Charmaine Wong is a freelance journalist based in London, covering news and features about travel, culture, small businesses and underrepresented communities. After five years in advertising in Malaysia, she moved across the globe to pursue her dream of journalism (no regrets, just yet). Her work has been published in Time Out, Monocle, Eastlondonlines and SKiN among other publications. She also helps small businesses with content strategy and digital marketing and enjoys food markets, musicals and a good Sunday roast.
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
The 30 best albums of 2023
Some year, eh? We’ve been blessed with some absolute crackers of albums over the last 12 months. We’ve had sad girl anthem after sad girl anthem (boygenius, Mitski and Lana Del Rey in the same year?!), breakthrough pop stars (hello: Raye and Olivia Dean), as well as dancefloor-ready K-pop, killer soundtracks and emo kid comebacks. It’s been a stand-out year for new music, and while it’s never fun to have to choose your favourite, yes, we’ve gone and done it. We asked Time Out writers and editors from around the world to choose the one record they had on repeat over the last 12 months. Without further a do, here are 30 of our favourite albums of 2023. RECOMMENDED:The best movies of 2023 (so far)The best TV shows of 2023 you need to streamThe 50 best podcasts to listen to in 2023
Christmas gift guide: wellness-loving Londoners
With its endless boozy parties, chaotic shopping trips and frantic last-minute present-wrapping marathons, the festive period can leave the best of us feeling completely frazzled. If you’re buying for someone who has been feeling the burnout, we’ve put together a list of gorgeous Christmas present ideas that are all about self-care and relaxation. Looking for more inspiration? Check out our seriously cool Christmas Gift Guide.
The best online jigsaw puzzles you can play right now
The jigsaw puzzle: a classic time killer and a default family-friendly game for the weekend. Whether it’s piecing together a clowder of fuzzy kittens, an abstract work of art or —for true self-masochists—a solid-coloured spread, jigsaw puzzles are a great way to practice mindfulness and improve a bunch of brainy abilities. Work on piecing together your puzzle of choice alone, or make it a bonding activity - here are the best online jigsaw puzzles you can play right now—best of all, you can’t lose any of the pieces. RECOMMENDED:🏆The best online escape rooms to try from home🎮The best online party games to play with friends for an epic night in💯The best online trivia games
The best Halloween songs for kids
Contrary to those old photos of your ‘sexy RBG’ costume hiding in your Facebook profile, Halloween is for the kids. And while there are plenty of spooky songs for the adults, we’re not sure the kiddos are ready to groove to Danzig quite yet. Instead, put these 15 little-ghoul-approved songs on your Spotify queue to help burn off the excess calories, among them kindie-rock darlings, sing-along hits and some ghosts of Halloween past. Happy haunting! RECOMMENDED: 👻 The best scary movies for kids🧟 Wicked thing to do in London for kids🎃 Where to go pumpkin picking near London this Halloween 🦇 The best Halloween events in the UK to get spooky
The best Halloween books for kids
Looking to add a few screams to those nightly bedtime stories? Not a problem: The best Halloween books for kids will gladly do the trick! From classics like Goosebumps and Coraline to beautifully illustrated ghoulish reads like No Such Thing and In the Dead of the Night, this roundup has a story for all the ghosts and goblins in your crew, whether they're looking for something scary or silly. Don't forget to leave the night light on! RECOMMENDED: 🎃 The best kids Halloween movies that the whole family will love🧟 The best Halloween movies for kids on Netflix👻 The best Halloween events in London for kids
The best online party games to play with friends for an epic night in
It's true, you don't have to be in the same room with your friends to have an epic game night! Instead of going out, these online party games are the best way for friend groups to have a fun night from the comfort of their respective pads. Don't know where to start? We've curated the best online games to play with friends, everything from OG online-trivia phenom You Don’t Know Jack and tried-and-true classics like Scrabble, Monopoly and Risk to character-based bouts and plenty of fun drinking games. You're welcome! RECOMMENDED 🎯 The best online trivia games📱 Funny things to ask Siri when you're bored🎙️ The 50 best podcasts to listen to in 2023
The 11 best restaurants in Norwich
Most people know of Norwich for one of a few things: the university, Colman's Mustard and Alan Patridge. But there are more things to do in the city than that! For starters, Norwich is an absolutely stunning city. The historic architecture, cobblestone lanes and leafy riverside are just perfect to stroll through. That means you'll need to work up an appetite to last you a full day. Luckily, Norwich has plenty of restaurants and cafes for you to grab a satisfying bite. From sushi and tacos to critically swooned-over bobby dazzlers, it’s all here amongst our picks of the best restaurants in Norwich. RECOMMENDED:🖼️The best things to do in Norwich🏡The best Airbnbs in the UK📷The best things to do in the UK At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.
