Chris is Deputy Editor and Chief Subeditor of Time Out London. After growing up in the wilderness of south London suburbia he now lives in Deptford. He likes architecture, art and has a film-photography practice that is considerably less impressive than the amount of time and cash he’s devoted to it might suggest. He also writes about art and all things London. Find his Instagram here.
The top 25 museums in London
London is absolutely world class when it comes to museums. Obviously, we’re biased, but with more than 170 of them dotted about the capital – a huge chunk of which are free to visit – we think it’s fair to say that there’s nowhere else in the world that does museums better. Want to explore the history of TfL? We’ve got a museum for that. Rather learn about advertising? We’ve got a museum for that too. History? Check. Science? Check. 1940s cinema memorabilia, grotesque eighteenth century surgical instruments, or perhaps a wall of 4,000 mouse skeletons? Check, check, check! Whether you’re teaming up with like-minded friends or going it alone, London’s museums are great places to spend a bit of time. Here are some of our absolute faves. RECOMMENDED: 101 amazing things to do in LondonRECOMMENDED: the best Airbnbs in LondonRECOMMENDED: the best hotels in London This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.
London restaurants with the best views
What’s the point of eating out if you’re just looking at your plate? Instead, we recommend dining like a demigod and staring down at your enemies from these sky-high restaurants and cafés – as well as a few ground-dwelling joints with some seriously stunning backdrops. From jawdropping views of (and from) The Shard, to Tower Bridge, and so much looking at the Thames you'll feel like you're a boat, London’s the most beautiful city in the world. Sure, we’re biased, but if you fancy a panorama with your pizza you’ve definitely come to the right place. RECOMMENDED: The best rooftop bars in London.
The best rooftop bars in London right now
From swanky skyscrapers to casual warehouse hangouts and hidden pub terraces, London has a real crush on a rooftop bar. To enjoy natural high, we are blessed with all kinds of rooftops which offer a winning combination of wicked city views and perfect drinks. So take your pick from stylish Shoreditch, buzzing Soho and Covent Garden, trendy Peckham and more – it’s time to soak up those sunsets. If you'd rather something a little more grounded, then have a look at London's best beer gardens. Fancy a majestic meal up in the air? Check out London’s best rooftop restaurants.
The best pie and mash shops in London
Like many other great things in London, classic cockney pie and mash was created among working-class and immigrant communities – many of them Italian. From the nineteenth century to the 1990s, London had a pie ’n’ mash shop on almost every high street. Now, these tiled beauties are an endangered species. Often small family-run businesses, some have been open for a century or more continuously, and the survivors are hubs for local communities. But they have struggled as London’s menu has diversified into the street food of six continents. If you’re into Instagramming your smashed avocado, take note: along with Sunday roasts, fish ’n’ chips and full-english fry-ups, this city was built on pies, mash, eels and liquor. Why not tuck into the OG food of London? RECOMMENDED: London's best greasy spoon cafes.
Christmas volunteering in London
In the capital, there are heaps of charities supporting vulnerable Londoners, and although they need extra hands all year round to support the brilliant work they do, they’re always looking for more volunteers over the winter months. This year, with the cost-of-living crisis biting hard, the most many people need support more than ever, so if you’d like to do some good and volunteer this Christmas, get in touch with one of these organisations doing great things. Recommended: best charity shops in London
Bonfire Night firework displays in London
Ah Bonfire Night, the evening when Brits gather together in the November cold to watch fireworks and a flaming pile of wood, all in celebration of a guy who tried to blow up Parliament 400 years ago. Anyone from out of town may think Guy Fawkes Night is all a bit strange (and they’d probably be right). But, we’re fiercely proud of our Catherine Wheel whizzing, sparkler crackling tradition. While there are many epic bonfires across the UK, you’ll be hard-pressed to find as many concentrated in the same place as in London. You’ll find sparkles popping up in the night sky all over town this year. But, wherever you live in London, there’ll still be some sparkles to tempt you out into the winter cold. Here’s our pick of the best ones in town. When is Bonfire Night in London? As the adage goes: remember, remember the fifth of November. Bonfire Night is officially on November 5 every year, and luckily that falls on a Sunday in 2023. This year, a lot of the displays are happening over the weekend of November 3-5. As has become the norm, lots of displays get going in the afternoon with funfairs, food stalls and more, making it a proper fun family day out. Top tips for Bonfire Night in London Book in advance: Nearly all of London’s free bonfire celebrations aren’t taking place this year, which means tickets are essential if you want to get a close-up view of the bangs and sparks. So get organised! Wrap up: The unpredictable great British weather rarely ever plays ball. This year
The best things to do on Christmas Day in London
The information on this page was correct at time of publication, but please check with venues before you head out. December 25 is really the only day of the year when London well and truly grinds to a halt (in the best possible way). But if you baulk at the idea of imposed downtime, or you don't celebrate the big day, you can still get out into the city and do stuff. Yes, public transport is out of action, but you can take a wander around a city that is almost empty of people, or eat in the handful of restaurants that are open. Then you can head home and binge on Quality Streets in front of the TV. Here are some of the things you can get up to on Christmas Day in London. RECOMMENDED: Our guide to the best Christmas events in London 2023.
