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Liz Darke

Liz Darke

Liz is a freelance writer for Time Out London. When she grows up, she wants to be Chaka Khan.

Articles (26)

The most jawdropping dining rooms in London

The most jawdropping dining rooms in London

Food isn’t the only factor to consider when picking a place to eat these days, interiors are just as crucial to the restaurant experience. Although attractive furnishings and stylish aesthetics aren’t a new thing, chefs and restaurateurs have never been more aware of how crucial they are to the powerful (and profitable) business of going viral on social media. Sessions Art Club’s grand eighteenth-century ex-courthouse room and Ave Mario’s neon-lit toilet cubicles, for example, have been snapped countless times and lured thousands of punters through the door. Luckily, many of London’s most handsome restaurants put as much thought and care into their dishes as they do their decors, so diners can satisfy their palates while feasting their eyes. Here are the most stunning dining rooms that will seriously impress. 

11 amazing local parks in London

11 amazing local parks in London

Things are warming up in London, and the city’s major parks are slowly filling with the sun-seeking masses. We’ve got undying love for the epic royal parks, but sometimes we just can’t face fighting for a deckchair in Hyde Park, or trekking for miles in search of a free patch of green to call your own. Here, we’ve rounded up London’s best local parks that deserve your attention. They may be smaller and less well known than their bigger brethren, but they pack a punch in the way of amenities and community spirit. Expect everything from top outdoor sports facilities to quiet picnic spots in these top parks – just don’t tell the locals we sent you. Wanna see more of the great outdoors? Here's a video of the best parks and gardens in the city. RECOMMENDED: Outdoors London

The best things to do in Stockbridge

The best things to do in Stockbridge

Nestled in Hampshire’s lush countryside, this peaceful town is the ideal escape from city life and your insufferable mates smugly completing Dry Jan. Stockbridge has fresh air, scenic walks and some of the UK’s best sparkling wine. You can shelve your new year diet too, as local, seasonal produce is big on the menu here, so the food is incredible. This place is proof that winter can still put a smile on your face. RECOMMENDED: Awesome day trips from London

The best mocktails in London bars

The best mocktails in London bars

In a city brimming with bars, breweries and prosecco-based pop-ups, it would seem that drinking in London without actually, erm, drinking is an impossibility. Leave your beer goggles at home for one night, however, and you'll see that the selection of non-alcoholic cocktails and booze-less blends available in the capital is pretty extensive. In some venues, the alcohol-free offerings are even more creative and tastebud-seducing than their liquor-rich counterparts. Don't believe us? Have a sip on one of these teetotal tipples... RECOMMENDED: Discover the best cocktails in London

The 100 best paintings in London: Tate Britain

The 100 best paintings in London: Tate Britain

Tate Modern gets all the attention, but the original Tate Gallery, founded by sugar magnate Sir Henry Tate, has a broader and more inclusive brief. Housed in a stately Portland stone building on the riverside, Tate Britain is second only to the National Gallery when it comes to British art. The historical collection includes work by Hogarth, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Constable and Turner (in the superb Clore Gallery). CHECK THIS OUT: The best paintings to see at Tate Modern

100 best paintings in London: National Gallery

100 best paintings in London: National Gallery

The daddy of London's art collections was founded in 1824 to display a collection of just 36 paintings, today the National Gallery is home to more than 2,000 works. There are masterpieces from virtually every European school of art. CHECK THIS OUT: The best paintings to see at Tate Modern

Christmas events in Switzerland

Christmas events in Switzerland

If you're searching for things to do in Switzerland this Christmas, look no further. When it comes to festive fun, there's plenty on offer, including ice skating, shopping, children's choirs, and more. RECOMMENDED: Discover 50 incredible things to do in Switzerland this winter

The best spas in London by area

The best spas in London by area

iPhone off, towelling robe on – it’s time to sit back and relax at one the capital’s most sensational spas. Whether it’s tired, city-beaten skin that needs reviving with a facial, stressed-out muscles that need soothing with a massage, or simply that you’re in search of some rare ‘me time’, London’s best spas can cater to your every demand. Whatever your budget, put your feet up and prepare for a proper pampering. RECOMMENDED: our full guide to London’s best spas

Wimbledon in numbers

Wimbledon in numbers

Can't wait for this year's Wimbledon Tennis Championships? Wimby fans and stat fiends, feel free to check out some of the tournament's most interesting dates and numbers below.  RECOMMENDED: Our full guide to Wimbledon 2016 Tennis Championships

25 awesome costumes at the London Marathon

25 awesome costumes at the London Marathon

Over 38,000 runners took part in the 2015 London Marathon (congratulations to all), which means the race was the biggest ever. It was Paula Radcliffe who took much of the limelight as she ran her last ever marathon, so let's take a look at the other winners on the day – winners in the style stakes, of course...  RECOMMENDED: Read our winner's guide to the London Marathon 2016

'Magnificent Obsessions': artist interviews

'Magnificent Obsessions': artist interviews

As 'Magnificent Obsessions', a showcase of the personal collections of some of the best-known names in the art world, opens at the Barbican this spring (Thu Feb 12 – Mon May 25), we speak to some of the artist who've offered up their favourite hoards for the exhibition.