The 8 best spots for breakfast in Glasgow
It's often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and though we may hate to admit it, fueling up first thing in the morning can make for a very fruitful rest of the day. But if you fancy something that little bit more unique, why not head to one of the best spots in Glasgow for an early morning feast? From syrup-soaked pancakes with eggs any style to a hearty serving of haggis, the city's best restaurants and coffee shops have it all. So what are you waiting for? Head to one of our top picks for breakfast and brunch in Glasgow to satisfy those cravings. RECOMMENDED: 🍴 The best restaurants in Glasgow👀 The best Airbnbs in Glasgow🌤️ The best restaurants in Edinburgh you need to try This article was written by Arusa Qureshi, a writer based in Scotland. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.
The 13 best things to do in Reading
The best things to do in Reading traverse the centuries, from old abbeys and castles to new creations and innovative cuisines. Not forgetting the taverns too, obvs. This university town doesn't get the attention that its bigger neighbours are afforded, but this gem of a town has plenty to offer. 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. Whether you're here for a day, a weekend or a few days, you'll never get bored here. RECOMMENDED:🏘️ The best things to do in Oxford🌾 The best places to visit in the UK👀 The best things to do in the UK At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.
8 best things to do in Durham
Exciting things to do in Durham are aplenty! Straddling the River Wear, this northeastern college town has something to satisfy your cultural and nature cravings. Whether it's checking out the Beamish museum, exploring a bona fide Norman cathedral or going on a peaceful amble in the stunning botanic gardens, it's sight-seeing galore. The city is also a short drive from the rolling hills of the Durham Dales, a must-see for lovers of a scenic road trip. Don't forget about the restaurants, cafes and bars that make this city such an appealing stop within England. RECOMMENDED:🏘️ The best restaurants in Durham🌾 The best places to visit in the UK👀 The best things to do in the UK At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.
The 16 best things to do in Leicester
Leicester is one of the most underrated destinations in the UK. Largely known for their legendary 2016 Premier League win and perhaps the former football commentator Gary Lineker, the East Midlands city is more than just a football city. With a renovated city centre and a thriving arts and culture community, there are tons of great places to visit. Whether you're looking to immerse yourself in its rich historical heritage or to discover the city's thriving food and drinks scene, there is something for everyone. Here are our picks for the best things to do in Leicester right now. RECOMMENDED: 🎭The best things to do in Birmingham🏛️ The best things to do in Nottingham👀 The best things to do in the UK At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.
Listings and reviews (1)
Dialled In: The Park
With dhol classes, drill vibes and a lot of dancing, Dialled In returns for another year – and, this time around, it’s outdoors! Championing South Asian music, cultures and communities and spanning grime, bass, R&B, jazz and beyond, a host of DJs and live music performances are tapped to perform across two festival stages. Expect the likes of Ahadadream, Aisha Mirza, Pxssy Palace, Daytimers’ Rohan Rakit and Goldtooth, as well as Sarangi maestro Amrit Kaur, singer-songwriter PRVNA, sister-duo Qazi & Qazi and jazz percussionist and composer Sarathy Korwar. This year’s festival sees it team up with fashion designer Ashish Gupta, who’s showcasing their first major exhibition called ‘Fall in Love And Be More Tender’ at the William Morris Gallery. There will also be workshops, arts and crafts activities and a food market. Organised by the folks behind the inaugural hit Boiler Room: Pakistan in June, it’s safe to say it’ll be a damn good party.