Things to do on Boxing Day 2023 in London
The information on this page was correct at time of publication, but please check with venues before you head out As you come round from your turkey-and-‘Home Alone’ stupor, don’t write off Boxing Day. There are always lots of great things to do in London on December 26. Take a hangover-busting winter walk through one of London’s glorious green spaces; gawp at the city’s eye-bending Christmas light displays; or go to a panto. Don’t waste your sweet holiday, December 26. RECOMMENDED: Find more festive fun with our full guide to Christmas in London.
Things to do on Christmas Eve in London
The information on this page was correct at the time of publication, but please check with venues before you head out Don’t just spend Christmas Eve doing last-minute shopping, prepping veg or sitting glumly in the pub. Make the most of every minute of this year’s festive season and have a Christmas Eve to remember, by taking in some of London’s most Christmassy things to do before everything shuts down for Christmas Day. From twinkling lights to the city’s loveliest Christmas trees to make you feel all warm and anticipatory, take a look at our top picks for things to do on December 24 2023. RECOMMENDED: 🎅Read our full guide to Christmas in London.🎄Check out the best hotels in London for unforgettable Christmas stays.
The best Christmas shops in London
Tis the season when avoiding consumerism is pretty damn near impossible: stockings must be filled, loved ones must be spoiled, and it's all too tempted to pick up a few dainty knicknacks for the tree. So embrace the joys of Christmas shopping by scouring London's retailers for goodies as festive lights displays twinkle overhead. Yes, you could get your shopping done in one mad dash through a department store or by filling your online basket to the brim. But there's something supremely satisfying about traipsing around this city, and supporting London’s small (and big) businesses during a tough time. That’s why we’ve put together a list of brilliant Christmas shops from all around around the capital, where you can pick up gifts that people will remember for years to come for all the right reasons. Festive dons like Harrods and Liberty are in there, of course (they’ve been hanging their tinsel since September) but we’ve got indie stores too, from arty museum giftshops to cute boutiques, geeky bookshops to top menswear spots. Get your wrapping paper at the ready and start shopping. RECOMMENDED: Read our complete guide to Christmas in London.
Les millors excursions d'un dia des de Londres
Si sou d’aquelles persones que en marxar de viatge organitzeu al mil·límetre les vostres activitats, és probable que no us sobri temps per fer una escapada improvisada. Però si, en canvi, sou dels que ho deixeu tot per últim moment i doneu la benvinguda a tot el que se us presenta, pot ser que això us interessi, i més si esteu de visita a Londres. Voleu fugir de les típiques atraccions turístiques de la City? Aquí teniu una selecció de sis ciutats on podeu anar i tornar en un dia des de la capital anglesa. No t'ho perdis: 33 escapades molt a prop de Barcelona
14 weird but wonderful museums in London
There are a lot of museums in London. Of course, there are world-famous names like the British Museum and Natural History Museum. There are local gems like the brilliant Horniman Museum in south London. But then… Then there are many, many tiny niche or sometimes downright plain peculiar museums in every corner of the city, with collections of everything from fans (the ‘Bridgerton’ kind not, like, desk fans) to anatomical specimens looming out of glass jars. So get stuck into our guide to the best weird museums in London and prepare to get some freak in your cultural collection.
