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Charley Ross

Charley Ross

Articles (4)

The cosiest winter pop-ups in London

The cosiest winter pop-ups in London

The Christmas pop-ups are well-and-truly back this year. While the pandemic might have quashed dreams of plastic igloo domes and fake-snow-filled ski lodges in 2020, nothing can stop them in 2021. (We think.) Looking for the best place to enjoy a chilly evening in London this Christmas? You, my friend, should immerse yourself in the world of the city’s seasonal pop-ups. In the run-up to Christmas, London goes mad for the winter snugs, complete with hot chocolates, steaming wines and ciders, twinkling lights and...novelty festive face masks, inevitably. Here's our round-up of the best hideaways, markets and quirky festive experiences, to make the most of this truly excellent Christmas. RECOMMENDED: Here are the best things do in London this Christmas

Where to find winter igloos in London

Where to find winter igloos in London

Sure, everything smells faintly of hand sanitizer and you have to download a new app every time you step foot inside anywhere, but London is still a magical place to be in winter. The twinkly lights, the ice skating opportunities, the chance to pick up unique choice gifts at festive markets, and the beautiful, boozy igloos that appear as if by magic around the city. Don’t get left out in the cold; round up your pals (or, you know, the same housemates you’ve spent every waking minute with since March) and snuggle up in one of these literal support bubbles with a winter-warming cocktail or two.   This year you’ll find each icy location is boasting memorable menus of tasty food and drink to keep you toasty. And to fulfil those substantial meal requirements too, of course. Get yourself booked in for a visit ASAP. RECOMMENDED: Christmas in London

Meet Bukky Bakray, Rocks’ teenage star

Meet Bukky Bakray, Rocks’ teenage star

Plucked from her school classroom to play the lead in the much-buzzed-about urban drama ‘Rocks’, sixteen-year-old Londoner Bukky Bakray is raring to get in front of the camera again. Preparing for the movie’s London Film Festival bow, she talks food fights on set and filming on her home turf.  Who does she play?A British-Nigerian schoolgirl called Shola – ‘Rocks’ to her mates – who faces a tumultuous coming-of-age journey when her mother disappears. Director Sarah Gavron (‘Suffragette’) scoured Hackney secondary schools for the right girl to cast. ‘I didn’t know what they were looking for,’ says Bakray of the beginnings of her nine-month auditioning process. ‘They were just two ladies at the back of my classroom.’ Was this her first experience of acting? Before ‘Rocks’ she hadn’t done so much as a walk-on turn in a school play. ‘I didn’t take Drama as a GCSE, so my teacher was very shocked when I got cast,’ she laughs. How did she celebrate being cast? When the cast was taken to an Islington café for the good news, she played things surprisingly cool. ‘I wanted to keep myself composed,’ she explains. ‘But as I walked out, I literally screamed. I ended up running past Finsbury Park station still screaming.’ What was it like filming a movie on home soil? Born and bred in east London, Bakray got a buzz filming on the Hackney streets she grew up on. ‘It felt like I was home. It was so good to be telling this story in my area knowing it would be on screen.’ What was her favourit

On the set of ‘Rocks’: ‘We wanted to build this film with young people’

On the set of ‘Rocks’: ‘We wanted to build this film with young people’

A group of teenage east Londoners are doing pirouettes together across the roof of Sulkin House, a block of flats in Bethnal Green. Their euphoria quickly mutates into improvised ballroom poses, then hip-swinging moves all across the rooftop. Every single one of them is completely unbridled, with energy levels that it’s tiring even to envy.  It’s the final day of shooting on Rocks, a unique movie collaboration overseen by director Sarah Gavron (Suffragette). For the next set-up, she’s soon shepherding her young cast from one side of the rooftop to the other to get the best shot. The girls are calling out each character’s name in turn, shrieking with laughter. Shouts of ‘Oh, whatever!’ and ‘live in the moment!’ echo out across the rooftops, drowning out passing sirens, the hum of traffic, even the rumble of the Overground through Bethnal Green. (From left to right) Ruby Stokes, Anastasia Dymitrow, Bukky Bakray, Kosar AliRocks tells the story of a teenage British-Nigerian girl (played by Hackney local Bukky Bakray, aged 15 at time of filming), who wakes up one morning to find that her mother has left her and her younger brother Emmanuel (D’angelou Osei Kissiedu) to live alone. She attempts to hide this fact from social services and her friends alike, and ends up carrying a burden beyond her years.  With the City’s financial district in the distance and the late summer sun beating down, Gavron’s talented young cast (Bakray, who plays Rocks, is joined by fellow east Londoners Kos