This Oxford art museum is getting a dazzling glow-up
This year has seen a bunch of art galleries across the UK announcing makeover plans, from the Dulwich Picture Gallery to Tate Liverpool. And now an art gallery in Oxford has said it’s up next, having announced a massive £1.2 million redesign for summer 2024. The gallery in question is Modern Art Oxford (MAO), one of the UK’s leading contemporary art spaces. Housed in a former brewery, the gallery will be working with the award-winning David Kohn Architects to improve navigation and accessibility, as well as reduce energy consumption in the building. Set to start in the summer of 2024, the regeneration project aims to make its ground and lower-ground floor spaces more accessible. But it doesn’t stop there. The new MAO café will celebrate raves and spaces where people come together for enjoyment and self-expression. The furniture in the café will supposedly be inspired by dancing ‘hands in the air’ which morph into seating, while the tables will evoke disco lights throwing pools of coloured light onto the floor. Here are a few preview renders of the new building. Photograph: David Kohn ArchitectsModern Art Oxford Entrance Renders Photograph: David Kohn ArchitectsModern Art Oxford Ground Floor Renders Photograph: David Kohn ArchitectsModern Art Oxford Education Space Renders Paul Hobson, director of Modern Art Oxford, said: ‘We are delighted to be working with RIBA award-winning practice, David Kohn Architects to realise our vision for a major redesign of our ground floor
Here’s the full list of Costa Coffee cafés that are closing for good
The UK high street has been put through the wringer in the past few years. Some of the nation’s favourite retail outlets and supermarkets have been navigating new shopping behaviours, leading to shops opening and closing left, right and centre. And the latest to see some major changes? None other than high-street coffee giant Costa Coffee. The popular coffee chain currently has over 2,800 branches across the country. Apparently the company regularly reviews its stores and seeks opportunities to innovate – and that means that it has announced the closure of several UK outlets. It’s not all bad news for Costa, though. Just the other month, the brand refurbished and reopened an outlet at Lowestoft’s North Quay retail park which features a brand-new drive-thru, modern furniture and feature walls with illuminated mirrors. So, take the ups with the downs, eh? Here’s everything you need to know about which Costas are closing down and when. Which Costa Coffee cafés have closed down in the UK in 2023? Coliseum retail park in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire Welch Way, Witney Wigan town centre Five Rise Shopping Centre, Bingley High Street, Worcester (closed in July, relocated September 15) Church Street, Oakham West Bridgford Church Street, Malvern Which Costa Coffee cafés are set to close down in the UK in 2024? Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh (February 14) Time Out dives into city life, with all its ups and downs The UK high street is constantly changing and adapting to how we all li
This mysterious radar training station in England is up for auction
The UK is littered with many mysterious military relics. From castles and fortresses to gun towers and wartime bunkers, many of these old buildings are now either neglected or have been niftily transformed into other things. And occasionally one of them goes up for sale, giving anyone the chance to bag their very own piece of military history. And now another British military relic is about to go up for auction: a former radar training station in the seaside town of Fleetwood in Lancashire. The structure was built in 1961 as a centre to train ship navigators and maritime crew on the newest radar technology. Sitting on a promenade next to a Victorian-era lighthouse, the retro Grade-II-listed building is a single-storey, oval building made out of reinforced concrete with timber flooring. While the building may be on the radar for many maritime enthusiasts, some renovation will be required to restore the relic to its former glory. Plus, future owners will need to apply to Wyre Council for planning permission for any changes to the structure. Alan Vincent, county councillor said: ‘This little building forms a historic and attractive feature, and taken with the historic 1840 lighthouse, forms a vital testimony to Fleetwood’s distinguished naval past as well as showing the history of naval communications in our midst in Lancashire. ‘We hope that by placing this iconic building up for auction, an essential part of our region's wonderful marine history can be preserved for the futu
