23 places to see spring flowers in London
If you've survived grey January, there's a blooming marvellous reward in store for you. Spring in London sees the city's streets erupt in bursts of surprising colour. In February come snowdrops and crocuses, with their tiny flowers that emerge from the muddy grass, alongside the delicate delights of apple blossom. But March is when the real joys come, with crowds of yellow daffodils appearing in parks, and cherry trees scattering pavements with pink petals. By April, the first tulips and hyacinths are springing out of the ground to join them, too. From bluebell-filled woodlands to bright and beautiful camellias, take a look at our list of the best places to see flowers in London. Then why not head to one of the city's best pub gardens for a drink that'll put a bit of spring in your step, as well as on your camera roll. RECOMMENDED: Here are the best places to see cherry blossom in London
Public Transport in London over Christmas and New Year
Travelling at Christmas is NOT easy. The festive period always needs that bit of extra planning in London, especially as you’ve got to see one grandma in Essex and another in Yorkshire before the New Year. So we’ve made it easy for you. Here’s what TfL, the Underground, buses, trams, trains and the Overground are up to this Christmas and New Year. Is public transport running in London over Christmas? The answer is sort of yes and no. Between Friday December 22 and Tuesday January 2, there’s planned work, closures and service changes on the network, so make sure you check before you travel. On Christmas Eve, for example (December 24 falls on a Sunday this year), services will finish earlier than normal across the London Underground, Docklands Light Railway, Elizabeth line, London Overground and London trams. This normally means things close around 9pm, but it tends to start being a reduced service from around 7pm. There are also no night bus services on Christmas Eve, so don’t stay in the pub too long and get caught out in the (possibly) rain. When are the train strikes over the Christmas period? There haven’t been any announcements about planned strike action on the network over the Christmas period... yet. But, if the past year is anything to go by keep your eyes peeled and be prepared for your travel plans to change. Check back for updates. Is public transport running on Christmas Day? Everything stops running on Christmas Day: the tube, buses, TfL Rail, DLR, Overground,
13 secret spots to explore in King’s Cross
It might not seem like it when you're waiting for a delayed train (again) but King’s Cross isn’t all busy platforms and chain restaurants. From awesome food spots to lovely parks, there are loads of great places worth visiting, proving that King's Cross is way more than a massive transport hub. Here's our pick of the best of the bunch. RECOMMENDED: find more great things to do in King's Cross
The 50 best cinemas in the UK and Ireland
What makes a great cinema? For some, it’s cheap tickets and a friendly vibe, while others are happy to pay extra for a sense of indulgence that comes with posh snacks, sofa seating and tiny tables to plonk a cocktail on. There are purists who will always make the case for 35mm projectors and surround-sound powerful enough to shake their insides loose. Film buffs might get an extra buzz from knowing their local picture palace once screened Chaplin movies back when the Little Tramp was the biggest thing at the box office.Whatever you love in a cinema, there are loads across England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland to provide it. And despite a tough year-and-a-bit, they’re still out there providing that unique big-screen experience. What better time, then, to celebrate them in all their variety? We sent our local experts out across the British Isles to find 50 of the very best kinos – and share what makes them special. Written by Chris Waywell, Isabelle Aron, Huw Oliver, Katie McCabe, Phil de Semlyen, Alim Kheraj, Rosie Hewitson, Joe Mackertich & Chiara WilkinsonRECOMMENDED: The 50 most beautiful cinemas in the world
The electric rise and fall of London’s most notorious party pub
Ask a Londoner of a certain age about The Dolphin pub in Hackney and it will probably go one of two ways: 1. They’ll wince and say something along the lines of: ‘Is that that place on Mare Street?’ 2. They’ll regale you with stories of messy nights, questionable decisions and sickly shots of Jägermeister. When I put out a call asking for drunken tales, these were the kind of responses that slid into my DMs: ‘We took my mate’s dad there once. He got kicked out for being topless and rowdy.’ ‘It’s the only place where you can get everyone to sing along to “Mysterious Girl” at 3am without judgement.’ ‘I had sex in the toilets.’ People have strong feelings about this pub on Mare Street. It’s a rare kind of place where the word ‘legendary’ actually applies. Its late licence means it’s open until 4am at the weekend. Its door stamp (of a Dolphin, obviously) is an icon in its own right, and not just because it’s impossible to scrub off – punters have been known to get it tattooed on their wrist. There are even rumours about a now-defunct loyalty card. From the outside, with its wood-panelled front and classic gold signage, The Dolphin looks like your average traditional London pub. In fact, right now, it is shut, windows covered with notices from Hackney council about a review of the premises licence. But in its heyday, between 2005 and 2015, the pub’s owner Yaşar Yildiz says thousands of people would go through the doors on Friday and Saturday nights. It was sweaty. It was noisy. It
The 13 best things to do in Nice
In many ways, Nice takes the crown as the ultimate summer destination. Certainly it’s the shining glory of the French Riviera. It has it all, from stunning sandy beaches to quaint little villages and some fantastic markets to stroll through. That’s probably why it’s made a bit of a name for itself as a prime spot for celebs, high-flyers and other seekers of luxurious living. But the best things to do in Nice aren’t just star-studded extravagance. You’ll find something for every budget here, from art exhibitions for as little as €10 to medieval castles you can hike to for no money at all. Plus there’s infinite free ways to spend your days, like wondering through flower markets and sipping on cheap local wines. Whatever you’re here for, we’ve got you covered. Here are the best things to do in Nice on all budgets. RECOMMENDED:🏖️ The best beaches in Nice🍴 The best restaurants in Nice🛍️ The best shops in Nice🏨 The best hotels in Nice🏘️ The best Airbnbs in Nice Planning your next trip? Check out our latest travel guides, written by local experts.
