Rose is the Head of Commercial Content, UK, based at Time Out London. Originally from Australia, she worked as Editor of Time Out Melbourne, then Editorial Director of Time Out Australia before moving to London in 2018. She oversees the creation of commercial content within the Creative Solutions team but also dips in and out of editorial from time to time.
The 50 best podcasts to listen to in 2024
What did we do before podcasts? Who knows, because now they’re like a right arm to most of us, making journeys seem faster and chores less painful all over the globe. You know the drill. If there’s a market for it, there’s a podcast about it. But with the incredibly vast world of podcasts throwing up new options every day, how does anyone know where to begin? Well, that’s where we come in. We’ve rounded up our favourites, from political podcasts that look behind the news to comedy podcasts with your favourite funny people, and plenty of those all-important investigative whodunnits to keep you up at night. If you’re looking to dig deeper into one genre, we’d recommend trying our specialist lists on for size (you’ll find them below). But for a full list of good, addictive podcasts of every genre, read on. RECOMMENDED:🎧 The best podcasts on Spotify😂 The best comedy podcasts 🗞️ The best news podcasts💤 The best sleep podcasts🎶 The best music podcasts
The 8 best flower delivery services in San Diego
The florist scene in San Diego is better than ever. Budding new independent retailers are sprouting up (see what we did there?) all over the county, and if you are in a hurry, many florists offer same-day delivery. So if you're searching for gorgeous petals to surprise your loved one with, you're in luck. There is prompt delivery, so you'll never have to wake up on the day and panic-jog to a nearby gas station and pick up some wilted Roses that look sweatier than you. Want to select some blooms that are native to the area? Try California Poppies, Hummingbird Trumpets, Lewisias, Pacific Coast Irises, Coast Indian Paintbrush, Common Thrift, or Yarrows. Chances are they won't have to travel far to reach their recipient, meaning they will stay fresh longer. We’ve picked a bunch of our favorite florists, all of whom deliver throughout the San Diego region. How do we determine the cream of the crop? Our staff picks combine the top, most recent reviews with some of our personal favourites to make sure you get the best deal on the web. Throughout this article, you may notice some affiliate links – these have no influence on our editorial content – we pinky swear. For more information, see our affiliate guidelines.
Five spots that will make you fall in love with Deptford
Ah, Deptford. There is truly nowhere in London quite like it. The top of its high street is marked by an enormous anchor – a nod to the neighbourhood’s rich maritime history. (Fun fact: Peter the Great hung out here in the seventeenth century on a quest to improve Russia’s ship-building skills!) You can find nearly anything on this famous high street – great coffee, friendly barber shops, Vietnamese restaurants, Caribbean grocery shops, the list goes on – and at its end on Creek Road, you’ll find yourself at the Thames. Oh, and did we mention the epic Saturday junk market? It’s a neighbourhood full of surprises, which rewards curiosity. And that’s exactly what our editor Joe Mackertich discovered while recording the latest episode of our podcast, ‘Love Thy Neighbourhood’, sponsored by FREENOW, the mobility super app. On this episode, Joe invites actor, comedian, writer and proud south Londoner Jon Pointing to take him on a tour of Deptford. To find out which spots Pointing picked, you’ll just have to listen to the podcast, won’t you? But first, we’ll give you a flavour of the neighbourhood with some of our top picks. Listen to ‘Love Thy Neighbourhood’ now
London’s 7 prettiest walks
London is a city of fast walkers, charging down the pavements like they're trying to outpace the tube trains rumbling deep under their feet. But sometimes, it's nice to switch up the pace a bit. Head out for an urban stroll and you'll discover that this vast, sprawling city is full of surprising green spaces, winding alleyways, and canal trails that are itching to be explored. Whether you’d like to dive into the past with a historical hoof around town, zone-out in an area of blissful nature or check out some of the city’s biggest attractions, there's an endless array of beautiful spots for a London walk. Comfortable shoes are recommended, as is an umbrella. After all, nothing spoils a walk like getting drenched in a good old-fashioned Great British downpour. If London’s not cutting it at the moment, why not check out our properly good list of walks near (but not in) the capital? And if trees are your thing, here’s a load of walk suggestions that take in some of the best woodland around the city. RECOMMENDED: 📍 The best things to do in London
An epic Sherlock Holmes murder mystery is coming to London
We all love a mystery – where do all the socks and hair slides go? Which person in your building is always getting the exotic pet food delivered? – but some of us get a bit more into them than others. So if you’re the friend in the group who spends their weekends binging police dramas, and felt like you lost about 90 percent of your personality the second The Traitors ended, then please look no further, because you’re about to be presented with the night out of your dreams. Masters of immersive theatre The Lost Estate are bringing their riveting show ‘The Great Murder Mystery’ to London from March 19-June 2, 2024, and it’s not to be missed by anyone who loves a thriller. Billed as a ‘cult Sherlock Holmes experience,’ the experience whisks you right back to eighteenth century London, to join Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as they uncover the many mysteries of Baskerville Hall. Photograph: The Lost Estate The production offers twists and turns aplenty – with many tips of the deerstalker hat to Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Holmes novels. Best of all, however, to match this feast for the mind, tickets also include a delicious meal, with three delectable ‘Victorian fine dining courses’ (designed by exec head chef Ash Clarke, formerly of Gordon Ramsay Group). You can also sip on specially crafted cocktails (not included in the ticket price). Why simply go out for an evening meal when you could be a part of one of the greatest detective stories of all time? Photograph: The Lo