The social knitwork

The social knitwork

It’s been a few years since knitting in London made it on to the map of hip pastimes, along with getting a purple rinse and anything else your nan does. Nonetheless its popularity with London’s nu-craft crew is yet to wane, so the capital is abundant with clubs and classes. The coolest knitters on the block are Wool and the Gang who, as well as running an online store of sustainable yarn-based garments, host an array of knitting ‘parties’.  So, conscious of the onset of autumn and wanting a piece of the ‘purl one’ action, I have signed up to one of WATG’s ‘Get Your Knit On: Snood Operator’ events. As the queen of cackhandedness, I’m hoping their teaching skills are on a par with their punning talent.  All necessary materials are supplied, including a pair of rosewood needles; a ball of natural Peruvian yarn; and a WATG pin for the finishing touch (and to serve as proof that your snood’s not from the M&S accessories department). To start things off, the WATG team talk us through three knitting patterns and explain how to ‘cast on’. Despite opting for the beginner’s option, I’m floundering. A knitter in a twist, I’m dropping stitches, even needles, all over the shop. Luckily the lovely and exceptionally patient WATG ladies are on hand to untangle my mess and get me back on track.  Eventually I find the knitting therapeutic and actually produce something. Sure, it’s not quite a snood yet, but I do have a very neat-looking woolly square. At the end of the two-hour class, all par

Listings and reviews (25)

Temaki

Temaki

4 out of 5 stars

Having cut his teeth at acclaimed sushi restaurants Hakkoku and Sushi Jin in Japan and Michelin-starred Umu just off New Bond Street, chef Shaulan Steenson has brought his passion for temaki to Brixton Market. Temaki, which means ‘handroll’ in Japanese, are long, cone-like nori wraps stuffed with rice and a variety of raw fish and vegetables, and eaten with fingers instead of chopsticks. Temaki is London’s first dedicated handroll restaurant, and eating there is an intimate experience. Monochrome marble-effect walls are the backdrop to little more than a dozen wooden stools and a U-shaped counter that wraps around a black, wood-clad bar, where, in traditional Kappo dining style, Steenson prepares his rolls right in front of you. He’ll also happily talk you through his ingredients, processes and the stories behind his love for this Japanese delicacy, and he might even flash you a glimpse of huge hunks of fish from the fridge. Find yourself on a dry date here and you’ll at least get good chat from the chef. The brimming prawn tempura roll stole the show The temaki, which start from a little as a fiver, consist of a paper-thin, sweet-salty seaweed casing packed with Steenson’s signature golden uruchimai rice, which is prepared using a secret ratio of light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, red vinegar and Marmite (a tip he learned in Japan, apparently) in a traditional wooden tub. Accompanying fillings include bright-pink akami tuna (a lean cut that’s deep in colour), which was fresh

Marsha

Marsha

3 out of 5 stars

Conceptually, Marsha is the love child of two major food trends: high-end fried chicken, which has been booming in the capital for the best part of a decade now, and the more recently revived nose-to-tail eating. It’s committed to minimising food waste, proving there’s more to chicken than nuggets and wings and convincing you that heart and liver are just as tasty with a pile of chips. Stretched across two floors in the perpetually busy Kingly Court, Marsha’s second location (the first is in Gabriel’s Wharf on the South Bank) is decked out with mirrored walls, white tables and a mix of baby-blue seating. Add moody lighting and a peppy, eclectic soundtrack and the setting is very much ‘ice-cream parlour afterparty’. The clientele is a melting pot of Hinge dates, workmates soaking up their post-office pints and – like at most places just off Carnaby Street – those who’ve given up on the queue for Dishoom round the corner. These are probably the main scenarios in which I’d recommend you visit. Marsha aims to serve as much of its Yorkshire-farmed, higher-welfare chooks as possible. You’ll find a towering, succulent buttermilk-fried thigh burger, with a wonderfully soft bun, and fillet tenders (sadly meagre, lacking in flavour) as well as a selection of offal dishes.   My adventurous order of chicken hearts wrapped in bacon were perky, juicy little morsels My adventurous order of chicken hearts wrapped in bacon were perky, juicy little morsels, and not half as chewy or metallic-t