Are London’s foxes getting bolder?
One balmy night in the first lockdown of 2020, Claire Strickett woke up with a jolt. She was unnerved. ‘Think I remember something hitting my hand, but I can’t say for sure,’ she says. ‘I just had a sense that there was something or someone else in the room.’ Her senses were on high alert. Then, she heard something moving under the bed. Quickly, she turned on the light. Her cat was sleeping by her feet. So who or what was under her bed? Strickett didn’t have to wait long to find out. After she turned on the light, the intruder shot out from under her bed and stood in the corner of her bedroom. It was not a burglar. It wasn’t human at all. It had four legs, a bushy tail and a fur coat. ‘IT’S A FOX,’ Strickett screamed. It turned out that the back door had been left open and the fox had wandered in, going up the stairs from the garden and into the kitchen, then up another flight of stairs into Strickett’s bedroom. As far as she knows, the fox never returned for another visit. Either way, she wasn’t too concerned. In fact, she liked watching the family of foxes which had made their home in a neighbour’s garden. That said, she never expected to see one at the foot of her bed in the middle of the night. Close encounters of the furred kind What Strickett now refers to as the ‘Incident of the Fox in the Nighttime’ happened at her then-home in Earlsfield. And she isn’t the only Londoner to have had dealings with one of the city’s urban foxes. Lauren Crouch woke up to find a fox on he
The Street That Changed My Life: Londoners share the parts of the city that have shaped them
In our The Street That Changed My Life series, we ask well-known Londoners to share their memories of the places in the city that have helped shape who they are. The street a DJ grew up on, the place where a comedian did their first gig, the site of a chef’s first restaurant: these are the corners of the capital that mean the most to them.
Hype Dish: we find out what goes into London’s most iconic plates
London isn’t short on excellent restaurants serving up creative, innovative and wacky dishes. But sometimes you just want a classic, something you can guarantee will be good. Something you might – whisper it – even queue for. Think Padella’s pici cacio e pepe, Quo Vadis’s smoked eel sandwich and Gloria’s Incomparable Lemon Pie. These are London’s hype dishes – and in this series, we’ll be dissecting what goes into these much-loved creations.
How Jessie and Lennie Ware became the first family of food
I’ve interviewed London-born popstar and podcaster Jessie Ware twice. On both occasions, butter has played a significant part. This time around, we’re in a casino in Mayfair. Jessie’s mum Lennie is here too. The pair are posing with a suitcase full of shiny foil-wrapped blocks, pretending to be on the run with their buttery loot for our high-concept cover shoot. ‘Where does this rank on the list of weird things you’ve been asked to do?’ I ask them. ‘Pretty high,’ says Jessie. Photograph: Jess Hand The Wares’ side hustle The first time I talked to Jessie Ware was back in June 2020, in the seemingly neverending first lockdown. Butter was involved then because she showed me how to make brownies over Zoom using a recipe from a cookbook that she’d written with her mum. Jessie leaned into her laptop screen and bellowed instructions at me to whisk ‘the bloody eggs’ and ‘fucking give it some welly’. We even staged a virtual photoshoot in her back garden, with Jessie propping her laptop on her garden-waste container. Today, we agree, is way more fun (what isn’t, compared to 2020?). As well as actually being in the same room together and not having to use a bin as a tripod, the major difference this time is that Jessie has brought her cookbook co-author mum with her. Lennie Ware has become a bit of a celebrity herself, thanks to the podcast the pair host together. Launched in 2017 and now in its thirteenth season, ‘Table Manners’ sees the mother-and-daughter duo invite celeb guests
London restaurant staff on what not to do on a date
Don’t flirt with the staff ‘I’ve seen a couple gaze into each others eyes only for the woman to go to the bathroom and the man pass a piece of paper with his phone number on to the waitress. The waitress gave the piece of paper to the woman on her return from the bathroom and she made a quick exit. He was left with a red face and the bill.’ Tim Healy, owner, Joe Allen Don’t be late ‘A gentleman was incredibly late for a date and his excuse was that he’d got caught up shaving himself from head to toe in preparation. Why he felt the need to approach the date as if swimming the channel is a mystery best left unsolved.’ Olga Turral, waiter, The Pig & Butcher Don’t try to blag it with the wine list ‘Don’t show off about wine if you clearly have no idea. More than once, I’ve had someone tell me they hate sauvignon blanc, but love sancerre (sauvignon blanc from the Loire Valley), which is a sticky one to explain without making them sound stupid to the guest they’re trying to impress.’ Ian Toogood, general manager, Launceston Place Don’t be a dick ‘We once had a couple on a first date. He was on time, she was ten minutes late. When she arrived, he tapped his watch and said: “You are very, very late!” before even saying hello. Needless to say, she had a glass of water and left. It was painful to watch.’ Rizwan Khan, general manager, Junsei The best restaurants in London you should be booking. Things to do in London this weekend.
