Tired of London, Tired of Life - One thing a day to do in London

A website about things to do in London

18 December 2014

Enjoy a Christmas evening at the Dickens Museum

The man who all but invented the London Christmas lived at 48 Doughty Street from 1837 until 1839, and it was in this house that he completed and published The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby. Tonight, the house which is now the Charles Dickens Museum is open for a special seasonal late evening.

We are told the event will feature drinks at the Museum's‘Bar Humbug’, screenings of Brian Desmond's 1951 classic, ‘Scrooge’, featuring Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge, and carol singing around the piano. Tickets are £12.

For more, see http://www.dickensmuseum.com/.

^Dickens Museum picture from Flickr courtesy of Matt From London^

17 December 2014

Attend the Barbican Design Market

Like seemingly everywhere nowadays, the Barbican Centre is running a Christmas fair, with this one offering some of London's finest independent makers and artisans. We're told it'll be "teeming with innovative and original gifts from decorations and accessories to prints and homeware" but the main reason to attend is to snap up an original piece of the Thames foreshore from Amelia Parker.

The jewellery is made from genuine Thames-detritus, in the form of centuries-old clay pipes hand-picked by Jane Parker on the Thames foreshore and pieced together in attractive designs.

For more, see http://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=15502

^Picture © simiant used under a Creative Commons license^

16 December 2014

Hear the British Humanist Choir at the Hand & Shears

Not everyone wants to embrace religion at this time of years, so thanks to the good sorts at Londonist for tipping us off that the British Humanist Choir are holding their own festive sing-a-long at the Hand & Shears in Smithfield this evening.

We're told that attendees should expect "the Pogues, Tim Minchin and a gospel song about a well-known but financially perturbed supermarket chain", and it's free to attend. Just bring your singing voice, and a few quid for a pint .

For more, see https://www.facebook.com/bhachoir

15 December 2014

Catch the Southbank Centre Express

Forget Crossrail, the newest railway line in London is already here, in the form of the 36 seater Southbank Centre Express, which trundles along the South Bank between Hungerford Bridge and Festival Pier daily until 4th January.

Sure, fares are a little higher than other forms of transport at £4 single but when you consider how much new railway lines in London usually cost, that's a real bargain.

For more, see http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/southbank-centre-express-1000710

14 December 2014

Watch a pantomime horse race

The 2014 pantomime horse race takes place in Greenwich this morning, with more than 20 horses competing in the 5th annual race, which this year takes on a science fiction theme.

Alongside the horses we're told to expect a battalion of Stormtroopers & Darth Vader marching from the Cutty Sark to Devonport House, and some people who used to be on the telly many years ago.

For more, see http://www.pantohorserace.org/

13 December 2014

Visit City Road Lock

For those who prefer engineering to shopping, the Canal & River Trust is hosting a special open day at City Road Lock today, offering the chance to meet the canal maintenance teams and take a trip to the bottom of the lock.

The open days are part of a £100,000 refurbishment of the lock, which involve the replacement of the five tonne top gates and the fitting of new ones. Sounds like chilly work.

For more, see https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/winter-open-days-201415/city-road-lock-open-days

^Picture © Canal & River Trust^

12 December 2014

Sing carols at Kenwood

Carols in north London tonight, as English Heritage host a concert in the Orangery at Kenwood House in Hampstead, followed by a glass of wine or juice.

It's great to see houses like Kenwood hosting events other than corporate events and tours, but for those who prefer their visits to be more traditional the property remains open daily during the winter season.

For more, see http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/events/carol-concert-Ken-12-12-2014/

11 December 2014

Drink at the Royal Oak

An attractive little Victorian corner pub where Tabard Street meets Nebraska Street, the Royal Oak is the London outpost of Harvey's, the Sussex brewer based in Lewes. A popular spot with real ale types, the pub has a fine wooden interior, separated into two rooms both served by a central bar.