Sweet Chick

Sweet Chick

3 out of 5 stars

No matter what happens in this post-Coronavirus city, trendy fried chicken joints are a feature of London life we can expect to return. This Fitzrovia restaurant, in a prime spot just off Oxford Street (which is reflected in the prices, fyi), is the first overseas branch of Sweet Chick, a NYC mini-chain owned by rapper Nas that serves what he calls ‘new American comfort food’.Southern fried chicken and freshly made waffles take the lead here. You can keep things simple and flood the lot with maple syrup, or go wild and order, say, the Chinese-inspired kung pao chook with a rice and broccoli waffle.Go for the buffalo option and you’ll get two juicy, crispy, battered chicken pieces smothered in a tangy, tongue-tingling hot sauce. The accompanying waffle – this time made with a carrot and celery-laced mix – was so light and pillowy that I could have laid down and taken a nap on it.The good stuff doesn’t stop there: a plate of pork nuggets arrived, not as an ode to the deep-fat fryer as anticipated, but in the form of tender, meaty morsels glazed in a sticky balsamic-and-blueberry dressing, scattered across shards of crunchy kimchi. The cracker-crumb-topped mac ’n’ cheese was silky and packed a proper taste of cheddar. More of that, please.Some of Sweet Chick’s flavours were a bit overbearing, though. A hefty blue-cheese dipping sauce quickly became cloying, and the over-seasoned home fries were so salty, I had to call time after a few mouthfuls and set them aside. They say you c

Pasta Nostra

Pasta Nostra

3 out of 5 stars

Set on the strip of no man’s land between Old Street roundabout and the start of Clerkenwell, is Pasta Nostra, London’s latest pasta specialist. It spans two floors and the look is the same throughout: chunky wooden tables, crushed-velvet seating, millennial-pink walls and leafy pot plants in every corner. But while the decor comes straight from Made.com, the menu is strictly Italian, with a changing selection of aperitivi (Italian bar snacks, if you will), antipasti, and fresh hand-cut pasta. Cooking was mixed. You can’t go wrong with the wild boar pappardelle, which arrived as a generous mound of springy dough ribbons tossed in a rich, meaty, red wine-laced ragù. Even better was a bowl of bottle-cap-shaped pasta pillows (known as tappi) stuffed with creamy burrata, swimming in a sweet mussel-and-tomato sauce. You can keep that coming, guys. Sadly, you couldn’t say the same for the garganelli (small, rolled, penne-like shapes) with wild mushrooms. The pasta was overcooked and sticky, and came topped with a claggy fungi pulp rather than the slithers of silky mushroom you’d hope for. Cacio e pepe arancini were equally disappointing. While perfectly crunchy on the outside, inside they were dry and bland. This inconsistency in the kitchen is a pity, as Pasta Nostra has real potential. As one of the freshest faces on London’s current pasta scene, it still has time to iron out the rookie errors. Let’s hope it does, and soon.

Berto

Berto

4 out of 5 stars

Having had a huge hit with pizzeria Zia Lucia (which now boasts four branches across the capital), Italian-born pals Claudio and Gianluca have turned their hands to a different dough: the pasta kind. Based next door to the original Zia Lucia on Holloway Road, Berto specialises in hearty (read: huge), hand-cut pasta dishes, with a smattering of antipasti and homemade desserts. Freshly made and rolled out daily in the open kitchen, there’s a plethora of pasta to pick from: traditional egg-and-flour, wholewheat, gluten-free, potato gnocchi, plus a vegan option. And then there’s the choice of shapes and sauces: sprightly tagliatelle came slathered in a rich and pleasingly salty slow-cooked beef ragù. The cacio e pepe tonnarelli (chunky-looking spaghetti) was silky, wonderfully tangy and delivered a warm smack of pepper with each forkful. We also ordered a bowl of nutty, wholewheat fettucine tossed with lip-tingling ’nduja and shreds of fresh, creamy burrata. It was carb heaven. Extra brownie points go to our server for leaving a bowl of grated parmesan on the table (the usual measly sprinkling administered by waiters is never, ever enough). Away from the pasta, a starter of deep-fried aubergine and beef polpettine (Italian-style croquetas) was not just juicy, but bursting with meaty flavour. In fact, the only flat note in the entire meal came from the vegetable fritti, which were bland, a little soggy and in need of a sauce to dip them into. With its all-glass front and oversize

Officina 00

Officina 00

4 out of 5 stars

Adding some much-needed charm to the drab stretch between Old Street station and Clerkenwell is Officina 00, a trendy, Italian-inspired spot serving some damn fine pasta. While the interior oozes Shoreditch cool (exposed metal pipework, exposed filament bulb lighting and on-trend emerald-green tiles), the vibe at Officina 00 is warm and inviting, thanks to both the friendly staff and the billows of fragrant steam wafting from the open kitchen. Fresh hand-cut pasta takes the lead here, but be aware that portions aren’t huge. You’d be wise to order one dish per person and then a few extras to share. Wiser still, order the corzetti (small, disc-shaped dough) with wild mushrooms and fennel sausage. Bouncy pasta, earthy funghi and morsels of salty, aniseed-laced pork sausage came swirled in a silky parsley sauce. Yes, please! Then there was the pappardelle in slow-cooked tomato ragù, topped with juicy polpettine (mini meatballs) and shreds of fresh, pillowy burrata. This is another dish to wolf down before anyone else gets their fork near it. Just be sure to save room for the profiteroles, though. Two voluptuous, light and utterly indulgent choux puffs – one a zingy lemon, the other dark chocolate – came served as a pair and, good Lord, they were a dream team. The only thing not worth returning for was the truffle-and-walnut-butter farfalle. Though topped with a generous amount of truffle shavings, the dish tasted only of butter, nuts and a crack of pepper. And while that’s not un