Revealed: Time Out London’s 2021 Love Local Awards winners
If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that Londoners really love their city. In this year’s Love Local Awards, there were a whopping 100,000 votes as you guys championed your favourite places in the capital. All those votes are a celebration of the city’s beloved local restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés, shops, music venues, galleries and theatres – the places that make this city what it is. Now, we can finally reveal the winners…
Listings and reviews (42)
Alice's Adventures Underground
This review is from 2017; ‘Alice’s Adventures Underground’ is due to return to brand new venue Labyrinth, but had been postponed indefinitely due to delays in the construction. ‘We’re all mad here’, says a grinning purple Cheshire cat. He’s not wrong. I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and it is absolutely bonkers. Well, technically I’m in the Vaults in Waterloo, but it feels like another world. After a sell-out run in 2015, Les Enfants Terribles and ebp’s ‘Alice’s Adventures Underground’ has returned to the Vaults for more immersive adventures. We’re ushered into a room filled with dusty books, grand chandeliers, an old piano, and a looking glass, of course. A blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman appears behind the looking glass. She is Alice, presumably, but she can’t remember her name. ‘Who am I?’ she asks, before disappearing. But that’s the last we see of her for a while, because this is not Alice’s adventure – it’s ours. Like a group of excited schoolchildren, we move through a tunnel lined with yellowing book pages and our adventure begins. You decide whether to ‘eat me’ or ‘drink me’ to determine which path you’ll take (there are 24 adventures happening at the same time, making it almost impossible to see the same show twice). You’re given a playing card and split into ‘suits’. Each group is led by a performer throughout, which means there’s an actual narrative (albeit a totally mad one), so you’re not left wandering aimlessly. It’s not just the experience that’s impressive
Sarap Filipino Bistro
Vegetarians and squeamish people, look away now. The most delicious thing on the menu at Sarap Filipino Bistro, a new Filipino-inspired restaurant in Mayfair, is unapologetically meaty. It’s a pork trotter, okay? Deal with it. The restaurant is Filipino chef Ferdinand ‘Budgie’ Montoya’s second London eatery – his first one is in Brixton and this new Heddon Street spot is a more fancy affair. As I walk in, my eye is drawn to a blackboard of recommendations. At the top, under ‘What Budgie’s eating’, it says: ‘Rellenong Crispy Pata, twice cooked adobo pork rice stuffed trotter.’ Who am I to argue? When it comes, the waiter encourages us to pick it up and get stuck in, telling us that all decorum has gone out the window as diners tuck in to this dish. He talks us through how they make it, too: the trotter is stuffed with pork and rice cooked in adobo sauce and then the whole thing is deep fried. The pork and rice it’s stuffed with is rich and glossy, while the outside was like really good crackling. It’s served with a tangy vinegary sauce to dip into, which cuts through the richness. It’s incredibly tasty. It’s a pork trotter, okay? Deal with it. The trotter is one of three small plates on the menu, alongside four large plates and three sides. If you went in a group, you could quite easily work your way through the entire lot. Me and my one dining companion had a pretty good go at it. The pork trotter was my favourite dish, but that’s not to say that the whole menu is a meat fe
The last time I went to the space that is now The Plimsoll, it was an Irish pub with an old-man vibe called The Auld Triangle. In some ways, it hasn’t changed much. The wallpaper is still peeling off the ceiling a bit, the seating is your classic pub stools and it has Guiness on tap. But that’s not a bad thing: it feels like a proper London boozer. What is obviously different is the shiny new kitchen you see when you walk in the door. I’m not even sure if the pub did food before, but if it did, I can guarantee that what’s on the menu now is in a totally different league. The guys responsible for this kitchen glow-up are Ed McIlroy and Jamie Allan, the chef duo known as Four Legs, who previously had a long-running residency at The Compton Arms. When that came to an end, they decided to take the plunge and open their own pub. The spot they’ve taken over is a few minutes’ walk from Finsbury Park station on the corner of St Thomas’s and Plimsoll Roads, hence the name. Their reputation in the kitchen has followed them to the new place – I could only get a reservation at 6.15pm on a Monday night, and even then, the place was absolutely buzzing. The menu is a mix of snacks, small plates and bigger plates. It’s one of those where your brain goes: ‘yep, yep, yep’ as you scan it. I could have happily eaten everything on the menu. A word of advice: this is not the place for you if you want to load up on vegetables – our waiter commented: ‘We’re quite a carnivorous restaurant…’ My tota
Bullet Tongue Reloaded