Listings and reviews (101)
Stewart Lee: Basic Lee
Note: This is a review of Stewart Lee: ‘Basic Lee’ from 2022 As a reviewer of Stewart Lee’s new show, I was repeatedly told how to review it, and got called a ‘cunt’ for my pains (not personally). So here’s my review. First half: four stars, plenty of jokes. Second half: three stars, not enough jokes. Benefit of the doubt: four stars. There you go. ‘Basic Lee’ is ostensibly about the craft of stand-up comedy, what Lee calls this ‘ritualised ancient folly’. To be honest, his comedy has always been about this, so it’s business as usual only a bit more so. He deconstructs the scansion of the joke. ‘It goes: uh uh uh uh uh, uh uh-uh uh.’ He explains what he needs from his audience in terms of preparation: ‘If you don’t know anything, don’t come and see me.’ And he lets us supply our own punchline to a very good gag about JK Rowling based on what we’ve learned. As Lee himself says, this is a difficult time to be a stand-up: there’s too much material. He still manages to get in stuff about having an erotic response to the Queen’s funeral and Prince Andrew ‘using the Paddington Bears as bait’, plus a load of brilliance about the current Tory cabinet that he reads off cards because ‘there’s no point learning it’. He’s still the classic English vorticist curmudgeon: a boot-putting-in on what he relentlessly calls ‘The Fleabag’ is very very good. If Lee has a problem these days, it’s not that there’s too much happening in the world, it’s that he knows that his devoted audience can anti
A Sherlock Carol
This review of ‘A Sherlock Carol’ is from November 2022. ‘A Sherlock Carol’ returns for 2023. Why the hell are there so many productions of ‘A Christmas Carol’ in London? There’s a moment in this misbegotten attempt to cut and shut Sherlock Holmes and ‘A Christmas Carol’ that has stayed with me, through the journey home and the long marches of the night. ‘What’s the matter?’ asks the sister – played by a white actor – of her brother, – played by a Black actor – ‘you look pale.’ Titters from (some of) the audience. I don’t know what I’m not getting here, but this doesn’t feel like some super-sophisticated piece of meta-woke prejudice-baiting. It just feels like old-fashioned 1970s-TV ‘comedy’. This is an extreme example of the tone-deafness of off-Broadway import ‘A Sherlock Carol’, but there’s no shortage of others. Briefly, Holmes – troubled by the spectre of his nemesis Moriarty – is called upon to investigate the death of the wealthy Londoner Ebenezer Scrooge. In exorcising his own demons, he solves the case. It’s not that bad an idea. You could – squinting – see Conan Doyle as a popular-fiction heir to Dickens, with characters and phrases that have entered our collective culture. But you get the feeling that writer/director Mark Shanahan really likes Sherlock Holmes and maybe isn’t that into Dickens. Most of ‘A Sherlock Carol’ is just a Holmes story made from parts of other ones. The Dickens-y bits are generic festiveness and some ghosts, and there aren’t really enough o
A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story
This review is from 2021. ‘A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story’ returns in 2023 with a new cast headed by Keith Allen as Scrooge and Peter Forbes as Marley. There are currently (at least) four stage versions of Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ being performed in London (not including screenings of the superlative Muppet one). The two biggest are the now-landmark production at the Old Vic, this year featuring Stephen Mangan. And then there’s this adaptation by Mark Gatiss (you know, ‘Sherlock’ etc), which premiered at Nottingham Playhouse, before heading south. And it’s good. Alexandra Palace’s ruin-lust theatre is the perfect raddled backdrop – its faded Victorian glories and pockmarked plaster chime atmospherically with the set of perilously towering wooden filing cabinets, a kind of Monument Valley to Ebenezer Scrooge’s dry record-keeping. Paraphrasing the book’s original name (‘A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas’), Gatiss sets out his stall explicitly: this is a production that harps on the ghostly nature of the story as much as the ‘God bless us, every one’ crimbo cheer. There are genuine chills as Marley’s ghost (Gatiss himself) materialises in the corner of Scrooge’s bedchamber, before the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come do their thang. ‘His Dark Materials’-style ghouls flit among the audience, and the Spirit of CYTC is a really horrifying shrouded figure, grimly pointing Scrooge to his own corpse, burial and gravestone. Nichol
Kim Noble: ‘Lullaby for Scavengers’ review
‘Overly reliant on knob gags’ is not a criticism that fans of avant-garde comedian Kim Noble might expect to be levelled at one of his shows. But during ‘Lullaby for Scavengers’ we get to see Noble’s special bits on the big screen at the back of the stage more often than anyone might want: tied to a string, the other end of which is tied to a chicken carcass; attached to a hoover; having a live maggot inserted into the urethral opening. After a while, you start to miss it when it’s not popping up. Noble lives to shock: visually, ethically, legally. But the best parts of the hour-and-something of ‘Lullaby for Scavengers’ are when he unclenches and lets the questions raised by all the carefully induced ick have some breathing space. There’s a fantastically orchestrated segment where he gets a job as an office cleaner and secretly films himself. His attempts to engage with the staff are met with barely veiled hostility. They don’t know that Noble is sleeping under their desks at night and wandering around the workplace naked after hours. I won’t spoil the dénouement, but it’s quite something. And, crucially, would we behave any differently to them? In another theme, he attempts to commune with London’s foxes (some of the scavengers of the title), camping out near their earth and daubing himself in a scent made from female fox shit to blend in (something that apparently is quite successful). And it is a remarkable piece of narrativisation to link an animated squirrel corpse opera
Site-specific theatre specialists Teatro Vivo bring their new take on Laclos’s classic eighteenth-century tale of courtly intrigue and weaponised shagging to the grimy-yet-cool streets of Deptford. In this new version, the action centres on reformed punk band The Maze and their attempts to play a secret comeback gig. Teatro Vivo have previously made SE8 the site for an intriguing take on the Odyssey, so this should be well worth checking out.
