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kyra hanson

kyra hanson

Kyra is a freelance writer at Time Out London. She takes full advantage of London’s parks, pubs and cultural offerings – basically anything that gets her out of her hometown Hainault. Follow her on @kyra_sian.

Articles (51)

The 11 best Airbnbs in Stockholm

The 11 best Airbnbs in Stockholm

Planning a holiday to one of the chillest places on earth? Look no further than Stockholm, the mellow capital of Sweden, with a ton of opportunities for culture and exploring. In June 2022, the city explodes into a celebration of Midsummer, from maypole dancing to some fantastic food. And if you’re looking for a lively weekend, the Swedish city has some great restaurants and bars to get you started, as well as some incredible natural landscapes. The Stockholm archipelago has a whole host of nature reserves you can tour by boat.  But whatever you’re looking for, find a place to lay your head on Airbnb, which has everything from swanky city apartments to quirky eco-friendly spots for groups. We’ve picked a selection of the best to help you with your planning.  This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The 10 best Airbnbs in Venice

The 10 best Airbnbs in Venice

Venice is one of the most magical destinations on the planet. It has been said before, and it will be repeated again, but it is never anything less than gorgeously true. The famous city is packed with famous attractions, romantic restaurants and character-filled bars, but deciding where to stay isn’t the easiest thing to do. After all, hotels are ten-a-penny here; how to know you aren’t getting ripped off?Airbnb has changed the way we travel, and this is as true in Venice as anywhere else on the planet. The best Airbnbs in Venice are the stuff of dreams, from starlit apartments overlooking the terracotta rooftops to historic structures on the canals. Simply pick your favourite and let the magic begin, This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The best Airbnbs in Porto

The best Airbnbs in Porto

With its beautiful royal blue tiled architecture, sloping cobbled streets and traditional riverside restaurants, you can’t possibly let mediocre accommodation ruin your trip to Portugal’s second biggest city. But before you splash out on a luxury hotel or boutique B&B consider an Airbnb property. After all, if you want to explore this fascinating city's incredible attractions and raft of great things to do like a true local, it's probably best to stay like one, too. So whether you’re after character, a balcony or even a boat, check out our selection of plush Porto pads that won’t cost you the earth.  This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

5 of the best Airbnbs in Prague

5 of the best Airbnbs in Prague

We all know Prague is a brilliant - and beautiful - city. So why make do with substandard accommodation that doesn’t match up to the glory of the rest of your visit? Prague’s Airbnbs are not only a little cheaper than the city’s best hotels, they’re also far more unique. Get cosy on a houseboat or nest down in an urban loft: both options will leave you with plenty of energy for a day out at the museums and an evening spent discovering your new favourite bars. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

12 timewarp places in London that time forgot

12 timewarp places in London that time forgot

Ever wandered into a launderette and ended up in the 1970s? Ever tried to do a bit of shopping only to find yourself transported back to 1920 – or is it 1990? If so, you may have accidentally seen some of timewarp London, those bits of the city that look and feel like they’ve been frozen in a decade long ago – and have no plans to move into the twenty-first century any time soon, either. And that’s exactly what makes them so valuable. From a legendary pie-and-mash shop to a truly vintage tobacconist, here are photos of our favourite bits of forgotten London. RECOMMENDED: Places in London that look nothing like London.

The best Rome tours

The best Rome tours

You can flounder with a city map (or multiple tabs on your smartphone) all you want, but everyone knows the best way to see the city is to be shown around by a local. So if you’ve sorted out where to stay in Rome and want to get to know this incredible city, check out our hand-picked selection of the best Rome tours. Whether you’re after seriously stunning (and usually out of bounds) views from the heady heights of attractions like the Collesium, a very cool day trip, or would rather just eat and drink your way around the culinary capital (we don’t blame you), there’s a tour for you. And you don’t have to waste hours scrolling online, just check out our guide to the best below. You know what they say, when in Rome....