Revealed: the happiest places to live in the UK
The UK has gone through a lot this past year, from the cost-of-living crisis to ongoing workers’ strikes. And, not-that-surprisingly, this has made Brits unhappier. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), British citizens are less happy in general now than they were before the pandemic. That’s just one of the conclusions of this year’s Annual Population Survey, which is a yearly dataset published by the ONS. The Annual Population survey examines four major criteria: happiness, life satisfaction, anxiety and the feeling that things done in life are worthwhile. A ‘happiness score’ is then given to places up and down the country. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the happiest places to live in the UK are remote archipelagos miles away from the mainland. The Shetland Islands in the northern isles of Scotland topped the list as the happiest place in the country, with a high happiness score of 8.22 out of ten. Second place went to another chain of Scottish islands, Na h-Eileanan Siar (also known as the Outer Hebrides, and also one of the best UK places to retire in) while third place went to the small town of North Kesteven in Lincolnshire. Here are the top ten happiest places in the UK and their happiness score, according to the Office of National Statistics. Shetland Islands, Northern Isles - 8.22 Na h-Eileanan Siar, Outer Hebrides - 8.12 North Kesteven, Lincolnshire - 8.09 Pendle, Lancashire - 8.06 Malvern Hills, Herefordshire - 8.06 Torridge, Devon - 8.05 Cannock Chase, S
The host city for UK Pride 2025 has been revealed
When June comes around, cities throughout the UK have an entire month of events and activities that celebrate LGBTQ+ people, educate others about LGBTQ+ history and raise awareness of issues affecting the queer community. Each year, there is a different host city for UK Pride and the host city for 2025 has been revealed as Portsmouth. The southern coastal English city will host UK Pride on June 7, 2025, and see plenty of community events and activities in the lead-up to the big day. It’s a very meaningful win for the seaside city, making ten years of Portsmouth Pride. The city’s successful bid was prepared by a volunteer team in close collaboration with local businesses and community organisations. CP, the Vice Chair of Portsmouth Pride, told the BBC: ‘Bidding to host UK Pride has been a labour of love and it’s been my privilege to lead the bid team made up of such incredibly talented and committed volunteers, as well as working with our stakeholders across the city who have supported our bid.’ Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP, was delighted by the news and said: ‘The successful bid is testament to our city's reputation of diversity and tolerance, making it a natural home for the UK's biggest celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. The event will be a powerful symbol of our community's commitment to safety, dignity, and opportunity for all - no matter who you are, or who you love.’ As for 2024’s UK Pride? That’ll take place in Doncaster on August 10 and you can find out more
This long-neglected English seaside town is getting a £120 million glow-up
After years of neglect, seaside towns up and down the UK are going through massive transformations. From Margate to Porthcawl, some of the country’s best-known beach towns are seeing new planning consultations, hefty regeneration plans and local investment. And now another long-neglected English seaside town is getting a glow-up. The town in question is Jaywick Sands in Essex. The seaside neighbourhood – which back in 2019 was named one of the UK’s most deprived areas in 2019 – will undergo a £120 million makeover. The plan is mainly intended to prevent Jaywick Sands from being submerged by the sea. The sinking area has had several problems over the past few years thanks to weak flood defences, and the regeneration will include replacing derelict houses with new and improved homes that are resilient to flooding, as well as developing new flood defences and improving public amenities like parks, streets, transport links and drainage systems. Tendring District Council has launched a consultation for locals over the proposals, and while the project is estimated to take 20 years to finish, the neighbourhood has already made some progress. In September, a new covered market and business centre opened for business, while ten flood-resilient homes have been built in Lotus Way, with a target to build 100 more. A community bike scheme has also been introduced where residents can loan a bike to commute. You can participate in the consultation process here. Seaside glow-ups with Time O