News (19)

You can now stay in the real-life ‘Downton Abbey’ via Airbnb

You can now stay in the real-life ‘Downton Abbey’ via Airbnb

Want to sleep like a queen (or the crazily-privileged aristocracy) at the real-life ‘Downton Abbey’? For one night only – and to celebrate the release of the new movie based on the popular TV drama – the country house where the drama is set will be opening up its doors to two lucky guests.  The owners of the TV show’s behemoth Highclere Castle – the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon no less – have listed their home on Airbnb for bookings on just one date: November 26. If you’re successful in nabbing a room for £150, you’ll get a private tour of the grounds as well as the chance to dine with the Lord and Lady while being waited on by a butler – a true ‘Downton Abbey’ experience. Just like any other respectable getaway, guests also get free use of shampoo and a hairdryer. The royal treatment, indeed. But the rooms don’t have wi-fi or tellies – just think of it as living like the other half would have back then.  To prove that you are worthy and deserving of the room, hopeful guests just have to show their ‘passion’ for ‘Downton Abbey’ in their application. The most creative submission will be rewarded, so put on your high-society thinking caps and get crafting. Bookings for Highclere Castle in Newbury, Berkshire will open here on October 1 at noon.  Fancy having a peek inside some of London’s most famous buildings? Check out our Open House 2019 highlights. Get more news delivered straight to your inbox when you sign up to Time Out.

The Perseid meteor shower is set to peak above London tonight

The Perseid meteor shower is set to peak above London tonight

If you’re sick of the star-smudging smog that comes with living in London, here’s a sparkly treat for you to look out for this month. Nature’s cosmic version of fireworks, the Perseid meteor shower, is the crazy beautiful result of the earth’s path through the Swift-Tuttle comet’s trail. Look up and you can expect super-twinkly skies and an abundance of shooting stars.  You can catch it between now and August 24, according to London’s Royal Observatory. But bear in mind that the shower will be at its peak (the time where you get all the best pics, basically) tonight (Monday August 12) between midnight and 5am. Perseid even comes specially recommended by Nasa, which reckons it’s one of the best to catch each year. If that’s not a reason to check it out, what is? Grab some friends, some lawn chairs and a pair of binoculars and get to it. You can try and see the sparklers from the city, or head out of town to escape the light pollution.  Check out the best places to stargaze in London. And the darkest skies in the UK. 

Watch loads of hot-air balloons take to the sky above London this summer

Watch loads of hot-air balloons take to the sky above London this summer

Good news, Londoners – you don’t need to trek to far-flung destinations like Istanbul, Albuquerque or, er, Bristol to see a bonkers-beautiful hot air balloon display.  For the Lord Mayor’s Hot Air Balloon Regatta, there’s set to be a heavenly launch into the skies from Battersea Park on Sunday June 2 – with 50 hot-air balloons soaring above all our city’s most iconic sights: good old Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, London Eye, Tower Bridge and Tower of London.   It’s worth bearing in mind that this event was met with many speed bumps last year, with reschedule notices preventing flights because the wind wasn’t blowing in the right direction – an important factor, apparently. But if all does go ahead and you’re up for watching, you’re in for a very early start on a weekend morning, as the balloons are set to take flight (led by the Lord Mayor’s Appeal hot-air balloon) between 5am and 5.30am. Ouch. Potentially worth it for the pretty Instagram shot, though.  Find out more about the Balloon Regatta here. Start making more plans for summer – here’s what’s happening in London this July.    

The Oxford Street Christmas lights switch on is going to be bigger than ever

The Oxford Street Christmas lights switch on is going to be bigger than ever

It’s official. The date that kicks off any Londoner’s Christmas calendar has been announced.  On Tuesday November 6, the crowds that normally surround Oxford Circus are sure to multiply (many times over), as the infamous twinkly Christmas lights are due to be switched on. But things are going to be different this year. There will be the usual festive atmosphere, but instead of one big outdoor performance, there will be various exclusive pop-up gigs that are expected to appear inside selected Oxford Street shops.  So, even if you’re not hanging up your stocking on your wall JUST yet – get that date in the diary. Ok, ‘it’s not even Halloween yet’ but we can’t resist twinkly lights.  Continue with your Christmas plans with our guide to the best places to ice skate in London.