When the pub was built, it stood on Kent Street, but the street was renamed as Tabard Street to reflect the Tabard Inn, a favourite drinking spot for those departing London famously featured in Geoffrey Chaucer’s the Canterbury Tales.

For more, see http://www.harveys.org.uk/pubs-tenancies/find-our-beer/the-royal-oak-london

10 December 2014

Go Christmas shopping at the Chelsea Physic Garden

Christmas shopping seems to be inevitable at this time of year, but rather than face the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, this week you could instead pay a visit to Chelsea Physic Garden to explore, and buy a range of books and gifts, and try some delicious festive treats at the Tangerine Dream Café.

Of course, it's only open on weekdays from 10am til 4pm until Friday, but no self-respecting Sloanie goes to work any more, so the time is just fine for most locals.

For more, see http://chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk/special-events/festive-opening-days/

9 December 2014

Sing carols around the Trafalgar Square Tree

The annual carol singing season in the shadow of the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree began yesterday and runs until 23rd December, and during that period we are told that over 50 carol groups will come along to sing for an hour each from 4pm - 8pm each weekday and 2pm - 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

As any watcher of 1990s Blue Peter will know, the tree is a Norwegian Spruce, and a new one has been given each year since 1947 by the people of the city of Oslo as a thank you for Britain’s support during the Second World War.

For more, see https://www.london.gov.uk/get-involved/events/christmas-in-trafalgar-square

8 December 2014

Sing carols at Kensington Palace

Tonight and next week, Kensington Palace are inviting potential carollers through the doors  (for a fee) to sing in the State Rooms and enjoy mulled wine and mince pies.

The evenings take the form of a guided tour of the Palace with room guides who will reveal stories of Christmases past, culminating in a sing song around their 30 ft tree.

For more, see http://www.hrp.org.uk/KensingtonPalace/WhatsOn/ChristmasCarolsatKensingtonPalace

7 December 2014

Visit the Kirkaldy Testing Museum

It's the first Sunday of the month, and despite concerns about its future over the past year or so thankfully that still means we are afforded an opportunity to visit the site of David Kirkaldy's Victorian testing works at 99 Southwark Street, in Southwark and witness his testing machine in operation.

The machine was constructed in Leeds especially for the space in the 1860s, and built to test the strength and breaking points of various materials, and measuring 47 feet 7 inches long, and 116 tons in weight.

For more, see http://www.testingmuseum.org.uk/

6 December 2014

Visit the artists of Eel Pie Island

As well as being a tranquil residential haven across a quaint bridge from Twickenham, Eel Pie Island is also home to the studios of some 26 artists, who work in and around the working Eel Pie Boatyard, which continues to provide repairs to Thames boats.

Today and all this weekend the studios are open to the public from 10.30am - 5.30pm for a special open day which offers a chance to see what life is like working on a tiny island in the world's greatest city, and also pick up some unusual Christmas presents.

For more, see http://www.eelpieislandartists.co.uk/

5 December 2014

Attend a carol concert at St James's Piccadilly

There are plenty of carol concerts around town at the moment, but a particularly atmospheric one is on offer tonight at St James's Piccadilly, where Southend Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs are conducted by Roger Humphrey, with Rosemary Pennington and Meriel Barclay providing accompaniment.

We are told to expect a programme including Britten - A Ceremony of Carols, and music by John Rutter, Bob Chilcott, as well as other Christmas music, with audience participation carols.

For more, see http://www.sjp.org.uk/evening-concerts.html

^Picture © Tony Hisgett used under a Creative Commons license^

4 December 2014

Attend the Pigs Ear Beer and Cider Festival

The Pigs Ear Beer and Cider Festival 2014 is currently taking place at the Round Chapel in Hackney, and despite the absence of the best pig-themed beers in the world, they still seem to be doing a decent job of providing Hackney-dwellers with real beer.

The venue is otherwise known as the former Clapton Park United Reformed Church, a Grade II* Hackney architectural highlight which is worth a visit in its own right.

For more, see http://www.pigsear.org.uk/