Baldwin Lee: ‘A Southern Portrait, 1983-1989’
For seven years in the 1980s, Chinese-American New York photographer Baldwin Lee cut an eccentric figure around the Southern states of the USA. Lugging an ancient wooden large-format land camera (the kind with a black cloth that you disappear under), Lee would set up his awkward tripod and take pictures. Pictures of families, of kids playing in the stifling summer heat, of young men posing with their cars, of girls in their best dresses. Of clapped-out wrecks, sagging shacks and ominous intimations of poverty, slavery and racism. The large format means that every detail is there to explore: a young man protectively puts a hand on a stack of four cassettes on the hood of a car; a kid provocatively presents a dollar bill to Lee’s lens, a battered Diana Ross gatefold LP teeters atop a totem pole of TVs and hi-fi, as a stern little girl stares us down. All the people are Black. There’s an obsessive feeling to these photographs. Maybe because of Lee’s choice of antiquated equipment, they sometimes feel like they’re from a much earlier era, like the work of the Farm Security Administration in the Great Depression (Lee studied under FSA luminary Walker Evans). Lee deliberately used antique uncoated lenses for their ‘creamy’ quality – these are crisp images, but not hard-edged, and imbued with huge humanity. There’s no icky feeling of ethnographic study about it, though, despite the fact that life if you were poor and Black in the Deep South things clearly hadn’t improved much from t
Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2023
Ideas of Black identity dominate the annual Deutsche Börse Prize show this year. Three of the four finalists use photography and photographic imagery to interrogate Blackness: its meaning and historical function, its marginalisation and commodification. The fourth sticks a lot of scruffy to-do lists on the wall and a typed letter explaining why the subject of her major photographic portrait series doesn’t want it to be on display anymore. Let’s take that artist – Bieke Depoorter – first. I was really looking forward to seeing the Belgian photographer’s series ‘Agata’, in which she befriended an erotic dancer and documented their evolving relationship over three years. Sadly, Agata and Depoorter have apparently fallen out over payments (hence the letter), so we’re not getting to see it. Her video/installation piece about tracking down a random man called Michael she met on the streets of Portland OR is okay, but not really very vital-feeling. Also a bit disappointing are Frida Orupabo’s big collage-sculptures, which feature archival (and anonymous) Black faces comped on to various bodies, including those of white women from antique naughty postcards and a bat. The results – jointed like Javanese puppets – obviously suggest manipulation of identity, though not much else. It's okay, but not really very vital-feeling Much better are two series from legendary Cameroonian photographer Samuel Fosso. One is a set of Malick Sidibé-esque self-portraits from the 1970s, in which he adop
A Swedish family settles down for Christmas dinner: Mumma, Puppa and their son William, 40. William’s head and upper body are swathed in layer upon layer of a muslin-like fabric, completely covering his head and muffling his voice. The fabric is woven with copper wires and designed to block out electromagnetic waves, because William suffers from electrosensitivity. Electrical radiation from everyday objects and signals from mobile phones cause him physical pain and nervous exhaustion, like he’s plugged into the invisible grid that’s all around us in the modern world. Problem is, electrosensitivity is not officially recognised as a health condition, leaving sufferers like William in a horrible limbo: while their symptoms are real, the cause of them is ascribed to mental illness or psychosomatic anxiety. Electric Malady is a sometimes touching, often frustrating documentary – and not just because of William’s situation. Like many patients with chronic conditions, William is both passive and selfish, his parents and sister both doting and out of ideas. But the questions it raises – about our understanding of what illness even is and how we collectively respond to people who don’t fit in with the normative triage of national health services – have resonance way beyond William’s particular case. Okay, so he gets to live in a sweet little wooden house in an idyllic Scandinavian forest, and you do wonder what might have become of William had he been, say, an immigrant in the shit en
R.I.P. Germain: ‘Jesus Died for Us, We Will Die for Dudus!’
‘Dudus’ is the nickname of Jamaican drug dealer Christopher Coke – a startling example of nominative determinism. Coke trafficked literally tons of marijuana and cocaine to the US before being handed down a 23-year sentence, after the mission to finally arrest him cost the lives of 70 people. During his extradition to the States, many Jamaicans took to the streets with placards supporting Dudus, whom they supposedly saw as more trustworthy than the authorities. This mixture of extremes, unpredictability and weird black comedy is at the heart of R.I.P. Germain’s intriguing ICA installation. After admiring some merch (more of which later), you scan a QR code and get a handy list of terms to help you ‘mine’ the exhibition. These include ‘client’, ‘display’, ‘Black culture’ and ‘Hatton Garden’. Then you approach a domestic front door mystifyingly adorned with a Christmas wreath. Inside is a room with some garment rails and cardboard boxes. Beyond it is another room with a video game set up, and beyond that is a weed farm. Upstairs in part two, a motionless man in a rubber mask sits on a stool inside a glass box watching more game footage, like a yardie Joseph Beuys. He wears the same ‘security’ hoodie you can buy downstairs. The only thing he’s apparently guarding is the massive chain he’s wearing. Then there’s a whole jewellery shop, with another ‘security’ guy in another hoodie, standing behind a vitrine packed with £100k chains, including a custom-made – and grotesque – white