The best facials in London
We know that living in London can be tough on the skin, what with all the pollution and air-conditioned offices. And that’s before we even think about harsh weather, alcohol, sun exposure, dehydration and the inevitable passing of time (the joys). Just thinking about what we put our skin through is enough to give you frown lines. Luckily, though, there are loads of great spas and treatment rooms in London where you can give your face a break. Whether you’re after a relaxing, soothing facial massage, some instant radiance, a total skincare overhaul or something a little more intense, read our pick of facials in London. You won’t regret it. RECOMMENDED: The best spas in London
The 95 best hotels in London
Need a place to stay in London? We’re here to make it easy for you. Even now, a wealth of new hotels are opening – which we reckon is a testament to the fact that London remains one of the most desirable places to visit in the world. Many of the hotels listed below are incredible enough to have made it straight into the Time Out top 20, but our hand-picked list of the best hotels covers locations right across the capital, and every category from blowout luxury (including having your own butler, might we add) to budget basic and brilliant.We’ve listed everything from five-star hotels in Mayfair to incredibly affordable hotels in some of London’s very best neighbourhoods. Plus you’ll be able to check out one or two of the capital's many Michelin-starred restaurants because yep, loads of them call London hotels their home. But if spending a small fortune on food isn’t your bag? There’s also an ever-increasing number of good-value food options for budgeteers, too. Throw great design and architecture into the mix, plus superb bars, world-class hospitality and the opportunity to have a home-from-home in the best city in the world and, well, you’re laughing. Basically, you’re totally spoilt for choice. So, read on, decide where to stay in London, and ready yourself for a hotel visit like no other. Enjoy! Looking for even more options? Check out London’s best Airbnbs. Keen on a steamy night in? Check out London's best hotels for sex. Who makes the cut? While we might not stay in ever
What is ‘slow looking’, and why should you try it?
Be honest: how long do you spend looking at artworks in a gallery? I’m talking properly looking. Not just doing that weird little shuffle-walk that only seems to come out in a gallery; hands behind your back, neck craned for a quick read of the caption. Don’t get me wrong. I’m no stranger to this style of gallery-going. Sure, making speedy stops past each and every artwork might be an efficient way to tick off an entire exhibition or collection – but ultimately, it’s unsatisfying and even a little frustrating, like taking the Piccadilly line to Heathrow. Which is why, when Tate encouraged me to try ‘slow looking’, I felt instantly intrigued. I’d heard of the slow living movement; a mindset that values meaningful consumption and mindful lifestyle choices. Slow looking falls under that umbrella. Studies have shown that on average, visitors to art galleries spend just eight seconds looking at each work on display. This rang true for me and made me wonder: what is the real purpose of going to a gallery? Maybe, I had been doing it wrong. Slow looking is about bringing us back to what art should do: make us feel something. It’s not a new concept; back in 2009, author Phyl Terry founded ‘Slow Art Day’ with the mission to help people have more mindful interactions with art. And, to promote the idea that art should be for everyone. Part of the slow looking philosophy is trusting your own intuition. It’s not about curators or historians telling you what you should take from looking a
Five reasons to see ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ in the West End
Looking for a thrilling, brain-stretching night at the theatre that'll stick with you for all the right reasons? This one's for you. ‘Succession’ star Sarah Snook and hotshot Australian director Kip Williams are taking on a classic Oscar Wilde novel and dragging into the 21st century, for a limited run of unforgettable performances. Here's why you should make sure you're there.‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ opens in February 2024 at Theatre Royal Haymarket, and will play for a limited season of 14 weeks. Book tickets now.
Five reasons to book tickets for thrilling West End hit ‘Stranger Things: The First Shadow’
It's officially the grimmest, drizzliest time of the year. But while you're battling to keep your spirits up under skies that are devoid of all trace of sunlight by 4pm, there's something bright and beautiful happening on London's West End. ‘Stranger Things: The First Shadow’ is a spectacular stage play that's guaranteed to jolt you out of your winter lethargy. Here's why you should go, whether you're a theatre-lover looking for an exhilarating night out or a fan of the cult telly series or a
The 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 quaint terracotta rooftops to historic structures on the flowing canals. Simply pick your favourite and let the magic begin. Here are our picks for the best Airbnbs in Venice. We're the experts, after all. RECOMMENDED: The best neighbourhoods to stay in VeniceRECOMMENDED The best hotels in Venice This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.