Hang out in an igloo on a London rooftop this Christmas

Hang out in an igloo on a London rooftop this Christmas

With the festive season just around the corner, there are three things you can be sure of: there will be lights above Oxford Street, Winter Wonderland will return to Hyde Park, and you will see lots of ’igloos’ on Instagram. Have you always wanted to chill out (pardon the pun) in an igloo? Well, this year, for the first time, top rooftop hangout Skylight is offering up cosy igloos and huts for you and your mates to sit in, while admiring London's skyline and sipping mulled wine. Or, if the mulled stuff isn't your thing, take your pick from a range of winter cocktails at a heated après-ski bar. Perfect, right?  Skylight also plays host to Europe's only rooftop ice rink, so get your skates on for a beautiful city night under the stars. The igloos will be open for business on Nov 1. Interested? Book here.  Think you’re ready to hit a rink? Try our guide to the best places to ice skate in London.

It’s your last chance to see the ‘Sistine Chapel of the UK’ up close

It’s your last chance to see the ‘Sistine Chapel of the UK’ up close

Want to take a tour of Britain’s very own Sistine Chapel? Yes, that’s a thing. Forget the Vatican City for a minute, and head on down to the Old Royal Naval College’s Painted Hall in Greenwich for a once-in-a‑lifetime ceiling tour. And we’re not being hyperbolic with that ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ trope we just threw your way. Thanks to temporary scaffolding that’s being used for conservation work, you can currently climb up 60 feet closer to the ceiling artwork. But the conservation work only happens once every 100 years – with this century’s efforts ending on Sunday September 30. So unless you have a cryogenic freezer in your basement, this’ll be your last chance to get up close and personal with the many mythological and allegorical figures that make up Sir James Thornhill’s paintings, as well as portraits of monarchs such as William III and Mary II. When a rare London opportunity like this one comes around, you really should rise to the occasion. Old Royal Naval College. Cutty Sark DLR. Tours run until Sep 30. £10. Can’t make it before Sep 30? Find art in London that won’t keep you waiting for a century 

There’s a fifth lion sculpture in Trafalgar Square right now, and it roars poetry

There’s a fifth lion sculpture in Trafalgar Square right now, and it roars poetry

As part of the London Design Festival, the four lions who keep Nelson’s Column company in Trafalgar Square have been joined by a fluorescent red, rather noisy friend. This guy is a precise model of the originals, who have been standing guard in the square for 150 years, and was designed by London-based designer Es Devlin.  The idea of the project, named ‘Please Feed The Lions’, is to (you guessed it) feed the big cat a word – the one that you’d most like to add to its vocabulary, according to Devlin. Thanks to a poetry-generating algorithm, it will give you a spoken-word response.  On top of that, the lion’s poetry will appear projected onto Nelson’s Column at night.  If you’re not in London for this and are gutted you’re missing out on meeting this feline fan of the spoken word, fret not. Thanks to Google Arts & Culture, you will be able to view it online too.  We reckon it’ll be a roaring success. ‘Please Feed The Lions’ will take place at Trafalgar Square. Charing Cross tube. Tue Sep 18-Sun Sep 23.  Find out what else is happening with our guide to London Design Festival.

Hang out with the Crystal Palace dinosaurs at this free dino weekender

Hang out with the Crystal Palace dinosaurs at this free dino weekender

No, the dinosaur phase doesn’t end with adulthood. Just ask the residents of Crystal Palace. At this tyrannosaurus-sized weekender, you’ll get the chance to hang out with the area’s VIP residents: 30 concrete dinosaurs (created by natural history artist Waterhouse Hawkins in 1854) that have Grade I-listed status due to their historical value. Once you’re suitably starstruck (and have done the behind-the-scenes tour of all the sculptures), there’s also a load of ace things on to tempt your inner dinosaur geek out to play. Don’t miss The Iguanodon Restaurant, a delightfully weird but educational street theatre performance that takes you through the story of geology and all the amazing discoveries we’ve made about our Jurassic friends over the years. There will also be artwork on display that was inspired by the CP dinosaurs, as well as a Paleo Planting volunteer gardening session where you can help to plant vegetation that would fit in with the landscape that the creatures would’ve called home all those  years ago. These odd, misshapen lizard creatures may not be anatomically correct as far as dinos go, but they’re ours, dammit. Dinosaur Days will take place at Crystal Palace Park. Crystal Palace Overground. Sat Sep 15-Sun Sep 16. Free entry. Are you out of the dinosaur phase and firmly in the astronaut phase? Go and hear Tim Peake talk space at New Scientist Live 

