India Lawrence is a freelance journalist based in London and has been writing for Time Out since 2022. She covers London news and features about nightlife, people, culture, dance and food. 

Being from Cornwall, India loves London but likes to be in close vicinity to a large body of water all times. On a weekend you can find her clubbing, digging around in charity shops, or elbowing swimmers out the way for a spot at London Fields Lido.

India Lawrence

India Lawrence

Contributing writer

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Articles (73)

The best restaurants in Covent Garden

The best restaurants in Covent Garden

Covent Garden is so rammed with restaurants that decision fatigue can easily threaten the quality of your dinner. Weave through the tourists and theatregoing crowds and you'll discover that this area hosts many of the best restaurants in London, including newbies such as Story Cellar, and The Portrait by Richard Corrigan, as well as old faves The Savoy Grill and J Sheekey. We’ve compiled a list of the best in the area, from cutting-edge eateries and classy counter joints to party-ready and casual hangouts, with pre-theatre favourites and cheap eats among them. Think of it as your Covent Garden bucket list. RECOMMENDED: The absolute best restaurants in Soho. Leonie Cooper is Time Out London’s Food and Drink Editor. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

The best bars in London

The best bars in London

Want a drink? Well you've come to the right place. This is Time Out’s list of best bars in London, our curated guide to London’s drinking scene, featuring the buzziest booze dens in the capital right now. If it’s on this list, it’s excellent. These are the 50 places we'd recommend to a friend, because we love drinking in them and have done many times over. From classy cocktail joint to delightful dives, hotel bars, speakeasys, bottle shops, rooftops and wine bars, London's got them all. The latest additions to our list include the new Three Sheets in Soho, Bar Lina, an Italian aperitivo spot underneath the famous deli, Moko hi-fi listening bar in Tottenham, Oranj's vertitable wine warehouse in Shoreditch, and Helgi's, a suggestively Satanic rock bar in Hackney. Now go forth and booze. RECOMMENDED: Like bars? Then you'll love London's best pubs.  Leonie Cooper is Time Out London’s Food and Drink Editor. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

The 21 best romantic hotels in London

The 21 best romantic hotels in London

There’s a reason why so many romantic comedy films are set in London; quite simply, it’s one of the best places in the world to be loved up. The picturesque Little Venice, the historic Whispering Gallery at St Paul's Cathedral, and Waterloo Bridge (which has breathtaking views of the city) are among the many romantic places to visit at any time of year – and we can’t get enough. But to encourage your love to reach full bloom, it's important to pick a hotel with the right kind of vibe. Breakfast in bed, complimentary cocktails upon arrival, and pampering spa packages are the sort of special touches that can make all the difference when you’re in the mood to woo... or maybe even pop the question. Take a look at our favourite romantic hotels in London.  Updated in May 2024: To keep our curated lists tip top we always keep an eye out for any new or trending properties. And this time around we've set our sights on this hidden sanctuary in Shoreditch, and this luxury hotel in South Kenso that's all about British elegance.  Looking for more options? 🛏 Check out London’s best Airbnbs ❤️‍🔥 or London's naughtiest hotels. Who makes the cut? While we might not stay in every hotel featured, we've based our list on top reviews, hosts and amenities to find you the best stays. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, see our affiliate guidelines.

The best charity shops in London

The best charity shops in London

If you've got a wardrobe crisis on your hands, it's tempting to hit up fast fashion shops. But why buy flimsy, bad-for-the-planet new garms when you can find pretty much anything you can imagine in London's charity shops? These aren’t just musty stores full of other people's cast offs. This city's best charity shops are Aladdin's Caves full of donations from fashion mavens, lovingly preserved and ready to transform you into a sleeker, more stylish-looking version of yourself. Head to London's priciest postcodes (like Fulham, Richmond or Chelsea) and you'll find designer garms at prices their makers would be appalled at. Or have a good old-fashioned rummage at east London's rag emporiums, safe in the knowledge that your haul comes guilt free, in terms of both price tag and environmental impact. From charity ‘boutiques’ with more cashmere than your average yacht club to old-fashioned junk shops you can lose an afternoon in, here are London’s best charity shops. Just don’t go telling everyone.   RECOMMENDED: London’s best flea markets.

‘After every night we’d get hand-pulled noodles’: Bicep on their favourite late-night food spots

‘After every night we’d get hand-pulled noodles’: Bicep on their favourite late-night food spots

For as long as people have been clubbing, punters have been dreaming about the end-of-night snack. This is no exception for the electronic musical duo Bicep, for whom late-night munch has always been a core part of their ritual. ‘I always try and slope off early if food places are in the back of my mind,’ says one half of Bicep, Andy Ferguson.  It’s part of the reason why the duo has teamed up with their favourite London pizzeria, Chiswick’s Napoli On The Road, to create ‘Carbs & Clubs for Charity’, a club night with unlimited Neapolitan slices. ‘Some of the best clubs we went to in America offered pizza and snacks in the club,’ says Andy. ‘It’s something we wanted to try ourselves.’ All proceeds will go to Refettorio Felix, charity that works to combat social isolation and food poverty.  The night should be a proper party. ‘We played an Italian restaurant in New York about 10 years ago and it was meant to be a chill night, but by 10pm everyone was dancing on the tables,’ says Andy. Inevitably, Italo disco will be on the soundwaves as well as some heavier stuff later on. Here, Bicep’s Andy Ferguson shares four of his favourite late night food spots.    Photograph: Rob Greig   Antepliler ‘Eighty percent of the time I go out, I’ll get Turkish. We’ll go for a big sit-down meal at one of the places on Green Lanes – my favourite is Antepliler. They’ve got four restaurants so you can choose what you want: the posh sit-down restaurant or the doner place. They’ve got a sweet resta