‘Grenfell: System Failure’ review
The second part of this verbatim theatre work based on the transcripts of the Grenfell Inquiry starts with a trigger warning. The audience is told that some of the evidence is so disturbing that it will be flagged in advance so that people can leave the auditorium if they choose. When we get the warning, just before the interval, no one does. It’s a testament to the respect that the disaster is accorded by this work and by this community. These performances take place in venues within walking distance of the tragedy. I pass a twin to the tower on the way to the theatre. Grenfell’s shadow hangs over North Kensington, literally and figuratively. But is that enough to make compelling theatre? Yes and no. When I saw the first part, ‘Grenfell: Value Engineering’, nearly 18 months ago, I felt the bleak staging and washed-out performances perfectly suited the inevitably gruelling material. This was an emotive catastrophe staged in the driest possible way to make its point: 72 people died at Grenfell to make some costs spreadsheets look healthier. Those people were betrayed by sub-par materials, engineering and attitudes. ‘Grenfell: System Failure’ continues in this vein, examining the endless bureaucratic buck-passing that left so many overlooked, poor and immigrant people at risk of death from the very fabric of their homes. Bookended by testimony from a man who lost six members of his family in the fire, it delivers blow after blow on the ‘not my fault’ culture of twenty-first-cen
‘Ukraine: Photographs from the Frontline’
We think we know what war looks like. And no conflict in history has been as constantly visually documented as the Russian invasion of Ukraine; you can probably watch it live if you really want. So why would you bother going to look at yet more pictures of it? ‘Ukraine: Photographs from the Frontline’ is Anastasia Taylor-Lind’s distillation of eight years of documenting the build-up and conflict in the country. It’s just 17 photographs in a modest-sized carpeted room, but it’s brilliant. Taylor-Lind started taking portraits in Kyiv in a makeshift studio in 2014. The figures stand against a dark cloth; there is no context. But outside, there’s an escalation of protest, as the Ukrainian government at the time cleaves to Russia and away from the EU. A large photo, composed like a Renaissance altarpiece, shows demonstrators clambering over a huge public sculpture against a background of roiling black smoke. They keep their faces away from the camera, scared of being identified by the authorities. Eight years later, there’s another face turned away. ‘Olena Labadeva Injured by Shellfire, Donbas, June 2022’ shows the back of a woman with a dressed wound. She’s incredibly vulnerable and still, just in her underwear, lying on a hospital trolley. It’s not a conventional image of war. There are no shouting medics or bloody bandages. The overriding emotion – as in many of the photos here – is sadness. In another photo, a young family sits in a field as a child proffers an apple to a hors
Clyde Hopkins: ‘Paintings 1989-1993’
In the 1990s, while the UK was being lectured by the YBAs that art was cool and naughty and full of drunk people (something everyone in the artworld already knew, apart from the bit about it being cool or naughty), there was a whole load of artists plugging away, doing their thing and not worrying too much about what the Daily Star thought about sharks or Myra Hindley. Painters like John Hoyland and Frank Bowling doggedly pursued their craft of big, splashy, gestural canvases. Now those artists are getting a long-overdue reappraisal. Clyde Hopkins certainly fits into this group well. This show at Castor gallery (which has boldly moved from Deptford to Fitzrovia) consists of a dozen works from the late ’80s and early ’90s. They’re a curious but overall effective mix of intensity and floaty whimsy, often on the same canvas. You can almost see Hopkins – who was also head of painting at Winchester and Chelsea art schools – hiding his light under a bushel. His is a very English kind of abstraction: there is depth, darkness, a muted sadness and humour. ‘May and Dagwood’ and ‘Flattered by the Bee’s Attention’ (surely the most Cardiacs-like title ever applied to a non-Cardiacs work) feature what quickly becomes clear as a Hopkins trademark: delicate collage-like details almost cruelly interrupted by crashing black lines, like an itinerant pisshead spoiling a family picnic. Sometimes, his work tantalizes you to see figuration. Which bit of ‘Seagulls, Brian Sewell, Kicking etc’ is t
World Naked Bike Ride London 2023: dates, starting points and how to get involved