The 10 best Airbnbs in the Peak District for a wholesome countryside escape
Ah, the countryside – wide-open pastures, fluffy clouds, walking routes to nowhere, and those seriously epic pub lunches. It really is hard to beat a weekend getaway in the rolling hills of England (if the weather cooperates) and the Peak District is no different. Whether you're up for a hiking adventure in the area’s National Park (which is England's oldest by the way) or just want to mosey around historic towns and villages, a holiday in Derbyshire's Peak District is most definitely the answer. You'll stumble upon everything from grand old homes to thrilling bike trails and rock-climbing spots. And there's no shortage of places to eat and drink either. Trust us, you won't be bored when exploring this stunning part of the country. If you're ready to pull the trigger and book a little UK staycation, we've rounded up the cream of the crop when it comes to Airbnbs in the area. These cosy spots are perfect for unwinding after a day of adventure – think warm log fires, endless views of green fields, and beds so comfy you'll want to stay in them forever. And if travelling with a large group, there's even a massive pub you can rent out – you'll just need 33 pals to share it with, and we’ll be impressed if you have 33 friends. RECOMMENDED: 🏠 Discover the best Airbnbs in the UK❄️ Check out the cosiest places to stay in the UK this winter💕 Looking for an intimate escape? Explore the best romantic getaways in the UK🏞️ Explore the most beautiful national parks in the UK Who makes the
Listings and reviews (32)
The Hoxton, Shepherds Bush
There’s nothing sleepy about buzzing Shepherd’s Bush – and yet, you’ll feel so pleasantly ensconced in the plush retro world of The Hoxton that you’re bound to get a good night’s rest here. It’s the first west London branch of the super-successful boutique chain, and impressively, it has a design sensibility that feels all its own, with flourishes that nod to the neighbourhood’s history and culture. Take, for example, the lobby; a retro-lover’s dream with an earthy wooden front desk offset by colourful mid-century armchairs and loud custom rugs by west London makers Holmes Bespoke. Everywhere you look there are soft textures and curved lines. The rooms feature dramatic wavy headboards by Bute, and warm rattan lampshades play off copper fixtures. If the rooms feel a touch on the small side, then that might be a sign to spend more times in other parts of the hotel – namely, the restaurant. Honestly, it’s worth staying here for the restaurant alone. Chet’s is Thai food like you’ve never tried it, by cult Los Angeles chef Kris Yenbamroong. Here, fiery Thai flavours meet Californian flavours and flair. The Hoxton deserves London’s love simply for bringing Chet’s across the pond; and you deserve to order the signature fried pineapple rice, served with crab inside half a pineapple. Oh, and the sticky wings of course. The restaurant is also the most beautiful space in the hotel, too, elevating a ’60s American diner with soft pastels and a Wes Anderson-esque attention to symmetry.
Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of ‘The War of the Worlds’: The Immersive Experience
Think the past couple of years have been rough? Try surviving a Martian invasion only to be captured by an enormous fighting machine and having your blood harvested, ‘The Matrix’-style, in a stifling capsule. That’s the 1898 envisaged by H.G. Wells in his pioneering sci-fi thriller ‘The War of the Worlds’, which was then adapted by Jeff Wayne in his 1978 prog sci-fi album, which imbues Wells’s Victorian tale with rock-opera camp and steampunk kitsch. It’s this rather Marmite pop culture relic that forms the basis of this immersive theatre experience. It launched back in 2019, but it’s changed a fair bit since then. Presumably, techy immersive theatre company Layered Reality has finessed the VR and AR (augmented reality) tech, because now it’s slick AF. In fact, at times it’s terrifying… in the best possible way. Take for example the moment that I stood, ensconced in a VR-enhanced Fighting Machine capsule, and felt something actually pinch me. I screamed into what (through my VR goggles) I perceived as a hellish Martian human-blood farm. I heard other screams in the distance – my fellow survivors in the booths beside me. But it’s not all jump scares. The 24 scenes that make up the experience are incredibly varied; as per Jeff Wayne’s album, we follow the path of The Journalist, starting with his first glimpse through a telescope of noxious green gas emerging from Mars. We duck through tunnels, climb through windows and ride hot air balloons, encountering actors who are, for
‘The Witches of Oz’ review
Before Gaga, before Princess Diana, before Kylie, before Barbra… there was Judy. The 1939 musical fantasy film ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is more central to queer culture than ‘Drag Race’ will ever be. But beloved by ‘friends of Dorothy’ as the MGM classic is, perhaps 2022 calls for a retelling; one where the Lion is into BDSM, Dorothy is non-binary and the Wicked Witch whips out a banging rendition of ‘Rolling in the Deep’. ‘The Witches of Oz’ is the second show at The Vaults written and directed by London artist ShayShay. It comes right off the back of their hugely successful ‘Mulan Rouge’: a riotously funny queer mashup of Disney’s ‘Mulan’ and Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Moulin Rouge’. ‘Mulan Rouge’ fizzed with originality. ShayShay’s choice to give the Disney film the treatment its LGBTQ+ fans didn’t even know they wanted – bringing the film’s trans and bisexual subtext to the fore – felt genuinely important. ‘The Witches of Oz’ is no less fun and inclusive – even if it’s not as revelatory. The key is not to think too hard about the plot: it’s really all about the one-liners. The funniest moment (at least for me) appears in the first scene, when the Wicked Witch (Fèyi Wey) introduces herself as ‘the wickedly talented Adele Dazeem’ – a reference to a gem of the queer canon that thankfully took away the taste of the ‘broccolollipop’ I’d just eaten. (It is what it sounds like, and don’t worry, the food improves somewhat from here). ShayShay’s writing sings with pun-tastic campness and the act