Coqfighter

Coqfighter

3 out of 5 stars

Unlike Coqfighter’s takeaway unit at Boxpark Croydon and its in-and-out joint at Boxpark Shoreditch, this Soho site is a proper sit-down job, with friendly table service, mood lighting and cocktails worth settling in for. As always, the burly vodka-and-sesame-battered chicken wings are served DIY-style. Well, GIY-style: you glaze them yourself, with as much sticky soy-and-garlic dressing or punchy Korean hot sauce as you can handle. But the best thing on the menu is still the burgers. Take the Original stack: succulent, deep-fried thigh comes laden with crisp iceberg, pickled red onion and a sweet and peppery sambal mayo, all the while oozing more of that lovely hot sauce. Then there’s the towering Green Chilli Cheese, topped with fiery pickled green chillies, glossy sheets of American-style cheese and smoky chipotle mayo. Extra napkins are necessary with both, FYI. The pocket-sized bao here aren’t bad – the soft buns a good contrast to the crunchy chook and daikon filling – though there are better in the area. And the boneless tenders were a bit meagre and had spent too long in the fryer. Still, for a satisfying and affordable chook feast in central London, Coqfighter is a winner. Plus, you get to tell your pals you’re going for chicken on (wait for it)...Beak Street.

Sette

Sette

4 out of 5 stars

Stateside restaurant group Scarpetta, a classy mini-chain you’d go to for swish pasta and slick cocktails, has now sprouted this London offshoot, Sette. Attached to the ground floor of the Bulgari hotel in Knightsbridge, this isn’t the place for a bowl of Mamma’s meatballs. Like its big sisters, Sette’s food is modern, refined and photogenic, the setting chic and contemporary. Antipasti, like a plate of pillowy, almond-dusted salmon tartare, or the buttery, truffle-soaked mushrooms with silky polenta, were seriously seductive, but don’t miss the signature spaghetti – a visit to Sette wouldn’t be complete without it. Served under a glass cloche, the mound of perky noodles – made fresh on site each day – came smothered in a zingy, velvety tomato sauce flecked with fresh basil. Simple but superb. Equally inhalable was a plate of scialatielli (like short, chubby fettucine) tossed with the sprightliest prawns, clams and mussels, along with juicy cherry tomatoes just waiting to erupt inside your mouth. Calabrian chilli added waves of heat and pepper. And if you do manage to save space for the dolci (desserts), you won’t regret it. A wonderfully sour, twice-baked lemon cake with citrus sorbet managed to make me wince in a good way, while the blonde chocolate cheesecake was fluffy, nutty and as out-and-out indulgent as a £12 dessert should be. Sette’s carb therapy doesn’t come cheap, but this North American import has the class, quality and flair (did I mention the glass cloche?)

Selale

Selale

4 out of 5 stars

A bit of nip and tuck has become popular on Green Lanes. In recent years, both Gökyüzü and Diyarbakir, two of the strip’s most popular Turkish restaurants, have seen swish revamps and now fellow mangal stalwart Selale has had a facelift too. The result? A spacious, stylish restaurant with a large glass frontage, dark velvet booths and on-trend pendant lamps. But while its interior is shiny and new, Selale’s top-notch Eastern Med dishes and award-winning Turkish kebabs are very much intact. As with most Turkish joints, the strategy for your visit to Selale should be to visit when ravenous. The selection of grilled meats on offer is sprawling and the mezze options are pretty tempting too. Don’t miss the lahmacun (Turkish pizza). Almost A4 in size, its thin, perfectly crisp base was covered in a rich minced lamb ragù, packing little punches of cayenne pepper and smoky paprika. Piles of tender, just-charred lamb shish also hit the spot, while the chicken iskender was another winner: succulent slithers of doner meat and chunks of soft bread doused in a silky, butter-laced tomato sauce, with a good dollop of tangy whipped yoghurt. One thing to note: side bowls of colourful salad, bread and rice arrived in abundance but were fairly basic, as was a plate of Birds Eye-esque breaded white bait. If you haven’t got the memo yet, the kebabs are the headline act. That said, you’d be missing a trick if you didn’t finish up with a plate of baklava. Sticky, sweet and oozing syrup – they wer