Best Porto hotels with hot tubs

Best Porto hotels with hot tubs

After a long day exploring Porto’s cobbled streets, attractions and vast swathes of brilliant things to do, the first thing you’ll probably want to do when you get back to your hotel is submerge your aching body in a hot tub full of bubbles. From super luxurious suites with fireside hot tubs and all mod-cons to swimming pools boasting postcard-perfect vistas over this fascinating city, here’s our selection of Porto’s best hot tub hotels. You deserve some proper rest and recuperation, right? Of course you do. So take a look and get ready to sink into some serious comfort. 

Best Barcelona hotels with hot tubs

Best Barcelona hotels with hot tubs

After a long day of holidaymaking (y’know, soaking up all those incredible sights, attractions and things to do), there’s nothing better than slipping into a hot tub – preferably with a glass of something ice cold and fizzy in hand. From rooftop hot tubs and private balcony tubs to hot tubs where you can take in the sea-views as well as the bubbles, here are the best hotels in Barcelona to get your soak on. So take a look below and make your city break to the Catalan capital complete with one of these very fine Barcelona hotels. Go on, you totally deserve it.

London sightseeing

London sightseeing

No-one likes to queue for hours, only to hand over their hard-earned cash for an attraction that ends up being mediocre at best. Luckily, London’s big-hitting sightseeing spots are worthy of their star ratings. And with so many museums, galleries, monuments and oddball attractions to explore, the problem isn’t what to see but how to fit it all in. Put a dent in your London sightseeing list with our round-up of London’s best sights to see, plus some lesser-known places that should be on your radar, whether you’re a local or a tourist.  And if you've got plenty of time is on your side? Check out our list of 101 things to do in London for more ideas about how to make the most of the city. On a budget? A handful of the best places for London sightseeing are free, but you can buy tickets to most of them via the list below. And if you can’t find exactly what you're after, check out what’s happening in London today, this week and this weekend.

Affordable spas in London

Affordable spas in London

Living in London is the best, but let’s be honest: the daily grind is less than idyllic and, sometimes, nothing feels good value. But that’s no reason to skimp on self-care. Thanks to all these reasonably-priced spas around London, you can be soothed, stroked, preened and pampered for less money than it would cost you to escape the city for a rejuvenating weekend away. Relax: these facialists, manicurists and masseurs have your back. These are are our pick of affordable London spas that’ll have you drifting off in no time, without splurging next month’s rent. RECOMMENDED: our full guide to the best spas in London 

11 beautiful European train journeys from London

11 beautiful European train journeys from London

It’s hard to embrace the romance of the railway when your standard interaction with it involves pushing your way onto a delayed service during rush hour. But travelling by train can be a relaxing way to get around, especially when the views outside the window are this good. Plus, London has fantastic transport links, which means that finding an aesthetically-pleasing new adventure is easy. Our city’s trains are well-linked to other parts of the UK and across Europe, so you can forget about schlepping to the airport for your next break. For beautiful train journeys, through picturesque mountain ranges, past rugged castles and over sparkling rivers just take your pick from the list below. Here’s just a handful of the most scenic train journeys in Europe, starting in London and ending somewhere new. No Oyster card needed. RECOMMENDED: the best day trips from London

The 15 most Instagrammable cocktails on the planet

The 15 most Instagrammable cocktails on the planet

From volcanic vessels erupting at tiki bars in Paris to cereal-inspired boozy ice cubes in Chicago, we’ve rounded up the world’s wackiest and most wonderful-looking cocktails. Love dinos? There’s a cocktail bar in Sydney with a photogenic treat for you. Want to drink something from a lightbulb? You’re in luck. These bizarre and often highly technical creations—no simple martini recipes here!—are guaranteed to up your “likes” game. And before you get ’gramming, check out our tips for taking perfect food pics.  RECOMMENDED: World's top bartenders tell us what they order

Listings and reviews (7)

Japan House

Japan House

If you fancy a trip to Japan but not keen on the long haul flight, you’re in luck. High Street Kensington is about to get a sleek new addition in the form of Japan House. It’s one of three brand spanking new cultural centres (the others are in LA and São Paulo) aiming to show you the ‘real’ Japan. Spread over three floors, everything at the London branch from the floor tiles (flown in from Awaji Island) to the food (cooked up by renowned chef Shimizu Akira) will have its roots there. The best bit? No jet lag.