Rest House Float Centre
In a world where work is rarely restricted to 9 to 5, where your phone could go off at any moment and where uncertainty reigns, finding a space to completely let go isn’t easy. That’s where floatation therapy comes in. Over the last couple of years, floatation tanks have popped up all over the city – warm, enclosed sanctuaries that offer busy Melburnians a chance to escape from the world and enter a dream-like state of weightlessness. There are all sorts of benefits of floating, from complete muscle relaxation to the ease by which it’s possible to ascend into a restorative meditative state. But let’s start with the basics. The concept itself is fairly simple: it involves stepping into a space-age white pod and slipping into water that is heated to average skin temperature (around 35 degrees). The epsom salt water (which is loaded with magnesium) means that no effort at all is required to float, much like being suspended in the Dead Sea. With no light, sound or use of your body to stay afloat, the feeling is unlike anything else: complete weightlessness, where it’s possible to forget about your own physical being. Sounds far-fetched? I was unsure, too, until I tried it for myself. At Rest House Float Centre – located in Melbourne’s south, about half an hour’s drive from the CBD – the feeling of calm permeates the entire experience, from the moment you step into the lounge-like waiting room and become ensconced in soothing ocean noises and the sweet smell of herbal tea brewi
On any given night at this Collingwood bluestone stalwart, punters of all ages, genders and sexualities are sinking $6 pints of Vale Lager at happy hour by the roaring fireplace, smashing beer burgers and parmas or veg, vegan or gluten-free meals, and standing shoulder-to-shoulder watching gigs on the mezzanine level of the 350-person bandroom. All of this is thanks to a new direction that the Gaso took several years ago, when publicans Shan Vanderwert (formerly from Coburg’s Post Office Hotel) and Clint Fisher (Brunswick’s the Retreat) stepped in and saved the venue from closure. Their mission: to create a warm, welcoming environment that would reflect Melbourne’s incredibly diverse music scene, and the people who make up that ecosystem. It’s a philosophy that you feel the moment the doors to this grand old corner pub swing open. Pull up a plush swivel chair at the bar or sink into a couch (take note of the cute nanna lamps and ’70s vintage planters on the brick walls) and put yourself in the hands of the friendly staff. On the walls are posters and blackboards advertising upcoming events; you could spend an evening eating free pies (meat or veg options) while watching women’s AFL, listening to local and international bands, or sweating your glitter make-up off at a raging queer electro dance party like Outpost or Daydreams. Band bookers Alex Gleeson and Emily Ulman work alongside Katie Pearson who heads up LISTEN (a taskforce addressing sexual harassment and gender parity
Holey Moley Golf Club
In Melbourne, there are plenty of places to drink if you want your cocktail served with a side of fun. We’ve embraced the introduction of booze to otherwise wholesome activities like bowling, video games and even escape rooms – and now, mini golf has entered the mix. But if you’re picturing Holey Moley as a bar with a couple of putting courses tacked on, you need to turn your expectations up several notches. The huge, multi-level CBD space – which was once raging nightclub Sorry Grandma – is a colourful fun house of 27 wacky themed holes, neon lights, pizza and pumping pop music. The formula works. When Holey Moley’s owners (Fun Lab, the same team behind Strike Bowling) announced their expansion from the original Brisbane venue to Melbourne and Sydney, bookings came in thick and fast. On our visit, teenage birthday parties teed up alongside young couples and groups of friends – some of them putting their way through the melting clock madness of ‘Sorry Ms Jackson (I Am Surreal), others taking selfies at a Game of Thrones Iron Throne made entirely from golf clubs. Puns are par for the course at Holey Moley, and once you’re in the golfing spirit (the visor helps) you won't think twice before ordering a Teeyoncé Holes cocktail from the upstairs bar – an instant sugar high of citron vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, sour mix, lemonade and soda. Kids-at-heart will jump at the chance to try liquid dessert Happy Gilmoreo, a dangerously drinkable blend of raspberry liqueur, vodka,
Venture to the top of Lygon Street and you’ll find a wine nerd’s paradise. Modelling itself on the French ‘négociant’ model, ReWine buys wine directly from wineries across the country and stores wine in the shop in barrels. It’s all about personal service here; spend time tasting, comparing and talking, then when you find something you like and buy it by the refillable bottle. That bright 2016 Tempranillo from King Valley you like? Your bottle will cost $18, but it's $15 for a refill when you bring your bottle back.
Is anything just a bar these days? The Grid is an escape room in dystopian London, where an evil AI startup threatens to wipe out humanity. Your goal is to beat the system. While drinking cocktails. You go in thinking that you’re a volunteer for a company called Neosight, sent to interact with a new AI robot to teach it about human intelligence. But then there’s a twist that’s (almost) Brooker-worthy. But surely cocktails and complex puzzles don’t mix? Oh, you’d be surprised. The experience includes two drinks – one you have at the beginning, and the other at the end. The game’s creators cleverly weave both into the narrative, and neither are so strong that you’d struggle with logic and maths (well, no more than usual). And the cocktails are good – if you like your drinks teeth-grittingly sweet. There’s a fun, DIY element to them, too, and you can choose between gin, vodka or non-alcoholic. Really, they’re more a fun add-on than the main event. Turns out there’s not much time for boozing on the brink of an AI apocalypse.