Ikea is serving up free festive dinners in its showrooms this Christmas
Christmas parties are a fun opportunity to get some family and friends together over – but if you’re hosting, they can also be a lot of work. From food prep and hanging up tinsel to washing up, the stress is real. If you’re looking for a cost-effective alternative to all that, we might just have the thing. Britain’s favourite Swedish furniture megastore Ikea is opening up some of its showrooms for customers to host a Christmas meal. That’s right, you can eat an entire meal in one of the brand’s swish display rooms – pretty sweet, right? But Ikea isn’t just offering the use of its sleek Scandi showroom spaces. It’s also offering a two-course Christmas dinner, as well as desserts and soft drinks. And did we mention it’s all free? For nosh, patrons can pick from either a classic turkey with sage & onion stuffing, a plant-based platter of festive butternut squash, lentil & almond wellington or opt to go ham on Ikea meatballs. All dishes will be served with golden roast potatoes and the typical Crimbo trimmings. For dessert, customers get to choose from the chocolate clementine bomb, vegan caramelised cheesecake and strawberry-flavoured jelly. The package is available for two days only, December 7 and December 8, and only at the chain’s Greenwich and Edinburgh stores. You can find out more and book on the Ikea website here. On the hunt for more Ikea news? There’s plenty more where that came from. Recently at Time Out we’ve covered how Drumsheds, London’s hottest new superclub, c
This British national park is planting 23,000 new trees
The UK has an abundance of spectacular, lush woodland landscapes – but lots of them have come under threat over the years. Climate change, nasty pests and diseases have all contributed to woodland species in the country declining by a third, according to research by the Woodland Trust. However, it’s not all bleak news. The South Downs National Park is reviving its disease-hit woodlands by planting more than 23,000 trees. The tree-planting scheme will see a total of 20 affected sites within the park flourish with a mixture of disease-resistant elms, oaks and black poplars. The aim is to increase woodland resilience and immunity. It’s a big leap forward for the initiative – which was launched as the Trees for the Downs campaign in 2020 – as it edges closer to its target of planting 100,000 trees across the region by 2024. Around £230,000 has been raised so far and over 60,000 new trees have been planted across 114 different sites. Nick Heasman, a manager for the national park, said: ‘Our treescape supports a wealth of wildlife, from rare insects to nesting birds and complex fungi. They also give us air to breathe, with a single mature tree producing enough oxygen in a year to sustain ten people. Increasing the number and diversity of our native trees, and carefully introducing new species into the landscape, is going to be a big help in responding to all these threats and also helping to reverse biodiversity loss.’ Find out more about the Trees for the Downs initiative on its w
Greggs has launched its first ‘fine dining’ bistro
Yes, you’ve read that right. Beloved bakery chain Greggs is officially trying its hand at being a bougie bistro. Britain’s go-to bakeshop is opening its first Parisian-inspired ‘fine-dining’ pop-up bistro within the Fenwick department store in Newcastle. What’s on the menu? The all-day resto will showcase a bunch of ‘enhanced interpretations’ of the bakery’s bestsellers like the Greggs festive bake, which will be served alongside duck-fat roasties, smoked pancetta, chestnuts and sprouts; the cheekily-named Greggs Benedict, which is an elevated take on the classic sausage roll; bean and cheese melt reimagined with smoked ham, poached Cacklebean eggs and a velvety hollandaise sauce. It’s all basically what Greggs does best but elevated. The bistro won’t only serve hot meals, patrons can opt for the ‘high-tea’ sharing menu perfect for two or groups of three. The menu includes a range of classic bakes and sweet pastries like a Peach Melba and the Greggs pain au chocolat, paired with a festive hot drink of choice. Bistro Greggs is open from Friday (December 1) to New Year’s Eve. You can have a look at the full menu and make your bookings on the Fenwick website here. Festive pop-ups with Time Out The weather outside is frightful but the Christmas pop-ups are delightful. And, we know all about what’s popping up and off around the UK this festive season. Here are some of our recent faves: a pre-loved Christmas jumper pop-up is coming to Covent Garden, Depop is opening physical pop-