Kennaland

Kennaland

Kennaland has been many things to many hairdos – a studio in a disused theatre, a speakeasy saloon above the Cat and Mutton pub, a hard-to-find grooming spot in a London Fields bunker, and its latest incarnation – a one-stop beauty spot on a former carwash site. Its new home, within the Monohaus development, is an experiment in luring hip tech heads and City start ups to its one and two bed studios by offering quirky perks such as POPfit, a fitness studio headed up by the actor-turned entrepreneur Kate Hudson, and The London Dolls, which offers eyelash extensions. Kennaland’s new pad is bigger, brighter and greener than its former subterranean site. A lush moss wall greets clients as they walk in, while snazzy wooden panels soften the industrial interior and screen out the sidewalk-gawpers. The glass of wine was a welcome afternoon indulgence, though other beverages are offered. During the cut, newbie stylist Phoebe handled my frizz-prone mane with efficiency, friendly chatter came easy and my fringe was snipped with unrivaled precision. Plus, anyone with bangs will be pleased to hear you can return for a free fringe trim. Although I didn’t leave with the natural curl definition others have teased out with a diffuser and product, I did spy perfectly blow dried barnets in the large oval mirrors so flyaway free locks are achievable. Kennaland uses Evo products, which are sulphate and paraben free, smell divine and leave your hair with that just-cut silky soft feel. Refillable p

Flip Out Brent Cross

Flip Out Brent Cross

The last time I went trampolining was in my neighbour’s back garden; before that, in an old gymnasium hall, which smelt of feet and reminded me of the terror of school PE lessons. Neither experience prepared me for the massive, neon-coloured explosion that is the new Flip Out centre on the edge of a retail park near Brent Cross. Sprawling springboards, stunt box zones, a ‘Total Wipeout’-style assault course, complete with funky graffiti backdrop, a DJ booth and even a cascading LED waterfall-covered wall await would-be bouncers. Kids have it seriously good these days. But there’s plenty here for big kids too: Monkey bars requiring the upper body strength of a gorilla on steroids, for example, and an impossibly high ramp you’ll need first-rate parkour skills to master. Here it’s just as fun watching as trying – though try I did. After getting a quarter of the way across the ‘Ninja Warrior Course’ I went tumbling into a sea of spongy cubes like a fresh-from-the-nest bird who has just failed its first flying test. True thrill-seekers can have their attempts timed – best not to if, like me, you can’t remember the last time you worked up a sweat. The laser maze room promising to test ‘stealth skills’ is a better test of agility for anyone over four feet tall. A nail bar for patient mums is forthcoming. At the opening launch, the jungle of springy pathways were awash with jumping jacks of all ages – from the barely-learnt-to-walk to the newly desk-bound. I watched Olympic trampolin

