: Angels Costumes

Secretly brilliant bits of London: Angels Costumes

Isn't Angels a fancy-dress shop? Well, yes. If you recognise the name from your annual Halloween costume hunt that’s because this world-famous costumiers also runs a fancy dress shop on Shaftesbury Avenue. But its main business is making the clothes on the telly and the silver screen look picture perfect (and historically accurate).             So it's a huge wardrobe for celebs? Not just huge, enormous. Its purpose-built premises in Hendon has eight miles of clothing rails, all packed with garments in every shape, size, colour, style and era. As well as a near infinite number of coathangers, the building houses design studios, a tailoring department, offices and a fridge full of fur. A fridge? Moths don’t like the cold. Of course.         So why would I want to visit? Because it’s amazing. You’ll see dresses that were made in the nineteenth century, epaulettes designed especially for ‘Dad’s Army’, pretend chainmail, real chainmail, royal wedding replicas and hundreds of Santa suits. Try to spot the outfits that appeared in the 35 films that have won the company Best Costume Oscar – among them ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Titanic’ – or just enjoy the fact that Leonardo di Caprio wore something that’s now hanging in your vicinity.         Celeb sweat and sequins? When can we go? Its fantastic tours run several times a month on selected weekdays and cost £20. Email tours@angels.uk.com for upcoming dates and to book your place. Angels Costumes can be found at

Help to spruce up central London's loveliest community garden

Help to spruce up central London's loveliest community garden

The Phoenix Garden is one of those places that you don't really want to shout about too loudly. It's an oasis of calm tucked between Shaftesbury Avenue and St Giles, and the best bit of green in central London (it also happens to be right next to the Time Out office). We've been deprived of our lunchtimes there this year, as they're busy building a community centre in one corner, and are getting ready to re-landscape some of the existing garden. If, that is, they make it to their fundraising target; at the time of writing they're £6,000 short of their £18,842 target. As well as ensuring the garden can afford the improvements they need for their accessible paving, wildlife habitats, volunteer training and sunny lunch spots, helping The Phoenix Garden to reach its target will mean they receive an extra £10,000 pledge from the GLA. So give a tenner and you're basically giving double that, and you'll be able to enjoy the garden and its flora and fauna safe in the knowledge that you're part of the team that supports it. The Phoenix Garden is due to re-open in late August. Help them to reach their funding target on Spacehive.