Quirky restaurants in London for a unique meal out

Quirky restaurants in London for a unique meal out

Why not enjoy your dinner with a side of strange? London is home to hundreds of amazing restaurants, but sometimes everyone hankers for a talking point with their tapas. We’ve rounded up a serious bunch of entertaining eateries: oddball decor, kooky culinary concepts and – yes – cats. Our list of unusual restaurants will delight animal lovers, garlic fans, and yodellers and more. You’ll find these joints in venues as varied as a boat, a prison and a church crypt. This is dining with a difference.  RECOMMENDED: The best weird bars in London. Leonie Cooper is Time Out London’s Food and Drink Editor. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

The best dance and ballet shows in July 2024

The best dance and ballet shows in July 2024

It’s July, which means we’ve officially passed the longest day and Glasto. We’re not quite sure where the time has gone, but summer is far from over just yet. To celebrate the warmer months London has got some cracking dance shows coming up this July. There’s Rambert at River Stage festival, Acosta Danza’s Carmen at Sadler's Wells and much more. Read on to discover the best dance in London this month.  MORE STAGE: Dance classes in London Best theatre shows this yearBest theatre shows this monthBest comedy shows this month

The best Mexican restaurants in London

The best Mexican restaurants in London

London’s ever-growing Mexican food scene offers far more than platefuls of tortilla chips heaped with salsa, guacamole and jalapeños and smothered in gooey cheese. You'll get incredible nachos if you want them, but there's also quality quesadillas, tip-top tostadas and exemplary enchiladas on offer across town. You’ll find all these and more at London’s very best Mexican restaurants. RECOMMENDED: London's best street food. Leonie Cooper is Time Out London’s Food and Drink Editor. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

The 17 best hotels in Amsterdam

The 17 best hotels in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of the world’s best cities, no doubt about it. And as a tourism capital, it’s no surpise that it’s stuffed full of beautiful hotels, from 18th century canal houses to converted bridge keepers’ houses and seriously high-grade hotels.  So if you’re looking for a tip-top place to bed down after a day out exploring the city’s best museums, attractions and coffee shops, you’ve come to the right place. From the city centre through to De Negen Straatjes, here are the best hotels in Amsterdam right now. Updated June 2024: We’ve just added three hotels to this list, in time for summer, including the Hoxton’s second outpost in the city. See our brand-new reviews below... RECOMMENDED:🏠 The best Airbnbs in Amsterdam📍 Where to stay in Amsterdam 📍 The best things to do in Amsterdam🍴 The best restaurants in Amsterdam 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. This guide includes affiliate links, which have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, see our affiliate guidelines. 

Forget the islands – Croatia’s Istrian peninsula has it all

Forget the islands – Croatia’s Istrian peninsula has it all

I first visited Istria when I was 18, for the legendary drum ‘n’ bass festival Outlook. Sadly, the festival is no longer held in the fort just outside of Pula, the city’s Roman amphitheatre still hosts unbelievably scenic concerts, with Lenny Kravitz, Andrea Bocelli and Dua Lipa all on the upcoming bill.    The peninsula has a curious make-up: it’s by and large Croatian, but with bits of it influenced by Italy and Slovenia. I recently returned to Istria, first and foremost to eat – a trip to the southernmost peninsula in Croatia is a must for food lovers. But visiting the region isn’t just about epicurean delights. It’s also home to cobblestoned waterside towns, lush green hills peppered with vineyards, ancient Roman architecture, intrepid cycling trails (just watch out for those hills) and even a massive naturist colony, if that’s your thing. In other words, there actually is something for everyone.  RECOMMENDED: Time Out Croatia's essential guide to Istria The food Oysters pulled straight from the Limski kanal. Fresh black truffles from the Motovun forest. Neon-green olive oil. These are just some of the culinary goodies you’ll be able to gorge on in Istria, a bonafide foodies’ paradise.  Truffles from the Motovun forest | Photograph: India Lawrence My four days on the peninsula are punctuated by meaty anchovies, salty oysters, fluffy focaccia, punchy olive oil, and sweet, thick prawns. You can get fresh shellfish for reasonable prices at Tony’s Oyster Shack, but Istria’s

The 60 best podcasts to listen to in 2024

The 60 best podcasts to listen to in 2024

There are a million podcasts out there, and 2024’s releases are showing no signs of slowing down. There’s already been a load of bangers since the beginning of the year, and here at Time Out, we’re determined to listen to them all. After all, how else are you going to know which one to choose? We’ve rounded up our favourites, from political podcasts that look behind the news to comedy podcasts with your favourite funny people, and plenty of those all-important investigative whodunnits to keep you up at night. If you’re looking to dig deeper into one genre, we’d recommend trying our specialist lists on for size (you’ll find them below). But for a full list of good, addictive podcasts of every genre, read on.  We update this list with brand-new podcasts every month, so check back for more fabulous podcast recommendations from the Time Out team. Happy listening! RECOMMENDED:🎧 The best news podcasts😂 The best comedy podcasts 🗞️ The best history podcasts