Maggi Hambling – Touch: Works on Paper

Maggi Hambling – Touch: Works on Paper

3 out of 5 stars

Dead parents, a stuffed rhinoceros and Stephen Fry have all been immortalised by Maggi Hambling, and you can see all three in ‘Touch’, an exhibition of 40 of her drawings spanning five decades. She’s been a pivotal figure in recent British art history, but is this simple show of works on paper enough to distract from the furore caused by her more controversial public sculptures (most notably ‘A Conversation with Oscar Wilde’ just off The Strand)? Hambling is strongest when she’s capturing the fine detail of facial features. The shrewd-yet-inquisitive expression of writer John Berger unfurls in short, sharp strokes, and the drooping three-part portrait of Stephen Fry’s face, who falls asleep as she paints him, is pretty funny. But at times you just want to reach right into her portraits and untangle the sitter from the competing mass of swirling lines. The best drawings here break free from the figurative. In ‘Beryl Reclining’, the ink is manipulated into the voluptuous female form by Hambling’s fag-stained fingertips. It’s finger-painting. If drawing is like handwriting for Hambling, then this series is where she communicates the language of the body most clearly. But the drawings of waves on show fail to evoke the full force of the Suffolk sea, the vast bulk of water an unruly subject for an artist who excels at nailing the intimate rather than the monumental. Hambling says art school taught her ‘the training of hand and eye to convey what the heart feels’. These unforgiving

Performer/Audience/Mirror

Performer/Audience/Mirror

3 out of 5 stars

Featuring video installations by a roster of big-shot artists that span decades, genres and continents, the latest show at the Lisson will send you through a spectrum of emotion: humour, intrigue, frustration and, yes, sometimes outright boredom. Some films you’ll approach with eager-eyed anticipation, like Rodney Graham’s vividly coloured ‘Vexation Island’, with its slapstick humour and Robinson Crusoe-esque plot. Others feel like a feat of endurance, such as John Latham’s ‘Speak’, which blasts the viewer with ten minutes of psychedelic, strobe-like multi-coloured discs (better suited to the Pink Floyd gig they were originally screened at than alone, in a gallery, through headphones). Others are downright mesmerising, like Marina Abramovic’s video self-portrait, in which she aggressively brushes her hair while uttering the mantra ‘art must be beautiful, artists must be beautiful’ – a cutting critique of the feminisation and sexualisation of a simple daily routine.  This exhibition attempts to merge the boundaries between performer and audience, so that inside the pavilion space – a maze of two-way mirrors and Japanese-inspired shōji panels – the viewer is simultaneously watcher and watched. It’s an uneasy feeling because we’re used to being in control of both our own image and those we choose to watch, so that to sit (or indeed stand) through reels of video on loop feels pretty antithetical to modern life. And no, binging three seasons of ‘Game of Thrones’ in one weekend won

Raphael Albert: Black and Beautiful

Raphael Albert: Black and Beautiful

4 out of 5 stars

The women who feature in ‘Miss Black and Beautiful’ are all toothy smiles, sultry looks and sassy poses. Presented here are three decades of photographs taken by the late Raphael Albert, who documented west London’s black beauty pageant scene from the 1960s to the ’90s.  The archival display includes rarely seen photos and newspaper cuttings from the time, one of which begins: ‘Until a few short years ago being a “good wife and mother” was one of the only lauded positions available for women.’ It took until 1970 for the first model of colour to be crowned Miss World; and it wasn’t until 2008 that Vogue Italia brought out its Black Issue. These images come from a time before the Beyoncés and Naomi Campbells occupied the world stage. For these girls, the title of ‘beauty queen’ brought financial security, opportunity and self-assurance. But most strikingly, they look like they’re having a hell of a great time.  Autograph has been providing a space for black photographers and promoting the work of marginalised groups since 1988, and this exhibition feels as necessary as ever. What’s shocking is that these confident, leggy ladies, proudly strutting their Afros and their curves – defying white society’s norms of beauty – are still lacking from today’s catwalks, television screens, newspapers and magazines. One article from the time is headlined ‘Making blacks believe black is beautiful’. These girls know they’re beautiful, it’s the rest of the world that needs to catch on. 