Monga

Monga

2 out of 5 stars

The first European branch of Taiwan’s most popular fried chicken restaurant, Monga, is a no-fuss joint for chook fans that aren’t afraid to get their fingers dirty. Like with the signature thick-cut fillet, the ‘Chee-Z’, for example. Dipped in honey and then battered before hitting the fryer (like all the individual fillets here), it comes doused in a ‘special chilli sauce’ and melted mozzarella. An enticing Far East take on chicken parmigiana on paper, the reality was a slippery handful of chicken breast drowned in elastic cheese and a sickly-sweet ketchup that had absolutely no smack of heat. Though the meat was tender and full-flavoured it, oddly, despite being touted as a fillet, came still on the bone. There were excellent morsels of popcorn chicken rolled in crushed sesame seeds and a moreish umami seasoning – I could have gone into triple figures with those – but on their own they weren’t worth the pilgrimage. Because other dishes, like the powdered seaweed cutlet, didn’t quite deliver either. On first bite, it had an enjoyable balance of sweet and salty, but about halfway through this morphed into a cloying syrupy aftertaste. And don’t bother with the McCain-like chips or the oil-drenched vegetable tempura either – they weren’t worth the calories, or the vitamins, for that matter. Prices are at the top end for fast food here, and with so many superb chicken specialists around Soho, it might be a little longer until TFC takes off.

Peck! Peck!

Peck! Peck!

2 out of 5 stars

It’s safe to say that the Sutton and Sons squad know how to work a fryer, as proven by the popularity of their three fish-and chip-joints (Islington, Hackney and Stoke Newington) and numerous accolades. So our expectations for their first ever chicken joint were above average. It certainly talks the talk. Free-range British chicken is either deep-fried Deep South-style or flame-grilled and brushed with the house peri peri marinade. Both options are priced at well under a tenner. Championing local produce, burgers are sandwiched in golden brioche buns from Spence Bakery in Stokey, hot sauce is from down the road in Dalston and there’s craft beer from Crate available by the can. The best bits? Fiery flame-grilled thighs that were juicy and buzzing with citrus flavours, or the strips of fried chicken breast encased in a peppery, crisp crumb that were tender and moreish. Heinz condiments and homemade dips (note: the chilli mayo was superb but should come with a fire extinguisher) were great for dunking, too. Things then took a nose-dive. The buffalo wings were pretty meatless: what we could wrangle off the bone was both dry and chewy. But the biggest disappointment was the mac and cheese. It was luminous, sticky and overladen with mustard – we only made it through one spoonful. Perhaps worst of all, there is none of the charm of Sutton and Sons’ other branches here, which is a real shame. Instead, Peck Peck is on the too shabby side of shabby chic – it feels a little too close t

Louie’s Hot Chicken

Louie’s Hot Chicken

3 out of 5 stars

Down an inconspicuous doorway just off Hoxton Square is where you’ll find Louie’s Hot Chicken – the new fried chicken-focused joint from the Red Dog Saloon family. Touting a proper Nashville-style bird here, chicken pieces – served either on a slab of white bread, sandwiched in a bun with slaw or in a bucket – are soaked in a seasoned brine, dusted in flour, fried and then doused in cayenne pepper paste.  Some of it’s good. Copper-coloured legs, wings and thighs were crisp, perfectly spiced and tender as you like, while ‘jumbo’ strips of breast meat were average-sized at best but equally moreish. Bowls of butter-laced mash and golden, bagel-sized battered onion rings were winning sidekicks, too.  On the downside, however, fries were lacklustre and under seasoned. And though the deep-fried mozzarella sticks and fiery tomato dip had us drooling over the menu, when they arrived, they were a bland, rubbery flop. But Louie’s biggest letdown was its service. Having waited 30 minutes to order (on a very tame Saturday night), food didn’t arrive until over an hour later. The delay was blamed on a broken-down fryer, but to go ahead and include service charge on the bill rubbed salt in the wound. Is Louie’s the hottest place to eat right now? Definitely not. Sure, certain dishes sizzle but you’ll give them an icy cold reception if the service doesn’t improve.

News (14)

Dry January? 11 fun things to do in London if you're not drinking

Dry January? 11 fun things to do in London if you're not drinking

From kidult games to extremely grown-up cocktails, here are 11 ways to beat the January blues (without booze) 1. Go back in time (above) Regress to a time before Friday night consisted of six pints, 20 McNuggets and a blurry ride home on the night tube. For the ultimate PG night out, head to Namco Funscape, located in City Hall on the South Bank. Here you can win big (you know, like 83p!) on the coin slots, go bowling, play arcade games or take a serious shunting on the dodgems. Whatever you get up to in this neon labyrinth, you’ll have a total blast without even a sniff of the sauce. County Hall. Waterloo Tube. 2. Sink a hole in one   You might tell yourself that lifting pints is a great way to condition your arm muscles, but so is a few hours of putter-swinging at one of the capital’s crazy golf courses. At Junkyard Golf Club in Shoreditch players can chip around grizzly bears, Egyptian pyramids and even Del Boy’s yellow three-wheeler, while at Swingers (in the City and launching in the West End in March), golfers can manoeuvre around a giant windmill or lighthouse. Junkyard Golf Club, Dray Walk, Old Truman Brewery. Shoreditch High St Overground. Swingers, 8 Brown’s Buildings. Aldgate Tube. 3. Get your creative juices flowing Make the most of having both hands free and sign up to an evening with Collage Club to get stuck into some serious cutting and sticking. This creative crew host group collage sessions at various locations around the capital every few weeks and provid

The first winner of our 'Make London Better' competition is announced!