Clara Amfo: ‘I’ve always done my own thing – I could be a lot more bait if I wanted to’

Clara Amfo: ‘I’ve always done my own thing – I could be a lot more bait if I wanted to’

‘I have a calamitous image of falling onto her horns,’ says Clara Amfo, as Gerty the goat – a black and white beast with big curly antlers – trots about behind her. ‘Let me not manifest that!’  We’re on Freightliners City Farm in Islington. It’s a sunny(ish) Wednesday afternoon in May and the easy-going presenter is donning a burgundy three-piece shorts suit by Labrum while clomping about in big brown and white cowboy boots. ‘In the summer of Cowboy Carter it feels good to wear cowboy boots,’ Amfo tells me later. ‘I felt very powerful in them.’ In the poky goat shed where the Time Out cover shoot is taking place, there’s that distinct earthy farm smell; hay is strewn all over the floor and a sheep is bleating in the distance. It might not be your typical glamorous photoshoot, but thanks to Amfo’s years of presenting the BBC’s Glastonbury coverage, she’s well accustomed to farm life. Photograph: Jess Hand for Time Out The star has got a knack for putting a positive spin on things: despite the dressing room (which is actually the farm’s staff kitchen) having a glass façade that causes a sweltering greenhouse effect, she’s not phased. ‘I’d rather be too hot than too cold any day,’ she quips cheerily, chatting away about holidays and festival line-ups while getting ready to a mixture of Solange, Dua Lipa and Beyoncé playing from her portable speaker. After spending six hours with Amfo, I soon realise it’s this happy-go-lucky attitude that’s helped get her to where she is tod

Listings and reviews (39)

Barbie®: The Exhibition

Barbie®: The Exhibition

4 out of 5 stars

Everyone’s got an opinion of Barbie. Whether you adored playing with her growing up, loathed her for her wildly unrealistic body measurements, or came to appreciate her for her cultural impact, there’s no denying the 11.5inch leggy blonde is one of the most famous toys – if not women – on the planet. Now one year after Barbie-mania had London in a chokehold, Barbara Millicent Roberts has once again tottered back into the capital’s collective conscience, this time via a Design Museum exhibition celebrating 65 years of the iconic doll.  The clothes, the handbags, the mansion, the seemingly perfect boyfriend. Barbie has it all. And so does this exhibition. It provides an extensive look into how the toy was designed, how she has evolved over the years, and how she has influenced fashion, design and wider culture. Created in partnership with Mattel, Barbie’s parent company, the show looks at the toy not just as a kicky blonde doll, but as a brand, and from a design angle it can be considered a real success.  In a dark room filled with rainbow-coloured windows we are taken on an odyssey of all of Barbie’s different head and body shapes. I died a little inside learning about the 1968 Stacey, Barbie’s British friend who had stubby eyelashes, a pasty complexion and a funny shaped head who, in a cruel joke, is lined up next to the bronzed original Malibu Barbie.  In a section dedicated entirely to Barbie pink, we discover that Barb wasn’t always obsessed with the colour, and that it wa

TT

TT

3 out of 5 stars

When you think of a Shoreditch restaurant, TT is the kind of place that comes to mind; all stark wood and exposed brick, with a roof terrace featuring decor that isn’t a far cry from nearby Shoreditch House (think hanging bamboo lampshades, loadsa plants and rattan furniture). The ‘ditch might not be as cool as it once was, with tech bros and finance workers encroaching on its graffitied streets, but it’s still packed full of creative directors, plucky advertising interns and streetwear designers. TT is the kind of place where execs and hipsters can exist in harmony, and both have a nice time doing it. On a midweek evening in spring the place was packed with fashionable couples, after-work friends and preppy young professionals. Formerly known as TT Liquor, a bar with regular guest chef residencies, they’ve recently upped the food offering to become a full-blown restaurant. In the kitchen is ex-Oren head chef Sam Lone – he’s curated a menu of small and big woodfired dishes. Given that TT used to be a straight up cocktail bar, drinks were fabulous. The Violet Tendencies was floral, delicate and a mystical shade of blue. Its polar opposite, but equally delicious, was the sultry Lucifer; a rich concoction of bourbon and chocolate bitters. A mature drink.  Chargrilled aubergine was sweet, smokey and wonderfully gooey On the food front, things were a bit hit and miss. Let’s start with the good. An impressively big and pillowy focaccia was a serious statement dish, thanks to its l

St Martins Lane Hotel

St Martins Lane Hotel

4 out of 5 stars

Walking through the lime green doors to St Martin’s Lane feels a bit like entering a quirky modern art gallery. The decor isn’t for everyone, but it is unique. Everything smells really good too, with the hotel’s expensive-feeling signature lemongrass scent pumping through all the corridors. In the lobby, a row of giant gold teeth double up as stools. They’re lined up next to a trio of giant chess pieces and a seven-foot vase of flowers. Across the floor, a giant black and white photo of a ballerina leans against the wall. I’m sure when St Martin’s Lane opened in 1999, Philippe Starck’s ‘surrealist wonderland’ interiors made it the coolest hotel in town. Now, it all feels a bit random.   In the rooms, thankfully the decor is more understated, with white walls, crisp white bedding and plush beige leopard-print carpets. My suite was bright with an incredible vista of the London Eye, and panoramic windows covering two walls of the room. The best thing about staying in any hotel is taking a bath, and this had a tub big enough for a swim. The luxurious bed was incredibly comfortable and soft – a midday check-out made it the perfect excuse for a cheeky hurkle-durkle – and colour-changing neon lights in an alcove above the headboard were a fun addition. It could have all done with a little spruce up though, with visible age showing in the bathroom tiles and fixtures.  Neighbourhood Slap bang in the middle of ‘theatreland’, the location of St Martin’s Lane couldn’t be better. It’s a f