Aida Silvestri: Unsterile Clinic

Aida Silvestri: Unsterile Clinic

4 out of 5 stars

On the second floor of Autograph ABP is a room filled with pain: female pain – something that photographer Aida Silvestri thinks we should all be paying much more attention to. The ‘Unsterile Clinic’ project sees Silvestri interview and photograph women in London who are among the 125 million living globally with the effects of female genital mutilation.  Silvestri captures the women in silhouette to protect their identity, and each photograph is overlaid with a hand-crafted vagina constructed out of leather. As you move around the room, the anatomy is trimmed, cut and, finally, incomprehensibly, stitched up, reflecting the various types of FGM inflicted upon these women.  The images are accompanied by poems conveying, in their own words, the moment girls as young as four were pinned down by mothers and grandmothers, to be cut with razors; the difficulties with sex, urination, infection and pregnancy; and the mental anguish that inevitably followed.  These artworks are not graphic in the blood-and-gore sense, but the simplicity of those absent folds of leather and stitches stabbed through fabric provides just as powerful an insight into the suffering of these girls. The idea is not just to raise awareness of this harrowing practice but to empower women with the knowledge to seek help and the confidence to speak out. If this exhibition doesn’t give you goosebumps or bring you to tears, there’s got to be something seriously wrong. 

News (176)

This group of London artists is shining the spotlight on climate change – and they need your help

This group of London artists is shining the spotlight on climate change – and they need your help

To paraphrase, experts say the planet is screwed if we don’t act now to reduce our carbon emissions. Reading the news can just be depressing – but perhaps art (and humour) can inspire us instead? Adapt is a ‘climate club’ that uses art, design and dodgy jokes to talk about the environment. Whether it’s telling frackers to frack off or encouraging people to switch to renewables through its ‘don’t be a fossil fool’ campaign, these young artists seem to be adept at getting people to take positive action IRL. Now they’re trying to mount a climate crisis-inspired art exhibition at Peckham’s Copeland Gallery in August. The aim of ‘Sadness is a no gO-Zone’ isn’t to bring on a bout of eco-anxiety but to raise consciousness and send you off with witty slogans for your next protest banner. It sees more than 40 artists probing travel, energy and rewilding. The organisers are crowdfunding to hire a huge space, produce the exhibition sustainably and keep it free, so it can be eyeballed by as many folks as possible. You’ve got until Friday to donate to Adapt’s crowdfunder. Rewards include cool stickers, posters, tote bags and T-shirts, plus the priceless feeling of doing something, however small, to literally save the world. Find out how you can make London greener by joining our campaign: How to Build a Green City.

City envy: we want a trash-collecting robot like Chicago

City envy: we want a trash-collecting robot like Chicago

Here’s a rubbish stat for you: the Thames spews out 18 tonnes of plastic into the ocean every year. Wouldn’t it be great if you could clean it all up without even getting your big toe wet? Well, across the Pond some techheads have created an interactive game that could allow you to do just that. After beginning a project to create a mile-long floating garden on the Chicago River, local non-profit organisation Urban Rivers quickly realised it needed to do something about the accumulation of trash first. Frustrated with the slow task of clearing up by hand, the team has built a robot which can patrol the waters 24/7, collecting and disposing of floating debris as it goes. It kind of looks like something out of ‘Robot Wars’ – only with a crowd-programmed social conscience. The Trash Robot still needs to be fully tested to make sure it’s both waterproof and hack-proof. Once that’s done, anyone with an internet connection and a strong sense of direction will be able to control it as it scoots around picking up rubbish. (Don’t worry: it will automatically return to base should it start to veer off course.) The bot is being trialled in July and the team aims to have the fully functioning robot in the river by August. ‘We really hope that one day this game will be so boring because there’ll be no more trash left,’ says co-founder Nick Wesley. Until that day, you can do your bit for the environment without even shifting from your sofa. Sign up here to get the latest from London strai