This UK airport is scrapping the 100ml liquids rule
From luggage size limits and weight restrictions to having to remove items like liquids and electrics from bags at security, airports rules are pretty strict. At peak times, all these processes often cause delays with people needing to unpack (and sometimes, repack) their bags – but that might soon be an issue of the past at one UK airport. Leeds Bradford Airport has revealed plans to scrap some strict security restrictions from 2024, aiming to make it speedier to get through airport security. The airport is set to install high-tech security infrastructure like new body scanners, e-gates and smart tray systems. This means Brits can finally bring unlimited liquids (instead of 100ml) on the flight, and no longer have to remove their small ziplock bag of 100ml liquids from their hand luggage. The small catch is that travellers won’t be able to bring liquid containers larger than two litres. Damian Ives, chief operating officer at Leed Bradford Airport said: ‘We want to ensure that every passenger travelling through LBA has an easy, stress-free start to their journey. This investment is an essential part of streamlining our processes and making travelling through LBA an easier and more pleasant experience for everyone.’ The plan is part of a £100 million regeneration project at LBA which will see a new three-story terminal hub built with new shops and restaurants and a bigger baggage reclaim area. You can read more about that project here. Taking off at Time Out Leeds is not t
How to get tickets for Girls Aloud’s 2024 UK tour, including price and pre-sale details
It's happening, everybody stay calm. Girls Aloud, one of the noughties’ most iconic UK girl bands, is reuniting. Not only are the group getting back together: they’re also heading out on an arena tour. We can barely contain our excitement. The tour will be called ‘The Girls Aloud Show’ and it’ll be dedicated to the memory of the group’s late member Sarah Harding, who passed away from cancer in 2021. Needless to say, it’ll be a special and nostalgic occasion, and Cheryl, Nadine Coyle, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh ‘Promise’ to put on some massive shows. The band has said that they don’t intend to make new music without Harding, so the shows will only feature the songs we already know and love. We’re certainly not complaining — get ready to ‘Jump’ to some absolute classics. Fancy getting your hands on some Girls Aloud tickets? Here’s everything you need to know about the shows, from the tour dates to when tickets go on sale. When are Girls Aloud going on a UK tour in 2024? The girls will be returning to stages across the UK in May and June 2024. When do tickets go on sale for their reunion tour? General ticket sales will start at 9am on Friday, December 1 on the official Girls Aloud website here. How can I register for tickets? You don’t need to register in order to buy general sale tickets. How much do tickets cost for Girls Aloud’s tour? Tickets will be priced in four brackets: £73 for general standing, £59-£102 for seated and £208.75 for VIP packages and the front
How to get tickets for Reading and Leeds festival 2024
Reading and Leeds Festivals last year (August 25-27) were headlined by global superstars Billie Eilish and The Killers – and next year’s edition is expected to be even bigger. Headlined by Lana De Rey, Fred Again, Blink 182, Liam Gallagher and Catfish and the Bottlemen, there’s a lot to be excited about. If you’re eager to get onto next year’s fest, well, you’ve come to the right place. It’s never too early to start planning to secure R&L 2024 tickets, so we’ve put together a handy guide. Here’s everything you need to know about tickets for Reading and Leeds Festivals 2024, from when they go on sale to how to buy them. RECOMMENDED:The best UK music festivals to book for 2023 When will Reading and Leeds 2024 festival tickets go on sale? General sale will be at 8:30am on November 30. However, there is a presale today (November 28) for Barclaycard and Three customers and another tomorrow (November 29) for those who have signed up for the festivals’ loyalty scheme. How to register for Reading and Leeds 2024 tickets You don’t have to registered in order to secure tickets. However, Barclaycard and Three customers can currently access tickets here. For general sale, you can sign up to be notified here. How much will tickets cost? Standard weekend tickets (with camping included) for both festivals cost £291.50. Early entry tickets (which get you in from August 21), cost £327.25. How many people go to Reading and Leeds? The festivals attract around 100,000 festivalgoers each every