Ever dreamed of gallivanting through London in the nip? You're in luck. In June, London is going to be graced by not one, not two, but nine naked bike rides. And for those of us itching to strip down to our birthday suits, World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR), which organises the event, has just released the routes. When is the London Naked Bike Ride happening this year? The 2023 World Naked Bike Ride London is happening on Saturday, June 10. All official details are here. It's a chance for cyclists to raise awareness of bike safety, the environmental impact of cars, and, of course, the gloriously freeing joys of being nude. Okay, fine. Where’s all the action starting? There will be starting points in nine different London locations. For the hardiest cyclists, the longest route at just over 20 miles kicks off in Croydon. The pants-free fun starts from 11am at 233 Shirley Church Road, and cyclists can arrive early to eat sandwiches, paint their bodies or simply bask in their naked glory. The shortest ride is seven and a half miles, starting from Regent’s Park Outer Circle at 2.50pm. You can also join from Kew Bridge, Deptford, Tower Hill and Victoria Park, and there’s an accessible route for cyclists who are less able to complete the entire circuit. How can I get involved? Just turn up, strip off, and get your bike out: contrary to popular belief, there's no law against being naked in public in the UK, so you're not going to get arrested. This event is a protest as well as a fun da
Madame Tussauds has a new royal display ahead of the King’s coronation
Getting ready for the coronation? Knitting your bunting, pickling your jams, strong-arming your barely-recognised neighbours to have a Brexit-y street party? The crowning of King Charles III on May 6 is a national event that many people thought would never happen. But it is. And to mark the historic day, Madame Tussauds waxwork museum has opened a special royal-themed experience, a kind of ‘Avengers Assemble’ of the House of Windsor. ‘The Royal Palace Experience’ brings together all your royal faves: alongside the King (who gets a new outfit for the occasion) and the Queen Consort (Camilla), are wax likenesses of the late Queen Elizabeth II, the late Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince and Princess of Wales (Wills and Kate), the late Princess Diana, and, erm, the really very late Queen Elizabeth I. None of the family’s more recent black sheep has been allowed in to be part of the display, so no Harry and Meghan, or Andrew. The pictured corgis are also not included. There is a mock-up of the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace, with several wax celebrities in attendance, including – we’re promised – Dame Judi Dench, Dame Helen Mirren, Sir Mo Farah and Lord Barack Obama. You also get the chance to pose with a posh afternoon tea for some austere Queen Victoria we-are-not-amused vibes with a scone. In a city that seems wedded to all manner of VR and immersive experiences, this IRL waxy gathering might just have some genuine old-school charm, as befits an institution that hasn’t progresse
London is lighting up for Ramadan for the first time ever
Ramadan 2023 starts tonight (Wednesday March 22) with the first sighting of the crescent moon. The Islamic festival of fasting and prayer continues until the evening of Friday April 21. In London this year, though, there is a viable difference to the festival. For the first time, Ramadan will be celebrated with a light display in central London, in Piccadilly Circus, no less. ‘Ramadan Lights’ is the first street illumination to celebrate the holy month in the UK and Europe. It’ll be blazing away on Coventry Street (between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square, where the Trocadero is) until April 21. The installation, created in collaboration with the Heart of London Business Alliance, sees 30,000 lights forming 61 moons. To be more sustainable, the lights are more energy-efficient LED bulbs, while the carbon from the piece will be offset. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan – whose election to the post in 2016 saw him the first Muslim to become mayor of a major Western capital city – is doing the big switch-on tonight. He said: ‘I’m delighted that London is the first major European city to host a spectacular light display to mark Ramadan. “Ramadan Lights” [is] a true symbol of how our capital celebrates our diversity.’ We’re used to Christmas in London seeing swathers of lights everywhere from Oxford Street to Kew Gardens. And, arguably, as the spring evenings lengthen, light displays become less and less spectacular. But maybe this glimmer of positivity is just what we need in the
The Sunday Times has announced the best place to live in London
It’s that time of year again when the Sunday Times reveals its ‘Best Place to Live in the UK’ and ‘Best Place to Live in London’. Last year, you might remember, the gongs were respectively given to Ilkley in Yorkshire and Crystal Palace in south London. The year before, it was Stroud in the Cotswolds and Teddington, near London. The latter choice was a bit contentious, with people questioning TW11’s capital credentials. Sure, it’s on the Thames, but is it actually in London? Anyway, as that debate rages quietly away in the background, the 2023 winners have been announced. This year, the best overall place in the UK is Wadhurst in East Sussex, cited for its ‘rolling hills, glittering night skies and thriving high street’. Meanwhile, the London winner is… Crouch End. Yep, good ol’ Crouch End is the Best Place to Live in London. The Sunday Times mentions the area’s ‘creative edge and friendly neighbours’, giving ‘this lofty northern enclave social capital in the capital’. But is N8 a worthy winner? Pros It’s villagey. This was a big deal in Teddington’s win in 2021. Clearly the Sunday Times regards the ‘village’ as the acme of desirability when it comes to community structures. Still, if Wadhurst is supposedly the best place to live in the whole country, perhaps this shouldn’t be that surprising a criterion. There is no doubt that Crouch End has a well-heeled small-town vibe amid the sprawl of north London. It’s got lots of great independent shops, pubs, cafés and restaurants.