The Mystery Rooms
Here’s the thing about escape rooms: no matter how many of them you try, you’ll always feel the same sense of nervous intrigue when you visit a new one. Here at Time Out, we can’t get enough of being locked in a room and solving puzzles against the clock to escape – which is why we jumped for joy when we heard about the Mystery Rooms in Fitzroy. Tucked away in leafy Napier Street, The Mystery Rooms occupies the site of a former wool factory. We’re greeted by Tom Hudson and his partner, Jodie, a couple who discovered escape rooms in Budapest (the city where the craze first took off in Europe) and were inspired to create their own. Clearly, adventure runs through their blood – in 2015, Tom built a boat and rowed with one friend from New York across the North Atlantic to the UK to raise money for a breast cancer charity. Knowing this, it’s less surprising, but no less impressive, that Tom and Jodie have built the rooms themselves in consultation with a set designer. As an antidote to some of the city’s glitzier CBD operations, The Mystery Rooms is charmingly DIY and a little eccentric: a cosy lounge offers a space to relax before the action begins; the toilet is a Doctor Who ‘Poolice Box’; a small bar is stocked with wine for debriefing with friends after the escape. There are four rooms here, the Footsteps of the Pharaohs, the Ned Kelly Experience, Secrets of Camelot and A Grimm Finale, which can only be played once you've completed the other three. We choose the Footsteps o
‘The Tempest’ review
If there’s one thing Londoners can count on in summer, it’s open-air theatre. A lot of open-air theatre. But it’s one thing to watch a play under the stars, and another entirely to be immersed in a production that makes the most of an unconventional environment. It’s for this reason that Iris Theatre’s ‘The Tempest’ – brought to life in the lush gardens of St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden – is so much fun, despite its unevenness. Partially, this is down to the promenade structure of Daniel Winder’s production of Shakespeare’s magical late play. Audiences are invited to follow the action through four locations – three in the garden, and one inside the church. There’s no point in cringing when Jamie Newall’s magician Prospero first instructs audiences to ‘Go, follow!’ in a show filled with magic – including some fun sleight-of-hand involving floating recorders and disappearing food – surrendering to the conceit is compulsory. Besides, the decision to keep things moving (literally) allows set designer Mike Leopold and lighting designer Benjamin Polya to flex their muscles. The visual aesthetic is heavily based on opulent seventeenth-century masques, which makes perfect sense given that Inigo Jones, St Paul’s architect, was a leading designer of these royal soirees. In the outdoor scenes, thick vines snake around multi-levelled set pieces that evoke ruined royal palaces. A soundscape of running water and birdsong (by Filipe Gomes) fills the space so naturally that it blends with
Just when you thought our fair city had it all, a new, shiny activity comes along that you never knew you were missing out on. Melbourne, welcome to the world of axe-throwing. After winning hearts in Sydney, Maniax opened in Abbotsford in 2018 to the delight of all those who want to have fun or blow off some steam, Viking-style. The concept is pretty simple. Pick up an axe, aim carefully, and lob it at a target. Maniax recommend that you book in groups for a two-hour session, where you'll receive one-on-one coaching session then taken through a series of tournaments to find out who is deadliest with a raw steel axe. Up in Sydney, Maniax attracts everyone from hens and bucks parties to office outings. "Everyone's got a different style," Maniax co-owner Adam Schilling told Time Out Sydney. "Some people are lobbers, some throw it hard, some soft... but everyone puts their own spin on it." The concept supposedly started when Schilling and his business partner Steve Thomas – both working airline pilots – set up a backyard version of the sport after Steve had encountered axe-throwing in Canada. As you can imagine, there is a strict no-tolerance policy for alcohol and open-toed shoes.
If you’ve never strapped on a VR headset and entered the virtual reality world, then what I’m about to tell you might sound pretty farfetched. Ridiculous, even. I’m standing on the tip of a wooden plank, which is jutting off a skyscraper 80 storeys above a city. I look down at the rooftops, streets and cars, and my hands begin to sweat. I can almost feel the wind swirling around me, and I can definitely feel a rising sense of vertigo. Then, I hear a voice telling me to jump off the plank. At first, the idea of doing this is unthinkable. But then, I close my eyes for a second, brace myself, and take a leap – screaming as the ground rushes up to meet me. Of course, none of this is actually happening. In the real world, I’m standing in a small room above a bookshop in Fitzroy, walking on a real wooden plank on the ground. And until this moment, I never would have expected virtual reality to feel so incredibly real. vArcade is the brainchild of Owen Spear – who is also the man behind Melbourne’s first-ever escape room – and Daniel Duckworth. Given that escape rooms are all about thrilling, immersive experiences, it’s no surprise that he decided to branch out into VR. If the first thing that comes to mind with VR is hardcore gaming, then it’s time to shift your perception. vArcade is all about giving everyone (regardless of whether they’re into gaming or not) a chance to enter new worlds. Participants get to choose between one of three packages for a 45-minute session. In each o
19 things Melburnians say they'll do, but never will
You’ve got to give it to us: we dream big in Melbourne. That said, not all our intentions become reality. It’s time to accept that most of us probably won't... 1. Find a way to visit the Flinders Street Station Ballroom – Melbourne’s white whale, if you will. If no one ever sees it, then does it even truly exist? 2. Get up early and go for a run around the Tan, instead of snoozing to the point that you’ve got three minutes to frantically get ready for work. 3. Book in for a full degustation at Attica or Brae (with matching wines, of course). 4. Buy a bike lock that takes more than a pair of nail scissors to cut. 5. Quit your job and finally launch that collaborative tech start-up you’ve been working on. 6. Actually find a spot where your whole crew can sit together at the Queen Victoria Night Market. 7. Host a house party with an epic theme, smoke machines, live bands and performance art, instead of just putting out a bowl of chips. 8. Start making your own coffee so you’re not single-handedly putting your barista through graphic design school. 9. Ride the whole Yarra Trail instead of stopping at the first pub you pass and “resting” until darkness falls. 10. Reject the duopoly of Coles and Woolworths in favour of the mixed fruit and veggie box at CERES. 11. Enrol in that woodworking/silversmithing/pottery class. 12. Attempt to win the Comedy Festival's passport so you can see more shows than seems humanly possible. 13. Have just one (one!) cocktail at the Black Pearl. 14. Set