This review is from November 2018. 'Bullet Tongue' returns as 'Bullet Tongue Reloaded' in June 2019. It’s a rainy Monday night and I’m standing in a stranger’s living room when someone pulls out a gun. Okay, it’s a plastic one, but still, it’s enough to make the crowd jump. I’m watching ‘Bullet Tongue’, the latest production from The Big House, a theatre company that works with at-risk young people to bring their experiences to the stage. It’s the organisation’s first show at its new home in a disused frame factory in Islington. Making full use of the space, the production is a promenade show. We move around as the story unfolds in different parts of the building – from a gang member’s living room to a graffitied street to a caravan in Eastbourne, each space with a different backdrop.‘Bullet Tongue’ explores London’s gang culture through a group of teenagers, including a stand-out performance from Shonagh Woodburn-Hall who plays the fierce 16-year-old Bumper. The plot is informed by the real experiences of the actors and you can tell – it feels authentic and, as a result, deeply bleak at times. But there are funny moments too: like Bumper’s sort-of stepdad barbecuing sausages in his teeny-tiny Speedos outside the caravan.Immersive theatre is often a vehicle for the silly and absurd, but ‘Bullet Tongue’ does something completely different. The audience moves with the action, but there’s no singling people out or awkwardly getting them to interact. From sitting in the prison vi
‘Fight Night’ review
‘Keep him hydrated at all times’, a woman barks. ‘And hold his spit bucket.’ I’m in a room full of people I’ve just met, helping a boxer named Bam Bam prepare for a big fight. The words ‘Lose your head, lose the fight’ are scrawled on a blackboard – we’re told to repeat this mantra to help get our man pumped up. I’m at ‘Fight Night’, an interactive, immersive boxing match by Exit Productions, which returns to the Vault Festival after winning the Innovation Award at the festival last year. It’s definitely an original concept – over the course of about 90 minutes, the audience is immersed in the shadowy side of the boxing world. At the start, we’re split into two teams (determined by our allegiances to north and south London) and we’re supposed to root for our boxer. I say supposed to, because it’s soon clear that there are lots of dodgy dealings going on – and it's every man for himself. We’re given chips to place bets throughout the night – and there’s even a prize at the end as a fiver is handed out to one lucky audience member. Between fixing the odds and spreading rumours (one audience member tells me to place a bet against our boxer as he’s just lied to the bookies about him being injured), the audience is given the power to influence the result of the fight. It’s very much dependent upon you to get involved, though, which means it’s easy to feel a bit lost. While I wandered around with a few other audience members hoping to dig up some dirt on the boxers and trying to g
Complete with hanging baskets, dark wooden panels and gold lettering, The Gunmakers looks like a proper, old-school boozer. And it is, to an extent – a nineteenth-century pub given an update by the folks behind Bermondsey bar Nine Lives. They’ve kept original details (the mirrors embossed with ‘gunmakers’ are a nice touch) and have added a space upstairs decked out like a living room that feels cosy without being overcrowded. The most popular spot is a lovely garden hidden at the back, decorated with fairy lights, lanterns and hanging foliage. But here’s a twist: on the top floor you’ll find The Gun Club, the pub’s barber shop, which is worth avoiding if you make bad decisions after a few pints. Modern trappings extend to the bar, too. It stocks classy canned cocktails from Ace + Freak (produced by the same company that owns the pub). I was initially a bit sceptical – even though I love a G&T tinny – but I was pleasantly surprised by a zingy watermelon and cucumber sangria. The food menu has a New Orleans vibe with dishes including creole shrimp burgers, jambalaya arancini and crawfish mac ’n’ cheese. With so many cosy nooks and crannies, this is a great spot for after-work drinks. You might have to fight it out for a seat in the garden, though.
There are very few situations that can’t be improved by cheese and wine – and you’ll find both in abundance at this delightful deli and wine bar. Based in an unassuming spot on Holloway Road, it’s bigger than it looks from the outside – there are tables in the window and at the back of the room, or you can pull up a bar stool at a large wooden table in the middle and watch staff dish up olives and cut slices off huge slabs of cheese. On my early Saturday evening visit, there was a steady stream of people coming in to buy wine, cheese and meat, as well as those staying for a tipple. Open fridges are filled with cheese, cured meat and olives, while huge cans of cornichons and chutneys from Hackney-based producer Newton & Pott line the shelves. There’s no real kitchen, but they’ll ask you what kind of things you like and make you up a personalised plate to nibble on while you work your way through the wine list. Speaking of which, there’s a good selection on the menu, including an ‘orange and interesting’ section and a decent number of by-the-glass options. You can also go off-menu if you spy something on display that takes your fancy – it’s £10 corkage if you’re staying to sip it or you can take your bottle home. They also have some wines on tap at around £8 or £9 per bottle – you buy a bottle, fill it up, drink and repeat. And if that’s not enough to keep you coming back for more, I don’t know what is.