Breakin’ Convention

Breakin’ Convention

Hip hop festival Breakin’ Convention is back at Sadler’s Wells for its 21st anniversary. Its guiding light and curator Jonzi D creates a forum for the best hip hop dance theatre from the around the UK and the rest of the world. The event attracts a diverse and lively young crowd. This year’s global line-up features dancers and crews including Boy Blue, Jinjo Crew from South Korea,  LA-based Femme Fatale, UK-baed ShaolinOrShao and Olivier Award winners TRAPLORD. 

Swan Lake

Swan Lake

3 out of 5 stars

Everyone knows the story of ‘Swan Lake’. A princess turned into a swan, a wicked sorcerer, a chiselled prince coming to save her. It’s a wonder that the ancient story, and ancient 1877 choreography by Marius Petipa, is still beguiling audiences. But just like the most classic of fairy tales, the tale of the cursed princess remains a gesamtkunstwerk that will definitely pull on your heartstrings.  In a production first staged in 2018, ‘Swan Lake’ at the Royal Opera House is very much a trad ballet. It’s got all the things you’d expect – beautiful, featherlight swans moving in mesmerising unison, grand sets (designed by John Macfarlane), lavish costumes (a personal favourite was the Queen’s glittering black Victorian ball gown with an enormous bustle), and a bombastic Tchaikovsky score. Apart from an altered ending, there’s not much about this production by Liam Scarlett that shocks or surprises. Everything is neatly shaped to fit into the package that is ‘the ballet’. It’s still beautiful and satisfying to watch, but not particularly mind blowing.  In Act I the corps moves with military precision, with formations creating wonderful symmetry as the ballerinas swung their legs like pendulums. Then in the enchanted forest we meet Mayara Magri as Odette, who portrayed her with both a treacly sadness and light skittishness – not an easy combination to nail. Marcelino Sambé’s Prince Siegfried was a dependable partner, while also performing some seriously impressive jetés and pirouet

Impression Moxché by Secrets

Impression Moxché by Secrets

5 out of 5 stars

Impression Moxché by Secrets has got everything you could ever possibly need. And I mean everything.  This adults-only resort just outside of Playa Del Carmen is huge – so much so that you could easily spend a week here without having to leave once, although you might start to forget that the real world exists beyond the fortress of infinity pools and palm trees. It's got restaurants in every cuisine from Mexican to Californian, French to Italian, and south-east Asian to Japanese. It’s got a swim-up bar, a theatre, a beautiful spa; the list goes on. At Impression, relaxation is imperative. I felt like a queen being waited on hand and foot by the staff, who were always there to fold my towels, refresh my drink or offer me something to eat. Each guest is even set up with their own personal butler who you can communicate with via WhatsApp – if you need anything done, leave it with them.   The rooms are tasteful, spacious and immaculately presented. My room had not one, but two (!) hot tubs – one inside and one on the balcony. Plus Le Labo toiletries felt like a real indulgence. The main attraction is, of course, the beach, and the setting is chef’s kiss. With the stunning view of the azure Caribbean sea, stretches of white sand and plenty of secluded sunbathing spots, what’s not to like?  If you’re looking for a Mexican experience that feels more local, this probably isn’t the place for you. But if an all-inclusive is all you need, you’ll adore Impression.  Neighborhood  Found s

Taquiza

Taquiza

4 out of 5 stars

Good Mexican food in London is famously hard to come by. Mainly because Mexico is actually quite far from the Big Smoke, and compared to the likes of New York and LA we don’t have a huge Latinx population here. And yet, people (particularly Americans) still love to complain about it. So, moaners, we’re pleased to say that things could be changing. Mexican cuisine in the city is on the up, and joints like Taquiza are helping it on its way.  Taquiza has a bit of a ramshackle feel to it. There are exposed MDF boards, and the ceiling has a visible black curtain stapled across it, a bit like being backstage at a jaunty community theatre. This is down to the fact that the space doubles up as The Carpet Shop, one of London’s best new(ish) clubs, opened by the people behind the always-excellent Corsica Studios. It’s a fun concept! On a Friday night Taquiza was lively, but managed to remain cosy. Pisco sours and spicy margs were flowing and drinking them was a young and suitably fashionable, but not pretentious, crowd.  Our faces and hands were covered with various sauces and mayos – the messy sign of a meal truly enjoyed As for the food, they aren’t shy when it comes to portion sizes. We kicked things off with a trio of starters para compartir. Smoky refried black beans with the gooeyest island of queso fundido – hello cheese pull – and grilled elote (corn on the cob) with a cool burnt onion sour cream were firm favourites. A wonderful tuna tostada came piled high with crisp avocado