We checked out Iceland’s new hot springs – and they’re surreally beautiful
There’s a surreal quality to Iceland. The craggy lava fields that look more like the surface of the moon than Earth; the herds of shaggy-maned wild horses roaming freely across fields; the first green glimpses of those elusive Northern Lights flickering in the night sky; the elves which are said to have lived here long before humans arrived. It’s that otherworldly quality that makes Iceland such a tourist magnet – and it’s a feeling that only grows stronger the longer you stay at Hvammsvík Hot Springs, Iceland’s newest natural geothermal spa. Located 45 minutes from the capital of Reykjavik, this private 1,200-acre estate is perched right on the edge of the Hvalfjörður fjord. As our group approaches the entrance by the shore, that surreal feeling hits when I take in the colour palette: the jet black of the beach, the grey waters of the Atlantic ocean, the white caps of the mountains in the distance. Later, what’ll be even more uncanny (in the best possible way) is the sensation of breathing in fresh, frosty air while sitting in 40-degree water. Photograph: Hvammsvík Hot Springs Hvammsvík is old. Really old. The estate has been used for many things in history: first a Viking settlement, and nearly 900 years later, barracks for the allied forces in the Second World War. Its current owner, Skúli Mogensen, traced its history right back to its foundations in the twelfth century through the Icelandic records and sagas. Mogensen – ex-CEO and founder of now-defunct airline Wow Ai
Your 25 craziest Melbourne make-out stories
A few years ago, we asked Melburnians to send in their best make-out stories and they really, really delivered. As much as we're committed to keeping it classy, we're also suckers for the less romantic side of dating. A cheeky pash in a less-than-charming locale can sometimes be more memorable than one between dishes at a degustation. Below are the best answers that you sent us. 1. Rod Laver Arena car park... with a tennis player from Ecuador. GameSetMatch 2. Between two dumpsters in the alleyway behind Boney (Pony at the time, and RIP Boney). It smelled distinctly of rotting lettuce, which is not the kind of smell you want to associate with memories of your new crush. Phoebe 3. In the corner of Mad Mex in QV. The staff kept turning up the volume of the music in our corner but we ignored it. Donald Tramp 4. The abandoned/never used platform 15 at Flinders Street Station.* Katrina *not just pashing. 5. In the back of an ambulance while working a NYE with my now husband! Nurse Hoolihan 6. My boyfriend and I shared our first kiss in a Seven Eleven. Our friends were buying something and we just couldn't wait until we got into the nightclub next door. Miranda 7. I made out with someone for the first time on the light-up dancefloor in the Melbourne Now exhibition at the NGV during White Night one year. It was 4am and the place felt like a club. Ton Silhocky 8. The alleyway behind 170 Russell because the stench of old cigarettes and urine was just so romantic. Angela 9. Hooking up a
Melbourne's trams ranked from best to worst
In a list of things that are quintessentially Melbourne, trams sit up there with laneways, coffee, footy, volatile weather and Franco Cozzo. From Port Melbourne to Box Hill, St Kilda Beach to East Brunswick, Melbourne’s electric tram network is the transport of choice for many of us – a way of life, if you will. But it must be said that not all trams were created equal. If you’re a regular tram rider, no doubt you’ve chugged along on the ancient W-Class tram, rattled through Kew on a C-Class or zoomed through the city on a new-fangled E-Class. And if, like many of us, you’ve found yourself arguing with a friend over which tram is your favourite, then you’ll be relieved to know that we’ve come up with the definitive ranking of Melbourne’s tram network. 1. The best tram in Melbourne: E-Class Introduced: 2013 Routes: 11, 86 and 96 Detailed automatic passenger announcements. Comfortable chairs. Ample butt-rests. Ergonomic stop request buttons. The most powerful air-conditioning system yet. Yarra Trams have triumphed with their latest model, which, with its sleek and minimalist interior, means that the most stylish of Melburnians need not compromise on design principles when getting from A to B. The shrill peel of older trams has given way to a pleasant low beep when doors open. Extra points go to the low-floored E-Class for complying with the Disability Discrimination Act. Fun fact: This is the first Melbourne-built tram since the B-Class in the ’90s. 2. Z-Class Introduced
Ten classic London themes for your next Zoom party
It’s lockdown three and you miss going out a lot. You miss sticky pub floors, rubbing sweaty shoulders, talking shit while you shiver in the smoking area, taking control of the aux cord, furiously applauding, awkwardly flirting. All is not lost however. You and your mates can organise a Zoom party and attempt to recreate some iconic facets of the ‘eclectic’ and ‘vibrant’ nightlife that we used to bang on about all the time via, er, cushions, your central heating, mini sausage rolls and the power of your imagination, woooo. Forget quizzes: it’s time to get nostalgic. Your city demands it. The ‘hen do at ‘Magic Mike Live!’’ theme Channing Tatum’s woke, female-gazey spectacular ‘Magic Mike Live!’ was the holy grail of hen do activities. Basically a prosecco-fuelled, sex positive strip show, ‘MML!’ wholeheartedly embraced singing, screaming and in-seat dancing. You were even allowed, encouraged, to touch the men. That would certainly be frowned upon IRL now, but there are ways to recreate the experience at home. Obviously, watch the film. Nay, watch the 2015 sequel, ‘Magic Mike XXL’. It involves even more stripping. Before you press play, don your tightest dresses and neck a bottle of prosecco each (ideally, through a penis straw). Then, decide who’s maid of honour. Think carefully before you assign the role. She must be prepared to a) throw pink dollar bills into the sky; b) yell ‘you are enough, just as you are!’ at the hens and c) decide when the time is right to blast Ginuwin