The first winner of our 'Make London Better' competition is announced!

Back in the summer (you remember those distant days, right?) we asked you for your ideas of how to make our city a better place. The competition, in partnership with GoFundMe, was inspired by the creative projects that we saw popping up around the city – like Brixton’s The People’s Fridge, where the community can donate/receive food depending on their situation. The prize was a £5k preloaded GoFundMe page and the chance to see your idea come to life. With 100 words to sell us your project, you did us proud. We received over 400 entries, which included ideas as varied as communal umbrellas, renting dogs to go running with and an online befriending service for refugees. Some issues popped up again and again – you really care about homelessness right now. Perhaps that’s not surprising given the dramatic increase in people sleeping rough in the capital (in 2016 there were twice as many people facing homelessness than in 2010, according to charity Crisis). Our judges picked two winners. The first is Rav Kumar Foolheea. Rav came up with an idea so people can help rough sleepers without the need for spare change. ‘I don’t carry any coins or notes on me,’ he says. ‘Since we’re moving to a cashless society, when a homeless individual asks me for change I never have any.’ His plan is to create a contactless donation system so that you can cover the cost of a hot meal or a night in a hostel, right there and then. We’ll be launching the GoFundMe page for his idea early next year. Our sec

Visit this mini city made (almost) entirely from gingerbread

Visit this mini city made (almost) entirely from gingerbread

Forget walking in a winter wonderland, a wander through this incredible mini city made entirely (well, almost entirely) of gingerbread will be one of the most festive things you’ll do this season. Back after a blinder of a debut last year, the Museum of Architecture’s Gingerbread City is an exhibition of intricate biscuit streets and buildings, all constructed by some of London’s best architects, urban planners and city landscapers. Laid out across two floors, the baked submissions come together to create a sprawling metropolis, and thanks to a lovely bunch of Instagrammers, you can take a peek at some of Gingerbread City’s biggest landmarks below... A post shared by Burwell Deakins Architects (@burwellarchitects) on Dec 6, 2017 at 1:46am PST This biscuit-based UCL (renamed the University Crumble London – geddit?) is less about snakebite and PPE students, and much, much more about candy canes. And we’re down with that. A post shared by Amy Lou (@amybodiam) on Dec 5, 2017 at 11:23am PST This gingerbread is hot and fresh out the... printing press. ‘Bake news’ is the talk of the town here. A post shared by Elliott Wood Partnership (@elliottwood_partnership) on Dec 5, 2017 at 3:35am PST Let us present Gingerhithe Bridge. An incredible example of biscuit mastery, but a very

Get free fizz from a prosecco-dispensing billboard in Shoreditch

Get free fizz from a prosecco-dispensing billboard in Shoreditch

Head to Shoreditch's Box Park from now until 7pm this evening and you can have a go on the world's very first prosecco-dispensing billboard. For today only, thirsty Londonders can hit the 'Push For Prosecco' button on Delta Air Line's interactive prosecco poster, which is there to help promote everyone's favourite Italian bubbles being added to the airline's complimentary inflight bar menu. Next to the billboard there's a first class outdoor lounge, where drinkers can sit, relax and sip on their prosexy in style. Remember that the free fizz is only available to those aged 18 years or over and is limited to just one glass per person, you old lush. Find your free fizz at Boxpark Shoreditch, 2-10 Bethnal Green Rd, E1 6GY, until 7pm today (Thu Dec 7).  Get in on the fizzy action with our guide to the best places to drink prosecco.  Get more free stuff straight to your inbox when you sign up to Time Out.  

Dreaming of a white Christmas? This London bar is guaranteeing one

Dreaming of a white Christmas? This London bar is guaranteeing one

You can stop praying for snow this Christmas; it’s coming. And more specifically, it’s coming to the Sanderson Hotel on Mon Dec 11. From next Monday, the Long Bar inside the swanky Fitzrovia hotel will be transformed into a frosty alpine forest with, wait for it... ACTUAL FALLING SNOW! A trail of fairy lights will lead thirsty Londoners into the forest where, among birch trees, fallen leaves and a flurry of snowfall, they’ll find a crystal-covered bar serving a selection of delicious (and bloody boozy) drinks. As part of a collaboration with gin connoisseurs Bombay Sapphire, the Let It Snow bar will be offering both classic and Christmassy juniper-based cocktails. Traditionalists can enjoy the French 75, a cockle-warming concoction of Star of Bombay gin, Champagne, fresh lemon juice and sugar syrup, while festive fiends can swig on a Bubbly Reindeer made from Bombay Sapphire and strawberry puree topped with gin and tonic marshmallows. Drinkers can also indulge on très posh Christmas bar snacks, which include turkey and mushroom fritters with a candy chestnut and red currant hash, and maple-roasted sprout skewers with turmeric bacon and hazelnuts. Booking isn't necessary, but wearing full Eddie the Eagle attire is compulsory. Obviously. Let It Snow bar will be at the Long Bar at the Sanderson, 50 Berners St, W1T 3NG, from Mon Dec 11 to Sun Dec 24.  Looking for more alternative festive events in the capital? Read our guide to quirky Christmas events in London. For more festive