UniVerse: A Dark Crystal Odyssey

UniVerse: A Dark Crystal Odyssey

4 out of 5 stars

This review is from a 2023 performance at the Royal Opera House.  Dance performances at the Royal Opera House don’t typically begin with jumpscares. Nor do they feature rumbling techno scores, or have an interactive digital set projecting otherworldly CGI images of floating amoeba-like creatures. And yet, ‘UniVerse: A Dark Crystal Odyssey', has all of these things.  Based on Jim Henson’s 1982 dark fantasy puppet film ‘The Dark Crystal’, Company Wayne McGregor’s both wacky and bleak new production doesn’t quite follow the narrative of an elf on the quest for a crystal. Instead, the show takes key elements and themes from the movie – fantastical creatures, the destruction of worlds, and as the programme note puts it ‘ecological overtones’. What we’re given is a 70-minute plotless mystical odyssey through different realms, encountering a cornucopia of creatures, elements and humans. In an hour and 10 minutes with no interval we are hauled through time, space and everything in between. The typically awe-inspiring dancers’ strength, flexibility and precision allows them to be chameleon-like. With a cast of 11, we meet bizarre creatures made of hay, a sinister snake-like monster which hisses and hits the floor, aggressive forest fires and celestial water molecules. For the majority of the show, the dancers are faceless, enveloped in avant-garde full-body suits designed by Dr Alex Box and Phil Delamore.  There’s not much hope in this cheerless world. It’s bookended by spoken word po

Dimitris Papaioannou: INK

Dimitris Papaioannou: INK

Dimitris Papaioannou's spectacular production ‘INK’ features literally hundreds of litres of water sprayed, whirled and poured onto the stage. The Greek choreographer and director, famous for directing the opening and closing ceremonies of the Athens Olympics, is known for his surreal and nightmarish productions. ‘INK’ is no exception. Drawing on sci-fi and horror, a duet turns into a duel in this show set in a mythical water world. Prepare for a drenching. 

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch + Terrain Boris Charmatz: Nelken

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch + Terrain Boris Charmatz: Nelken

A man chopping an onion, dancers slapping each other in the face, and a stage covered in 8,000 handcrafted red and pink carnations are just some of the wonderfully bizarre things you're going to see in ‘Nelken’, performed by a new generation of Tanztheater Wuppertal dancers. As far as Pina Bausch goes, this is pretty standard. And if Bausch is your thing, ‘Nelken’ (translating to ‘Carnations’) isn't one to miss. Being performed in London for the first time since 2005, this performance is a meditation on life's ability to be painful and beautiful at the same time. 

The Boy and the Heron

The Boy and the Heron

4 out of 5 stars

First, a trigger warning: do not watch The Boy and the Heron on psychedelics. Hayao Miyazaki has returned from retirement with a real visual acid trip, full of breathtaking landscapes of cliffs with pounding waves and Hieronymus Bosch-like castle staircases.  Partly based on Miyazaki’s own childhood, it begins in Tokyo during World War II where a young boy – Mahito (voiced by Luca Padovan in the English dub) – witnesses the bombing of the hospital where his mother is an inpatient. Cut to a few months later and Mahito and his father (Christian Bale) have moved to the countryside, where dad has remarried Mahito’s aunt Natsuko. Here, Mahito must come to terms with his mother’s death, and accept his new family. Which is where the magic starts.  After being taunted by a frightening heron with a grotesque grin of tombstone-sized human teeth, Mahito discovers a boarded-up tower in the grounds of the house. Despite warnings that the tower is bad news, he’s drawn in by its sinister aura. Soon Natsuko is also taken by the tower and Mahito realises that he has to save her.  Inside, he meets massive people-eating parakeets, a helpful, robust fisherwoman, adorable and benevolent marshmallow-looking creatures, and a girl named Himi who has magical fire-rendering powers.  Hayao Miyazaki has returned from retirement with a real visual acid trip This enchanted world oscillates between light and darkness. Heavier themes of grief and war are balanced with funny moments. There are comically dul

The Franklin London - Starhotels Collezione

The Franklin London - Starhotels Collezione

4 out of 5 stars

Don’t be fooled by the glamorous art deco interiors of this boutique hotel in Knightsbridge: it may be opulent, but it’s also incredibly cosy. On the ground floor there are a series of nooks and crannies to nestle into: the bar, the reception room, restaurant, and a snug library.  As I’m not the biggest fan of black and gold with mirrors everywere, I was worried the decor in my room was going to be a bit much, but it did feel truly luxurious. When I first saw the enormous four-poster bed, I had no choice but to dive onto it and sink into the downy pillows. And when I say this was the best bath I’ve ever had in my life, I’m not exaggerating.  Then there’s the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant by Alfredo Russo. The food was hearty, yet elegant, and all round utterly scrumptious. The vibe itself was a little stuffy and quiet, but that may have been down to the fact I was eating there on a Tuesday night in November while an England World Cup match was on.  It’s not the most arty or edgy hotel, but it is luxe with an old-school charm. It nails the finer details, right down to the Penhaligon’s bath products, and I can’t fault it for that.  Neighbourhood Walking up to the Franklin, you’re slapped with the romantic feeling that this is what London is supposed to be like. The hotel is opposite the V&A, down a grand residential street in Knightsbridge with red brick townhouses and lined with fancy cars. At Christmas time, you can even see Harrods glowing in the distance with its mega

News (813)

Why is London’s 150-year-old Albert Memorial now so controversial?

Why is London’s 150-year-old Albert Memorial now so controversial?