Nine photographs of London’s stage doors that will fuel your theatre nostalgia
On a scale of one to 'I laid out my old ticket stubs to create a sad little shrine,' how much do you miss theatre? If you’re caning 'Hamilton' on repeat on Disney+ and the mere memory of tiny West End ice cream tubs brings a tear to your eye, then we’ve got another way for you to fuel that theatre nostalgia while you wait for lockdown to ease. 'Stage Door' is a photography project by London-based photographer Harvey Aspell. Started in 2018, the series at the time was a way for Aspell to capture their mystique. 'I’ve always been attracted to the theatre’s stage doors. They’re like the unsung heroes, each with their own characteristics,' says Aspell. 'They are often inconspicuous and understated, however behind them lies a bustling atmosphere of excitement, nerves, and hard work.' But now, as curtains remain closed and spotlights dimmed, the photographs have taken on new significance. 'The photos have taken on a different meaning in these strange times, evoking nice memories for many,' explains Aspell. 'To me, the doors are like symbols of hope now, a reminder that the community will thrive again.' Unsurprisingly, there’s been a resurgence of interest in the series in the past few months. We've pulled together some of our favourite shots, and asked Aspell about some of the stories behind them. Like what you see? Aspell has created a limited number of prints available to buy – DM him on Instagram to find out more. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Stage D
Five things to do on Valentine’s weekend in London if you’re single
1. Revel in live dating disasters Rule #1 of being single on Valentine’s Day: don’t go on a first date. Apparently, six brave folk around the country DGAF about that because they have agreed to go on an interactive virtual dating show for the world to watch over Zoom. ‘Quarandating’ was created in 2020 and is hosted by comedians Joe Davies, Robin Clyfan and event director Claire Fitzgerald. For this special Valentine’s edition, held on Friday February 12, six singles will undergo bizarre challenges and date scenarios that will have you feasting on schadenfreude.Fri Feb 12, 8pm. Tickets £5. Photo by Pamela Raith 2. Rip rom coms to shreds Soppy romantic comedies can get in the bin on V-Day weekend; unless they’re being mercilessly mocked by an improv comedy troupe. Mischief Theatre (you know, the London company behind ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’) are doing a special romantic comedy edition of their Mischief Movie Night In series, where the audience tunes in virtually, submits a suggested title, genre and location of a film, and then watches as comedians improvise the film, live. Sun Feb 14, 7.30pm. Tickets £10 per device. 3. Rave the weekend away In the old days, you could just gather your single mates, go hard on the dancefloor and sleep through your Sunday none the wiser that Valentine’s Day had even passed. Re-create that vibe by hitting up an ‘illegal rave’ (which is actually, entirely virtual and totally legal). BBL CLB is a new online offering that’s part interactive the
The five types of lockdown Valentine’s Day dates (and how to drastically improve them)
Maybe you’re one of those people who scorns Valentine’s Day. ‘I don’t buy into overpriced set menus in stuffy Park Lane restaurants, and I wouldn’t go near those Paperchase cards with stupid animal puns on them!’ you once scoffed to your colleague after he innocently enquired what you had planned. ‘You can keep your Bloom & Wild letterbox flowers, your sickly sweet Cutter & Squidge ‘biskies’ and your Oliver Bonas mugs with ‘LOVE’ on them, man.’ But this year, something’s changed. Special occasions like this one are basically all we have to look forward to right now. That, and the vaccine. You already went all in on Burns Night and now you’ve found yourself Googling ‘most romantic walks in London’ and picturing you and your partner looking into each other’s eyes as the sun sets over Parliament Hill. So the question remains: what the hell can you actually do to make this February 14 different to any other day in this blighted wintry lockdown? 1 The digital death spiral If you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day over Zoom, then it’s for one of two reasons: you’re doing long distance, or you’ve only been dating for a few weeks and you don’t feel ready to meet up. Either way, you’re in the danger zone. Fail to prepare and you’ll find yourself sitting in bed wearing the same grey jumper with the brown, cheesy stains from last night’s Patty & Bun. To make up for your dishevelled appearance, you’ll monologue about how you’ve recently gotten into playing online chess with strangers aft
Five fab indie florists in London to support this Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is one of those things that creeps up on you. There’s the wintry torpor of January – especially this year – and then boom, old Saint V is right on your doorstep. Thankfully, there’s still enough time before Sunday February 14 to sort a seriously special gift for your loved one. There’s no need to overthink it; flowers are always a great choice. And you know what else is a great choice? Supporting a local florist. Times are tough for independent businesses right now, so every bouquet of blooms you buy will help keep your local going strong. Many of them offer online delivery, too, which means you’ve got no excuse. Here’s five indie florists we love. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here. The Fresh Flower Company This East Dulwich florist sources nothing but the finest seasonal flowers from the New Covent Garden Flower Market and other local growers. Bright, contemporary bouquets are what these guys are best known for – and their V-Day special, the Valentine’s Rose Posy, is no exception. It’s a beautiful bunch of ruby red and vintage lilac roses with some scented blossom and eucalyptus. From £25. Order by 11am for same-day delivery to local SE postcodes, Tue-Sat. All other London postcodes must place orders by midday on the day before delivery. No delivery on weekends. www.freshflower.co.uk. Appleyard Nothing says romance like a bunch of red roses as big as your head.