If you don’t know your Bordeaux from your Burgundy, wine bars can be intimidating. Happily, that’s not the case at Humble Grape, which lives up to its name with an unpretentious approach to vino. Having originally made its home in Battersea, this independent wine bar and shop has opened a second branch down a cobbled passageway just off Fleet Street. Despite the modest exterior, it’s surprisingly vast inside, with dark wood panels and wine bottles lining the walls. Soft jazz tinkles through the speakers, and there’s a choice between seats at the bar, cosy booths or tables in the back. The wine list has around 30 options by the glass or carafe – or delve deeper with more than 200 varieties by the bottle. Luckily, you don’t have to be a connoisseur to understand the menu, which walks the line between funny and informative (without ever sounding patronising). A bottle of red with a particularly complex name is described as ‘Virtually unpronounceable. Completely unforgettable,’ while a variety of chardonnay is billed as ‘liquid lemon meringue’, a surprisingly apt description. If, unlike me, you need more to convince you than the word ‘meringue’, staff clearly know their stuff and are happy to advise. For even more booze for your buck, a flight of four varieties costs £13 or bottles at the bar are retail price on Monday nights. This wine destination might be humble, but with prices like that, it’s worth shouting about.
It’s a Monday night and a giant stuffed bear towers over me as I discuss my worst nightmares with a group of strangers. We’re all wearing identical dressing gowns and slipper socks. This isn’t some weird therapy session – I'm at ‘Somnai’, a new virtual reality immersive production. Set over two floors in a huge Clerkenwell warehouse, this debut show from Dotdotdot promises to explore the realm of lucid dreaming using VR technology. If that sounds a bit vague, that’s kind of the point. When I arrive at the ‘sleep clinic’, I have no idea what to expect. We’re given a ‘patient ID wristband’ and a Fitbit (more on that later) and ushered into a clinical white room where cold ‘medical staff’ scan our faces. It feels like we’re in an episode of ‘Black Mirror’. The cast isn’t huge, as we spend a good chunk of the show with our VR headsets on. But one actor guides our group of six through the experience, asking about our dreams, reading us a bedtime story and telling us when to put our ‘sleep masks’ (VR headsets) on and take them off. For the most part, the VR technology is pretty cool. I go from flying into the sunset with birds (while being wafted with air to truly feel like I’ve got the wind beneath my wings) to exploring a magical forest, complete with glowing mushrooms you can reach out and grab. At one point, we cross a bridge with gaping holes in it and I carefully step over them, even though my mind knows I’m on solid ground. It’s a bizarre feeling. The tech is a bit glitchy
Please note, the Dartmouth Arms is now under new ownership. Time Out Editors, January 2019. Tucked away on a side street in Tufnell Park, you might not stumble across the Dartmouth Arms by accident, but this community asset pub is worth seeking out. The north London boozer has been around for years, but it’s recently been given a new lease of life by the team behind the Chesham Arms in Hackney – an old-school East End pub that was on a trajectory towards being turned into flats until the locals stepped in and saved it through community campaigning. The Dartmouth Arms (or The Darty, to locals) has a very similar story and the same happy ending. Before Andy Bird – owner of several London pubs – took it under his wing, it had been closed and empty since 2015. Happily, that’s no longer the case. On my Friday night visit, it was buzzing with a content crowd and although the pub has been refurbished, it hasn’t lost its character. With fringed lampshades, traditional fittings and knick-knacks scattered around the place (one shelf housed a ceramic sherry barrel and a Teasmade), this feels like a proper local pub. Thankfully, the beer selection is much more extensive than what you get in your standard watering hole, with lots of independent beers on tap including a hoppy American pale ale from 360 Degree Brewing Company and London brews from Wild Card Brewery and One Mile End Brewery. There’s a mix of bottled beers too, plus a discounted bottle of the week worth seeking out. The good
Celebrate LGBT+ History Month at this exhibition, which delves into the archives to explore queer culture in Southwark. Learn about the forgotten stories of trans Londoners in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, ’60s pub drag culture and the emergence of the gay disco scene in Camberwell in the ’80s. Find out more here.