You can now take a tour around Aldwych’s disused tube station

You can now take a tour around Aldwych’s disused tube station

Us Londoners may spend a pretty crazy amount of time on the tube. But who wouldn’t love to snoop around a disused station?  Now, once again, we have the chance. Aldwych’s tube station is open for tours, where visitors will be able to take a look around the ticket hall, original lifts, abandoned platforms and tunnels, and inter-connecting walkways This station has played host to important parts of war and film history, from providing shelter to Londoners and museum relics during the Blitz, to being used for film and TV shoots for hits such as ‘Darkest Hour’, ‘Sherlock’, ‘Mr Selfridge’ and ‘Atonement’. Beware: the original lifts do not work, so the tour involves steps only. Wear your comfy walking shoes. Find out more about the tour here. Want more unusual things to do in London? Check out God’s Own Junkyard in Walthamstow.

Mr Men and Little Miss are going to be giving away thousands of free books in London

Mr Men and Little Miss are going to be giving away thousands of free books in London

Remember your old pals Mr Messy and Little Miss Inventor? They are making a comeback with a free Mr Men and Little Miss book giveaway on the South Bank on Tuesday (August 28).  On the day there will also be the chance to meet TV presenter Rochelle Humes, who will be helping out and spreading the joy, as well as, bizarrely, a 3D life-size Mr Strong, who will be brought to life using AR technology. The thing you never knew you needed, right? As well as a scheduled appearance on the South Bank, Mr Men Little Miss’s bookmobile will be hitting up Peterborough, Nottingham, Manchester and Bradford, with a total of 10,000 books to give away. It’s for the kids really, but you can always grab one for your non-existent niece or nephew.  Find out more about Mr Men Little Miss Bookmobile Tour.  Stuck for what to do this bank holiday? Check out our guide to the August bank holiday in London.     

Watch: This east London gym is made out of confiscated knives

Watch: This east London gym is made out of confiscated knives

How’s this for recycling? Steel Warriors, a charity focused on reducing knife crime, has turned Langdon Park in Poplar into a public gym using repurposed metal from confiscated knives. Backed by the Met, the project has already collected two tonnes of metal recovered during raids and weapons sweeps. This gym space is the first project to recycle surrendered and confiscated knives into a calisthenics park, featuring gravity-defying exercises that help you build muscle. Cool, right? And also, very necessary, with London knife crime currently at a six-year high according to the ONS. ‘It's shocking that the knife has in some cases become a socially accepted object to carry on the street’, say the charity’s founders. ‘We hope that Steel Warriors will deglamourise this tragic trend and help to address the main reasons why people carry knives. Lives should be built on steel, not destroyed by it.’ The project is also supported by none other than telly hardman Ross Kemp. Pretty awesome stuff. Stay safe, Londoners, and do some pull-ups. Sign up here to get the latest from London straight to your inbox.

13 superb things to do on Shepherd Market, Mayfair

13 superb things to do on Shepherd Market, Mayfair

Nestled between Piccadilly and Curzon Street, Shepherd Market is a comparatively quiet haven of gorgeous eateries and high-end retailers smack in the centre of the priciest bit of London. Blink and you’ll miss it: Shepherd Market is a single thoroughfare by name but a village-like jumble of narrow side streets in reality, with every corner packed with eclectic cuisine and hidden shops and galleries. In fact, this is where Mayfair started. Originally the centre of the 15-day market and festival that became Mayfair’s namesake, Shepherd Market was developed by local architect Edward Shepherd in the 1730s and ’40s. Despite (or maybe because of) its incredibly posh location, it went on to become one of the most notorious red-light areas in London: Jeffrey Archer started his controversial entanglement with sex worker Monica Coghlan here in 1987. In other colourful local history, both The Who’s Keith Moon and Mama Cass Elliot from The Mamas & The Papas died in the same flat around the corner, four years apart. These days, Mayfair is better known for oligarchs’ mansions than doomed rock stars and sleazy scandals, but Shepherd Market hasn’t lost its cosy village atmosphere: it’s still perfect for those seeking some temporary refuge from city life. Eat this A post shared by TakaMayfair (@takamayfair) on Oct 30, 2017 at 7:05am PDT Marinated black cod cooked on a traditional robata grill, a speciality at brand new Japanese joint Taka. Classy comfort food from Caffe In: a homel