Not just fir show: London’s best interactive Christmas trees

Not just fir show: London’s best interactive Christmas trees

It’s not that we don’t love a simple pine decked in lights and dotted with baubles – we do, we think it’s a thing of beauty – but you’ve got to admit that a Christmas tree built from London’s favourite festive words (that also sings carols, btw) or one with a 20-metre-long adult slide does sound a tad more exciting. Good for more than just a quick Insta snap, the capital’s interactive and immersive Christmas trees let you get hands-on. Here are four of our favourites.    The Singing Tree This year’s Christmas tree at the V&A, which stands proudly in the museum’s grand entrance hall, is the brainchild of Es Devlin who has designed lighting sets for the likes of Kanye, Beyoncé, the Royal Opera House and the National Theatre. With not a needle in sight, The Singing Tree is an audio-light sculpture constructed from festive words, many submitted by V&A visitors online and at the museum. From now until January, the words will be projected into a glowing tree formation and amalgamated into a bespoke Christmas carol. The carol will be sung by a choir of both human and machine-generated voices for visitors to enjoy as they wander past. The tree is still taking submissions, so you can contribute your favourite festive word here. V&A. Until Jan 6. Free.   Ace Hotel’s lobby tree Okay, so this is less of an actual tree and more of a film about a tree, but it’s pretty cool all the same. Gracing the lobby of Shoreditch’s Ace Hotel is a huge video projection of a snowy spruce (‘Evergreen’)

Scary Christmas! A pop-up bar is celebrating the monsters of festive folklore

Scary Christmas! A pop-up bar is celebrating the monsters of festive folklore

There's a monster of a bar popping up in Peckham for Christmas from Friday. But when we say monster, we don't mean a giant gingerbread grotto serving Guinness World Record amounts of mulled wine – this one's for the Scrooges. Brand-new Batch Bar is hosting Twisted Christmas, a pop-up boozing spot celebrating Pagan winter traditions, with cocktails inspired by monsters, beasts and other all-round creepy cretins from folklore. There won't be a fair isle jumper in sight. For those all about the merry but strictly not the Christmas, this anti-Crimbo bar encourages drinkers to "look to the darker side of the festive season". Cocktails will be themed around creatures such as Grÿla, an Icelandic monster who's famed for making a delicious children stew, and Krampus, Santa’s scarcely-known sidekick, a horned beast who’s readily armed with punishments for those who've been naughty. While the monsters may be gruesome, the drinks themselves will be top dollar. Twist London bartenders will be making drinks from premium spirits, and those with the coldest of hearts can swig on hot toddies. There will also be beers from Peckham’s Brick Brewery and an extensive wine list. To avoid a nightmare hangover before Christmas, you can also order Deliveroo straight to your table – the bar staff will supply you with cutlery and plates. So if the sight of flickering fairy lights and the sound of sweet children singing carols has got you heaving already, you know exactly where to go and get twisted.  Tw

Feel the need for speed (dating)? Look no further...

Feel the need for speed (dating)? Look no further...

Valentine's Day may be a load of over-commercialised tosh, but for single people, it's also an annual reminder that nobody likes them and that they have to buy their own bunch of red roses, box of Malteasers and all other red-coloured things. Sure, it's probably too late to bag a date for this Sunday (unless you quickly change your Tinder bio to read: 'Free to hang this Sunday? Anyone?'). Thankfully, London's coolest speed-dating crew Last Night A Speed Date Saved My Life are on hand to hook up singletons all year round. Hosted most regularly at The Book Club in Shoreditch, and also at The Cat & Mutton on Broadway Market and The Proud Archivist in Haggerston, LNASDCML is one of the city's most-loved speed-dating nights, which we put down to the cool, creative bunch of single people it attracts and the fun, chilled vibe on the night. The premise is similar to other speed-dating events: around 20 boys visit the tables of around 20 girls and are given just two minutes in which to hit it off. But thanks to the friendly hosts, LNASDCML is relaxed and not awkward. It's basically like going to those friends' birthday drinks where you know no-one else. But it's not just the relaxed, non-smutty vibes that LNASDCML boasts. Before everything kicks off (the speed-dating, that is – the drinking started hours ago), the hosts are keen to highlight the event's successes – and rightly so. LNASDCML is accountable for an impressive amount of new couples, cohabitation and even an impending marri

Shish kebabs, meditation classes and table football: it's the best bits of Holloway

Shish kebabs, meditation classes and table football: it's the best bits of Holloway