‘It’s the best time of day. Betwixt and between where anything can happen.’ That’s what we’re told at the start of ‘Neverland’. The problem is, it was pretty hard to tell what was happening at all throughout this ‘Peter Pan’-inspired musical. From The Guild of Misrule and Theatre Deli – whose previous shows include the experiential performance of ‘The Great Gatsby’ at The Vaults last year – this is the headline show of this year’s Vault Festival, so it’s surprising that it feels a bit amateur. With its labyrinth of tunnels under Waterloo station, The Vaults is a brilliant setting for immersive theatre, but I spent most of the performance in one room, the main stage, where it was sometimes hard to hear the actors and the acapella songs fell flat. During the opening half, there were moments where audience members were taken off to different parts of the set, but this was often clumsy and distracting – those left behind could hear loud voices behind a flimsy curtain, and at one point a group of people just walked through the main stage with no explanation. As a result, the first hour really dragged. Eventually, I was whisked off to one of the side rooms, which helped pick up the pace a bit but the main issue was that the plot was almost impossible to follow. Rather than the story of ‘Peter Pan’, the show focuses on the ideas and narratives which inspired the book, written by JM Barrie, who stars as one of the play’s main characters. In this dream-like world, we meet Captain Hoo
Hear the stories of the Windrush generation from the people who were part of it
Today is National Windrush Day, a date that marks 75 years since MV Empire Windrush arrived at Essex's Tilbury Docks. The boat carried more than 1,000 passengers, many of whom were West Indian service personnel and civilians. On June 22 1948 their new lives in Britain began and London’s cultural and political makeup changed forever. The Black Cultural Archives has been preserving the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain since 1981. Based in Brixton’s Windrush Square, it hosts exhibitions and events celebrating black culture. It also works with 18- to 25-year-olds through its Youth Forum. Four members of the BCA's Youth Forum – Mahmoud Ally, Kyle Frank, Cartèlea Howell and Flourish Igwe – worked on a project where they interviewed people from the Windrush generation to document their experiences. These extracts tell their stories. Photograph: Howard Grey Eubert Crosby Born in 1928 in Trenchtown, Jamaica, Eubert came to the UK when he was 19 years old. What did you know about the UK beforehand? ‘Not a lot. Only that you could come here and get a job. You have to understand that all we wanted was just to get a job.’ What happened when you arrived? ‘We came off at the port and we happened to go to a pub in Fulham. We were having a drink and these two white guys – the sweetest guys I ever met – said “Where are you from? Can we buy you a beer?” I told them I had no work and they told me to take the 105 bus to the Hoover factory. I went there the next morning and
Adeel Akhtar: ‘I don’t know if there’s a market for a tiny Asian superhero’
‘Rubber dinghy rapids, bro!’ This is the line that followed Adeel Akhtar around at the start of his career. People would regularly stop him on the street and shout it at him, enthusiastically. It’s one of those lines that if you know, you know. But if you don’t know, it’s from the 2010 cult classic ‘Four Lions’, a satirical film about a hapless group of Muslim extremists in Sheffield who decide to become suicide bombers (Akhtar’s character ends up accidentally blowing himself up in a field of sheep). Directed by Chris Morris, and starring Riz Ahmed and Kayvan Novak (whose character actually says the line about the Alton Towers ride), it was Akhtar’s breakthrough film. More than ten years after its release, strangers still stop him on the street to talk about it. ‘That's where it all started,’ he says about his big break. If that's where it started, it's safe to say it’s showing no signs of stopping. Akhtar has built up a varied and compelling career across screens both big and small. When we speak over Zoom, he’s in Manchester filming ‘Fool Me Once’, a new eight-part Netflix thriller based on a Harlan Coben novel. He warns me that his wife and kids are in the room next door, and have just eaten a load of chocolate brownies and ice cream. ‘They might run in at any moment.’ I brace myself for a ‘BBC Dad’-style interruption, but it never comes. Photograph: Jess Hand / Time Out Akhtar started his acting career ‘later than most’ at 30 years old when he got the role in ‘Four Lion
London chefs tell us their kitchen nightmares
Jeremy Chan Chef and co-founder, Ikoyi ‘One busy Friday evening, our gas switched off as the restaurant filled up. We couldn’t turn it back on, so we turned the oven up to 250C, leaving metal trays to get super-hot, which we used to sear and cook. We held blow torches beneath pots to warm up sauces. Somehow, we made it through nearly 500 plates of food all cooked with a blow torch and a broken oven.’ Pary Baban Chef and owner, Nandine ‘During lockdown, the fryer was left on overnight. When I arrived at the restaurant in the morning I was greeted by a smoky kitchen. The next day, the kitchen flooded. The near-fire the night before had thawed out a tap that we thought was broken, but was actually completely frozen from the weather. Needless to say, seeing the restaurant flooded the day after the fire incident was quite a shock!’ Chris Leach Chef co-founder, Manteca ‘During a Friday lunch in December when omicron was getting going, we were already three staff down when the grill chef burned his hand and went to A&E. Then in walks a well-known critic and sits opposite the kitchen. Then the environmental health officer shows up for a surprise inspection. Definitely one of the most unenjoyable services since we opened.’ How to get involved in Cook for Ukraine in London. The best restaurants in London you should be booking.