London is absolutely chock full of iconic memorials. We’ve got the Cenotaph, Nelson’s Column, and even seven statues of a random Tory politician. But one 152-year-old memorial is currently causing controversy, being labelled as ‘offensive’ for ‘showing a Victorian view of the world’.  The Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens has been officially acknowledged for portraying derogatory ‘racial stereotypes’. The Royal Parks website has changed the description of the the 176ft monument to reflect that some elements of the memorial are offensive and outdated.  Built in 1872 as a tribute to Queen Victoria’s late husband Prince Albert, the monument has a gilded statue of the prince holding a catalogue of the 1851 Great Exhibition. He is guarded on four corners by the continents of Africa, America, Asia and Europe. Imagery in the memorial shows Imperialist attitudes that white Europeans rescued indigenous people from what was seen as ‘barbarism’. Some of the pro-Empire imagery includes a European woman reading a book to an African man.  ‘Representation of certain continents draws on racial stereotypes that are now considered offensive,’ says the updated description on the Royal Parks website. ‘Though the Empire has traditionally been celebrated as a symbol of British supremacy, many today consider this view as problematic because colonialism often relied on the oppression and exploitation of people, resources and cultures.’ The write up adds: ‘Victorian guidebooks to the memorial des

Lord Mayor’s Hot Air Balloon Regatta 2024: a festival of hot air balloons will float over London this month

Lord Mayor’s Hot Air Balloon Regatta 2024: a festival of hot air balloons will float over London this month

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a hot air balloon! This July, the London sky is set to be filled with 50 colourful flying balloons as the Lord Mayor’s Hot Air Balloon Regatta returns to the capital for the first time since 2019. Well, hopefully. The regatta can only take place if the weather is good enough and if you’ve looked up at the sky this month, you’ll know that it has been far from it. So far, the balloons have failed to have lift off on two separate occasions.  Organisers initially earmarked Sunday July 7 for the event, but heavy wind and rain put a dampener on those plans. The event was rescheduled for Sunday July 21 but once again, poor weather conditions stopped it in its tracks.  The next attempt is now happening on Sunday July 28.Hot Air Balloon Regatta was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic, and it had to be called off because of bad weather in 2022 and 2023. It’s safe to say the balloons are itching to be taken out of retirement and sent into London’s skies. What’s all this for, you might be wondering? The hot air balloon extravaganza is to raise awareness about the Lord Mayor’s Appeal – a charity initiative that has raised more than £250,000 since 2015.  If all, eventually, goes according to plan, the balloons will soar past landmarks including Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. It’s sure to be a sight to behold, so here’s hoping it'll actually happen in 2024.  Did you see t

Bloomsbury is getting a massive £400 million facelift

Bloomsbury is getting a massive £400 million facelift

Bloomsbury, London’s intellectual hotbed, home of Virginia Woolf, the Suffragettes and Marxist UCL students, is due to get a massive glow up over the next five years.  The area’s main landowners have come together to form the Bloomsbury London Partnership, which is made up of Bedford Estates, Imperial London Hotels, Kimpton Fitzroy London, Lazari Investments and Central District Alliance.  Over five years, the group wants to bring back some of Bloomsbury’s pizzazz, as the central London area is apparently ‘punching below its weight’ according to the group. At the moment, Bloomsbury has 14 museums, the biggest one being the British Museum, and more than 40 hotels. The makeover will include refurbishing the Imperial Hotel and creating three new ones, as well as ‘new places to live, learn, work and stay’. Buildings like Bloomsbury House, 50 and 51 Russell Square, and 19 and 21 Bedford Square are also up for renovations.  Simon Elmer, a spokesperson for the partnership called Bloomsbury ‘the intellectual and literary hub of London’. He said: ‘We have a concern that many visitors are simply passing through our neighbourhood every year, rather than experiencing the depth of the area and everything that it has to offer.  ‘It’s time to interrupt those journeys and show people the abundance  of truly inspirational experiences on offer daily – and that there’s even more to come.’ Rotherhithe’s much-loved Brunel Museum will close later this year for a major revamp. It’s official:

London train strikes July 2024: everything you need to know

London train strikes July 2024: everything you need to know

It’s been over two years since the rail workers first started striking and London was blissfully free from disruption on train and tube services. But industrial action isn’t going away anytime soon – until issues around pay, working conditions and job security can be resolved between unions and rail companies, walk outs are likely to continue for the foreseeable future. For now, however, London (and the wider UK) is getting a reprieve from industrial action. Following ASLEF strikes in May, no further strikes have been announced by rail unions. Enjoy this moment while it lasts! And an end to long-running disputes could now be in sight. Next week (July 23) the government and ASLEF are apparently returning to the negotiating table to end the union’s strike action. In other bright news, we’re also currently seeing respite from RMT workers striking on non-TfL services, as before Christmas the union’s members voted to pause strikes for now. Potential strikes on the Eurostar during the Paris Olympics have also been avoided, due to a pay offer to RMT workers.  Here’s everything you need to know about planned industrial action on London’s train network.  RECOMMENDED:All you need to know about the train strikes across the UK. When are the next London train strikes? There are currently no further train strikes planned for London.  The last ASLEF train strike took place on May 7-9.  Which London train lines will be affected? Nationwide ASLEF strikes typically affect 16 train companies,