You can take a tour of the gardens of Number 10 Downing Street
Londoners enjoy few things more than taking a snoop around someone else’s gaff. Witness the perennial popularity of Open House Weekend every autumn: the chance to browse (and judge) the interior design choices of hundreds of normally off-limits dwellings and other spaces, guilt- (and step-ladder-) free. Almost as popular is the annual Open Garden Squares Weekend in June. It offers the opportunity to get into the hundreds of private gardens dotted across the capital, specifically the railed-off and gated leafy glades in some of London’s fanciest residential squares, built at a time when open space was not a big priority for London’s property developers. It was one thing to have a house, but if you had a garden, you were properly god-tier. Included again this year is the garden of Number 10 Downing Street, aka Rishi’s pad. There are two tours on offer on June 10, both accommodating 24 punters (ie, you). Tickets are allocated by ballot, which is open until April 5. If your impetus for visiting is horticultural rather than just nosiness, highlights of the half-acre garden include some impressive rose beds commissioned by Mrs Thatcher, a big lawn and a sculpture by renowned artist Dame Barbara Hepworth. If you do enter the ballot and you are successful, the Downing Street garden tours are free. If you want to visit the others gardens in Open Garden Squares Weekend, you will need the weekend pass. Open Garden Squares Weekend, Jun 10-11. You can enter the ticket ballot for 10 Downin
You can dine at the House of Lords restaurant for three days only
‘Drunk as a lord’ might be a traditionally disparaging picture of the sybaritic tendencies of the noble peers of our realm. And there’s no doubt that the English aristocracy has done itself pretty well over the centuries when it comes to a spot of nosebag. Now, there’s a chance to sample a taste of that sweet blue-blood pudding. The Peers’ Dining Room at the House of Lords in Westminster is opening to the public again this year during parliament’s Easter recess. Normally, you have to have a seat in the House of Lords (or be a peer’s guest) to eat there. But at lunchtime on April 4 and 5, and lunch- and dinnertime on April 6, one of London’s most exclusive restaurants will welcome commoners. So, slots are few and far between, but booking opens tomorrow (March 23), so why not give it a whirl? Mind you, if you’re into snapping your dinner, cameras and phones are not permitted in the House of Lords. Cynics (like us) might suspect that a bunch of monied old duffers would be happy with any kind of reheated sub-school-dinner slop for din-dins, but actually, the dining room has acquitted itself rather well previously. It first opened for public dining sessions in 2015, and menu highlights since then have included Hereford beef tongue, Brixham brill, and a honey crème brûlée tart. Oof. Time for a little snooze. If only there was somewhere comfy to sit… House of Lords, Palace of Westminster, SW1A 0PW. Lunch Apr 4-5, lunch and dinner Apr 6. Book on its website. Booking opens Mar 23 at n
Someone has RADICALLY redesigned the London tube map
Despite it sometimes being challenging, crowded, hot and delayed, we Londoners love our tube. The London Underground was the world’s first subterranean transport network and it is genuinely the blood supply of our city. Even better (almost) is the tube map. The London tube map really is a landmark of graphic design, compacting a mind-boggling amount of information into a colourful, nursery wall-chart of an infographic. Image: LandSharkUK But, as the Underground network has expanded and absorbed other transport links – the DLR, Overground, Elizabeth line etc – it has got more and more sprawling, and the map has struggled to cope. Even lifelong Londoners can look at the modern tube map with blank incomprehension, struggling even to locate the stop they’re at, never mind figure out where they’re meant to be going. Now, though, one Reddit user has given the map a bit of a going-over. His take on Harry Beck’s legendary design preserves its unique beauty and practical usability, but calms it all down with more space, while making some bold infrastructural choices. Significantly, the new tube map splits the orange Overground into separate lines. The eastern part becomes the ‘Brunel line’, the western part the ‘Olympia line’ and there are the new ‘Lea Valley lines’, ‘Harlequin line’ (Euston to Watford Junction) and ‘Goblin line’ (Gospel Oak to Barking Riverside). The new map also radically makes the branches of the Northern line two completely separate entities, with the Bank branc
A landmark local pub in Stockwell is closing
The FTSE may be on the up, but economic buoyancy isn’t helping London’s troubled pubs. The capital continues to haemorrhage landmark boozers, and the latest victim is a much-loved Lambeth local. The Clapham North announced on its Instagram account that it was closing on March 26 after 20 years. In a statement, it said: ‘Unfortunately our lease is expiring and no matter how much we fought, we couldn't get a new one.’ It added: ‘We are SO proud of the North and we know how much it means to the local folk of Clapham: a good old-fashioned, dependable local and the queen of the “not out-out but out” kind of nights!’ Until 2003, the pub was called The Bedford Arms, and was a typical London local in the Northern line SW commuter interzone. It reopened as The Clapham North, the first in what later became the Livelyhood group of south London pubs, and was popular with Aussie ex-pats. It had a quiz, sports and ‘Roastman Pat’ in the kitchen, slinging out his famous yorkshire-pudding wraps. The leaseholder, brewers Young’s, is apparently planning to take over the running of the pub itself. It’s not clear whether it will continue to be called the Clapham North under its new owner. The remainder of the Livelyhood-run pubs are unaffected. The Clapham North, 409 Clapham Rd, SW9 9BT. Open until Mar 26. Thirsty? Our definitive list of London’s 100 Best Pubs. Hungry? Here are the best London restaurants opening this month.