Prison? What prison? Come for the bright lights and cheap eats of LoHo Isn’t Holloway just a prison? Why should I go there? Because besides being home to London’s only all-female (and soon to be closed) prison, Holloway is brimming with brilliant shops, pubs and places to eat. Okay, it might look like a traffic-filled thoroughfare just for getting from Highbury to Highgate, but N7 has a lot going for itself.   Brilliant local shops, you say? Oh yes. New in Lower Holloway – or LoHo to its residents – is Provisions (Holloway Road), a cheese and wine parlour selling delectable products from independent producers, which also hosts after-hours tasting events. Further up the road is Selbys, a three-storey department store complete with haberdashery, café and threading counter for all your facial-hair emergencies. Off the main road, there’s Grafton School Market (entrance in Hercules Place) which takes place every weekend and sells everything from books and secondhand vinyl to toys and clothing. At the seven-days-a-week Nag’s Head Covered Market (Seven Sisters Road), you can have your meat butchered, shoes shined and palm read all under one roof.       Sounds good. Now, where can I eat? Mate, where can’t you eat? Start the day with smashed avocado at veggie café EZ & Moss, lunch on sticky chicken wings and Korean fries at newly opened Bird (both on Holloway Road) then head for authentic Chinese street food at Xi’an Impression (Benwell Road). If that lot doesn’t make you split your

Top five dating scenarios

Top five dating scenarios

  Nathan James Page 1. The Tinder Since you've only seen them in a selfie with sunglasses and some holiday snaps using #allthefilters, the first date with a Tinder Special is essentially blind, and will result in one of two outcomes. Either your date is a bitter disappointment: desperate, creepy, seven inches shorter than specified (height, for God's sake) and wouldn't look out of place on 'Crimewatch'. Or, as you'd hoped, your date is total blinder: smart, funny and fiiiiit - so you spend the whole evening hoping they'll get shit-faced enough to deem you remotely in their league. 2. The set-up A set-up with a friend of a friend means big pressure: you have to live up to the hype. Your BFF tells everyone that you're a legend, but they've known you since junior school - they're obviously biased. How likely is it that their housemate's brother's line manager will want your babies just because you've got Sky+ and can burp the alphabet?   3. The second time The second date is when you figure out whether someone's actually a goer or not. Sure, you think you like them, but that could have been down to the six glasses of wine and no dinner you had on the first date. This time, however, you're noting down everything from ancestry to underlying hereditary conditions. Now's also your chance to backtrack over the bit where you confessed your love for Peter Andre after all that sauv blanc... 4. The sex date You've had three mind-blowing, sing-from-the-rooftops dates and tonight is the

Top five things to look forward to this autumn

Top five things to look forward to this autumn

1. Fireworks! The pyromaniac's Christmas, Bonfire Night doesn't involve any unnecessary present-giving, excessive eating or drunkenly arguing with relatives over the control of the remote. Instead, you get to head down the park and watch glittering balls of fire shoot through the skies above the capital, surrounded by the fragrant fumes of candy floss, sizzling hot dogs and singeing beards as hipsters play with sparklers. What a night! We can't wait for London to get her bangers out this November. 2. Bulking up After three miserable months of attempting a 'summer body diet' (counting the fruit in a glass of Pimm's as one of our five-a-day, obvs), it's time to get back on the beige stuff. Hammering the crisps, doughnuts and triple-cooked chips is the only way to prepare for plummeting temperatures and Christmastime stomach-stretching. Come on, your body isn't going to put that extra stone on all by itself! Better start laying the groundwork now and crack open that packet of Hobnobs.     3. Staying in The nights are drawing in so, naturally, marathoning television shows in a darkened room for hours on end is back on the agenda. As this autumn brings us brand-new series of 'Homeland', 'Fresh Meat', 'Peep Show' and 'Downton' (don't pretend you don't love it), you can tell your mates you'll see them some time in 2016. Socialising is sooo August. 4. Indoor drinking If only Glade made an Olde London Boozer-scented air-freshener... going cold turkey on the pub this summer would have

Sun, supper and the sphinx pose: Secret Yoga Club serve supper at Bold Tendencies

Sun, supper and the sphinx pose: Secret Yoga Club serve supper at Bold Tendencies

          On Monday July 6 join Secret Yoga Club, London's most mysterious yoga sessions, for some downward dogging and dinner at Bold Tendencies on top of the Peckham multi-storey car park. Bin off the gym – it's too damn sunny to be inside – and soak up some stunning sunset views whilst working up a sweat (and an appetite) with a dynamic yoga class overlooking the capital, which will be followed by a leisurely supper prepared by Barrafina's Phil Walther. On hand to rehydrate you all evening will be Ali Baba, offering fresh juices and fruity cocktails, as well as Aubert and Mascoli, who will be pouring their delectable natural wines too. If you can still walk after the yoga and the vino, be sure to admire Richard Wentworth's specially commissioned shimmering silver snake on the rooftop.   You can bag your ticket to Monday night's event here, but if you can't make it, worry not. Secret Yoga Club have a whole summer of supper clubs planned, which are set include feasts from the likes of Tomos Parry (from Kitty Fisher's), the Smoking Goat and Artusi. Keep your eyes peeled for SYC events announcements on their website. Looking for more rooftop fun in the capital? See our guide to rooftop bars in London