City envy: we want a disgusting food museum like Malmö

City envy: we want a disgusting food museum like Malmö

Maggot-infested cheese and bull penis would look a bit out of place on most London restaurant menus. But casu marzu (literally ‘rotten cheese’) is a Sardinian speciality, while bovine todgers are eaten as an aphrodisiac in China. Now you can encounter, and recoil from, both of these delights at the temporary Disgusting Food Museum in Malmö, Sweden (housed in a former slaughterhouse; a pop-up version in LA closes later this month). Other great delicacies to look out for include roasted guinea pig and baby-mice wine. Hungry yet? For the price of admission, visitors with a strong stomach can sample rotten shark from Iceland, fermented herring from Sweden and durian, a notoriously pongy fruit from Thailand and Indonesia. But beyond the perverse fascination and vids of you out-eating your mates, the message is a serious one. Paradoxically, the museum of gross grub aims to widen our appreciation of other cuisines by exposing disgust as a cultural construct. Something that provokes a ‘hell no’ from some diners might be gobbled down by others. ‘We need to question our ideas of disgust if we’re going to consider some of the more environmentally friendly sources of protein, such as insects,’ says curator and ‘chief disgustologist’ Samuel West. If all this sounds like enough to make you puke, the museum’s got your back: your entry ticket doubles up as a barf bag. Bon appétit! Sign up here to get the latest from London straight to your inbox.

Join the Guinness World Record attempt for the biggest ever gong bath

Join the Guinness World Record attempt for the biggest ever gong bath

Feeling stressed lately? Forget Netflix and chill, what you need is a nice soothing gong bath. And we’re not talking about a piddly wind chime and tealight affair. This weekend Olympia London will host the largest gathering of gong players the world has seen and you’re invited to bask in the soothing vibrations they create.  If the thought of hanging out with a bunch of long-haired, cymbal-bashing hippies doesn’t scream instant relaxation, don’t worry. These guys are pros: getting the exact pitch right is a meditative art form, don’t you know? And the promise of a mention in the Guinness Book of Records is attracting (hopefully) more than 150 gong enthusiasts, including those from China, Dubai, Iceland and Saudi Arabia. Know your way around a gong? Sign up to take part here.  Or if you’re ready for some gong-bath-based TLC, book tickets for the Concert for Humanity on Saturday August 25 (between 6.45pm-9pm). If you like what you hear, make sure you’ve got a prime lying-down spot on Sunday August 26 (5.15pm-7.30pm), when the world record attempt will be conducted by 84-year-old Grand Gongmaster Don Conreaux.  The events take place at Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, W14 8UX.  Prefer to stretch out your stress? Check out the 10 best rooftop yoga classes in London. 

Museum of London wants to bring back the eel as a late night snack

Museum of London wants to bring back the eel as a late night snack

Eel might not be your snack of choice when you’ve got the late-night munchies, but the people at the Museum of London reckon these slimy creatures are a delicacy worth revisiting. Eel vendors were once a common sight on London’s streets right up until the 1970s, as you’ll see in photos from the Museum of London’s current exhibition ‘London Nights’. As part of the show exploring what Londoners get up to after hours, the museum has teamed up with swish 24/7 restaurant Duck & Waffle to bring back this East End treat, which it’ll dish out between 11.30pm and 5am as part of the late-night menu. The smoked eel croquettes might not be served up with a dose of cockney rhyming slang but there will be seaweed mayo for dipping. Plus, ordering the eel dish (or a duck kebab) gets you 40 percent off tickets for ‘London Nights’.  Not convinced? Eels were a popular source of grub for the Romans, Tudors and Victorians – and for good reason. They’re packed with hangover-busting potassium, protein, vitamins and those omega-3 fatty acids your mum is always going on about. So next time you’re contemplating hair of the dog, why not consider fillet of eel instead? Get a taster of the exhibition below:  London Nights, Museum of London   Museum of London   Museum of London   The Duck & Waffle is serving eel until Sep 30. London Nights runs at the Museum of London until Nov 11. 