'Off Menu' hosts James Acaster and Ed Gamble share their ultimate London meal
We turn the tables on ‘Off Menu’ hosts James Acaster and Ed Gamble and ask them about their ultimate London meal. They share their dream starter, main, dessert and side dish from London restaurants James Acaster Starter‘I’d have Kricket’s Keralan fried chicken. I didn’t expect to be so good the first time I had it. It just blew my mind how succulent it was, how delicious and flavourful the batter was. And the yellow dip it comes with tastes like liquid butter.’ Photograph: Kricket Main‘We went to Sabor for Ed’s birthday and the whole suckling pig there was insane. It was so flavourful and the skin was amazingly crispy. It was so tender that they just picked up a plate from the table and used the edge of it to cut it up.’ Photograph: Sabor Side‘I’d want Busaba’s Thai calamari. I know it’s a little chain now, but it’s one of my favourite things to eat. It’s never been bad, ever. It’s magic, really – the flavour is unique and the texture is amazing: perfectly light and crispy.’ Dessert‘I’d have Shackfuyu’s french toast with matcha ice cream. It’s a wedge of brioche french toast that’s dusted with brown sugar – it’s crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside and the soft-serve ice cream marries really nicely with it. I’ve not seen anyone who doesn’t go nuts for it.’ Photograph: Shackfuyu Ed Gamble Starter‘The bread from Kudu in Peckham is so rich and delicious it could be the entire meal. It’s an incredible brioche-style bread which you dip into pans of melted butte
Overheard in London: this week’s #wordonthestreet
‘I don’t want to sound like an old person, but do you want a cherry menthol sweet?’ ‘Fifty is just 40 with a hat on.’ ‘I can’t do yoga now, I’m full of sausages.’ ‘What’s the difference between a power shower and a shower-shower?’ ‘I don’t think I’ve ever bought a doughnut in my life.’ ‘The city is so gentrified now. They’ve even priced the pigeons out.’ ‘Turns out that emus can take quite a lot of bullets before they die.’ ‘That salt is really… salty.’ ‘Noel Edmonds’s face can fuck off.’ ‘True friendship is deboning their chicken at 3am.’ ‘I’m having trouble getting through bread at the moment.’ Every week you share the weird things you’ve overheard in London. Above, a few snippets from the past seven days – tweet us yours using #wordonthestreet and @timeoutlondon
Overheard in London: this week’s #wordonthestreet
‘Can’t believe I spent my last £15 on teaspoons.’ ‘The first thing I saw this morning was my cat’s bumhole.’ ‘Everything’s a Wordle when you’re illiterate like me.’ ‘I’m a fan of a high voice in a man.’ ‘I don’t want to spam your Slack.’ ‘I can’t curate myself. I’m uncuratable.’ ‘I’m sweating, but I can’t tell if it’s the sausages or if I’m just hot.’ ‘I think I’ve got mango chutney on my Kindle.’ ‘I’m attracted to the colder tube stations’ ‘Well, if you’re not going to move to Bethnal Green, you may as well fuck off to Mexico.’ Every week you share the weird things you’ve overheard in London. Above, a few snippets from the past seven days – tweet us yours using #wordonthestreet and @timeoutlondon
Top chefs on their favourite independent takeaways in London
As part of our special Takeaways Week, we asked top London chefs to share the independent takeaway spots they really rate. Tomos Parry, head chef and owner, Brat ‘Massala in Stoke Newington is the best Indian, hands down. The food is so vibrant. Their Bengal lime lamb (pictured above) is my favourite – they braise these limes from Bangladesh and it makes the most delicious, aromatic dish.’ 9 Cazenove Rd, N16 6PA. Aman Lakhiani, chef patron, Junsei ‘I love the Keralan restaurants in East Ham and Ananthapuram is one I always return to. Try the fried netholi (anchovies fried in Keralan spices), which are amazing.’ 241a High St North, E12 6SJ. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Peppers & Spice (@peppersandspice) Meedu Saad, head chef, Kiln ‘Caribbean food is so comforting and I’ve been eating it since I was a kid growing up. Peppers & Spice on Tottenham High Road does it very well, especially the oxtail, brown stew chicken and peanut porridge. This place is an institution.’ 541 High Rd, N17 6SD. Julian Denis, head chef and owner, Mao Chow ‘Ararat Bread on Ridley Road is a place of dreams. You can become hypnotised watching the flatbread getting made right before your eyes. As well as doing some of the best bread in town, they also have a small takeaway-only menu of bread with toppings. Cheese bread, meat bread, egg with bread, sesame bread… you get the picture. It’s all killer, no filler.’ 132 Ridley Rd, E8 2NR. View this post on Instagram A
Landlords who own most of the West End say big crowds are finally returning
Remember when central London was totally deserted during the first lockdown? Thankfully, the days of the city having a post-apocalyptic vibe are (hopefully) behind us. One of the big West End commercial property landlords, Shaftesbury, says that crowds are returning, meaning empty buildings are filling up, whether that’s flats (yes, some people actually live there), shops, restaurants, cafés or bars. The commercial property company owns big chunks of Chinatown, Covent Garden and Soho, which amount to 16-acres across the West End. It says its vacancy rate has dropped below 5 percent for the first time since the pandemic started, which is obviously good news for them. But it’s also good news for Londoners – after a bleak two years of businesses closing down and people fleeing the capital, it’s good to know that central London isn’t a ghost town anymore. Piccadilly Circus has had a royal makeover for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Someone’s been hiding Greggs stuff in Primark’s Oxford Street window display