London Heathrow is now officially the fourth-busiest airport in the world

London Heathrow is now officially the fourth-busiest airport in the world

If you’re travelling via Heathrow this summer, you might want to give yourself a bit of extra time to navigate the crowds. The London flight hub has just been crowned the fourth busiest airport in the world. As if flying wasn’t stressful enough already! In 2023 Heathrow was the world’s seventh busiest airport according to the Airports Council International (ACI), but now it’s crawled its way up to number four, overtaking Denver, Tokyo and Istanbul. Last year Heathrow saw a mega 79.2 million passengers pass through its gates. In the rankings it is just three percent down from Dallas-Fort Worth in third place, and nine percent behind Dubai in second. LHR also takes the title of the busiest airport in Europe, being the only European hub to make the top 10 busiest in the world. We may have lost the Euros, but at least we have this.  Last month, the London airport also recorded its busiest day ever, with more than 268,000 passengers passing through on June 30. Atlanta has remained the busiest flight hub in the world, with more than 100 million passengers in 2023. This is partly because it’s the home of Delta, the world’s biggest airline by revenue.  See the full rankings on the ACI website here. The 10 busiest airports in the world Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson, USA Dubai, UAE Dallas Fort Worth, USA London Heathrow, UK Tokyo, Japan Denver, USA  Istanbul, Turkey Los Angeles, USA Chicago O'Hare, USA New Delhi, India  ICYMI: London’s Heathrow Airport saw a record-

London is officially the worst city in the UK for food hygiene

London is officially the worst city in the UK for food hygiene

In some very disgusting news, this week it was revealed that London restaurants have the worst food hygiene ratings in the whole UK. An annual report found London eateries to have an average food hygiene rating of 4.36 out of five.  You better watch out for food poisoning the next time you go out for a meal in the Big Smoke. The survey by High Speed Training analysed Food Standards Agency ratings at 215,000 food outlets across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. London’s 35,833 eateries came out with the worst scores, making the capital the area with the poorest food hygiene in Britain. Disgusten!  If you can still stomach heading out for a meal, restaurants in Kensington and Chelsea are going to be your safest bet – this area had the highest rating of all the London Boroughs with an average of 4.80. Meanwhile, Waltham Forest had the lowest rating with a dismal average of 3.74 – a 0.03 decrease from 2023.  Dr Richard Anderson, head of learning and development at High Speed Training, said: ‘Food safety and robust hygiene practices should be of paramount importance. Recently, we have seen many high profile cases of food poisoning and illnesses caused by food-borne bacteria. ‘This is why food hygiene ratings are so important – they are a direct reflection of how safely and hygienically that establishment operates and are of critical importance to consumers.’ Beware! This London borough has the most ‘zero’ hygiene takeaway ratings. You’ll be safe at these joints: The

Rotherhithe’s much-loved Brunel Museum will close later this year for a major revamp

Rotherhithe’s much-loved Brunel Museum will close later this year for a major revamp

London has got all sorts of random and specific museums. There’s the formidable Vagina Museum, the gruesome Old Operating Theatre Museum, and one gallery dedicated entirely to the first tunnel in the world built under a river. We’re talking about the Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe, which has everything you need to know about the Thames Tunnel. But a warning – if you’re planning on visiting the Brunel Museum soon, you need to go before September. Soon it will close to undergo major renovations.  Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his father Marc built the Thames Tunnel between 1825 and 1843, connecting Rotherhithe and Wapping. Originally made for pedestrians, later it became London’s first tube tunnel.    The museum has been due for some TLC for quite a while, and from September it will finally happen. Two years ago, the museum received £1.85 million in lottery funding to go towards the glow up. This money will go towards restoring the existing engine house building, building a new welcome pavilion with a café, shop and accessible facilities, creating a programme of free community events and displaying a collection of 30 watercolours known as the Thames Tunnel Archive for the first time.  It will take about a year for all the work to be completed, with the museum set to reopen in time for the tunnel’s 200th anniversary in 2025.  The museum’s director Katherine McAlpine said: ‘Having this new space means that we can engage more with everyone and involve them in what the next 200 years w

This Grade I-listed Victorian arcade in London is getting a vast refurb

This Grade I-listed Victorian arcade in London is getting a vast refurb

Oxford Circus might have lost some of its sparkle (back in the day it used to have a mesmerising crystal palace), but plans are underway to restore the West End back to the world class shopping destination it was in its heyday. Part of this plan involves giving a mahoosive makeover to the Grade I–listed Royal Opera Arcade, which is going to be part of a bigger £430 million glow up in the area arranged by the Crown Estate.  The 1821 Royal Opera Arcade in St James’, which was London’s first shopping arcade, is going to be transformed into a brand new shopping hot spot. The building designed by John Nash has been through plenty of hardship over the years, having survived a fire, dereliction and the Blitz. It was leased by the New Zealand government in 1948, and now the building is being fully restored.  The Crown Estate has also signed off major renovation projects on two more London landmarks, including New Zealand House on Haymarket and 33 to 35 Piccadilly and 10 Spring Gardens just off the Mall. The result will be 250,000 square feet of office, leisure and retail space, worth more than £400 million.  Simon Harding-Roots, managing director, London at the Crown Estate, said the plans ‘will deliver much needed quality employment space into the heart of London’s West End’. He added: ‘They complement major projects such as the extensive improvements we are making to public spaces across Regent Street, Haymarket and Piccadilly Circus with Westminster City Council.’ First look: ins