Cute canine alert! A French bulldog cafe is coming to London in September

Cute canine alert! A French bulldog cafe is coming to London in September

If your mates are always waiting for you while you dote over a stranger’s doggo then get yourself a ticket to the Frenchie Café pronto.    For one day only London’s French bulldog community are invited to this canine-friendly gathering for a day filled with pupcakes, dognuts, paw-ty rings, pawbons and other treats from Rudi’s The Doggy Bakery kitchens. While your four-legged pals lap up the free pupuccino and sniff each other’s behinds, owners and wannabe Frenchie owners can also order treats (for human consumption) from the café at Happenstance.   The Frenchie Café is brought to you by the same team of doggy pop-up pros who are behind the pug café and recently sold out dachshund pop-up. Entry is £10 for Frenchie owners and £15 for Frenchie lovers. French bulldogs go free, obviously; this is their special day after all.   So if you want to spend an hour or so dishing out dog treats, patting pups and generally sharing your affection for lots of super-adorable French bulldogs (without getting evils from impatient dog owners), check out the website to find out how to book. The pop-up Frenchie Cafe opens on Sunday Sep 9 at The Lounge, The Happenstance, 10 Paternoster Square, EC4M 7DX.  Got a pooch in tow? Here are 20 more dog-friendly spots in London.  

Selfridges has just opened its Christmas shop… 145 days before Christmas Day

Selfridges has just opened its Christmas shop… 145 days before Christmas Day

While the rest of us make the most of London’s seriously parched parks, get the disposable barbecues going and sweat it out on the Tube, Selfridges has been busy preparing for, whisper it… Christmas. Yep, on Thursday August 2 (that’s an unsettling 145 days before Christmas Day, FYI), the department store has unveiled the first section of its Chrimbo shop.  This year’s theme is ‘Selfridges Rocks Christmas’, so expect to see plenty of skulls, glam rock-inspired stockings and black tinsel alongside the usual sparkly baubles and miniature reindeers – perfect for anyone considering paying homage to punk through this year’s tree decorations. John Angerson   Not quite in the spirit just yet? The shop has hired a roaming rock ’n’ roll Santa to get you in the festive mood. If on the other hand, this news fills you with joy (because you are one of those super-prepared weirdos who has bought, wrapped and name-tagged your prezzies by September), you might like to know prices range from £1.95 for a souvenir pencil and £3-£15 for tinsel to a blow-the-Noel-budget £360 for a nutcracker.  Rather wait until the festivities are a little closer? The full Selfridges Christmas experience opens on September 4, when you can stock up on gifts for your pets, personalised jumpers and CDs for your loved ones and – if you’re feeling extra flush – a neon sign by London-based company God’s Own Junkyard (the priciest item comes out at £8,500).  So if all this summer heat has got you wishing December would

City envy: we want an immersive art gallery like Paris

City envy: we want an immersive art gallery like Paris

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a pastoral scene in a gilt frame – that’s what the National Gallery is for. But for blow-your-mind, send-your-Insta-likes-rocketing immersive art, hop on a Eurostar to the newly opened Atélier des Lumières in Paris’s 11th arrondissement. The interior of this former iron foundry has been transformed into a vast technicolour canvas by Culturespaces, the multimedia mavericks behind the Carrières de Lumières in Provence. More than 100 video projectors are currently bringing to life the paintings of two titans of the Viennese art scene: Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. So while you won’t see their fabulously overwrought portraits IRL, you can legit say you’ve walked around inside ‘The Kiss’. And in our hypersaturated visual culture, that beats just looking at art, right? Want some art without the travel? Here are the best exhibitions in London right now.