London tube and bus fares will go up by 6% from March
Just as Londoners resigned themselves to another year of continual public transport disruption, with a series of strikes affecting tubes, buses, rail and Overground services that are continuing into 2023, now the cost of their often-non-existent travel is set to go up significantly. How much will TfL tube and bus fares increase by? It’s been announced that fares across the TfL network – that’s buses, tubes and some trains – will rise by 5.9 percent this year. It’s the biggest rise in fares for a decade. It’s also worth remembering that there was a 5 percent increase in TfL fares this time last year. Bus fares will go up by another 10p (like last year), meaning a single journey will now cost £1.75. The daily and weekly price caps on pay-as-you-go tube fares will increase by up to 6.7 percent, depending on the number of fare zones travelled. The rise had been on the cards for a while, with Sadiq dues to make a final call on it. Will it vary in different zones? Yes. Depending on the zone, a one-way fare will rice from between 10p and 30p. A Zone 1 peak fare will go up by 30p, whereas off-peak will be 20p. Zone 1–2 will go up by 30p during peak hours and 20p during off-peak. Zones 1–3,4,5 and 6 will rise by 10p during peak and off-peak times. When does the price increase come into effect? TfL fares will go up from March 2023. Why are fares going up? It’s part of TfL’s long-term strategy to get the network back on a more stable financial footing following the ravages inflicted
You can try a fish ’n’ chip pizza for two weeks ONLY
Collabs can be a great thing. But they can also be a tricky thing. Case in point: in honour of National Pizza Day (which is a thing, apparently, on February 9), some London cooking lunatics have decided to create a fish ’n’ chip pizza. Sounds kind of ghastly, right? But hold hard until you hear the scope of the thing. First up, it’s not been conceived by just any old fast-food cowboys. The doughy undercarriage arrives courtesy of Homeslice, no less, while the superstructure is a product of the Mayfair Chippy, a posh batter palace and the type of place in which you might get laughed at if you asked for a pickled egg. Paying ‘homage’ to one of the nation’s other favourite dishes, the pizza is topped with salt-and-vinegar-cured cod, pea purée, string chips and capers. Horny-handed Northerners will rejoice to see that batter scraps also feature. If all that wasn’t enough, Homeslice says that it will also throw in a free Mojito from cocktails-in-a-can brand Moth with every fish ’n’ chip pizza ordered. I mean, sure. Why not add a dash of Cuba to your Italian x British dinner? On a serious note (finally) the Mayfair Chippy and Homeslice will also donate £3 from each fish ’n’ chip pizza sold to food-poverty charity the Felix Project. Bravo! So, however conflicted you might feel about this concept, give it a try and do some good at the same time. If it’s any help, a poll of the Time Out office gave the idea a big thumbs up, with twice as many people thinking it sounded ‘Yum’ than ‘Yu
London is getting these futuristic electric ‘tram buses’
Once upon a time, London had trams. They were pulled by horses and later went electric. Then trams weren’t cool anymore, so London’s councils expensively dug up all the tramlines and everyone travelling above ground had to use diesel-powered buses stinking up the atmosphere and clogging up the roads. Now, though, the capital is set to get some eco-friendly public transport that combines the accessibility of a tram with the track-free convenience of a bus. Later this year, route 358 in south London (Crystal Palace to Orpington for transport geeks and/or south Londoners) will introduce some pretty futuristic vehicles. Manufactured by Spanish engineering firm Irizar, the ieTram is shaped like a tram carriage, with a high roofline, huge windows and minimal internal disruptions, but runs on the road, with features like covered wheels to make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians (and look more space age presumably). Best of all, the ieTram is electric and emission-free. Twenty of them will be running on the route, with overhead charging stations at both ends to top up the juice. TfL says that if the trial is successful, the ieTram will appear on more bus routes across the capital. It’s more good news for London’s bus fans, following the introduction of the swanky new 63, with skylights, phone holders and USB ports, and there are already 20 hydrogen-powered buses on our streets. If we could just get all the pesky cars, Amazon vans and lorries full of rubble off the road, it would b
It’s going to snow in London next week
Ordinarily, the prospect of a bit of snow in the capital gladdens our hearts. But the cost-of-living crisis has changed all that. After a week of sub-zero temperatures, snow is forecast for next week. The freezing weather will hit hardest the tens of thousands of Londoners already steeling themselves for a winter of choosing between heating their homes and eating, with Christmas a distant third. So, what are the chances of imminent city snows? Is it going to snow in London next week? It looks very likely. The Met Office is forecasting snow showers in the capital from Sunday morning, with up to 10cm expected in some areas. It will be accompanied by at least another week of freezing cold, with temperatures falling as low as -10C in parts of the Southeast. There will also be hazardous conditions including freezing fog, which could affect travel. What does snow mean for London? Transport disruption and big heating bills. That’s on top of the unions telling people not to come into London next week because of the strike action on the trains, so even if you’re lucky enough to have a nice warm office as your place of work, you can’t spend your day there, you have to sit at home and burn cash, wear four jumpers or freeze. Sort-of joking apart, this is very bad news for London’s poorest and most vulnerable. The Met has already issued an official health warning, with the National Energy Agency telling the i: ‘many vulnerable people are being forced to choose between unhealthy heat rati