There’s an opera about football heading our way
Football and opera might seem like an unlikely pairing but as we all know, the beautiful game does involve a lot of singing. Just think about the crowds of fans at the Euros last summer belting out ‘Football’s coming home’. (But don’t think about flare bum guy, whatever you do). Presumably, the calibre of singing will be somewhat higher at the new football opera that’s heading to the stage and screen this year, to tie in with the 2022 World Cup. Commissioned by Sky Arts, ‘Gods of the Game: A Football Opera’ will be performed in October at the Theatre in the Woods at Grange Park Opera in Surrey, and will air on Sky Arts, Now and Freeview shortly afterwards. The show, which is directed by Londoner and artistic director of the Young Vic Kwame Kwei-Armah, is about corruption in the football world. It tells the story of two childhood friends who are now football icons, fronting their nation’s bid to host the World Cup. They uncover a world of bribery and corruption… but presumably football prevails? And maybe even ‘comes home’? The performance will be 90 minutes, yes, like a football match. Not your ordinary opera, it will also include a ‘footy fan chorus’, which is exactly what it sounds like. They’ll be casting a load of football fans who will be giving a crash course in opera so they can perform a ‘ specially composed chorus’ in a football stadium in the UK. Footage of these opera-singing football fans will then be played on stage during the performance. So if you’re a football
Parakeets have taken over a tree in south London
No one really knows why there are so many parakeets in London. There are a few theories – the best one being that Jimi Hendrix released a pair onto Carnaby Street once and they reproduced, erm, a lot. Either way, parakeets are all over this city. But it seems they have congregated in a big way in south London – specifically, in a tree in a train depot in Grove Park in Lewisham. Londoner Kerry Waters posted a picture in the ‘Shit London’ Facebook group showing the Grove Park tree that’s literally covered in parakeets, to the point where they sort of just look like leaves at first glance. But look a little closer and you’ll see that it’s a big old crew of green-feathered parakeets. One commenter said: ‘They are noisy little buggers too but very pretty and they keep the trees around the cemetery green all year round!’ Do we really have Jimi Hendrix to thank for the ‘noisy little buggers’ that have taken over this south London tree? We’ll never know. A 1.5-acre green space is opening up in the heart of the City Loads of great Camden food stalls are doing food for a fiver right now
Arsenal has launched a new kit with Adidas inspired by the Piccadilly line seats
Ever stared at the pattern on the seats of Piccadilly line trains and thought: you know what, I’d like to wear that? Well, you’re in luck. Adidas has teamed up with Arsenal FC and TfL to create the ultimate collab for Arsenal fans, tube fans and... Arsenal and tube fans. The new collection takes inspiration from the seat pattern, also known as a moquette, which appears on the Piccadilly line seats. The range includes an adult jersey and a youth jersey, plus a reversible padded vest and trousers, both of which feature the Arsenal tube station roundel. Photograph: Adidas The new designs will be worn by Arsenal players as they warm up ahead of games between now and the end of the season. The clothing celebrates Arsenal tube station, the only Underground station to be named after a football club. Fun fact: it used to be called Gillespie Road before it was changed in 1932. As part of the campaign, Adidas has also teamed up with London artist and Arsenal fan Reuben Dangoor, who’s created a limited-edition Oyster card. Anyone who buys an item from the new range will have the chance of getting one of these cards, pre-loaded with £15. It’s not the first time Adidas has collaborated with TfL. Back in 2018, the brand created a limited-edition pair of trainers inspired by the tube. It’s surely only a matter of time before the Adidas X TfL streetwear collection drops. TfL says the Elizabeth line is set to launch this year... finally. A big chunk of the Northern line is closed for 17 we
TfL says the Elizabeth line is set to launch this year... finally
It feels like we’ve been talking about Crossrail launching for approximately… one million years. The new transport network was supposed to launch in 2018, yet here we are, still Crossrail-less. It’s become like that annoying admin task you just roll over from your to-do list every single day. One day you’ll do it, maybe, but not today. But according to TfL, the wait might finally be over. One section of the Elizabeth line (to give it its proper name) is now set to open in ‘the first half of the year’. TfL hasn’t given a specific start date but, unless it’s subject to any more delays, it should be officially in action by the end of June 2022. The services initially launching will be between Abbey Wood and Paddington Elizabeth line stations. Before it can open, TfL has to run tests along the line, involving everything from incidents that require emergency services to responding to issues with signalling. It’s coming to the end of the first phase of its trial operations, but, as you might have guessed, there are still more to do. Could 2022 be the year that Londoners can finally experience the transport unicorn that is Crossrail? We’re going to say yes (probably). A big chunk of the Northern line is closed for 17 weeks (!). Halfords is offering Northern line commuters free eBike loans.