Some Voices is launching weekly virtual choir classes
Fact: singing makes you feel better. A lot better. I won’t hear anything against that – it’s just true. And if you can come together with others to sing in perfect harmony to one of your favourite songs? Well, that’s basically the Gail’s cinnamon bun of happiness. It doesn’t get much sweeter. Unfortunately, IRL choirs are out of the question right now. And that’s where Some Virtual Voices comes in. This month, Some Voices – the huge London choir that you’ve probably heard a mate (or us) raving about in the last couple of years – is launching a series of online classes to help recreate the in-person experience. Here’s how it works: the 90-minute rehearsals run weekly on Wednesdays from 7pm over Zoom. The choir leader, Marion Wyllie, will take you through a series of warmups, then you’ll learn an original Some Voices version of a popular song. No sight-reading is required; it’s all about repeating what the teacher sings, then putting all the harmonies together. You’ll be on mute the entire time, but at the end, you’ll get to sing along with a video of all the parts put together, so you’ll get the full choir sound. The series kicked off last night with David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’; check out the video of pro singers performing it here. The best bit? Because you’re alone, you can really belt out those high notes – and maybe even unleash some dance moves. And if this sparks a love for live performance, then keep following Some Voices to find out when in-person rehearsals and shows begi
Annihilate Blue Monday with Time Out’s playlist of 14 uplifting bangers
Welcome to our new series, One Good Thing to Do Today. It’s a guide to little things you can actually do in lockdown London that will provide bits of light in these dark times. In this instalment, Time Out editors select songs that will lift the gloomiest of moods Apparently, today is Blue Monday – aka the most depressing day of the year. HOW FUN. According to the 'scientists' who coined the term back in 2005, the third Monday of January is cursed: we're skint-post Christmas and pay day is still weeks away, our new year's resolutions are in the bin and the weather's still shit. Sounds about right! But you know what? By that logic, things can only get better from here – which means all we've gotta do is make it through the remainder of the day. Take that, science. And to help you do that, we've come up with a powerful playlist of tunes so motivational, so upbeat, so toe-tappingly, head-boppingly fun that you'll remember this as the greatest day of your entire life. Or, you'll just feel a little bit better. We'd be satisfied with that too. Listen to these songs on Amazon Music 1. ‘Good As Hell’ – Lizzo I will be forever grateful to my friend who bought me a ticket to see Lizzo back in 2018 at the O2 Academy Islington. In the space of two minutes, I went from ‘I think I saw her on RuPaul one time?’ to ‘This woman is a goddess and the antidote to all society’s problems'. I’ve calmed down a bit since then, but her powerful self-love anthem ‘Good As Hell’ reminds of t
The BBC is hosting a huge musicals festival while theatres are shut
Got a huge, musical theatre-shaped hole in your life? The BBC is here to help. ‘Musicals: The Greatest Show’ – dropping on BBC Radio 2 on Sunday January 31 – will see some of the West End and Broadway’s biggest stars belting out musical theatre hits captured at the London Palladium. Then, later in February, it will broadcast them on BBC One and BBC iPlayer for you to watch. Your host for the evening will be award-winning Sheridan Smith. She’ll perform the famous ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ from ‘Funny Girl’ (if you saw her play the lead in the 2016 West End production, you’ll be as pumped for this as we are). There are too many other highlights to name, but here’s a smattering: the Tudor-tastic cast of ‘Six the Musical’ will perform ‘Six’, Michael Ball will unleash the rollicking ‘You Can’t Stop the Beat’ from ‘Hairspray’, Gavin Spokes will bring the laughs with ‘You’ll Be Back’ from ‘Hamilton’, plus there’ll be hits from ‘Dear Evan Hansen’, ‘Wicked’, ‘Dreamgirls’, ‘The Greatest Showman’ and more. Sheridan Smith said: ‘With so many amazing performers we’re going to hopefully bring some joy to all those at home, with the best songs to help lift the spirits in these very difficult times’. But that’s not all we’re getting. ‘Musicals: The Greatest Show’ is the centrepiece of a three-day festival called Radio 2 Celebrates Musicals. Expect everything from celebrity guest presenters (including Jason Donovan, who played the lead in ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’), int