Part of the London Overground will be shut for 16 days from this weekend

Part of the London Overground will be shut for 16 days from this weekend

Northeast Londoners, we have some bad news. The orange line is going down later this month, meaning there will be no Overground service between Chingford and Hackney Downs for two whole weeks. Lime bikes might be annoying but they could be your knight in green armour during this period. This is pretty annoying news, but it could be worse. Earlier in the year the closure was announced to run all the way to Liverpool Street, but now it’s only going to Hackney Downs. This is separate to the other Overground closure, which will see the line between Euston and Watford Junction shut from August 3-8 – find out all about that here. Worried about navigating northeast London during the Overground closure? Here’s everything you need to know. When will the London Overground be closed? There will be no Overground from Chingford to Hackney for 16 days from July 20 to August 4. This means there will be no rail service to or from Clapton, St James Street, Walthamstow Central, Wood Street, Highams Park and Chingford stations. Why is the Overground closing? Network Rail is going to be carrying out vital repairs to a 150-year-old bridge near Hackney Downs park. The railway arch, built in the 1860s, urgently needs replacing. Engineers will demolish the old bridge to build a new one. Network Rail will also carry out maintenance at sites up and down the route. Engineers will be working on overhead lines, points and drainage systems, as well as improving the condition of the ballast under the trac

This much-loved southeast London community theatre has gone up for sale

This much-loved southeast London community theatre has gone up for sale

A beloved community theatre in Bromley has gone on the market months after local authorities promised to secure its ‘long-term future’.  Churchill Theatre on Bromley High Street is up for sale on Rightmove. The 1970s-built building is being sold as part of a 0.6-acre parade on the high street, which includes six shops and Bromley Central Library. Could this mean curtains for Churchill Theatre? Last year Bromley council said the space, which hosts concerts, musicals, comedians and more, was ‘rapidly approaching the end of its life.’ In March the council said it was still in discussions with the theatre’s operators Trafalgar Entertainment, but would also ‘go out to market’ to invite ‘additional expressions of interest’ for the building and ‘secure the future of the theatre’. Bromley Council said this is an ‘exciting opportunity’ to ‘upgrade’ the venue. It also said that the library would be re-housed in the old Topshop on the high street.  The theatre opened in 1977, and currently has listings up to September 2025 on its website, which includes a show from comedian Jack Dee and a Taylor Swift tribute band.  The future of Churchill Theatre remains uncertain, we’ll update you when we know more. Interested in buying? Check out the Rightmove listing here. Did you see that Bromley has been named the best London borough for working families? Plus: the best new theatre in London for 2024. Get the latest and greatest from the Big Smoke – from news and reviews to events and trends. Jus

Will there be a bank holiday if England win Euro 2024? Here’s what we know so far

Will there be a bank holiday if England win Euro 2024? Here’s what we know so far

In the semi-final against the Netherlands, just when all hope for England’s chances in the Euros was just about lost, Ollie Watkins swooped in at the 90th minute, scoring a corker of a goal that would take the Three Lions through to the Euro 2024 finals. That semi-final sure was a memorable night – and now another could be in store, as England will take on Spain this evening for the grand title of Euro 2024 champions. This is England’s second European Championship final in a row (after defeat to Italy at Wembley in 2021) and the men’s team’s first ever major tournament final on foreign soil. We’ll all be on the edge of our seats for a while this evening, that’s for sure.  But other than who’s going to be on the starting lineup, there’s another question on everybody’s lips: will we get a bank holiday if England win Euro 2024? Here’s what we know so far.  RECOMMENDED:🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 How to watch England v Spain in the Euro 2024 final.🍻 The 11 best fan parks in England to watch the Euro 2024 final.🛒 All the UK stores changing their opening hours for the Euro 2024 final.🏆 England will get a huge open-top bus parade in London if they win Euro 2024 final. When is the Euro 2024 final between Spain and England? England will take on Spain tonight, on Sunday July 14. Kick off is at 8pm BST.  Will there be a bank holiday if England win Euro 2024? At the moment, we’re still not sure. Back in 2021, Prime Minister at the time Boris Johnson teased Brits that the UK could have a bank holid

England will get a huge open-top bus parade in London's Trafalgar Square if they win Euro 2024 final – here’s what we know so far

England will get a huge open-top bus parade in London's Trafalgar Square if they win Euro 2024 final – here’s what we know so far

This Sunday (July 14), the England men’s team will have a second crack at winning the Euros. Having beaten the Netherlands in the semi-final, the Three Lions will take on Spain in the final of Euro 2024, and it’s going to be a night full of tense nail biting, euphoric cheering and probably tears (we hope from Spain).  We don’t want to jinx it, but what happens if England actually win? Prime Minister Keir Starmer has already hinted at a potential bank holiday to celebrate England if we become champions, and what about a homecoming parade? Here’s what we know so far. RECOMMENDED:🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 How to watch England v Spain in the Euro 2024 final.🦁 All the big screens in London for the Euros 2024 final that are still taking bookings.⚽️ Time Out’s ultimate guide to the best places in London to watch the Euros.🎉 The 11 best fan parks in England to watch the Euro 2024 final.📺 Euro 2024 final at The O2: how to get tickets to watch England v Spain at London’s largest screening.🛒 All the UK stores changing their opening hours for the Euro 2024 final. Will England have a parade if they win the Euro 2024 final against Spain? If England win on Sunday the team will have an open-top bus parade, ending at Buckingham Palace where they will be honoured by the King.  Has a potential date and route been announced? It’s thought the parade will be on Tuesday July 16. A bus would take the squad from Guildhall in the City of London, to the palace via Trafalgar Square. What other celebrations ar