A free outdoor urban spa with ‘waterfalls of pink mist’ is coming to London

A free outdoor urban spa with ‘waterfalls of pink mist’ is coming to London

Londoners in need of a pick-me-up after all those park cans in the sunshine are in luck. That is if you’re the kind of person who likes to balance your boozing with scented pebble meditation and pink mist waterfalls... Stay with us.  The Wellbeing Playground is coming to Eccleston Yards via the brains of immersive mavericks Bompas & Parr, who claim ‘a 30-minute visit will make guests feel as though they’ve just returned from a week-long holiday’. Sounds like a bold claim but everything on offer is apparently the result of a year’s research into what makes us relaxed. So, what’s in store?   The centrepiece invites guests to bathe in a fountain of mist. Unlike other Bompas & Parr concoctions, the mist isn’t alcoholic or edible but it is full of ‘natural, energising minerals and extracts of raspberry leaf, aloe vera, chamomile and citrus’. If that doesn’t calm your nerves, grab a designer water from the Aqua Bar and bask in the glow of an artificial sunset created with infrared light. This will be paired with screens showing sunsets from around the world, the combined effect should hopefully produce those happy endorphins and not holiday-induced Fomo.  And hey, even if the scented pebbles in the meditation zone don’t relieve the day’s stresses, at least you’ll leave smelling good.   The Wellbeing Playground takes place at Eccleston Yards from Sep 7-15. Entry is free.  Can’t wait? Here are some of the best day spas in London.

City envy: we want a river-cleaning bubble barrier like Amsterdam

City envy: we want a river-cleaning bubble barrier like Amsterdam

Bubbles are brilliant, and not just in baths and booze: they’re also being used to fight plastic pollution in Dutch canals. Dreamt up by three Amsterdam women, the Great Bubble Barrier is essentially two tubes full of holes placed at the bottom of a river or canal. Air is pumped through the holes, and rubbish is propelled to the surface by bubbles. (The tech is already used elsewhere to clean up oil spills.) If the tubes are placed diagonally, the current carries the rubbish to the riverbank, so it can be fished out before it reaches the sea, without hindering marine life or passing boats. A team running trials in the River IJssel scooped out around 80 percent of test plastic, and with the crowdfunding target smashed, the first permanent Bubble Barrier is due to be piloted in the Netherlands this year. That’s worth raising a glass of fizz to. Sign up here to get the latest from London straight to your inbox.

First look inside Japan House, a new cultural centre in Kensington

First look inside Japan House, a new cultural centre in Kensington

If you’ve ever fancied a trip to Japan but don’t like the sound of that long-haul flight, you’re in luck. High Street Kensington is about to get a sleek new addition in the form of Japan House. It’s one of three brand spanking new cultural centres (the others are in LA and São Paulo) aiming to show you the ‘real’ Japan. Spread over three floors, everything at the London branch from the floor tiles (flown in from Awaji Island) to the food (cooked up by renowned chef Akira Shimizu) will have its roots there. The gallery opens with the work of contemporary architect Sou Fujimoto, whose criss-crossing buildings integrate nature and light into futuristic designs (remember, he’s the guy who did that Serpentine Pavilion that looked like a set-piece from ‘Tron’?). A wander around the carefully curated library is sure to provoke bookshelf envy. And if you get peckish, you can get a sushi and sake fix in the first-floor restaurant before a final potter around the shop, filled with homewares and Japanese gadgets . The best bit? No jet lag.   Scott Chasserot   Scott Chasserot       Japan House opens Fri Jun 22. 101-111 Kensington High St, W8 5SA. Tube: High St Kensington. Free entry.  Find the best Japanese restaurants in London here. 

Try a sky-high yoga session on the domed roof of The O2 Arena

Try a sky-high yoga session on the domed roof of The O2 Arena

When you resolved to take your yoga practice to new heights, manoeuvering into mountain pose while balanced on the O2’s domed roof probably wasn’t exactly what you had in mind, but it’s now a possibility thanks to these yoga classes with Up at The O2.  The session starts with a 90-minute climb over The O2, where you get to admire the city views from 52 metres above the city before stopping off for some much-needed zen time at the rooftop viewing platform. If you’re not an early riser the 8.15am start might be a tough ask – but we’re sure the pics of you in Lotus position with the city looking all sexy in the background will be good for the gram.  Don’t worry, you won’t have to lug a yoga mat up there with you, but don’t forget to wear yoga gear if you want to stand a chance of getting into downward dog without flashing the whole of north Greenwich.  Sessions start from £50 and run on June 16, 23 and 30 at The O2. Want more exercise with altitude? Find more rooftop yoga sessions in the city